The Power of RAW!

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This post is for those who think RAW is a waste of memory, or that JPEG is good enough. The image below is the in-camera JPEG from a Canon Powershot S5 IS, P&S. The extreme under-exposure is intentional.


A firmware add-on that enhances the camera’s features (RAW/DNG support, increased max n min shutter-speed, RGB histogram and more..) was used to get the RAW file from the camera. The RAW file was then converted to DNG and I tried to recover what I could from the above image.

This is what I ended up with: crw_0123 Agree its noisy,  but things to note – the colour and detail recovery is AMAZING to say the least. Notice the red, yellow and green, and blue of the box and the bottle on the table. This was done in Photoshop CS2, adjusting exposure, brightness and levels. Nothing else. With proper post processing in Lightroom followed by PS, I think this could be made even better. Try doing that with a JPEG. Also note that this is a 10-bit RAW file as compared to the 14 bit RAW files in today’s SLRs. This, and the sensor size of the camera will also make a difference. No fancy post processing here. Just a simple illustration of the power of RAW. And of course this is no excuse for bad camera technique resulting in bad exposure! This simply allows you to save shots that were nice but poorly exposed. Sometimes, those shots can make all the difference! My advice – shoot in RAW  + Jpeg. Especially if you’re new to RAW, the in camera JPEG will give you an idea of things. Finally, if you’re taking casual pictures and all, you may be fine with Jpeg. But if you know that you’re shooting something that you’re not likely to shoot again, like say, a wedding, or a safari, then I’d recommend you unleash the RAW power! EDIT: Here’s what I could recover from the Jpeg version of the above image:


A friend of mine (not really interested in photography) commented that this one looked ‘more appealing to the eyes’. All I had to say was “Dude, imagine, if all the red in your life, turned black, like that laptop”. That was the end of it :)

This is a rather extreme example, simply to show what can be done. For more practical examples, check this link: . You’ll find RAW images process only through RAW processors. No Photoshop.

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