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  1. #1
    Faugh a' ballagh Sean Dempsey's Avatar
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    Importance of RAW format? Please advise

    I have the Digital Rebel. I have a 512 card and a 256 card which are very slow to write. a RAW takes about 4-6 seconds to write (thats a long time when the 40x Lexar cards do it in like .5 seconds). That being said, I do all my stuff in the Large-Fine format, since I get more than double the shots on the card (170 JPG's on the 512 compared to only 60 RAWS).

    I use photoshop CS extensively, have for 8 hours a day for about 6 years, so I use it a ton with the photos, so yes I edit the crap out of them.

    Canon's RAW adjuster that comes with the Rebel, to me, is horrid and clunky. I switched to using Nikon Viewer 5 to do my browsing and organizing, the Canon is really lacking. That being said, I haven't even really played with the RAW editor.

    I do plan on doing alot of priting, 13x19's and larger stuff like some 36x48 posters and such. So I want these to look goood.

    Now onto the questions:

    - Is RAW something that is essential?

    - If I am adept in Photoshop, do I need to do RAWs? What can RAW editors do that photoshop can't?

    - Are there any other programs that can edit the RAW Canon Digital Rebel files besides the piece of crap they bundle with the camera?


    I will experiment with RAWs and RAW editors, I just haven't saw a need yet. I hope someone can enlighten me. I suppose I will need to save my pennies to get some gigabyte CF cards if I am gonna do it.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Sleep is optional Sebastian's Avatar
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    RAW is a digital negative, it stores more info than a JPEG, both in the shadows and highlights, allowing you more room to do adjustments in post. Raw editors can make the RAW files look good, nothing more. You need PS or similar to do anything else. Capture One, Photoshop CS, Breeze Browser and several other programs edit RAW files.

    Is RAW necessary? Only if exposure lattitude and added bit depth are necessary to the shot.

    BTW, I don't think ANY card can write a RAW file in .5 seconds, and the 40x Lexars are typically just as fast or maybe a few percentage points faster than their 24x brothers.
    -Seb

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  3. #3
    has-been... another view's Avatar
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    I've made big prints (up to 24x36) with jpegs - that's about all I shoot. RAW leaves more options open, that's all. I don't know much about that camera but my Fuji S2 has selectable color space and can do 16 bit files in RAW. I don't use it much because I'm lazy and happy with what I get!

  4. #4
    don't tase me, bro! Asylum Steve's Avatar
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    The clearest way to look at RAW...

    Sean,

    In the days of "Ye Old Tyme" photography, the three main things that controlled how a final image looked were film exposure, processing, and finally printing. Shooters could control none, some, or all of these things depending on how much they were willing to get involved in the process.

    Digital is really no different, just ones and zeroes replacing the physical materials of film and chemistry..

    Think of RAW image files as exposed but UNDEVELOPED film. You have an image, but by the nature of the way the information is stored, you also have a large assortment of ways you can change the way it looks with conversion software without losing any of the information.

    This is much the same way you can process film in many different ways and get different results through your choice of chemistry, temperature and developing time and agitation.

    When you shoot digital in jpeg mode, what you get is more like an ALREADY PROCESSED negative or slide. You have the image, and its information is fixed in the file. Yes, you can still make changes to it in programs like photoshop, but not with actually altering (and most likely losing) information in the file.

    As to which is better, that really depends on how you shoot and how good you are, and of course, how crucial it is to get the most files on your storage cards. And, as you mentioned, file write speed when you shoot can also be a factor.

    For a lot of people, RAW's additional capabilities just add a lot of confusion to the process (and the learning curve). A large jpeg file gives you the same amount of pixels to work with as RAW, and can certainly produce very large prints with great results, if you know what you're doing. A few pros here work in jpeg and love it...

    You mentioned Photoshop CS, yet you didn't say anything about its RAW converter. It's really good, IMO as good as any of the stand alone programs. Is there some reason you haven't tried it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sean Dempsey
    I have the Digital Rebel. I have a 512 card and a 256 card which are very slow to write. a RAW takes about 4-6 seconds to write (thats a long time when the 40x Lexar cards do it in like .5 seconds). That being said, I do all my stuff in the Large-Fine format, since I get more than double the shots on the card (170 JPG's on the 512 compared to only 60 RAWS).

