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I shoot RAW...Do you shoot RAW?

... Why?

Have you tried recooking an already well-done steak to your liking? Get a raw steak from the butcher and cook it to your liking! Do you see the difference? That's why I like to shoot raw!

My NX300M is away to the service and I have rented an Olympus OM-D EM5 for the time being.
In the wake of this time with another camera, I came to think about one of those Internet truths: Olympus jpgs are so good, you don't have to use raw and process your pictures anymore.

I shoot raw since I started using DSLRs. One reason has always been, that I don't want to lose any information
, which I might miss later in post processing. The other reason is that my first DSLRs were so old (the NikonD1 was introduced way back in 2000), they just had bad jpg processing. That's why I started shooting raw exclusively and developed my workflow accordingly.

When I look at the jpgs from a friend and fellow Samsung shooter, they are usable and sometimes really nice but always feel to me as if there could have been something better coming from the sensor.
The advantage of a raw file over a jpg is that things like color, white balance, contrast, saturation and exposure are not totally fixed. Especially white balance, colour and saturation can be freely adjusted afterwards.

The best way to take great photos still lies in conserving as much as possible in the moment you hit the shutter release. That
actually means, the freedom of shooting raw, lies in being able to correct the little mistakes you make afterwards. Forgot to set the white balance back from tungsten? No problem in raw! The highlights are blown out in the sky? Most of them can be brought back pretty easily if you shot raw!

I shot some jpg and raw images simultaneously with the OM-D and even though, the jpgs were nice and showed some lovely colours, there have been blown out areas and colour tints, which I could correct easily in the raw file.

These two pictures show, what you can do in post with a raw file compared to the jpeg. First the jpg, purposely underexposed by 2 EV and then the raw, same exposure but later recovered in Lightroom. This is a simply example but it will happen often enough that you turn the camera around, and snap a photo of a moment never coming back, to find it way to underexposed or overexposed. With raw, you can save this moment.

Now you may start telling me that you can do a lot of this in Photoshop with the jpg as well and I have to give it to the Photoshop gurus, who can do wonders on jpg. I can't do that myself and if I am allowed to look those guys over the shoulder, they take much more time to achieve the same results, that I can get
easily in my raw workflow.
Another example of the advantage of raw vs jpg
: These next two pictures were taken with my smartphone. Yes, my Lumia 930 shoots raw, which is one of the reasons I chose it! As you can see, the dull jpeg (1st) ist greatly improved when I do some work on the raw file (2nd).

I started with a dull image with a little distortion and
a much to bright sky and ended up with a contrasty image, with blue sky and more realistic shadows.

Bottom line: Shooting raw gives you the freedom in editing and it makes life easier most of the time but it is no excuse for bad practice!

Wanna learn shooting raw? Check
this out!