Jpeg vs tiff vs original RAW file

goproguy

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I have been using Canon for about 10 or 13 years now and just switched to a Sony this June. I kind of wished I'd picked the Canon R whatever instead of the a73, but that isn't part of this post...

Since I changed cameras, the file type changed and the files are more than twice the size. I just wondered if there is a smaller file type that can be accessed by "normal" computers. The Sony type is like 46mb PER PHOTO!

I know jpeg is bad and loses detail when opened, but I was wondering if that is JUST if I EDIT it, or every time I LOOK at it in Windows Photo. (I'm not using this personally, it is for when I send photos to my non-computer-savvy brother

My other question is whether tiff is better or worse than psd or native raw for storage. Better would mean: (not in any order)
1. Smaller than native if possible
2. Maintains best detail/doesn't lose any over time/edits
3. Able to be opened WITHOUT an advanced computer or specific program (obv. psd doesn't pass this one...) (I just mean if I sent a photo to a chromebook, it could open it without installing a dedicated program or unzipping a file...)

The other thing is, if I use tiff, which compression should I use? (Zip or lpz or whatever)?

Thank you guys/gals, I am just back from a trip to Disneyland and redoing my organization and stuff in LR. That is why this question came up, I want to send the photos of my niece amd nephews to my brother's family and I'm looking for the best file to send and the best for ME to store the rest of my photos in.
 
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I know jpeg is bad and loses detail when opened, but I was wondering if that is JUST if I EDIT it, or every time I LOOK at it in Windows Photo. (I'm not using this personally, it is for when I send photos to my non-computer-savvy brother
Degradation to the image happens with each subsequent save, so just opening and closing it without a save or any changes should be fine. I do not normally use tiff files so I will let someone else who does answer your additional questions.

--Ken
 

goproguy

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Thanks. I thought so, but I was not sure.

I have been using the .cr2 type files for storage, but now that I've gone to a sony that has 50mb files, I think that at least looking into a new file type is wise.
 
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Each format is best at a different point in the workflow, so a short way to think of that is the common workflow of:
  1. Capture and edit as raw in Lightroom
  2. Deliver final as exported JPEG for web or TIFF/PSD for print
If you need to do a lot of editing in Photoshop, then it's:
  1. Capture and edit as raw in Lightroom
  2. Do additional major retouching and compositing in Photoshop using PSD or TIFF with layers
  3. Deliver TIFF/PSD or JPEG depending on the medium
From a practical point of view, and taking archiving into account, these are the differences between the formats:
  • Raw. Literally raw sensor data. Valuable because it's like undeveloped film, the full potential of the image (within the limits of the camera that took it) is still there, and the quality of the result is only limited by which raw processor you choose and how good you are at developing it. The disadvantage of raw is that it's unusable as a final delivery format for a picture, because it's a single channel, not yet converted to RGB. It doesn't even look like a picture unless it has a JPEG preview attached to it. An advantage of raw is that the files are relatively small, believe it or not…because they're only a single channel, and often compressed. And typically using lossless compression, so that no quality is lost. But raw files don't store edits, so if you want to archive raw files with edits you have to keep the Lightroom catalog around, or export them as the DNG form of raw.
  • JPEG. Not so great as a format for an original. To answer your question, JPEG does not lose quality if you're only viewing it, which is one reason why it works great as a final (it won't be edited again) delivery format. The other reason JPEG is a great delivery format is that you can compress it a lot. The cost of that is you lose much of your original editing flexibility. That's because JPEG compression is lossy, which is why quality is lost if you edit it repeatedly. It might be OK to archive your photos as JPEG if you set compression to 85-90 and you don't expect to edit them again.
  • TIFF. An acceptable format for originals, and for delivery on print projects, because it preserves image quality when edited. It's a step removed from raw, but if you processed the raw file properly you won't miss much. It doesn't compress as small as JPEG because most of the compression options are lossless (that's how it preserves more quality). TIFF is also like Photoshop PSD format because it can store layers, so it's also an intermediate editing format between the raw original and JPEG delivery formats. All of these means TIFF usually results in much larger file sizes than raw or JPEG.
The other thing is, if I use tiff, which compression should I use? (Zip or lpz or whatever)?
TIFF without compression is huge, usually much larger than a raw file because you expanded 1 channel of sensor data into 3 RGB channels. If you convert the raw file to 16 bits per channel instead of 8bpc, you've doubled the file size again.
TIFF compressed with LZW is not quite as huge.
TIFF compressed with ZIP is usually smaller than the above two options, but at least in Photoshop this takes the longest to save. A long time.
All of those are probably going to be larger than the raw file, so it probably won't save you space in a long term archive.

For saving lots of archive space, you might want to look into the Lossy DNG format. It preserves the ability to edit using raw controls, and uses high quality lossy compression, so the quality/size tradeoff is better than JPEG while still saving a lot of space. And bulk Lossy DNG conversion is built into Lightroom, so you can basically convert everything in place without having to re-import them. A disadvantage is that a lot of non-Adobe applications don't know how to edit Lossy DNG.
 
