When taking pictures, JPEG is the file format set as a default one for the vast majority of cameras. JPEG is not really an image format – it is a compression method that enables the users to save images with some quality loss. There is no way to completely avoid the quality loss, though some quality control is possible with ImageConverter Plus. RAW is not the format for amateurs. The RAW file contains all the information about the image, but one cannot use the RAW file which is unprocessed. It looks more like a digital negative rather than a photo. RAW needs a lot of post-processing, when white balance, shadows/highlights, tone, sharpening, color space can all be managed in the computer. The most vivid advantages of the RAW format are: ability to save all the data from the camera sensor; 12-14 bits of color vs. 8 bits in JPEG; higher dynamic range. The disadvantages include the necessity to convert RAW to JPEG or other format to print or display the images on the web; large image size, and significant amount of time required for post-processing the RAW files. JPEG image format should be chosen due to the small size of a file as well as the ability to send the files to the web without any conversion. Image quality of JPEG is far from demanded by professionals, because degradation of quality is inevitable. There is no universal answer to the question which format to shoot. Most intermediate and advanced photographers will use the combination of both. If you have a large enough memory card and think you may decide to sell your photos one day, definitely shoot RAW. Your RAW files can be successfully converted to JPEG when you decide to upload your images to the web or print them.
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