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JPEG vs RAW – What’s the difference?
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DJI Grace
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JPEG vs RAW – What’s the difference?






In DJI GO 4 under Camera Settings, you will see there are three options for photo formats: JPEG, RAW, and JPEG+RAW. What setting should you use? Let’s take a look at some advantages and disadvantages of shooting in JPEG vs RAW.

The Difference in Highlights and Shadows in JPEG vs RAW
The photo below was taken with the Zenmuse X5S in JPEG and RAW formats. The sun is a bit overexposed, and the foreground is a bit underexposed, so making the photo look natural will take some editing. Adjusting tones in each format gives us a clearer picture of how JPEG and RAW differ from one another.


The main problem with JPEG images is that they are compressed and information is lost, so you don’t have as much control over how they look in post-production. Take a look at the edited JPEG image below. When shadows and highlights are reduced, the trees in the foreground look somewhat unnatural, and the sun still looks overblown.


Since no information is compressed in RAW, RAW files retain more details than JPEGs. After the same toning, the RAW image looks much more appealing and natural.



White Balance

With RAW images, you can also more easily correct white balance issues in post. Depending on what type of light you are shooting in and your white balance settings, you may end up with a color cast: a tint that gives your image unwanted coloration. The photo below was taken with the Phantom 4 Pro in JPEG and RAW formats.


After adjusting the color temperature and tone of the JPEG file, the image still does not look very good.


Since RAW files contain unprocessed grayscale data, you won’t be out of luck even if you set your white balance incorrectly during shooting. Shooting in RAW makes adjustment easier without a reduction in quality.


Viewing Files

While RAW images can be more easily manipulated during editing, they are not superior in every way. RAW images cannot be viewed without special imaging software, like Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom, on a mobile device or your PC, but JPEG images can! If you shoot a RAW photo with your DJI product, a low-resolution JPEG will be saved in DJI GO for you to view, even if you do not select RAW+JPEG. However, you won’t be able to view the RAW file without a computer.




File Sizes

Additionally, when looking at JPEG vs RAW, it’s a good idea to talk about the file size as RAW files are five times the size of JPEG files. As you can see below, a Phantom 4 Pro DNG file (RAW file) takes up around 34,000 KB, while a JPEG is only around 7,000 KB



Timed Shots

Also, since RAW files are larger, they take longer to process and save to the SD card. This affects the shortest interval at which you can take Timed Shots. The screenshots below are taken from the Mavic Pro.
Notice that the shortest Timed Shot interval is two seconds for JPEG images and 10 seconds for RAW images.


So is One Format Better Than the Other?

It depends on what you want to do. A clear advantage of JPEG files is that you spend less time in processing, and you can spend more time in shooting. When shooting in RAW, you get as much data as possible from the sensor, and you have more options during editing. Which one to use is up to you! Feel free to share your questions or comments with us here on the forum or on social media.

Can You Tell Which is Which?

The content origins from: BUYINGGUIDES



2017-12-5 20:22:14
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KedDK
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Thanks again.
Wondering the statement at Timed Shots, "since RAW files are larger, they take longer to process and save to the SD"
The saving i understand but there should be no more time used for processing on the RAW picture, actually the opposite?
2017-12-5 20:44:56
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CraigR
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Just one thing. RAW files usually /are/ compressed but they use a lossless compression (like LZW). Of course since the format of raw files is completely up to the vendor they might not compress them but I've never seen this. The Phantom uses the DNG file format and these are, indeed, compressed. In fact DNG also support lossy compression but I hope that DJI does not use this option (see http://blogs.adobe.com/lightroom ... fication-notes.html)
2017-12-5 21:06:19
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Henry-M
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RAW is always the king but jpeg are easier to handle.. re time i believe both takes the same time or close too but seems the compressing is dependent on the drone/camera CPU while the file writing on both CPU and card speed
2017-12-5 21:08:11
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OOO
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Thanks for info. What are the alternatives for RAW image editing in Mac (other than adobe programs ).
2017-12-5 22:32:17
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Montfrooij
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Great work (again)!
2017-12-5 23:05:39
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DJI Grace
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I will keep working!
2017-12-5 23:06:48
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Montfrooij
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Good thing!
2017-12-5 23:08:35
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Viking-Pilot
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Very nice guide/info, a pitty the Sapark don't support DNG files ;-) thanks for sharing
2017-12-6 00:54:52
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DocAraxá
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Great info.
Thanks!
2017-12-6 01:10:45
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DJI Grace
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Thank you for your comment here!
2017-12-6 01:15:16
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hobbydroner
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Very valuable Information for a Rookie like me, thank very much for sharing .
2017-12-6 01:35:55
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Vendex
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RAW is always the better and more pro
2017-12-6 02:46:43
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Nebuchadnezzar
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Thanks for share  !! Great Post & info
2017-12-6 02:54:23
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petercod
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DJI Grace Posted at 2017-12-6 01:15
Thank you for your comment here!

Dear DJI Grace,

Why is this posted in the Spark forum? Are you deliberately teasing us or is there an update on the horizon to enable DNG with the Spark?

