Ever wondered what all the fuss is about? Maybe you’ve seen the option on your camera and wondered just what is RAW? On our Next Steps course we take a look at the differences, the advantages and the disadvantages.
|Larger file sizes||Smaller file sizes|
|Ability to correct white balance||May not be able to correct white balance fully|
|Ability to recover highlights and shadows||Much less recovery possible|
|Ability to take fewer images in a burst||Take more images in a burst|
|Capture greater colour depth||Less colour depth|
|Fills memory cards faster||Doesn’t fill cards as quick|
|Requires post processing||Can be used directly as is|
But basically, RAW is just that – it’s the unprocessed image data that your camera captures – when you output in JPG, the image has already been processed, in camera, before you even get near your computer.
But why use RAW? Well, because the data is unprocessed and that includes uncompressed (JPGs are compressed and that means some data is lost in the process), there’s more latitude to recover detail in the dark and light, or shadow and highlight areas. There’s also a greater range of colours and tones – and that’s why professionals use RAW most of the time.
The downside is bigger file sizes and that means your memory cards fill up faster, as will your computer. But also the RAW file has to be processed – no popping into your local supermarket or photo shop and printing from the memory card – and no emailing or uploading to Facebook etc, at least not until you’ve done a bit of processing on the computer – but, in my humble opinion, it’s well worth the effort.