Tutorial: Raw

Working with raw images

Your EOS camera captures images in a 'raw' format. This is neither an abbreviation nor a technical term. It simply means 'not processed'.

The raw data comes from the millions of pixels that make up the camera sensor. Each pixel is photosensitive and responds to light by generating a small electric current. The value of each current is converted to a digital format. This mass of data forms the bulk of the raw image file.

This tutorial will explain how you can use these raw files to refine the decisions you made when you took the original photo.

• Raw vs. JPEG
• Canon Digital Photo Professional (DPP)
     - Navigating DPP
     - Brightness
     - White balance
     - Picture Style
     - Contrast
     - Color tone
     - Color saturation
     - Sharpness
     - Saving Images

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JPEG vs. raw
JPEG is an abbreviation and used to describe a method of reducing the large amount of data captured by the camera to a smaller file. It does this by checking various settings on the camera, such as white balance, Picture Style, Contrast, Color saturation, Color tone and Sharpness. The camera processes the image according to these values and discards all the information not required. A JPEG image is also compressed which reduces the size of the file when it is saved, but allows it to open to a larger size when viewed.

An advantage of shooting JPEG files is that the images can be printed, transmitted or saved without any further work. The disadvantage is that you have limited ability to change the image once it is taken.

Many photographers prefer to shoot and save raw files. Here, all the data from the sensor is saved with minimal processing. The advantage of a raw file is that you can make many of the shooting decisions when the image is opened on a computer.

If you shoot a JPEG file in Daylight with the white balance set to Tungsten, it is a major problem. With a raw file you select the white balance after the exposure, so it is no problem at all. There are many other characteristics you can change and adjust, giving more control over the image than you had at the time of shooting.

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