Saturday, January 15, 2011

RAW vs jpeg

Over the holidays I decided that my photos would be infinitely better if I took them in RAW and used Canon's Digital Photo Professional for post-processing.  Between Christmas and our trip to France we took over 1200 pictures and now I'm really regretting the decision to used RAW.  Here's why:

  • There's little noticeable difference in the color curve.
  • White balance is obviously easy to change with a RAW image but in 95% of the shots the WB was already set correctly.  In the 5% of the shots it wasn't, Picasa does a great job to fix jpegs.
  • Noise reduction in DPP is no better than the in-camera noise reduction.  ISO 1600 shots using jpeg look fine.
  • Exported jpegs are too washed out and the color saturation is too much.
  • Post-processing time!  This is, by far, the biggest reason I won't be using RAW in the future.  I had no idea just how much time it would take to make all the adjustments.  Even using DPP's recipe copy/paste and the batch processing it's proving to be a massive time sink.

The only advantage I've found is that the lens distortion is corrected.  This, however, only seems to matter for landscape shots that have harsh horizons and vertical elements (e.g. trees).  In all the other shots it doesn't make a significant difference.

So if you've been waiting for Christmas pictures and January 2011 pictures, you'll have to wait a bit longer.  It'll take me some time to work my way through the 1200 image backlog.

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