Raw pixels are healthier

As if the superior quality of the RAW (NEF) image file format over JPG in itself isn’t enough to make you choose the former over the latter, I recently discovered one very good reason for using RAW (NEF) instead of JPG when shooting pictures:

What looks like dead (discoloured and certainly annoying) pixels in the JPG version appears absolutely fine in the RAW images. At least this is true for my Nikon D40x.

Especially at higher ISO settings, but also to some degree at ISO 100, the JPG pictures become polluted by brightly coloured dots standing out from their surroundings. The higher the ISO setting, the more dots I get. And they always appear in the same places, which would suggest that it is due to weaknesses in or damages to the image sensor.

Enter the NEF file format (that’s Nikon-speak for RAW), and suddenly the discoloured pixels seem to have taken the day off. If I shoot RAW+Basic (with Basic being the lowest of the three JPG quality settings), the JPG version still gets the dots, but the NEF (RAW) version doesn’t. Previously I’ve only opted for RAW under difficult shooting conditions (low light, weird colours) in order to have more room for post-editing. Now it looks like I’ll be going RAW all the way.

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