The Van Wert County Courthouse

Monday, Aug. 8, 2022

Why to consider using raw photo format

This week we’ll try to take some of the mystery out of using the raw format.  The following information is based on a page by Rob Lim on a website named

Not included in the article is the fact that, unlike JPEG, which stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group, or TIFF, which stands for Tagged Image File Format, raw doesn’t stand for anything other than the complete, unprocessed information recorded by the camera’s sensor.     As a result, it should only appear as lower case letters, and what it captures varies from one camera manufacturer to another.  Because no information is compressed with raw, you’re able to produce higher quality images, as well as correct problem images that would be unrecoverable if shot in the JPEG format.

Levels of brightness are the number of steps from black to white in an image.  The more you have, the smoother the transitions of tones.  JPEG records 256 levels of brightness, and raw records between 4,096 to 16,384 levels! This is described with the term “bit”. JPEG captures in 8bit, and raw is either 12-bit or 14-bit.

You may get a dramatically over or under exposed image. With raw, you have additional information in the file, making it much easier to correct the image without a drastic reduction in quality. You can also recover more burned-out highlights and clipped shadows. Great white balance and color are essential to an awesome image, and shooting raw lets you make the adjustments easier and faster, with better results.

When you make adjustments to a raw file, you’re not actually changing the original data. What you are doing is creating a set of instructions for how the JPEG or TIFF version should be saved. The advantage of this is that you don’t have to worry about ruining an image, accidentally saving over, or being unable to go back and make changes.

Because of the finer gradation of tones and colors you’ll get better prints from raw files. There are, however, some “yes, buts” to using raw and we’ll discuss those next week.

POSTED: 01/19/18 at 8:48 am. FILED UNDER: Camera Club News