Can anyone explain why RAW is better than JPEG?

Started Jan 9, 2013 | Discussions thread
OP IceShot Regular Member • Posts: 135
Re: Yes, I can explain it

Marty4650 wrote:

I haven't read the other replies yet, so you will probably get replies that are better and more detailed than mine. But I will give it a shot anyway.

The simple answer is that self made RAW conversions are better because a well informed and educated photographer can produce better jpegs than a camera's automatic jpeg engine can.

And remember.... this only works if the photographer understands how to process the file to it's best advantage.

Here's why. Your camera's jpeg engine is just making educated guesses based on mathematical formulas. Most times, it guesses right and you end up with very good results.

However, there are certain times when lighting is poor, or when you are shooting under very demanding conditions that a human being can make better decisions than the jpeg engine can. And that is because the human actually knows the end result he or she wants to achieve, while the jpeg engine is just doing it's best to guess.

If the photographer has sufficient post processing skill, then he or she can beat the jpeg engine 100% of the time. By that I mean "can get a better result" even if it is only a slightly better result.

But there are two downsides to using raw processing all the time:

  1. It takes a bit of skill
  2. It takes a bit of time and effort

Some photographers do their own raw processing for 100% their shots. Others, like myself, only use raw files when the project is very important, or we know in advance that that the we can get better results by using the raw file.

Most times I shoot jpegs... but whenever I'm shooting something I feel is important, I switch to the "raw+jpeg" setting on my camera. That way, I have the choice of using the jpeg... if it looks good enough... or creating my own jpeg from the raw file.

You're answering a different question here, I already know all this.

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