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RAW or JPEG format

Should I take photos in RAW or in JPEG format?

In this photo tutorial, we will learn the differences between these two formats and compare their advantages and disadvantages. It will then be up to you to choose whether to take your photos in RAW or in JPEG format.

Raw or JPEG

The raw format

The RAW file, as the name suggests, is basically the native format containing all the raw information from the camera sensor

This digital file contains all the camera settings (i.e., white balance, contrast, saturation, etc.), and we can modify it indefinitely without the loss of information during photo editing via software such as Lightroom or Photoshop

To clarify, the extension of a RAW file varies depending on the manufacturer: .NEF at Nikon, .CR2 at Canon, .ARW at Sony, .PEF at Pentax, .RW2 at Panasonic, .ORF at Olympus, .RAF at Fuji, and .X3F at Sigma. 

NEF CR2 ARW PEF RW2 ORF RAF X3F

The advantages of this format:

The disadvantages of the RAW format:

JPEG Format

The JPEG format

A JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) file offers the best ratio between size and quality.  However, a JPEG is compressed in order to reduce its size, which results in a loss of information and quality. 

The advantages of the JPEG format:

The disadvantages of the JPEG format: 

Conclusion 

So, should we take photos in RAW or in JPEG format? 

 

Choose the JPEG format in case: 

1. You don’t have much storage space.

2. You don’t have time to retouch the photos;

3. You don’t like to complicate your life. 

4. You want to take a lot of photos in bursts;

5. You want to share your photos immediately. 

 

Choose the RAW format in case: 

1. You would like to retouch the photos. 

2. You are patient. 

3. You want to have photos of the best possible quality. 

4. You want more possibilities to make up the exposure

 

Choose the RAW + JPEG format if: 

… you are a perfectionist. 

 

So, now you know whether to take photos in RAW or in JPEG format. 

 

Please give us your opinion, and also share your experience in the comments. 

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