RAW is sometimes described as digital negative. A RAW image is an unprocessed image. It requires special software to convert the RAW images into viewable formats such as JPEG or TIFF. The advantage of RAW is that it gives us more rooms to fine-tune the images, so we are supposed to get better pictures. The disadvantage is that we need to convert the images, which is an additional step.
The prevailing view among digital photographers is that: If you don’t shoot RAW, you are no ‘pro’.
As a kiasu Canon user, I have also shot RAW, and used the following software to convert the images into JPEG format:
Canon RAW Image Task (RIT)
Nothing much we can do with RIT aside from adjusting white balance. If white balance has been set right during shooting, there is really little advantage of using RIT.
Canon Digital Photo Professional (DPP)
One advantage of DPP over RIT is that we can select the so-called Picture Styles. For example, if I shoot landscape, I select Landscape Picture Style in DPP. If I shoot portrait, I select Portrait Picture Style. However, when I set the Picture Style of a Thai girl image to Portrait, her skin tone didn’t look natural. Perhaps the Portrait Picture Style works best for Japanese.
Adobe PhotoShop Elements
At default settings, RAW images from Elements are extremely dull, and it takes a lot of tuning to get a decent picture. Elements is, however, more powerful than the two free software from Canon. Another advantage is that we can use the Adobe software to open RAW files of other cameras.
As a working adult who study part time, I find processing, and fine-tuning, RAW images to be too time consuming. Today I often shoot RAW+JPEG. If the JPEG images are OK, I just don’t bother to touch the RAW files. If I ever want to process RAW files, I use the Canon software.
While many digital camera users think that shooting RAW makes you more ‘pro’, there are actually some professional photographers who disagree. Here is one.
Canon Digital Photo Professional