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Advantage of shooting RAW?
Old 03-24-2005, 07:07 PM   #1 (permalink)
Art
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I tried searching for this but failed.

Can someone remind me what the advantage of shooting in RAW mode is again?

Thanks in advance.

Art.
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Re: Advantage of shooting RAW?
Old 03-24-2005, 07:27 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Shootinig raw retains all infornmation as recorded by the sensor giving you the ability to choose appropriate parmeters when post proccessing. eg contrast, sharpness, exposure compensation, white balance custom tone curves etc.
Shooting jpeg the camera does the processing for you to the parameters set by you at the time of shooting, while discarding all information not needed. Resulting in more user friendly access to images without the need to post process and reducing the amount of storage space required.

Raw is not as user freindly but offers greater final control over your image and more latitude for color and exposure correction.
Ian
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Re: Advantage of shooting RAW?
Old 03-24-2005, 09:50 PM   #3 (permalink)
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In addition to Ian's message, my testing has shown that images are sharper when converted from RAW to JPEG than shooting JPEG in the camera.

Israel
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Everyone that shoots digital shoots RAW
Old 03-25-2005, 09:34 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Really we all shoot RAW. Only some let the camera do some of the post processing with parameters set in the camera by engineers somewhere. Others shoot RAW and then work on the RAW image themselves with very little manipulation done by the camera.

Now to the advantages of shooting RAW. It really does allow much greater control. You can tweak, sharpness, contrast, white balance, exposure, noise levels, shadow and highlight contrast to your hearts content. Plus you can always have that RAW image to go back and do it all over again when you want. Instead of having a compressed 8 bitt jpeg...which tossed out information it thought might not be needed...you can convert your file to an uncompressed 16 bitt tiff or some other file format and work with much great control. You can pick what ever output color space you prefer. It really is about control and having the most information to work with when shooting RAW. With jpegs something is tossed and you can never get it back.

Some compare RAW files to film negatives. Actually they are much more than that even negatives. Negatives were developed and once they are developed the information is pretty much set. You can do things in the printing but really the original capture from the camera has been manipulate some and set. You cann't go back and redevelop the film a different way. With RAW you can go back and redeveloper the original information over and over again.

The downside of RAW is it does take more space and with many cameras it may slow your capture rate. That might mean missing a photo. Some will say that raws take more time to post process. I'm not sure that is really true with some of the newer RAW processing software. Some like the new RAW Shooters Essential Raw Shooter Essential which is free and Capture One CApture One which is priced very reasonably you can have a very quick work-flow. They will allow batch processing. Batch processing jpegs in Photoshop isn't as easy.

So really it comes down to how much information do you want and how much control over the information do you want. I'm an info hog and control freak. Guess what I shoot most?

Bill
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Re: Advantage of shooting RAW?
Old 03-25-2005, 10:23 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I've had a D1x for about 4 years now.

I got the Capture sofware when I first got it, but it seemed like a hassle in "post processing" for very little appreciable gains.

I quit trying RAW and have shot JPEG fine for years.

Now that CS has a built in RAW converter and will let me open them directly in photoshop and make my adjustments there, I have gone back to experimenting with it.

RAW is not magic and I don't know that a "newbie" will find RAW super stimulating or providing immediate gratification mostly because you may be dealing with other issues such as light control, etc.

But as your skills increase and your understanding of photoshop increase, I think you will find definite advantages to using RAW.

I have found in my experience that RAW allows me to make very precise tonal adjustments prior to other photoshop work.

People talk about how you can adjust the exposure by 2 stops and things, but really, if you are off by 2 stops, you need to work on your camera skills and your capture first.

RAW also obviously gives you high bit depth files and the greatest "pallete" and with it comes big files, storage issues and file write times.

The other "hurdle" you have to overcome, is that at first, you may compare a raw RAW right out of camera compared to a JPEG one and think the JPEG looks better, but that is because some "automatic" post processing" has already occured on the JPEG image.

Set up a still life scene and shoot a few JPEGs and then Shoot a few Raws, and process each to you liking and compare the final images. I think you will find that RAW gives you more options.

If I am shooting something like my child at the park, or "snapshots" I just go with JPEG.

But if I am shooting something really important, I shoot RAW.

Mark
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Re: Advantage of shooting RAW?
Old 03-25-2005, 11:28 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I found an advantage to RAW for the newbie. I shot some stuff RAW and was using a custom white balance. For some reason it totally screwed up and the picture was blue. But since it was RAW all I had to do was change the white balance to daylight and the picture was fine.

While I shouldn't have made the mistake, it was nice to have the ability to change it.
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Avoid temptation ...
Old 03-25-2005, 04:50 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I shoot mostly RAW, but one must avoid the temptation that often comes along with shooting RAW, and this is the idea that you can fix the color balance later and fix the exposure later, and so forth. You can, but it makes you sloppy and ultimately it will come back to haunt you. So always try for good color balance and especially correct exposure and you'll get a lot more out of your RAW photos.

Here are three photos of model Jill Day from Raw:


Cheers,
Roger
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