Touching a RAW nerve

Hmmmmmmm. From about a month after getting my first DSLR, which was apparently six whole years ago, I’ve generally shot in RAW. The general received wisdom is that this is what you should really do if you’re taking your photography at all seriously. Raw format is more or less the data that was captured by your camera’s sensor with little or no actual processing applied. This means that you’ll need to do some work in your choice of software – you could use your camera manufacturer’s own offering, or Adobe’s Lightroom or the Camera RAW plugin that comes with Photoshop, or Apple’s Aperture, or indeed something else. The key point is that you’re going to have to do some work to make that picture you took look like something you’d want other people to see.

Now for a lot of pictures, that work won’t be all that much – just tweak a few sliders and you’ll have a pretty good image. Others may require more effort, of course.

But while I’ve been doing that, the electronics in cameras have been getting better and better. Now as I knew I’d be taking an enormous number of pictures during today’s airshow visit, I decided that shooting in JPG might be a good idea. This would allow longer sequences of images when I felt the need to keep the shutter button pressed, and would avoid filling my memory card. This was the first time I’d let the 5D Mark III loose in this way, and I have to say from the results I’ve looked at so far, it was a good move. It helped that it was a bright sunny day, with minimal cloud, of course. But it seems the camera’s internal processing is extremely good. Here’s an example – all I’ve done to this image is crop it down:

Xtreme Air Sbach 300

Xtreme Air Sbach 300

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Aperture: ƒ/8
Shutter speed: 1/1250s
Focal length: 322mm
ISO: 200
Taken: 21 July, 2012

I may have to reconsider my “always shoot in RAW” policy….

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