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Thu
Nov
08

2007

Is really worth the hassle compared to shooting JPEG?

It depends on your intended purpose. If you’re just shooting with documenting intentions, it probably isn’t.

If your goal is maximum quality, definitely, YES. Here’s what Fred Miranda says about 16bit linear files:

RAW files converted to Linear 16-bit mode have broader dynamic range and
color information (larger color gamut). In addition, linear 16-bit files
are free of any sharpening algorithms and therefore images will have
even lower noise levels then non-linear (normal) 16-bit images. The linear
image provides image data without any processing with the full sensor dynamic range.
The 16 bits file gives you 4096 points accuracy versus 255 in 8 bit
images and therefore more room for post-processing preserving original dynamic range.

Advantages:

  • You don’t have to worry about the White balance setting. You can adjust that later when processing.
  • You can, to some degree, correct wrong exposure.
  • You don’t lose any information, that’s important if you intend to edit the image later; which each JPEG save cycle, the file is re-compressed, and further information is lost.
  • You can work in 16bit mode. That gives much more room for adjustements without image degradation.
  • It has the best quality/file size ratio.
  • It puts a complete Digital Darkroom to your command. You are in control of every process, from taking the shot, to how develop it and finally editing or polishing it.

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