Friday, June 1, 2007
RAW Vs. JPEG
When shooting JPEG files, you have a choice of JPEG settings, which will change both resolution and compression. Low-quality JPEG settings have low resolution and high compression—these may work for record shots, but they really aren’t appropriate for most photographs.
To make big, high-quality prints or have enough resolution for a print publication, you need to shoot at the highest-resolution JPEG setting with the least compression. Resolution is often listed as low, medium and high, while compression may be Normal, Fine and Superfine. Use the highest compression settings, such as Fine or Superfine.
These two images of a hawk show the difference between shooting at the low and high setting. As you can see, at the low setting, the image is pixilated. That’s something you don’t want to see in a print or on a Website.
The Contrast Factor
When a scene does have a lot of contrast and bright highlights, such as this red and white flower against a black background, shooting RAW is a must if you want to retain all the details in the scene, and if you want to make a large print or an enlargement from only part of the scene. RAW files, which have wider exposure latitude than JPEG files, capture more data to be processed in the computer.
RAW files also avoid any potential problems with JPEG artifacts and offer potentially greater dynamic range because of the high bit-depth of color information (which can be helpful in tricky lighting situations).
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