RAW vs. Compressed RAW

Discussion in 'Nikon DX DSLR' started by FullFrame, May 1, 2007.

  1. I noticed on my D200 that I have the ability to save files as "Compressed RAW". Can anyone shed some light on what this is, and what the pros and cons might be in using this setting? As usual, the Nikon manual isn't much help.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Apparently, its slightly easier to get back highlights on an UN-compressed RAW. However I've done a few test shots in real world situations and for me there was no real obvious difference at all even when viewing at %100, so I now shoot compressed all the time - it also doubles my storage practically!
     
  3. I've heard that it has something to do with highlights but didn't know any details. That's interesting info. Thanks!
     
  4. Gale

    Gale

    978
    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    I shoot compressed.
    Notice no difference
     
  5. Gale

    Gale

    978
    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    If you have a bunch of cf cards shoot uncompressed.
    But you will be hard pressed to see a difference:>))))
     
  6. SteveK

    SteveK

    Mar 16, 2005
    Alaska
    " NEF images are compressed, reducing the file size by about 40-50% with almost no effect on image quality." from page 48 of the D2X manual. Note the "almost". There is a loss of image quality when you compress NEF's. If you want to get the very most out of your files, don't compress them. Flash cards are cheap these days. Buy a few extras, and buy a couple external HD's to save your best images.
     
  7. Hi Gale & Steve,

    I'm reading something similar in the D200 manual. I have 5 cards totaling 8GB of space. I do fine even when I go places as I bring enough cards. I shoot uncompressed as that's what I'm happier with.

    I just added the thread as that one came up the other day on DPReview in response to the earlier listed thread.

    Thanks,

    Lil
     
  8. stephen99

    stephen99

    352
    Nov 22, 2006
    Holland, Ohio
    Thom Hogan mentions something about highlights in his D200 e-book. I don't recall the exact language but he decides in the end to shoot uncompressed. I went the other way and shoot compressed all the time. I am not a pro by any means and tiny differences in highlight detail don't mean much to me. Instead of 240 shots on a 4 gig card I can get 400 or more. Enough for a full day of sightseeing.
     
  9. After trying to study the differences between the two, I really couldn't see a difference. So I went for it & now I shoot "compressed" all the time. I can't tell a difference with what I shoot. I love having more storage space, without having to change cards. Also, because of the smaller file size, my download times are faster.

    Best Wishes,
     
  10. Cope

    Cope

    Apr 5, 2007
    Houston, Texas
    I can see that compressed raw files are ±50% the size of uncompressed, but why does the shots remaining stay at 240 on a 4GB card whether I am set on compressed or uncompressed?
     
  11. CAJames

    CAJames

    Sep 6, 2006
    Lompoc, CA
    I looked at many compressed vs. uncompressed shots and couldn't find any difference (even doing highlight recovery in Bibble) so I shoot compressed all the time now. To me it isn't so much about space on the card as time saved writing, uploading and processing and space on my computer disk.
     

  12. Same goes for me. I'm on 2GB and it only shows 120ish compressed or uncompressed :confused:
     
  13. Cope

    Cope

    Apr 5, 2007
    Houston, Texas

    I quit worrying about it. My compressed raw files are 1/2 the size of the uncompressed, and I know I can get twice as many shots. Once I start shooting the counter seems to move 1 frame for every 2 I shoot.
     
  14. stephen99

    stephen99

    352
    Nov 22, 2006
    Holland, Ohio
    Not sure of all the variables but it has something to do with the amount of compression each photo can undergo. If you take a shot of a field of snow with very few level changes in the photo it can be compressed more than a shot with a full range of levels. So the camera cannot know ahead of time how much room it will have left on the memory card after compression is done. That and a firmware weakness to even estimate compression results in the count assuming full size for each image to be taken. This is something that happened on the D1X also. The count was not even close to accurate until they did a firmware fix. That's what I remember anyway and my memory isn't what it used to be so take everything with a grain of salt.:confused:
     
  15. stephen99

    stephen99

    352
    Nov 22, 2006
    Holland, Ohio
    I just looked through some of my recent compressed nefs and found they ranged between 7 and 10 megs each. These are images that contain a good range of values so apparently the amount of compression does depend on the individual image which in turn would affect how many images can be stored. And as I said before, the camera cannot know ahead of time how many images can be stored because it doesn't know how much compression will occur.
     

  16. The biggest drawback for me is the amount of time needed to write the compressed image. In my case, my D100 has a small buffer (4 shots in RAW). When I shot in compressed mode, the buffer would fill and would take a minute or two to clear before I could shoot again. I missed too many shots this way. I'd rather shot uncompressed so I can get back to shooting quicker. With CF cards being cheap and large in capacity, there is no reason for me to shoot in compressed mode.

    Mike
     
  17. Things have changed a lot since the days of the D100, I used to get fed up with the slow write speed of compressed on my D100 but newer camera's are just as quick to write compressed as they are un-compressed.
     
  18. mugman

    mugman

    143
    Dec 2, 2006
    California
    I've shot both ways and I'm hard pressed to see any difference. If you're limited on CF cards and find yourself running out of room, shoot compressed and move on.
     
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