|The importance of camera RAW|
|Written by L. M. Lloyd|
|Monday, 26 January 2009 18:34|
A friend of mine recently got a new camera, and I am having a hard time really making clear the importance of shooting in RAW mode to him. So, I decided to put up a few photos to illustrate my point. In all of these photos, nothing has been changed but settings in the RAW translation to Photoshop. Of course, most of these look awful, but that is the point.
These are all very simple modifications of the RAW file, but you can see how very different they all look. However, despite how different they look, these are all the exact same file. There has not been a single destructive edit made to any of the images you see, just changes to the metadata in the RAW file. At any point, you could revert the file right back to the "As Shot" settings, and get back to square one without losing anything. What is important here is that these are not the product of Photoshop manipulation, they are the result of manipulating how the information was extracted from the RAW file. Yes, a lot of this could be done to a JPEG in Photoshop, but the difference is that rather than post-processing the 8-bit information of the image file in Photoshop, you are actually changing how your computer reads in the 12-bit (or 14-bit, or whatever your sensor captures) data dumped directly from your sensor. It opens up possibilities that quite frankly aren't possible with JPEG files.
With a JPEG, you could of course change your color balances, or any of these other transformations, but only within the bounds of the 8-bit information contained in the JPEG file. Whether you, or your camera ,are handling the translation from RAW sensor data to RGB colorspace, there will be information thrown away and lost. With JPEG though, that information is gone forever. When shooting RAW, all of it is still there, and you can go back and get it when you make your own conversion. It can make a huge difference to the final quality of the image, and I honestly think it is a huge mistake for anyone with a digital camera to ignore this capability.
|Last Updated ( Thursday, 29 January 2009 05:24 )|