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Thread: Raw Vs. JPG

  1. #51
    Senior Member Ronnoco's Avatar
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    Re: Raw Vs. JPG

    Quote Originally Posted by Erik Stiegler
    Any RAW file can be converted into exactly the same JPEG as the camera will produce. Any adjustments that can be made to a JPEG can be made to a photograph taken as RAW. I do not see how JPEG has any practical advantages over RAW when it comes to postprocessing.
    To repeat what has been proven in tests in the labs of the photo mags, some cameras can produce a better jpeg than conversions done later through software and that is the reason for the choice RAW + jpeg in a lot of cameras. This means that if you make no adjustments and simply do a conversion from raw through software, the resulting jpeg will NOT equal the quality of the jpeg produced directly from the camera.

    As to adjustments they are not equal either. The difference is for example, working in RAW to improve the exposure in a dark area and the consequence is blowing out the highlights. In jpeg you would work on the dark area selectively using Curves and the highlights would not be affected at all.

    Practical advantages have already been mentioned.

    Ronnoco

  2. #52
    Senior Member freygr's Avatar
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    Re: Raw Vs. JPG

    Quote Originally Posted by Ronnoco
    Early morning and late evening just before sunset, you have an extreme range of lighting from almost totally dark through to very bright. With a tripod, neutral density filter and RAW, it is possible with care, expertise and a good eye, to coach some detail out of some very dark areas, tone down the very bright areas and still make it look natural. It can be done in jpeg too, but you have a little more to work with in this type of photo using RAW. Nevertheless, this is assuming a lot of capability and experience with both the camera and the RAW computer program as well as an extremely good eye for small details and technical deficiencies. Not all photographers can handle it at their current level of expertise and experience.

    Ronnoco
    But you missed the point, I do not use RAW if it is not going to used for more that a snap shot. I only will use RAW if I need to or that it's called for. With sun rises or sets JPG will pixelize the subtle color changes, specially at the higher compression settings. I'm not trying to make each photo prefect. Some times the Auto-Foucse messes up and I don't see the problems until I get home. If I'm on a PAID photo shoot, then use of RAW format because it's called for.
    GRF

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  3. #53
    Senior Member Ronnoco's Avatar
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    Re: Raw Vs. JPG

    Quote Originally Posted by masdog
    To be honest, I didn't even click the link earlier in the conversation, but I have gone back and looked at it. I did notice the noise, but that could be attributed to the software that he used. Some software is better than others at converting RAW files. I've converted files that were almost 2 stops overexposed and ended up with no noticable noise..
    Attributing it to the software is unlikely. For that matter he may have used the same software that you do. Even if software is to blame, it suggests another weakness in the process of working with RAW format. Without seeing an original underexposed shot with the EXIF info and the converted file, I cannot comment on that except to say that colour and detail are also factors of concern in working with underexposed shots in RAW.

    Quote Originally Posted by masdog
    This goes without saying in any digital editing, Ronnoco. Whether you're working with RAW or JPEG, you'll introduce noise into the file if you make any changes. Most of that noise that you see on the screen won't be noticable when you make a print unless you're enlarging it...
    The difference is that in digital editing in RAW, you are introducing noise and other problems into the whole photo, while in jpeg you can control the noise or other problem to an extremely small area of the photo by selecting a small part of the photo to adjust. This is a very important difference.

    Quote Originally Posted by masdog
    Its not a good idea to tell photographers that they're wasting their time because they shoot everything in RAW. For whatever reason, they have decided on that method, and just because you don't agree with it doesn't mean it doesn't work for them. Its a matter of preference that shouldn't be judged in the manner that you have judged it.
    The reverse of that is that it is not a good idea to tell a new photographer that they should shoot everything in RAW, regardless of their experience, expertise in using photo editors, or their style and subjects. They should be allowed to listen to the arguments, test both RAW and jpeg equally and come to their own conclusion.

    To quote from Rob Sheppard, editor of PC Photo and Outdoor Photographer."Photographers sometimes use Raw even when it does not meet their needs but they feel guilty if they shoot jpeg. Well-meaning experts, often promote one approach to digital, because that is how they do it, but unfortunately they don't adequately explore alternatives as really used by photographers." He goes on to suggest that there is no...one format fits all for digital photography and that photographers should not be bullied into chosing RAW, if it does not meet their needs or fit their style for the particular kind of work that they do.

