Fuji X Cameras | JPEG or RAW ?

This post is mostly for amateurs / enthusiasts that continue to struggle with post processing or simply don’t like it.  This is not about whether it is better to shoot in RAW or Jpeg.  That’s like asking which camera is better, Nikon or Canon?  And, we all know the answer is Fuji. 😉

But, I think there is a big misconception out there that the only way to get a good picture is to shoot in RAW and then spend the afternoon in front of the computer fiddling with the tremendous latitude a RAW file affords one.  I have found that with Fuji X Jpegs, most of the time that is just not necessary.

I shoot in RAW + Jpeg (Fine) mode.  That way I get the best of both worlds, if needed. There are, of course, some draw backs with Jpegs, i.e., a little less dynamic range, unable to change White Balance, a little more noise, and generally less information in the file to manipulate.  There are some compelling reasons to shoot Jpeg though.  Fuji X cameras correct for lens distortions such as chromatic aberrations (purple fringing), lens diffraction at small apertures through the Lens Modulation Optimizer option, oh, and no mushy OOF foliage issues with Lightroom;  🙂  not to mention great Fuji colors SOOC!

Of course one has to understand the limitations of shooting / using Jpegs.  Single images with high dynamic range values are usually best left for RAW.  But know how to best shoot / use a Jpeg and wonderful images can happen.  In other words, watch that live view histogram!

Below are four images all shot with the Fujifilm X-E2 and the 18-55mm f2.8-4 OIS Fujinon lens, from a recent trip to the Florida panhandle.  This is my go to combination for travel until my X-Pro2 arrives.  All four Jpeg images have been processed in Adobe Lightroom CC using VSCO presets.  You should know VSCO says it is best to use their software on RAW images not Jpegs!  Tweaks have been made to each image to suit my taste.  In other words, the images have been majorly manipulated, but with minimal effort thanks to VSCO!  One of them was even shot at 5000 ISO!

Bottom line, watch your light, shoot within Jpeg boundaries and enjoy your photography more.  You don’t have to shoot in RAW to get nice pictures.  It’s always there, if you need it, but, if not, no worries.  Trust me.  Each image is printable.  I hate posting 100% crops!

To view more images go to my Flickr Page or my Website.

X-E2, f8, 1/1000, 400 ISO, -1/3EV ©2015 Rick Lewis
X-E2, f8, 1/1000, 400 ISO, -1/3EV ©2015 Rick Lewis
X-E2 f5.6, 1/200, 5000 ISO ©2015 Rick Lewis
X-E2, f5.6, 1/200, 5000 ISO ©2015 Rick Lewis
X-E2, f7.1, 1/250, 400 ISO, ©2015 Rick Lewis
X-E2, f7.1, 1/250, 400 ISO, -2/3EV  ©2015 Rick Lewis
X-E2, f8, 1/250, 400 ISO, ©2015 Rick Lewis
X-E2, f8, 1/250, 400 ISO, ©2015 Rick Lewis


8 thoughts on “Fuji X Cameras | JPEG or RAW ?

  1. I’m so looking forward to going back to shooting jpegs. The post processing just sucked all the fun out of taking photos for me.

  2. I’m pleased to see an article like this. In some camera systems JPEG’s make a lot of sense. Unfortunately, people get dissuaded by nonsense on the web from died-in-the-wool raw only shooters with snapshot quality images, with no attention paid to metering, to substantiate their claims.

    I was a raw only shooter until I moved to Fuji. That move was all it took to move me to shooting r+j (I’m in Florida and contrasts can get wild at times, so I do see the value of headroom in developing). But my end usage rate is typically 95% JPEG in decent light and 30% JPEG in low light/night.

    For those of you trying to sharpen the Fuji JPEG’s, try messing with the in camera sharpness setting. Fuji has this one pretty well sorted out. Certainly better than my widely used post processing software. For contrast, for Adobe users experiment with the dehaze tool. I’m at the point where virtually every JPEG gets a touch, or dollop, of dehaze.

    1. Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Ray. I agree with everything you said. I shot family beach portraits, professionally, and shot RAW only, with my Nikons (D3, D3s & D4). When you are under the gun, time wise, (only had about 45 min of great light), RAW is the solution. But Fuji just has this Jpeg thing down pat. If you watch your histogram and shoot for the highlights, the Jpegs are more than acceptable for most, if not all editorial uses, at least.

      I will be putting up a new Blog post here in the next day or two showing images from a high school rodeo I shot. I shot Jpeg only, in total crap light by the way, and got acceptable images with my X-Pro2 at 10,000 & 12,800 ISO values! I’ll post my initial set up and settings. I was truly amazed!

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