Image Format (RAW vs. JPEG)

This guide will look at the pros and cons of the two available formats for saving your images on your camera; RAW and JPEG.


A file saved using the JPEG compression format is just that, the image saved to the memory card is compressed. Because the image is compressed there is an inherent loss in quality. However the issues associated with JPEG go deeper than just the image saved to the memory card. If you do any post-processing work on your images every time you save a change you have made the compression algorithm is re-applied to the image causing further loss in quality with each edit/save cycle. However the average size for a JPEG on an EOS 1000d at full resolution (10.1 Megapixels) is 2.6MB.


A RAW file simply contains the data collected by your camera's sensor. In itself it is not an image. It must be converted before it becomes an 'image file' RAW files are significantly better to work with in the post-processing stage. You can very easily adjust many parameters of the image, including; white balance, exposure, contrast, saturation, brightness and more. Of course, it is still possible to do this with JPEG images, but; it is not so easy, the results aren't as good and there is still the inherent problem of losing quality associated with JPEG images. The average size for a RAW image on an EOS 1000d is 9.3MB, (aprox. 3.5x larger than a high quality JPEG image).

Lets look at how the two formats compare before any post-processing work has been done.

The colours look better in the JPEG file because the camera has applied its own post-processing, however there is no noticeable difference in image quality. Lets look at a 600% crop.