Raw image
Dear all.

Basic of basic questions but some one explain the benifits of raw images and also is it only the super expensive cameras that have this ability or do compacts such as the cannon ixus 960 have the ability. I mention the cannon as I am looking at getting it for the family camera.

Many thanks.


Comments (9)

Besides SLR's, only a few 'flagship' point and shoots have RAW file format such as the Canon G9. The advantage of RAW is that you have more flexibility in correcting images and making the look the way you want. The disadvantage is that you have to know what you are doing or you are better off letting the camera do the work. I don't know of any compacts like the one you mention that shoot RAW. From what I've seen, the small Canons make great images without a lot of effort...

Comment #1

Here are few examples, hopefully can show you the benefit of RAW:

I am very comfortable with Canon and their softwares, especially, the Digital Photo Professional. I will go for the G9, it has video feature as well.YongboPhoto Gallery:

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Comment #2

RAW has significant advantages over JPEGs. Basically you get the sensor data direct and unprocessed in with more tonal detail ( more levels of each component - R,G and B )..

This means you can avoid in-camera processing which, while generally OK is not as sophisticated as the processing you can apply in a good software package ( e.g. Adobe, LightZone, SilkyPix to mention a few )..

An important issue is that you can ( have to ) apply noise reduction yourself ( if it is required ). This avoids in-camera noise reduction which is considerably less sophisticated than a good NR package, like NeatImage or Noise Ninja..

A few compacts and non-DSLRs provide RAW..

These are the Canon G9, Fuji E-900 and several Panasonics compacts..

Several bridge cameras ( super-zooms ) also provide RAW :.

The Fuji S6000/6500 and S9100/9600 also provide raw.The Olympus US550 and 560Several Panasonic models including the FZ18 and FZ50.

Of these non-DSLRs the Fuji's have the least noisy sensors so their RAW data offer the best material to start with. Regretably the Panasonics and Olympus have terrible reputations for noise..

The Canon G9 produces relatively low noise and, while expensive, seems to justify it's claim to be a flagship compact for serious users..

In addition to this there is a simple firmware hack known as CHDK for several Canon models ( not the one you mention, I think ). This, among many features, adds RAW support to several powershot and ixus models. Check the Canon forum for more info on this or google CHDK. In general RAW will work best with a camera with a larger sensor and, in relation to the CHDK hack this basically means looking for a Canon with a 1/1.7" sensor and checking the hack supports it..

All DSLRs provide RAW..

I think you should check out the Canon G7 and A710 IS as possible candidates if you'd like a compact with IS that the hack supports..

The Fuji E-900 has no IS and I think more suited to people like me who regard RAW and a reasonable low-light capability as their main need. If you don't need IS it's quite cost effective, but the Canon's are more consumer orientated..


Pentax K100DFuji S5200Fuji E900PCLinuxOS..

Comment #3

Put very simply, it (IMHO) comes down to this:.

Raw files are larger than jpgs. With the cost of storage these days, this is not an issue..

Raw files are a proprietary format that differs from maker to maker, and camera to camera. If your camera is a recent release and/or your editing software is older, you will probably need to upgrade your software and/or download the latest add-in for your software, in order to be able to read raw files..

Also, for archival purposes this means you may want to save your images in another format such as TIFF or jpg to remove reliance on software in years to come. And it means that you can't email or send raw files to other people and expect that they will be able to view them..

Raw files offer you greater latitude in correcting exposure, white balance etc. For well exposed images this is not necessarily a great advantage, however it does offer greater ability to rescue poor images (one of the big advantages for pros, who cannot afford to discard shots as much as us amateurs) and also, perhaps most importantly, it allows you to rescue blown highlights or restore shadow detail more easily than a jpg. I think this is particularly relevant for outdoor shots where the sky/clouds get blown out - etc. There's nothing you can do to get the correct exposure across all of such a high dynamic range scene, but a raw file makes it easier to process the result into a better image..

Raw files have not been compressed, jpgs have. In theory this can gives you (or allow you to produce) higher quality images by working from the "original". For lab printing, this difference may be marginal because you have to convert to jpg anyway to send to the lab. For home printing, you may be able to take advantage of this diference by printing the (processed) raw image straight from your editing software..

You can't send a raw file to your lab for printing. You can print a jpg straight out of the camera..

