HEIC Converter

HEIF vs RAW: Detailed Comparison and Best Uses


In the world of digital photography, the debate of HEIF vs RAW is ongoing. Both formats have their unique advantages and disadvantages. This article aims to provide an in-depth comparison, helping you understand the nuances and make an informed decision on which format suits your needs best. We'll also introduce a handy tool, Coolmuster HEIC Converter, which can be extremely useful in managing your HEIF files.

heif vs raw


Part 1. Understanding HEIF and RAW Formats

1.1 What is HEIF?

HEIF, or High Efficiency Image Format, is a relatively new image format developed by the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG). It provides high-quality images at significantly smaller file sizes compared to traditional formats like JPEG.

HEIF is the default format for photos on many Apple devices starting with iOS 11, where images are stored with the .heic extension.

  • High Compression Efficiency: HEIF uses advanced compression techniques, allowing it to maintain high image quality while reducing file size by up to 50% compared to JPEG.
  • Supports Multiple Images and Sequences: HEIF can store multiple images in a single file, making it ideal for live photos, bursts, and animations.
  • Better Quality: HEIF offers better quality at similar file sizes to JPEG, supporting 16-bit color depth compared to JPEG's 8-bit.

what is heif image format

1.2 What is RAW?

RAW files are uncompressed and unprocessed images directly from the camera's sensor. They contain all the data captured by the sensor, which makes them ideal for professional photographers who require extensive post-processing and editing capabilities. RAW files do not lose any information due to compression, maintaining the highest possible quality.

  • High Image Quality: RAW files preserve all the details and dynamic range captured by the camera sensor, providing the highest image quality.
  • Extensive Editing Potential: RAW files allow for significant adjustments in exposure, white balance, and other parameters without degrading image quality.
  • Large File Sizes: Due to the lack of compression, RAW files are significantly larger than HEIF or JPEG files, requiring more storage space and processing power.

Part 2. HEIF vs RAW: A Detailed Comparison

2.1 HEIF vs RAW: Image Quality

When comparing HEIC vs RAW, the most significant difference lies in image quality and flexibility in post-processing. RAW files, being uncompressed, retain all the information captured by the camera sensor, offering unmatched image quality and the ability to recover details in shadows and highlights.

HEIF, while efficient, involves compression which can lead to some loss of detail, though it is still superior to JPEG in terms of quality and color depth.

Use Case:

For professional photographers who need maximum control over their images, RAW is the preferred choice. However, for casual photographers and everyday use, HEIF provides a good balance between quality and file size.

2.2 HEIF vs RAW: File Size

One of the main advantages of HEIF is its smaller file size compared to RAW. HEIF achieves this through advanced compression algorithms that reduce file size without significantly compromising quality. This makes HEIF an excellent choice for users who need to manage storage efficiently or share images quickly.


A RAW file from a modern DSLR can be 20-50MB per image, whereas an HEIF file of the same scene may only be 5-10MB. This difference can be crucial when storing large numbers of photos or uploading images over the internet.

heif vs raw image quality

2.3 HEIF vs RAW: Editing and Flexibility

RAW files are preferred for extensive editing due to their uncompressed nature. They offer greater flexibility in adjusting exposure, white balance, color grading, and more without compromising image quality.

HEIF files, while not as flexible as RAW, still offer better quality and editing potential compared to JPEG. They support 16-bit color depth, allowing for better color grading and adjustments.

Editing Example:

When editing a RAW file, photographers can adjust the exposure by several stops, recover shadows and highlights, and make precise color adjustments. HEIF or HEIC files offer less flexibility but still allow for significant edits, making them suitable for most amateur photographers and quick edits.

Part 3. Is RAW Better Than HEIC?

The question of whether RAW is better than HEIC depends largely on your specific needs and usage scenarios:

3.1 Professional Photography

For professional photographers, RAW is generally the better choice. The primary reason is the level of detail and flexibility that RAW files offer in post-processing. With a RAW file, you can:

  • Recover Shadows and Highlights: RAW files capture a wider dynamic range, allowing you to recover details in both the darkest and brightest parts of an image. This is crucial for high-contrast scenes.
  • Adjust White Balance: Since RAW files retain all the color information, you can easily correct the white balance during post-processing without degrading the image quality.
  • Non-destructive Editing: Editing a RAW file doesn't alter the original data. You can always revert to the original image or adjust previous edits without any loss of quality.
  • Fine-tune Image Parameters: Adjust settings like exposure, contrast, saturation, and sharpness with greater precision and without introducing artifacts.

