Digital Photography

Sunday, February 05, 2006

RAW or JPG ????

Most digital cameras have highest resolution jpeg as their default setting, or some the next step down - high jpeg. Some P&S's do raw.

Resolution has two different meanings and can really confuse people - it can be :

dpi - dots per inch

ppi - pixels per inch

And every image can have both. For a good 4x6 it needs to have a pixel count of 1024x768 or higher and if you want to print it you want it at 250 to 300 dpi.

If you want to send it in an e-mail you would resize it to a 600 pixel count for the width ( resizer will fill in the heigth # ) and maybe you would drop the dpi to 72.

You can change the default resolution setting in your camera if you want it to take higher or lower pixel count images. If all you want your images for is web, a lower pixel count will cut down on your postprocessing ( workflow ) If you want to print or print enlargements you need to set the camera to do higher pixel count images so there is more detail captured. If you have a camera that captures in raw you get all the info the camera captured - and the camera does no processing - a highest setting jpg would have the same pixel count but some processing of the image is done by the camera, which makes post processing go faster in general.

Raw images have to go through postprocessing because decisions about exposure, color balance etc have to be made ( with jpg the camera made those decisions ). Raw images are much bigger file sizes, which can make working with them and storing them more of a challenge.

The average beginning photographer isn't ready for raw and the postprocessing it needs - for someone who is comfortable with image editing ( photoshop ect) raw can be a great tool for the tweaking they want to do. Anyone who wants to make it as a pro these days needs to be proficient at Photoshop or hire someone who is.


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