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Getting the Best Results From a Digital Sensor — JPEG vs RAW and Exposure and Noise

These new articles apply to any type of digital camera, being particularly instructive in several ways:

  • How misleading a camera histogram can be.
  • How grossly underexposed the “correct” metering might be.
  • The greatly increased noise from “correct” but sub-optimal exposure.
  • The huge loss of dynamic range with JPEG.
  • The incredible versatility of push and pull with RAW.

Added to the DAP workflow articles:

It was a bit of a challenge to fully present this work, but I think it was worth it. In it, I capture some measure of what I do in the field, and how I can get very high image quality out of even small sensor cameras.

At a glance

Below, it is easy to see why RAW is hugely preferable to JPEG (this is a camera RAW + JPEG pair shot with one press of the shutter), with RAW having generous headroom by comparison, and far higher image quality due to reduced noise:

Leica 50mm f/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH  Leica 50mm f/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH
RAW capture (left), exact same JPEG capture (right)

Mosts cameras mislead for RAW, leading users to underexpose for inferior image quality.

Leica 50mm f/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH  Leica 50mm f/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH
Leica 50mm f/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH

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