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Why I Stopped Taking JPEGs With My Camera

Of course many point-and-shoot models don't give you any other options, but let's assume you have an option.

Firstly, recognize that JPEGs are lossy. They are a relic of an era when memory costs were exhorbitant. The degree of compression determines the file size. Low compression results in large JPEG files - about half the size of RAW files generated by my cameras. What you get for this saving in memory is less colour resolution than most cameras can deliver - 8 bits per channel. If you do some alteration in the file, like a crop, then when you resave the file, you permanently lose image quality. The higher the compression, the greater the loss.

Alternatives to JPEGs are JPEG2000 (non-lossy version), TIFF and PNG. Some of these formats allow for the retention of 16 bits per colour channel, if your camera can supply the data.

When I purchased a Canon 1D model a few years ago, I set it up to record RAW + JPEG. Shortly afterwards, when viewing shots taken indoors via the Canon software on my PC monitor, I observed a SIGNIFICANT difference in colour cast between the RAW and JPEG images on my PC (I have a good monitor and perhaps on a cheap LCD, one wouldn't see this difference). All the images were displayed side-by-side. The RAW looked more accurate to me. Then I became curious as to which version I was seeing on the camera's LCD screen. That is, if I used the LCD to set the colour balance, was I seeing a JPEG or RAW image on the camera's LCD screen? If I were seeing a JPEG, then I concluded that setting the colour balance by such viewing would be a complete waste of time.

So I sent off a few questions to Canon's Tech Support - and never received a reply.

So I ceased having my camera create JPEGs. (I do create JPEGs when sending an image to someone who is not technically savvy.)
 
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