Please say it's the latter and you're not just poking fun at us
2017-12-6 04:45:53
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CA Mavic Pro
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Great post thanks for the info
2017-12-6 05:12:56
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M.C. Pilot
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Good info thanks.
2017-12-6 06:29:00
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Wachtberger
First Officer
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Thank you very much Grace, now even I have understood it :-)
2017-12-6 07:02:24
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3exSXNknDvAu
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Thank you for this!  I am not a photographer, i just wanted a quality drone and bought the P4.  Now after a year, I am becoming more interested in videography and photography.  Simple educational posts like this are very much appreciated to persons like me.
2017-12-6 07:21:26
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InkedUpDad.com
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Fantastic explanation. Thanks for sharing this.
2017-12-6 07:59:00
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heliman
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Ouch! Salt in the wound. My spark can't.
Raw is great for amateur photographers like me, as even bigger exposure errors can be corrected in post processing.
2017-12-6 09:27:19
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#shotxclvck
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MOSTLY ITS THE DATA CAPTURED IN THE SHADOWS!
2017-12-6 11:26:58
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fansd8478528
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As mentioned by others The beauty of RAW is that all the immage information is in the file and can be processed and improved. JPEGs can also be improved to a point but there is limited information in the file.  I would use RAW where I cant quite gt the exposure right however burnt out highlights can not be fully recovered in RAW.  I wish my Spark had it but I must say the auto exposure is mostly spot on and if not i'll just tap my screen to reset.  Where i'm unsure of the exposure on my small screen I set the camera to the 3 shot bracketing and pick the most suitable shot.
2017-12-6 13:27:11
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Enri
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Thanks...this is a step further for a beginner like me....
2017-12-6 15:00:16
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hallmark007
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Thank you dji grace good job.
2017-12-6 16:57:19
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AEM74
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Great job as always!
2017-12-6 17:39:52
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DJI Grace
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petercod Posted at 2017-12-6 04:45
Dear DJI Grace,

Why is this posted in the Spark forum? Are you deliberately teasing us or is there an update on the horizon to enable DNG with the Spark?

actually, I think it is great info and then top it in every category
But if it causes confuse, I will put it down
2017-12-6 17:57:01
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DJI Grace
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AEM74 Posted at 2017-12-6 17:39
Great job as always!

Thank you!
2017-12-6 17:57:40
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DJI Grace
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hallmark007 Posted at 2017-12-6 16:57
Thank you dji grace good job.

You are welcome!
2017-12-6 17:58:23
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DJI Grace
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Enri Posted at 2017-12-6 15:00
Thanks...this is a step further for a beginner like me....

Everyone starts as a beginner! And I am learning these by updating the info for you!
2017-12-6 17:59:02
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DJI Grace
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InkedUpDad.com Posted at 2017-12-6 07:59
Fantastic explanation. Thanks for sharing this.

You are welcome!
2017-12-6 17:59:30
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DJI Grace
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Wachtberger Posted at 2017-12-6 07:02
Thank you very much Grace, now even I have understood it :-)

Glad to hear that and glad that the info helps you there
2017-12-6 18:00:54
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DJI Grace
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Nebuchadnezzar Posted at 2017-12-6 02:54
Thanks for share  !! Great Post & info

Thank you
2017-12-6 18:01:20
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DJI Grace
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fansd8478528 Posted at 2017-12-6 13:27
As mentioned by others The beauty of RAW is that all the immage information is in the file and can be processed and improved. JPEGs can also be improved to a point but there is limited information in the file.  I would use RAW where I cant quite gt the exposure right however burnt out highlights can not be fully recovered in RAW.  I wish my Spark had it but I must say the auto exposure is mostly spot on and if not i'll just tap my screen to reset.  Where i'm unsure of the exposure on my small screen I set the camera to the 3 shot bracketing and pick the most suitable shot.

Thank you for sharing these to us! Really helpful !
2017-12-6 18:02:02
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Brambleman
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Well rounded explanation. I had a rough idea of the difference, but admittedly never looked into it more.
2017-12-6 18:17:10
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Mr Watton
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Thanks for the info. I didn’t actually know this so I’m glad I took the time to read instead of looking at all the pretty pictures
2017-12-6 23:25:50
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petercod
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DJI Grace Posted at 2017-12-6 17:57
actually, I think it is great info and then top it in every category
But if it causes confuse, I will put it down

I totally agree that it is great information, and something we could put to good use if only DJI would enable RAW on the Spark. Maybe you could have a word in the right ear
2017-12-7 00:03:47
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Welsh Mavic
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Speaks for itself, it is like a lump of lamb or beef etc that a Chef can use to make something very tasty to the eye.
2017-12-7 04:16:40
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Anuvis
Second Officer
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an article about raw and jpg in a forum of a product THAT IS NOT SUPPORT RAW.....GZ..What a misplaced post grace.....
2017-12-7 06:58:29
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JamesWhenman
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Great info for someone like me to learn how to get the best shot.
2017-12-7 07:37:05
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