Do I really need Raw

Started Apr 3, 2014 | Discussions thread
Darrell Spreen Forum Pro • Posts: 10,455
Re: Do I really need Raw

SeanU wrote:

Raw is the digital negative, ooc jpegs are the processed prints.

While I agree with your thoughts in general, and they're well expressed, I have to disagree with this simple statement which many people use to describe the difference between raw and JPEG.

Raw files are like unprocessed negatives -- they must be processed with a raw converter in order to become viewable in one form or another. It's somewhat like sending film off to a lab and depending on their processing skills to get good negatives. On the other hand, JPEGs from the camera display the characteristics which the manufacturer decided were best -- just like the different brands of film (negatives or transparencies) "in the old days".

Both can be used to produce processed prints in any number of display formats.

"In the old days", photographers would choose Agfacolor, or Kodacolor, or Fujicolor, etc. for the qualities that the manufacturer designed them to produce. Each had their own color "signature", their own noise characteristics (grain), and their own exposure latitude which photographers could count on, similar to JPEGs. Custom labs could play with things a bit, somewhat like raw processors -- some got better results and some got worse.

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