Monthly Archives: July 2014

Should I shoot JPEG or RAW? – why JPEG is better 99% of the time

You’ve probably noticed that your camera has different file settings called jpeg and raw, and then wondered what this really means. If you’ve taken to the internet in search for an answer then you’ll be really confused, because everyone has an opinion and everyone thinks they know the answer. Well there is no answer, it’s actually what ever you prefer. Most times you’ll end up with exactly the same picture even after post processing.

So what are these files. Raw is essentially a digital negative, an uncompressed or processed image file with all original pieces of data. Jpeg is a processed or compressed file that the camera has enhanced as part of the file capture process.

What’s the difference. Essentially it’s not going to make any difference to composition, light captured, colour or anything else. Where it does matter is in processing time and the amount of detailed changes you want to make in post processing, although that’s a very debatable subject.

What have I found? I’ve shot both many times, and processed both many times, and for me jpeg is easier, quicker and in 99% of cases there will be no difference in the end result. Raw files are huge, eat up your storage media, make your buffer clog up whilst shooting, and take far longer to process. Ironically many people who process raw files run a batch or bulk processing action in their software which does the same job a camera does when shooting jpeg in the first place. Jpeg files in cameras have developed enormously in the past few years as camera software has evolved, and the post processing software to enhance these jpeg files is so good that you can recover lots of detail from blown highlights or dark shadows from most jpegs.

So jpegs are ok to use. They don’t make you an amateur or an idiot as some self appointed internet gurus would like you to believe. Go on and try it for yourself, then make up your own mind. Either way, it’s up to you.

For more reading I highly recommend this site

NYE 2013 fireworks – how to shoot fireworks with an X100s

It was really a perfect evening. Surrounded by family and excited Sydneysiders waiting for the fireworks under the Harbour Bridge. I had my X100s with me and a cheap tripod and captured many great shots, but these were my favourites. F2, 1/26 sec iso 100. Just stick your camera on a tripod, a cheap tripod for the x100s will do fine because it’s small & light. Frame your shot, set the self timer to either 2 or 10 seconds & shoot. Keep everything in auto. Timing the shot is down to luck and practice. But you will get some keepers.

Light wheel – how to photograph long exposures at night

Luna Park in Sydney is iconic because of its great location and rides. I’ve had my X100s for some time now and tried some night long exposure shots to see what it could produce. The Ferris Wheel at Luna Park provided the perfect model. I propped the X100s onto a tripod, not a great tripod mind you, and let the camera do the thinking, except I set the aperture to f8 on the lens. Everything else was in auto except for the self timer to avoid camera shake by pressing the button. This was a 6.5 second exposure at f8 iso 200. I processed the shot in Nik software using a tonal contrast that gives it some pump.

Sydney Apocalypse – how to photograph landscapes through thick glass & blinds

I bought my gear to work to do a portfolio head shot for a new member of the team, when at about 5.30pm this amazing sunset appeared in the western sky. I had difficulty shooting this as its through thick glass and horizontal blinds 19 floors up, and the glass being dirty didn’t help. I managed to blur out the blinds using the telephoto lens at 138mm pressed up against the glass. Nonetheless, I’m happy with the result. Shot with Canon 6d, 70-200 F4 IS on, jpeg processed on Nik Software using tonal contrast and slight sharpening. Morale to this story is always have your gear on you because you’ll never know when opportunity knocks.