Saturday, July 26, 2008

RAW moth

Shot one image above in RAW and saved it in PNG (a no compression format), the other in JPEG at max quality. One image is about twice the file size of the other after processing, downsizing and all. Both are at 1600 iso by porchlight, hand held at about a 60th I think. F2.8 with my 105 macro. Otherwise there are DOF differences because I walked in closer on one than the other etc. Very little light in the room.

The one thing I noticed was how much easier it was to correct the white balance after the fact in RAW, rather than messing around with the red and yellow hue adjustments in photoshop on the JPEG. I haven't goofed around with RAW in years, and have been shooting in Large/fine jpeg for a long time. Near as I can tell, as long as my exposure is within reason, and the white balance too-- I have no reason whatsoever to shoot those RAW images which are three times as large (by file size) and therefore hog space on my flash card, bog down my camera and then do the same to my computer and hard drive. Basically, RAW takes up more time and space every step of the way. This is one of the times when I pretty much agree with Ken Rockwell.

But the circumstance of shooting by lamplight does seem to justify RAW-- the auto WB setting on the camera didn't quite seem to nail it, having a go with a custom WB setting didn't either (but it did come close). To be fair, the porchlight and lamplight both have a yellow cast to the eye, so correcting all the way to white isn't that accurate-- but I like being ABLE to so easily move a single slider and get just the white balance I may creatively want, and to boot I get a read-out which tells me exactly what the color temp is by kelvin, nice ! Now why can't I do that with a JPEG? Anyway, it's good to experiment sometimes. Back in 2002 my camera really couldn't handle RAW files very well at all, and neither could most software. I'd really prefer it if I could dial in the color temp directly on my camera by kelvin, not by silly "shade" or "sun" icons. The less tweaking I have to do in post production, the better. If I could count on my auto-white balance setting on the camera, I'd be a happy camper. Most of the time it's pretty close, but I think Sheryl and I both have cameras that won't go to 2750 kelvin as a standard setting, for example. I think I heard that the newer camera bodies do.

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