Sunday, January 23, 2011

P365 - Day 23 my camera in the raw (for sunday selections)

My ‘normal’ camera is a Fuji Finepix SF6500FD. I’ve had it for about three years.

It’s one of those cameras that is a bit more sophisticated than a compact point-and-shoot (athough those cameras seem to be getting more and more sophisticated every week, so perhaps that’s not true any more), but not quite a DSLR. It doesn’t have interchangeable lenses, you can’t connect an external flash and it doesn’t have a huge F-stop range.
This was an impossible picture to take on my phone,
 while holding the camera with my other hand like I
was taking a self portrait. Hence the blur!

But as an ‘intermediate’ camera, it has all the features that I’m likely to need as I learn a bit more about photography, and will probably help me decide if I really want to take the next step and get a DSLR or if I’m happy at the level I’m at.

When I was camera shopping, one feature I really liked about it was that it looked like a 'real' camera, it was something I could really hold onto and it had a manual zoom, which makes precision zooming a lot easier.

It also makes for a much bigger camera, which is a bit of a pain for outings with juniordwarf.

One of the features it has, which I didn’t really know anything about when I bought it, is the ability to shoot in the raw.

I mean RAW.

Now I’m no technical photography guru and don’t fully understand what RAW format is, but I know that it produces an uncompressed file that contains all of the information captured by the camera’s sensors, whereas a JPG picture is compressed and so a lot of the information is lost in that compression process. The result is that a RAW file is a lot bigger (about four times) than a JPG.

But this means you can make a lot more precise edits to the picture and tweak it a lot more effectively, because there is more data there. It also means that, unlike a JPG, you don’t lose quality every time you edit and save the file.

So for frogpondsrock's Sunday Selections project this week, I've decided to post some of my very first RAW editing efforts.

Last year we had holidays in NSW and spent some time in Tumut. As with most rivers, the Tumut River is full of photographic potential, so I got up early one morning, flicked the camera setting to RAW and began shooting.

I spent a couple of hours wandering up and down the river bank, taking photos, watching the light change as the sun came up and generally having a relaxing time.

When I got the files back to my computer I had no idea what to do with them, so every now and then when I’ve got nothing better to do, I open up one of the files and play with the settings until I get something that I think looks OK.

Tumut River, NSW, March 2010

So far I’ve tended to go for the over-edited look. I like the intensity of the colours, the stark contrasts and the sharpness of the image. But as I said, I have no idea what I’m doing and I have a lot to learn -  I guess you only learn by doing, sharing and taking on board feedback.

There’s a fine balance between a good photo edit and an over-edited one. This one is probably too over-saturated, but I really like the bright colours in this case. I certainly wouldn’t do this for every photo.

The second one is a photo I took today while juniordwarf and I were at the playground today. I looked at my camera this morning and realised that the last time I used it was 31 December 2010! I've been intent on my phone's Project 365, and I've been grabbing our little point-and-shoot whenever a photo opportunity crops up. I've been neglecting my real camera, so I decided to take it with me today just in case there was something interesting to photograph. 

Turns out there was - there were these amazing clouds in the sky and I was really kicking myself for not having my polarising filter with me.

Clouds - original as shot

Clouds - after some formatting of the RAW file
The learning continues!


  1. I used to have a Panasonic Lumix that was similar to your camera in that it wasn't just a point and shoot and it wasn't a DSLR. I loved it. and it was a big decision when it was time to upgrade whether to go with the new Panasonic or go with a DSLR. Veronica pushed me into buying a DSLR and I haven't regretted it.The clarity is amazing.

    I like your photos I havent shot in Raw yet though a friend did suggest that I give it a try. maybe a bit later when I have worked out the finer details of my Nikon :)

  2. Oh barb I just love the colours in those photos, it was well worth the play with it. I have similar to you but I can't wait to get a dslr. I used to have a slr before digital came out and I loved it. the clarity is amazing. I can't wait until I have the dosh to get a dslr.

  3. @Julz, I've got an old SLR as well, a Pentax & it's great. I keep meaning to load up a film & go out & shoot.But I still don't know much about the manual settings. (Do you sense another post topic coming up?!)

    @frogpondsrock, there seems to be so much more tinkering you can do with the raw formatting. I want to try some of that tonal mapping & HDR stuff but that scares me! Some of those images are amazing - not really photos but not paintings either. Real but unreal.


Hi! I know you hate having to type in the words as much as I do, but I am being furiously spammed, so I've had to reactivate that feature. If you're a real person I'd love to hear from you :-)