RAW Troublemaker Again

Started Aug 30, 2013 | Discussions thread
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What advantage?
In reply to Gary Eickmeier, Sep 3, 2013

Gary Eickmeier wrote:

Gary Eickmeier wrote:

From a post to Gary Friedman on this subject:

Then there is RAW once again. I discovered that Photoshop Elements 11 can import RAW files directly and process them just fine without the IDC or any other converter program. That makes it very easy to shoot RAW only now, and not have to shoot RAW + JPG all the time. But the question is, what camera functionality do you lose if you don't let the camera process the images all the way to JPG?


No lens corrections (distortion, vignetting, or CA corrections)
No MFNR, HDR, or other multi-frame features.
No picture effects (no great loss there!)
No panorama mode

This is all I can think of off the top of my head. (Mind you, my head is spinning right now with issues relating to a funeral and liquidation of an estate.)...

...Hey - did nobody read this? Pretty good summary of this thread, and does add a lot to the discussion.

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Gary Eickmeier

I can break down one of the sections for you:


  • You can get similar results via tweaking the shadows and highlights on a RAW file. You can enable DRO while even shooting RAW or RAW+JPEG, but the JPEG is only affected and the RAW file only contains the DRO settings in the metadata for supported converters to provide support for it. Currently, only IDC supports it.
  • I don't use it anymore, so I can't say for the newer cameras: but on the older cameras (like the A700) it was shown that if shooting in RAW+JPEG with DRO on that the exposure would sometimes be negatively effected on the RAW since DRO will sometimes modify the exposure to get its desired results. The outcome, the JPEG will show DRO enhancements and the RAW you wanted as the fallback was improperly exposed.

No lens corrections (distortion, vignetting, or CA corrections)

  • Actually, this isn't necessarily true. You can turn on lens compensation and shoot RAW and that information is written into the RAW metadata to be used by converters that support it. IDC supports this. For those that don't, there are editors out there offer lens corrections profiles. For lenses with no profiles, you can make your own adjustments. Also keep in mind that this only corrects supported, first party lenses. This in-camera feature will not work for Sigma, Tamron, Tokina, or even Sony lenses that have not been added via firmware (Zeiss 50mm on A77, for example).
  • When the A77 came out with this feature, it was shown that leaving these settings on can slow down the camera, creating longer delays between shots than if left off and post processed later. Something to keep in mind for those that are trying to get quick successive shots in continuous shooting modes.

No MFNR, HDR, or other multi-frame features.

  • MFNR is useful once in a rare occasion, but doesn't necessitate the need to shoot JPEG all the time. When I am in a situation that calls for this, I just flip it to JPEG real quick and take my shot. Then I flip it back to RAW. This option is not available in RAW+JPEG and requires you to shoot JPEG only.
  • HDR is possible in RAW too with the right editor or plugin and offers superior results. Even if you don't have an HDR application, a properly exposed single RAW file can give you enough headroom to simulate an HDR image. Ideally, though, 3-7 separate shots at varying exposures gives you the most. For this, you set the camera to exposure bracketing and fire away. This option is not available in RAW+JPEG and requires you to shoot JPEG only.
  • I'm not sure what other multi-frame features he is mentioning. If he is referring to exposure and WB bracketing, that can be done in any format. Maybe he is referring to 3D? If so, that can be shot no matter what file type setting you are using. It will always output JPEG.

No picture effects (no great loss there!)

  • As Gary mentioned, not a great loss. Sometimes fun to play with, but again just flip to JPEG real quick if you want to play with them. Most of the effects can be done in post processing on a RAW file through an editor with little effort. This option is not available in RAW+JPEG and requires you to shoot JPEG only.

No panorama mode

  • This mode works regardless of what file type you have your camera set to, but the file will only be JPEG. So no need to change your file type to get this to work. The other option is to shoot RAW in continuous shooting mode and stitch them yourself.

So out of the list of 7 reasons for JPEG:

  • 3 will not work if the file type is set to RAW+JPEG, making that option no different than RAW.
  • 2 don't care what file type you are set to, it will always out JPEG. So no need to worry about changing your settings to get this to work. Whether you shoot JPEG, RAW, or RAW+JPEG, your results and ability to access these options are no different.
  • 2 will work in RAW as well as RAW+JPEG. If RAW+JPEG, the JPEG will show the enhancements while the RAW has the data written in the metadata which can then be used to enable the features through the supported RAW editor (ie, IDC). Same goes for RAW only.

If the argument here is to show the benefits of shooting RAW+JPEG, I don't see any. A RAW+JPEG user would have to switch to JPEG just like a RAW only user would have to in order to be able to take advantage of half of these features. The other half of the feature list either doesn't care what file type you are set to or the effects can be done in post process on RAW as well, whether through a supported editor and its metadata or through your own adjustments. Now if Sony changed their setup where you could use some of these features in RAW+JPEG where the JPEG shows the effect and the RAW is the plain file, then we might have something here. But at the moment it isn't an option, so it shouldn't be used to promote shooting in RAW+JPEG.

If this was meant to show the benefits of JPEG, again I don't see it. At most it provides a convenience for some. For others, it provides a capability to those that lack the software and/or skills to do the work in post. But at the end of the day, it still doesn't offer anything better that can't be done in RAW, nor do many of these features offer anything to those that shoot in RAW+JPEG.

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