Wednesday, May 25, 2022

AYWMC 5.1 Supplemental: RAW

This is a supplement to Lesson 5.1: Editing is Not Cheating 
from my blog series A Year With My Camera.

Lesson 5.1 Supplement in my own words
  • What is RAW?
    • A RAW image file contains all the original information that the camera's computer collects when the photographer presses the shutter button.
    • A JPEG image is a RAW image that has been processed and edited by the camera's computer. The extra information is deleted and the image compressed.
    • RAW images are 3x larger than JPEG images because they contain 3x the information.
    • Not an option on less expensive cameras and phones.
    • They are unique to each camera manufacturer.
    • Can be exported from a photo editor as JPEG (or other) files.
  • What are the advantages of shooting RAW images?
    • They retain all the original information contained in the image.
    • The photographer can choose what and how to edit.
    • It can be edited without degrading the photo (because it isn't compressed like JPEG images are).
  • What are the disadvantages of shooting RAW images?
    • They are 3x as large as JPEGs.
    • They are slower for the camera to save and download.
    • Memory card is filled up 3x faster and holds 3x fewer photos.
    • Can't share a RAW file.
    • Not all photo editors can work with RAW files. Those that do require a special addon.
Optional project for Unit 5
  • Experiment with RAW images this month.
I had a heck of a time finding a RAW image editor that works with both Linux and Canon's new RAW file format (CR3). I finally had success with ART (Another RawTherapee) which is a fork of the popular open source RawTherapee.
I took a variety of photos in RAW, and started to experiment. The program has a lot of editing features and it's going to take awhile to learn them. So, I thought it best to start with the three editing steps in Lesson 5.1: exposure, color temperature, and crop.

Exposure adjusted

Color temperature adjusted


Then in GIMP, I resized and optimized. I do this for all photos that go on my blogs. In this case, the original photo was 4012 x 6016 pixels. I resized to 333 x 500 pixels. Then I optimized it from about 230 Kb to 47 Kb. These last two steps make my images easier to load and view in a web browser.

What I learned
  • I had my introduction to the world of RAW photos: what they are and what to do with them.
  • I discovered that when I open a RAW image into ART, I'm not viewing the actual RAW image, but rather a JPEG image that the camera creates and embeds in the RAW file. This is what the RAW image editor displays and what I'm working from.
  • There is so much more control with how RAW images are edited, compared to working with JPEG in GIMP. I often found that frustrating, and is perhaps why photography was primarily utilitarian. Now, I'm getting a glimpse into the art of digital editing, and discovering it's a lot of fun!
  • I still have a lot to learn.


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