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Photography Question 
Dan C.
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/31/2005

RAW mode

I'm just curious how many of you folks use raw mode.

My camera doesn't have a photoshop plugin for raw, but does have a conversion utility that converts the 10 meg raw file into a 30 meg tiff.

It's hard to do an effective comparison between raw and compressed jpeg because my raws are 3648x2736 and the jpegs compressed (by the camera) are 2592x1944. Scaling either up or down in photoshop to do a matching comparison artificially decreases or increases the resolution, so I'm not sure the compare is accurate.

There does seem to be a little less noise in my raw images.

I'm just curious how many people use raw, and for what type of photography.

Any other thoughts about raw are welcome.


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1/20/2006 9:29:53 AM

Kip T. Berger
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/20/2002
  Hi Dan,
Here's a link I got from Corel site for a free RAW utility download. Specs listed at the site :

Hopefully this will help you.

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1/20/2006 10:35:43 AM

Dan C.
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/31/2005
  Hi, Kip. How are you?

Thanks for your reply. However, I think you may have misunderstood my post. I can convert RAW just fine. I was just asking about RAW mode opinions of other people, if they use it, if they have done any compares to the compressed modes, etc.

Do you use RAW mode?


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1/20/2006 11:17:44 AM

Pete H
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/9/2005
  Hi Dan,

Many people shoot RAW for many reasons.
Those who shoot RAW are in a minority.
..and for good reason..It is NOT easy to master and usually confuses most.

Probably the two top reasons to shoot RAW are this:

1) The image data is unmolested by any processing algorithm..JPEG commpresses, RAW does not.

2) If you do any extensive post editing, RAW is the way to go.
RAW has 12bits of data..JPEG has 8.
Therefor you have MUCH more data, color, sharpness, contrast etc...

Boiled down, if you have more data to work with from the start, you will not suffer as much image degradation as compared to JPEG...especially if you post process a lot.

There are people who swear by RAW (Me included), and there are those who swear at it! LOL

If you are happy with your JPEGS, stay with them.
RAW is highly misunderstood, and the battles rage on.
Unless you have a good editor to work with RAW, I would not try it.
RAW generally requires "tweaks" to get what you want, and to many it is of great value.

That was a very non-technical description of RAW.
If you need more, there is a plethora of info on the technicalities of shooting RAW.


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1/20/2006 4:17:28 PM

Dan C.
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/31/2005

Thanks for taking the time. I looked at your gallery. Absolutely love White Out - my kind of photography.

Yes, I had been studying RAW. My camera is a new model, so no editors/plugins are available yet to edit the RAW image directly. However, it did come with a utility to convert the images to an uncompressed TIFF format which, if I remember correctly, is a lossless algorithm.

I'm not sure why people would be confused by it. When pulled into quality editors, to me it's just another file format, but with larger file sizes.

I've conducted extensive comparison tests and there is a difference. When examining some areas of a shot, differences are hard to notice. However, in other areas less noise and better resolution is readily evident. It's not dramatic, but noticable.

I guess I was just curious how many people use it, and for what type of photography. I wouldn't use it at a basketball game where speed and flexibility is needed. However, if shooting that once-in-a-lifetime scenic, to me squeezing 3% more resolution and 5% less noise out of a shot is worth it.

I think the biggest drawback to me is the filesizes. It's over 4x the size, so there's less room on the card. It means when I'm hiking to take pictures I just can't play around with bracketing and other things as much. And when you hike to the top of the mountain and witness a ufo land and you're out of memory... well, need I say more? :-)

Thanks for your reply,

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1/20/2006 7:21:33 PM

Brendan Knell
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/17/2005
  Dan, I would like to shoot RAW, but before I do, I need a faster/bigger card. Also, I think that the reason that some people are confused by RAW is because there is no in camera processing. So I think it's the post-processing that's confusing people.

