JPEG or RAW that is the question…



I follow a lot of camera news, and I am not a JPEG shooter, but Fuji is known for having great JPEG’s and the new Olympus PEN is putting a lot of effort into their in camera art filter customization engine that I find interesting. Since we have had a pretty active community, I figured I would ask if anyone has an in camera RAW/JPEG work flow?


Personally, I greatly prefer shooting RAW and processing later, but I generally shoot RAW+JPEG because sometimes Fuji’s JPEGs are better developed than Lightroom allows. If I cannot quickly get the results out of a RAW file that I am looking for, I will sometimes simply use the JPEG to save time. I’m probably an ideal candidate to move to a JPEG work flow like the new PEN provides, but I like the flexibility that RAW files provide, and I feel like JPEG filters are too unreliable in dynamic situations.


Olympus allowing for highly customizable art filters arguably goes a step beyond Fuji’s great film simulation because people can create and share presets that very closely or exactly match various types of Fuji and Kodak Film. They might even be able to develop a universally accepted Leica look preset. I’m very interested to see what Olympus fans come up with, but I’m also curious to see if companies like Fuji will respond by adding similar customization. Kodachrome is by far my favorite type of film, and the M9 that has become a cult classic is digital Kodachrome, so I would absolutely love for Fuji to allow me to make a Kodachrome preset.


Fuji is know for providing pretty substantial upgrades to their cameras via firmware updates, so I wonder if it would be possible to add customizable film presets to the X-Pro 2 and future cameras. They already have a pretty feature full RAW developer that they could leverage to flesh out a film creator. Would this be a feature that would interest you, or do you shoot RAW like I do?

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  • I think it would be worth adding more image output controls especially now that video is not utterly useless since the same effects could be applied to video. Shooting any recent high end Sony camera spoils you with numerous such features at varying degrees of extremyness.

    Personally I always hope to get what I want straight from the camera. I still shoot raw+jpeg just in case, but, my favorite X camera sourced prints are all SOOC.

    • I have written about enjoying the act of shooting more than editing for Leicarumors and I have a very fast work flow, but I hate giving up the ability to push and pull images or expand dynamic range. The new Olympus PEN made me spend a lot of time thinking about what could be, so I figured it’s worth picking readers brains about the topic. Also I know Leica reads my articles on Leicarumors so it’s possible Fuji will start doing the same at some point. They have been very good about responding to fans.

      In some respects I would like to try to maximize and automate a JPEG workflow, but I have always felt the tools avalible are lacking. Fuji JPEGs definitely have a look to them that I find pleasing, but they lack dynamic range in my opinion.

      In the past I have owned a few Sony cameras, but I never enjoyed the color profile for the cameras and didn’t want to take the time to make it look like another camera. The only Sony I still own is a RX100, I didn’t like the color of the mark 2 and beyond as much.

  • dclivejazz

    I usually only shoot RAW and process each image myself. I just don’t need a bunch of duplicate jpegs taking up storage space if I’m normally not going to use them. I will occasionally shoot RAW + jpeg if the image may be needed immediately, though.

    Fuji jpegs are appealing but upon closer inspection are hyper sharp and more contrasty than I want, at least at their default settings. Since I prefer shooting RAW anyway, I haven’t yet played around with modifying the jpeg settings.

    The situation that RAW converters initially had difficulty dealing with Xtrans RAW files is one of the reasons I held off trying Fuji. There’s been a lot of progress there but I’m still working on my my own processing settings for things like sharpening and NR. There is common advice to push the detail slider in LR to 100%. I find something like that can work pretty well for mostly scenic shots, but makes skin textures look mottled on faces. NR doesn’t seem to work well in LR compared to using it on NEF files. In general I apply less to RAF files than I would to NEF files, which was already not that much. Fuji jpegs of people at high ISO are way too smoothed and simply unusable. So I’d be curious to see more about how other people handle conversion issues of RAF files.

    • JPEG files are very small so I do not worry about the size of them much and I have read quite a few guides but most of them are geared towards processing an individual image so they aren’t efficient for processing 200-500 images. On a typical day I will shoot around 200-1000 images over 4-12 hours. When I load them into my computer I’ll dump any flawed pictures before getting started and then I’ll work my way through the entire day. I then pick some of the better pictures to share or ones that exemplify what I am writing about. For example the images in this article had very good JPEGs but the RAW files were just a little better. I think the pictures in this article easily could have been JPEGs, but I felt my quick conversion was a little better.

  • Ian_Cotterill

    I only shoot raw. To me the key with using Lightroom and shooting raw is to have a set of user presets which will get you 95% of the way there. Then you only have to do minor tweaks to your pictures.

  • Dennis Linden

    I only shoot RAW OR JPEG. (forgive me now, read no further, this is the first time, and last, I will share this little rant).

    I don’t like Lightroom, in fact, have uninstalled it on all my computers. I had to pay a penalty to do that since my 1 year contract was not up. I would much rather catalog with PM5 and set the Edit file to recognize my raw format and use the company provided software. Raw File Converter 2 for the Fuji’s, Sigma for the Quatro, NXD for the Nikon. I sold all the others.

    I have proven it to my chagrin at least 3 times. What ACR does is not natural. Company x lens engineers share their innermost secrets with the software guys so the diffraction algorithms work best. Sensor nerds have spilled the beans on the color channels to the in house software people, and no one is sharing them with Adobe. I have heard it said “why should I trust the engineer in Japan to bake in my JPEG”. Well, I ask, what makes you think the American or the Sri Lankan ones working for Adobe know any better how to? Or worse yet, some meth head who has sold a whole bunch of meaningless presets to a bunch of unsuspecting “clients”. When Fuji says this will look like Velvia or Acros, I would MUCH RATHER take their word for it than some cross eyed, pimple faced kid all jacked up on red bull working in some cubicle in San Jose. Raw files are just data, it IS ALL ABOUT THE JPEG (or TIFF) for 98% of the world. Leica DNG files don’t at all look like a Summicron on Astia, they are shapeless and unrecognizable to the human eye until someone with knowledge of color science turns them into that thing you see on your crappy 1920×1080 monitor! (Clearly mine is bigger and brighter too).

    IMHO, I prefer to shoot both all the time. I have developed a series of PCS’s for Nikon and usually prefer to select a film simulation on the Fuji. People who complain about the JPEG this or that should probably spend some time analysing the modifications they like and develop some true in camera JPEG presets that meet their needs. If I am not going to print large, then the likely place the images live is online. When you share images online it is frankly pointless to discuss anything about the quality of the image since you are not in control as your images are recompressed without your permission over the internet and worse yet displayed on everything from a smartphone to a $100 monitor that does not even know what the RGB colorspace is, nevermind your luminance or dehazy slider.

    So, make a commitment to not waste too much time touching up online posts from raw files. I would point out that they all end up as JPEG anyways, unless you print.

    Large format printing does require the very best and developing 16bit Tiffs from raw negatives is then quite justified, if not required. The people best suited to get you started are the company engineers who know more about color and sharpness on their thumb.

    I am eager to see what Fuji has in mind in the next 4 years leading up to the Olympics. They made a point of emphasising printing your images in the 5 year X presentations.

    It is my hope, if you have read this far, that you all have a great week, and don’t waste time trying to change my mind with insults as is sadly the usual result of such posts…. 🙂