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Raw is an infant.

16 bit Tiff is a 10 year old.

8 bit Tiff is a 30 year old.

JPG is a 60 year old.

Comparison is about how much flexibility you have to shape the results (i.e. in post processing) as opposed to how much is already baked in and not going to change.
 

goproguy

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Raw is an infant.

16 bit Tiff is a 10 year old.

8 bit Tiff is a 30 year old.

JPG is a 60 year old.

Comparison is about how much flexibility you have to shape the results (i.e. in post processing) as opposed to how much is already baked in and not going to change.
Wow! That is an amazing analogy.

Each format is best at a different point in the workflow, so a short way to think of that is the common workflow of:
  1. Capture and edit as raw in Lightroom
  2. Deliver final as exported JPEG for web or TIFF/PSD for print
If you need to do a lot of editing in Photoshop, then it's:
  1. Capture and edit as raw in Lightroom
  2. Do additional major retouching and compositing in Photoshop using PSD or TIFF with layers
  3. Deliver TIFF/PSD or JPEG depending on the medium
From a practical point of view, and taking archiving into account, these are the differences between the formats:
  • Raw. Literally raw sensor data. Valuable because it's like undeveloped film, the full potential of the image (within the limits of the camera that took it) is still there, and the quality of the result is only limited by which raw processor you choose and how good you are at developing it. The disadvantage of raw is that it's unusable as a final delivery format for a picture, because it's a single channel, not yet converted to RGB. It doesn't even look like a picture unless it has a JPEG preview attached to it. An advantage of raw is that the files are relatively small, believe it or not…because they're only a single channel, and often compressed. And typically using lossless compression, so that no quality is lost. But raw files don't store edits, so if you want to archive raw files with edits you have to keep the Lightroom catalog around, or export them as the DNG form of raw.
  • JPEG. Not so great as a format for an original. To answer your question, JPEG does not lose quality if you're only viewing it, which is one reason why it works great as a final (it won't be edited again) delivery format. The other reason JPEG is a great delivery format is that you can compress it a lot. The cost of that is you lose much of your original editing flexibility. That's because JPEG compression is lossy, which is why quality is lost if you edit it repeatedly. It might be OK to archive your photos as JPEG if you set compression to 85-90 and you don't expect to edit them again.
  • TIFF. An acceptable format for originals, and for delivery on print projects, because it preserves image quality when edited. It's a step removed from raw, but if you processed the raw file properly you won't miss much. It doesn't compress as small as JPEG because most of the compression options are lossless (that's how it preserves more quality). TIFF is also like Photoshop PSD format because it can store layers, so it's also an intermediate editing format between the raw original and JPEG delivery formats. All of these means TIFF usually results in much larger file sizes than raw or JPEG.

TIFF without compression is huge, usually much larger than a raw file because you expanded 1 channel of sensor data into 3 RGB channels. If you convert the raw file to 16 bits per channel instead of 8bpc, you've doubled the file size again.
TIFF compressed with LZW is not quite as huge.
TIFF compressed with ZIP is usually smaller than the above two options, but at least in Photoshop this takes the longest to save. A long time.
All of those are probably going to be larger than the raw file, so it probably won't save you space in a long term archive.

For saving lots of archive space, you might want to look into the Lossy DNG format. It preserves the ability to edit using raw controls, and uses high quality lossy compression, so the quality/size tradeoff is better than JPEG while still saving a lot of space. And bulk Lossy DNG conversion is built into Lightroom, so you can basically convert everything in place without having to re-import them. A disadvantage is that a lot of non-Adobe applications don't know how to edit Lossy DNG.
I am playing with alienskin x4 because I was going to try to save some money on LR, so dng doesnt sound like a good option. But good to know as I've always wondered about the comparison between it and other file types.
Based on your post, I think I'll keep the raw files. They aren't viewable natively in windows, but I don't care about that as long as I'm on a computer that can handle a photo editor.

Sounds like my brother will get jpegs cause his 10ish year old pc can't have anywhere NEAR 120gb hdd left. And that's if I sent raw, not tiff like I was planning!

Thanks guys!
 
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Start by checking your camera settings. Newer Sony A7 cameras can save in uncompressed raw and compressed raw. The latter is about 50% of the uncompressed size and you will have a very hard time seeing any difference.
 
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I just wondered if there is a smaller file type that can be accessed by "normal" computers. The Sony type is like 46mb PER PHOTO!
I'd like to address this comment. Modern cameras have a large density sensors and 46mb is the new normal. Expect this number to only get larger with future cameras. If you are shooting with a a high pixel count camera, expect this and plan your storage and computing power accordingly.

My 2¢ on file type. You should learn to shoot lossless compressed RAW (CR2, ARW, etc). This is the unprocessed data and has the most flexibility as processing decisions are not "baked in". It is not important to keep intermediate RGB edited files as these can be reproduced as needed from the original RAW file in Lightroom.
 
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Start by checking your camera settings. Newer Sony A7 cameras can save in uncompressed raw and compressed raw. The latter is about 50% of the uncompressed size and you will have a very hard time seeing any difference.
That is the compressed file size. Uncompressed raw is 80MB+.

