|Cat in the garden|
I have from time to mention the RAW format on this page short - eg in connection with the ISO value and my base article about image editing. I would now like to devote a separate post, where I explain all relevant benefits and the drawbacks that arise when shooting with the RAW format this topic. The aim of the paper is to obtain an answer to the following question: "Is it worth it for me to photograph photos in RAW format?"
RAW format - what is it all about?
Many digital cameras (especially smaller compact cameras, but SLR models), the images are by default sent already before saving by an internal image processor for processing. There are adapted, inter alia, sharpness, contrast and brightness, saturation is increased slightly and eventually removed existing image noise. The thus created image is stored in compressed form in the memory card.
When shooting in RAW format this processing step is omitted. The data is stored unedited and uncompressed completely "raw" on the memory card. The images are not saved in JPG format, but in a specific data format, which is depending on the manufacturer to another (eg Canon uses the file extension .CR2). The RAW format contains all image information in unedited form, as it has been recorded by the sensor of the camera. The files can be using common programs such as Edit Photoshop Elements or Lightroom. Many camera manufacturers provide a separate but also software available (RAW converter) to read and edit the RAW formats.
Benefits of the RAW format
The full control. Who attaches great importance to an extensive image editing and would like to have this full flexibility, which will be very happy with the RAW format in perpetuity. Because, as already mentioned, in this raw data format, the image is stored completely unedited on the memory card. Thus one can take from scratch all rework to 100% according to its own preferences and usage in attack. With a solid post tool that also RAW files supported (eg Lightroom) can be all important processing steps take into their own hands - from the noise reduction over exposure compensation, contrast, saturation to the lens corrections and the sharpening.
It can be reworked by the camera JPEGs produced - but these were already processed by the camera (and this is usually not too tight). Renewed editing these files may adversely affect the image quality. For example, a re-sharpening quickly pull unsightly artifacts by itself and a further noise reduction deprives the image more details than by the noise reduction of the camera are anyway already been lost. Here you are with RAW on the safe side, because you have a completely unprocessed image in front of him.
Very high dynamic range
In addition, the JPG files are missing not only by the noise reduction of the camera image information already. The compression wears her Rest of help. Here it is all about the bright and dark areas in the image and the ways to correct them in the post. That's JPEG images only to a limited extent possible because these files have already been removed from the camera through the compression important image information. If you have, for example, by slight overexposure a white or "blown-out" heaven, this can be much more generous when restore RAW format. -Lost image information are once again to see - the clouds in previously white / overexposed sky come to light (see example image below) by the correction again. Exactly how you can proceed to rauszuholen from the RAW shooting, the maximum dynamics, eg described vividly among the practical tips in this Traumflieger articles. This works with JPEGs usually not - here bright image areas remain ausgefressen. But there are also the dynamic range of the RAW format limitations. Who much too overexposed or underexposed, comes here to the limits of the RAW format.
Disadvantages of RAW format
The thing with the file size. RAW files take up much space. While JPGs claim 3-8 megabytes, depending on the resolution of the camera, RAW files do not come rarely to 30-40 MB per image. That has an impact on many facets of photography. Firstly, the camera takes more time to write the photos on the SD card (or CF card). That has an impact on the speed and duration of the continuous shooting mode. About a greater period of time will produce multiple images per second when shooting in RAW format difficult, even with high-speed memory card. This is particularly annoying for photographers who need to scan fast moving subjects (eg sports photography). The sequence mode is much faster when shooting JPEGs.
In addition, you need for RAW files quite simply more space - both on the memory card in the camera as well as later when editing on a computer. Who wants much photographed and hoard tens 1000 RAW files on his hard drive, should previously be aware, the need to invest in a large enough hard drive. Here I recommend drives from 1 terabyte of storage upwards. The situation is similar with the amount of RAM. I remember, how long did it take on my old system with 4GB RAM, up Lightroom has created the preview for this or that processing. 8GB are on contemporary systems today the minimum.
All you have to do by yourself
If you shoot in RAW format, you have to be aware that an unprocessed image, so to speak, replaced by a digital negative. This has its advantages as mentioned, if you want to implement all aspects of image processing according to their own ideas of high quality. This advantage can quickly turn into a disadvantage and become a burden when looking for image processing has little left and much prefer to concentrate on the real pictures with the camera. In this case, you shoot with the use of the RAW format over the top and has at the end of the ton to edit raw data in the worst case on his computer, but not the slightest desire this all. The problem is that each RAW image has to be necessarily edited. Because in comparison with the already processed by the camera JPEGs, the raw images look rather too faint, fuzzy and dull. It's obvious - because the camera has left the image alone and as it came from the sensor is stored in the memory card.
Conclusions - for whom it is worth the RAW format?
To put it short and concise to the point: If you like to edit his photos with high standards and great flexibility on computers that want to get the best possible quality of his pictures, has ample storage resources, and does not rely on uncompromising fast continuous shooting, the accesses the RAW format.
Who can do with photo editing not much or rather a lot of time with the camera and want to spend as little as possible on the computer screen time, the image processing should leave his camera. Even with photographic disciplines in which a lightning-fast continuous shooting mode is a basic requirement, makes the JPG format much more sense.