RAW is not available in the "Green Box" (Full Auto) mode. It might be restricted in some of the other highly automated modes, too... I dunno, I only ever use Av, Tv, M and P. And I nearly always shoot RAW.
I applaud using RAW. It allows for more changes later, if you wish to do so. It does require post-processiing, but that's just part of shooting digitally, as far as I'm concerned.
All digital cameras capture RAW initially. When the camera is set to JPEG, it immediactly converts the RAW to a JPEG according to the various settings and a great deal of the captured data is thrown away in the process. JPEG files offer much less opportunity to go back and correct things such as white balance, sharpness, contrast, exposure, saturation and more. Plus RAW files are the full 14 bit the camera is capable of (interprolated as 16 bit in post-processing software), with literally millions of shades of colors. JPEGs are 8 bit, with thousands of shades. That's one reason RAW files are so much larger than JPEGs of the same image.
Granted, a lot of uses only call for JPEGs... which are quick and easy to make in post-processing, while keeping the original full resolution RAW file if you wish, for any future revisions or different treatments of the image you might want to make. I do most post-processing in 16 bit mode, then doesn rez the image to whatever size and format is needed for its final purpose.
I'd much rather have the flexibility to go back and make minor changes and keep the image as a 16 bit file if I wish, than only have an 8 bit JPEG at the end of the day. So I only shoot JPEGs when I absolutely have to have an image immediately or if I'm short on memory cards (but I have more than 20 memory cards with over 200GB of storage space, so that's unlikely to happen).
Also RAW is not availble in any of the "Basic Zone" modes. And quite frankly does not offer any advantage. Plus due to it's quite large file size can be a problem.
You must be in the "Creative Zone" modes. And you must want to do some post processing.
Thanks for those posts guys.
I never totally understood what the 60D was doing with creating JPEGS vs RAW. Explains why many of my pics are JPEGS even when I selected JPEG + RAW for save mode. Didn't really understand that in the manual.
I'll try to describe the difference.
The sensor is covered with light sensitive "photo sites" which ultimately translate into an image -- but it's a lot of information. The file-sizes would be large.
When files are saved as JPEGs, the algorithm can substantially reduce the size of the file... but to do so, it has to give up some of the original data. The algoirthm plays on weaknesses in the way the human eye works. Your eye is more sensitive to subtle changes in brightness than it is to subtle changes in hue. So the JPEG algorithm saves a LOT of space simply by taking hues which are extremely similar (and nearby) and rather than storing each one as it's unique color, it combines them (or "flattens" them) into the SAME color hue. This means the original color is now lost... but your eye probably would never have noticed the difference anyway.
Here's a fun test if you'd like to see how sensitive your eyes are (or are not) to subtle differences in hue: http://www.xrite.com/online-color-test-challenge
If you are completely satisified with the image the way it comes out of the camera, then JPEG is for you. If, on the other hand, you want to adjust the image... now you may have some problems.
Suppose I take a photograph of a bride and groom. The groom is wearing a black tuxedo. The bride is wearing a white wedding dress. If the image is slightly underexposed, the subtle differences in the dark tonality of the tuxedo will be lost and the JPEG algorithm will flaten everything to just plain "black" and the tuxedo will loose detail. If I slightly over-expose the image, the subtle differences in the white tonality of the wedding dress may be lost. instead of seeing a beautiful and intricate patterns in the dress... I may just see "flat white" and may not be able to recover the detail.
If, on the other hand, I shot the image and saved it as a RAW file, then the subtle differences from pixel to pixel will be retained (no matter how subtle). There will be no loss of original data. The image will be significantly larger... but everything will be there. Now when I start to adjust the levels in the image, the subtle differences that weren't so noticeable when the image was originally created can be enhanced and the detail can be revealed.
RAW images have significantly more "adjustment latitude". This is possibly the biggest benefit of shooting RAW.
The downside of RAW is that in order to guarantee that no original data is lost, there are actually quite a number of things your camera ordinarily does to an image to make them look better before they are saved and none of these will be performed when it saves a RAW image. For example... a JPEG normally gets a white balance adjustment, if it was shot at high ISO and has a great deal of noise then some automatic noise reduction is applied. It may have some sharpening applied as well. Artistic filters such as "picture styles" would also be applied to a JPEG. None of this is applied when shooting RAW. This means it's up to you to perform all adjustments. RAW images usually do need at list a little bit of adjustment. The straight out of the camera RAW usually will not look quite as good as the straight out of the camera JPEG. But the RAW has more potential to be a better image once you are done adjusting it because it retained all the original details that the JPEG discarded.
You may have picked up on the notion that RAW is for people who like to fuss over their image quality... but if you own a DSLR camera, you are probably one of those people who likes to fuss over image quality!
If you tell the camera to save RAW image files, then you will need a program on your comptuer which can work with them. Canon includes the "Digital Photo Professional" (aka DPP) utility on that disk that came with your camera. It can open and manipulate RAW image files and it can save them to other formats (TIFF or JPEG for example).
Adobe Lightroom and Apple Aperture are image adjustment programs which have been optimized for working with RAW images.
Now that I have figured this out I am looking at processing the file. I use GIMP and Photoshop Elements. Niether of these programs accepts a CR2 file. Do I have to use Canon's software that came with the camera?
Gimp doesn't open RAW files natively. You have to install the UFRaw plugin. And, right, it does not work very well just another one of the rather long list of problems with Gimpshop. And why I don't use it even though it is free.
This is a common complaint I hear about PSE but it isn't true. You have to have the correct ACR (Adobe Camera Raw) version. Go to ACR d/l page and get the correct version for your camera.
If yours is an older version of Elements, it might not be possible to update ACR to a new enough version for your camera.
In other words, you might have to buy an new version of Elements to use it with a newer camera model. I don't think Adobe offers "upgrade" versions of Elements... but thankfully even in full version it's not an expensive program and the newer version will likely have other improvements that you'll find helpful, too.
If you are using a Windows based system, you also will find that you can't view CR2 or any other type of RAW files in Explorer or with Windows Picture Viewer, etc. However, there are small programs called "codecs" that you can install to allow viewing most types of RAW as thumbnails in Explorer and view images larger in Picture Viewer (not, this is not a color calibrated view, so the displayed image tends to be low contrast, no image editing is possible either... might be most useful to check sharpness, focus and composition.)
A codec I use and find works well is FastPictureViewer. It is inexpensive... about $15 per computer last time I looked... fast and handy. So far, I've used it to display RAW files from Canon (CRW, CR2 12 bit, CR2 14 bit), Nikon, Pentax and Olympus cameras. No problem! I've used it with Windows XP, Vista and now with Win 7. It will also display TIFF and some other types of image files that you normally can't see in Explorer, etc. Google for it, if interested... (Note: Look for the codec, specifically. They have an image editor with a similar name, I haven't used it and don't know much about it.)
12/05/2023: New firmware updates are available.
09/26/2023: New firmware updates are available.
08/18/2023: Canon EOS R5 C training series is released.
07/31/2023: New firmware updates are available.
05/18/2023: New firmware updates are available.
03/30/2023: New firmware updates are available.