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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos RAW, Post Processing & Printing 
Thread started 10 Nov 2012 (Saturday) 23:51
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Shoot in Jpeg or RAW what will I accomplish?

 
alazgr8
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Nov 10, 2012 23:51 |  #1

I have a 40D and starting to buy glass, and working to improve my photography. I've been shooting in jpeg, and dabbling in Photoshop Elements. At what point should I start to shoot in RAW? And what will It get out of it? I've got a pretty new computer, with a large hard drive, and a lot of RAM (32mb) so I think I'm ok for now as far as my computer. -rick


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mike_d
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Nov 11, 2012 00:05 |  #2

Shoot raw once you have efficient way to manage them and process them. For me, that was when I bought Lightroom. When I started out, I shot jpg because they were usable right out of the camera, or so I thought. Then I briefly shot raw+jpg and only used the raw file for images that needed more help. When I got Lightroom, I stopped shooting jpg completely since it makes processing raws so easy. I know Elements has batch raw processing but I find Lightroom far superior.

Raw gives you far greater latitude for adjusting things like exposure and white balance. As your post-processing skills improve, having the raw file means you can always get back to the original data to re-process. Think of the raw file as your negative with the maximum amount of data possible. You'll only get one chance to capture that moment, may as well save as much data as the camera is capable of.




  
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ssim
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Nov 11, 2012 00:08 |  #3

The RAW vs JPG has been debated many times on here and if you find some of those threads you will see many users differing opinions. There are some that shoot only JPG and those that shoot only RAW, I personally shoot a combination of these depending on the circumstances of the shoot. RAW most certainly allows you to recover more information from your images if you happen to make an exposure miscalculation or if you are shooting in difficult lighting conditions. If one is comfortable in their ability to nail the exposure this limits the advantages of having a CR2 file. At what point should one start to shoot this is purely a personal decision. I started almost immediately upon going digital. You need to decide upon a software application that you will use for RAW conversion and there are plenty to choose from. Until one gets comfortable with the chosen application you can always set your camera to shoot both RAW and JPG files though it does make you use more drive space but that is cheap these days.

If you have a near perfectly exposed JPG file there is little advantage to having it in RAW as well. On the flip side, if you have totally blown the exposure you will be able to extract detail that you didn't actually see with your eye. If I shoot in JPG and want to do editing to the image I simply save it in either TIF or PSD while I make the changes and save back out to JPG if that is what I need as a end result. It is true that each time you save a JPG file there is a slight degradation of quality in the image. However, I have tested this and you would have to save many many times before it is noticeable unless you are a pixel peeper and you want to find this.

I would suggest that you simply try shooting some RAW files and see if it is for you. If your final adjusted images are better than your final adjusted JPG's then it has value.


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Motor ­ On
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Nov 11, 2012 00:20 |  #4

From experience, I'll say start now, even if it takes a while before the curve sets in, there's many photos I go back and wish they'd been RAW so I could apply techniques I know now.

With RAW you're not loosing any information, so you get everything the sensor collects; this on the surface means some room to adjust exposure, it also means editing that can help reduce noise more effectively, and manipulate the image in many other ways with a lot more information to adjust so there tends to be more leeway before seeing pixelations. You'll also be able to perfect white balance after the fact, which depending upon what you should could be huge, from a fine tune of a specific balance to night and day adjustment from a ND or welding filter. Also it puts you through the Camera Raw editor in Photoshop to start out, where many of these adjustments can be made non-destructively before you get into working with layers (Camera RAW is still accessible without shooting RAW, you just don't have the same volume of information to manipulate).

From the film days, the RAW is akin to the Negative and a JPEG is what you get out of the 1 hour photo. Having that negative and being able to finish to your specific desires for that specific image, I've found, goes a long way toward upping the keeper rate and meeting what's in my mind's eye.

