Joe and Mary Ann McDonald's

Wildlife Photography

September 2008

Tip of the Month

RAW shooters Beware


If you shoot a Canon 1D or 1Ds camera you have the option of shooting several file formats, or combinations there of. I'm sure you're familiar with RAW and JGP, and the various JPG sizes available. You may not be aware that you can also shoot a normal, full size RAW file or a sRAW, a much, much smaller RAW file. That's not the point of this tip.

What is, is this: The button that adjusts or selects White Balance is the same button that is activiated for changing file formats. I've often, by accident, tapped the button one way or another so that I toggled out of White Balance selection and into File Formats. If, accidentally, you roll the selection wheel while doing so, you may find that you're shooting, or at least selecting, a JPG file. That's generally not a problem, either, since the viewfinder display will indicate you are shooting JPG, if you notice the posting on the right side of the viewfinder.

The problem is, if you do notice this, you'll go back and toggle back to file format and select RAW but, and this is a big but, you might pick the wrong one. I use an efilm back as a protector for my LCD monitor and the plastic windows for the file selection (found below the LCD monitor) makes reading the selection a bit difficult. I can easily see if it reads JPG or RAW, but I really have to look closely to see if the RAW file says RAW or sRAW, which is the small file. Worse, in the viewfinder the display only says RAW, and doesn't differentiate between sRAW and RAW.

Of course, if you watch the available images on your counter, or how your buffer has now improved, you might notice something is amiss. Then again, you might not, and if you don't, after making the change back to RAW you might find you are shooting an important shoot or subject with a file size that is almost 10% of the full RAW file!

So, what's the solution? One, pay attention to the display below the LCD monitor. If you are using an eFilm back, pay very close attention, as it may be hard to read. Two, pay attention to your buffer and shot counter, and if you find you have tripled your buffer, then there is something wrong. Third, as a double check, take a shot and go to file info and on the LCD monitor the file type will be displayed, as either RAW or sRAW, and that's in large enough, and bright enough type to be easily read.

Has this happened to me? Have I made this mistake and been bitten by the bad sRAW dog? You bet, and that's why I'm passing on this Tip!+



Our Past Photo Tips of the Month:


DEC - A solution to the Digital Dilemma
Western Digital portable external Hard Drives

CS3 Upgrade

Framing with a Telephoto Against a Desert Sunrise

Adobe Photoshop LIGHTROOM
Workflow and Workload - You Can Keep Ahead
Bring along a Point N Shoot

Backing Up Your Digital Files - you'll need more than you think
Action Wildlife Photography Camera Settings
maximizing depth of field digitally
Capture 1's Most Useful Features
DIGITAL Photographing scenes with extreme exposure values
Effective Cloning in Adobe CS2

Watch Your Backgrounds - The potential of composites or shooting in RAW format
DIGITAL -Shoot for the Future
DIGITAL-Shoot for the Future, Part II
The Helicon Focus Filter Revisited



Smell the Roses
Frankly access your skills before deciding upon a workshop

The Songs of Insects
- a super book on katydids, cicadas, and grasshoppers
A Great Insect Field Guide 
Action Wildlife Photography Camera Settings
The Pond-A Must-See shooting Location in southern Arizona
Don't take in baby wild animals
Seize the Moment!
Take a Workshop First
  Luck, what is it?
At the Pulse of Life by Fritz Polking
Carry-on Luggage for small commuter flights


Three New Products
Two New Ballheads from Acratech
Lens Coat equipment covers
The Ultimate Long Lens Case - McDonald Safari Bag
Positioning your Roll-on Carry-On bag
New Lens Covers for Long Lenses
The Best All-Around Lens
Keep Your Head Up
Save Your Equipment from Crashing!
The L-Bracket, the ultimate camera bumper
Visual Echos Tele-Flash for the 580EX Flash
Testing your Flash's Aim
The Ultimate Flash Bracket
Using TTL flash with Hummingbirds
Specular highlights and the flashing frog

Geared Focusing Rail for Macro Work
Shooting in Inclement Weather
Low level tripod work
Sighting in a very, very long lens
Padding Your WimberleyTripod Head
Using The Wimberley Gimbal head with a camera body

Wimberley 400 and 600mm IS plate
How do we protect our gear from dust, and carry our gear when on safari
How do you shoot the Moon?

If you see it, it's too late -- a lesson in anticipation
Protecting your long lens from SAND, the pleasures of beach photography
Maximum Depth of Field and Hyperfocal Distance - they're not the same thing!
A great depth of field guide
Carry Your Gear!
Custom Function 4-1 for Nikon and Canon shooters
Sigma's 120-300 f2.8 APO zoom telephoto lens


A Car Tip that could Save Your Life
A Great Website for Information - the Singapore Nature Photography Society
Airline Carry-On Luggage -Let your concerns be heard!

Ask Questions Before You Go
Liquids in your Levels - TSA Warnings!

Disconnect -- travel precautions
Photograph America Newsletter
Obey the Rules
Wildlife Portraiture
Drying out boots with newspaper
Removing Cactus Spines

The Ti Chi Stalk
Photographing Critically Endangered Sites
The Sibley Bird Guides



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