Thursday, November 6, 2008

Bypass noise reduction by shooting RAW

Ken Rockwell's site is one of my favorite reads. He writes about photography and camera gear from an experiential standpoint, rather than from a technical one. One of his recent articles is about why film is superior to digital for landscape work; I can't argue with him there, he makes a great case.

But Ken's also a devotee of shooting only in jpeg, his reason being that time spent messing around with RAW files in post-processing is time that could be spent doing anything else, including shooting more pictures. Again, it's hard to argue that aspect of it. But in his film article, he bemoans the fact that digital cameras smudge out details with noise reduction, which obviously doesn't happen when you shoot film and have it scanned.

But here's the thing — in-camera noise reduction is not applied to RAW images, only jpegs. Or at least it is with my Canon 40D. So that's a sacrifice you make if you only shoot in jpeg.

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