Why Shooting in Raw Is Superior to JPEG

If you are new to photography, you have probably heard over and over the importance of shooting raw over JPEG, but you might not have heard why this advice is repeated so much. This excellent video discusses the advantages of raw over JPEG and shows some illustrative examples to prove the point. 

Coming to you from David Manning, this helpful video shows why you should consider shooting in raw format instead of JPEG for better file quality and stronger editing capabilities. The advantages of JPEG back in the day were mostly the ability to save hard drive and memory card space, but as storage prices have plummeted, that is much less of a valid reason nowadays. Today, the real reason to shoot in JPEG is if you are in a situation that requires ultra-fast delivery (photojournalists, for example) or if you are using some sort of built-in preset, like Fujifilm's popular film simulations (though those can be applied to a raw file as well). Otherwise, a raw file will give you far more data and far more control and latitude in the editing process, and that will result in higher-quality images — often noticeable so. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Manning. 

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14 Comments

Jerome Brill's picture

You know..

El Dooderino's picture

As an "amateur enthusiast", I appreciate any article I can learn from. I have my camera(s) set to record in both formats because I often don't have the time/want to spend the time with a lot of post processing. I can easily share my JPEGs, and, if I find a shot that I think is worth (or needs) some extra attention, I can use the RAW file (I still have a lot of learning to do about post processing as well!).

Rich Umfleet's picture

Me too. One card slot for RAW. One for JPEG. One to sell. One to share.

Rich Umfleet's picture

When I shoot in the raw, the police are called. Shouldn't it read RAW?

Alex Cooke's picture

No, "raw" isn't an acronym.

Rich Umfleet's picture

Likewise, neither should file extensions be capitalized and you should use the dot, ie. .raw or .jpeg. Just saying, if you capitalize one, you should capitalize the other. It's not a computer technical manual. Also, as a journalist, you might want your reader to key in on those words or, maybe I should say, file extensions.

JEFF STANLEY's picture

I am not a fan of these types of articles - nor am I a fan of having to sit in front of a computer and post process files. Back in the day I figure the articles read "why you should process your own film rather than take it to the local camera store." If we follow this to the extreme then it will be "Why you should only use a digital 8 by 10 large format, take only raw and process them on a calibrated monitor."

Conversely, and I believe the most popular option behind just using the pictures that come out of the camera, is to simply hit "I feel lucky" in Picasa or its current equivalent.

Billy Paul's picture

11 minutes to explain badly something which could be explained well in 2.

Daniel Lee's picture

The way I always describe it is, in Raw you edit the photo and JPEG the camera edits the photo. I always shoot Raw and if I was limited to jpeg only I wouldn't bother buying a ILC.

Rob Gatson's picture

In other news...flying to Hawaii is superior than swimming there....

JEFF STANLEY's picture

I also heard that having $20 is superior to having $10