Raw file issues!!


TPF Noob!
Dec 21, 2007
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Hi I have only recently started shooting in raw (and jpeg fine). I came highly recommended to me to use raw as i was told my shots would be much greater and the colour ranges fantastic etc. I have only found that my fine JPEG files are great, but the raw files do not seem so great. The colours are mostly ugly and they are usually very grainy.... I was advised to try using different programs, but this does not seem to help at all. I have a mac and have used Lightroom, CS2 and Iphoto (the program that comes with the mac) My camera is Nikon D80. If anyone can help it would be great!! I am feeling soooo frusterated!!! Thanks!!! Liz
Welcome to the forum.

You have to understand that when you shoot in JPEG mode, the camera applies the sharpness, saturation & color balance etc. settings to the image. RAW files do not do that. So at first glance, a JPEG file will usually look better.

However, the problem with the JPEG files, is that those settings are applied to the image and locked in. Then the whole image is compressed and some data is lost.

When you shoot RAW, you have the option to change those settings before they are locked into the image. The RAW image is not compressed in any way.

To use an analogy, if I may....shooting JPEG might be like making a cake with a store bought cake mix. Shooting RAW is more like making a cake from scratch. You have much greater control over the process and if you know what you are doing, you should be able to come up with a superior end product.
Mike, this is the best analogy I have seen on this topic. usually it's put as the Raw file is like negative with all available info, and jpeg is like a print from a one hour kiosk. The assumption there is the negative will be processed perfect every time, and we know that ain't necessarily so. Your description is so clear and simply said while getting the point across as well as any I've seen. Thanks for your clarity and brevity.

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