In Camera Raw Or In Camera, That Is The Question?

For many it is the choice between Jpeg and Raw, when it comes to which file format to shoot. Jpeg being small in size, quick to save and convenient to share. Raw being bigger in size, longer to buffer, while needing editing before being shared but an uncompressed file.
With the first Digital Cameras with Raw the argument was more intense and relevant but now with faster memory cards and better processors in cameras, Raw is the more favored format for most with Jpeg having the advantage in some arenas.

I had been playing with my 60D on Friday while waiting for my students to arrive after spending the morning shooting. I knew I could process Raw files in my camera but never spent the 5 ins to experiment. With time to spare I took a quick look.

snake-raw-Camera

Raw file edited in Camera.

I was presently surprised by the outcome. It is fairly easy to make adjustments to white balance, exposure, saturation and even noise reduction. You can also create presets that you can quickly apply  to other images(amount of saturation, contrast brightness ect).

An example below shows quite a nice conversion  and I believe better than what the camera could do, if it was processing it as a Jpeg.

snake-raw-ACR

Raw file edited in Adobe Camera Raw

I took the same file and made basic adjustments in Adobe Camera Raw (no localized adjustments or gradient adjustments). It is quite obvious that the ACR edit is much stronger. I was able to make the image more balanced and less blue, with being able to control highlight and shadow detail I can shift the light to certain areas of the image.

It was going to be no contest between the two. Editing on a camera is not the perfect solution with its small screen which is not  calibrated, unlike my monitor which is bigger and calibrated. Though in saying that it was good to be able to edit a Raw file in camera, you can  preview the potential of a shot quite quickly before you get to the computer. Once you are at your desk you can jump to the images you want to edit and know roughly the right settings before you make refined adjustments.
Also if someone wants images quickly to preview, you can take 10 mins and edit together some raw files and then download them to their computer or tablet for them to have and then send images that have been properly edited later.

In the end I took my fish eating snake and finished editing the shot in Photoshop.

Snake-Eating-Fish-Side

Cropping a little bit closer and balancing the image I was able to then tone the image and sharpen . I sharpened twice, once generally and a second time to really bring out the details in the head of the snake.

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