    I use photoshop CS extensively, have for 8 hours a day for about 6 years, so I use it a ton with the photos, so yes I edit the crap out of them.

    Canon's RAW adjuster that comes with the Rebel, to me, is horrid and clunky. I switched to using Nikon Viewer 5 to do my browsing and organizing, the Canon is really lacking. That being said, I haven't even really played with the RAW editor.

    I do plan on doing alot of priting, 13x19's and larger stuff like some 36x48 posters and such. So I want these to look goood.

    Now onto the questions:

    - Is RAW something that is essential?

    - If I am adept in Photoshop, do I need to do RAWs? What can RAW editors do that photoshop can't?

    - Are there any other programs that can edit the RAW Canon Digital Rebel files besides the piece of crap they bundle with the camera?


    I will experiment with RAWs and RAW editors, I just haven't saw a need yet. I hope someone can enlighten me. I suppose I will need to save my pennies to get some gigabyte CF cards if I am gonna do it.

    Thanks
    "Riding along on a carousel...tryin' to catch up to you..."

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  5. #5
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    RAW captures a greater amount of data then jpeg. Basically it is used to "process" the image prior to converting it to jpeg or any other format.

    By shooting in RAW, you are able to tweak the color balance, exposure compensation, contrast, etc. prior to turning it into a jpeg. That way you get the best jpeg. If you did the color correction, exposure comp, etc. using a jpeg you would lose some of the data in the image.

    I shoot RAW for professional jobs where I need great skin rendition. Couldn't ever get the control from shoot jpeg.

    Also, C1 can be used to process RAW images and PS CS has the new RAW editor.

    Dennis
    "Foolish consistency is the hobgobblin of little minds." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

  6. #6
    Faugh a' ballagh Sean Dempsey's Avatar
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    I didn't know Photoshop CS had a RAW editor, only had my camera for 5 days =D

    I will poke around and see if I can find it, or if someone can just tell me where to look, that would be great. I've been using PS 7.0 up until a little while ago, so I never had a need (or the idea) that CS would work with RAW's.

    Thanks, this helps alot.

  7. #7
    Sleep is optional Sebastian's Avatar
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    There's no need to "find" it, just open a RAW file in CS...
    -Seb

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  8. #8
    Faugh a' ballagh Sean Dempsey's Avatar
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    I see, thanks. My friend who is the photo buff uses 7.0, so he told me before I ever got a camera "photoshop can't open raws, you'll need to get the Canon or Nikon viewer..." I can't wait to tell him CS has a raw editor.

  9. #9
    don't tase me, bro! Asylum Steve's Avatar
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    Actually...

    The RAW converter is available for version 7 as a seperate plugin. It comes free with CS...

    Quote Originally Posted by Sean Dempsey
    I see, thanks. My friend who is the photo buff uses 7.0, so he told me before I ever got a camera "photoshop can't open raws, you'll need to get the Canon or Nikon viewer..." I can't wait to tell him CS has a raw editor.
    "Riding along on a carousel...tryin' to catch up to you..."

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  10. #10
    Sleep is optional Sebastian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Asylum Steve
    The RAW converter is available for version 7 as a seperate plugin. It comes free with CS...
    It WAS available for 7.0, they stopped selling it once CS came out...I feel for all those early adopters who dealt with its poor image rendering and had to pay for it when the rest of us got it free with CS...
    -Seb

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  11. #11
    Member yaronsh's Avatar
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    Can any of you be more specific?

    Can anyone give a specific example of something that works better on a RAW file than a JPEG? Any image examples that show the difference in results betw. working on a RAW vs. a JPEG?

    Just got a Digital Rebel, and am realizing quickly that my basic approach would probably be: Underexpose slightly when shooting, then raise the gamma (generally to about 1.6), and expand the mid-tones to taste. In my simple experiments so far, I've been able to do this to TIFF files begotten from RAW files as well as to JPEG files. (Haven't gotten the Phase One s/w yet, so can't do this directly to the RAW files yet.)

    Thanks,
    Yaron
    Last edited by yaronsh; 04-13-2004 at 11:49 PM.

