If you have dabbled in RAW photography you will already be aware of its advantages. But ? even if you’ve taken it to its extremes there will still be enormous gaps in your knowledge. Betcha!

This book will surprise you with its info on not only RAW’s enormous benefits to enhanced image capture but also to its limitations ? in an archival sense.

Author Taylor describes ‘raw’ as “a synonym of uncooked, unrefined and unprepared.” In his view “a RAW file is a package of the image data captured by the camera sensor when you press the shutter release button ?”

He adds that RAW images are initially disappointing, appearing flat and washed out when compared to the “ready to eat” JPEG file. But the RAW image has potential!

Taylor makes the very important point that there is nothing difficult about shooting RAW but there may be some habits that need to be unlearned.

JPEG images are written to memory as finished images, ready to be added to a document or printed directly. RAW files usually cannot be used straight from the camera; they need to be processed and saved in a more useable file type. The effort in doing so can eat up much more time than in taking the original shot.

The book moves through the topics of how a sensor works, then discusses subjects such as bit-depth and colour space, metadata, suitable equipment, lens distortions, chromatic aberration, vignetting, PC versus Mac, suitable monitors and useful software.

An extremely useful chapter deals with exposure and touches on such matters as juggling lens aperture and shutter speed as well as the resultant depth of field that derives from the former.

The book abounds in useful advice: suggested are ways to increase a camera’s dynamic range with graduated filters, polarisers or HDR photography; there is also an unusual helper in the method of deliberately “exposing to the right” ?ie overexposing a photograph. Although the display on your camera’s LCD screen may be washed out, the original can be fixed in post editing. Taylor holds that exposing to the right means you will maximise the image’s clean data and minimise the amount of noisy data. Worth a try!

As many of you will know there is no single RAW file format: the camera manufacturers have muddied the water by installing their own specific RAW types; so you get Nikon cameras saving in .NEF, Sony saving in .ARW, Canon in .CR2 ? along with its earlier and no longer used .CRW format; there are others.

These formats may also change over time as cameras undergo development, leaving you with camera originals no longer readable with current software. Parallel with this is Adobe’s RAW format .DNG, which the company hopes will become a standard.

In spite of the compact size of the book the information in its pages is extremely valuable. An excellent primer on the subject.

Author: D Taylor.

Publisher: Ammonite Press.

Length: 192 pages.

ISBN: 978 1 90770 855 8.

Price: Get a price on Understanding RAW Photography at Amazon where it is currently 32% off

Post originally from: Digital Photography Tips.

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Understanding RAW Photography [Book Review]