May 19, 2005

Personal Technology: How TIFF, RAW help pricey new digitals produce better pictures

Source: Post-Gazette
Written By John Coston, The Wall Street Journal

(From the end of the article)
Shooting RAW is another option. RAW format is unprocessed data, or the closest you can get to a digital “negative.” It takes up more space on a memory card than a JPEG, but only about half as much space as a TIFF, and many photographers who used to shoot JPEG have switched to RAW to gain wider latitude in the processing phase. After shooting in RAW, you can adjust the color or sharpen the contrast of an image directly on the unprocessed “negative” after you transfer it to your computer.

JPEG, TIFF and PSD are already institutions in the graphic-arts world, but RAW is relatively new and may seem daunting to amateurs. What’s more, last month, a group of photographers launched to draw attention to the “RAW problem.” What’s that? When camera makers offer RAW, it’s often tied to their particular software, and different makers have distinctly different RAW formats and in some cases are dropping support for their previous versions. Openraw seeks what it calls the RAW Solution: “We want camera manufacturers to publicly document their RAW image formats — past, present, and future.”

But third-party software like Photoshop is helping out on the compatibility front, plugging into a growing number of camera makers’ RAW formats, and making RAW more accessible.

There’s also the cool factor. While showing up with one of the new high-end digital cameras is likely to draw envious looks from the point-and-shoot crowd at weekend soccer games, being able to say, “I’m shooting RAW, thank you,” could win you a nod from the pro who shoots real rhinos in Africa — and who may well use one of these lighter, smaller cameras for his own weekend photos.

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