I’ve made the switch. I’m now shooting in RAW format rather than JPG. I can’t get as many shots on a 1 GB SD card, but the amount of control I have over the shot is well worth the sacrifice. I can control white balance and even exposure to some extent in post-production.
My first real shots in RAW were at our Taylor Christmas gathering. Since I was taking the family photo this time, I wanted the best image quality possible. After working with the images, I was converted. My Nikon D50 can create both a RAW and JPG for each shot, and that’s the mode I use most often. I’ve got the JPGs for quick upload if needed, but I’ve also got the RAW files for detailed work.
I had seen several articles on Flickr about creating HDR images from a single RAW file, rather than multiple JPGs. I confess that I hadn’t read the articles. I thought that it probably involved selective manipulation of parts of the image, and hence the comments that single RAW HDR wasn’t really HDR. I still haven’t read the articles, but I think I’ve figured out how it’s done, and I think it does qualify as true HDR.
The HDR images I’ve shot use three white balance bracketed images. I can take a single RAW file and adjust the white balance one way, save it as a JPG, adjust it another, save it, then repeat a third time. That gives me the same three JPGs with different white balances which I can combine in Photomatix. Most importantly, I can adjust the white balance the way I decide, rather than how the camera decides. I can also do the same thing with exposure, or any combination of white balance and exposure. Since all of my shots are now in RAW, all of my shots could potentially become HDR shots (but I won’t do that.)
Below is a single RAW file HDR shot of Campbell Covered Bridge in Northern Greenville County…
The red is a bit desaturated, and the sky still has that grayish feel, but I think it works.
[tags]RAW, HDR, photography[/tags]