  12. #12
    Janie O'Canon Rebel Janie's Avatar
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    I have raw in ps 6.0

    but I do save photos i'm still working on in PSD format - when i'm doing large prints as well. My shots always print quite well.
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  13. #13
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    Question

    I'm not so sure about RAW. See this link: RAW or JPEG?

    I've been posting around on this subject and reading very typical replies. I currently shoot JPEG all the time, convert to TIFF mainly for archiving and then usually to my image-editing software's format for involved work. RAW looks bland because nothing's been done to it in-camera; hi-res JPEGs, loaded into software without significant in-camera alterations and then converted to TIFFs, are every bit as good when printed onto photographic paper.

    I just got back a 15x10 digital photograph of a heavily-edited 1 second exposure JPEG, and the result is excellent. I pushed the exposure just short of blowing the highlights to give me more to work with on the computer. Underexposure tends to promote noise (sort of like film grain), especially at longer exposures.

    The 4-bit extra qualities of RAW don't make a useful contribution to the final print, and if we shoot carefully as we did with negs and slides, we shouldn't need to utilise RAW to correct exposure errors. ;)

    I've used C1 Rebel software, Canon's too, and I'm on the verge of concluding that RAW is not essential or particularly useful. It would certainly slow me up drastically. That said, I'm not a pro, and RAW might be what they're happy with, but I'm just not convinced it's worth the effort.

    With the 300D you can set your own parameters although itís worth remembering that when Contrast, Sharpness, Saturation and Colour Tone are set to zero, they are in fact set to 3 on a scale of 5.

    I'm experimenting with this at the moment by having hi-res JPEG sharpness set to -1, but I'm guessing already that contrast will need to be reduced too.

    I would emphasise - don't edit your JPEGs! They degrade slightly with use. Save to another format such as TIFF or your image-editing software's unique format.

    Sam
    Last edited by Sam North; 04-14-2004 at 02:35 AM.

  14. #14
    Hardcore...Nikon Speed's Avatar
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    I would emphasise - don't edit your JPEGs!

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam North
    I'm not so sure about RAW. See this link: RAW or JPEG?

    I've been posting around on this subject and reading very typical replies. I currently shoot JPEG all the time, convert to TIFF mainly for archiving and then usually to my image-editing software's format for involved work. RAW looks bland because nothing's been done to it in-camera; hi-res JPEGs, loaded into software without significant in-camera alterations and then converted to TIFFs, are every bit as good when printed onto photographic paper.

    I just got back a 15x10 digital photograph of a heavily-edited 1 second exposure JPEG, and the result is excellent. I pushed the exposure just short of blowing the highlights to give me more to work with on the computer. Underexposure tends to promote noise (sort of like film grain), especially at longer exposures.

    The 4-bit extra qualities of RAW don't make a useful contribution to the final print, and if we shoot carefully as we did with negs and slides, we shouldn't need to utilise RAW to correct exposure errors. ;)

    I've used C1 Rebel software, Canon's too, and I'm on the verge of concluding that RAW is not essential or particularly useful. It would certainly slow me up drastically. That said, I'm not a pro, and RAW might be what they're happy with, but I'm just not convinced it's worth the effort.

    With the 300D you can set your own parameters although itís worth remembering that when Contrast, Sharpness, Saturation and Colour Tone are set to zero, they are in fact set to 3 on a scale of 5.

    I'm experimenting with this at the moment by having hi-res JPEG sharpness set to -1, but I'm guessing already that contrast will need to be reduced too.

    I would emphasise - don't edit your JPEGs! They degrade slightly with use. Save to another format such as TIFF or your image-editing software's unique format.

    Sam

    From what I've read, THAT is one of the big advantages of RAW vs JPEG files. As Steve and Seb pointed out, RAW files are like the negative - you can go back and make multiple changes - color balance, white balance, etc - and not destroy your original. And there is more data there, especially in the highlight and shadow files. The downside is that there is more post-processing required.

    Hey, there is still film!

    :-)
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  15. #15
    don't tase me, bro! Asylum Steve's Avatar
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    Interesting reading, but...

