Last week, I visited a friend who just gave birth to twins, to pass her an old pen tablet so that she could use it for freehand graphic design. I brought my Samsung NX200 with me and asked if I could take some photos of her babies.

This is the first time I am using the Samsung NX200 for a “professional” photoshoot. You see, whenever I intend to do a shoot with some serious post-processing, I will always use my Nikon DSLR gear. For shoots where I do not intend to process, I conveniently use all other options. In fact, most of my product review photos in this blog are shot with either the mirrorless cameras, compact cameras or phone cameras, in JPG, and running through Picasa for minor brightness and contrast adjustments.

In order to post-process images taken on the Samsung NX200, I shoot in Samsung Raw (SRW) format.

Unedited JPG copy.
After processing in Lightroom.

Many people think that shooting in RAW format is a way for photographers to fix “mistakes” during the shot, like wrong exposure. RAW format is more than just that. When you shoot in RAW, you are able to edit the colour tone, the sharpness, the noise reduction, the contrast, or the brightness, without compromising the image quality.

You see, when you shoot in JPG, the image is already processed by the camera, so all the colour tones, sharpness, noise reduction, have already been fixed. In fact, when I tried to process the same shot in RAW and JPG using the same Lightroom presets, the result turns out entirely different.

RAW image applied with Lightroom preset.
JPG image applied with same Lightroom preset.

RAW image post-processed with Lightroom preset.

But that doesn’t mean you have to always shoot in RAW, because sometimes, you really do not need the extra capability, since shooting in RAW increases your file size, requires special software and more time to process RAW images to JPG, and more importantly, takes longer to save the images on your camera. This is very apparent on the Samsung NX200. After taking a RAW shot, I am unable to review the image until the camera buffer has completely processed the images, which takes about 6 seconds. I would have no such buffer issues on a prosumer DSLR like Nikon D300.

It all comes down to picking the right equipment for your shoot assignments. Using a DSLR like Nikon D300 will allow me to shoot without lag, but I would have to pack a bag full of heavy lenses.

A mirrorless system like Samsung NX200 is easily fitted in a normal backpack, but I get the same image quality – the NX200 is a 20 megapixel APS-C sensor, which is on paper better than my Nikon D300. The only compromise I had: slower shot-to-shot, image review, auto-focus (lens dependent).

But sometimes, it’s not the speed of the equipment that gets you the shot. It’s anticipating the moment.

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