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  1. #1
    Member steelerdirtfreak's Avatar
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    In context of RAW survey, a couple of RAW questions

    I've only shot RAW a few times, and the results have been extremely underwhelming. There was no contest that jpeg's were far and away better than RAW images.

    So, a couple of questions, since I really know nothing about RAW...

    Since I shoot for a local race track and have to get 4 to 5 action shots of every car competing each week, I end up shooting 800 to 1200 shots in a 3 to 4 hour period. Is RAW a practical choice or consideration for this type of shooting?

    What program do you use to edit your RAW images? (My regular editor is Photoshop Elements 5)

    How did you learn to edit RAW photos? The few times I have experimented with RAW, the results, as mentioned, were not good. I figure it's probably because I have no idea what I'm doing, and probably using a less than optimal program. (I used something called Raw Shooter Essentials)

    Thanks for any answers, thoughts, or suggestions; they will be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Senior Member mn shutterbug's Avatar
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    Re: In context of RAW survey, a couple of RAW questions

    I shoot RAW and use elements 3. I also downloaded a RAW plugin from Adobe, that I use. If I was shooting this many photos, I wouldn't bother with RAW. Straight out of the camera, Jpeg always looks better. The things I like about RAW are, it shows immediately the highlights and shadows that need some work and you can change white balance. Also, I have less chance of completely blowing the highlights. Then again, all I shoot is wildlife, and not hundreds and hundreds of shots in a day.
    Mike
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  3. #3
    AutoX Addict Mr Yuck's Avatar
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    Re: In context of RAW survey, a couple of RAW questions

    I shoot RAW and I also shoot race events.

    To process them, I use Digital Photo Professional, which came with my XTi, for most of the race shots, they get converted straight to JPEG. Digital Photo Professional is decent, it lets me change white balance and do a little bit of exposure correction.

    I also use Photomatix to make pseudo-HDRs out of the RAW files, usually individually if I especially like the composition or action but want some more detail.
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  4. #4
    Design Slacker mattbikeboy's Avatar
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    Re: In context of RAW survey, a couple of RAW questions

    If you're shooting in good lighting conditions and are just turning around and posting them on a website hoping people will buy them -- then jpgs are more than enough. RAW is really good for tinkering with when lighting isn't optimal and you need the shots. RAW gives you the ability to adjust a bunch and save some images that might have been taken in marginal light.

    If I'm shooting a race event that I'll sell images to a magazine -- I'll shoot raw so I can rescue missed exposures.

    If I'm shooting around the house -- I'll still shoot RAW because I'm too lazy to change to jpg.

    If I'm shooting a model -- I'll shoot raw so I can play with the images in Photoshop later. I guess all those years in graphics has taught me not to leave well-enough alone.

    RAW gives you more data to adjust. I use Lightroom and Photoshop CS3 to edit and play with my images. Lightroom is great for a quick sorting and adjustments and Photoshop is great for finishing and monkeying with the images. Every now and them I use Corel Photopaint (like Photoshop) to play with the images -- it has different filters and effects.

    mbb

  5. #5
    project forum co-moderator Frog's Avatar
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    Re: In context of RAW survey, a couple of RAW questions

    The other thing about raw is that you'll always have your original file to go back to and fine tune. Jpegs deteriorate when saved over and over unless you always save them as a new file.
    I wouldn't shoot races with it but for scenery, portraits, etc. I always do.
    Keep Shooting!

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  6. #6
    Senior Member freygr's Avatar
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    Re: In context of RAW survey, a couple of RAW questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Frog
    The other thing about raw is that you'll always have your original file to go back to and fine tune. Jpegs deteriorate when saved over and over unless you always save them as a new file.
    I wouldn't shoot races with it but for scenery, portraits, etc. I always do.
    It does not mater as each time you save the file JPG losses data. Its a fact of using JPG. You will not loss data if you open the JPG and then save it as tiff or bmp file. If you save to a new file each time you save your old files but if you use JPG each granulation will be of poorer quality. JPG recompresses the file on each save.
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  7. #7
    project forum co-moderator Frog's Avatar
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    Re: In context of RAW survey, a couple of RAW questions

    Interesting, freygr. I'd heard different but I can see you're probably right.
    Keep Shooting!