    ...the more I read on Ken Rockwell's site, the more I'm convinced he's a close minded, pompous a$$. Some of the things he says are absurd, at least if he thinks we all should work that way...

    But then again, that's been my experiece with a lot of LF shooters that feel a great image can only be attained by using 4x5 film cameras. Yeah, that's REAL practical...

    The problem with the opinions of some of the people on the sites you linked to is that, though they are very educated and experienced ones, they are being FORCED down the throats of everyone. Mr. Rockwell has a nasty habit of belittling the inteligence and creative workflow of ANYONE and EVERYONE who doesn't do things HIS WAY.

    Sorry, but most of us (thankfully) don't have to go out and shoot and process thousands of images everyday, and then get them to our clients overnight. And personally, I don't give a flying you-know-what if my photos ever end up in Arizona Highways or not...

    BTW, if I see EDITING in photoshop referred to as "piddling" or "twiddling" ONE MORE TIME, I think I'm gonna track the man down and slap him silly... ;) For my art and craft, editing is the most important part of the process...

    What I've been saying all along is that it's important to find the method and file type that's RIGHT FOR YOU. Sam, you seem to get better results with jpeg. I can respect that and think it's fine if you're happy with it. You also get the benefits of being able to work more quickly and fit more images on your storage cards.

    Storage space and processing speed (the main advantages of shooting on jpeg mode) are not issues with me. Plus, I don't think I've EVER used a photo straight out of the camera. In my world, ALL of my images need to be worked in photoshop, just as ALL of my film images needed careful processing and printing in a darkroom.

    Guess I'm just a "piddler"... ;)

    I also see a lot of references to "shooting carefully" as a solution, or at least a way to avoid the extra baggage of using RAW files. Again, I guess I think very differently, but I don't always want to "shoot carefully". That's one of the main reasons I love RAW files.

    I shoot people. Often people I have to interact with in a somewhat intense manner. This interaction is MUCH more important in capturing whatever emotion or feeling I want to get than the actual exposure of the shot.

    Don't get me wrong. I meter. I try to get the right exposure. But with my work, ballpark is fine. IMO, what takes place in the camera is simply the FIRST STEP, not the LAST.

    Sure, that's quite different than a photog in a National Park with a 500mm lens, or the photojournalist who's trying to shoot a gazillion pics on his trek through Asia. But that's exactly my point. Different strokes for different folks...

    Sam, hope you don't think I'm venting at you. Not so. I think your post makes perfect sense. Rather, it's the intolerant image makers that can only see things one way..

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam North
    I'm not so sure about RAW. See this link: RAW or JPEG?

    I've been posting around on this subject and reading very typical replies. I currently shoot JPEG all the time, convert to TIFF mainly for archiving and then usually to my image-editing software's format for involved work. RAW looks bland because nothing's been done to it in-camera; hi-res JPEGs, loaded into software without significant in-camera alterations and then converted to TIFFs, are every bit as good when printed onto photographic paper.

    I just got back a 15x10 digital photograph of a heavily-edited 1 second exposure JPEG, and the result is excellent. I pushed the exposure just short of blowing the highlights to give me more to work with on the computer. Underexposure tends to promote noise (sort of like film grain), especially at longer exposures.

    The 4-bit extra qualities of RAW don't make a useful contribution to the final print, and if we shoot carefully as we did with negs and slides, we shouldn't need to utilise RAW to correct exposure errors. ;)

    I've used C1 Rebel software, Canon's too, and I'm on the verge of concluding that RAW is not essential or particularly useful. It would certainly slow me up drastically. That said, I'm not a pro, and RAW might be what they're happy with, but I'm just not convinced it's worth the effort.

    With the 300D you can set your own parameters although itís worth remembering that when Contrast, Sharpness, Saturation and Colour Tone are set to zero, they are in fact set to 3 on a scale of 5.

    I'm experimenting with this at the moment by having hi-res JPEG sharpness set to -1, but I'm guessing already that contrast will need to be reduced too.

    I would emphasise - don't edit your JPEGs! They degrade slightly with use. Save to another format such as TIFF or your image-editing software's unique format.

    Sam
    "Riding along on a carousel...tryin' to catch up to you..."

