To consider which file format to use, we must take into account how to obtain as much information as possible so that in the post-caption process the smallest possible amount of the original information is lost. Every time we make adjustments during the edition of a photograph, it loses information. Therefore, if we use a reduced data file such as JPEG at the time of taking it, and considerable data is lost in the process, the final result may miss much quality. Be advised that better results require bigger files and a post-capture process. You need as much weight in your files as you can have.
Jpg stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group ( its acronym in English). Raw files are named this way because they are not yet processed, ( not ready to be printed or edited with a bitmap graphics editor).
JPEG weighs much less than RAW. It is the format that is needed to send, copy, print, or store images. A .jpg image is 8 bits per channel, 256 tones per channel. Remember that one bit is the smallest unit of data in a computer. On the other hand, a Raw file supports images of 12 or 14 bits per channel, which is 4,096 or 16,384 tones per channel respectively. Tones mean the number of shades between black and white; the more shades that exist the gradient is much softer. The RAW image looks flat, lacks contrast, shows abundant density, but it is raw and needs post-caption adjustments. JPEG is the final file with all the changes that we do over the RAW file in Camera Raw from Photoshop, Lightroom or other similar software.
CHARACTERISTICS OF A PHOTOGRAPHY IN RAW
- It is a format without compression.
- The camera sensor stores all the information without losing anything.
- As it only contains information, it is not an image file.
- Stores 12 bits per color (RGB).
- A post-process must be done in order to print the photograph.
- Each manufacturer puts a different name.
- provides complete control over the exposure, colors, saturation,
- It is a file only for read reading (the changes made are stored in another file).
CHARACTERISTICS OF A PHOTOGRAPHY IN JPG
- It is a standard and compressed format, it can be seen easily.
- Use only 8 bits per color.
- Takes up less space.
- The contrast that it has is higher, being sharper.
- You can print directly without editing process.
- You can make adjustments, only to do so much information is lost.
- It is processed directly in the camera.
How should I take my pictures, in JPEG or in RAW?
It all depends on what you do with the files after you take them. I use both formats, and I put one card for RAW and another one for JPEG in my NIKON that has two slots. Otherwise, I set the Leica for both kinds of files in the only memory card it carries. RAW + L mode produces two files for each picture: both a RAW file and a (full-size) JPEG. I use the images in .jpg to send by email or to post them in social media without post-caption alterations.
In conclusion, if you dedicate yourself seriously to Fine Art Photography, or if you own a commercial photography studio and you do social, fashion, portraits, then you want to obtain the best possible quality in a photograph for it to carry out well in an editing process. Bottom line, I recommend all professional to work in Raw and keep originals in that format independently of the final JPEG version.
In conclusion, taking images in RAW can only help your work, no matter the time needed in the post-caption process.
Raw original format File extensions per Brand: .ARW (Sony), .CR2 (Canon), .DCR (Kodak), .DNG (Adobe), .ERF (Epson), .NEF (Nikon), .ORF (Olympus), .PEF (Pentax), .RAF (Fuji), .RW2 (Panasonic)