Monday, May 3, 2010

Part 2: RAW vs. JPEG Part 2 - Photography with Imre - Episode 19

Well I think it's about time that I finished writing the supplemental post to RAW vs. JPEG Part 2!

First up, during the JPEG cons segment I talked about how there is no going back to an original image state per se. In a way this is only partially true. As long as you keep a copy of the original JPEG file that came out of the camera, then you can always open it up time and time again and save it as a different file (e.g. Photoshop format) to edit it further; so you can in fact return to an "original image state" if need be. But, if you save the original JPEG file over and over again under the same filename, keep in mind that the quality will degrade; in a remote way, this is somewhat similar to making a copy of a copy, then a copy of that copy, etc. Each time you save the file, it is compressed again and again, and each time a little bit more of the image quality is lost (in all fairness though, there is a lossless JPEG type).

On the other hand, working with a RAW file is safer. For example, if I open up one of my Olympus RAW Files (.ORF) and hit save, then Photoshop displays a dialog box asking me to save the file in one of several image formats. So at the least, I cannot accidentally overwrite the original file. Now going back a bit to the "original image state" I talked about, remember too that the RAW file format isn't processed. Therefore, it preserves the camera's sensor data essentially perfectly, unlike the JPEG files the brains of the camera massages and manipulates to a state where you cannot rewind time to get at that precious primeval sensor data.

Next, I said in my video that I would write a little bit about dynamic range. Dynamic range is quite the topic of it's own, so I've included a couple of great links below which do a fantastic job of explaining it better than I could. Feel free to check'em out.

And lastly... I'm finding it somewhat challenging to add more to the second-half of my video where I discuss which format to use. Frankly, my hope is that whoever comes across my video or this post examines his/her situation and the pros and cons to both RAW and JPEG, so s/he can make his/her own decision about it. Plus, aren't digital cameras just awesome. I mean, unlike the good old days of film where you were stuck with a specific speed and type of film until you shot each exposure (or extracted the film before it was completed used up), with digital we can happily switch the sensitivity on the fly, shoot in black and white or vivid color, and even easily switch between saving our moments in RAW or JPEG format (or both!), all without having to change the fi... memory card. Brilliant! Isn't it?

Web Resources


  1. Okay so, I want to say, great video I'm a solid raw shooter myself, and sometimes people give me grief, but whatever. My problem is, with the new E3 I can't view the raw files in Adobe Bridge. I can open them in Camera Raw and in Photoshop just fine, but can't view them in Bridge... do you know why and how to fix it?

  2. Glad you liked the video. These days I pretty much always shoot RAW+JPEG to get the best of both worlds. Interesting that Bridge can't preview the files, works fine for me (using CS4, Camera RAW 5.7). Two things come to mind. Try to update in case there is a bug fix that might do the trick (e.g. load PS, then Help menu > Updates...) or try examining this link below as it may be an install issue:

    I hope that helps!

  3. Okay, well... thats not working for me, but thank you very much for the attempt. Now I have a really silly question that has nothing to do with RAW vs. JPEG. How do I change the efix in my camera to have my name? Right now it says "Everyone" as the camera owner, thats some guys idea of a joke I think. I have Olympus Master installed but I can't figure out how to get into the camera to change the owner. Thanks again! Jen.

  4. Sorry to hear that didn't work. One more thing comes to mind and that is uninstalling Photoshop and Bridge and reinstalling it. It's more time consuming but again, just a guess whether or not that would work.

    To the best of my knowledge, you cannot add your name into the E-3 like you can with Canon and Nikon cameras (apparently with the old E-1 you could change the camera description using the Studio software). I wonder which EXIF viewer you're using, as in my E-3 I don't see "Everyone" anywhere, nor a "Camera Owner" field. Based on what I researched this morning, there is no field by that name recorded by the E-3.

    For copyright status I see "Unknown" and then there are entries for make and model of the camera (I looked at the EXIF data using Photoshop, Bridge, EXIFTool, and Master 2). But if you did want to add your name and copyright info to the images you shot, there is a "mass" way off applying such data into your photographers. Bad part is you'll need to get Bridge up and running, but here are the steps:

    1. Go to Tools > Create Metadata Template...
    2. Fill out the fields you wish (name, address, phone, etc.) then click save
    3. Navigate to the folder of images you want to apply this EXIF data to
    4. Select the images in that folder (or all of them) that you want to append this data into
    5. From the Tools menu, select Append Metadata and select the template you saved

    It's very easy and you'll have the info stored in your files.

    But I'm very curious about that "Everyone" bit; if you don't mind, please let me know which EXIF viewer is reporting that or where you're seeing it.

  5. I'll be happy to send you a screen print, I'm just using Windows to view the file info. my email is jennifer411(at)gmail(dot)com


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