Tip #1025: RAW vs. JPEG: Which is Better?

… for Codecs & Media

Tip #1025: RAW vs. JPEG: Which is Better?

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

RAW is always better, but takes more time to get the image to look right.

(Image courtesy of NightSkyPix.com)
This illustrates what happens to a JPEG image when saved multiple times.

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The folks at NightSkyPix.com looked at RAW vs. JPEG from the point of view of astrophotography. However, this also applies to shooting video more down to earth.

This is an excerpt.

Loosely speaking, a RAW image is the digital equivalent of a film negative. In reality, a RAW file is not an image that can be visualized with classic software, but must be developed before using RAW editors such as Adobe Camera Raw.

The JPEG image format is arguably the most common standard format for digital images, and the name stands for “Joint Photographic Expert Group”.

The JPEG format uses lossy and compressed image data to create an image file that is both lightweight and readily usable with any software and device able to visualize graphics.

JPEG is easier to use and view, but RAW is the better choice.

The article provides additional details, pros and cons, and illustrates these ideas with screen shots. It’s worth spending time reading.


For us video folks, JPEG is similar to H.264, and RAW is similar to raw or log files.

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