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Old 07-28-2003, 07:12 AM
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ronners ronners is offline
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Default Why use RAW mode?

A lot of digital cameras these days have the ability to capture images in RAW mode. I'm still figuring out what this means exactly, but rather than quote the manual I thought I'd pass on some thoughts about the benefits I see of using it.

The best analogy is to think of the RAW file as a 'negative' and any other format as a 'print'. The RAW file can therefore be easily 'reprinted' in many different ways, but the modification of any other format (the 'print') is much more restricted.

I just bought a RAW file reader plugin for PS, and it allows me to do things like change the white balance setting and exposure - again the analogy is more like a printing scenario. I'm already noticing that a RAW file can be run through a digital workflow much faster than any other kind of file, because the modifications are more intuitive and require less compute power. $99 for the plugin was well worth it.

Also, RAW files are smaller than uncompressed TIFF files (which I used to use).

I'm sure others can add more.

Cheers,

Ron.
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Old 07-28-2003, 07:19 AM
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Default Re: Why use RAW mode?

I'm not sure that the negative/print analogy is the best one to use. (Not that I can give you a better one at the moment.)

Think of RAW as what your camera starts with before it turns your shutter snap into a picture. Most digitals do some processing (white balance adjusting, sharpening, etc.) before they spit out a Jpeg.

Shooting in RAW lets you step in before the engineers at XYZ Camera Company put their particular spin on your picture. (Think of the over saturated colors that the earlier Sonys gave.)

Perhaps you could thing of it as buying all the ingredients and making a spaghetti sauce the way you like it, rather than Ragu.
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Old 07-28-2003, 07:23 AM
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Default Re: Why use RAW mode?

With the RAW mode you get the exact picture that the CCD "see". Without artifact added by the electronic of the camera.
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Old 07-28-2003, 12:55 PM
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Default Re: Why use RAW mode?

> buying all the ingredients and making a spaghetti sauce the way you like it, rather than Ragu.
I love this analogy Bob.

I think that being able to change the White Balance, do some digital exposure compensation etc is enough to warrant using RAW on some occasions. I take maybe 3% of my shots in RAW. Usually also creating a full size JPG at the same time, rather than the small one which is the default with the Canon EOS 10D. This allows me to see what would have happened with the settings I'd chosen, but gives me the flexibility to modify the above settings if my settings were out.

I really only use RAW when I'm confronted with something that I am not confident that my settings are good, or I will never ever come get the chance to photograph something spectacular again.

Cheers,
Martin (Bayleaf)
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  #5  
Old 07-29-2003, 05:10 AM
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AdrianW AdrianW is offline
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Default Re: Why use RAW mode?

If my camera had the option to save RAW, I'd use it every time. Why? JPEG compression has some interesting issues - the compression is lossy, that means that some image data is "lost" when you save - the data that gets removed is that which we are less likely to notice, so that's dark shades, and blue data (since we're less sensitive to blue). The loss of shadow detail makes it much harder to get information back from shadow areas, which could be easily reclaimed from the RAW files. The loss of Blue channel information is noticeable if you try and use that channel on its own - for example in B&W conversion.

Then there's the loss of fine detail, why buy a camera capable of resolving 12MP worth of data, and then remove all fine detail? You could have bought a 10MP camera and saved RAW, and I'd suggest you'll get better results in many situations!

You can buy a 20Gb PHD (portable hard disk) for 150 USD these days, and a DVD writer for your desktop for under 150 USD as well - if you've bought an expensive camera you should use it to its full potential.
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Old 07-29-2003, 05:49 AM
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Default Re: Why use RAW mode?

I've been using the RAW format with my D100 and even with my limited skill I can see the potential. Detail that would be hopelessly lost with with Jpegs is realatively easy to bring out.

A new PC and PS are in my future.
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  #7  
Old 07-31-2003, 11:05 AM
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Default Re: Why use RAW mode?

I agree with you regarding the necessity to use RAW in some circumstances, but I still don't think that it's necessary to use them all the time. For instance, if I'm pretty sure that I'm not going to have to mess around with my photos to bring out details in shadows, there's no point in using RAW. Also, although the 10D is capable of taking 3 sets of 3 photos per second, even in RAW mode. Once you fill the buffer, it takes longer to get the shots into the CF card. I could miss my next shot while I'm waiting. That for me is enough to not default to RAW.

I also have a 30GB PHD and a DVD writer, and 250GB of HD space, and I use them to the full. Thanks!
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