For these reasons, RAW is preferred by professionals who need the highest quality and the most flexibility in their workflow. However, the large file sizes and the need for specialized software for processing RAW files can be a drawback for some users.

3.2 Everyday Use and Casual Photography

For everyday use, HEIC (HEIF) is more practical. This format offers several advantages for casual photographers:

  • Smaller File Sizes: HEIC files are significantly smaller than RAW files, making them easier to store and share. This is particularly useful for users with limited storage space or those who frequently upload photos to social media.
  • Good Image Quality: While not as high-quality as RAW, HEIC files still offer better image quality than JPEG. They support 16-bit color depth, which provides smoother gradients and better color accuracy.
  • Wide Compatibility: With the adoption of HEIF by Apple and other manufacturers, HEIC files are widely supported across various devices and platforms. This makes it easier to view and share HEIC images without needing special software.
  • Efficient Storage: The efficient compression of HEIC files means you can store more images on your device without running out of space quickly.

For casual photographers and everyday use, HEIC provides a good balance of quality, file size, and convenience. It's ideal for users who want high-quality images without the hassle of large file sizes and the need for extensive post-processing.

3.3 Hybrid Workflow

Some photographers may find a hybrid workflow beneficial, using both RAW and HEIC formats depending on the situation. For example:

  • RAW for Important Shoots: Use RAW format for professional shoots, important events, or any situation where maximum quality and editing flexibility are essential.
  • HEIC for Everyday Shots: Use HEIC format for casual photography, quick snapshots, and situations where you need to save storage space or share images quickly.

This hybrid approach allows photographers to balance quality and convenience, ensuring they have the best tool for each specific scenario.

Part 4. Convert HEIC to JPG/JPEG/PNG Easily via Coolmuster HEIC Converter If Needed

If you are dealing with HEIF files, the Coolmuster HEIC Converter is an excellent tool to consider. It offers several features that make managing and converting HEIF files easier:

  • Easy Conversion: Convert HEIC files to other formats like JPG, JPEG and PNG with a few clicks. This makes your HEIF images compatible with a wider range of devices and software.
  • Batch Processing: Save time by converting multiple HEIC files at once. This is particularly useful if you have a large number of images to process.
  • Retention of Original Quality: The converter retains the original quality and EXIF data of your HEIC images, ensuring no loss of detail during the conversion process.

How to convert HEIC to JPEG quickly?

01Install and launch the application on your computer. Click the Add HEIC button to locate your HEIC files, or drag the files directly into the program window to add them. The HEIC images will then appear on the interface.

install heic to jpg converter on your computer

02In the right panel, choose JPG/JPEG as the output format, set the desired photo quality, and specify the storage location on your computer. To keep the Exif data, select the Keep Exif Data option.

add heic files to the program

03Click the Convert button. Once the conversion is complete, click the Open folder button to view the converted JPEG photos.

how to convert heic to jpg in one click

Video Tutorial:


The choice between HEIF and RAW depends on your specific needs and usage scenarios. While RAW is unmatched in quality and flexibility, HEIF offers a practical balance of quality and file size. Tools like the Coolmuster HEIC Converter can help manage your HEIF files efficiently, making it easier to integrate them into your workflow.

Related Articles:

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HEIF/HEIC Image Viewer: How to Open/View HEIC Images on Windows/Mac/Android? [Free]

How to Convert HEIC to JPG on Google Drive? [3 Effective Ways]

    HEIC Converter     HEIF vs RAW: Detailed Comparison and Best Uses
HEIC Converter
Batch convert HEIC to JPG/JPEG/PNG without losing image quality.
Keep the image EXIF info and adjust image quality if needed.
Preview, add, delete and search HEIC files or folders on the computer.
Quick conversion without limits on file size and number uploaded.
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