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Using RAW format


I am the new owner of a Rebel T3i and trying hard to learn all the new things that have happening in photography after a rather lengthy hiatus (~30 years!).  There seems to be some consensus that one is further ahead if all the decisions( eg. exposure, color saturation, style, etc.) are made in camera while the picture is being taken.  Later adjustments with software would then be minimal touchups.  If I record the photo in .JPG format I immediately see the picture as I expect it to be.  If I record the photo in .CR2 (RAW) format I am told that information such as style is "noted" and used to show me a preview.  I would expect the preview both on the camera LCD screen and on the computer in Lightroom to then be identical to the .JPG preview because it should be using the "noted" information.  I can clearly see that there is a difference in the preview of the two formats, with the RAW format usually showing a little more high key!  I would like to see the RAW image presented as I manipulated it while taking the picture because I cannot rely on my memory about what I did, but then I want to be able to manipulate such things as the style should I want to improve it (in Lightroom).  Also I wonder if the "noted" information is carried through and used by Adobe Camera Raw in the same way as in Digital Photo Professional, or does Adobe lose the information.

Can anyone elaborate on this for me?  Thank you so much!



A RAW file is exactly what the camera recorded when the photo was taken (in computer language) and as such is a pure file. NOTHING is altered until you run it through some form of software & create a jpg or tif etc. The reason for this will become very obvious as you progress on the learning journey. Because the camera stored the data exactly as shot you have the opportunity to manipulate it in so many ways over & over again without ever tampering with the original data. That can't be said about a jpg, which has already lost some of the original information as it was processed in camera using software that was built into the camera to do a specific thing to the photo as decided by those who planned & developed that software, BUT they can't possibly know exactly what every photographer wanted to capture, so by having the RAW file stay untouched they've given us the power to override their idea of what we were seeing in our minds when we took the shot.

This may help you understand the idea better.

"A skill is developed through constant practice with a passion to improve, not bought."


Welcome to digital.  I have a T3i also, and I never use the "camera styles".  If you have a good post-processing program, there is really no reason to use the camera for that kind of thing. 


I agree with Ciccopo about shooting in RAW.  If you shoot in JPG, the camera discards a lot of your data and makes style decisions that can't be fully reversed.  RAW is also much more forgiving of things like imperfect exposure and bad white balance.  If you try to push too big a change onto a JPG, it just can't take it without breaking up.  With RAW images, though, you can alter/tailor the look extensively in post processing.


RAW is really no more trouble than JPG.  When you open it in your raw converter/post processing program it appears as an image just like the JPG's do.  The images will be just a little "dull" but that is why you are in the post processing program in the first place.  Tweak the exposure and white balance, add some vibrance and contrast, clarity and in just a few seconds you have a great shot. 


I would strongly reccomend getting Adobe Lightroom 4.  It helps you organize your photos as well as process them, and you don't have to use "layers" like in Photoshop so your changes are non-destructive and instantly reversable, and you don't have to save multiple versions of each shot either. 


Good luck! 


Canon 5d mk 4, Canon 6D, EF 70-200mm L f/2.8 IS mk2; EF 16-35 f/2.8 L mk. III; Sigma 35mm f/1.4 "Art" EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro; EF 85mm f/1.8; EF 1.4x extender mk. 3; EF 24-105 f/4 L; EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS; 3x Phottix Mitros+ speedlites

Why do so many people say "FER-tographer"? Do they take "fertographs"?

Rising Star
You can have Lightroom display your images to look like your jpgs in camera by using one of the built-in Lightroom Picture Styles. These Picture Styles mimic Canon's Picture Styles. You can apply these presets before or after importing your images into Lightroom.

Oh and welcome to world of digital. I too had an absence from photography for a while between the film and digital eras. Still learning, studying and experimenting. At least the fundamentals are the same.

Get a good book on LR (Scott Kelby), watch some Julianne Kost tutoriorals on Adobe TV.


Hello BarrieD! 


 Enjoy the ride you are on ... like a roller coaster, it will have its ups and downs.  The best advice I can give you is this:  Set your camera to "RAW" and don't look back.  Next, I encourage you to look into Adobe Photoshop's Lightroom 4.  And do yourself a HUGE favor ... purchase AND READ "The adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 Book for Digital Photographers" (author: Scott Kelby, publisher: New Riders).  Pay attention to the first couple of chapters regarding what to consider before you download and store your photo files on your computer.  I found Kelby's style easy to read and very helpful.  Once you have gained a little experience editing RAW pics you will begin to discover what everyone is telling you about why RAW a better choice.  Good luck ... and have fun!     

Rising Star

I used to shoot film, read all of Ansel's books and dabbled with the Zone System. As stated welcome to the digital world and a whole new learning curve. Although film was fun and had more latitude I will never go back to the dark room. Well maybe if I won a lottery I might pick up an 8 by 10 field camera for chits and giggles.


EXIF data, which is a record of shots settings is read by most PP software if not all. No need to remember anything. Beats the old days of scribblers Smiley Happy


Jpg is actually very good but RAW will save you particularly the white balance. You can be in daylight and forget to take your WB off tungsten - no problem. With one click of a button during PP the image is back to normal. Much more difficult to correct in Jpg. You have so much control of the shadow & highlight recovery, blacks, whites and the list goes on and I can't begin to list everything.


Now your histogram is you best friend. Learn how to interpret it. The right side is information about the highlights (which includes whites). Try to keep that in check by not hitting the right wall. It takes time to learn because your subject can be in shade wearing a white sweater and there could be white fence behind that is in the sun. No whites pay attetention to mid area fo the historgram. 


This is an example of flash photography but it gives you the idea. I will look for other examples and get back. I have a pretty large collection of links, etc and it get's harder to find them.


Scroll down tp the gent holding the white towel.                


By the way now you will become new member of this club. It is called chimping and that basically means checking your LCD after each shot. We are all members  Smiley Tongue.