    Ronnoco

  4. #54
    Click take a Pict boomtap's Avatar
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    Re: Raw Vs. JPG

    If you take a raw image, make no changes to it, convert it to JPG will it be just like the JPG that would come out of the camera?
    -Jason Cross-

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  5. #55
    Senior Member Ronnoco's Avatar
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    Re: Raw Vs. JPG

    Quote Originally Posted by boomtap
    If you take a raw image, make no changes to it, convert it to JPG will it be just like the JPG that would come out of the camera?
    No. Most cameras produce better jpegs with their electronics from the processor information than what is possible through conversion software. Jpeg compression in the camera is 5% or less, which means limited loss as well.

    Ronnoco

  6. #56
    Click take a Pict boomtap's Avatar
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    Re: Raw Vs. JPG

    Ronnoco, I really appriciate filling me in on all this and bringing up the other side of the argument. Most people I have found have been on the side of Raw except you and Ken Rockwell who's articles helped talk me into getting the d50 in the first place.
    -Jason Cross-

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  7. #57
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    Re: Raw Vs. JPG

    Quote Originally Posted by Ronnoco
    The difference is that in digital editing in RAW, you are introducing noise and other problems into the whole photo, while in jpeg you can control the noise or other problem to an extremely small area of the photo by selecting a small part of the photo to adjust. This is a very important difference.
    That is true. You are making global changes when you make adjustments to the RAW file. They don't have to be huge adjustments though and you will usually get a better result from the 12-bit, if you're careful. It is very possible to get overzealous with the RAW and make a mess of an image, though. You can do the same thing with a JPEG, though. I don't think most people really know how to make selective adjustments.

    The best workflow is to use a RAW converter for an initial global adjustment. How much and what you do depends on the image, your style, and the capabilitise of the RAW converter you're using. After you make your global adjustment and convert to a TIFF, then you open it in Photoshop and make any selective adjustments you might want. Every step taken should be done to prepare the file for the next step. I shoot for the highlights so that they aren't blown out. I convert for an overall color balance, saturation, contrast, etc; making sure not to lose the highlights. Then I make final, selective adjustments using Photoshop masked adjustment layers.
    Photo-John

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  8. #58
    Be serious Franglais's Avatar
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    Re: Raw Vs. JPG

    Quote Originally Posted by Ronnoco
    Even the experts would say that it is not quite that simple and straightforward. . In under-exposed and over-exposed photos there is less information in the colour pixel. It is impossible for example to bring back correct colour information in blown out highlights.
    It IS possible in Nikon Capture + RAW to bring back complete details in highlights that were burnt out 255-255-255 in the JPG produced by the camera. I was amazed at how far it can go. It looks like the camera does a straight-line conversion and cuts off the top end on a contrasty image. In order to make it look natural and preserve the highlights you have to change Curves from a straight line to an S.

    Working with RAW is easy - when you know what you're doing. My oversaturated images were done back at the start when I used the autocontrast button too much.

    Charles

  9. #59
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    Re: Raw Vs. JPG

    Quote Originally Posted by boomtap
    If you take a raw image, make no changes to it, convert it to JPG will it be just like the JPG that would come out of the camera?
    That depends on the converter. Some do the same thing as the in-camera algorithm. Some do better, some worse.

    DPReview does comparisons between in-camera JPEG, the manufacturer's software and Adobe Camera RAW in their reviews. Go see how many camera's JPEG routines outperform ACR, or even the manufacturer's software. I seriously doubt your D50 is capable of producing better output than Nikon Capture or ACR.

    You can read magaines, web sites, and threads like this, but there is no substitute for experience. Get some RAW conversion software and try it out.

    Just for fun, shoot both RAW and JPEGs that are improperly exposed, or shot with the wrong color balance, and see which ones are easier to fix.

    Finally, I don't know about anyone else, but I have never shot a photo as RAW and later said to myself "I really wish I had shot this as a JPEG instead." I have regretted shooting as JPEG instead of RAW.

