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Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022

Adjustments needed to use ‘raw’ files

Previously, I discussed some of the advantages of shooting in the raw photographic format.

This time let’s consider some adjustments you’ll need to make when using raw.

Since raw files have more uncompressed information, they can be 2-3 times larger than JPEG files. As a result, your camera chip and storage drive will need to be able to process more information and do it quickly. The good news about this statement is that prices have dropped from what they once were, so it may not be too much of an added cost.

Raw files also fill up the buffer of your camera faster, but the camera will still shoot the same frames per second, regardless of the format.  When this happens you will have to wait for the camera to write to the memory card. If shooting fast sequences is a priority, and you want to shoot raw, you’ll need the faster and bigger memory card or possibly a more expensive camera with a larger buffer, which does add up.

What raw captures varies from one camera manufacturer to another. As a result, raw files are often recorded in a proprietary format, which means that the camera manufacturers haven’t officially disclosed how the raw data can be converted. In Canon cameras, for example, the raw format is .CR2 and, in Nikons, it’s .NEF (both are based on the TIFF specifications). Consequently, you can’t be certain that in 5 or 10 years you’ll be able to easily open that raw file if you don’t have the proper software to decode it.

Adobe has developed an open source raw format known as DNG (Digital Negative) to overcome this obstacle. Already the Leica M9 shoots in the DNG format, so it’s hoped that more camera manufacturers will support this open source format in the future. For now, a program like Adobe’s Lightroom or other available downloads, allow you to convert your proprietary raw files into the open source DNG format. It’s an extra step, but it will ensure your files are readable for years to come.

Hopefully, you have enough information now to give raw a try — if you haven’t already.

POSTED: 01/24/18 at 10:54 pm. FILED UNDER: Camera Club News