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In this great video by Nicolas Doretti, he explains the differences between using RAW and JPEG formats.
If you have struggled to understand the need to shoot in RAW format over JPEG, this video goes into great detail exploring and explaining why you can obtain so much detail from RAW files.
Nicholas explains the differences in BIT depth and how pixels are composed of 3 layers.
He also explains how to arrive at 16 million colors in an image.
This is how the bit depth corresponds to the number of colors it holds.
Photos taken by your camera are around 12/16 bits of information. All of these values – that’s the RAW file. It’s not really an image; it’s the raw data taken by the sensor.
When you record your image in jpeg, your camera takes the raw information from the sensor and compresses it into an 8-bit format. As there are not as many spaces, it also applies a treatment to the image. It adjusts the contrast and saturation of colors.
The processing values depend on the selected image profile on your camera.
If you record in RAW, the camera does no editing to your image at all. It retains the 12/16-bits of information (68-281 billion colors). It is then up to you to process your images and get the most from all of that information.
The RAW image you see on your computer screen is simply an interpretation of the raw data that your camera records. Each change you make in your editing software reinterprets this data.
RAW is not an image format, as such. Each brand has it’s own version of RAW. CR2 for Canon, ARW for Sony, NEF for Nikon, RW2 for Panasonic, DNG, and other extensions exist.
Using RAW allows you to search for information, whereas there is no information in the jpeg.
Nicolas uses an image example in both jpeg and RAW formats to show you the possibilities of editing with both formats. You will notice how much more information can be gained in the shadow and highlight areas of the RAW file.
Nicolas also touches on the argument of professional photographers not needing to shoot RAW because they should be good enough to get a perfect exposure in-camera. He has an interesting take on this. He talks about retouching and uses examples of photos dating back to 1861 that were retouched.
Watch and see what your thoughts are here! Share any comments on this information in the comments below!