Image File Formats Explained


Most cameras can shoot Jpegs, tiffs and raw files, when you press the shutter button your
camera records a raw file which it actually then sends off to it’s processor to be changed into a Jpeg or Tiff. Now Jpegs are very convenient, they’re small so you can get lot’s on your card, the downside with a jpeg is they’re lossy they begin to fall apart, take this image here for example. now suppose I decide to put that into
the computer and then do some work on it so to darken
the sky down a bit perhaps now that looks a bit better, i’m gonna save it just in case i go and mess it up the next bit of work i do. The trouble is each time I save a Jpeg it loses some data it starts to
disintegrate after about 5 or 10 saves. Had I shot it as a Tiff file, it would be nice and stable. Tiff’s are big so they take up a lot of space but you can save them until you’re blue in the face. Raw files on the other hand are something
completely different. So let’s go and get a piece of cake. I can buy a Victoria sponge like this from almost any corner shop anywhere in the country and it’ll be fine but it’ll be kinda lacking character and individuality, because it’s been cooked in a factory it’ll be just the same as any other cake cooked in that factory. this is kinda what happens when your
camera cooks a raw file into a image file. It’s been prepared according to a set of pre-programmed guidelines bit like cooking instructions but what
would happen if I could get at the original raw ingredients of that image? I could mix them up my own way, and bake my own sponge and start to put my own interpretation upon it, but I’m probably just gonna make a mess. Here’s own that was prepared earlier, and straight away you can see that this is something a bit
special I can certainly smell that it is and hopefully I’m gonna taste that it is in a moment or two as well. A raw file takes the ingredients necessary for you to bake your own image in the computer which by the
way is a considerably more powerful cooker than the processor in your camera. On there own raw files are not a great deal of use for anything, you gotta cook them into something
usable like a Tiff or a Jpeg before you can print and enjoy it I know
you can make image files a bit brighter more colorful or contrasty but in the
same way that I can’t add a couple more eggs and a spoonful of sugar to this
sponge that’s about all you can do with it
without messing it up. you could never take a Jpeg like this and rebake it into this without going back to the initial raw
ingredients there’s simply not enough information left in the file and it’ll begin to fall apart now I’m
not suggesting that you should always shoot RAW files anymore than you should
always bake your own cakes there’s issues of time
inconvenience to be thought about to but if you do take the trouble the
results usually well worth it.

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