Camera Talk RAW vs JPEG processing 1 Saturday, May 23, 2009

laksa

When switching to a digital camera with RAW file output capabilities, many people are faced with the problem of deciding which workflow processing to adopt. Should it be simple and straight forward JPEG processing or is RAW the better way to go ?

There are various pros and cons of each approach to be discussed here.

Firt off, RAW format is the camera manufacturer's closet attempt at producing a digital negative. As such it is big in size and frequently requires proprietary software to derive the utmost benefit. Each manufacturer has it's own way of encoding the RAW format, which eventually will be converted to JPEG for practical use. So why the additional step of producing and processing a RAW file when the JPEG output file is the most useful format ?

Well, it turns out that there are several advantages to processing a RAW file.

Generally it gives 1 to 2 stops more lattitude when you want to enhance the photo. This means a lot of precious photo details are captured in the RAW format compared to JPEG format.

So if you find yourself processing your photos or enhancing them most of the time, then it makes sense to shoot in RAW and produce a RAW file. You will have more room to make the corrections you need.

In addition to more data available, if you shoot in RAW you have the ability to change certain camera settings after the event. Such settings incluse, exposure control, white balance settings and picture style.

So if you want to free yourself from worrying about wrong White Balance selection, or incorrect picture style used at the point of shooting and instead devote attention to other aspects such as aperture, lighting and focus, then it is another good reason to shoot in RAW.

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