FastRawViewer Developers' Blog

Why Bother Shooting RAW if Culling JPEGs

FastRawViewer. Culling RAW vs Culling JPEGs

What do you think is the possibility, when you are choosing and sorting images based on the JPEG previews, that you are going to discard the better-quality image, and keep the lesser-quality one?

When culling shots judging the technical quality based on the embedded JPEGs or uncontrolled RAW conversions instead of RAW, you risk making a mistake, especially with difficult scenes having deep shadows, throwing away perfectly good exposures in favor of the not-so-good – because, in some sense, you are choosing the shots while mislead or even blindfolded.

Let’s take a look at a typical “training” shot for a holiday – noon of a sunny day, blue Ionian sea, bright white limestone pebbles, bushes with dark-green, high-detail leaves (which lose all detail if the shot is underexposed), deep shadows under the bushes. These types of scenes typically have a very wide dynamic range. We will see later, however, that the real range of the shot we are examining is pretty much only 8 EV, if the exposure is technically correct.

Dispelling a Myth: Viewing RAW is Impossible

"There is not much sense in RAW viewers - one can't view "RAW images" anyway because RAW is not an image at all".

Yes, how often do we hear this myth: RAW is not an image. This particular misconception is extremely convenient and is often used as an excuse by those trying to explain why it is only natural that most image viewers display embedded JPEG instead of RAW, JPEG-based histogram instead of RAW histogram, and over- and underexposure indicators derived from JPEG previews.

The culprit here is that a JPEG is considered to be instantly viewable, because it contains a "processed image", while a RAW needs conversion ("development"), as it is a "latent image".

In fact, RAW is an image, but in a less familiar format.


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