Friday, April 17, 2009

It never dies

Sometimes I like to provoke an arguement (debate style), taking an issue to the extreme, to get the other side to think. Often, unfortunately, it doesn't work, and usually only deepens the resolve and view of the other side. And they often get boisterous to where their zealousness is too much, and I leave.

And photography is not without those issues, and almost first and foremost is the raw versus jpg argument. While I won't disagree with all the advantages of shooting raw, I will always defend the argument to shoot jpg for its advantages, which are often overlooked by the raw-only zealots. And yes, they're zealots, to the extreme.

And on a maling list, after someone asked the proverbial question, "Should I shoot raw or jpg?", the zealots weighed in with both cameras, er. feet sitting in front of the computer. And I, true to form, argued to shoot jpg for convenience and get 95+% of your work and results because in the end you won't be able to tell the difference unless you blow the image up to the size of a truck.

And true to form I got verbally pummelled into the bit floor. So I left the mailing list. I don't need this crap from photographers who prefer sitting in front of the computer manipulating images they can't take in the field. And yes that's an overstatement. I know it's extreme and not really right, true or fair. Well, mabye two of three ain't bad.

My point. Many of the raw advocates find it easier to plug their brains in sitting in front of a computer than when they're standing behind the camera. It's why they love all the automatic features and functions on cameras, and with raw format, they can take all the images they want without thinking, because they know they can always fix it in Photoshop.

This isn't a vent against professionals who shoot raw. It's the foundation of a lot of types of photography, especially fine art where you need a large detailled image you can work to produce the final image you want. I'm not against all the neat tools in Photoshop, I'm always learning them. My point is a simple one, and based on being a long time slide film photographer.

I shoot to capture the best photo (film) or image (digital) in the camera that I saw when I was standing there. With slide film you didn't have a choice, you had to get the exposure right or you lost it. Slide film is not very forgiving on the exposure and color balance. Black and White has some latitude you can bracket to get different results.

And with that experience I like the challenge to capture the digital image the same way, and to that end I shoot jpg. It's the choice I make. Occasionally I shoot raw+jpg, but even then rarely use the raw file. I'm not alone with this practice, I just am tired that it's always criticized as wrong.

The zealots don't argue raw is just better, which it is in some regards, they always argue it's the "only" way. And that's when I get angry. I don't mind debate on the issue, but I don't like it when they take the issue personal and criticize anyone using, let alone advocating shooting jpg. And usually in the end, seeing they're not going to budge, let alone change, I leave.

It doesn't pay to beat a dead horse. That's the old saying which fits. They'll stand their ground to no end. Ok, so be it and I wish them well, but I don't need to hear it anymore. Me, I'll shoot jpg, produce the results and be on my way shooting again while they're fussing over their mistakes.

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