Started Feb 10, 2013 | Discussions thread
roby17269 Senior Member • Posts: 1,364
Re: RAW vs. JPEG

asultan wrote:

Thanks for replying, although gary said no and roby said yes. Put another way, will people be able to differentiate the richer colours in RAW from JPEG. Will the difference be visible. Also, roby, i was just curious as to why you convert the file to TIFF rather than keep the RAW file. Another question. If I'm looking to print large photos (im actually looking for a suitable printer right now which is why I ask the question), wouldn't it be better to give him the RAW file since the differences between RAW and JPEG will be apparent at large print size.

I think it's a case of agreeing on terms

In any case,

a) people won't be able to "see" a RAW file unless they have the right software, and

b) unless they use the same RAW software as you, they will see a different (slightly or significantly) version of the image. And

c) most displays are not capable of showing the high colour depth of RAW files

So, while RAW allows you more latitude and higher quality when processing an image, in order to share it with the majority of people, you need to convert it to JPEG. When you convert to JPEG you lose "potential", as in you "burn" into the JPEG whatever processing you have done to the RAW file. You cannot easily undo that processing using the JPEG image. You can alter the JPEG image further but you will lose the advantages of processing RAW data. If you keep the RAW file you can undo/alter processing to your heart's content.

Now, the reason I go through TIFF is because in some cases I do more complex processing (e.g. merge panoramas / composites) than what the RAW converter softwares allow. For more complex processing I use Photoshop and Photoshop works on a converted file, not on the RAW data. I use TIFF, but others may use PSD, etc. I use TIFF because it is fairly standard and can store the processing I do so that I an undone it. I use TIFF 16-bit and not TIFF 8-bit to preserve the full colour depth that was present in the original RAW data. The downside is that TIFF files get pretty large. In any case, at the end I convert to JPEG for easy sharing.

For large prints I would send a TIFF file to the printer. But if you control the whole process (i.e., you are the one who is going to print), then you do not need to go thru the TIFF conversion explicitly... if you send an image to someone else for printing, I prefer to send the TIFF so that the final result matches my vision. If you send a RAW file to someone for printing, as I said above in b), then you may end up with a result on paper which is different from what you were expecting. I assume most shops will not accept RAW files for printing (I may be wrong)

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