<JPG from RAW> vs. <JPG only>

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by MJL Photo, Nov 28, 2005.

  1. MJL Photo

    MJL Photo Guest

    Is there a difference in image quality from shooting RAW and making a jpg
    from that vs. shooting jpg directly?

    I understand RAW is superior in image quality and manipulation, but I am
    only concerned with jpg format in this question now.

    MJL Photo, Nov 28, 2005
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  2. MJL Photo

    Bill Hilton Guest

    ML Photo writes ...
    Well, technically you are ALWAYS shooting RAW but if you have the
    camera set to output jpegs then it takes the RAW file and processes it
    according to your settings for white balance, sharpening, exposure,
    contrast etc and spits out a jpeg, discarding the RAW info. So the
    real question is 'can you do a better job of making a jpeg by adjusting
    white balance etc with the converter than the camera does with fixed

    If you got everything right at exposure time (especially white balance
    and exposure) then the in-camera jpeg will be fine, but if not then
    it's better to make the corrections on the RAW file and convert than to
    make the corrections on the jpeg.

    Bill Hilton, Nov 28, 2005
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  3. MJL Photo

    Scott W Guest

    If the scene is a pretty typical one then the camera will normally do
    a fine job of making the jpeg. If the scene has some extremes in it
    then raw can do wonders. There is a lot of talk about what color space
    to shoot in, if you shoot in raw you can reduce the saturation until
    all the colors fit. Raw will also give you a bit more dynamic range
    then what you would get from the jpeg straight from the camera. There
    is also some pretty odd processing that goes on in some cameras before
    they output the jpeg file, with my Sony it does a lot of filtering to
    try and reduce noise, unfortunately it also removes detail in some
    cases. The worst case is water with waves, the Sony seems to see this
    as a blue sky with noise and so removes the waves. Shooting raw gives
    me the waves back. I see far fewer problems with the camera jpeg using
    the 20D.

    The best thing to do is shoot both for a while and get a feel for what
    you are able to do with the raw and see if it is worth it to you. Try
    shooting some bright reds both ways, this often give the camera jpeg a
    hard time. When converting the raw to jpeg play with the saturation

    Scott W, Nov 28, 2005
  4. The quality of a JPEG obtainable from a RAW file is potentially better than
    that produced by the camera, but it's all dependent on the RAW conversion
    software and how you use it.


    Digital Photography Now
    Digital Photography Now, Nov 28, 2005
  5. MJL Photo

    JR Guest

    Everyone that says a camera will output a jpg that is the same as a RAW
    converted jpg has not done the conversion and simply LOOKED at the 2
    images. I have shot RAW and JPG, looked at the JPG then had my RAW
    converter make a JPG with no changes in the settings so the 2 files
    SHOULD be identical, but they are not. The RAW converted JPG was MUCH
    sharper and the color was richer. I always shoot RAW and convert to

    JR, Nov 28, 2005
  6. MJL Photo

    Steve Wolfe Guest

    Is there a difference in image quality from shooting RAW and making a jpg
    Only in how the RAW data is converted. Sometimes the camera makes pretty
    decent decisions as to how to render the JPG, but often you can make a
    better decision, or at least a more informed one.

    Also, presumably you're importing at more than 8 bits into your photo
    editing program, and in a larger color space than sRGB - so your editing and
    manipulations are much less likely to result in various technical
    deficiencies than if you performed them on the JPG.

    Steve Wolfe, Nov 28, 2005
  7. MJL Photo

    Martin Brown Guest

    If they were converted using the same fundamental parameter settings
    they would be the same. There is no doubt that on high contrast scenes
    the default camera settings for JPEG conversion are sub-optimal.

    But most of the posts saying in camera JPEG is rubbish appear to have
    the aggressive conversion settings posterising the in camera image. It
    isn't fair to compare radically different conversion strategies and then
    blame the file storage format for the differences!

    Incidentally sharper does not alway mean better. Conversion software
    often oversharpens images knowing that this scores extra points in
    benchmarks and product reviews. Look for ringing on edge transitions.

    There is no reason at all why a JPEG should be visibly less sharp than a
    native raw image. It will necessarily have compromised dynamic range
    compared to a 12bit native raw image but even that can be managed.

    RAW is ideal when you know you have a high dynamic range subject where
    highlight or shadow detail will be a problem. The camera has to make a
    compromise when making its JPEG and doesn't always choose wisely.

    Martin Brown
    Martin Brown, Nov 28, 2005
  8. MJL Photo

    kctan Guest

    All digital images are taken in raw form initially. They got to be converted
    into image format like jpeg or tiff. The question is who is converting. You
    or the camera.
    If it's the latter, then you have to choose an image format and its pixel
    dimensions and compression degree. You are under the mercy of the camera
    irreversible automation conversion by the built-in processor and raw
    conversion software. If you understand things like white balance, luminance,
    gamma, color depth, noise etc...you may want to shoot in raw and manipulate
    those mentioned by a good raw converter to bring out the best image quality.
    Therefore it not raw is superior but your skill to make it superior by
    manipulation and develop into a format of yours (jpeg or tiff).

    kctan, Nov 28, 2005
  9. MJL Photo

    kctan Guest

    I forgot one important issue to mention and that is a calibrated monitor is
    essentially needed for any image adjustment and manipulation.
    kctan, Nov 28, 2005
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