Home How-To Shooting The Power Of JPEG
Monday, January 29, 2007

The Power Of JPEG

Capture outstanding photos from JPEG-saved images by following these shooting guidelines

Labels: Learning Center

Shoot For The Medium
It wasn't that long ago that photographers chose a film based on certain characteristics that they liked, shot with it and learned to get the most from it. There was no discussion of the limited color tonal range of Fuji-chrome Velvia versus the extended range of any print film. Pros, especially, learned what the film could and couldn't do, then exploited its capabilities within those limits.

The same idea can be applied to shooting digitally. If you like all the shooting and workflow advantages of JPEG, ignore those who say you must have a bigger tonal range. It's possible to shoot for the medium, just as one would shoot based on the advantages and disadvantages of a film, the focal length range of your lens or the ISO capabilities of a camera. You can get outstanding images from JPEG that will match RAW if you shoot to make the most of the JPEG format.

Many new digital SLRs offer the ability to shoot both RAW and JPEG at the same time. This gives you the advantages of both (but you still need to set the JPEG for its highest quality if you want it to offer a comparable file to RAW). The disadvantage is that you use up a lot more storage space, and you'll go through memory cards faster. Plus, there's a change in workflow needed to deal with the additional files.

You could shoot something in JPEG, of course, then change to RAW for a second shot, then go back to JPEG and so on. That's somewhat laborious, however. Canon has an outstanding solution, but even they don't seem to recognize it. On their advanced compact cameras such as the PowerShot Pro1 and G-series cameras, you can take a picture while the camera is set to JPEG capture, then when the review image shows up on the LCD, you can tell the camera to record it as a RAW file without going through any menus (just push either the Function or Flash button).

This is a great idea, as it lets you take JPEG images for most of your shooting, yet as soon as you feel you need a RAW shot, simply instruct the camera to create exactly that. Yet Canon hasn't put this into any of its digital SLRs nor has any other manufacturer. Hopefully, they will realize how much this could help average photographers make the most of their cameras.



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