Does RAW matter? A practical look at RAW vs JPEG photos.

Does RAW matter? A practical look at RAW vs JPEG photos.

Does RAW matter? We’re gonna look at it
from a practical example. I’m Scott from Photography Banzai. So I have three
different cameras with RAW + JPEG. The first one, the M100. Also have the P1000
from Nikon. That big super zoom I looked at recently. And also my phone. I used the
Open Camera application. It’s open sourced.. It gives you the DNG RAWs. Go
through three different photos from each camera. So first off we’ve got the 100% crop
with the Canon software. Got the RAW on the one side and JPEG. I really don’t see
much of a difference in this specific case. That’s just a hundred percent crop.
So we could see the details. I’m not really seeing much of a difference. In this case
very similar. There are maybe some slight differences in detail here and there, but
I’m not really seeing a big difference. That’s again with the Canon software. In this
case there is a little bit of difference with the Canon software exported to the
TIFF file and then opened up in Photoshop. Compared to the standard JPEG,
maybe slightly different colors. But noise and such is very similar. So we’re
using the Acdsee software at this point. It’s doing a lot less processing, but
it’s still very similar with this 100% crop on that same photo. Here is the full
version. So in this case when I resize to 960 pixels for each one.. Basically that
gives you an idea of if you’re pushing to Instagram, Facebook. Whatever website
where you don’t have super large resolution. Get an idea to see if they
are similar enough that you don’t really need to care except for extreme situations of messed up exposure or whatever. So in this case
the RAW actually is more color fringing. That wasn’t corrected when all the
processing that I did, which was nothing… In that case I just exported through the
Acdsee software. Now, it does have a lot of options, but in that RAW state there will
be optical issues that you can correct depending on your software. In the RAW
exported from Acdsee right in the center you can see this little leaf here…
Or whatever it is. It’s actually a piece of grass I guess. But definitely has more
detail to it. In the JPEG you’re losing quite a bit. So you can see actually a
difference in exposure in this case. Which is pretty interesting but again
you could easily correct or adjust the RAW to make it look like the JPEG.
Basically, you can see a lot of color noise. So in this case it really depends
on how good your software is because I didn’t apply any noise reduction, in this
case. I could definitely improve that situation if I were to adjust the RAW
file. So we look at the compacted version of that file. They’re actually very
similar. There is more color noise you can still see in the raw version, but
it’s not bad. So in this case I would probably use either one if I wanted
to just put some web version out there. Now let’s look at the P1000. In this case
this is 100% view of one photo from the camera shop. Don’t really see much of a
difference in this specific case at a hundred percent. There is a little bit
more color fringing on the RAW version. Of course, I’m not correcting any of that
stuff. You can see more color noise, but details are actually relatively similar.
The issue with JPEGs when the processing is not perfect is that you’ll get this
watercolor-y look which we’re gonna see a lot of with the P1000 and JPEG mode. So
I really like having that option to do RAW with a camera like that that has a
small sensor. Because you can really decide if you want a certain level of
noise reduction. You can avoid or at least potentially avoid a lot more of
that issue with the watercolor look to the photos. But of course that’s at a
hundred percent. So we look at the full compacted version. Not really any
difference that you can notice. Another 100 percent view of the P1000. Definitely
more color noise on one side. But then on the other side you lose a huge amount of
detail. It’s just pretty much wiped out in some areas, but actually in the
oranges I do see a slight difference in shade on the JPEG site which is good. So
here’s the compacted version. Pretty similar, but I do prefer the colors from
the raw version and of course that’s before processing. It’s just more vivid.
But with the JPEG you can see even when it’s compacted like this it’s got that
watercolor-y blotchy look to the photo. Especially with the Sony logo area
of right above there. Definitely not great. Here’s a 100% view on another P1000
photo. In this case you’ve really got that watercolor look to the edges of the
JPEG. I think that looks really bad and you’ve even got some JPEG noise. Or
basically when it’s compressing the JPEG file. It gets this weird pattern look to
it. Now, you can potentially remove some of that if you’re trying to process a
JPEG, but you don’t have that issue with the RAW file. But of course then you’ve
got more color noise and other issues like that. But it’s something you can
potentially correct. So here’s the compact version of that one. They are
pretty similar just looking at the screen as it is 960 pixels. There are
