RAW Conversion

First thing, do you shoot in RAW ?!! No?! So you better start right now!!!

A RAW image is the uncompressed image that your camera can get as opposed to shooting in JPEG, this format being compressed and you automatically get some cut in quality.

PROS:

  • you get an image with all the data your camera see at the moment of the shot, UNCOMPRESSED
  • it’s the Heaven of computer editing ground because you get to touch all the “depths” of the image

CONS:

  • Really big file size, you need to bring more memory cards with you
  • Depending on your camera and memory card, writing/reading can be slow

To see what i mean, shoot a series of pictures on both JPEG and RAW (shoot jpeg, switch to raw, shoot raw or simply set your camera to record JPEG+RAW on the same shot) and compare the images on your favorite photo management software.

In some cases, there will be NO or almost no difference, some say that if you don’t make big prints or you don’t need heavy photo editing you don’t need to shoot RAW but trust me, do some editing/color correction on a RAW and then on a JPEG….huh?! see the difference?! It’s like getting your car tuned by a mechanic or by the ol’ granny crossing the street.

ISSUE: One issue that i found is that for example on my Nikon D80, the preview on the LCD had nothing to do with the RAW image opened on the computer. The problem is because cameras do something a little weird, what you see on the LCD of your camera is the JPEG preview of your RAW image. This is not a really big problem because when you want to edit your RAW image, remember, you have ALL the information in an unaltered and uncompressed state.

OPTIONAL: You can download your Camera Color Profile and input that in your RAW conversion utility, a quick search on Google can fix you in no time.

RAW Conversion software: there are many Raw Conversion software out there that run on Linux but from what i’ve tested i find the good ol’ UFRaw or anything that uses the ufraw/dcraw engine to the be the best.

The one i use is RAWTherapee (dcraw engine)

Conclusion:

  • shoot in RAW….it’s fuuuuun! 🙂
  • buy more memory cards if necessary
  • get your camera profile on the internet
  • experiment with different RAW conversion software and see which works for you best. (I recommend UFRaw)
  • SCIENCE FACT: RAW has more information then JPEG
  • test editing a JPEG and a RAW and try to understand and see for yourself the difference and the benefits of shooting RAW.
  • have fun
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