JPEG vs raw

Shoot raw and you’ll be able to fine-tune the ex­po­sure even after you’ve taken a shot

Digital Camera World - - CAMERA COLLEGE -

The his­togram is one of your cam­era’s most use­ful fea­tures, but it doesn’t al­ways tell the truth. Both the pre­view and the his­togram are based on a pro­cessed JPEG ver­sion of the im­age, re­gard­less of whether you’re shoot­ing a JPEG or a raw file. Raw files have a wider tonal range than JPEGs, so you may be able to res­cue ar­eas that ap­pear clipped on the his­togram when you process your files.


It’s clear from this photo’s his­togram that the high­lights are clipped – the right end of the shape 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 lost high­light de­tail in the raw file. The his­togram looks the same as the JPEG’s, but that’s be­cause it’s cur­rently be­ing dis­played ‘as shot’ in Adobe Cam­era Raw.


Although it’s too late to change the ex­po­sure, you can use the Ex­po­sure (com­pen­sa­tion) and High­lights slid­ers in raw pro­cess­ing soft­ware to use the ex­tra high­light data con­tained in the file.


If the rest of the im­age starts to look too dark as you edit it, you can use the Shad­ows slider to fix this. In ef­fect, the soft­ware is se­lect­ing the darker tones only, then light­en­ing them.

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