Why shooting RAW is the best idea

For those photographers who are shooting using the jpeg format, here’s a pretty compelling demonstration of why you should change to a RAW format if you can.

Recently I took some car interior shots while the car was in being repainted. These were shots for my insurance company who, quite unreasonably I thought, wanted to have on file  some photos of the cars they insure.

Suffice it to say the shots were taken quickly with no real attention to detail.

With one shot the flash hadn’t fired and you can see the results below –  an interior that looks virtually black with no detail – but by tweaking the RAW file in Adobe Camera Raw the shot was made passable.

As a comparison I wondered how a jpeg of the same image would perform if tweaked the same way and the results were quite dramatically worse. I wasn’t expecting the quality gap to be so big.

The amount of detail contained in the shadows of the RAW file which can then be brought out is phenomenal.

So, if you can shoot in RAW but choose not too, think about a change.

A comparison that surprised me

Two camerasMy first ever digital camera was a Canon Digital IXUS V. It boasted a 2.1 megapixel sensor, an optical view finder and a LCD screen on the back that was about the size of a postage stamp. Overall it was about as big as a packet of cigarettes and built like a brick.

I purchased it over 10 years ago and it has sat in a draw, unused, for the last few years because the battery has refused to charge. I ran across it a few weeks ago and decided to see if I could track down a new battery to bring it back to life. Surprisingly I managed to find a new battery  – thank you dc-battery.co.nz – and the camera came alive.

A comparison seemed to be in order – my rejuvenated Canon versus the Leica D-Lux 6 purchased in Hong Kong last year.

This is in no way a scientific comparison, just me playing around one afternoon at my desk. I was expecting the Leica to blitz the Canon – which it did – but in good light the antique Canon held up reasonably well – much better than I expected.