    -Steve
    Studio & Lighting - Photography As Art Forum Moderator

    Running the Photo Asylum, Asylum Steve's blogged brain pipes...
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  16. #16
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    To each his own.

    Rockwell's way is fine for Rockwell. But when I am shooting a wedding in mixed lighting (candles, floures, merc vapor, incandescent, daylight, DJ disco light) I don't have the time to take white balances and meter everyshot perfectly. The moments happen way too fast. This is where RAW comes into play for me. I can take the shots, focusing on the moment, and do the minor tweaks later. Now when I convert the processed RAW file into jpeg. I have the highest quality jpeg without any loss of image data.

    Rockwell writes, "RAW is designed for people who intend to spend a lot of time twiddling with one image at a time". I guess he's never heard of batch processing. I process one image and copy the settings onto every image taken in that same light.

    Rockwell keeps talking about "special software" for RAW images. Is this some special secret that only highly seasoned pros use? Hell No! It's Photoshop CS or Capture 1. These are practically standards that everyone has access to. Also, your camera software has a RAW tool.

    Hey if I shoot in the middle of the desert and have all the time I need, I may not need the extra info of RAW. But for real world shooting, in uncontrolled environments, where you can't spend time taking various spot readings before your shot, it nice to have RAW.

    What I hate about people that scream their way is the only way is that they are not accounting for other people's photographic challenges. "It works for me so it must be good for everyone" sort of attitude. Well Rockwell is only doing one type of photography. We all have our favorite way of doing things and will probably defend it; but I have an open mind and don't trash other methods because they don't fit into my narrow idea of how the photographic world should revolve.

    Dennis
    "Foolish consistency is the hobgobblin of little minds." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

  17. #17
    don't tase me, bro! Asylum Steve's Avatar
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    Excellent follow up, and by the way...

    ...welcome back, Dennis! The pics you posted so far are great. Sorry I haven't taken the time to sit down and comment on them yet.

    I'm glad you wrote what you did. It doesn't please me to be bashing Rockwell, and I'm confident enough in my workflow (and results!) that I don't feel a need to "circle the wagons" about this topic, but it's good to see someone so quickly back up and add to what I was trying to say.

    In his defense, he does point out a few situations where a shooter may want to shoot RAW, but overall I got the impression he's trying to tell us that it mostly a waste of time. Of course, I feel quite the opposite.

    The WB point you made about mixed lighting situations is perhaps the best reason to use RAW, when it's practical. And as for digital in general, let's not forget the flexibilty in custom ISOs for each individual shot, and the ability to use a histogram to check exposure.

    I'm also curious: does Ken's 4x5 camera have a motor drive? Now THAT I'd like to see...

    Quote Originally Posted by dsl712
    Rockwell's way is fine for Rockwell. But when I am shooting a wedding in mixed lighting (candles, floures, merc vapor, incandescent, daylight, DJ disco light) I don't have the time to take white balances and meter everyshot perfectly. The moments happen way too fast. This is where RAW comes into play for me. I can take the shots, focusing on the moment, and do the minor tweaks later. Now when I convert the processed RAW file into jpeg. I have the highest quality jpeg without any loss of image data.

    Rockwell writes, "RAW is designed for people who intend to spend a lot of time twiddling with one image at a time". I guess he's never heard of batch processing. I process one image and copy the settings onto every image taken in that same light.

    Rockwell keeps talking about "special software" for RAW images. Is this some special secret that only highly seasoned pros use? Hell No! It's Photoshop CS or Capture 1. These are practically standards that everyone has access to. Also, your camera software has a RAW tool.

    Hey if I shoot in the middle of the desert and have all the time I need, I may not need the extra info of RAW. But for real world shooting, in uncontrolled environments, where you can't spend time taking various spot readings before your shot, it nice to have RAW.

    What I hate about people that scream their way is the only way is that they are not accounting for other people's photographic challenges. "It works for me so it must be good for everyone" sort of attitude. Well Rockwell is only doing one type of photography. We all have our favorite way of doing things and will probably defend it; but I have an open mind and don't trash other methods because they don't fit into my narrow idea of how the photographic world should revolve.

    Dennis
    "Riding along on a carousel...tryin' to catch up to you..."

