Over the last few months I have been weighing up the virtues of shooting 100% RAW on my Fujifilm setup (Fujfilm X-T2 & Fujifilm X-Pro2). The catalyst for such a debate is born from the remarkable quality of the Fujifilm JPG files straight from the camera; combine this quality with the various film simulation modes, wifi transfer and Lightroom Mobile and you have a pretty reliable mobile workflow.
Benefits of JPEG
The Fujifilm RAF, RAW files take up 50MB of disk space which is a lot of hard-drive ‘real-estate’ if you shoot lots of images on a regular basis. The first, obvious benefit is that the JPG files take up around 10MB, so you can capture about 5 JPG files for every RAW file and this also helps if you smaller SD cards.
The quality of the Fujifilm JPEGs is outstanding and require little or no post processing if you get the image ‘right’ in camera. The Film simulation options also amplify the benefits of shooting JPG and if you can get the image ‘right in-camera’ then you have pretty much nothing more to do than publish your image.
Benefits of RAW
We all know that you can’t get it ‘right’ in camera every time, and by this stage we all know the massive benefits that come with RAW image files containing the full, unprocessed image information.
On the Fujifilm system an uncompressed RAW file weighs in at approximately 50MB. That said, that 50mb is a mass of information that allows you to really push the images at the processing stage. I’ve tried shooting just JPEG for a number of weeks and although eight-or-nine times out of ten the image was ideal, I really missed the RAW file for those times I didn’t quite get it right in camera and needed to make some adjustments in Lightroom.
Shooting RAW ensures there is the option to push the image that bit further should you need and it throws in the additional advantage of being able to apply the Fujifilm ‘film processing’ simulations in postproduction via Lightroom, (see screen shot). When shooting JPG you only get whatever film option was selected at time of capture. [NB: Open the RAW file in Lightroom’s Develop module, scroll down to the ‘camera calibration’ tab and scroll through the ‘Profile’ options.
The Benefits of Both RAW+JPG
Thankfully, the Fujifilm system (like most others) offers the capability of shooting both RAW and JPG thus offering the best of both formats allowing the photographer to decide which of the image files to import into Lightroom after the shoot.
[Note : The X-T2 and X-Pro2 also offers the ability to shoot RAW files to one card and JPG to a second card but I prefer to shoot sequentially and then deciding which of the file formats to import into Lightroom.]
As you can see below I can see both the RAW and JPG versions of the images stored on the SD card , I then go through the card importing the JPG version if it is fit for purpose or the RAW if I want to process a little further than what the JPG will allow. You can also import all the images and reject whichever version you don’t want as you preview the images full screen.
Note : By default Lightroom will only show the RAW files in this view but will IMPORT BOTH versions. If you open the Lightroom preferences you can then tell Lightroom to treat the JPG version of images as separate files, see below, ‘Treat JPEG files next to raw files as separate photos’. Clicking this box will display both versions of the image on the import screen.
I personally think shooting RAW+JPG is the ideal way to approach image management and offers the best of all worlds. You get the quality JPG image files straight from camera, but you can also access the RAW file should you need it while at the same time using your hard drive space much more efficiently. Another bonus, when shooting both RAW and JPG you have the JPG version on the card that can be sent to your mobile device via the Fujifilm Mobile App for sharing on the move.
Why not share your image management workflow in the comments below.