RAW/NEF/RAF versus JPEG

Exposure, focus, and color will be the three main areas that we'll be exploring in my blogs, however I thought before we go into more detail we need to ask a question: do you see yourself as a Raw photographer, or JPEG person?

I have read so many articles on this subject over the years I thought maybe we should just take a few moments looking into this subject.

RAW/RAF/NEF are the file formats offered by most DSLRs and when you move beyond Auto into the magic world of manual, these are basically related to how your images are saved onto the memory card by the camera.

In general, there are three key differences between the two formats: bit depth, compression, and processing, but remember which format will you choose isn't a question that you only ask yourself once you can change from one to the other with every shot if you want to, it can depend on the circumstances of the shot, for-instance, lets say you are taking a photo of the Bride and groom in a church and the lighting is horrendous, I am talking about color balance here, I remember shooting a wedding in Bath and the church lights cast a terrible orange glow, It was at this precise moment when I was very pleased to able to capture the images in RAW, confident that I could adjust the whit balance in edit.

I shoot Raw and JPEG, however because I am confident with regards to my exposure, I do tend to shoot in Jpeg, I let the camera do its stuff, I personally feel editing software cant come close to the technical precessing that can be done on camera, apart from maybe noise compression which tends to go over the top!

Most cameras offer a Raw + JPEG" option, which allows you to save both to the memory card, the downside is that every image is saved twice, therefore the memory cards tend to fill up quicker, it also takes slightly longer to save them to the memory card. As this can slow things up slightly, shooting JPEG only can be a better option for shooting burst of fast-moving subjects.

Its really down to you and your choice, do you like to spend hours pulling every ounce of detail out of you photographs or do you prefer to get the exposure perfect first and foremost and just enjoy viewing your work after the photoshoot, maybe just adding a little contrast etc to enhance the photo!

This image was taken at a wedding just outside bath and I took this fun shot saving to the camera as Jpeg, my setting were already set on camera as I had been taking several wedding group photos, so I was all set when this impromptu situation arose, I had to be quick and just maybe, if the camera had been set to save both RAW and Jpeg, I may have just missed it!