View Full Version : Shooting in Raw

08-05-2010, 07:41 PM
Hey guys, Question time.

Why is it so much better to edit your photo's in the raw form.
What advantages do you have.

I have never used the raw feature before... my old canon S60 had it and so does my T2i

08-05-2010, 07:50 PM
1/ I don't have to worry if I didn't set my white balance
2/ RAW has a larger dynamic range so I can fix exposure problems easier
3/ I can do all the tricks to each image when reducing it to jpg instead of a one formula fits all

08-05-2010, 10:01 PM
I was scared of using RAW for the longest time but now I love it. Drawback is it eats memory both in the computer and file size but I have more creative control inediting photos in LR or PSE7 using RAW than I do in JPEG. :)

08-06-2010, 10:55 AM
Space isn't much of an issue, I am always out with an 8 gig card, and you can always delete the raw once its been processed.

I guess I will have to just try it to understand cuz I still don't fully get it.
I mean you can change the white balance of a jpeg very easily.

08-06-2010, 11:03 AM
Space isn't much of an issue, I am always out with an 8 gig card, and you can always delete the raw once its been processed.

I guess I will have to just try it to understand cuz I still don't fully get it.
I mean you can change the white balance of a jpeg very easily.

Try changing a RAW file white balance and a jpeg of the same scene and I think you should notice the difference.

08-06-2010, 03:57 PM
I wrote about this in one of my (FREE) eBooks on photography. I've pasted part of the explanation here, but you can download the book for free and read all of it if you go to my website: Free Photography eBooks: Advanced HDR Tips and beginner photography books (http://www.improvephotography.com)

You were out on the beach on a bright sunny day taking pictures when a whale is beached. Great! (For you, not the whale) You have the pictures for the newspapers! In the heat of excitement, you accidentally bump your exposure compensation button and change it to +1. You don't notice your mistake because the sunlight makes it difficult to see your on-camera LCD screen. Your heart sinks when you look at the images on your computer and see that all of your pictures are over-exposed. Great. The skies are blown out and you lose detail on the white parts of Shamu's body. Now what? If you shoot in RAW, you can probably bring back a lot over-exposed details! This is definitely not optimal, but the flexibility of RAW might offer you enough leeway to fix your mistake. Let me explain...

If you aren't a geek, this part might be a bit convoluted so I'll give you the need-to-know version here so you can get pro results without exactly having pro knowledge. All DSLRs and some pseudo-DSLRs can record in a file format called RAW.

Surely you've heard of JPEG or jpg. This is by far the most common type of image file on a computer. JPEG has many benefits, but also some serious drawbacks for photographers. A JPEG image is compressed, which basically means it tries to put a 10 pound bag of flour in a tea cup. It attempts to pack a lot of information in a small file size so it won't slow down your internet connection or your computer. This is great because it makes your files easily accessible. If you take pictures with a point-and-shoot camera, it's always recorded in JPEG format.

The flour that doesn't fit in the tea cup is simply thrown out of JPEG images. That's bad news for photographers, because it means that some of the precious detail in your image is lost, which results in a lack of ability to edit the photo non-destructively (without losing even more information permanently). For example, you are no longer able to change some of the camera settings, because they are permanently baked into the JPEG image. Your DSLR can record several thousand brightness levels, but when you convert to JPEG, you only have 256 brightness levels. When your camera takes a picture and you have set it to record in JPEG, it collects a massive amount of information, throws out as much as it can to reduce file size, and then saves out a JPEG.

The analogies I'm making here about RAW vs. JPEG may be overstated. I don't mean to say you can't edit a JPEG after the fact. I merely mean to point out that RAW is FAR more flexible in terms of digital image editing. If your camera can't record in RAW, you can still do amazing things with image editing. Just remember, however, that any edits you make on a JPEG will be permanently baked into the image.

Professional photographers always shoot in RAW so that no information is thrown out. The only exception to this rule is that some sports photographers shoot JPEG because it does not slow the camera down quite so much and you can sometimes fire off more shots per second. Also, you might find it nice to take a small little JPEG if you're just taking photographs at a birthday party or a similar event which you don't want to go through and edit later. Other than those exceptions, shoot RAW.

RAW comes in several varieties depending on what brand of DSLR you use. Canon's RAW format is CR2 and Nikon's is NEF. Adobe has a RAW file format called DNG. Adobe DNG is an open file format, which some feel will make the file less likely to become out-dated or unreadable far in the future. You can convert any RAW format to DNG by using Adobe's file format converter without losing any precious data (we geeks call this lossless compression). Download the converter for Windows or for Mac. One side benefit to switching all of your RAW files to DNG is that DNG is a smaller file size, so you won't have to buy quite so many hard drives. There are some highly technical considerations that need to be made when choosing between your camera's native RAW format and DNG, but most readers of this book would probably be bored with the discussion, so if you're looking for more meat, do a quick web search to learn more.

Your RAW file can be used in Photoshop, Picasa, your camera's native software, or many other programs; however, keep in mind that in order to send the file to be printed or to send it to Grandma, you'll have to eventually save the image to JPEG or TIFF.

So what does the whale-watching budding photojournalist do? Simply open the file in Photoshop or the image editing software that came with your camera (Such as Canon's Digital Photo Pro or Nikon's Capture NX2) and change the exposure to your liking. The image won't be quite as perfect as if you took it with proper settings, but you'll probably have a very decent image. RAW's flexibility is a life-saver.

08-06-2010, 04:29 PM
wow... well said.. sold