Adam Perfect


Dropping the JPEG from JPEG+RAW

For about as long as I’ve used Fujifilm cameras, I’ve almost always shot in JPEG+RAW mode: raw to have the most leeway in post-processing and JPEG to get those lovely ready-made Fujifilm film simulation profiles. I’ve finally decided to drop the JPEG portion and save some space. Here’s why.

For years and years, I’ve always shot raw: other than my first few months with my first DSLR (the Canon 350D), I learned pretty quickly the value of a raw file in post-processing.

With my Canon cameras, I never felt any need for JPEG 'sidecar' files, as I wasn’t interested in Canon’s default JPEG rendering. With the Fujifilm X system however, the film simulations are a major draw and so I began shooting in JPEG+RAW for a couple of reasons:

  1. Having a pre-processed Fuji film simulation for the occasions when an image looks just as I want it, straight out of camera.
  2. Having a reference image for the film simulation I shot in, to compare against while doing my own post-processing on a raw file.

For reason 1—using a straight-out-of-camera JPEG—I just never do.

Fuji’s film profiles are amazing but even for snapshots, I want to convey the feeling I had at the time more than I want to reproduce a particular film style and so I always end up doing my own edits. I wrote not too long ago about learning to leave a photograph alone, and I do still want (and need) to keep that in mind. JPEGs aren’t my answer though.

Reason number 2 has always been the stronger one for me, especially for black and white images using the ACROS profiles.

Having the starting reference sitting alongside the raw file has proven handy on occasion, both as a standard reference image and also as a sense check I can go back to and make sure I haven’t gotten too carried away on the post-processing.

Lightroom to the rescue (of my disk space)

A recent Lightroom Classic update added the ability to automatically apply ‘camera settings’ to raw files on import. This means Lightroom applies the matching camera profile as was used in-camera when taking the photo. So if I had ACROS+R applied while shooting, my raw files will get that same profile automatically applied in Lightroom.

Now, the Lightroom versions of the Fuji profiles are not perfect matches, but as I’ve already discussed never actually using the Fuji-rendered files that doesn’t matter too much to me.

I recently switched a couple of my Fuji bodies to RAW-only capture and so far haven’t missed the JPEGs at all. In fact, I’m increasingly noticing when the JPEGs are there and finding them more of a nuisance in browsing around Lightroom, not to mention the extra disk space they take up.

So, I think I’ll start switching all my cameras to just RAW capture mode and see how I go.

Written by Adam on

Adam is a Director of User Experience by day and photographer as time allows.

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