Friday, November 29, 2013

Why you should use RAW photos [non-China]

I've been getting into photography in the past few months - buying a used DSLR, experimenting with different lenses, taking pictures in different settings, etc. Most recently I've been learning how to edit photos on a computer. I remember reading Ken Rockwell's rather persuasive post on why RAW photos are unnecessary and not bothering.

However, after watching this tutorial I decided to try using RAW + JPEG mode with my Canon 350D, and the results were pretty convincing. (I use the freeware Lightroom replacement program Photivo.) Here's what five different processings of the same RAW file - a simple photo of a pie - look like:

The five presets applied are Photivo's "Latest", "MakeFancy", "Neutral_absolute", "Neutral_ufraw" and "vignette" presets. You should be able to see the incredible difference that these presets make in terms of the way the JPEGs turn out (click on the photos to view them larger if you don't see the difference in the last two). Letting your camera automatically choose these settings for every photo you take seems foolish, and in the future I will definitely be continuing to start from RAW photos so I can decide for myself which effect to get.

Another example:

Same RAW photo, two different exposures: The power of this stuff is just insane.


  1. I was going through some of your blog posts and although I'm not big into photography I just wanted to say I found this post very interesting nonetheless. Perhaps it's something one can apply to video making as well when choosing whether one wants to use auto mode, or some manual type of focus/filter.

    1. Definitely. Check out this example of how "color grading" can transform the look of a shot: