Monday, December 22, 2014

Getting RAW

At last I have had some time to consider how best to feed my Photography habit.

Besides a better camera than the current APS-C Sensor Samsung that Marcus and Agata have had for over 3 years now, we are looking at different picture formats.   

(As with all Google Blog posts simply click on a photo to go into full screen photo mode, particularly relevent for this posting)

In principle RAW  format

What has led me to RAW

We take a lot of pictures.  

We want to be able to keep the originals in the best possible quality and have a mind to be able to edit them as we want with least loss of quality.

What about the Space?
Disk space might be relatively cheap, but let's start from some facts:

In 2014 I just checked and we have saved, after editing and manipulation 12395 photographs/ videos in 72.6 GB of disk space.

Individual processed photographs range from (say) 1MB to 6MB and videos could be any size.

If I assume that RAW photography takes x3 space to current .JPG and that we will increase by 5% annually, and that we want to plan for 40 years of photography.  Then we need to set aside

Sum (n=1 to 40)   (72.6*3) * 1.05 ^ n

This is about 28TB, so if for reasons of paranoia we double it we get roughly 60TB including current photographs.

This seems achievable even using 2014 Network Attached Storage (NAS) technology and we already have a filing system structure  and format devised for such sizes.  So all looks good to Marcus!

Twilight Testing
I made a  5 shot test using 3 camera  (Smartphone, APS-C sensor compact,   DSLR)

Smartphone Cyanogenmod Camera

- Cyanogen mod android camera application crashes frequently for slow shots.  Known issue. These were not so I got away with it
- HDR mode makes for surreal colours
- Each photograph about 3MB from a 12MP sensor
- Smartphone provides automatic GPS tagging
- I selected Cyanogen RAW format but the pictured were saved in .JPG jpeg regardless of my setting.

Smartphone Google Camera

- Google camera never crashes and is fast to shoot HDR photos
- HDR setting leads to un-natural colour presentation
- Each 12MP photo is about 5MB in size
- Smartphone allows automatic GPS tagging

Samsung APS-C Sensor Compact

- To be honest the 16mm portrait lens does a brilliant job
- Each RAW photograph is about 36MB
- Google Picasa can't understand the Samsung .SRW raw format so the above pictures were converted to JPEG reducing them in size to 8MB
- Installed EyeFi card provides almost GPS tagging but only if the picture is taken within range of a known geolocated WiFi


- Photos taken using a more professional DSLR but with a kit lens so far  (to be replaced)
- Each RAW photo is about 24MB
- Upload of the Sony style .ARW image IS recognised by Picasa without conversion
- Embedding of GPS data will be non trivial. Possible method using GeoSetter and an import of a track log being investigated.  But a palava!

Summary so far
Since disk space is not a current or foreseeable limitation I will for sure migrate to RAW photo shooting

I have to see why Cyanogen won't take RAW photos

I'd say the photo quality advantages of RAW over the prior JPEG formats are really not apparent for an untouched photo.  According to the literature however when edits are made, RAW provides a richer starting point.

Picasa on the Web won't upload the Samsung RAW format but was happy with the Sony .ARW format

Digital Rev: 10 annoyances