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New to Sony - Sony A7iii - regarding compressed & noncompressed RAW files - lossless compression not available.

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Hello All

I am new to Sony Alpha camera, switching over from Nikon systems. Just got the new system 3 days back. This is about RAW files - compressed and non compressed.

I have already googled on this topic. of compressed Vs non compressed RAW files with Sony while other manufacturers offer lossless compression files - which I too had always had this as default on my Nikons.

They say "some situations" demand non compressed files. I am yet to understand what exactly was meant by "some situations". Is it with too much of contrast in a scene, or a scene which contained lot of fine details. Fearing loss of quality, I have set my Sony A7iii as non compressed, even though the file size is double that of compressed. Not having lossless compression came to me as a surprise !

I would like to have the opinion of members in this forum on this. Should I just leave my setting as non compressed and put up with larger files requiring larger storage devises, since cost of storage devices are not that expensive now a days ? OR, would I get high quality pictures with compressed files itself ? It is not just a question of storage alone. Post processing a 45 MB file Vs a 24 MB file - that would make a difference ! Especially with not such a powerful computer. I am doing post processing in Luminar 4 software which is quite a slow software (IMHO) and on a Lenovo laptop Core-i7 2.5 Ghz, 24 GB RAM, Nvidia Geforce GTX 1650 graphics card with 4 GB VRAM. OS is Windows 10. I would not opt for Adobe Photoshop & Lightroom subscription even if that would make difference in speed of processing. Because I am not a professional photographer, but a passionate hobbyist only. And also because the number of photos I take in a month is quite low - does not justify an Adobe subscription.

I wish to continue with Luminar 4. OR with Affinity Photo, which I have too.

So, I am appealing in this forum to advise me - should I leave the setting as non compressed OR when to actually set it to non compressed and leave it as compressed for most of the pics. Thanking you in advance. (I have uploaded some of the type of pictures I take in my " self introduction" post).

Best regards


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I typically shoot compressed RAW, I mostly do sports so it’s not an issue for me. Anything low light or heavy contrasts might benefit from shooting uncompressed. I would suggest setting up a button to swap between the two. 

I would need to check the manual but I think you could also set a Custom Hold button to put the camera into HDR mode, single shot and uncompressed so you could just hold that down to take a single frame at the higher file-size when you think you might need it. This would give a lot of latitude when post-processing.

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  • 7 months later...

I shoot uncompressed RAW to give me maximum control over post production.

I use Luminar Neo, although I still have Luminar Ai installed as it has Dodge & Burn and Clone tools that are not yet on Neo.

However, I use ON1 NoNoise Ai if I have large areas of sky or similar, as it performs much better than Luminar.

It's interesting when I talk to professionals who tell me that editing needs to be subtle to still look credible. They often seem to use Adobe LR and Photoshop - but when I show them what can be done with Luminar, they seem impressed with the speed of the workflow.

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If your PC can tolerate uncompressed raw files, go for it.  There are some videos of very low light shooting situations that seem to negatively affect compressed raw file.

About 3 years ago, I went looking for Lightroom replacement since I don't do a lot of Post, it wouldn't make sense to subscribe to Adobe cloud.  I was about to sign up with Luminar Neo but I chose Affinity Photo because Luminar Neo did not have channel swap feature, an essential tool for IR Post.  I was surfing YouTube a few weeks ago and there was a video of IR Post with Luminar AI.  Some way through the video they mentioned that Luminar AI still doesn't have a channel swapper but I believe LUTs were developed in order to do IR Post. 

It got me wondering, can you do IR Post with Luminar AI with just regular photographs taken without IR filters or an IR converted camera?

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