Raw vs. Jpeg Comparison

After posting on the processing of a raw photo, and processing of a jpeg, let’s compare the raw and jpeg photos straight out of camera, and how each look at the end of each editing cycle.

First comparison, I think you can tell an immediate difference between these two.  The second of these is the jpeg.  Same image, it’s just that the jpeg out of camera was adjusted to how the camera thinks the photo should look.  The jpeg looks like the white balance is a little closer to “white” than the raw.  Also, the highlights, shadows, contrast, etc was adjusted in the camera’s processing of the jpeg.  You can tell how much highlight detail was held in the raw by comparing the two images, paying attention to that center column.  You can see that near the top of that column, it doesn’t fall off to white as much as it does in the jpeg.  And now, moving along…

lens corrections

JPEG curves

As for these two, in the jpeg the shadows (particularly those on the shirt) are getting crushed, and the white balance is still too warm for my liking.  Also, the raw holds more dynamic range and details generally.  Also, the jpeg looks like it has too much contrast for my liking.

While it took me a bit of getting used to handling raw photos, I find myself better able to work with the raw photos than I could with jpeg.  I actually find it harder to get my photos looking the way I want with jpeg than I do with raw.  I’ve noticed I’m now able to get my photo looking the way I want it quicker if I have a raw photo.  Also, the main reason I like the raw photo is that it holds more information.  The photo has 14 bits in raw capture, compared to only 8 bits in jpeg.  Basically, I’m not willing to throw away that much data.  Those 14 bits hold more data on color info, shadow and highlight detail, and other things.  In these comparisons, I hope you’re able to see the difference between these two.  I think it best I end here, and I’ll end on this note: if you care about how your photo looks, shoot raw.  That’s not a suggestion.  You really should shoot raw.

Your photography friend,


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