Yesterday, talking to Steve Ray, we discussed the merits of taking pictures in RAW rather than JPEG. Now that Photoshop Elements will convert RAW without having to use another package, it is getting into the area of being simple enough for me to try out. The downside, of course, is the size of the files (3x bigger) and the fact that you can't review them quickly on the computer screen in Windows Picture Viewer. It may be the same on other cameras, but on the EOS 40D you can set it to take a RAW image and a smaller JPEG image along side that these can be opened easily. So today I had hoped to have a try at taking subjects in both ways and comparing the results, assuming I knew what I was doing in Photoshop.
For this plan to have any validity I would at least need it to get light so that I could use some reasonable ISO settings and shutter speeds, to give the pictures a half decent chance of being of use any way. It didn't get light or stop raining, so all I did was take a few pictures of birds at the feeder, while I froze to death at the open window. I used ISO 1600 and even then at f 6.3 the speed was only 1/200th sec. for this Greenfinch. Considering the feeder was swinging about I could have done with a faster speed. At least the Greenfinches are fairly still while they're feeding. It did give me some practice, but the book I've got is a bit thin on hints of using the adjustments you can make on the raw file before converting it.
The Great Tit was even more difficult, in that all I got was 1/160th sec and unlike the Greenfinch the Great Tit never just sits there. It gets there, takes a seed and is away within a second or two. This one made the trip about 7 times in a couple of minutes, each time taking the seed to the same nearby bush and eating it before returning. It's eating perch was of course half hidden. If anyone has any tips on a good book on using RAW images in Photoshop Elements please leave a note, at the moment I'm just fiddling in the dark!