Does RAW Size Matter? Debating on resolution level...

GeForceX

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I am traveling to Spain, Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia by bike this coming fall. I plan on taking my Canon 7D camera and taking nature and people shots.

I have been debating on whether to shoot full quality RAW images (25 MB per photo) or use lesser resolution RAW images (17 MB for medium and 11 MB for small). I have no intention of printing so high resolution photos are not very important. Primary publications will be on a personal website. I still can't help but feel that I'm missing out on something when I don't use full resolution RAW though.

The decision on which size to use will affect whether I buy two 16GB CF cards (total of 32GB) or two 8GB CF cards (total of 16GB). The 2 x 16GB CF will cost me $130. The 2 x 8GB CF will cost me $75. I am flexible with how much I spend but will the full resolution RAW photos justify the extra $55?

Cheers!
 

synapsis

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IMHO, these are photos you probably won't be able to replace. It's not like you're taking architectural photos of a building in a city you live in. I'd go will full RAW, if anything so you can crop them down if you need to. $55 isn't a hell of a lot of money in the photography hobby. :)

I use a 16GB card and it holds around 560 photos in RAW at 18MP.
 

GeForceX

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Thanks for your input! When you travel and take photos, do you also keep a laptop/mobile device on the side for transferring/formatting purposes? Would 16GB x 2 be enough for a trip of 4 months? I am still a novice photographer by the way -- I just got back to the photography scene since my long hiatus in 2005.

:) Cheers.
 

madFive

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Wow - those are some big raw files! (my D90 just needs ~8mb for a 12mp raw). Yeah, what's the point of having such a nice camera if you're not going to shoot at its full potential? I would absolutely shoot at full resolution raw - you never know what you might want to do with those photos some time in the future. You'll be kicking yourself if you get the perfect shot and want to use it for a large print someday but don't have it in the right size. And you will also get a little sharper detail when downsizing a higher-res photo for screen too (not a whole lot, but it should help a little).

If you're going to be gone for 4 months, you will absolutely want a lot more than just the two CF cards. With file-sizes that large, a 16gb card is just barely going to last you a week of moderate shooting. You can make the space go farther by going through your shots every few days and deleting the bad ones. And if you're going to be gone that long, I would say you'll definitely need to offload your cards to a separate hard-drive every couple of weeks or so.
 

darktiger

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Also I now use 32GB+ cards now when I am on vacation.. just because I do some video now days...

Transcend and Sandisk are good and recommended cards.
 

darktiger

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Also are you going to be dumping your images on a laptop and maybe a portable hard drive?
 

GeForceX

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I absolutely agree -- I would rather use my camera's abilities to the fullest. I guess I will go with RAW full resolution (18 MP). I guess 32 GB is not enough. Perhaps 16GB x 2 and a 32GB x 1 would be okay. I did look at B&H's quantity discount offer -- it's a very good deal, I think.

The remaining concern I have is being able to shoot video in the 7D without it buffering or slowing down. While I think 400x is more than enough, the 600x speeds are enticing. I do not do burst shooting often though so I am having a hard time justifying the extra price tag of a 600x memory card. I have read conflicting reviews where one person says 400x was fine for shooting video but another said it buffered. Not sure at this point.

Here are two cards I am looking at:
(1X) $75 (32 GB) - http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...TS32GCF400_400x_CompactFlash_32GB_Memory.html
(2X) $60 (16 GB) - http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...16G_A61_16GB_Extreme_CompactFlash_Memory.html
Total: 64 GB @ 400x for $195.

I will probably bring a laptop or tablet for storage.
 
Last edited:

northrop

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I will probably bring a laptop or tablet for storage.
Just bring it with you. Don't second guess your decision. If you're that concern about the weight, invest in the multimedia storage device. I have the Epson one, and I never travel without it. It serves me not only as an additional storage, but also as a backup. Also, the screen is big and clear enough for me to review the photos a lot better than on my camera's little LCD.

Have fun!
 

darktiger

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My last trip I bought the Transcend 600x 32gb one.. worked beautifully even with video.... for me it was a good balance.. but I also had 2 16GB as spares... but never used them... and I only shoot raw...
 

GeForceX

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Very interesting, Northrop. Do those viewers support RAW?

Thanks for the feedback, everyone. My concern is having a back up memory card just in case one fails (even though Sandisk is known for their reliability). I will have at least two cards.

And let me correct myself: I will bring a laptop with me. ;)
 

MN Scout

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Yes please BU your pictures. Preferably as you go. Filling up your card a bunch then losing your camera or card combusting would really be horrible.

I'd shoot full raw at the highest bit depth you can. My Nikon allows 12bit or 14bit shooting. There is a bit more headway in the 14bit, if I really need to pull up the shadows, or salvage a completely mismetered photo.
 

cyclone3d

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Wow - those are some big raw files! (my D90 just needs ~8mb for a 12mp raw). Yeah, what's the point of having such a nice camera if you're not going to shoot at its full potential? I would absolutely shoot at full resolution raw - you never know what you might want to do with those photos some time in the future. You'll be kicking yourself if you get the perfect shot and want to use it for a large print someday but don't have it in the right size. And you will also get a little sharper detail when downsizing a higher-res photo for screen too (not a whole lot, but it should help a little).

