JPEG vsRAW

Set your Nikon to shoot JPEG+RAW files to see the dif­fer­ence in the dy­namic range avail­able

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Many pho­tog­ra­phers shoot both for­mats with the aim of us­ing the JPEG file if it turns out fine, but keep the RAW file in re­serve in case there are prob­lems with the ex­po­sure. You’ll find the RAW+JPEG set­ting in the Im­age Qual­ity op­tions on the Shoot­ing Set­tings menu.

JPEG his­togram

It’s clear from this photo’s his­togram that the high­lights are clipped – the right end of the is chopped off. This is a JPEG file, and the prob­lem can’t be fixed. What you see is what you get!

RAW ver­sion

It is pos­si­ble to re­cover some of the high­light de­tail in the RAW file– here it is in Nikon ViewNX 2. The his­togram looks the same as the JPEG’s, but that’s be­cause it’s cur­rently be­ing dis­played ‘as shot’.

Ex­po­sure Com­pen­sa­tion

To re­cover the lost high­lights, use the Ex­po­sure Com­pen­sa­tion slider. It’s too late to change the ex­po­sure, so ViewNX 2 uses the ex­tra high­light data in the RAW file in­stead.

Shadow Pro­tec­tion

This can make the rest of the pic­ture dark, but the Shadow Pro­tec­tion slider can fix this. In ef­fect ViewNX 2 is se­lect­ing the darker tones only and then light­en­ing them.

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