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Thread started 15 Jan 2016 (Friday) 11:15
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RAW vs JPEG editing side by side

 
Cormac
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Jan 15, 2016 11:15 |  #1

Or rather top and bottom as it were. Anyway, this is more just an FYI for those new to photography who may not understand the point in shooting in RAW in the first place. I know it's not the best focus, but it was a quick shot, and quick edit just to illustrate the difference between the 2 images and how editing affects each. I've never seen side by side of an edited RAW file vs edited JPEG. I was curious myself!

This is a quick shot SOOC shot in RAW+JPEG this the JPEG version since you can't post RAW here. You can see it's completely underexposed and worthless without editing.


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Here the top image is a quick edit from the RAW file, the bottom image was edited from the JPEG file. The settings I used to edit the RAW file are identical to the settings I then used to edit the JPEG. In fact I synced the 2 in lightroom to insure they were identical. As you can see, the JPEG edited is washed out color and rather bland looking. The darker areas of the image the you can see the detail is lost. While the RAW edit still has lots of color and most of the detail has been preserved.

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nathancarter
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Jan 15, 2016 15:11 |  #2

Cormac wrote in post #17859236 (external link)
The settings I used to edit the RAW file are identical to the settings I then used to edit the JPEG. In fact I synced the 2 in lightroom to insure they were identical.

I don't think this is an appropriate way to make a comparison. Instead, adjust each one based on black point, white point, and selecting a neutral area (such as the fur on the cat's neck) for white balance.


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Cormac
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Jan 15, 2016 15:39 |  #3

Adjust them independently of each other?


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Ralph ­ III
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Post edited over 3 years ago by Ralph III. (10 edits in all)
     
Jan 15, 2016 16:26 |  #4

I think the manner in which he performed this test is fine. What difference does it matter what white balance technique he used as long as he used them in the same fashion for RAW and Jpeg? I would tweak it but it's only a minor issue in regards to his test.

Having said that, if I were doing this test:

1) I would simply attempt to get my best results with the RAW file first, convert it to Jpeg, and then finish whatever minor tweaks I desired in Jpeg format.

2) I would then take the original Jpeg image and simply attempt to mimic the results I got from the original RAW file.

If I cannot mimic those results or if the amount of time I would have to spend in order to do so is significantly greater; then the benefits of shooting in RAW is clearly demonstrated. On the other hand, if I can easily mimic the results then we are wasting our time shooting in RAW format.;-)a

---------------

In regards to the OP's examples. I would tweak one image or the other in getting the white balance/color the same or close. That's the only shortcoming the OP has with his comparison, IMHO. As it stands, he's only demonstrated that if you use the same techniques for both RAW and Jpeg you end up with "different" results.

The goal should be, and seems to have been, that you end up with "superior" results from the RAW file.

I would like to see a cropped image of each file when the OP is finished; so the clarity and sharpness between the two images could clearly be shown at that point.

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Jan 15, 2016 18:01 |  #5

Since the JPEG file is an RGB raster image the colour temp settings have already been baked into the file, while the RAW file, which is simply a recording of the data direct from the sensor doesn't yet have a colour temp applied. Because of this major difference when working on a JPEG, or any other RGB raster image, in LR/ACR you get a different WB tool compared to what you have with a RAW file. This means that it is NOT possible to copy WB settings from a RAW file to an RGB raster image. Actually LR/ACR treat RGB and RAW images in rather different ways, so as Nathan Carter suggests it is not really appropriate to copy settings from one type of file to another. Saying that though given the level of underexposure involved I am quite surprised at just how much detail has been lifted from the JPEG, I would not think that careful adjustment of the JPEG file would much improve the image.

I guess that the OP has had to use a lot of NR on this image, as bringing up an image by even one stop can usually introduce a lot of noise to the image be it RAW or JPEG.

Much better to get the exposure right in camera first, although I would be interested in what exposure mode the OP was using, the choices of 1/20s f/2.8 and ISO 100 seems odd, it almost looks like a flash shot where the flash failed to fire, but the shutter speed seems wrong for that in any Canon auto exposure mode, while 1/20 seems very slow to have been deliberately chosen..

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Cormac
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Jan 15, 2016 20:57 |  #6

BigAl007 wrote in post #17859703 (external link)
Since the JPEG file is an RGB raster image the colour temp settings have already been baked into the file, while the RAW file, which is simply a recording of the data direct from the sensor doesn't yet have a colour temp applied. Because of this major difference when working on a JPEG, or any other RGB raster image, in LR/ACR you get a different WB tool compared to what you have with a RAW file. This means that it is NOT possible to copy WB settings from a RAW file to an RGB raster image. Actually LR/ACR treat RGB and RAW images in rather different ways, so as Nathan Carter suggests it is not really appropriate to copy settings from one type of file to another. Saying that though given the level of underexposure involved I am quite surprised at just how much detail has been lifted from the JPEG, I would not think that careful adjustment of the JPEG file would much improve the image.

