RAW files, a gimmick trick...?

Started Sep 28, 2007 | Discussions thread
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Ikari120378 Forum Member • Posts: 76
RAW files, a gimmick trick...?

Hi guys, before I get to the point let me enlist some characteristics between raw files and jpeg.

  • images are taken directly from sensor, it resembles what the sensor sees

  • uncompressed 12 bit or more data

  • absolute need of post processing and converting


  • images are taken/come out from camera's image processor chip

  • compressed and processed raw data into 8 bit

  • ready to use

I own a powershot s3. I put a raw hack in it, use it, and love it. For a camera with such limited dynamic range, I found raw shooting in some extreme cases are so helpful (high contrast midday shooting, for example). But I also find sometimes however we process the raw files, the results are not as good as the "already great" jpegs. The raw is only good in extreme cases where I can recover shadow details and colors, and what's lost in the highlight.
Conclusion is: IT IS GOOD to have raw files.

With a simple common sense, I get into a very puzzling question adressed to all camera makers (whether their camera is a point-shoot or even an SLR): "Why the hell can't they process the jpegs the way I do??" (or what we tend to do).

It means why can't the camera maker simply put only one or two additional processing algorithms that allow better response to the highlight and shadow, maybe like a statement: "IF highlight blows AND shadow burned, THEN do an S curve", rather than default "do a linear curve" (doesn't it make any sense?).

Some people might point out that raw files are an absolute must, that it is more flexible, allows more editability with richer and deeper data infos, but to think that ALL the camera jpegs, no matter what quality is, come from exactly the same camera sensor's raw files. If you say "jpegs are lossly compressed, and bitted down, thus EVERY jpeg will suffer the same", you're standing on the wrong basis. The proof is that I can process the same raw file processed by the camera, way better (in particular cases I've mentioned). And when I save those processed raws into jpegs, I lost nothing at all at perceivable level. And in term of dynamic range, my jpeg is better than the camera's jpeg. It's the same .jpg files, but how come one is better?

It all end in one thing: different processing method. Not because of it's format of raw or jpeg.

So, is raw feature merely a gimmick trick of camera makers, like a game maker releasing some cheats to heat up gamers' desires for the game?
Or is it really a need...?

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