Raw Versus JPEG: Everything You Need to Know

The raw versus JPEG debate is one of my favorite topics. As a software developer and photo nerd, I tend to gravitate towards the technical side of things.

This video by Steve Perry of Backcountry Gallery explains in easy-to-understand terms the advantages and disadvantages of each format. If you already shoot raw, you probably already know this information; however, the way Steve explains it may help you explain it to others.

Steve isn't a raw snob like some photographers are. He understands that the file format you choose to use depends on how you're going to use your photos. I've always said to use the tool that works best for you, and that also extends to file formats.

Using example photos, Steve shows what happens to each image when it is edited in Lightroom; however, this is not specific to just Lightroom. Comparing how the JPEG holds up with adjustments to shadows, highlights, white balance, and exposure, Steve shows just how a JPEG won't hold up to extensive editing.

This video is one of the better explanations of raw versus JPEG that I have seen. Some bonus footage at the end of the video also covers how Nikon and Sony users can set their camera to shoot raw and the advantages and disadvantages of 12-bit versus 14-bit raw files.

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8 Comments

I’m having a dump and so this is the perfect time to discuss the topic Raw vs Jpg. The only question that hasn’t been resolved yet is “why this is still a topic”??

Ariel Martini's picture

Got my new "I SHOOT JPEG" shirt today yay!

Patrick Rosenbalm's picture

That's Great!! You do now that you will have to shave your head before you wear it! 100% polar opposite ya know!! ;-)

"This video [...] explains [...] the advantages and disadvantages of each format."

RAW has no disadvantages. Period.
And yes: Why is this still a topic?

The only real disadvantage to raw is the file size and the need to post process. For professionals or enthusiasts that isn't normally a problem though.

"File size" may have been "a disadvantage" over 10 years ago, when hard disk space was actually somewhat expensive. But that no longer fits today.
And "the need for post-processing" is also not a disadvantage of RAW itself, but a decision of the "photographer". If someone doesn't want to "connect with his work" and finishing it, then it might be better not to do it at all. _That_ would be an real advantage for all the pro photogs.

If I have built a house, then in the end I have to wallpaper or paint it. Otherwise it just looks the way it looks.

True master does not care, they can replace or map in lost detail

This dude must go deep, 20 minutes is 4 minutes less than a prime time sitcom!