What are the benefits of RAW?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Glimmerman, Oct 4, 2006.

  1. Glimmerman

    Glimmerman TPF Noob!

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    I know my Nikon D80 has RAW, and a couple different JPG formats to choose from.

    For post-processing, what are the advantages of RAW over JPG?

    I have Photoshop CS2 but just learning how to use it.
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    Wow, you are full of questions today. :D

    Try a search of the forum...this has been discussed many times. Also, check this web site
     
  3. Glimmerman

    Glimmerman TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the link.
     
  4. Go RAW. It is an extra step, but gives you a lot more control. Basically your camera is a little computer. It captures the image, then applies a lot of "fixes" such as white balance, sharpness, exposure settings, etc. blah ad nauseum, and then saves your file into a tiny compressed jpeg. RAW is literally raw data. You can make your adjustments later at home, save the file to jpeg (or .psd or .tiff or .dng or whatever) and STILL have the original file available. Think of it as a negative, but even better. You'll be able to correct a lot of mistakes you might make while shooting, and go back to a favorite image months or years later as your skills improve and tastes change.
     
  5. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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  6. Glimmerman

    Glimmerman TPF Noob!

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    Yeah, the link above was great, went into lots of detail.

    For taking "serious" pictures I will definately go RAW, and convert them en-mass in Photoshop. If I want to print a large size like 8x10 or bigger I will convert the RAW more carefully.

    But for day-to-day pictures that I want to be able to give to other people quickly, and will only be printed at 4x6, JPG should be fine.

    Now, there are 3 levels of JPG in my D80, any suggestions which of these to use?
     
  7. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    I would use the highest quality you can, because you can't forsee while taking a picture, what you are going to do with it. It may be a "day-to-day" picture, that ends up being the greatest photo you've ever taken. Do you want a low res jpg?

    I've heard this quote before and it really sums it up for me.

    "Memory is cheap, but memories are priceless".
     
  8. Glimmerman

    Glimmerman TPF Noob!

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    Very true.

    Can any cameras do both at the same time? Store the RAW, and make a JPG? That would be sweet.
     
  9. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    Yes, most can shoot raw + jpeg, and some will allow you to set the quality of the jpeg to a lower quality, which would just be a quick proof.
     
  10. Glimmerman

    Glimmerman TPF Noob!

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    Cool, I just checked the D80, and it can shoot in RAW + user defined JPG.

    That is what I will do then, I will have a useable photo and the "negative".
     
  11. Big Mike

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

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    I've done that...but it eats up plenty of memory space. It only takes a few seconds to turn a RAW file into a JPEG.
     
  12. Yeah, and toggling bakc and orth between jpeg and raw has proven to be recipe for disappointment in my case. I always forget to switch over, so either I'm stuck processing pics that aren't that important to me, or stuck with jpegs when I thought I was doing some great creative work.

    Just shoot raw, it's one less thing to think about....
     

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