If you're going to be gone for 4 months, you will absolutely want a lot more than just the two CF cards. With file-sizes that large, a 16gb card is just barely going to last you a week of moderate shooting. You can make the space go farther by going through your shots every few days and deleting the bad ones. And if you're going to be gone that long, I would say you'll definitely need to offload your cards to a separate hard-drive every couple of weeks or so.

Is that high quality that only takes ~8MB? My Pentax K10D (10.2mp) takes 16MB for a full quality RAW.

You might want to adjust the quality setting in your camera... it does make a difference.

As for the OP.. you will defnitely want to shoot in full RAW... and you will want at least a 500GB external drive to dump them on. Maybe even get a second drive so you can have a double copy in case one of them goes bad.... yes I am paranoid.. I work in the IT field.

I can fill an 8GB card in an afternoon of shooting when shooting in full RAW.. so yeah, definitely get the 16GB cards, especially since your full sized RAW files are a lot bigger than mine.
 

darktiger

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Very interesting, Northrop. Do those viewers support RAW?

Thanks for the feedback, everyone. My concern is having a back up memory card just in case one fails (even though Sandisk is known for their reliability). I will have at least two cards.

And let me correct myself: I will bring a laptop with me. ;)

I have a Sanho Hyperdrive and liked it over one of my friends Epson. But I rarely even use that. On vacation I Iike looking at my pictures/video on my laptop... A netbook would also be better/same price as a decent portable multimedia backup.

I would keep a copy of my images on my laptop as my main backup and my portable HD as a secondary backup... (I use to burn them to a DVD-DL) but decided it was a little over the top...
 

Auric

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The biggest reason to not shoot in sRAW is the fact that Photoshop and Lightroom cannot properly convert the format. You end up with some rather bizarre artifacts that look almost like interlacing.
 

Jerome36

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Like many of the others have said I too would shoot at the high/full quality RAW, because even though you say you don't plan on doing prints and will put these up on the internet, etc., you never know. A year down the road you might decide you want to make some large prints to frame. If this is one of those once in a life-time trips, you don't want to one day look back and regret not shooting at full quality. You never know.

It looks like you're taking a laptop, which is good. My wife, daughter and I went to Europe for 3 weeks (Amsterdam, Dubrovinik, Croatia and all over Finland) and it was our first time traveling overseas. I was a little worried about taking around my MacBook Pro so I bought a cheap netbook (for photo backup, internet, email, etc.). After each day I'd save my photos to my netbook and then save the photos on a USB flash drive as well, which I kept on me and not in the same bag as the netbook (and I still kept the images on the camera since I had multiple SD card)... Yeah, I was a little paranoid, but I didn't want to be on the last leg of our trip and have my camera and/or laptop lost or stolen.
 

Dosobye

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If you want to go on the cheap, I think the best way would be a portable hard drive and a card reader. You are bound to find internet cafes in those places, they will be very common. You can just offload your pics there.
 

stop!theradio

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I agree with those who say use full RAW. You never know when that one shot (out of hundreds and hundreds) will stand out and become something people want to pay for. Even if that sounds farfetched, it can happen. You might as well just play it safe and shoot like there ain't no tomorrow (or, ya know, like there isn't any sort of memory card space limit :p )
 

madFive

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Is that high quality that only takes ~8MB? My Pentax K10D (10.2mp) takes 16MB for a full quality RAW.

You might want to adjust the quality setting in your camera... it does make a difference.

As for the OP.. you will defnitely want to shoot in full RAW... and you will want at least a 500GB external drive to dump them on. Maybe even get a second drive so you can have a double copy in case one of them goes bad.... yes I am paranoid.. I work in the IT field.

I can fill an 8GB card in an afternoon of shooting when shooting in full RAW.. so yeah, definitely get the 16GB cards, especially since your full sized RAW files are a lot bigger than mine.

Oops - I missed this question a while ago. Yeah, Nikon has a very efficient raw format. It's actually usually between 8-12mb per file at max-quality 12mp (so my 8mb estimate was a little low). My understanding is they save space by only storing the raw binary data off the sensor, no color-space info or formatting at all, so it takes more processing power to read the raw files, but the files still stay fairly small.

I remember using early digital cameras that used raw formats akin to a TIFF file where 6-8mp files would be like 40mb! So it was quite a pleasant surprise when I started shooting on the D90 and found out it had much smaller RAWs.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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I always shoot full RAW, because I can't tell you how many times I come back to my computer to look at the pictures I've taken and realize that something is under or over exposed or the white balance just wasn't quite right.

Even Ken Rockwell doesn't always get it right the first time :p

I want to have as much flexibility as possible in fixing these things, so to me, the extra storage space is worth it.

Instead of going on a huge flashcard shopping spree, I'd just bring a laptop or something, and periodically dump the shots to it.

When I'm out shooting I'll easily fill an 8Gb card in a few hours, and my camera is only 12.3MP...
 

EngrChris

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I shoot full size RAW plus small JPEG. For traveling, I use a laptop for secondary storage. Very good reasons above.
 
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