  10. #60
    Senior Member Ronnoco's Avatar
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    Re: Raw Vs. JPG

    Quote Originally Posted by boomtap
    Ronnoco, I really appriciate filling me in on all this and bringing up the other side of the argument. Most people I have found have been on the side of Raw except you and Ken Rockwell who's articles helped talk me into getting the d50 in the first place.
    Thanks boomtap! I shoot both RAW and jpeg and recognize that there are advantages and disadvantages to both. As I said, I do not believe that one format fits all photographers or all shooting situations or all business practices. For your info. I was looking at one RAW shot of mine that was 46 meg. That is huge in comparison with jpegs that can be less than one quarter of the size. The implications of this size alone are longer processing times in the camera and between shots, longer time uploading to a computer, more memory required for editing, more storage space etc. and longer time to find and bring the RAW file on screen.

    Bottom line is that I carefully discriminate whether to shoot RAW or jpeg in particular situations and my jpegs have been extremely successful. Although I am very comfortable with the computer, I still prefer to do most of my work with the camera, which means I try not to spend a lot of time in post-processing particularly when I am dealing with large numbers of photos.

    Ronnoco

  11. #61
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    Re: Raw Vs. JPG

    Quote Originally Posted by Ronnoco
    I was looking at one RAW shot of mine that was 46 meg. That is huge in comparison with jpegs that can be less than one quarter of the size.
    You must be talking about an uncompressed TIFF or PSD file. Because as an unprocessed RAW file it wouldn't have been anywhere near that large.
    Photo-John

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  12. #62
    Senior Member Ronnoco's Avatar
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    Re: Raw Vs. JPG

    Quote Originally Posted by Photo-John
    The best workflow is to use a RAW converter for an initial global adjustment. How much and what you do depends on the image, your style, and the capabilitise of the RAW converter you're using. After you make your global adjustment and convert to a TIFF, then you open it in Photoshop and make any selective adjustments you might want. Every step taken should be done to prepare the file for the next step. I shoot for the highlights so that they aren't blown out. I convert for an overall color balance, saturation, contrast, etc; making sure not to lose the highlights. Then I make final, selective adjustments using Photoshop masked adjustment layers.
    Thanks, John. You made one of my initial points quite successfully. At the beginning, you said RAW was an easy format to work with, and implied that everyone should shoot everything in RAW. Now, you have finally started to detail some of the intricate process necessary to work successfully with RAW and then follow up by editing in jpeg.

    What you seemed to originally forget and it is understandable, since these things become second nature is that not everyone sees this process as being easy and not eveyone has the sharp eye to see problems developing as they progress through the steps and know how to solve them. Complicating the situation is that not everyone sees the process of working correctly with RAW as even important or worth the effort.

    The way I see it, is that if some people find jpeg meets their needs and fits their style of photography and their business or hobby then all power to them. The same thing with RAW. However the decision to shoot jpeg or RAW should be based on a thorough knowledge of the advantages and disadvantages of both and the recognition that neither format is best for all photographic styles, situations or businesses.

    Ronnoco

  13. #63
    Click take a Pict boomtap's Avatar
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    Re: Raw Vs. JPG

    I took about 60 picts in raw, and definitly have mixed feelings. In low light situations it came out grainy, and when I converted them I was unable to remove the grain from the photos. When I shoot in JPG it doesn't seem to have the same effect. The JPG images seem to be far cleaner.

    Is this what I can expect from RAW images all the time?
    -Jason Cross-

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  14. #64
    Sleep is optional Sebastian's Avatar
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    Re: Raw Vs. JPG

    Quote Originally Posted by boomtap
    Is this what I can expect from RAW images all the time?
    No, it just means that you are inexperienced with processing RAW files. RAW quality depends 100% on you and the software you're using. Different algorithms handle noise/shadows/highlights/contrast differently. A RAW file opened in EOS Viewer Utility will look different than the same file opened in Digital Photo Professional or CS or CaptureOne, and that's before you start messing with any settings. But a RAW file is not a crutch, you still have to be critical of exposure and white balance as you take the photo, it's just that RAW will allow less data degradation in post processing in the form of color clipping, aliasing and shadows blocking up.

