What is RAW and why are more photographers shooting in it.
RAW files are un-processed data from an image sensor of a digital camera. This image is later transformed by the photographer on their PC by using post processing software. In many cases, RAW images can’t even be viewed on most computers without specialised software. All modern professional and most pro-consumer DSLR’s can shoot in RAW or JPEG.
What is JPEG
JPEG is a commonly used method of compression for photographic images. The RAW image is processed within the camera by the camera to generate a JPEG. Another way to put it is the camera makes the decisions on the picture based on your camera settings. JPEG’s can also be post processed but there is less control over the final image. All consumer digital cameras shoot in JPEG. There are several pocket cameras such as the Canon S90 that can shoot in both formats.
Three reasons to shoot in RAW
- Higher dynamic range. The camera can capture a slightly broader range of light from the shadows to the highlights than if you were shooting JPEGs.
- RAW gives the highest quality image. JPEGs are compressed images, and you lose some of the image quality. A RAW file gives you exactly what the sensor captured so that you can make your own decisions later on how to process the image.
- More control over your image. Processing RAW files means you have better control over exposure and white balance than with JPEG. Better highlight/shadow recovery and noise reduction are also good reasons to shoot in RAW.
Today’s photography is a process by which an original image is transformed into something beautiful and moving by the photographer. That post processing is a part the photographer’s artistic ability. When you purchase the photographer’s talents, you are paying for the photographer’s skills not only in capturing the image but also their skills in post processing the images. There are many photographers who are JPEG shooters but more of them are moving to RAW. – Peter