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1/20/2006 7:53:41 PM

Daniel Diaz
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/20/2005
  Hi Dan, I also shoot only in RAW, the difference is there in Sharpness and overall quality. It is the only way to go if you truly want to utilize the full power of your camera.

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1/20/2006 8:06:16 PM

Stan Lubach
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/1/2005
  Dan, I've been shooting exclusively RAW. For me two of the biggest advantages are how easy it makes it to adjust exposure bias and white balance. Those two things are difficult to change ( for me, at least ) once the settings have been applied and the file written out to a standard image format. And working with RAW, the settings are written out to a separate file and not the RAW file itself. This way the RAW file really is like a digital negative.

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1/20/2006 8:27:28 PM

Craig m. Zacarelli
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/3/2005
  cant really compare a RAW file to a JPEG. the RAW file is just that, a RAW file, the JPEG has been, not only COMPRESSED but its been sharpened, colors are saturated, WB is set...its basically "Done" straight out of the camera... a RAW file still needs to be processed..thats what makes working in RAW so great..YOU decide what the final pic will look like, not the camera..and if you shoot with a DSLR, chances are, the JPEG isnt the best looking one on the block! Yeah, my advice, DONT BUY A DSLR IF YOURE JUST GONNA SHOOT JPEG! its allot better shooting RAW and editing the file later in PS. But thats just MY opinion

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1/21/2006 4:09:21 AM

Donna R. Moratelli
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/23/2000
  Hello Dan,I have NEVER shot anything other than RAW with the exception of doing it by mistake after my camera was repaired and the settings were changed. There is a HUGE difference.I would never shoot a jpg.
I shoot for stock and can't have any compression in the images at all.That's why I started with Raw to begin with.
It's like comparing a 200ISO print to a 50 ISO slide in my opinion.

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1/21/2006 6:28:28 AM

Terry  R. Hatfield
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/4/2003
  All My Images Are Made In Raw, The In Camera Processing Isnt Always What You Had In Mind For A Particular Image,You Have Much More Control Of The Final Outcome Dan..

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1/21/2006 7:23:05 AM

Maverick Creatives
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/1/2004
  I also shoot exclusively in RAW. Even with careful and correct meter readings I don't want to take a chance.
Raw is all about post-production.
I don't seperate my Camera from my computer when I think of my photography.
It's digital, it's a package, a system.
without your computer just how valuable is your digital camera?
You may as well get the best result using all the skill you can muster.

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1/21/2006 7:33:29 AM

David Earls   I came to photography about two years ago with a Nikon 5700. I have been involved with digital graphics for over ten years, and was familiar with some of the problems with JPEG and TIKK. So I adopted RAW and have never looked back.

The plusses of RAW are simple: you get all the data your captured. This gives you more control over the final image than having your camera process into TIFF or JPEG.

Control is good, but comes at a cost. First off, you have to process every image you capture. You can't take RAW images to a lab and get them printed without paying them to convert them.

Second, you have to know what you're doing with your image editor. Having Photoshop is like having one of Barry Bonds' baseball bats: you have to hit the homer yourself, the bat won't do it for you.

In short, when you take on RAW, you steepen your learning curve. This means more early disappointments than shooting TIFF or JPEG.

So whether to "shoot in the RAW" (and its attendant jokes) depends on what you shoot and how much time you want to spend fussing with it.

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1/21/2006 9:04:52 AM

Mark Hemsworth
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/29/2003
  dan, I am new to RAW myself after upgrading to a camera the produces Raw images, and I can already see the benefits in both quality over the JPG and post shoot editing in photoshop.
you say you have a new camera but unless I missed it you never said what model, maybe that information might help someone advise you more.

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7/12/2006 2:43:34 PM

Dan C.
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/31/2005
  Hey, Mark. Welcome to the raw world.

I appreciate your offer for help. However, the thread is from back in January. At that time I was shooting with a fuji, but have since purchased a 20D and a 30D. I've pretty well managed to get lots of experience with raw since then, and am shooting exclusively in raw with the canons.


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7/12/2006 3:08:28 PM

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