differences especially.. a little bit more detail I think on the RAW side when you
compress that file. But not a huge difference. So now we’re to the LG Stylo
3 phone with that Open Camera application that does the DNG RAWs. In
this case you can see there’s very dark area. This is a pretty big difference of
exposure or at least what you can see in the photo. That tree area is fully
visible on the RAW side, but on the JPEG side it’s super dark. The colors are
different.. just a lot of difference. Now, the text on the JPEG is actually more
legible, but you could easily process the RAW to improve that situation. So
here’s another one with the shadows boosted in Photoshop to that JPEG file.
You can see that it actually lost a lot of information from that tree area.
Which is pretty serious in this case. I think it’s a big benefit of RAW for the
specific use. Because you are losing a lot of information on that side. So
here’s the compacted version of the previous photo. You can see that it is
relatively similar, but there’s a big difference in color. You’ve got more of a
purplish hue, which I prefer for the moment but you could easily adjust that
to a more neutral look similar to the JPEG. Here’s another one with the LG Stylo 3.
You can see a pretty big difference at a hundred percent with the textured area
right in the center. There’s a lot of compression artifacts and other issues
with the JPEG file compared to the RAW. Of course, the RAW again has more color
noise but that’s something you can potentially correct without causing all
of those problems. In this case I increased the exposure 2 stops in Acdsee
itself through the RAW editor. So we can get a true example of what’s possible
with the JPEG versus the RAW. You can see this area especially by the left side is
a lot better in the RAW photo compared to the JPEG. That’s just blotchy mess
kind of. Lots of blocks of color and it just looks terrible. But with the RAW,
again it has the color noise but it still has some detail to it which is good. So
here’s the photo compressed down to small view. In this case probably not a huge
difference. There’s some slight coloration differences that’s more green
I think and… But basically pretty similar. So this one here is shot at a higher ISO.
That’s the highest ISO I took at that specific outing with the phone. But you
could see a pretty large difference. The colors are different. There’s a lot more
blotchiness to the JPEG. Even the texturing.. you can see on the edges of
that little stick coming out that it’s pretty blotchy and weird looking on the
JPEG file. Somewhat similar when you compress it down.
So even at that higher ISO… If you don’t care about larger sizes then
JPEGs probably alright. That was a quick practical look at a few photos from
different cameras with the RAW and the JPEG files. I think in the case of
smaller sensors having the option for RAW is really important, and it gives you
a lot more ability to get the best possible out of that small sensor. But
the funny thing is is that a lot of smaller cameras don’t give you that
option. So maybe in the future camera companies will get that idea that RAW
really needs to be in a lot of cameras. Be in every camera to give photographers
the best possible results they can get when they want to spend more time. Of
course you can adjust things in the camera to potentially improve the JPEG
processing. Some cameras are better than others, but I personally prefer to shoot
RAW most of the time. Now, I will do the RAW + JPEG especially in cases like
this, but even so I tend to not use JPEG that much because I don’t really care
about the size of RAWs. Processing can sometimes be an issue especially with
new cameras. Even with the M50 the CR3 format is barely supported. Adobe, Capture One
now and a few other programs maybe… Of course, Canon’s official software. But
there are definitely positives to each side. If you don’t really care about a
little bit more processing time. A little bit more battery use with the
RAW + JPEG, I’d say go for that. But otherwise I think RAW is always a good
option when you can do that. I hope you enjoyed this video I’m Scott from Photography
Banzai. If you did enjoy the video… Please consider subscribing, that helps
me out a lot. Likes and shares help out a lot as well. Thanks again!

2 thoughts on “Does RAW matter? A practical look at RAW vs JPEG photos.

  • March 11, 2019 at 10:18 pm

    Nothing beats RAW

  • March 12, 2019 at 8:18 pm

    You'll have to forgive me, I am a complete novice to the world of photography. I have only been taking photos for about 8 or 9 months. From this video, I can see absolutely no advantage in shooting in RAW whatsoever?? It's been explained to me numerous times that I have far more control over what I will be able to do with the image 'in post' but a) I want the image to look ok in camera, not 'in post' and b) I don't have the software to process the image In the first place. Can someone please tell me what advantages exist to shooting in RAW, other than the way you might be able to manipulate the image 'in post'?


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