Skip to main content


Lesson 3 from: Mastering Your Digital Camera

Chris Weston

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

3. JPEG or RAW

What's the difference between JPEG and RAW in digital photography? Learn the difference between these two file types and when to use each, based on when the type of images you share.
Next Lesson: Compression


Lesson Info


What is the difference between J. Peg and Raw Jay? Peak files are processed in the camera. In fact, you can think of it a similar to an instant print camera in that straight from the camera, you get a usable image. You can print it or uploaded to the Internet without having to do any further processing work. Now a raw file, on the other hand, comes out of the camera, un processed. To use a similar analogy is like having a roll of exposed but unprocessed film. And just as a roll of film has to be processed before you get a usable set of photographs, a Roth I must be processed before you can use it. So which is better? J. Pickle raw. The Jay Peak versus raw debate is the oldest digital photography itself. Now the argument usually rest with image quality. Raw files are considered superior, but if you compare a high resolution J peg with its roar equivalent, often it's hard to tell them apart. In fact, straight out of the camera that Jay Peak far will generally look better because it's alr...

eady been processed. So rather than being just about quality, answer the question is raw or J peg best for you. You have to ask, How am I going to use the images I take? So what do you do with the pictures you take if you never print your photographs and only use them digitally on websites such as Flicka, then many of the advantages of the raw file no longer apply. A J Peg image could be used immediately because it's already been processed by the camera, so it's perfect for uploading to the Internet. If you do print your pictures well, then it depends on how big you print them. Most digital cameras today produce files that could be printed up to a three with no re sizing. Any bigger than a three on the benefit of the raw file really starts to kick in. And the bigger the print, the more you gain. Another consideration is how involved you want to get with processing. If you're very new to photographer, you might decide to think about processing at a later date and concentrate on just taking pictures. If that's the case because Role 1000 processing out of the camera, J. Peg would be a better starting point and The same applies to experience photographers who simply don't want to spend too much time in front of a computer. However, if processing is for you part of the enjoyment, then I recommend shooting in raw, and there's a very good reason for this. Imagine you want to make some toast, you take a slice of bread and you put it in the toaster. Then something distracts you, and you leave it in too long and it birth. If your slice of bread with a J pic file, you'd now have to scrape off the burnt bread and try and rescue your breakfast, possibly adding too much jam to hide the taste of burnt bread. But if your slice of bread was a raw file, you would simply discard it. Take a fresh slice and start again, and you just keep doing this until you've made the posts of toast. And that's the beauty of raw. You can always go back to the original data captured by the camera and start over. The final consideration is whether you're ever going to sell your images, in which case the flexibility the raw file gives you always works in your favor. So whether you shoot J pickle raw has as much to do with what you're going to do with the image as it does on quality.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Bonus PDFs

Ratings and Reviews

mark jacobson

What a marvelous course! What a marvelous teacher! When I went to college, my father would always ask me about my professors, more than the courses themselves. He was passionate about learning and although too busy with earning an income to go beyond an undergrad degree, continued to read 50 books a year. I still remember how he'd get almost visibly excited when I'd tell him about some special professor who taught with such enthusiasm and, more than just passion, evident delight and joy in the subject. 'Ah they're the best, son. How wonderful you have such a teacher." Well, he passed away decades ago but if he were still around I'd get a kick out of telling him about Chris Weston, the 'Prof' of this course. He's one of the very special ones: a teacher who's loved and lived his vocation--his avocation--since he was a boy--and still is as excited about it now as he was then. The result: a course that seems to be more a labor of love--of pouring far more energy and thought into the details then one typically finds in these courses--than anything else. Bravo Chris! I'm already on to your next one.


Chris is an amazing instructor who dissects theory giving amazing analogies that bring concepts to life. I have rarely been able to sit through most video course for more than a half-hour but watched this one from beginning to end. A good refresher course if you've been away from the camera for awhile or there are some concepts that still illude you. I highly recommend this course and look forward to watching his others. Thank you for the clarity and great explanations.

Sky Bergman

This was an amazing class. I have looked at a number of basic photography classes. This one was by far the best I have seen. Chris is an exceptional teacher. He breaks things down into digestible information and then inspires you to be creative. Thank you!

Student Work