FZ 150 RW2 vs JPeg

Started Nov 20, 2011 | Discussions thread
David247 Senior Member • Posts: 2,406
Re: FZ 150 RW2 vs JPeg

Every photographer has both the right and the responsibility to choose their specific recording medium. In film days people argued over whether very slow Kodachrome or Fujichrome was the better slide film, or whether it was Kodak, Agfa or Ilford for printing papers.

It really doesn't matter. What matters is if you are satisfied with the results. To me having RAW capability is an important plus. But I decide on my recording medium options based upon the subject. For instance, if I am shooting a public protest or sport event, speed is important and therefore I will likely settle on JPEG only. But if I am shooting landscapes, portraits, or other "slower paced" subjects then I will shoot RAW+JPEG. I live at an altitude that is 1 mile above sea level (1.6 km) in a dry climate. On a clear day, the light is harsher then at sea level by a significant degree, so that shadows are darker and highlights are brighter due to decreased light diffusion from the atmosphere and humidity. For some subjects, RAW is the difference between poor or good images.

I have a lot of photos from the past where I wish I had shot both so that today I could reedit from the original to get more out of it.

If you choose to shoot JPEG only, do yourself a favor and treat your JPEGs like a digital negative. Protect the original and make your edits only on a copy. The reason being is that JPEG exists because of its much smaller and more efficient file sizes. JPEG files are smaller because the camera processes the RAW data for you and then discards any data not used. Once discarded that data cannot be recovered. If you edit your original JPEG then that process is repeated, information not used is discarded. Check your JPEG image settings as well. Make sure they are set to near maximum unless you are making a "copy" for web use or email where the smaller file can be more efficient for web loading or sending. Repeated editing of your original JPEG will result in further IQ degradation so always edit on a copy, not the original. Programs like Lightroom and Aperture or iPhoto do this for you (there are certainly others I am not aware of). The edited image is just a record of changes, rather then actual changes to the original. It makes a new edited image only when you export it or save it out. In that way you can always revert back to the original, if a mistake is made.

Herein lies the primary difference between RAW and JPEG. RAW is all the data at time of exposure, JPEG is an edit on that data with the unused information discarded for effeciency.

Pick and choose what works for you but just understand the differences. As I look back at my earlier digital work, I see a lot of images where I shot JPEG only and wish that today I could go back and re-edit from RAW. But that is just me.

The choice is yours, there is no right or wrong. The only thing that matters is that you are satisfied with your results.

Today, I choose not based on preconceptions but on my subject. And when in doubt, I shoot both. It only takes a few seconds to switch, and the world will not end in that time.

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 Olympus E-510
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