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  8. #8
    Too square to be hip. almo's Avatar
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    Re: In context of RAW survey, a couple of RAW questions

    I only shoot RAW. Very, very rarely do I shoot JPG.

    To say jpegs exceed the quality of RAW is a statement of ignorance. If you knew how to properly convert them you would not say that.
    John Cowan
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  9. #9
    Member steelerdirtfreak's Avatar
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    Re: In context of RAW survey, a couple of RAW questions

    Quote Originally Posted by almo
    I only shoot RAW. Very, very rarely do I shoot JPG.

    To say jpegs exceed the quality of RAW is a statement of ignorance. If you knew how to properly convert them you would not say that.
    ..........

  10. #10
    don't tase me, bro! Asylum Steve's Avatar
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    Re: In context of RAW survey, a couple of RAW questions

    Quote Originally Posted by steelerdirtfreak
    Is RAW a practical choice or consideration for this type of shooting?
    Two words for you: BATCH PROCESSING...

    Yes, you need the Adobe RAW plugin. When you batch, assuming all your shots are similar (exposure-wise), you only need to edit the first one, then batch process the rest. The computer does the work. Same with converting to jpeg for proofing or providing final images for clients...

    A very good RAW primer is Real World Camera Raw, by the late great Bruce Fraser. Like anything, there's learning curve, but once you get it down, it makes your life a whole lot easier...

    To me, the only possible upside to shooting jpeg in-camera would be that it takes up less storage space. Now, shooting as many frames as you do, only you can determine if you have it in your budget to buy all the cards you would need to cover hundreds of RAW files at a time.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member mn shutterbug's Avatar
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    Re: In context of RAW survey, a couple of RAW questions

    Quote Originally Posted by almo
    To say jpegs exceed the quality of RAW is a statement of ignorance. If you knew how to properly convert them you would not say that.
    Who said that?
    Mike
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  12. #12
    don't tase me, bro! Asylum Steve's Avatar
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    Re: In context of RAW survey, a couple of RAW questions

    Quote Originally Posted by mn shutterbug
    Who said that?
    The OP did in the first sentence of their post...
    "Riding along on a carousel...tryin' to catch up to you..."

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  13. #13
    Member steelerdirtfreak's Avatar
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    Re: In context of RAW survey, a couple of RAW questions

    Actually, no, I did not.

    I said that the results I got were that the jpeg were better than raw. I also said
    it's probably because I have no idea what I'm doing, and probably using a less than optimal program
    And of course that is the whole point of my post, asking for help.

    I do appreciate the good suggestions so far, as a result, I have downloaded the latest Camera Raw plugin for PSE5, I've ordered the book that AS recommended, and I have experimented with a couple more, just seeing what I can figure out.

    I did NOT appreciate the "statement of ignorance" response, as clearly someone did not bother to read the whole post, but as with all message boards, I realize you have to consider the source.

    I do appreciate all those who are willing to actually help. This forum is how I've learned a great deal of what I know.

  14. #14
    project forum co-moderator Frog's Avatar
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    Re: In context of RAW survey, a couple of RAW questions

    I've just discoverd the benefits of batch processing though it seemed to work fine for one folder then get stubborn on the next and I kept having to trick it to make it work but I'm figuring it out.
    I used it for several hundred jpegs in 3 different folders.
    Never thought of using it for raw...seems the settings would be too different for what I do but I'll consider it now.
    Keep Shooting!

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  15. #15
    has-been... another view's Avatar
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    Re: In context of RAW survey, a couple of RAW questions

    One isn't "better" than the other - different tools for different jobs. If you're getting the results you want with jpeg then I'd stick with it. Use the highest quality setting while you shoot, and save to the highest quality level if you do anything with Photoshop and you won't see any problems (at least with reasonable sized prints, 20x30's on up may be a different story).

    That's my bottom line. I have a Nikon and use Capture NX, but have used Photoshop in the past. Learn what you can about it, look for on-line tutorials or maybe consider going to a workshop or community college class if that's an option. Rocky Mountain School of Photography has traveling weekend workshops which you might want to check out; they're very good.

