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I understand the differences between RAW and JPEG. But why does my DSLR offer me the opportunity to shoot RAW plus JPEG simultaneously. What benefits does this offer over RAW only, especially since I process my RAW files in Lightroom and the originally 'camera saved' jpegs would not reflect the changes. (I export jpegs for screen viewing after LR adjustments). What am I missing?

marked as duplicate by mattdm, AJ Henderson, Paul Cezanne, MikeW, Itai Sep 27 '13 at 23:05

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Most basic file viewers cannot preview RAW very quickly if at all. I find it very useful to be able to scroll through a folder, find the image I want from its JPEG and then open the RAW right beside it with proper software. Thats the main reason I shoot JPEG as well.


The only reason I can think of is quick proofing in a professional context. Since RAW doesn't apply the image processing directly, it can be handy to have a set of JPEGs you can dump from the camera and display to a client immediately. They can then pick what images they want and the RAWs can be used for the final product.

If you want to make use of things like Pictbridge, you also often need a JPEG for it to work directly from the camera.

So fundamentally, it is a little used feature (since the drawbacks, like reduced burst capacity and increased data consumption, rarely make it worth it) it does have some niche uses that can make it a nice to have. It's also a little bit more convenient if you don't plan to process all your images.

Personally I always shoot RAW only though.

  • 2
    @Christian - most people do since it is darn near useless since most people don't print untouched photos direct from camera. I've used it precisely once to try it out on my xTi and haven't used it since. I'm one of those weird people that reads the entire manual and tries every feature at least once. – AJ Henderson Sep 27 '13 at 14:13
  • Yes, me too. Each manual is the bible of own device;) – Christian Sep 27 '13 at 14:19
  • Read the "weird" in the comment by @AJHenderson as "informed" – Evan Pak Sep 27 '13 at 21:37
  • @EvanPak - sadly, that also seems to be weird these days. ;) – AJ Henderson Sep 28 '13 at 2:47
  • @AJHenderson, you're completely right. Still, we are the ones getting the best photos. I think that that pays for being "weird". – Evan Pak Sep 29 '13 at 23:30

My idea is that there are times when a photographer needs to email a proof just after the shot, in this case jpgs are ready to be sent and after the RAW is used for the PP.


I do it most of the time in my Fuji X-10 because the JPEGs are usually very good (the camera has the exact lens profile to apply all the necessary corrections), and if I need some more latitude or colour depth for a certain shot I can always pull the RAW (and do my best to correct the geometry in post processing).


For personal use and professional use where I have the time and the ability to post process my pictures I shoot RAW/Adobe RGB/Custom White Balance only. But I also shoot many events where the event wants JPG/sRGB files immediately, so in those cases I shoot RAW+JPEG.

With the Canon 5D I have the camera save the RAW files to the CF slot and JPG to the SD slot making managing the files much easier.

  • The Canon 5D only has a single CF slot. I assume you mean the Canon 5D mark III. Just be aware that the 5D3 does not support the faster UHS-1 standard for SD cards, and if you are writing files to the SD card the CF port will also slow to about 20MB/sec, regardless of the write speed capability of the inserted CF card. – Michael C Sep 27 '13 at 20:05
  • Michael, with the 5D Mk III, has the speed of the SD card really been an issue for you? I am honestly curious as I have not had any issues when shooting stills even with very slow 233x CF cards. Are your concerns about the speed of memory cards based around writing video files quickly or buffering when shooting 6fps in RAW? – Dave Nelson Sep 29 '13 at 15:23
  • I don't use the 5D3, but the issue is relevant when shooting action at high frame rates and saving RAW files. Those who use the 5D3 in that role have widely reported significant performance hits in terms of the speed at which the buffer clears. The maximum speed the 5D3 will write to any SD card is 20MB/s. It is capable of writing 90MB/sec to an UDMA-7 CF card, but if it is writing to both cards simultaneously, it will only write 20MB/sec to the CF card as well. P.S. I never shoot in RAW, I always wear clothes when taking pictures. – Michael C Sep 29 '13 at 20:21

One of the major reasons I shoot both is because of the reduced file size of jpegs.... If a photo is well exposed and I'm not planning on doing much processing, I'd rather store the jpeg which is a 1/4 of the size. My jpegs are usually around 5-7MBs and I've seen raw files from my T4i up to about 29MBs. Since I backup to 4 different sources and have multiple weeks/months of backups on each source, it adds up fairly quickly. Even though hdd space is fairly cheap now if you add in the videos I also take and backup we are talking about some $.

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