Photography Tutorials and Articles

Considering Raw Format?

What is a Raw Format

I am sure that you have heard that before that shooting in Raw Format is the best. It is true. However, there are many facts that you need to consider before switching to Raw.

Setting Raw Format in a Camera

Raw Format
You can set the camera to save the Raw format.

What is the Raw format in digital photography? 

Let’s get started by definition of Raw format. Here is the explanation from Wiki Pedia:

A camera raw image file contains minimally processed data from the image sensor of either a digital camera, a motion picture film scanner, or other image scanners. Raw files are named so because they are not yet processed and therefore are not ready to be printed or edited with a bitmap graphics editor. Normally, the image is processed by a raw converter in a wide-gamut internal colour space where precise adjustments can be made before conversion to a “positive” file format such as TIFF or JPEG for storage, printing, or further manipulation. This often encodes the image in a device-dependent colour space. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of raw formats in use by different models of digital equipment (like cameras or film scanners)

You can read the full description here:

It seems very complicated to understand for many of us, doesn’t it? So let me simplify it for you.

Each pixel of a camera sensor creates one bit of data. For instance, if a camera has a 20 Megapixel sensor, it creates a 20-megabyte file. However, when you shoot in JPG, the file size is only 8 to 10 megabytes! It means that the camera processor compressed and saved the file smaller than the original (Raw) capture. 

Raw Vs JPG

A RAW file is an image that preserves most of the information from a camera, such as sharpness and contrast, without processing and compressing. However, the RAW format needs to be converted to JPEG and other image formats, which are more convenient for printing and sharing.

Image Captured in Raw Format

Raw format
I shot this photo in Raw format. After a few adjustment in Lightroom, I preserved the data.

On the other hand, Jpg file is a commonly-used image file format, which will be processed and compressed by the capture device according to the settings made by the user before archiving. It is the most popular image format and can be easily opened in most computers. The users can freely set the compression level to preserve the quality for their JPEG files – easy to use and convenient! However, you lose some data due to the camera compression.

Image Captured in Jpg Format

Raw format
Photos captured in jpg lack the contrast and detail, thanks to in-camera compression!

In the next article, I am going to dive deeper into Raw Vs JPG.

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