what's the point of shooting raw?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by 88888888, Feb 16, 2009.

  1. ayeying macrumors 601


    Dec 5, 2007
    Yay Area, CA
    raw is like a negative film. you have more control on how to edit that photo then with jpeg.

    raw also stores all the information captured by the imaging chip so no data is lost.
  2. sushi Moderator emeritus


    Jul 19, 2002
    I would say always shoot at the best quality and resolution since usually you cannot go back and recreate the original picture.

    You can always convert the RAW image to a JPG if you want a smaller file.
  3. 88888888 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    May 28, 2008
    hmm so raw= better picture quality than jpeg..?:confused:
  4. LittleCanonKid macrumors 6502

    Oct 22, 2008
    The tradeoff being that they take up way more space, and as a result you'll have a smaller buffer during continuous shooting and backing things up will take up some more time/space.

    I usually shoot jpeg unless there's a tricky lighting situation or I want to scrounge every detail possible. Or if I know I'll want to be playing around with editing later, which isn't usually that often.
  5. CrackedButter macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2003
    51st State of America
    But raw is not an image format, remember that.

    When you get a jpeg from the camera, the camera has done the processing. When you shoot raw you're letting the computer process the file to how you desire which then converts to jpeg.
  6. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    no. RAW is simply a recording of light hitting the sensor. you need some sort of software to decode it, like Aperture or Adobe Camera Raw. the difference between RAW and Jpeg is that all the light information is retained, while in Jpeg the camera processes the light and throws away whatever wasn't used. RAW lets you edit the photo without losing information, but at the cost of making you edit all of your photos.

    in summary, if you plan on editing your photos (beyond cropping and minor edits), it's best to shoot in RAW. otherwise, Jpeg is fine.
  7. 88888888 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    May 28, 2008
    hmm ok.Thanks. i think ill just shoot in jpeg for the time being. :)
  8. TheReef macrumors 68000


    Sep 30, 2007
    NSW, Australia.
    I tend to use RAW in tricky white balance and exposure situations such as sunrises and sunsets (and offering more flexibly with long exposures under these lighting conditions - I can buy an extra second at the expense of slight over exposure and underexpose the image in pp with better results).

    Trying to correct off white balance in JPEGs doesn't always give optimal results.
  9. Doylem macrumors 68040


    Dec 30, 2006
    Wherever I hang my hat...
    RAW, for me = more effort, greater control and the potential to get the most out of every image...
  10. bertpalmer macrumors 6502

    Apr 12, 2007
    No - RAW contains more information so that when you come to editing your images you have lots of options. RAW images come out 18% grey so they may will have less contrast and saturation than jpegs which are compressed file formats.

    If you have no intention of ever editing your images then shoot jpeg. Otherwise shoot RAW as you may want to come back to images to edit them at a later date. RAW does have large file sizes though. For my Canon 5DMKII they are about 25mb a file.

    On a 4GB card that is 125 shots. I have just had to order two 16GB cards :eek:
  11. 147798 Suspended

    Dec 29, 2007
    Not exactly. Raw gives you the POTENTIAL for better quality, if you learn how to develop it correctly. There is a learning curve which you may not want to take or may not be ready to take (you did say you were new).
  12. wheelhot macrumors 68020

    Nov 23, 2007
    Yup, once you start using and editing RAW, you will never want to shoot in lousy JPEG unless situation demands it. I sometime shoot for some event and although no one is paying me yet, I will soon be cause I guess better get some money even though little cause Im keeping all those picture for the future.

    I once took a photo of this dance competition, get back and was frustrated that my attempt in making the photo better is all lost due to I shoot in JPEG. It was a 6 hour event and I only got a 2GB SD Card so yea, you get the idea.

    Heck, I love RAW so much and it seems I will be the event photographer for my college club I end up buying 2x 4GB SDHC C6 card, I know its not the best card but hey I'm no pro yet so guess I wont be needing those really fast cards. But I have a question though, with now SD card supports 8GB, 16GB and some more bigger size in the future, can you use this on your DSLR? I bought 2 4GB instead of 1 8GB cause of fear that I wont be able to use the 8GB SD Card and the shop I bought to (they buy in bulk so they sell to the consumer cheaper, only downside is no testing) accept refunds if the product is broken.

    Yikes, I thought the 5D MKII is only 21mp, how the heck the file gets 25mb? Where do the extra 4mp come from? I thought RAW size depends on the max mp your camera have, meaning if you own a 10mp DSLR, your RAW file will be around that size.
  13. bertpalmer macrumors 6502

    Apr 12, 2007
    Yes - it is ONLY 21MP as you say...

    If you shoot a black image you might get a 21MB file but realistically they go up to 25MB and sometimes 26MB...
  14. Cliff3 macrumors 68000


    Nov 2, 2007
    SF Bay Area
    Raw = a less processed image than a jpeg. A raw file is a container for the data that was recorded by the camera's sensor. The format of the file is proprietary to each camera manufacturer. You need to use special software such as Adobe Camera Raw, Canon Digital Photo Professional, Nikon NX2, etc. to process the file. You have much greater latitude in adjusting a raw image in post processing than you do a jpeg. A jpeg from a camera is largely a final product using the settings you have specified in the camera's configuration for white balance, brightness, contrast, tone, hue, sharpening, color space, etc. Many of those attributes are not fixed at the point of capture and can be adjusted if the capture is saved as a raw file. Depending on the software you use (aka: workflow), processing a set of raw files from your camera may be little or no more work than processing a set of jpegs.

    I figure I've only got one opportunity for each capture, so I should record that image using the format that captures the most data and which gives me the greatest flexibility in subsequent processing. That format is raw.
  15. Kronie macrumors 6502a


    Dec 4, 2008
    Raw gives you more control over the image. Especially when it comes to exposure, white balance and sharpening. If you nail the exposure and the white balance then RAW is just an extra step you don't really need.

    That being said, I switched over to RAW last year and cant imagine it any other way! I love working with a file from the RAW forward. Of course I don't have to edit hundreds of files at a time so its not bad for me.:D:D
  16. fiercetiger224 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 27, 2004
    HAHA ONLY 21MP? Most cameras are now 12MP...I laughed when he said that. :D

    RAW filesizes on the 5D Mark II sound about right. My old XTi had RAW filesizes of around 10MB, while the 5DII is a little more than twice the filesize. I've heard the 50D has around the same filesizes as the 5DII, which I find kind of weird...Since it has 15MP...Ahh, well maybe Canon has something special with RAW. :rolleyes:

    That being said, I LOVE my 5DII. It takes such beautiful pictures...
  17. leandroc76 macrumors regular

    Oct 27, 2003
    This would have been my exact reply, other than the fact I've been shooting RAW since I got my first DSLR, the D70!
  18. wheelhot macrumors 68020

    Nov 23, 2007
    Wow, thats interesting, but too bad 50D image quality does not hold up to Nikon D300 :( .

    Would love to try a 5D MKII :(
  19. Abraxsis macrumors 6502


    Sep 23, 2003
    Bad move, always use smaller cards. You'll only have to lose/corrupt 16GB of data once to realize this. Personally, I never use anything larger than 4GB cards. Preferably only 2 GB cards. With Sandisk Ultra II 4 and 2 GB cards being less than 20 bucks there is no need to move towards the larger cards. I bought four Sandisk Ultra II 4 giggers at Best Buy 3 weeks ago for 14.99 each.

    Also, never "fill" a card up. Each images isn't a set number of MB so the amount left shown on the camera is just an estimate. A write failure at the end of a card has the chance of corrupting all the data on it. I never shoot beyond 10 remaining images to ensure the data integrity.
  20. bertpalmer macrumors 6502

    Apr 12, 2007
    I know but I've never had any problems and am careful with my cards. I think I can only get a few hundred images on these anyway so it isn't as bad as it sounds. 2GB cards I get about 50 images and 4 GB aren't much better. Maybe I should have gone for 8GB but as they were roughly the same price as 16GB I went with the high capacity. Card reliability is a lot better than it used to be.
  21. fiercetiger224 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 27, 2004
    Hmm, I think the 50D is on par with the D300, ONLY if you're using the best optics though. This is rather true for any camera. 50Ds noise is a little noisier, obviously due to the megapixel increase. Otherwise, if Canon did put it at 12MP like the D300, it'd probably be nearly equal in performance.

    And the 5DII is amazing! The video is even more amazing. The ISO performance on this camera is just astonishing at 21MP! :D
  22. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    For many people there is no advantage. If you can get the shot you need using JPG then you are better off doing that.

    RAW is best if you know you will need to adjust the image in post processing. If you are planing to do some heavy Photoshop work or if the lighting is "tricky" and you don't think you can nail it dead on or the contrast is to high then RAW allows you to adjust it later when you have lots of time.

    In the end you will have a JPG image the difference is where the raw --> jpg conversion is done. Either in the camera or later on the computer. Shooting raw allows you more control over the raw-->jpg converson process.

    Thing of it this way. Shooting jpg is like shooting slide film. What you get is what you get. There is no way to do much "magic" in the darkroom. But RAW is like shooting negatives, you get a change to correct the image when it is printed.
  23. wheelhot macrumors 68020

    Nov 23, 2007
    Wow, great tip. Glad I bought 2 4GB SD Card, one of my reason was actually cause I never heard photographers say they use 8GB SD card. Guess there is a reason for that but bertpalmer say is not wrong also, considering that now the image size is bigger, 4 GB might not be that ideal anymore compared to 10mp DSLRs.

    Oh right, totally forgot that the 50D has higher mp count. But seriously, I dont see the point of kept increasing mp for each iteration and boost the ISO more if image quality still suffers from noise. Fix noise first then only boost mp, that what I will do rather then keep boosting mp and get unusable high ISO images, this applies greatly to APS-C sensor DSLRs

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