Diminishing Horizons

Great Court

I kinda messed up last week’s course assignment; the lecturer asked us to shoot raw and JPEG so that we could compare the two and see the differences.

This I did last week; but then when I ran my script to extract the files from the card it only copied over the raw files and left the JPEGs.

I then formatted the cards so that I could take photos of the lunar eclipse.

End result; no JPEGs.

So I nipped out to The British Museum at lunch-time on the day of the course to take some more photos.

So; for that evening’s class, we sat down at our Macs and had a play with Photoshop.

Once we had imported our photos the lecturer walked around the class and picked some photos (including the one above) to display on the projector.

He wanted to talk about the differences between raw and JPEG.

I’ve often heard people argue that as they can’t tell the difference between the JPEG that came out of the camera and a JPEG created from the raw file; then there’s no point shooting raw.

I’ve always thought that they were missing the point.

I think that the benefits of shooting raw are the gain in exposure latitude (due to it being 12-bit instead of 8-bit) and the fact that you can manipulate it and re-save it without losing quality.

So; I didn’t really expect to see much difference on screen between the raw and the JPEG; but to my surprise the difference between the raw and the in-camera JPEG for the above shot were quite remarkable.

The shadow detail from the great court roof was completely lost in the JPEG version, thereby rendering the wall pure white.

Although I’ve always shot RAW I now feel even more justified in my thinking.

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