Drone Imaging: JPEG vs RAW

Drone Imaging: The Difference Between JPEG and RAW

The consumer drone market is growing, and countless people are becoming interested in aerial imaging from drones. Taking photos with drones has always attracted countless people for the first time, and drone photographers have also become an emerging profession.

A drone with camera is flying in the air, how can I adjust the camera settings to get better photos? Let's start by adjusting the photo format in the camera settings.

Do Autel Drones Take RAW Photos?

The Autel EVO series is the leader in consumer drones. The photo formats supported by the Autel EVO series are JPEG, RAW and JPEG+RAW. What setting should you use? Let's take a look at some of the pros and cons of shooting in JPEG vs RAW.

JPEG vs RAW : Adjusting Light and Shadow

Taking the EVO Lite+ as an example, the first thing to witness is the difference in highlights and shadows in JPEG versus RAW.

The main problem with JPEG images is that they are compressed, and information is lost, so you have no control over how they will look in post-production. Take a look at the edited JPEG image below. When the shadows and highlights are reduced, the trees in the foreground look a little unnatural, and the sun still looks exaggerated.

camera drones jpg

Since no information is compressed in RAW, RAW files retain more detail than JPEGs. After the same tones, RAW images look more attractive and natural.

camera drones raw

JPEG vs RAW : White Balance Issues

RAW images, which can help make it easier to correct white balance issues in post. When taking images with a drone, depending on the ambient light and white balance settings, the lake may end up with a color cast problem, which is very unfriendly.

camera drones jpg white balance

After adjusting the color temperature and tint of the JPEG file, the image still doesn't look very good.

camera drone white balance

RAW files contain unprocessed grayscale data, so even if the white balance is set incorrectly during shooting, it can be easily adjusted without loss of quality.

camera drones raw

JPEG vs RAW : Viewing Files

RAW images are better than JPEG files, and you can make multiple adjustments on a RAW file captured by a drone without sacrificing quality. But at the same time, RAW files are not supported to be viewed directly on mobile devices or PCs and require special image editing software such as Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom. JPEG images can be viewed directly.

JPEG vs RAW : File Size

When the camera drone takes images, it is usually stored in the built-in storage of the body, or in the application, or in the expansion memory card. When shooting JPEG and RAW files, you need to consider storage issues. Most consumer drones do not support built-in storage, and drone pilots often need to use a memory card or an internet connection to download your drone photos. At this point, we need to know that RAW files tend to be about five times larger than JPEG files.

JPEG vs RAW : Multiple Shooting Modes

Drones have a variety of shooting modes, such as single shot, continuous shooting, time-lapse shooting, time-lapse shooting, panoramic photos, etc. Due to the large capacity of RAW files, it often takes longer to shoot drone images. Process and save to SD card. So we need to make further adjustments when we take different shooting modes.

JPEG vs RAW : Which is better?

JPEG files have advantages over RAW files, depending on what you want. When drone photos are saved as JPEG files, spend less time processing and focusing on shooting. When drone photos are saved as RAW files, we can find out more in editing.