I would like to start shooting RAW instead of jpeg. I am wondering if i need to still worry about setting ISO, aperture and shutter speed. If so, why?

  • Kim, basically RAW allows more latitude (room for error) in exposure, so if you get ISO, aperture or shutter speed a bit wrong, you have a better chance at recovery. But those settings absolutely still affect how much light hits the sensor, so affect your final image. Get those wildly wrong and you will have unrecoverable highlights or shadows
    – MikeW
    Aug 1, 2014 at 3:03
  • 3
    The aperture and shutter speed selected also affect the contents of the image in many situations. You can't undo the blur caused by using too slow a shutter speed on a moving subject. You can't take an image with a shallow depth of field and make it sharp from front to back, etc.
    – Michael C
    Aug 1, 2014 at 3:06

1 Answer 1


Yes. You still need an exposure. RAW is not magical, it is just the sensor data for a certain exposure.

You must choose the aperture according to the depth-of-field you want, the shutter-speed according to the motion you want to capture and the ISO to balance between them which will set the gain on the sensor to make a balanced exposure. Sure, RAW is more permissive if you do not get it perfect but anything clipped on either side is gone forever.

Of course, you can let the camera choose some for you in a automatic or semi-automatic mode but it will still choose an exposure which determines way get captured and therefore what gets stored in the RAW file.

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