Started Feb 10, 2013 | Discussions thread
AnandaSim Forum Pro • Posts: 13,422
Re: RAW vs. JPEG

asultan wrote:

I have only recently started shooting in RAW format. I was reading up on it and the mansurovs (photography life) website says that JPEG has/can display a total of 16 million colours, while 12-bit RAW images can display up to 68 billion (14-bit -> 4.3 trillion) colours.

That's "potentially". It's like cooking. Some chefs start from the most freshest ingredients and spend hours making a dish. Other people just make it out of an instant food packet. And there are those who do half and half.

At the end of the day, is the food fit to eat. Is the photo attractive enough - remember technical preservation is only one of the criteria we judge a photo by and there is even a diversity of viewpoints.

My question is that once I'm done processing raw images and convert it to a jpeg, won't I lose this additional advantage?

The richer data in RAW allows more drastic and fine blending in the photo editing program. And none of the changes of data are baked in and can be removed. With a JPEG, the camera bakes in the White Balance, Sharpening etc... into the JPEG - some of this stuff cannot be easily or at all undone.

So the advantage is DURING the photo editing. When you finally save the output, if you save it to JPEG, you have already finished the editing.

If yes, should I just save my pictures in RAW format and not convert them to JPEG?

raw is the sensor data and some parameter data. If you do extensive editing you will add heaps of parameter data and even non parameter data - ii.e. pixel by pixel manipulation. Some of this won't save to the raw file at all - these have to be saved to sidecar or other files. If you want to send the photo to me, I have to use the same raw editor program that you are using because my program may or may not read any of your files.

JPEG is the universal exchange / display / presentation format that the internet and computers use. A richer format is 16 bit TIFF if you want to use that. But raw is not universal.

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