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Old Jun 3, 2003, 10:03 PM   #1
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Default What format should I use?

I thought all I had to do was pick out a camera. NOW I see that I am going to need some sort of software also! But first, what's the difference between .jpg, .tiff and raw? Which is better, or maybe I should say which is better for snapshots? For "serious" work?

Thanx,

Ron
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Old Jun 3, 2003, 10:31 PM   #2
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Quote:
what's the difference between .jpg, .tiff and raw? Which is better, or maybe I should say which is better for snapshots? For "serious" work?
The first question is easy.

JPG is a compressed format image file. It loses detail as a result of this compression.

TIFF is a loss-less image format. All data that is in the image is preserved. It is also not compressed so you end up with very large files. TIFF files are usually accepted by print shops.

RAW is a binary format of the "raw" data coming from the CMOS or CCD. It loses no detail and can be considered the digicam's "negative". Some manufacturers' RAW format may not be compatible with another's so be sure to make sure your PhotoShop RAW plugin works properly with your cam (it should).

As for what each is useful for, here's my rule of thumb:

JPG == Point and Shoot and sending to friends

TIFF == For printing purposes

RAW == Works in conjunction with TIFF. RAW is the negative, TIFF is the print
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Old Jun 4, 2003, 12:34 AM   #3
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Although it is nice if the photoshop/Adobe RAW Converter (ARC) supports the raw format of your camera, this isn't strictly required. If your camera supports a raw format, your camera manufacturer should supply a raw converter with the camera. At leave I've never heard of one which didn't.

Yes, the ARC might to a better job, or be easier to use... but it isn't stricly necessary.

This isn't stricly a correction, just a comment. I'm an engineer, so I'm a stickler for details. Technically, TIFF supports compression (loss-less, of course.) I don't know if any cameras support it, but it does exist. irfanview can do it, so I assume commercial photo editing packages can too. I remember some scanner software I used in the early 1990's which had it as an option.
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Old Jun 4, 2003, 6:09 AM   #4
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Thanx.
Now, if raw like a negative, and tiff is is the best image, which is better to use when adjusting the the image in the software I will have to buy? I guess I am asking which gives greater/ better control?

Thanx again,

Ron
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Old Jun 4, 2003, 9:40 AM   #5
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RAW gives you the best control, but not in the way you think.

RAW is not a format you edit it. RAW is just the data off the image sensor. You will run your RAW converter software, and select your RAW file. Then you will choose many of the settings you see in your camera. Things like white balance... sharpening... color space... any of the "software" settings (apeture and shutter speed are fixed, because those are physical or "hardware" settings. You can't change physical settings.) And you'll get some settings you don't have in the camera (maybe) like gama correction or RGB settings.

Then you pick a format to convert it to. The most common options will be TIFF and JPG. Pick TIFF.

Then load the tiff into photoshop, irfanview, whatever and edit it.

The reason for picking TIFF is that its a loss-less format. When you save a JPG, you compress it. This means that the image written to disk has lost some data (in trade for making the picture take less space.) So if you edit the file, save it, edit it some more... decide you don't like what you did, so you reload it from disk.. you'll load the saved copy which has lost some data. Then you edit more, save it, edit it more.. decide you don't like it, reload it off disk.. and you've now loaded a copy which has been saved *twice* so its been compressed, and then recompressed... causing it to have lost even more data and have more jpg artifacts in the picture. Do this too many times and your picture won't look good no matter what you do.

So the RAW file is like the digital negitive. You don't do much to it. But instead you convert it into a format which you can then use (edit, print, convert for a web page... whatever.)

Another warning though. RAW files are much larger than JPG. So if your camera supports RAW files (most don't) then you will be able to take fewer pictures before your memory device will be fill. For me, I can take around 50 RAW files, or over 200 JPG on large/fine. That is a very large difference. Right now, since I'm messing around... I use JPG. But if I go someone that matters and take pictures, I'll probably use RAW.
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Old Jun 4, 2003, 11:37 AM   #6
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The size of RAW files varies with the camera manufacturer. Canon RAW ("CRAW") files are about 50% larger than the largest, lowest compression JPGs. I use CRAW all the time because during the conversion process to JPG or TIFF, the converter lets me adjust white balance, saturation and sharpness. No more of those ugly amber/reddish cast pictures for me. Shooting in CRAW introduces an extra step in processing the pictures, but is worth it to me.
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Old Jun 4, 2003, 1:16 PM   #7
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My Olympus C4040 has three settings that I will use: TIFF, SHQ and HQ. I have tested and found little quality difference between TIFF and the jpg compression listed above unless I print large pictures, ie 8X10 or above.

I usually print 4X6 and smaller prints. The use of TIFF will provide you better editing choices as mentioned previously but also will limit the number of pics per memory card.

You will need to look at your own needs and determine your settings with your camera.
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Old Jun 4, 2003, 4:05 PM   #8
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Many thanx to all who responded. The information I needed WAS in the replys. Now on to "software" for my next question...

Ron
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