Now processing the images yourself vs dropping them off at the 1hr photo, does take a bit of time but with some practice in getting your workflow down you should be able to speed that up pretty easily. I shoot, and using lightroom can within 20 have my best 20 out of 500 selected and refined in lightroom, then if there's some that I want to specific detail work or other processes to then take those into photoshop after exporting the 16-bit TIFF files. Before adding LR4 to the mix I pretty much would look at them in bridge or Picasa then open the ones I wanted to edit into photoshop, it worked but for me wasn't as fast, especially after I got the hang of it and started to figure out how to do 95% of the adjustments I wanted within the Camera RAW interface. I could see the added time being a no-go for a wire service photographer that's got a window from exposure to publish of under 15min


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tonylong
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Nov 11, 2012 00:52 |  #5

I typically advise people who want to delve into Raw shooting to use the Canon Raw processing software Digital Photo Professional (DPP). It came with your camera and has the cool ability to use the camera settings that are used in creating jpegs as a default for rendering a Raw image that you can then play with. With this approach you don't need to shoot Raw + jpeg unless you want to see the limits of processing jpegs (I ran across those during my years of shooting with jpg-only cameras).

As was said, Raw gives you more latitude, not just in "fixing mistakes" but in massaging the "best" out of your image capture.

Check out our RAW Conversion Thread!


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dmward
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Nov 11, 2012 01:23 |  #6

Shooting raw is akin to Ansel Adams shooting sheet film, marking the holders with notes about how he exposed the film, the lighting conditions etc. so he could develop the film properly to create a negative that best represented the scene as he envisioned it for printing. And also the paper, developer, burning and dodging he did to get the print the way he wanted it.

JPG is akin to buying a throw away camera with transparency film and sending the film to a discount lab for processing.

If you really want to understand the benefits associated with shooting raw buy Jeff Schewe's book The Digital Negative. And also find a copy of Ansel Adams book The Negative. They are both a treasure trove of useful information.

And, why would you spend all that money for a camera and then throw away a third of the information it collects when you take a picture?


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tim
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Nov 11, 2012 02:11 |  #7

32MB. You're going to struggle. 32GB on the other hand would be pretty good.

Read Ken Rockwell's raw vs jpeg article (external link).


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boerewors
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Nov 11, 2012 08:17 |  #8

The biggest differences i found going RAW was:
- white ballance corrections can be done
- much improved noise Handling
- exposure corrections can be made
- highlights recovery and shadow pushing on LR4 / ACR7
Because of the above, i will never bother with JPEG. Those are 90% of my editing flow and i seldom do anything else to an image while editing


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alazgr8
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Nov 11, 2012 10:55 as a reply to  @ boerewors's post |  #9

Motor On, and tonylong,

Great analogies for explaining RAW. I am going to start shooting RAW and take the time to PP. Even though I have Elements, I think it would be beneficial to get Lightroom. Thanks, -rick

Motor On wrote in post #15231831 (external link)
From experience, I'll say start now, even if it takes a while before the curve sets in, there's many photos I go back and wish they'd been RAW so I could apply techniques I know now.

From the film days, the RAW is akin to the Negative and a JPEG is what you get out of the 1 hour photo. Having that negative and being able to finish to your specific desires for that specific image, I've found, goes a long way toward upping the keeper rate and meeting what's in my mind's eye.

tonylong wrote in post #15231909 (external link)
As was said, Raw gives you more latitude, not just in "fixing mistakes" but in massaging the "best" out of your image capture.

Check out our RAW Conversion Thread!


Rick S.
My Gear = Canon 50d ~ EF 100 f/2.8L IS USM Macro ~ EF 100-400 f/4.5-5.6L IS USM ~ EF-S 17-55 IS USM f/2.8 IS ~ EF 70-300 f/4-5.6 IS USM ~ EF 28-135 IS f/3.5-5.6 IS USM

  
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tim
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Nov 12, 2012 00:47 |  #10

tonylong wrote in post #15232054 (external link)
Heh! Uhh, do you want to reword this, Tim? :)

Nope.


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PhotosGuy
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Nov 12, 2012 12:48 |  #11

When to begin shooting in RAW?


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Nightstalker
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Nov 12, 2012 13:41 |  #12

Shoot RAW when you think you will need it.

