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A Look at the Pros and Cons of Shooting RAW vs H.264


Ever since the Magic Lantern folks unlocked the ability to shoot RAW video on the 5D Mark III (and, subsequently, a few more cameras after that) the DSLR world has been buzzing with excitement. The added dynamic range and detail seem make RAW video the easy choice over H.264 in any situation.

But is that really the case? In the video above, Learning DSLR Video‘s Dave Dugdale explains the pros and cons of Magic Lantern RAW over H.264, and when it might be better to just stick with the standard format.

Dugdale’s point is that, while RAW does in many situations offer benefits that far outweigh any pitfalls, there are indeed pitfalls to shooting RAW. Even just in terms of storage, you’ve got to be ready to put away a lot more data.


The general question that Dugdale tries to answer in the end is just “when do I shoot RAW as opposed to H.264.” We’ll let you watch the video to get all of the technical details in terms of shooting to the right and recovering shadow detail that he goes into, but when it comes to that question his answer is fairly straight forward.

If he’s looking for higher dynamic range, needs to capture a ton of detail, or plans on playing around with the image a lot in post — like in the rock shots he took while camping or on a future real estate job he mentions — he’s going to shoot exclusively RAW. If, on the other hand, he was going to be shooting a wedding (which he’s quick to tell you he does NOT do) he wouldn’t bother.

Check out the video at the top for a more in-depth discussion and, if you haven’t kept up with all of the Magic Lantern RAW video updates over the past couple of months, be sure to read our previous coverage by clicking here.

(via Fstoppers)