Thursday, September 1, 2011

When to use RAW on the LX5

After getting some experience in shooting RAW with the LX5, I have come to the conclusion that there are only some situations when it is really worth the extra effort: high-ISO situations, and when one wants to preserve highlight information.

But the drawbacks are the slower shooting speed - waiting for the camera to respond doesn't feel so good - and the extra effort in Aperture. Even though I have some presets which help in RAW processing, it takes work in front of the computer to get good enough results. (And I prefer spending time behind the lens instead.)

I'll use RAW mainly for handheld photography when it is dark, and not much else. Previously, I put the LX3 on a mini-tripod and used ISO 100, and that worked quite well, but limited the possible compositions quite drastically. Now that I'm using Aperture I'll have more freedom during the dark season. That is good.

On the other hand, in many situations the JPEG engine of the LX5 does an excellent job. One such situation is shooting b&w. The LX5 has an excellent film mode for this, "dynamic b&W".

I think it would be very hard to get the same results from the RAW files - and I doubt this can be easily automated. There was a discussion about this at Flickr, but nobody knew of a solution.

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