I Will Not Shot in RAW

Started May 19, 2013 | Discussions thread
Marco Nero
Marco Nero Veteran Member • Posts: 5,734
RAW is not Future Proof...

JJ Rodin wrote:

This is a fundamental answer for ALL the raw vs jpeg questions:

With 'raw' you will have the entire sensor data to use if not NOW, then in the future!

Think of the future, not just now!!

Ah, I'm not soiling for a JPEG Vs RAW argument but I'd like to raise a few observations for those interested in the (apparently ongoing) JPEG Vs RAW debate.

To quote another website: "Having so many different versions of raw files out on the market today could doom the file type(s) to obsolescence. Unfortunately, this could also mean the loss of millions of photographs, as standards and manufacturers change, and most of these varieties of raw files can no longer be read by the machines and applications of the near-future. It is possible that the camera and photo industry will one day soon come to an agreement on a standard raw file format, and have that standard established by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). There also exists the possibility that Adobe’s .DNG format can play a role in becoming the common format for raw files."

Many point out that UNLESS you open and convert all your RAW files NOW, you may find someday that you will never be able to open them again because RAW is not "Future Proof".

Ten years ago I would argue that RAW would be the superior file for capturing certain types of images but not now.

What we are trying to do is capture what we can see with our eyes... using a digital camera.  Our eyes have more Dynamic Range than any camera available today although

With cameras producing accurate JPEG images that closely resemble what we see, there's no need to worry about "what might be lost" if you choose not to photograph in RAW.  If your JPEG is missing information, you'll know about it because your images will be lacking in some way visually.  If you can't tell, then you won't miss anything shooting in JPEG.

Technically speaking, a RAW image is simply a filetype and is NOT a photograph or even an Image file.  The scary thing about RAW is that each camera manufacturer has its own propriety native RAW File and camera software from one manufacturer will often not be able to read RAW files from another camera brand.  In the past Adobe and other software companies have elected to completely discontinue access and service to some of the now defunct types of RAW files.  It has happened before so we know it may happen again.  How many times do we see threads by people here complaining that their version of Photoshop or Lightroom doesn't support the RAW files from their new camera?  Eventually, these companies will allow you to access your camera's RAW files but you need to wait for RAW pluggins and conversion software to become available first.

JPEG and TIF, on the other hand, are considered to be "universal" image formats. Sure, JPEG is a lossy file that is compressed... but most people saving a RAW file to work on it later will use PSD (Photoshop Document) or TIF (Tagged Image Format) to store their "works in progress" for archiving processes.

There are over 254 types of RAW image format files in existence with many of them being subset formats of the same type.  RAW may even be abandoned some day and there's ample evident to support this hypothesis.  So be careful in the format you choose to save, use or capture your images in.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with capturing or storing your photographs as RAW files.  But it would be prudent to edit every single picture and convert them all into TIFs if you are trying to archive your photography.  Plenty of photographers believe they need to shoot RAW but don't know how to make the most of converting their files.  Even less people have the correctly calibrated professional monitors or the eye and professional skills to manipulate their images correctly in the first place.  On such people, shooting in RAW is almost certainly a waste of time.

Today's JPEG Engines from the modern Canon digital cameras make the most of the RAW information before converting the image into a JPEG image file. All that Dynamic Range and subtle detail hidden in shadows and highlights is carefully extracted and introduced into the final image.  The modern camera's Image Processor is much more capable than the collective skills of the vast majority of budding photography enthusiasts out there.

Enjoy your photography, no matter what format you shoot in.

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Marco Nero.

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