JPEG Vs RAW - why RAW is overrated...

Started Oct 8, 2012 | Discussions thread
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David Hart
Regular MemberPosts: 156
Re: JPEG Vs RAW - why RAW is overrated...
In reply to Marco Nero, Oct 12, 2012

Interesting, but ultimately flawed.

1. An assumption is made out of the gate that RAW is considered the only format to shoot in by the majority of professional photographers.  That may have been the case 5 to 10 years ago when JPEG processing could be poor, but not today.  It's an old attitude that is no longer prevalent.

2. An assumption is made that it is believed that a JPEG image is static and you cannot adjust settings to recover some details and that the conversion process doesn't throw away ANY meaningful data.  Obviously, you can bring out details from dark and bright areas in a JPEG image, but only if the brightness and/or contrast is set too high and the details exist.  Otherwise, you need to use the RAW file.  Remember, it's not just detail that gets lost, it's also color information.  So, while you may be able to recover some JPEG details, those details may not be the original color.

3. An assumption is made that shooting RAW or shooting JPEG is an either/or proposition.  Most modern cameras have a third option to shoot RAW+JPEG.  Using this setting you get the best of both worlds.  The only drawback is that shooting speed is reduced, so this might not be an option for sports photographers.

More egregious than all of the assumptions, in my opinion, is the attitude by the OP that the photographer should always be aware of exposure issues and should always be compensating.  The fallacy is the assumption that this is always possible.  Even professionals encounter scenes that require instant shooting to capture the moment.  Having the RAW image increases the chances of getting an excellent photo, vs just a good photo.

In the end, its up to the photographer to select how they shoot.  Personally, I prefer to have both the RAW and JPEG.  I end up using the JPEG 99% of the time.  But for that 1% of the time that I need to revert to the RAW image, I'm very happy that I have it.


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