The 40MB file size is one of the costs that you have to get the high resolution images. A 4TB hard drive for about $200 will store about 100,000 images this size.

-louie
 
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That is the compressed file size. Uncompressed raw is 80MB+.

The 40MB file size is one of the costs that you have to get the high resolution images. A 4TB hard drive for about $200 will store about 100,000 images this size.

-louie
The OP was talking about the Sony A7III. That is not such a high resolution camera. My Sony A7R III does indeed produce a non-compressed 80 MB raw file. The Sony A7III should produce files half that size because it has half the megapixels.
 

goproguy

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I am getting ARW files that are 45-50 MB in size. I want the uncompressed as they allow more flexibility editing wise. I understand that it is a high resolution camera, but I was wondering if the file size could be reduced for storage savings. It doesn't look like they can be without losing the ability to edit the photo like it was RAW (obviously it wouldn't be RAW, but you get my point).

I am prepared to store the files in RAW, just wish that there were 20 or 30 MB file types that did the same thing. But saving the data is more important to me than saving a bit of money on storage.

Thank you guys for your help, I appreciate it!
 
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I am getting ARW files that are 45-50 MB in size. I want the uncompressed as they allow more flexibility editing wise. I understand that it is a high resolution camera, but I was wondering if the file size could be reduced for storage savings. It doesn't look like they can be without losing the ability to edit the photo like it was RAW (obviously it wouldn't be RAW, but you get my point).

I am prepared to store the files in RAW, just wish that there were 20 or 30 MB file types that did the same thing. But saving the data is more important to me than saving a bit of money on storage.

Thank you guys for your help, I appreciate it!
As I read Johan's two posts above your message, it sounds like a compressed raw file for your specific camera should be able to provide you with a files size that is less than the 45-50 that you are quoting. Do you not want to try a compressed raw format?

--Ken
 

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Only if it allows the same level of editability. IO am going to the store I bought it from now, so I can ask them...
 
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Only if it allows the same level of editability. IO am going to the store I bought it from now, so I can ask them...
Try it yourself. Shoot the same photo, once as uncompressed raw and once as compressed raw. See if you can find any difference in the level of editability.
 

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Try it yourself. Shoot the same photo, once as uncompressed raw and once as compressed raw. See if you can find any difference in the level of editability.
Good call.
Went to that camera store, but the guy I normally talk to was busy and I talked to another guy that just said, "well, your photos look better than mine when I was in journalism" (he was talking about a camera from the 90's or 2000's. I'm SURE it is because I have an Olympus E3 from 2007 that takes photos worse than my Canon t3!)
 
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Well, I do not show Sony so I do not know if there have been recent updates to their compressed raw files, but there does seem to some a variety of opinions about the impact of lossy compression, which I believe that Sony still uses. I cannot say if it matters or not, but it sounded like the impact may be mostly noticed when shooting dark, night scenes. Here are the links to a few of the articles FWIW:

What difference does it make? Sony uncompressed Raw

Compressed vs Uncompressed RAW (Specifically A7III)

http://sebimagery.com/blog/2016/2/21/sony-raw-compressed-versus-uncompressed

diglloyd blog: Sony A7R III: Compressed Raw Gapping

Good luck,

--Ken
 

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The dpreview article and the forum told me what I wanted to know: that I want to shoot uncompressed. Artifacts and banding and blocks, oh my! I shoot low light and stars enough to make it worth leaving on. Besides, any time I can avoid a menu I take it :/
 
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As I read Johan's two posts above your message, it sounds like a compressed raw file for your specific camera should be able to provide you with a files size that is less than the 45-50 that you are quoting. Do you not want to try a compressed raw format?

--Ken
Unlike Canon and Nikon lossless compression, Sony ARW RAW files are only Lossy compression. Uncompressed is the only RAW option when shooting Sony ARW.


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Unlike Canon and Nikon lossless compression, Sony ARW RAW files are only Lossy compression. Uncompressed is the only RAW option when shooting Sony ARW.
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I wasn't certain if Sony had moved away from Lossy, and that was why I qualified my post above with the links in case they did.

--Ken
 

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Unlike Canon and Nikon lossless compression, Sony ARW RAW files are only Lossy compression. Uncompressed is the only RAW option when shooting Sony ARW.


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So, my camera SAYS (maybe it doesn't know) that it shoots EITHER compressed OR uncompressed.

Wait, are you saying that uncompressed is the only GOOD option? I'm sorry, I read it and it sounded like it was the ONLY option good or not.
 
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So, my camera SAYS (maybe it doesn't know) that it shoots EITHER compressed OR uncompressed.

Wait, are you saying that uncompressed is the only GOOD option? I'm sorry, I read it and it sounded like it was the ONLY option good or not.
Compressed is lossy, Uncompressed is not. You always want to choose the Lossless option and Sony does not offer a compressed lossless option.


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OK, sounds like I'm good then. I've been shooting uncompressed this whole time apparently! Thanks guys!
 
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