Below are links to short review articles on some questions I have either heard from friends, colleagues, or users; or questions that I have had myself that I wanted to know the answer to. This page may change over time. Below are a list of questions I have looked into.

NEF versus JPEG on the Nikon D3100?

The Nikon NEF raw format is big. For example, a raw NEF file may be 17.6 MB while the Fine JPEG image may be 9.18 MB (these are the actual sizes of the images I used for my experiment). For this reason, users of the D3100 may wonder if it is worth it to shoot raw versus compressed — I know that I have. So I shot a comforter in the house at ISO 100, F4, 1/100s, incandescent light WB on raw and fine JPEG. Below are the resultant big files.

JPEG shot at 1/100s, F4, ISO 100, Incandescent WB. Original file size was 9.18 MB, for article/web 702 KB. Looks pretty good.

NEF shot at 1/100s, F4, ISO 100, Incandescent WB. Original file size was 17.6 MB, for article/web 726KB. Looks pretty good, a little duller, but I could have changed that in the raw settings. I chose to leave it as shot.

Now I am going to take a 100% crop of the image (this means I am showing you actual pixels).

100% crop of the JPEG. It looks okay, it’s 446 KB when compressed for the blog.

100% crop of the NEF. It is much sharper than the JPEG file, and is 626 KB when compressed for the blog.

I think it is pretty clear that if you are going to shoot with the possibility of needing to crop or make changes later then it is much better to shoot raw/NEF mode. However, if you are shooting for fun and don’t have any intention of making many edits later then JPEG is fine; or if you are pressed for space on your memory card then JPEG may be the way to go. However, NEF beat the Fine JPEG mode hands down here in my opinion.

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