Two Things Some Photographers Do That Make Me Shake My Head
Written by: steve
By Steve Russell
While we strive to write informative and helpful articles designed to teach or make you think, from time to time we, like most other people, want to rant a little so today it’s my turn to rant. These are things that I’ve either observed, read or heard. Most of the times I just shake my head and forget it, but these things keep being repeated.
Always shooting in “P” mode with a DSLR – A new DSLR with a kit lens can cost over $800. A really good new Point & Shoot camera costs around $200 or less. Why spend $800 and always shoot in point & shoot mode? Actually “P” stands for Program mode but I call it P&S. I actually asked that question once and the answer was because the DSLR takes better pictures. I answered okay, and walked away shaking my head. Of course, as a reader of Beyond Megapixels you know that there are some really good photos taken with P&S cameras as I featured in my post It’s Not Just The Camera.
Yes, I know I can take a better photo with a Nikon D3Sthan I can with a Nikon COOLPIX L24 because there’s so much more I can do with the DSLR. But, why would I pay over $5,000 for a camera and shoot in “P”?
I’m not talking about someone that just purchased their first DSLR last week. I understand that all the settings and dials and buttons on today’s DSLRs can be very intimidating. But hopefully the ultimate goal is to never shoot in the “P” mode.
Always shooting only in jpeg with a DSLR – I know there are times when shooting jpeg is the right answer but always is the operative word here. I know people who only shoot jpeg. When you shoot jpeg you will have a jpeg image. You will always have a jpeg image. A P&S camera shoots in jpeg. A DSLR shoots in RAW and/or jpeg. With a few exceptions, I even question shooting in dual mode (jpeg and RAW).
When you capture an image in RAW the camera captures all the information the camera is capable of capturing and saves it in a single file. So long as you don’t delete or save over the original file you will always have the raw data (pun intended) of the photograph you captured.
You can manipulate it with post-processing software all you want and save it in any format the software will allow. You can save it as a jpeg and you’ll have a jpeg file and still have the RAW file. This is really important stuff. As long as you have that RAW file, you can play with the image in Photoshop or other software to your heart’s content. If you want a different effect, open the RAW file and do something different to it.
If you shoot in jpeg, you will have a jpeg file. A RAW file contains approximately 25 megabytes of data. A jpeg taken with the camera has less than half that amount. What happened to the rest of it? The camera compressed the data when it saved in jpeg format and the rest is gone forever. Then if you open the jpeg file, manipulate to where you want it and then save it again, the file is compressed again and it’s smaller.
Don’t get me wrong, I have lots of jpeg files, but I made them myself by opening the RAW file and then saving it in jpeg format.
I have heard people say that jpeg files are much smaller and don’t require as much memory. An 8 gigabyte, 60 megabyte per second compact flash card is less than $40. At roughly 25 megabytes per photo an 8 gig CF card will hold approximately 320 RAW images. Over time, get three or four of them, download your images each day and you won’t have to worry about how much memory is required to shoot in RAW.
Photography is a great hobby, avocation, vocation or whatever it is to you. It is an endeavor where there is always room for improvement. Take advantage of all the tools you have and work to improve your skills as a photographer. It’s a lot more fun that way.
Sunrise Over Cape Canaveral by Steve Russell
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