    Batch Processing would be your only choice if you see the advantages to RAW and decide you need them for your racing shots. Basically you set one shot and it converts all of them that same way, and then you can "tweak" individual shots if necessary. It'll take quite a computer to handle a lot of big files, and there will be a big learning curve.

    But, it might be worth it (though I'm not fully convinced by your post). IOW, maybe you're at 90-95% results and to improve a little bit more would take a bunch of effort. It may not be worth it. Nothing personal and nothing against your work (haven't seen your prints anyway) and I'm sure your results are good. I'm just saying that to get just a hair more out of an image file will take a lot of work - not sure how else to explain...

  16. #16
    don't tase me, bro! Asylum Steve's Avatar
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    Re: In context of RAW survey, a couple of RAW questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Frog
    I kept having to trick it to make it work but I'm figuring it out...
    LOL! Now you know my relationship with my computer all the time...

    Frog, using batch processing with RAW files depends greatly on what you're trying to do. I only do it for minor adjustments for things like converting to Adobe DNG (which I do for all my files), or converting to smaller jpeg copy files for proofing and such. Or for functional tasks like renaming or adding metadata to large numers of files.

    For hardcore editing of RAW files for my magazine or fine art work, I only use a handful of images from an entire shoot, so I do those individually...
    "Riding along on a carousel...tryin' to catch up to you..."

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  17. #17
    don't tase me, bro! Asylum Steve's Avatar
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    Re: In context of RAW survey, a couple of RAW questions

    Quote Originally Posted by another view
    One isn't "better" than the other - different tools for different jobs. If you're getting the results you want with jpeg then I'd stick with it...
    Steve, I competely agree with what you say, and you say it well. I try not to be too stubborn with this whole RAW thing, because I know realistically it's not for everybody.

    But I can't help but consider the archive aspect of the format, which I think you're overlooking in your advice. RAW files are such wonderful digital negatives, and it is so easy to make copy jpegs for whatever use you want and still have these great originals to archive.

    I know this is a weak analogy, but it's almost like showing up at a custom film lab, and they give you great prints plus the negatives, and because you're so pleased with the prints, you decided there's no need to keep the negatives...

    Like I said, a flawed comparison, but in a way I think it applies.
    "Riding along on a carousel...tryin' to catch up to you..."

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  18. #18
    Be serious Franglais's Avatar
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    Re: In context of RAW survey, a couple of RAW questions

    Quote Originally Posted by steelerdirtfreak
    I've only shot RAW a few times, and the results have been extremely underwhelming. There was no contest that jpeg's were far and away better than RAW images.

    So, a couple of questions, since I really know nothing about RAW...

    Since I shoot for a local race track and have to get 4 to 5 action shots of every car competing each week, I end up shooting 800 to 1200 shots in a 3 to 4 hour period. Is RAW a practical choice or consideration for this type of shooting?

    What program do you use to edit your RAW images? (My regular editor is Photoshop Elements 5)

    How did you learn to edit RAW photos? The few times I have experimented with RAW, the results, as mentioned, were not good. I figure it's probably because I have no idea what I'm doing, and probably using a less than optimal program. (I used something called Raw Shooter Essentials)

    Thanks for any answers, thoughts, or suggestions; they will be greatly appreciated.
    Joined this conversation a bit late. To reply to the original poster:

    I use Nikon NX. If I know I'm going to do the same correction to some or all of the images (example: conversion to black & white) I do that first in Batch mode.

    In your case with 800-1200 images to process I might shoot JPG as long as I could use the D300 which gets the JPG's pretty close to perfection in many cases.

    I guess I learnt how to use RAW during years of scanning film. The basic parameters you're adjusting are the same, but you can do A LOT more with a pure digital image. It's quite amazing sometimes how you can take something that looks awful and turn it into something normal.
    Charles

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  19. #19
    has-been... another view's Avatar
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    Re: In context of RAW survey, a couple of RAW questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Asylum Steve
    Steve, I competely agree with what you say, and you say it well. I try not to be too stubborn with this whole RAW thing, because I know realistically it's not for everybody.

    But I can't help but consider the archive aspect of the format, which I think you're overlooking in your advice. RAW files are such wonderful digital negatives, and it is so easy to make copy jpegs for whatever use you want and still have these great originals to archive.

