Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Shoot RAW and forget about the White Balance. The Pentax way.

Hi Pentaxian friends,

If you shoot with compact digital cameras, you don't have much choice but to shoot in JPG mode, although a few compact do have a choice of using RAW as well.

If you shoot with a DSLR, you have the choice of shooting in JPG or RAW as well. Most makers have their DSLRs limited to the use of their own proprietary RAW format, except for a few. Pentax DSLRs are in the few that allows you to shoot RAW PEF (Pentax proprietary format) and RAW DNG (Adobe attempt to universal RAW format).

So what does RAW and White Balance have to do with each other?

First of all, you should use RAW all the time, as this is like the negative of the film heyday, and the original information remains on the RAW files. JPG files are post-processed directly from your DSLR, reduced is size and the information lost is never recoverable.

Now for the White Balance; There are plenty of White Balance filters, Expo-Discs, Expo-Caps, and other White-Balance gadgets and accessories, that in my opinion, are only effective if you use JPG format to begin with. In RAW format, the White Balance can be extensively manipulated in post-processing. Lightroom does an excellent job at that, but all post-processing software will do an adequate job. There are absolutely no differences in the final results with RAW format; whether the W/B is applied before or after taking the shot. So save yourself about $50.00 for these filters, shoot RAW and set your DSLR at Auto White-Balance and fix it as you please or as necessary in post-process. AWB will work just fine 90% of the time. Don’t let the manufacturer "in-camera" processor, with its limited power and with the manufacturer algorithms, do the JPG conversion for you. You will forever loose the ability to correct the W/B from the limited JPG file.

If you don’t shoot RAW will eventually. There are two types of DSLR users; the users that shoot RAW and those that will!

Thank you for reading,

Yvon Bourque
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