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bassist_king1's avatar

What format should i save photos from my digital camera as?

Asked by bassist_king1 (310points) August 9th, 2008

i have an average digital camera that will save pictures as jpg, but i read that everytime you save a jpg, it loses quality. should i bother converting it to another format so that it doesnt lose quality or does it matter since the pictures are already in jpg format? what format should i use? tif, gif, png? im gonna be saving it on my external harddrive, and probly editing a couple in photoshop, and ive been using adobe photoshop album starter to organize them and tag them.

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4 Answers

MrMeltedCrayon's avatar

If you can, set your camera so that it stores the photos in a RAW format. Think of all the information your cameras takes in as a recipe and all the ingredients for a specific dish. What the camera’s computer will do is make the dish, and discard what it doesn’t think is important or needed, thus resulting in a JPEG file. These are much, much smaller, but yes, you do lose a lot of information. RAW format allows you to decide what is important, making the editing process easier. The only downside is that they are considerably larger then JPEG (I believe roughly ten times larger from what I recall).

It’s worth it though, especially if you think in terms of the Las Vegas analogy. Let’s say working with a JPEG is like going to Vegas with $300 bucks, and a RAW is like going with $3000. You gamble a little and lose 100$. Well, when you’ve got a small amount of money to play with, that’s a huge chunk. But when you came with 3000$, losing 100$ isn’t as big of a deal. The same goes with editing photos; even minor edits can cause you to lose a lot of data with a JPEG. While you will still lose data when making alterations to the RAW, your overall photo will still be largely intact (compared to the JPEG, anyway).

As for what to save the photo as when you’re done… well, that all depends. I generally save my images as PNGs because they tend to be smaller in size then JPEGs. But you should, as a rule of thumb, always keep a copy of the original image as well as a PSD of the edits you’ve made so you can go back and have a reference of the work you’ve done.

I would also recommend Adobe Lightroom. I absolutely love it to death because it allows me to make edits quickly and easily as well as making it a breeze to organize.

bassist_king1's avatar

how do you change it? I don’t think my camera can do raw format, I havnt seen anything like that in the menus on it. Can you only do it on slr cameras? I just have a small canon camera, ixus 40.
And for the pcitures I’ve edited, I just add the word edited to the end of the filename.

MrMeltedCrayon's avatar

Looking up your camera model, I don’t think it is capable of shooting RAW. That said, my mistake. That said, it’s not going to matter too much what file format you use, you’re going to lose data. It’s just an unavoidable fact of life. Just try to keep things minimal.

XCNuse's avatar

Chances are your camera does not support a lossless format, only different levels of jpeg compression.

RAW is not a format, it is a name given to lossless formats that high(er) end cameras can take, whereas jpeg is a specific file format.

RAW keeps information on each pixel, whereas JPEG looks for areas of similar colors and removes those sections of information, but tells what the locations of those pixels with that color are.

Here’s the deal with PSDs and PNGs from a jpeg.
Once a jpeg is saved it has the MOST information it will in its lifetime, if you open it and save it again, it will be compressed again, thus losing more information.

If you save it as a PNG from a jpeg, it will be lossless (sort of), however once again once you save it to the common file type of jpeg it will lose information.

Saving it as a PNG or PSD afterwards however will do you no good, what you should ALWAYS do is keep your original file, NEVER save over your original file.. EVER!

Just take pictures with your camera, keep then in files, and you can edit them, but always save them as a seperate file, where it be “name_edit” or whatever you want.

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