As far as I can determine, my new p7100 will not allow me to select 3:2 image scaling, unless I'm shooting in JPG-only modes. The manual seems to confirm this. Since this is the default size with my D90 and D80 cameras, I'm surprised that Nikon didn't include this in their Coolpix offering for RAW images. Does anyone know of a workaround so the camera will actually shoot RAW in 3:2? (I understand that I can res-scale in software, but I'm hoping I can get a native image from the camera scaled this way).
#2. "RE: No 3:2 scaling in RAW?" In response to Reply # 0 Sat 01-Sep-12 08:58 PM by russg
There is no workaround. When you shoot raw, the convention is that you use each and every bit of data from each and every pixel of the sensor. Anything less would be well...less. It would mean providing less data out of the camera than what the camera is capable of providing, which is pretty much the antithesis of the concept and purpose of raw.
The sensors on the DSLRS are sized with a 3:2 aspect ratio. The sensors on compacts are sized with a 4:3 ratio. Why that convention exists, I can't say, but it's always been that way. The early digital cameras before DSLRs were 4:3 and I suspect that when DSLRs came to be, they wanted the aspect ratio of the image to match what a 35mm SLR film camera would produce, hence the 3:2 sensor.
At any rate, raw is raw. You can't change the aspect ratio any more than you can lower the image size and resolution, like you can when shooting jpegs. You can't change the native resolution or aspect ratio when shooting raw on your D90/D80 either. If it is important to have an image that is exactly a 3:2 crop, it is easy to accomplish in post. Just specify a 3:2 fixed ratio in the crop tool in whatever editor you use and you can discard the pixels that fall outside the 3:2 crop.
Personally I crop for content and am not terribly concerned about conventional ratios. The exception would be when preparing an image for print, but even then it rarely if ever works out to an exact 3:2 ratio. But I understand that there are reasons certain photographers want all their images to conform to a specifically desired or dictated aspect ratio. Since I am primarily a landscape shooter, I prefer working in a 3:2 environment. The wider format is more suitable for landscape work. But since I always shoot raw, even with my P7100, I know that each and every image will be need to be opened in an editor/converter by definition. Since the image is already opened in the editor, it seems like a small bit of extra effort to crop it for content or a specifically desired ratio. Sort of like getting the horizon perfectly level. These are the first steps in my workflow. For those that prefer using images straight out of the camera and would just as soon not fool with editing software, well, that's what jpegs are for.