Depending on what model of Sony camera you own, you’ll likely see the option of choosing between a Compressed or Uncompressed RAW file, while some of the newer camera bodies like the Sony Alpha 1 and the Sony Alpha 7 IV have additional options like Lossless Compressed RAW. With these different options, which should you choose for portrait photography? Professional portrait photographer and Sony Artisan Miguel Quiles breaks it down below.
Compressed? Uncompressed? Lossless Compressed? Sony Artisan Miguel Quiles breaks down your options for RAW files and which to use for portraiture.
“For me personally,” explains Quiles, “I shoot portraits, and I’ve been doing it for years, shooting Compressed RAW and I’ve rarely ever had an issue with banding or anything in my work. Though, the reality is that in certain lighting situations it was a possibility, albeit very small. Because of that, as soon as Uncompressed RAW became an option on Sony cameras, I started to use that and I never really looked back.”
Uncompressed RAW files are significantly larger in size, but given the affordability of storage, Quiles says that’s never been an issue. “In my mind, I’d rather have the highest quality image that my camera can produce and deal with storing those images on something like an external hard drive.”
Now if you own one of the newer bodies that offers Lossless Compressed RAW files and you want to save on storage without compromising image quality, Quiles says that’s an option that you’ll want to look at closely. “I’ve been using the Lossless Compressed RAW option on the Alpha 1 and thus far, I am loving what I’m seeing.”
He continues, “The bottomline is that no matter what camera it is that you own, my personal recommendation is to use an Uncompressed or a Lossless Compressed RAW file for your portrait work and make sure you have a solution for backing up those files. There are deals online all the time for external hard drives where you can save them safely and enjoy the benefits of everything Sony cameras have to offer.”
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