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I want to take a minute just to talk about RAW files, because even though they've been around for a while, when I teach and when I'm talking to people, I still sense some confusion about RAW files and their role in photography. This is especially important in Aperture because Aperture handles these RAW files so well. Now first of all, not all cameras can shoot in RAW. A lot of compacts can't. In fact most compacts can't.
But then again, most digital SLRs can capture in RAW. What does that mean? Well, I always like to think about a RAW file. We have our little RAW badge, so we know that we're looking at a RAW file right now. I'd like to think about the RAW file, if you're watching Martha Stewart and she's making the cake, and she has a bowl of batter and all the ingredients are mixed up and everything, all she has to do is put it in the oven and bake it, and that bowl of batter, that's the RAW file. It has not been processed.
It comes out of the camera basically as the batter. Then Aperture will do the processing. And it does it so seamlessly that you don't even really notice that you're doing anything different than if you're shooting a JPEG. Now if you're shooting a JPEG on the other hand, the difference is that the camera actually does the baking also. So what comes out of the camera is a fully baked file. That's why you can just hand it off to somebody else and they can look at. So a JPEG is baked, but a RAW file still requires some baking which can be done by Aperture.
Now as we're looking at these files, the beauty of working in RAW is that you have more image data available to you. So for instance, when you're in the Adjustments panel here, and you want to do things like recover highlight information using this slider here, we want to recover information that may be lost in the highlights. For instance, stuff like this. When you're working with a RAW file, you just have more image information to work with.
So these sliders are essentially more effective with RAW files than they will be with JPEGs. And because, Aperture makes it so easy to work with these files, you don't really notice that you're doing anything different than with a JPEG other than maybe a little bit more processing time. You may have noticed when I did that Recovery slider. We had the little processor going here. Let's see if we can make that processor come back. Let's just make some movements here. We'll go here.
So if we-- there it goes. So it just processed for a second there. If you have a slower machine, that processing will take a little bit longer. Part of the reason is because these RAW files are much bigger than JPEGs. JPEGs are compressed. That means that they are made smaller. They use these very ingenious logarithms that supposedly only throw away information that your eyes are going to see. Some photographers will debate that matter of course, whereas RAW files, they keep everything.
So for instance with this Canon that I shot with here, we'll go to the Metadata panel. In the General view here, this file from this Canon T1i, this RAW file, is 21.66 megabytes. One shot, 21 megabytes. That's a lot of data in that RAW where as a high quality JPEG would only be around three-and-a-half megabytes. That's because it's compressed and some image information gets thrown away.
That leads us to the question then, if you're going to be a heavy-duty Aperture user, if you're going to use Aperture as your photo management system, and you have the ability to shoot RAW with your the camera, should you? I would say if you can, I would honestly. You're going to need more hard disk space because of this file size thing that we talked about. You have to think about that. You will probably need a more modern computer because of the processing that happens with these RAW files, when we start making these changes.
Here on a fast computer, you noticed that processing was not very long at all. On the slower computer, it would be longer. So those are a couple of considerations. The payoff, however, if you can have newer hardware and if you can afford more disk space is that you have so much more information that you have to deal with. You can pull parts of your picture out that you didn't even know existed. Aperture is very good at doing that. You have everything available to you. So it's really up to you on which route you want to go.
The point that I want to make here is that if you've ever wanted to shoot RAW, and you know you're going to Aperture, this is the perfect time to start shooting RAW because Aperture handles these files beautifully.
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