To Use RAW or Not

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by PPAAUULL, Jul 9, 2007.

  1. PPAAUULL

    PPAAUULL TPF Noob!

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    Hey people,
    I have been reading in my photography books the past couple of days about the RAW format and I was wondering should I be using RAW format? I am getting used to processing my photos after the fact of taking them (I used to just think they should turn out looking great lol) and I was wondering if I do put them in RAW format will it be easier and better when fixing them up and such?

    Thanks for the help!
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Maybe the question should be be...Why wouldn't you use RAW?

    The only advantages to shooting JPEG, that I see...are the smaller file size and a slightly easier work flow. In most all other aspects, RAW is better.

    One thing I do recommend though, is a good 'workflow' software. I have shot RAW almost exclusively since getting RAW Shooter Essentials.

    Here is an article titled 'Why Raw?'
     
  3. EOS_JD

    EOS_JD TPF Noob!

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    Lightroom has made my RAW workflow very fast. A superb program that helps you get the best image from your RAW files. All you need do then is import to photoshop and do any creative tweaks you think it needs.

    RAW always.....
     
  4. PPAAUULL

    PPAAUULL TPF Noob!

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    But compared to jpeg is the image tweaking in photoshop better? Do you end up with a better product at the end?
     
  5. EOS_JD

    EOS_JD TPF Noob!

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    You can better recover things like over/under exposure, you can control contrast, saturation better, you have total control over how you process the image.

    You can then still use photoshop to add blur whatever.......

    To be fair there's not a massive difference for most images but if you are shooting professionally or are a serious amatuer RAW is essential.
     
  6. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    The short answer is yes.

    Will it be a big difference? or even noticeable? Not always.

    If image quality is important...then it makes sense to use the highest quality possible and keep that quality with a non-destructive workflow. JPEG is a compression format, so every time you create or save a JPEG, you are further compressing the data and loosing something.

    Also, RAW is more flexible in terms of editing. You can recover more shadow or highlight detail from a RAW file. With RAW, you don't have to worry about the White Balance because you can adjust it without damaging the image.
     
  7. PPAAUULL

    PPAAUULL TPF Noob!

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    Sweet. I think I will try using RAW then. It might help a bit with my pictures.
     
  8. kml

    kml TPF Noob!

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    Yes, you do end up with a better or more accurate product.

    JPG uses compression, and if you have any imperfections, they will be incorporated into the image and cannot be corrected.

    RAW uses no compression - just pure information recorded by the sensor and any imperfections can usually be fixed in photoshop.

    I tend to use JPG for everyday shots, but RAW for the ones that really matter.

    Most cameras these day allow you to shoot RAW and JPG together, each making their own file on the flash card. Perhaps shooting that way for a bit and comparing the two files in photoshop will allow you to see the difference.

    Just hope you have a large enough flash card - they take up a lot of room. Good luck!
     
  9. PPAAUULL

    PPAAUULL TPF Noob!

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    What would you suggest for a RAW converter, or what ever you call the program where you set all the things that the camera would normally set?
     
  10. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Well, there is the software that came with your camera. Photoshop has a built-in program called Adobe Camera RAW. RAW Shooter Essentials, is pretty good but it was bought out by Adobe.

    Adobe Lightroom is probably one of the best. If you have a Mac, then Aperture might be a good option.
     
  11. PPAAUULL

    PPAAUULL TPF Noob!

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    Just wanted to know but my camera saves the Raws as .NEF files. that is still raw or no? and what program can I use to open it or convert it to the. RAW that photoshop can open?
     
  12. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    YES...RAW is a generic term. .NEF is Nikon's file extension for RAW files.
     

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