When using a Canon Camera, it has a few built in JPEG or JPG image processing options, that can be set to tell the camera how to process the RAW image file at the time of capture. It uses these settings in combination with the White Balance selected, and saves the file as a JPEG, in camera and drops all the extra information and compresses the file after getting rid of the excess baggage that all the other presets save into the RAW file. This JPEG creation process also is a lossy compression image option. The process of creating the JPEG file drops detail and adds compression artifacts that need to be repaired to have an image that is captured as a JPEG look as good as a RAW image file.
When shooting some sporting events, I’ll shoot JPEG to make editing the images after the event easier. If the weather and light is constant, then applying the knowledge of how each preset can impact the JPEG process, letting the camera’s software process the image, saves time when processing the images after the event. If I shoot JPEG, I like the finishing touches that Topaz’s Dejpeg 4 and Topaz’s DeNoise 6 provide as additional tools in combination with Lightroom CC. They help refine the images, or clean them up, to get the final image quality that I would want for a print or to display on a really large detailed monitor. If you are not a photographer, you may not even notice the improvements.
If you elect to shoot JPEG, knowing how each setting impacts the final image really helps you to determine which setting to use. Changing them later in Lightroom, is possible, but it can degrade the quality of the final output. When the original JPEG file was created, in camera, it dropped all the other information captured in the RAW file that would have been used to support the other White Balance Settings optimally, for example. And that could have been used for other settings.
If you shoot RAW, you can take some RAW files and look at how each of the settings would have impacted the final images in Lightroom yourself. But if you don’t have access to Lightroom CC, below is the same image capture today in RAW, but exported multiple times, only changing the settings that the camera would use to help create the JPEG file, based on how the camera was configured at the time of capturing the image. Some of the differences are very subtle and some are easily noticeable.
Since RAW files do contain all the image details and data captured at the time the file was created, pushing the limits of editing images created in difficult light or even with the exposure slightly off can be addressed without the loss of image quality. Try to brighten a really dark JPEG file, and the noise can make it look pretty rough, but with RAW, lightening a file by a F-Stop or two, is usually not an issue.
The rest of the images below all are shown with the Camera Standard, but I chose each of the Preconfigured White Balance settings. White Balance is set based off the Temperature of the light and a Tint setting and deserves a whole article someday, maybe. If I get around to it.
Maybe you never shoot an image in RAW, or take the time to learn all of the default camera settings and how they impact your shots. But knowing a few of the more important ones, and how they impact your final images may help to save a life time of memories in a more vibrant light.