    I know this is a weak analogy, but it's almost like showing up at a custom film lab, and they give you great prints plus the negatives, and because you're so pleased with the prints, you decided there's no need to keep the negatives...

    Like I said, a flawed comparison, but in a way I think it applies.
    Actually it's a pretty good analogy and I do agree that there is a lot more information in the file so a better final image is possible with a RAW file. I just think in his case and some others, it might not be an issue and most likely not worth all the extra time required. It's more of a business decision; the client is happy with the result so why increase your costs (time = money) with a print that has slightly better shadow detail that the client doesn't even notice?

    The reasons you mention are why I personally shoot RAW and keep the originals, but I'm an amateur (time vs. money doesn't apply). For one thing, as my post-processing skills (if I can call what I do a "skill") improve, I'll want to start over with the originals. This has been the case in the past and I'm glad I had the original to work with.

  20. #20
    Panarus biarmicus Moderator (Sports) SmartWombat's Avatar
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    Re: In context of RAW survey, a couple of RAW questions

    Yes, I shoot with RAW exclusively.
    That's why I picked the Canon G9 as a pocket camera.

    However I work in RAW and convert only for print or the web, or to whatever the client wants.
    I use Lightroom, so all my adjustments are done in RAW, non-destructively.

    The few I need to edit are sent with Lightroom adjustments to Photoshop CS2 and I save the results as a new image in the Lightroom catalog so that I keep the edit separate form the original.

    I can highlight a batch of images, choose export ... and play with the size, Adobe/RGB, post-export sharpening, output format, folder ... and then Lightroom does it all automagically.
    PAul

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  21. #21
    Member steelerdirtfreak's Avatar
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    Re: In context of RAW survey, a couple of RAW questions

    I really do appreciate some of the great feedback here.
    While reading some of the posts here I have come up with what may be a workable and practical idea for my situation.

    I'll probably continue to shoot most of my action shots using jpg, but when I shoot the various Victory Lane sessions, I'll switch over to RAW + jpg.
    The victory lane shots tend to be the "money" shots for local racing, and what I'll have the most requests for sponsor prints. It will also give me a good archive of those photos to have on hand.

    I'll also probably try to get one or two good single car shots of each of the track regulars in RAW, again so that I have a good archive for each driver.

    Now if I can just learn HOW to do the processing of the RAW files...

  22. #22
    Panarus biarmicus Moderator (Sports) SmartWombat's Avatar
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    Re: In context of RAW survey, a couple of RAW questions

    If you use Lightroom, there is nothing more to learn.
    Adjustments are the same for JPEG and RAW handling.
    Just you can adjust the RAW more before it starts to look rubbish
    PAul

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  23. #23
    The Polariser fx101's Avatar
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    Re: In context of RAW survey, a couple of RAW questions

    For very high volume shooting, I think many professionals will agree that jpegs can, in certain situations, provide an easier workflow of comparable final quality. If you are going to edit a jpeg, keep the original and when you edit, that edit should be saved as a tiff or psd. Lightroom makes RAW conversion very easy but photoshop is essential to take advantage of everything that RAW has to offer.
    --The camera's role is not to interfere with the photographer's work--

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  24. #24
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    Re: In context of RAW survey, a couple of RAW questions

    The single best thing about RAW that I NEVER hear from photographers is that you can develop a signature look to your photos that you can't get once the tone curve has already been tweaked.

    A jpg is so close to finished that just a little bit of adjustment will push it over the edge of looking good to looking bad. RAW, on the other hand, hasn't had the finishing touches added: saturation, curves, levels, sharpening and hue/tint haven't been applied yet. The camera applies these adjustments during the Jpg conversion.

    RAW lets the photographer apply his own preference rather than relying on the camera to make the decision for him. My photos (always RAW) will look slightly different than ANYONE else's, even if they are shooting the same shot with the same camera at the same settings. Even if they started with my RAW file, in fact.

    For the fine art photographer selling one or two shots a month, this might be key. For the working slob knocking out 1200 frames a day, this might not be. Again, different tools for different jobs.
    Erik Williams

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