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Thread: RAW vs. JPG: Fidelity vs. Convenience

  1. #1
    eNo's Avatar
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    RAW vs. JPG: Fidelity vs. Convenience

    Here's an article that applies Kevin Maney's "Fidelity vs. Convenience" guide to the RAW vs. JPG question to show why and how each approach is successful.

    Fidelity vs. Convenience

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    John C's Avatar
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    Re: RAW vs. JPG: Fidelity vs. Convenience

    One comment I have is that the convenience of the jpg is significantly reduced if you record high resolution files (say 8, 10, 12mp) and want to post them on the internet. This means you still have the inconvenience of resorting to some software to reduce the file for posting. Overall it comes back to your intention for the photograph in the first place. Typically, persons who own DSLRs are interested in producing higher quality photos that can be optimized by further processing, maybe not for all photos but at least for some of them.
    So, in general, if you own a camera that can record RAW files, you should probably do so (at least when high-quality photos are the intent.) Why purchase a $1,000 camera capable of 12mp, if all you want to do is post small photos on the internet? The smaller digicams are smaller, less expensive, and produce reasonable quality photos - in other words, they are much more convenient.

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    Re: RAW vs. JPG: Fidelity vs. Convenience

    Quote Originally Posted by John C View Post
    So, in general, if you own a camera that can record RAW files, you should probably do so (at least when high-quality photos are the intent.) Why purchase a $1,000 camera capable of 12mp, if all you want to do is post small photos on the internet? The smaller digicams are smaller, less expensive, and produce reasonable quality photos - in other words, they are much more convenient.
    I'll tell you all a story here ...

    Often people get a new camera (usually P&S) and in the process of setting it up they play with the "quality" setting. They take a shot at the highest quality (resolution) setting - then one or more at lower settings (which of course allows many more images to fit on the card) - review all of them on the tiny screen on the camera - conclude that "theres' no difference" - and leave their cameras set for the lowest setting.

    A few months ago I was asked to print a photo taken in VGA mode (640 x 480 pixels). The subject had tragically died unexpectedly and this was the last photo ever taken of him. It needed to be printed on canvas - and to make matters worse, we had to crop out around 1/2 the image. I worked out that we had approx ONE PERCENT of the desired number of pixels to work with. The resulting image looked OK from about 5 feet away, but any closer and you could see the degredation in quality.

    I think the morel of the story is that "it's very easy to down-sample an image with too many pixels - but it's very difficult (read "impossible") to reconstruct image detail that wasn't captured in the first place. Memory these days is cheap cheap cheap ... my suggestion to everyone is to put your cameras in the highest possible quality mode ... AND LEAVE IT THERE!

  4. #4

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    Re: RAW vs. JPG: Fidelity vs. Convenience

    There are different forms of RAW. With my Canon 10D, RAW conversions took ages and still remains slow even with a faster computer. But with my 40D the conversion is almost as quick as a large Jpeg.

    And with greatly increased affordable camera card storage capabilities I now find little problems with using RAW although it can mean one extra editing stage.

    But for my many point and shoot friends who take their cameras to the local photo shop and walk away with printed 6 x 4 photos Jpeg is the only option.

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