I photographed a Dance Show a few weeks ago and the rehersal / action shots under stage lighting were all shot RAW and I blew through over 20GB of media.

On another night I shot portraits against a white BG and for this work I shot JPG and never even considered RAW as there would be little benefit.

Use what suits the job.

RAW is another valuable tool in your bag in the same way that a nice 85mm F1.2 lens is also.

You wouldn;t use that lens for shooting sports though would you???


  
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alazgr8
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Nov 12, 2012 14:19 |  #13

My mistake, I have 32GB ram in my computer. It came with 16GB, and I added two more 8GB sticks. I remember the old days when I had a 230MB hard drive in my Mac, and that was considered a lot. After reading the Ken Rockwell link the issue becomes more confusing, Rockwell is against shooting in RAW?!? Anyway I'm going to give it a try. I'll probably set my camera preference to save in RAW and JPG, for comparison. Thanks for the information! -rick

tim wrote in post #15232043 (external link)
32MB. You're going to struggle. 32GB on the other hand would be pretty good.

Read Ken Rockwell's raw vs jpeg article (external link).


Rick S.
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dmward
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Nov 12, 2012 14:21 |  #14

Nightstalker wrote in post #15237325 (external link)
Shoot RAW when you think you will need it.

This, in my view, is bad advise. Shoot raw whenever the camera has the capability.

Nightstalker wrote in post #15237325 (external link)
I photographed a Dance Show a few weeks ago and the rehersal / action shots under stage lighting were all shot RAW and I blew through over 20GB of media.

What does amount of media used have to do with anything. Its like film, always take more than I will ever be able to consume.

Nightstalker wrote in post #15237325 (external link)
On another night I shot portraits against a white BG and for this work I shot JPG and never even considered RAW as there would be little benefit.

The benefits of raw are numerous beginning with ability to shoot a color reference shoot for the lighting setup. Then, when importing the raw files into lightroom apply a custom camera profile along with import develop parameters you want to optimize the images as opposed to accepting the camera manufacturer's picture style.

Nightstalker wrote in post #15237325 (external link)
Use what suits the job.

What suits every job for me is to capture the maximum data with my camera's sensor and then use that as a resource for processing the images for the client.

Nightstalker wrote in post #15237325 (external link)
RAW is another valuable tool in your bag in the same way that a nice 85mm F1.2 lens is also.

Raw is not a tool, its the data captured by the camera that is the input to your photographic workflow.

For whatever reason, this "debate" will continue for probably ever.

I think it ultimately comes down to the attitude a photographer has toward their work. When I shot film, I always had several different kinds of transparency film in my bag, I'd load the film I thought would get me the best images given the lighting, etc. Often I'd carefully rewind a partially exposed roll and mark it with how many exposures were left. Other times, I'd mark a roll for pull or push processing to get the result.

With B&W, because I used a camera with removable backs, it was a bit easier. I could preload backs, mark them for pull or push processing, and even the developer I wanted to use.

Naturally, with sheet film it was even simpler because each individual film holder could be marked.

With digital files containing the data captured by the sensor and powerful image processing tools like Lightroom and Photoshop, I have all the creative options available for processing every image. Options that were difficult or impossible with film.

Lightroom V4.2 has the ability, after creating the file using Photoshop HDR Pro, to process 32 bit floating point image files. They are created by merging a three or more file bracket which my 5DIII can capture in a burst. When processing such an image Lightroom can, theoretically, control exposure over a 30 EV range. Theoretically because that broad a dynamic range is beyond visual capacity.

With tools like these available, and my experiences with film, it make sense, to me, to only use raw data as the starting point without any in-camera processing.


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rpaul
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Nov 12, 2012 14:38 |  #15

Frankly, it's really simple.

If you're happy with how your shots look back of your camera, and get good results with minimal processing (contrast & sharpening, etc...) shoot JPEG.

If you want to tweak white balance down to the K (which is pointless if your monitor isn't calibrated) and want lots of latitude for adjusting exposure and dynamic range, shoot RAW.


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Shoot in Jpeg or RAW what will I accomplish?
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