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Old Jun 20, 2003, 10:33 AM   #1
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Default RAW vs TIFF ?? How important??

How important is RAW format?

I have Photoshop 7.0 and will be doing post processing on my pix. If I can only capture in TIFF what control and information will I be losing?

Thank you for any insight that you may provide.

J
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Old Jun 20, 2003, 11:51 AM   #2
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RAW formats are propietory... TIFF is universal. Most RAW formats use lossless compression that result in smaller file sizes. My Canon Powershot Pro90 produces Canon RAW files (as well as JPGs) that can be processed outside the camera then saved as TIFFs or any of a lot of file formats.

My camera produces JPGs typically 1.5 MB (largest size, lowest compression), or 2 MB CRW files. When converted to TIFF format, the files are about six MB.

If your camera has a RAW format capability, you should use it. It represents the direct output of your camera's sensor. If you're going to process the output anyway, this is the best way to do it. You'll lose nothing and gain a lot of space on your camera's memory chip as opposed to shooting in TIFF format.
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Old Jun 20, 2003, 12:33 PM   #3
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I think RAW has more bits to start with than TIFF as it represents the direct output from the ccd before the pixel manipulation is done. In which case RAW would be truly lossless. NHL would know.
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Old Jun 20, 2003, 1:08 PM   #4
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Well like Wildman and Vox have said it's mainly 'in' camera vs 'off' camera processing. They both start form the same data which is the CCD's output, while Tiff uses the camera setting to compute a non-compressed file, RAW appends the camera's data instead to the raw file to be computed outside the camera.

The benefits are 2-fold with raw:
1. Tiff file is larger and any computation round off is thrown away. This computation is also done with a limited camera processing power hence the Tiff file is usually encoded only in 8-bit color.
2. A PC usually has 32-bit floating point arithmetic and is capable of fully using the full 12/14-bit output from the CCD. Also either the camera maker or third parties can convert the raw file so you have more than 1 choice of processing here. The other side benefit is if the pictures taken were off, there's more leeway in undoing the exposure problems since the data wasn't truncated and thrown away already by the camera! 8)

Bottom line, RAW = (smaller file + more data) than TIFF

IMO If you don't have RAW, use the highest jpeg setting and save this 1st generation jpeg as Tiff back at the PC if you're worry about lossy compression. No one can tell the difference, it will save both on the flash card and the battery plus the camera will operate much faster as a result! :P
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Old Jun 20, 2003, 1:32 PM   #5
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It depends on your level of your ability, and how much you care about your photos. Most digital camera users won't even use TIFF, never mind the RAW format. In fact many users will use the higher compressed JPG and they can't tell the difference.
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Old Jun 20, 2003, 2:37 PM   #6
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I agree with both Mike_PEAT and NHL.

If you want more in your pictures, use RAW. If not, use the best JPG. I know of no camera in which the TIFF mode is worth it. (Anyone?) It is usually much slower to shoot in TIFF than RAW, which is slower than jpg. (I'm ignoring the Nikon D100, which has a forth "compressed RAW" setting, which is so slow it shouldn't have been included as a feature. 45 seconds to save 1 picture!!! Ya, that makes sense! Everyone uses uncompressed RAW instead.)

Of course, not all cameras support RAW. If you only have TIFF and JPG... well, then you have no choise. TIFF will be lossless compression (or no compression) and JPG will loose data during compression.

Eric
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Old Jun 20, 2003, 3:40 PM   #7
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Because TIFFS take so long to write on most cams, there's a risk the batts will fail part way through a card write, and that could spell card disaster. My 602 can take up to 55 secs. and when shooting flash as well, that's a long time to hold your breath and pray near the end of a lot of shots you'd want to keep.
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Old Jun 20, 2003, 4:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voxmagna
Because TIFFS take so long to write on most cams, there's a risk the batts will fail part way through a card write, and that could spell card disaster.
Just to expand to this, writing to the card is one of the most power intensive activities that a camera does (especially cameras that run on 2AAs as that's less voltage than a card requires to write).
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Old Jun 20, 2003, 6:54 PM   #9
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the advantage of shooting raw in certain cameras and the appropriate software is the ability to recover 1.5 or so stops of over and under exposure in the original image. the info is there with some latitude. tiffs and jpgs don't have that latitude. when printing though a tiff is the best post process image. raw cannot be used in that aspect.
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