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Old Aug 15, 2012, 1:16 PM   #1
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Default RAW vs RAW +Jpeg

This is a simple question ; If I'm shooting a subject where write speed to my card is essential, wo
uld write speed be quicker if I selected just RAW only over RAW + Jpeg?
Or would I notice the difference?

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Old Aug 15, 2012, 2:26 PM   #2
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Yes, (write speeds will be quicker shooting RAW only versus RAW+JPEG) since you're writing less data to the card.

I used to shoot that way (RAW+JPEG). That way, I'd have a ready to use JPEG file with a RAW file I could "tweak" easier with more latitude for correcting White Balance and Exposure issues in the event of issues with the JPEG.

But, given how fast it is to view and process RAW files now, I've since quite shooting RAW+JPEG and just use RAW only instead.

I'm using Corel AfterShot Pro (formally Bibble Pro, only Corel acquired Bibble Labs a while back) to manage and process my images, and it's so fast (no other RAW converter comes close to it's speed, especially on multi-core CPUs), the JPEG files are wasted and just take up more space.

I just browse through my images, make any needed tweaks (and often, you don't need to change anything since it will use the "as shot" White Balance by default), rate them for culling purposes, then export the ones I want to use for posting online or printing and I'm done with it, without any camera produced JPEG files taking up extra space.

More about Corel AfterShot Pro here (and its *very* fast)


It also runs on Windows, OS X and Linux. Since I run both Linux and Windows, that makes it even better (since I've got it installed under both Operating Systems using the same license key, and point it to the same catalogs and folders, so I can use it under either OS as desired).

IOW, from my perspective, the JPEG files just take up extra space, slow down writing to your memory cards while shooting, and don't offer any benefits over just shooting RAW only to begin with.

It's closest competitor is probably Adobe Lightroom. But, personally, I like AfterShot Pro better than Lightroom anyway. Here's a "webinar" showing some of it's features, with using layers and regions with selective editing demonstrated about 30 minutes into it.


I'd watch it so that you get a better idea of how it works if you want to test drive it (since it's got so many features it can take you a little while to learn how good it really is at improving your workflow, and the online weminar touches on many of them). Then, download a trial copy that works for 30 days to see if you like it or not.

At the current sale price ($59.99 right this minute), it's very hard to beat for managing RAW files (or even JPEG files for that matter, as it can work with both).
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Old Aug 15, 2012, 2:45 PM   #3
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RAW files are very large. Comparatively speaking, JPEG files are quite small. As far as write speed is concerned, the difference between shooting RAW and RAW+JPEG isn't very much.
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Old Aug 15, 2012, 3:08 PM   #4
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Not really, since the raw data hasn't gone thorough the demosaic process yet, where interpolation techniques assign separate RGB values to each pixel.

As a general rule of thumb, a RAW file will be roughly twice as large as a higher quality JPEG image from a camera like the Sony A350 the OP was using the last time he posted something from it. IOW, you may have an 8 Megabyte JPEG file with a 16 Megabyte RAW file shooting an image with more detail and colors in it from a camera like the Sony A350 the OP is using when shooting RAW+JPEG.

The processing time shooting RAW+JPEG can also slow down operation, not just the time it takes to write 50% more data (the JPEG part) to a memory card.

For example, if you look at tests of a camera like that, it may shoot at around 2.4fps with RAW only for around 10 frames before slowing down. Yet, it may only be able to shoot around 1.4fps when using RAW+JPEG with a fast card, with slower write speeds after the buffer fills up, too. So, you'd gain an extra frame per second shooting RAW only versus RAW+JPEG.

As fast as software is for processing RAW files anymore (for example, Corel AfterShot Pro), IMO, it's just a waste of space shooting RAW+JPEG, not to mention the extra time it takes writing the extra JPEG file to the memory card.

Chances are, you're going to "tweak" something about a JPEG only image anyway (minor exposure tweaks, cropping, resizing, etc.), and the RAW file is going to give you more latitude for correction if the default settings used by the camera (exposure, white balance, etc.) leave something to be desired (and if no tweaks are needed, most converters will use the as shot values anyway, so you end up with about the same thing a camera produced JPEG would have given you to begin with).

So, from my perspective, why bother with the camera produced JPEG image at all. Just shoot RAW only versus RAW+JPEG, and do the same tweaks you'd make to a JPEG file (any cropping, downsizing, exposure correction, etc.), rate your images for culling purposes (one star, two stars, etc.), and export the images you want to use for online posting or printing directly from the RAW converter you're using, saving the extra time and space it takes to write out both RAW and JPEG images to begin with.
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Old Aug 16, 2012, 2:17 PM   #5
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For a very short time I shot raw + jpg, mostly to see what gains I got with the raw file. It was illuminating. I continued to do it that way for a while, thinking that proprietary raw files may at some point not be supported by future software. But then I started converting the raw files to dng, and now I have a camera that shoots dng natively, so I don't bother with raw+ any more.

However, I do occasionally use it when I'm specifically taking pictures for b&w. Then, having the LCD show me what the camera thinks of the scene gives me a better idea if I have something that will look half-way decently. I always do b&w conversions from the raw file, though, because it gives you so much more control over the final product (including changing specific colors to different tones than the camera thought they would be). But now that's the only time I use it, and those are always times when write-speed isn't an issue.
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Old Aug 19, 2012, 12:31 AM   #6
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Gentlemen / Lady,

Thanks so much for your input. Yes I'm still using my a350 and very happy with it. The thought came up with attempting to keep up with a very active 3 year old granddaughter. Focusing and flash are spot on, it just seemed like the writes were the bottleneck. Of course it's always about speed. Thanks again. ps I'm going to give photoshot pro a chance too .... always looking.
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