A raw file probably won't look "good enough" for printing without at least some post processing. This processing can be done in batches - you don't have to process each file individually - but that involves applying the same process to all files in the batch which kind of negates the advantage of raw..

Raw files have more information in them - more bits, in simple terms. In a jpg some of this information has been removed. Some people will tell you this extra information is critical to image quality. Some will tell you it is in theory, but in practice it's not noticeable..

Bottom line - IMHO:.

- A well exposed, well (colour) balanced photo taken with a good DSLR will print just fine as a jpg. The more you vary from that, or the more post processing you want to apply, the more likely you are to get benefit from raw..

My advice to the raw beginner would be - don't just cut over to raw. Shoot raw + jpg (your camera should offer you the option of producing both a raw file and a jopg from the same shot). That way you have a jpg you can work with straight away, and you're not reliant on your editing skills to get an image out of the raw file (OK, that's not hard, don't get me wrong, but why just drop the jpg altogether unless and until you are 100% comfortable with raw processing?).

And here's a test you should do - and repeat this test over time as you practice with raw:.

Shoot raw + jpg. Get a good, well exposed image. Print the jpg, unprocessed, to 8x10. Then process the raw file by aplying the camera settings (ie the result should be pretty much the same as the jpg out of the camera) and print that to 8x10. Then do some more processing on the raw in an attempt to improve the image, and print that one..

Compare all 3 prints. What differences do you see?.

Then repeat the exercise with a photo that is "off" in expsoure, or white balance, or whatever. Try the correction on the jpg, and also from the raw original. Do you get a better result from raw?.

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Comment #4

And clear explanation of +/- of RAW for beginners. Thank you!..

Comment #5

Well written and comprehensive!.

Arrowman wrote:.

Raw files have not been compressed, jpgs have..

Some cameras have a compressed RAW format. Usually, this is lossless compression, so it has no effect on image quality. Some cameras give you a choice of lossy or lossless (compressed) RAW format. Some cameras offer a very high quality JPEG format that, even though lossy compressed, is indistinguishable from lossless compressed..

Charlie DavisNikon 5700 & Sony R1HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog:

Comment #6

This can be such a "religious" subject! It's nice to know a (what I think is a) balanced, pragmatic view is well received..

It worries me sometimes to hear (people who appear to be) relative beginners getting the idea that they should be leaping in to raw without necessarily having a clear understanding of why - or how much they will have to contribute to the process..

Recently a beginner (hadn't even bought his D80 yet) was asking about shooting raw on a vacation to Thailand. (He was going to buy the camera while on vacation and start using it straight away). It was apparent that he didn't know anything at all about file formats and probably very little about editing..

Now apart from the (IMHO) madness of trying to pick up and use a D80 as your first DSLR while on vacation, I pointed out to him that if he comes back from vacation with hundreds of raw images, it might be a little while before he gets to see decent prints of his vacation!.

I've tinkered with raw. Mostly the jpeg does the job. I'm going to learn more about raw but it's not at the top of my priority list among the other 1,234,543 subjects there are to tackle in digital photography! I think there are many other things that will give me bigger benefits..

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Comment #7

I'd like to know which cameras produce 'lossy' RAW format image files. I say, what is the point?.

Also, lossy JPEGs from cameras (Fine setting) generally adopt such a 'clean' algorithm that makes the JPEG indistinguishable (unless you pixel-peep) from a RAW image (saved in a lossless format such as TIFF) unless you take advantage of the RAW format in post processing..


Comment #8

Rocklobster wrote:.

I'd like to know which cameras produce 'lossy' RAW format imagefiles..

Phil says the D3 and D300 both have "NEF (12-bit or 14-bit, compressed or lossless compressed RAW)"....

I say, what is the point?.

Lossless compressed RAW is quite common. Lossy compressed has a smaller file size and if the loss is not too much, it still has most of the benefits of RAW. You answered this question yourself (below)!.

Also, lossy JPEGs from cameras (Fine setting) generally adopt such a'clean' algorithm that makes the JPEG indistinguishable (unless youpixel-peep) from a RAW image (saved in a lossless format such asTIFF) unless you take advantage of the RAW format in post processing..

Charlie DavisNikon 5700 & Sony R1HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog:

Comment #9

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.


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