Raw compressed or uncompressed?

Question for anyone using compressed RAW files from their camera, is it better to use compressed or uncompressed files?

I’m currently playing around with my camera and trying to see how far ISO I can push my camera before denoise/Topaz Photo begins to look completely unusable.

What settings are you guys mostly using when saving your RAW files from your camera? For reference I am using the Sony A7III and am aware that not all cameras will have the compressed RAW option.

I tried compressed on my Nikon Z7II but didn’t notice any difference in performances in anything. The camera, Lightroom, Topaz etc… other than size. The Nikon produces 60M+ files which at today’s disk/memory card prices isn’t a significant hurdle unless someone just wants to be cheap.

I never use compressed RAW, I don’t see the point. You will be losing information. Why buy a high mp camera and then use small mp images?

Your camera is only 24mp anyway. If you ever want to do large prints you may regret compressing the RAW images.

I’ll refer you to Nikon’s own documentation with regard to their NEF RAW, Compressed Raw and Loss-less Compressed files.

Lossless compressed is better than normal as there is a good space saving … but always check that the software you use to process them supports lossless compressed, not all do,

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Does the Sony A7lll have lossless compressed RAW?

Even on lossless compressed there can be a loss of dynamic range, see youtube video on Sony. So is it really lossless?

Actually it does not, only options are compressed and uncompressed.

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Well I would use uncompressed then.

Why do you want to use smaller files?

I’m more curious about how topaz would render the files. And if you can really see the difference.

I’ve had it on compressed this whole time but I’ve now changed it to uncompressed as i want to see if i feel the difference.

May show up more in dark areas of the image, also if image is underexposed.

Skies can also be a problem with dynamic range and banding.

I would use the uncompressed RAW.

24mp is quite low now, my old Canon 5d2 is 20mp and that is about 15 years old. I’m struggling to see why people would use the compressed RAW settings.HDs are cheap now, you can get 5TB for around £100.

If you are doing large prints it will show up more. What is the largest print you can do at 300dpi?

There are folks that need to transmit files via WIFI for collaborative work… 20M is a lot faster than 60M when doing that. It’s isn’t just about "size’…


That is fair enough but if they do that all the time then why not use a lower res camera? For some usages 50mp is over the top. There are advantages of using lower res cameras.

The users on here don’t seem to be doing it for that reason.

There are some youtube videos on this matter, on Sony cameras, I one I saw found differences on the lossless Raw v uncompressed.

Depends what you are doing with your images.

Sony isn’t the same as "all "cameras and file formats… Maybe other camera makers and algorithms are different??? And maybe some folks buy cameras for other reasons/features than just file size… We can argue and rationalize all day long why someone “wants” something… but that doesn’t change the landscape. A software/hardware manufacturer can appeal to their broadest markets by giving their users what they want whether you or anyone else doesn’t see the necessity… :smile:

I’m just curious to know why people are using compressed files, have read several posts about it recently.

As the op has Sony, that js why I mentioned Sony.

So someone who is also a Sony user told me to do it just to save space on the camera. Said the difference is negligible. I typically only take personal pictures so it’s a non issue for me, however someone’s asked me to take some upcoming event pictures for them. So here I am playing with topaz and wondering how far i can push my camera to its low light capabilities.

Here are Nikon’s 3 RAW file sizes. RAW Large, RAW Small, and RAW Medium. Just for grins, the 3 DNG files are Adobe’s interpretations of Nikon’s files when processed with TPAI…Only Noise reduction and Sharpening were applied to the 3 base files…
Screenshot 2023-11-22 at 9.30.29 AM

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Thanks Fred, I definitely think it’s time to go back to uncompressed full time.

I always shoot RAW wide-open full-on-boogey… but smaller file size options are available for specific individual needs. Interestingly, no one complains that various sizes of JPEG are also available and folks use that format too.

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I wouldn’t even consider JPEG tbh

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