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Photography Tip 2: Got RAW? Shoot RAW! E-mail
Written by Dean Neitman   
Sunday, 24 October 2010 23:00
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Many people have become complacent with shooting .jpg images with their camera which is fine. After all, this is the format that is widely found in most cameras whether they are of the cheaper point-and-shoot variety or the more expensive and larger DSLR's. Jpg's are also the common format we see sent over email and on the web so it makes sense that many people rely just on this format.

However, if your camera has the ability to shoot RAW and you have a program on your computer to correct and use RAW images, then I highly suggest you take advantage of the power of RAW photos. RAW is normally a 16-bit format which means it has more color information than what is available on jpg's which are only 8-bit in nature.

Why is having 16-bit file important if the final intended file format is only 8-bit? The reason, more information in that RAW file. Having more color information to work with allows us a little more control over the image when working it post processing. Also, if you happen to be lucky enough to have a printer that supports 16-bit images, you will get better transitions in your gradients with less banding and such if you keep your image in the 16-bit format.

The biggest draw for myself to shooting RAW is it allows me to adjust exposure nearly one f-stop each way on my images without much distortion or added noise. Many times, I find a few shots that I just didn't get a good exposure for one reason or another. I also find that I can recover minor blown out highlights easier in RAW which is also another nice reason.

I was trained many years ago to process 8-bit images such as .jpgs and .tiffs but now days, I would much rather adjust my images in the 16-bit realm because of the additional control and room for error. Now I work everything in RAW first... then later I export to .jpg for posting on the internet or sharing with friends and family. I always keep that RAW image back for times when I might want a different look or make more adjustments. I always make my copies from the RAW image.

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Dean Neitman Written on Sunday, 24 October 2010 23:00 by Dean Neitman

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