Event-Fotografie A. Tofahrn

Using RAW-images

Many digital cameras support to store images as they are recognized by the sensor. These images are not compressed and contain more bits per pixel which allow more adjustments with lesser artifacts. The big disadvantage of these RAW-images is, that you'll need special software to handle them. Maybe you get a plugin for your favorite imaging application, so you can work as with usual files.
Source JPG-File (normal). Source NEF-File.
For general images you normally won't need a RAW-format. When you target the computer's screen or small prints, don't bother with the more complex handling of RAW-formats.
But there are some situations, when using a RAW-format results in obviously better images.
One advantage of a RAW-file is the higher bit-depth per pixel. Contrary to JPG-files NIKON-NEF-images store 12 Bits per color-channel. This allows modifying whitebalance and exposure during import and gives you much more freedom when making color and contrast adjustments. My night-shots are most taken in RAW-format for these reasons.
RAW-files normally have no or at least a lossless compression. If you really need the last bit of resolution, there's probably no way except using a RAW-format. The D70 for example uses a size-based quality-setting for JPEG-files, so the resulting file-sizes are largely constant. When image-complexity increases, like within the trees above, you just loose resolution and definition.
If you still prefer using JPEG-files, a compression set to normal is sufficient for most images. But then you should not forget to switch to fine quality, when image details increase.
© 2004-2006, A. Tofahrn