This is a phrase that I come across from time to time. It is a phrase that I have to say I find a little annoying. Why is that? It is because it implies a number of different things. It implies that if you don’t get it right in camera you are somewhat incapable or inferior. It also implies that you do not need to do anything else to the image post-capture in Lightroom or Photoshop.
Another phrase you might have come across is ‘Straight Out of the Camera’ or SOOC. Try Googling it. There are Flickr and Facebook groups dedicated to this Holy Grail. Indeed, you will also come across many discussions on the subject waxing lyrical about what this actually means. So, what does it mean? Well, it means that you use the JPEG or RAW file straight after you take the photo with no additional post-processing. This already includes a contradiction. A JPEG file is post-processed in camera. You can set a number of different parameters in camera and rely on your camera manufacturer to create a viewable image based on their interpretation of how the raw file should be presented as a jpeg. So, while it might be referred to as ‘Straight Out of the Camera’, it doesn’t really qualify, in my opinion. On the other hand, a RAW file is simply what it says. Referring to Wikipedia, a RAW file is defined as follows: