Adam wrote:Then have the different versions side by side just to see how much is missing. Unless I find some issue with how I'm using UFRaw, I'm not going to use it any more as I'm losing detail. I don't think I should have to resort to using GIMP to sharpen the image.. I may be wrong and this is what my camera is doing to make that nice jpeg.
I think that one reason photographers like to shoot in RAW mode (exactly what the sensors see, including the red, green and blue filters in the bayer pattern that allows an essentially black and white light sensor to capture enough information for software to interpret and interpolate the color) is to avoid the white balance and automatic sharpening that the camera applies before saving the final JPEG or TIFF file.
I know that I've shot some photos before in which the white balance was set much too far to the red or blue side, and editing the JPEG to try to bring the color balance back the other direction was difficult without looking artificial. In RAW mode, no red or blue color shift (white balance) nor sharpening is applied, giving photographers absolute control over all aspects of dynamic enhancement (compression), color and sharpening.
A person experienced and skilled at editing in RAW can make a final JPG or other format image that is at least as good as any JPG produced by the camera's own automatic processing, although at the expense of some work and time, and can possibly make a version of the image that he or she likes better than the JPG that the camera can produce from its own internal processing of the RAW file (before it throws the RAW file away).
So I guess it's just a matter of whether a person wants the camera to use automatic algorithms to process its own RAW image data direct from the light sensor, or whether the photographer wants to look at that RAW data himself and make all his or her own adjustments and corrections. At the very least, working with the RAW data gives one every last bit of information that the sensor picked up about the scene being photographed, while an in-camera-processed JPEG will already have quite a lot of that information removed and lost, if a RAW version of the photo is not also stored on the memory card. Most cameras allow the photographer to store both the RAW version and a camera-auto-processed JPG version on the memory card.