Comparing Nokia’s RAW and JPG formats
Most of the time I’m quite happy to use the JPGs my smartphone saves. The quality is pretty good, something Nokia has always been known for. It uses a decent Zeiss lens and has a large image sensor behind it. The image is captured, data is saved and a JPG assembled ready to be transferred to Google Photos the next time I connect to WiFi.
Occasionally I like to play around with the RAW file, just as I do with my FujiFilm digital camera. A RAW file contains the data the sensor captured as the image was taken. Unlike a JPG, the data hasn’t been processed, which means you get to see what the camera saw.
Usually I don’t pay attention to the differences between the two. This time, I’d shared the Google image with my daughters, so when I saw it during a clear-out, I figured it something to take notice of.
First, this is the image as saved on Google. All I’ve done to it is resize and add my watermark.
This is close to the scene I saw. The sky’s a rich blue and the overpass has the familiar greenish paint.
Then there’s the scene recorded by the sensor.
Obviously it’s the same scene, which we’d expect. Only the colours are colder, less vibrant. There are details lost in the shadows, and details in the clouds are missing. It hints at the processing the smartphone does to turn out a decent image. Far more than my FujiFilm camera does, where the RAW files are usually close to their JPG equivalents.
What you can’t see is the size of the image. Google got a massive 8000 x 6000 pixel image. It’s bright and crisp and large enough to print to a high quality. On the other hand, the RAW image is much smaller, around 4,000 pixels on the longest side.
To be honest, this is a bit of an academic exercise. While interesting, it won’t change how I take photographs on my Nokia. The camera’s pretty good at sorting things out for me, and I know where its limits are. Then again, a greater understanding of what my camera produces offers more options.