Still Trying to Convince Myself on RAW

Started Jun 29, 2013 | Photos thread
gardenersassistant Veteran Member • Posts: 4,456
Re: No Convincing Required

Gary Eickmeier wrote:

Renato1 wrote:

I'm not sure what you are trying to compare. The JPEG comes from the RAW file - the nice clean Jpeg came from that noisy RAW file.

Ten years ago it was not uncommon to have blown highlights and to have dark patches devoid of detail in Jpegs. It was fairly wise to shoot RAW if one could, as the detail could be brought back into the picture, which otherwise would have been irretrievably lost in a Jpeg. For me, that hasn't been much of an issue since Sony bought out the A100 with the then novel feature of Dynamic Range Optimization.

RAW is still handy for instances where one can expect the camera to struggle with exposure and white balance (especially indoors with all those energy saving flourescent globes around), but otherwise, unless one is really enthusiastic about getting the absolute best (by doing a stack of work) Jpegs are very satisfactory.


OK, finally, a point that we can test. If RAW can recover blown out highlights that JPG cannot, I will be a convert forevermore. This is exactly what I was looking for, some aspect of the image that RAW could save the day with.

Is this any help to you in your search for something testable? It involves a very different type of camera of course, and much lower captured image quality than you are used to, but the example does address the specific issue you raise here, and another one to do with retaining detail at higher ISOs. (You have access to the originals, RAW and JPEG, from that link, so you can test it out for yourself.)

If you are not used to dealing with low quality outputs from P&S type cameras, this post may not mean much to you, but it does show how RAW (together with some careful post processing) lets me produce image quality that satisfies my needs using higher ISOs than most people think practical with low quality small-sensor images.

EDIT: I probably should have mentioned, in case you are unfamiliar with the technicalities of using a small sensor camera, that the f/8 you will see in these examples is the smallest aperture available on the camera concerned, and was used to provide the maximum depth of focus. As with smallest apertures such as f/22 or f/32 on larger sensor cameras, f/8 on a small sensor camera causes considerable loss of definition/detail because of diffraction. So, as well as suffering from loss of detail from the (for this type of camera) high ISOs, these images suffer from loss of detail from diffraction.

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