Photography In The Raw
By Kimberle Balsman

Enticing title, huh? No, we wonít be discussing nude photography, at least not today. Rather, this article will, hopefully, shed some light on the tremendous image quality advances of todayís digital cameras.

Imagine taking a developed 4x6 snapshot of your childís birthday party and scanning it into your computer. If you printed the resulting photo, you would notice some considerable degradation of the image quality. The interesting fact is that most JPEG images are comparable to the quality of the scanned and reprinted image. Surprised? The JPEG image format is, by all means, acceptable for most consumer and even some professional purposes. JPEGs are definitely the best choice for sharing in email and even for printing on photo paper to place in an album or share with family and friends.

If, however, you are a camera geek (like me), you are simply not going to be satisfied with anything less than perfection from your images. In that case, you will definitely want to consider purchasing a camera with RAW image format capabilities. Working with the RAW format is the equivalent of working with a color or B&W negative. You have substantially more technical and creative control. The downside is that the RAW image format requires significantly more storage space on your media cards and demands more advanced photo-editing capabilities, which means investing in more powerful software with integrated RAW image editing functions (i.e. Adobe Photoshop CS2, retail cost $649). But, in my humble opinion, it is well worth the higher learning curve and expense.

 

Serious photography hobbyists and certainly those who may want to sell their photographic work will benefit tremendously from the superiority of the RAW format. The good news is that several reasonably priced prosumer digital cameras now offer the RAW image format. The Canon Digital Rebel XT 8 MP camera (est. retail $650) offers both JPEG and RAW formats. Likewise, the Sony Cybershot DSCR1 10.3 MP camera (est. retail $850) offers RAW image capture and an impressive array of features. For die-hard Kodak consumers, the new Kodak Easyshare P880 8MP camera (est. retail $500) offers a wide-angle optical zoom and RAW file support. Last, but not least, the Nikon Coolpix 8700 8 MP camera (est. retail $600) offers RAW mode image recording and many of the features commonly sought after by professional photographers.

So, if you are in the market for a new digital camera, you owe it to yourself to check out the latest, surprisingly affordable innovations in RAW image capture. I doubt you will be disappointed.

© Balsman Photography, LLC

Kim Balsman is the owner of Balsman Photography, LLC, a small, professional photography studio in Longmont, Colorado. Kimís background is diverse, including formal education in communications and law at Truman State University and the University of Houston, as well as professional photography studies at the New York Institute of Photography. Kim spent more than a decade working as a paralegal, practicing in numerous legal specialties with law firms in Texas. Throughout her career, Kim has written thousands of legal documents but prefers the creativity of writing short stories, novels and journalistic pieces. Some of her work has been published in corporate magazines. Kim has lectured at entrepreneurial symposiums and educational facilities and led an initiative to help small printing franchisees compete for demanding legal document reproduction business. Kim enjoyed a brief career in real estate as a Century 21 agent in New England, grossing more than $2M in sales in a matter of a few months. She now devotes her full time to her photography business and writing.

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