Tuesday, May 29, 2007


By using the inherent capabilities in your image-processing software, you can work efficiently and exercise greater control over all of your images.

2 RAW file structure. The advantage of using RAW files is based upon the unique file type, and while structure may vary among maker brands, the basic structure is similar. Each RAW file consists of raw data generated by the camera's sensor imaging engine, a thumbnail of the image and a set of instructions that the camera embeds into the file. The instructions will be used by the camera maker's software to implement in-computer processing with its software. The camera maker's software offers the advantage of a very high level of synergy with many points of performance carried through automatically, while the alternative software will offer the software designer's special insights and more universal application among camera brands. Manually implemented software control is subject to your personal evaluation of “what's right,” while automatic settings made by camera, lens, speedlight and in-computer camera-maker software are made according to the camera maker's design and subjectivity.

Similarly, software output manually selected is “your choice,” and automatic operation is done according to the designers' ideas. As always, the right performance is that which you choose and like. Consider the choice of color mode: if you elect to allow the camera's system to automatically select color mode, as will be the case in some of the available automatic program modes, then a subsequent change in color mode could affect the dynamic range of the color in your images and also affect the apparent sharpness of the images. Once again, it's subjective and requires your experimenting with the various choices. In the future, we'll provide more guidance on many of the choices you have and how to fine-tune your approach to using them.


How this can affect your photography. It's generally acknowledged that RAW files provide the highest versatility and may be the best choice for you. In addition, there's a track record that demonstrates how RAW images made from a camera maker's earlier camera and processed with the earlier software can be enhanced using a subsequent camera maker's updated software.

For example, in the “old days,” you'd cull the bad shots and preserve your keepers. Now, the definition of a bad shot has changed to recoverable shot or unrecoverable shot. Nikon's software feature, D-Lighting, enables you to improve image quality by automatically and manually adjusting highlights, shadows and color intensity and potentially creating an expanded revenue flow from revived images. We'll tell you about more image-saving tools in future articles.


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