What ’s in the names?

JPEG, RAW… it’s not al­ways im­me­di­ately ap­par­ent what a for­mat’s name means

NPhoto - - Nikopedia -

■ RAW isn’t an acro­nym. It sim­ply means raw, as in un­pro­cessed. It’s a ‘file for­mat’, a dig­i­tal way of stor­ing the in­for­ma­tion caught by the sen­sor, and each cam­era man­u­fac­turer has its own way of do­ing this, which is why the suf­fixes are dif­fer­ent. Nikon’s is .NEF, which stands for Nikon Elec­tronic For­mat.

■ JPEG, which stands for Joint Pho­to­graphic Ex­pert Group (the peo­ple who de­vised it), is the most common file for­mat for photographs, and was de­signed for trans­mit­ting images by keep­ing the file small. It does this by com­press­ing the in­for­ma­tion, and in the process loses some im­age qual­ity.

■ The level of com­pres­sion, and so the qual­ity, can be cho­sen. In prac­tice, there is no vis­i­ble dif­fer­ence at a nor­mal view­ing size be­tween a high-qual­ity JPEG and any other file for­mat, such as a TIFF (Tagged Im­age File For­mat). TIFF files pre­serve full im­age qual­ity with­out any of the loss as­so­ci­ated with JPEGs.

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