Should I Shoot RAW or JPG?


Most DSLRs can also shoot RAW and JPG format files, so what is RAW format? What are the differences and advantages and disadvantages between RAW and JPG? Should we use RAW or JPG to store photos? Let’s take a closer look!

Difference between RAW and JPG
The RAW format file is basically a raw file without any image processing. It can record the information captured by the camera in its original form. There is no information loss due to image processing (such as sharpening, increasing color contrast) and compression. , But you need to use special software to open these files.

Another commonly used format is JPG. The camera will first perform certain image processing according to the user’s settings, and then compress (the degree depends on the quality of the photos adjusted in the camera) and save the photos.


Why shoot RAW?
RAW is a format commonly used by professional photographers, because it can save the original information, allowing users to greatly post-production of photos, such as adjusting the white balance, exposure level, color contrast and other settings. It is also particularly suitable for novices to remediate shooting. For failed photos, no matter what changes are made in post-production, the photos can be restored to their original state without damage, and you are not afraid of losing photos original features due to accidental alteration. RAW has another advantage, for example, Canon DPP software can correct over exposure, distortion, etc.

What are the advantages of JPG?
JPG is a very popular photo format. Almost all modern digital cameras can also use this format. JPG files can also be opened on most computers. Users can also adjust the compression level at will to preserve the image quality (The image quality of JPG is very close to that of RAW), which is a very convenient format.

Should I shoot RAW or JPG?

  1. Before discussing this issue, let us see what are the disadvantages of the RAW format:
  2. Because RAW files need to retain all the details and information, the file size is much larger than JPG, so it takes longer and longer to store or transfer photos to the computer, and requires more storage capacity;
  3. RAW files need to be opened with special software, so once the software is not installed on the computer, the files cannot be opened;
  4. In addition, once the specific software cannot be installed after 10 years, the photos taken before cannot be opened;
  5. It takes a long time to open RAW in the software, it takes 8 or 9 seconds for the fast ones, and maybe 20 for the slow ones;
  6. Different software has different ways to “render” RAW files, so a RAW file may be different when viewed in Photoshop and Nikon Capture NX;
  7. The price of special software sold by the manufacturer is not low

After understanding the shortcomings of RAW
We can see which situation you should choose RAW and JPG:

  1. If you need to take a large number of photos, you should consider using JPG, because its capacity requirements are relatively small and the time required for post-production and conversion of photos to JPG can be retained;
  2. If you use it for commercial shooting or like post-production, you should use RAW, which increases the space for post-production;
  3. If you are doing travel photography, you can consider using RAW or RAW+JPG, because you may not be able to go to places where you travel often. Using RAW will give you a greater chance of remedy if the shooting fails.

I usually shoot RAW when I make serious shots, but if I only make snap shots or take pictures with friends, I will use high-quality JPG to save time for post-production (of course, you need to pay attention to exposure, white balance, etc.) Whether the settings are correct), of course, to travel to shoot RAW, but the post-production time will be longer


In fact, Photoshop is very powerful now. For JPG files, you can also adjust the exposure, white balance, color contrast, etc. via level or curve. Of course, if you need to make large adjustments to RAW files, it is more suitable.

Written by Collin Smith @ Holborn London

Leave a Reply