JPEG vs RAW: Difference and Comparison

When the world was free of technology, the best way to keep memories was to click a simple photograph and keep a hard copy of that forever or paint the memory with actual colours.

But as the grasp of technology has increased on the lives of humans, multiple formats of keeping images, particularly memories, have come into play. Two such formats are JPEG and RAW. A lot of differences lie between these two. 

Key Takeaways

  1. JPEG files are compressed, resulting in smaller file sizes but potentially losing image quality.
  2. RAW files preserve all image data captured by the camera, offering greater flexibility in post-processing.
  3. Photographers use JPEG for sharing and web display, while RAW is preferred for professional editing and archival purposes.


JPEG is a compressed image format that uses lossy compression to reduce file size but can lead to a loss of image quality. RAW files are more significant than JPEG files but contain more information and can be edited with greater flexibility, but require specialized software and are not supported by all devices.


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JPEG refers to a complete form that refers to a particular group named a joint photographic experts group. This format is widely prevalent worldwide because it allows all users, no matter what kind of device they use, to open the image and edit it as per their own choice. 

While on the other hand, RAW, in terms of photography, refers to a particular image format that is not processed yet by any of the devices, and to edit an image in this specific format, it is necessary at the person should only use software that has been manufactured by the company by whose camera the actual picture was taken. 

Comparison Table

Parameters of Comparison JPEG  RAW 
Meaning  Victim refers to another image format popular in a limited variety of people. Joint photographic experts group is the complete form of the term.
Full form No such complete form is available. Colour yielding 
Space occupied  This particular format occupies less space. This particular format occupies a lot of space in the device in which it is stored. 
256 colours  16 million colours  The images are compressed to a vast extent and hence less space is occupied. 
Information stored Very little information about the image is stored in this format Almost all kinds of possible information about the image are stored in this format. 
Capability of compression  The images are not compressed, and the original file stays in place. The images are not compressed and the original file stays in place. 

What is JPEG? 

JPEG is known to be the most standard form of image format all across the world, and no matter what kind of device a person is using, accessing this particular format is quite simple in all of them, and this is what makes this format a universally accepted one.  

The term itself refers to a joint photographic experts’ group and entails certain qualities of an image format for any digitally created or stored image.

The first quality that this particular format entails is that it allows the user to not only store or open this in any device belonging to any company but also allows the user to edit the image as per his liking.  

Another very important quality of this image format is that it compresses the images to a very significant extent and thereby occupies very little space on any device, so it can be said that it is very feasible to use this particular format for almost all the images.

However, one downside of this format is that it contains limited information about the image in question and does not tell all about it. 

What is RAW? 

The term is raw in photography represents a very significant image format unknown to many due to its rare qualities and the strange accessibility technique it entails.

The fundamental nature of this format is that it is an unprocessed one and refers to an image that has just been clicked and has not been processed in a fully developed image; therefore, in other words, it can also be called a negative that exists not in the hard copy but in the soft copy.  

A significant advantage of this particular format is that when an image belongs to this format, the user may know all about the idea because the form contains all the information that is even remotely related to the image.

But this advantage also brings a downside: due to containing all the information about the images, this format occupies a lot of space in any device.  

The particular reason behind this format being less popular than other formats is that it can only be accessed in software that has been manufactured by the same company that manufactured the original camera by which the photo was taken. Due to this abnormal condition, many people tend to ignore this format. 

Main Differences Between JPEG and RAW 

  1. JPEG refers to a joint photographic experts group, while on the other hand, RAW does not have a definite full form. 
  2. JPEG stores very less information about the image while on the other hand, RAW stores a lot of information about the image and contains almost everything. 
  3. JPEG compresses the images so much and alters the size a lot, while on the other hand, RAW does not compress the image at all and retains the original size. 
  4. JPEG can be accessed on all platforms, while on the other hand, RAW contains certain limitations as to accessibility. 
  5. JPEG stores very little space on the device while on the other hand, RAW stores a lot of space on the device. 
Difference Between JPEG and RAW



Last Updated : 30 June, 2023

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