Photography basics: RAW vs. JPEG

Here is the common question: “what’s a RAW format for? My top-notch camera shoots perfect JPEGs, there is no need for all that RAW-converting hassle. RAW is just a time-wasting professional photographer’s thing.”

To address this concern I’m asking you to take a look the picture. It shows how it all works. If this explanation seems not to be enough, here is another clue: your PC processor is much more powerful than ANY camera processor. JPEG compression made by PC always is of better quality than the one made by your camera. Even if you didn’t make any adjustments to your RAWs.

When your camera compresses your photos to the JPEG format, they loose a huge amount of information in them. This information could have been used for editing later on. JPEG is data lossy format. It’s kind of OK when you shoot your pictures having good lightning around you, such as in the middle of a shiny day.

But if you have to shoot in the evening, when you can hardly see what’s your camera screen shows you, you gonna need a possibility to edit your photos later using your computer’s big screen. There is no other option but RAW files.

RAW will allow you to store as much information in the file as possible, where JPEG will flatten the image and you will be very limited in post-processing.

If your aim is to improve your photography and editing skills you have to consider shooting RAW.

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