The Right Setting RAW VS JPEG

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Raw and Jpeg are two file formats that digital cameras can store images in.


      A 10 megapixel camera will produce approximately a 2MB file.


* Digital compression is a means of making files smaller by removing redundancies much like a ZIP file. Some loss in quality is the downside.

**Bit depth refers to the digital binary means of quantifying colors and shades. A higher bit depth allows for a wider range of colors and shades but increases file size and anything over 8 bits cannot be saved as a JPEG.

While shooting JPEG will work fine for most situations, there are times when one or the other is preferable. Raw files contain much more data than a JPEG so as a result much more control is possible in photo editing. If for example a photo has been over or underexposed, a Raw file will contain more data in the problem areas than a JPEG and allow for recovery of the over or underexposed details.

Some common situations and the preferred quality setting:

- Live music performances or situations where lighting conditions change rapidly make proper exposure difficult. Shoot Raw in these situations to allow for better correction in post production.

- In photos that have areas of extreme bright and dark, like landscapes with a very bright sky and a dark foreground, shoot in Raw. In this case, the greater control in photo editing will allow for better results with the final image.

- Any kind of fine art photography or anything that may be printed at a large size is best shot in RAW. The larger file size and greater editing capabilities will yield much better results.

- For shooting sports or any scenes with fast action, use JPEG. The smaller size of JPEGfiles will place less demand on the cameras processor, allowing the camera to shoot at or close to its maximum frame rate. This will increase the odds of getting the best shot with rapidly changing subject matter. Shooting at high frame rates can also fill up a memory card quickly when using Raw files.

- If memory space is a factor, use JPEG. Large Raw files will use up memory rapidly.

- When shooting everyday snapshots that wont require photo editing or that you may want to share immediately use JPEG.This just makes the whole process easier, eliminating the need to process and convert the files after. The smaller files will also allow many more shots per card.

- Shooting for the web usually doesn't require very high quality. Use JPEG to save memory space and time when photo editing.

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