    -Steve
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  18. #18
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    Steve and Dennis,

    Thanks for your response. I appreciate it.

    The reaction to Rockwell is pretty much universal, or so it seems, and when a few months back I was researching the true value of the RAW format I read the information on his site, and a lot more besides.

    Itís obvious that most are irritated by his general approach (and personally I donít like to hear anyone getting bashed about, here or anywhere else Ė I donít think itís right or helpful on any forum ). His outspokenness, for want of a better word, isnít a problem to me, and we all have our opinions, but too many trip up on this and tend to bypass his more salient points. In the course of my research I took the time to contact him (and others) directly and in confidence he gave some information about his background, which included decades studying the subject we are discussing here, and time spent working with those who developed the associated algorithms we benefit from today.

    Yet if you asked him he would not hesitate to say ďboth sides are rightĒ and that RAW and JPEG work differently for different users with differing needs. Iím led to believe that possibly later in the year he will be expanding and updating his articles to further illustrate his position. But heís not a big fan of the RAW format, and Iím not either.

    Anyway, itís not my job to defend Ken Rockwell Ė I believe heís pretty capable of that!

    I have observed directly, time and time and time again online that RAW is heavily linked to minor exposure correction and white balance/colour correction. I used C1 Rebel software until my head split and found I could create similar results in Corel PHOTO-PAINT. (The RAW conversion software also had the habit of creating a slight magenta colour cast, although to be fair this may have been a bug at that stage, late last year. I wasnít impressed by its fairly amateur interface either.) I believe that the 4-bit advantage is way overstated and is virtually visually irrelevant in the final quality print. In other words, Iím not yet convinced itís worth the effort (especially for me).

    Exposing with digital, under carefully controlled conditions (yes Ė not always possible!) will give great JPEG images with impressive shadow detail and no blown highlights. My final approach to this debate will be to produce a series of identical RAW and hi-res prints, and look for obvious better quality in the RAW photographs, at typical viewing distances. I would be surprised: on screen, so far, Iím not really seeing it, although Iíve read the testimony of those who claim they canÖ HmmmÖ

    Batch processing of RAW images matters to pros Ė I already know that, but thatís a separate argument to better image quality.

    ď[If the] truth be told, RAW is nothing more than a purist 'fantasy' if you will. I see nothing wrong with shooting RAW, but in all my research I have found no strong evidence that JPEG is any bit less inferior. Using techniques described above and several other well known and documented procedures, I can perform the same workflow on my JPEG that I can with RAWĒ (from a forum). Iím here quoting someone who says he develops image processing software and has ďperformed in depth studies on both RAW and JPEG formatsĒ, because, so far, it seems to be the conclusion Iím coming to.

    In the final analysis, what works best for you? What do your studies into the subject lead you to conclude? ďIf nothing elseÖ quotes from professionals and forum users prove that a photographerís intelligent choice of shooting format is very much dependant on his or her personal goals and preferencesĒ (The Image Plane).

    Thanks for listening and good luck with your photography, whatever format you shoot in! Iím glad to be here.

    Sam
    "Digital is not 'better' than film ó it is different. It is clearly much better at certain things and just as clearly worse at others" (Nick Rains, The Luminous Landscape).

  19. #19
    Sleep is optional Sebastian's Avatar
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    Sam,

    It depends on what you shoot. With the D100 I saw a huge difference between RAW and JPG, in detail, exposure latitude and color.

    WIth my Canon, I see almost no difference. All I get is extra exposure latitude and the ability to adjust white balance. It definitely has its place, but not nearly as critical to getting highest quality as it was with the Nikons.

    It seems that every camera does it differently.
    -Seb

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    How to tell the most experienced shooter in a group? They have the least amount of toys on them.

  20. #20
    Member yaronsh's Avatar
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    Getting back to specifics...

    Getting back to technical specifics... ;)

    Thanks to [whoever it was up there] for the suggestion of re-saving your JPEGs as TIFFs before modifying the images.

    So, the discussions seem to indicate that the main element that you can get from RAW and can't get from JPEG is post-facto white balance control. With all other aspects, it seems that RAW may or may not provide a meaningful advantage, depending on the equipment, software, and/or your work habits. I take it that with the Digital Rebel, the difference between RAW and JPEG is probably small.

