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6.  Shooting in RAW
 

Shooting in RAW overcomes many of the problems mentioned in the previous sections, such as jpg compression and its subsequent image quality degradation.  RAW files also eliminate another problem that traditionally occurs when shooting in jpg mode.

In jpg mode, cameras typically process the image to create an "idealized" image output by its internal software.  In other words, saturation, contrast, tonal range and even sharpness are modified, and the resulting output is "embedded" into the final image. 

At that point, it is impossible to reconstruct the original data.  Moreover, all the information is recorded at 8 bits per channel. 

Another problem with jpgs is that each time the image is edited and saved, the quality degrades somewhat.  For this reason, it is important to do all the editing in a format like RAW initially, and then later save the finished product as a jpg, or some other format.

The "raw" format denotes the fact that no alterations to the original image have been made. This is the preferred setting for many professional photographers, since raw files contain an abundance of information that is typically "stripped away" during jpg conversion. And since they record at 12 or 16 bits per channel, the resulting image file contains more information.

 

While this may seem desirable initially, the drawback becomes immediately obvious: raw images require enormous amounts of storage space on a memory card.  Typically a raw file is 4 times

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