I really enjoy messing about taking photos of places and landscapes then cropping and tweaking in photoshop to try and re-create EXACTLY how I felt the scene looked when I was in the original location. I’ve had various cameras over the years which always saved the files in jpeg format and have coped with the limitations that entails.
About 5 years ago I treated myself to a mid range Canon DSLR, an EOS60d with a 15-80 lens, which can save files as .jpeg or CR2 RAW files or both. However, I have only recently got round to start shooting RAW format and using Canon’s own raw processing software (Digital Photo Professional) to make the images do what I want, and I have to say its been a revelation. If you try and change a .jpeg too much in Photoshop and then save the file again, you run a big risk of losing quality, whereas a RAW file has a lot more information to access and can be tinkered with ad infinitum and still taken back to the original if you cock it up or just don’t like the end result.
Now the DSLR is great but certainly won’t pop in a pocket and there are times when it would be great to have a camera to catch a moment but I haven’t always got the inclination to lug the DSLR around with me. Granted, I have my phone or an old beaten up second hand Pentax Optio W60 compact I bought off Ebay for taking photos hanging under a kite (KAP – kite aerial photography) which is tiny and waterproof and will go in a trouser pocket… but the image quality isn’t fantastic on either of these – and I started wondering if any compact cameras shot in RAW…? I then thought it would be good to have another Canon so I could carry on using DPP to process if that were possible. After a bit of Googling and reading up I came across the Canon S120, a tiny compact but which shoots RAW and also has fair bit of user control and reviews suggested it got tremendous quality images. The only fly in the ointment was the price which is from £350 used!! So I looked at previous versions of this camera and finally decided to try and track down a Canon S100. Ebay was my saviour (again) and I tracked a virtually pristine one down for just over £70, plus postage, which arrived this last week. You can see from the photo at the top, taken with my phone, how tiny it is in comparison to my EOS60d so is extremely portable.
I took it out for a trial this morning whilst walking the dog and have to say I’m chuffed to bits with the first results. Its small enough to pop discreetly in any pocket, but has enough “oomph” to get gorgeous looking pictures as I hope you can see from the images above and below this paragraph. Both were shot in RAW format and subsequently processed by me to try and replicate my interpretation of how it actually looked at the time.
Time will tell how I get on with it, but early indications are VERY promising – Happy Stu!