    Getting back to white balance:

    Is it actually impossible to change the white balance of a non-RAW file, or are the controls just more explicit in RAW conversion s/w?

    I see the following on Rockwell's site:
    "If you do not white balance correctly, fixing it later in a raw file is a non-destructive change. In a JPEG you will lose some data as you are actually changing values rather than merely their interpretation."

    What destructiveness does this refer to - is it destruction of the image quality incurred directly by the process of changing the white balance, or is it destruction of the original image info b/c you're editing the image?
    If the former, that would be a good blanket argument in favor of RAW.
    If the latter, then, in either case, you can get around destroying the original data by saving your modified image to a different file. With RAW images, you really have no choice but to do that - there's no such thing as re-saving a modified RAW (right?). With JPEGs, you can overwrite the original if you wish, but if you care at all about your images, I'd assume you wouldn't.

    I am also a little thrown by this "actually changing values rather than merely their interpretation" comment. Regardless of whether the info is compressed in the file, when you bring it up in your editing program it is essentially a bitmap of the image, and you're modifying the bits in the image. Either way (again), you then save the new bits to a different file (with RAW images we call it "conversion"; with JPEGs we call it, er, "saving to a different file"), and keep the original safe. Unless, that is, my understanding is completely off-base - ?

    Thanks!
    Yaron

  21. #21
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    Yaron

    Yes, convert your JPEG to a format that doesn't accumulatively degrade with constant opening and saving, and bear in mind your image-editing softwareís unique format will allow you to work in layers. That way all you do will be accessible one on top of the other if you happen to change your mind about something. You can then convert to the format you need for getting your high quality prints (JPEG widely accepted). Also, I keep original camera JPEGS for reference and EXIF data, and I regularly archive the lossless TIFFs too.

    Iíve some experience with white balance problems from my days using a half-decent video camera which, when set manually for the wrong light source would turn outdoor/indoor footage a weird colour Ė orange or blue casts.

    Itís been my experience so far that I have always been able to successfully adjust the overall appearance of an image, whether from my 300D SLR or the pro scans from my pro lab. (Itís interesting to note in passing that the pro photo lab industry delivers high quality results for the customer by returning CDs containing hi-res JPEGs.)

    Auto white balance on the D-Rebel/300D seems to do a very good job, although pros may need to set WB manually to suit the subject. Iím sure you know that if you use a film indoors that's designed for outdoors only, everything gets an orange cast, or greenish with fluorescent lighting. (Reala film, with its 4 layers does a great job of counteracting some of this.)

    But, if I end up with a raw (!) JPEG image that has a cast/tint, I use colour balance techniques to counteract this (after converting the JPEG to an appropriate format). I can do this very successfully on those rare occasions when it is necessary. Can RAW do it better through white balance adjustments? Well I did try a little of this with my trial copy of C1 Rebel, but not enough to pontificate about it. Still, Iím left with the impression itís not a hell of a lot different. Download the trial software yourself and have a go on images that need adjusting.

    Part of the problem here is the demands of pros compared to people like me. Maybe a pro here can offer better advice, but Iíve never been seriously troubled by stubborn cast/tint problems Ė if thatís how a pro would describe white balance Ė and Iím not yet convinced that this issue would be a good reason to choose RAW over hi-res JPEG.

    As for "actually changing values rather than merely their interpretation", and destroying data, Iím not quite sure how that pans out, but the challenge you face, Yaron, is adjusting your image to get a pleasing result without permanently altering your original.

    Sam

    PS

    Sebastian,

    On the face of it, different cameras per se producing different JPEG/RAW results looks like itís at odds with stringent Nikon/Canon manufacturing industry standards, but itís certainly a unique take on this debate.

    The theory and maths of RAW/JPEG means that more data is captured by RAW in every DSLR, but then we come back to the bothersome issues: ultimately, how useful is that advantage, how much of it influences the final print and how successful are standard image-editing techniques by comparison? And so onÖ
    "Digital is not 'better' than film ó it is different. It is clearly much better at certain things and just as clearly worse at others" (Nick Rains, The Luminous Landscape).

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