    If your images came out grainy, make sure you have sharpening turned down, that always helps with Nikons which are a bit noisy.
    -Seb

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  15. #65
    Senior Member Ronnoco's Avatar
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    Re: Raw Vs. JPG

    Sebastian made some good points. There is a considerable variation among RAW software programs. Usually the most recent camera manufacturer's RAW program is the best, simply because they designed the RAW software algorithm in the first place.

    As he said as well, RAW is not a crutch for less than careful attention to detail, exposure, white balance etc. when taking the photo in the first place.

    As I indicated earlier, you need to have a very good eye, a light touch on the adjustments, and a thorough knowledge of the effect of every change on every other area of your photo. Most changes in RAW will affect the visibility of noise, tonal quality both positively and negatively, and detail. This is also why I find that with some photos it is better to make some changes globally in RAW and then move it to jpeg to take advantage of the ability to make a change selectively to a small part of the same photo.

    I will repeat also that it is possible to make your photos worse rather than better using RAW processing, if you do not have a good eye for seeing the effect of changes on the photo, as well as a thorough knowledge of the format and the inter-related nature of all changes. Some of this is true for jpeg editing as well, but the changes in RAW are more major in nature since you are closer to dealing with the original data from the processor.

    Ronnoco

  16. #66
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    Re: Raw Vs. JPG

    And let's not forget, exposure or white-balance adjustment, if necessary, is much harder to achieve when editing a jpeg image. A raw converter gives you the tools to do it right up-front.

    For photography students, shooting raw and running the files through a raw converter/developer will teach them much much more than just editing jpegs in PS.

  17. #67
    Senior Member Ronnoco's Avatar
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    Re: Raw Vs. JPG

    Quote Originally Posted by pip22
    And let's not forget, exposure or white-balance adjustment, if necessary, is much harder to achieve when editing a jpeg image. A raw converter gives you the tools to do it right up-front
    Well, you lose a lot, if your exposure or white balance needs adjustment in RAW too. You end up with more visible noise, loss of colour information and loss of detail.

    If you have to adjust in jpeg, it is simply using curves or levels to adjust brightness and you have the advantage of being able to selectively lighten one area without blowing out highlights in another, which would happen in RAW.

    White balance in jpeg can be achieved with any number of plug-ins.

    Ronnoco

  18. #68
    Panarus biarmicus Moderator (Sports) SmartWombat's Avatar
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    Re: Raw Vs. JPG

    If you have to adjust in jpeg, it is simply using curves or levels to adjust brightness and you have the advantage of being able to selectively lighten one area without blowing out highlights in another, which would happen in RAW.
    Not true if you load a RAW image into Photoshop CS2 though, you can use 16 bit colour mode.
    Photoshop has the ability to selectively lighten one area, without needing to work on JPEG files.

    The advantage is that you're not restricted to 8 bit colour - like jpeg is.
    So the distinction isn't a RAW/JPEG choice, more a choice of the tool you use.
    PAul

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  19. #69
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    Re: Raw Vs. JPG

    Quote Originally Posted by masdog
    Generally speaking, JPEG is suitable for most tasks, but it isn't always the best. I generally shoot all my portrait, landscape, and creative shots in RAW while my sports photography is always in JPEG.
    I played with the RAW format for the first time right before I went on my current business trip. I didn't play much with the software's capability, but I saw how much was there, and I was impressed. I've been following the same approach while shooting pictures this trip, and I think I'll be happy with it. When shooting in RAW, my camera records the RAW file and a JPG of the picture at the same time. Is this not common? From some of the comments above, it sounded like some were having to decide between the two, and not get both. I hope that's not a dumb question, I'm just getting into this stuff.

  20. #70
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    Re: Raw Vs. JPG

    Quote Originally Posted by yakkosmurf
    When shooting in RAW, my camera records the RAW file and a JPG of the picture at the same time. Is this not common? From some of the comments above, it sounded like some were having to decide between the two, and not get both.
    Some cameras record a JPEG at the same time as RAW, some don't. Even if a camera doesn't, you can always make a JPEG from a RAW image.

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