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Friday, June 1, 2007


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raw vs jpg

Once-In-A-Lifetime Shot
There’s yet another reason to shoot RAW files: when you have a once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity. I used RAW when photographing this butterfly emerging from its chrysalis. The flexibility and forgiveness of the RAW format helped ensure that I got the shot.

If I had shot in JPEG and the exposures were off too much in either direction, there would be no way to salvage the images in editing. The possibility of a reshoot was, of course, nil. So it could have easily gone down as the bungled once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.

But, exceptions and special shooting circumstances aside, differences are difficult to see when RAW and the highest-quality JPEG are shot side by side with proper technique. It’s critical, though, to shoot JPEG with accurate exposure because it has less processing flexibility. Which image format to use is often a matter of personal preference in the digital workflow rather than an arbitrary quality issue. Don’t blindly use RAW because you read a bunch of articles that say that’s what you “should” use.

If you don’t enjoy the additional work RAW images require, then shoot in JPEG. Or just use RAW selectively. Find what works best for you, because there’s usually more than one way to arrive at a destination, which, in this case, is consistently good image quality captured in a way that suits your needs and goals as a photographer.

Visit www.ricksammon.com for more information, and meet up with Rick at one of his PCPhoto/Outdoor Photographer workshops.



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