Why it is Best to Take Photos in RAW Format?
After years of photographing in JPEG format, I have switched to RAW after constant persuading by my husband James. He had been shooting RAW since he started using his Panasonic GX85 mirrorless camera.
I, on the other hand, didn't even bother about that but when I realize there's a huge difference between shooting RAW and just plain JPEG, I decided to keep it RAW as well.
While the decision still depends on the person behind the camera, let me share the basic reasons why I myself took the leap of switching to RAW.
WHAT IS RAW IMAGE FORMAT?
RAW is a file format that captures all image data recorded by the sensor when you take a photo.
- Information from photographyconcentrate
Trivia: Most camera devices provide the option to take RAW image format. You will have to check the manual to find out how to do so because most of the time, the manufacturer would just default it to generate JPEG.
Depending on your camera unit, the file extension would be different from the other cameras. Panasonic GX85 creates RW2 while my Sony NEX-5R camera has ARW while our old Nikon D5300 has NEF. See, they differ depending on the brand and the unit model as well.
WHAT IS JPEG IMAGE FORMAT?
A JPEG file is an image saved in a compressed graphics format standardized by the Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG).
Information reference: fileinfo
File extensions for this type of image file are JPG or JPEG which is how most camera photos generate.
ADVANTAGES VS DISADVANTAGES OF SHOOTING RAW
Allow me to share and weigh out the differences and possible advantages and at the same time the disadvantages because the quality of the image relies as well on the type of image you are producing with your camera.
Note however that I am not an expert in this but so far these have been the subjects that I also had considered before I finally decided I will just use RAW.
Image Details Recovery
Let me start with the main purpose and which is the major possibility of recovering the image details. Talking about lighting, shadow, dark or black areas, and even the whites. All of these and more can be recovered without risking the quality of the file.
The level of brightness has also a lot to do with the image quality. Note that JPEG records 256 levels of brightness, and RAW records between 4,096 to 16,384 levels! Imagine the huge difference!
Adjusting the details, sharpening, and noise reduction come in very handy too and that won't hurt the original file. What the software does is give the image instruction on how the exported file will look like.
Before I had Photoshop where I usually attempt to recover and enhance the images I usually capture on my camera. But the problem was that there was an issue with the image getting grainy, which pretty much means bad photo image quality.
Now, I am using Adobe Lightroom or Capture One instead because of the perfect option for restoring those little details. But don't get me wrong because I still use Adobe Photoshop today, it's just that I mostly and constantly use Adobe Lightroom for editing my pictures.
Whilst it is such a joy that one can edit non-destructively with a RAW image file and have an endless possibility of generating a great photo because it has been recovered from all the imperfections, it is evident that having this format type requires huge space too!
Since a RAW file has more information in it compared to a compressed JPEG file, its file size is also twice or three times bigger than the JPEG.
Hello to buying bigger SD cards and also having bigger hard drive capacities! This resorts to shelling out some money to upgrade your current storage.
An image RAW Processor Software is Required
Part of the problem with setting your camera output to RAW is the need to have software to process the images. The likes of Phase One Capture One Pro 10, Serif Affinity Photo, Cyberlink PhotoDirector 8 Ultra, Adobe Lightroom, and a lot more is needed so that the RAW images can be formatted and then exported into a JPEG file which is what most devices can read and display like how our computers and mobile devices can read.
To weigh out the one advantage versus the disadvantages, I would still prefer to shoot RAW, it is what enhances my photos and although there's a great tendency of my hard drive to get full fast I have to purchase a new external hard drive to store my files, RAW is still what I would choose.
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I shoot raw, especially for wedding photography.