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Thursday
Nov202014

RAW vs JPEG: DIGITAL'S FIRST CONUNDRUM

Digital photography has returned to us complete control over our images. However, many of us ignore this option by shooting in JPEG mode. When we shoot JPEGs, our images are processed in our cameras by algorithms which do not know our photographic purposes or the circumstances under which we created our images. Also, after processing, these algorithms permanently deletes 7/8 of the data recorded by our cameras! Should our exposure, composition, focus, etc., not be precise, this will almost certainly preclude us from making quality image adjustments. However, if we shoot in RAW, we will always have the full, original image data with which to work. Thus, as processing software improves, and we become more skilled at using the software, we can reprocess our images with all the data our cameras captured. True, RAW processing involves a learning curve, but there are books explaining how to do this, including one in PDF format I wrote entitled An Introductory eGuide to Post Capture Digital Workflow (Or What the Heck Do I Do Now that I've Clicked the Shutter?!?) available on this website.

The following is an example of why I shoot RAW: A few years back, I bought a new lens and immediately went outside to test it. Unfortunately, I used a camera that was set to an exposure compensation of plus 5/3 stops! The resulting image was severely overexposed. However, because I shoot in RAW I was able to save this image, and Kevin Karlson selected it as one of my images for his coffee table photo book Visions. The before (left) and after (right; I also cropped this version) images are shown below. As always, the choice is yours. So, until next time, Shoot It! as often as you can.

 

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