'raw' mode - whats it for?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by beastman, Oct 13, 2008.

  1. beastman

    beastman TPF Noob!

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    hello all, first post here.

    ive read a few posts mentioning raw mode so you can alter the image afterwards, but you can do that in photoshop with the normal jpg pictures. what are the advantages of using raw mode?
     
  2. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    RAW will give you a little more room for error than JPG.

    Also, any changes you make to a RAW are non-dectructive.

    There are a ton of threads on here about this... Do a little searching and after that if you have questions, ask them here.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2008
  3. TBAM

    TBAM TPF Noob!

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    Just to satisfy your curiosity and give you an answer.

    JPEG is an already compressed image format with all of your camera's software features already applied i.e. softness/sharpness, contrast, white balance etc.

    Any adjusting you do in photoshop is destructive as you are adjusting settings over already adjusted settings, if you get my meaning.

    Wheras, in RAW. You get the photo without any software alterations, and you apply the alterations yourself to get the desired result. The RAW file is also lossless, in that it has not been compressed. There should be no artifacts, and you will generally have a clearer image.

    If you knew anything about JPEG images, you would know that they are a compressed image format. The more you edit, save, open, edit, save, open, edit, save, the worse the image gets as it is continuously getting compressed upon compressions. The image (if opened and edited enough times) will eventuall become close to unreadable.

    Think of RAW as the image's original and true character, and JPEG as the first step in that degradation of compression.

    The first step isn't too bad, but when you want complete control, and perfect images, it is a great benefit to have an uncorrupted photo.

    Despite the godly nature of Photoshop, there is only so much you can polish a turd.
     
  4. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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  5. maulrat

    maulrat TPF Noob!

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    If you're not shooting in RAW, you might as well go back to a Point and Shoot.
     
  6. TBAM

    TBAM TPF Noob!

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    I wouldn't say that.

    It depends on what you want to do. For professional shoots definately. However if i'm just out and about and am confident in my settings, high quality JPEG is more than enough. There's no point doing the work on your camera, then doing the work again on the computer for random shots.

    If what you said was true, then all dSLRs would not give you all of the software options on the camera, and nobody here would say "You shot in the wrong white balance" they'd say "go back to your Raw and adjust the white balance".

    There are advantages to both RAW and JPEG, however RAW provides more customisation, and potential problem solving solutions than JPEG. That does not make JPEG obsolete however.
     
  7. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    hmm not really.
    The way I say is this: RAW require editing and an understanding of basic editing processes and how to use them. Without this you will get worse results than with JPEG - so I recomend people shoot in JPEG or RAW+JPEG first until they are confidant with basic editing processes: that is
    White balance, sharpening, noise removal, contrast, saturation, brightness, levels (auto levels is fine, but try to read a little more as basic manipulation of levels can help when auto fails to give a good result), a smattering of understanding of curves

    with those understood the user can progress to using RAW and gain the advantage of having greater control over there key elements, rather than letting the camera perform many on the photo first (JPEG)
     
  8. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    Use the forum search for "raw". There should be a million in depth threads. I answered on the other day...

    A raw file is the data straight off the sensor, or at least as straight as we can get it. All digital cameras shoot raw files all the time. Raw files are like exposed but unprocessed film; the photo is there, but we can't see it yet. To be viewed it must be processed into a jpeg, tif, psd, gif, etc... If you have your camera set to jpeg that processing is started with the processing software in the camera; some data is changed or deleted. If you have your camera set to raw it gives you all of the original data. This gives you the option to use more sophisticated processing software such as Adobe or Gimp, and start with all of the original data. Almost anything has more options than what's available in-camera (at least for now). If you are getting what you need out of the in-camera software I see nothing wrong with setting the camera to jpeg. I like having more options, so I keep mine set to raw.
     
  9. maulrat

    maulrat TPF Noob!

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    Point taken, TBAM and Overread.

    I have seen some people who own a nice DSLRs (like a D80) yet have no clue how better their photos could be if they shot in RAW and spend a couple of minutes processing the photo. Some people just don't mind throwing money at camera thinking it will do all the work for them. They are also the people I find shooting exclusively in fully auto modes not wanting or caring to learn what more their camera can produce. It's their money and in the end, they can do what they want. And that's cool with me. Shooting JPG for convenience is just one of the reasons I carry around a P&S.
     
  10. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I usually tell people "shoot until JPEG until the decision the camera makes on white balance, exposure, sharpness, etc. ticks you off... then switch to RAW."

    If you wind up not being super picky, then JPEG may well be fine for you and you really needn't trouble yourself with RAW. RAW is quite a bit of work to get the hang of, and like a lot of things with DSLRs, can cause you to ruin more pictures initially and frustrate the heck out of you. (well, ruin in processing anyway)

    For the record, I shoot 100% raw.
     
  11. mrodgers

    mrodgers No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Hmm, where was that thread titled, "Are all photographers snobs?"

    For the record, I shoot in 100% jpeg, and I use what the photographer snobs would consider a point and shoot. I also shoot that point and shoot in 80% full manual....
     
  12. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    ...oh boy... here we go...
     

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