RAW vs. JPEG Images

RAW vs. JPEG Images

Since a long time, there is the debate of RAW vs. JPEG images Professionals usually say ONLY shoot Raw, then others say shoot Raw and jpeg. Again others say only shoot Jpeg. In this post today I will be explaining to you, where the differences are and which way of going will be good for you. based on what type of photographer and editor you are.

So let’s get started. 😀


The Difference Between RAW and JPEG. Images

RAW.RAW vs. JPEG Images

  • 16bit
  • Stores 16384 shades of information per color.
  • File size is Up to 10 times bigger than JPEGs.
  • Editing software needed to open it.
  • Very editable.
  • Uncompressed file that has all sensor data from the camera.
  • A high dynamic range (more detail in shadows and highlights)
  • Bad contrast (because of high dynamic range and super easy to fix in post)
  • Not as sharp (also easy to fix in post)

RAW vs. JPEG Images
Left: Edited version of a RAW file. Right: Unedited version.

JPEG.difference between raw jpeg

  • 8bit
  • Stores 256 shades of information per primary color.
  • Small file size
  • No extra software needed to open it.
  • Very limited editable.
  • Lower dynamic range
  • Sharp
  • Quickly to share or upload

Why Shoot in RAW

You might think why shoot in RAW if the file that comes out of Lightroom at the end will be a JPEG as well? And you are right. If you like the JPEG that comes out of the camera and it’s the way you want the picture to be, use it. However when you shoot “the perfect picture” but one stop underexposed you will have a problem with the JPEG. But if you have a RAW file just go to Lightroom and fix the problem with one button job done! Another thing you should consider is that your big desktop computer has way more processing power than your little camera. So guess which one will be running the fancy algorithms to sharpen without ugly edges and noise, to denoise without losing all the detail? You guessed right your desktop pc will be the one. 🙂  The list of things your pc can do better goes on and on.

Why Shoot in JPEG

Some People say they never shoot in JPEG. The reason is that your camera actually shoots in RAW and then quickly converts it to a JPEG using firmware. However, in this process, all the information of the Raw file will be reduced and baked into one small little layer called JPEG. That’s why nobody who knows what he does shoots in JPEG… WRONG. 🙂 First, the JPEG of your DSLR will always look better than one from a point and shoot. If you just want to use JPEG and don’t want to edit it that’s fine. 🙂 Also if your Camera is able to shoot in burst modus you will be able to shoot in burst longer in JPEG than in RAW since the RAW file will take waaaaay longer to save to your sd card.


If you want to edit your pictures, after you took them in Lightroom or any other kind of way, I would shoot in RAW. If you don’t want to edit them later or you just take some pictures of your family trip you might want to use the JPEG mode. RAW might be a bit overkill and will eat your sd card in no time. What I wouldn’t do is shoot in both formats, since this is the most space taking option and if you have the RAW file any way you don’t really need the JPEG.

RAW vs. JPEG Images

OK, that’s already it 🙂 I hope you liked my comprising of RAW vs. JPEG. images and that I was able to help you guys with some of your questions. If you have any questions, opinions or topics you would like to read an article about, let me know in the comments. 🙂

Till then have an amazing day. 🙂

Cheers Aaron.

Posts that might interest you as well:

  1. The Camera Lens Sweet Spot
  2. Iso, Aperture and Shutter Speed Triangle

10 thoughts on “RAW vs. JPEG Images

  1. Danny

    I am currently doing a Photography course so I found this post very useful; my friend has a camera that always shoots RAW, and I didn’t understand why his pictures were easier to edit on Photoshop than mine, so thanks for this very informative and relevant post! I will check what my own camera is shooting in and if it isn’t RAW I’ll see if I can change it to RAW.

    1. Aaron

      Hi Danny, I’m glad that I was able to help you. If you have a DSLR you should be able to. Just remember to put in a big sd card. 🙂 

  2. Mei Scarlet

    Wow! Great post – thank you for the information! I’m just dipping my toes into photography and photo editing … but I don’t know much about it. 🙁 I want it to be a sort of hobby thing … but I know that I need to learn more about it before I go spending all my money on equipment. This is just fascinating, though! I never knew about the differences in file types. Thank you for the clearly explained insights! 🙂

    1. Aaron

      Hi Mei, thank you for your feedback. 🙂 If you want to start with photography as a hobby, just go and get a camera and lens and get started. 🙂 get a cheap one. it will do. have a look at the reviews on my site. So you don’t spent all your money. I hope you get started soon. Till then have an awesome day. 🙂 

  3. Kenny

    I always shoot in jpeg images and have wondered why some cameras have this raw format, and what is it for. Now that I see your comparison, I can understand better what is the difference between the two formats. Guess I will try to switch to RAW for a start, and see how far I can go in editing photos to make it even more beautiful. Thanks a lot for the tips!

    1. Aaron

      Hi, Kenny 🙂 that’s cool and you will be amazed how much more you can do with them. If you don’t have Photoshop or Lightroom your can use Gimp or Photo pos pro. till then have an Awesome day. 🙂

  4. Ernest

    Although I am not a great photographer, I did have this question, so I appreciate you answering it. Based on this information, I see no reason to not shoot in RAW every time.

    I’m usually unsatisfied with my images when they first come out, so having the ability to do major editing is beneficial to me. For those worried about taking up too much space, shouldn’t they simply delete images from time to time?

    1. Aaron

      Hi Ernest, thank you for the feedback. If you are like me and like to edit your pictures then yes always shoot RAW so you can go crazy in post later. 🙂 Deleting Photo is very helpful but in my experience many people want to keep 90% of their pictures and when you shoot 300 pictures a day that can add up quickly. I hope I answered your question 🙂 I hope you have a fantastic day and come back here ones in a while.:) 

  5. Jack Taylor

    I live in the mountains and just recently got into photography. I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing so thank you for a great explanation about the difference between JPEG and RAW format. Thanks to digital cameras, it’s a lot easier to take great images but photography is still an art. I saved your site to my favorites for future reference. I do have 1 question. What kind of digital camera do you recommend?


    1. Aaron

      Hey Jack, feel free to have a look around my site. 🙂 It depends on what you want to do and how much money you are willing to spend. If you’re just starting the Canon rebel t6 is alright if you also want to film the Canon 77D perfect for that. But keep in mind that Canon is about to release the new generations for their cameras including the M50 Which might be the new best camera for beginners.

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