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Old 09-10-2011, 02:16 AM   #26
Dennis A. Livesey
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Join Date: May 2007
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Originally Posted by jnohallman View Post
One could argue that JPEGs are easier to edit only because there is so much less you can do with them. Those familiar with film will tell you that the best way to think of RAW vs. JPEG is to think of RAW as the equivalent of the film negative and JPEG as the equivalent of a print. While that's not entirely accurate, it gives you some idea of the difference. Another way to think of it might be to think of RAW as a cabinet full of all the ingredients you need to make cookies, and JPEG as the ready-made Pillsbury cookie dough that you just cut up and bake. Which one gives you more options?

Thinking of it that way helps to explain the issue of night shooting. It's not that RAW takes in the contrast and details "better" than JPEG. RAW is all of the information that was available to your camera sensor during the time that the shutter was open. The JPEG is the processed version of that information based on the in-camera settings - but it's also compressed using an algorithm that "removes" some of the information from the file when the JPEG is saved, and then when you open the JPEG later whatever program you're using has an algorithm to assume what that "missing" information is supposed to be. Thus, when you shoot JPEG only and go to edit that, you're not working with all the data that your camera recorded in the first place - just what remains after it has been processed and condensed into that JPEG file. The advantage to editing the RAW file, whether dealing with a night or day shot, is that you have more data to work with in terms of recovering blown out highlights or underexposed areas in shadow. You also have more flexibility in color correction and white balance correction with RAW than with JPEG. It's more complicated only because there is more that you can do.

That is the best, clearest explanation about this issue I have ever read. I have filed it away for future reference.

I find that newbies have a hard time with being told:
1. That lenses are more important than cameras.
2. To use Manual.
3. To use RAW instead of JPEG.

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"Dennis is such a God, he could do that with a camera obscura and some homemade acetate." Holloran Grade

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