I guess that the OP has had to use a lot of NR on this image, as bringing up an image by even one stop can usually introduce a lot of noise to the image be it RAW or JPEG.

Much better to get the exposure right in camera first, although I would be interested in what exposure mode the OP was using, the choices of 1/20s f/2.8 and ISO 100 seems odd, it almost looks like a flash shot where the flash failed to fire, but the shutter speed seems wrong for that in any Canon auto exposure mode, while 1/20 seems very slow to have been deliberately chosen..

Alan

I shot in shutter priority. And left the ISO at 100 to deliberately underexpose. I did notice too that the WB was way off on the JPEG version. Couldn't simulate what I had in the RAW file, but I didn't spend a lot of time.


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Jan 16, 2016 04:53 |  #7

Aah...you do realize that the appearance of the jpeg image is dependent upon the "picture style" settings dialed into the camera?
Do you understand the phrase "ETTR" and how to achieve it in manual and auto modes?


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Ralph ­ III
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Post edited over 3 years ago by Ralph III. (7 edits in all)
     
Jan 16, 2016 10:45 |  #8

Well, I decided to take a similar test image of one of our Gray/Brown Tabby cats (domestic short hair I think proper) and the results were very surprising at first; because the Jpeg image seemed to outperform the Raw image in regards to noise.

I had initially applied the same amount of noise reduction to both files with Noiseware, and the Jpeg image fared better. However, tzalman pointed out that my 50d camera would have also applied some in-camera noise-reduction to the Jpeg image. So the Jpeg image actually had more applied to it than the RAW file.

I subsequently went back and increased the noise reduction to the RAW image in getting similar results as the Jpeg image. Thus the RAW noise reduction was set at 100 versus the Jpeg which was set at 50.

The following basic/minor edits were performed on each file with Photoshop Elements 8.0.

RAW File:


1. Increase "Exposure" from 0.00 to 3.00.
2. Decrease "Blacks" from 5 to 1.
3. Decrease "Brightness" from 50-40.
4. Increase "Sharpness" from 25-50.


Jpeg File:

1. "Lighten Shadows" to default 25%
2. Increase "Brightness" from 0 to 6.
3. Decrease "Saturation" to -20.
4. Increase "Sharpness" to 120% (1.0 pixel).


I then took each file and performed some noise reduction with Noiseware Standard Edition (version2.6/build 2601). The Jpeg image was set to 50/50 whereas the RAW image was set to 100/100.

---------------

Both images are slightly different in color rendition and I can't correct that minus extensive editing (duplicate layers, etc). So I chose a happy medium between the two. My cats nose isn't quite so light in the Raw nor is it quite so pink in the Jpeg; the same goes for the background.


Results: The RAW image retains quite a bit more details. It still has a little more noise or artifacts showing in the light brown areas but I think that is simply because of the difference between the images. I don't think it would be as pronounced in the RAW image had it been darker like the Jpeg image.

Conslusion: The RAW image is better overall and as I would have expected. I would have been more pleased though had it been a more significant difference but it really isn't. The Jpeg image results were quite impressive as well given the underexposed original image.

Anyhow, I will test this further.

Thanks,
Ralph


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Ralph ­ III
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Post edited over 3 years ago by Ralph III. (4 edits in all)
     
Jan 16, 2016 11:12 |  #9

These are cropped images from their respective original (Jpeg & Raw), as seen above.

The Jpeg file looks good but it doesn't retain the overall amount of detail that the RAW file has; with exception of the white areas. The Jpeg actually seems to have a slight amount more of detail there. I think that is due to the additional amount of noise reduction I had to perform with the RAW file -or- maybe it has something to do with the slight color difference between the images?

I may perform another similar test being sure to turn off the in-camera noise reduction and setting the saturation level to default.

Ralph


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Post edited over 3 years ago by Ralph III. (3 edits in all)
     
Jan 16, 2016 13:50 |  #10

Here is a greater crop of each respective image and you can clearly see the RAW file retains a significant amount more detail; with exception of the white areas. I still think the additional details in the white areas with the Jpeg image is simply due to the greater saturation it underwent. I think if I had gotten the color saturation closer between the two files then the RAW file would have shown to be even more superior.

Ralph


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Jan 16, 2016 16:04 |  #11

I just cannot figure out why the RAW file finished image ended up having a lot more grain to it compared to the finished Jpeg image?

Maybe because the camera performed noise reduction as part of its processing of the jpg? Both that which was set in the camera and that which Canon does without asking no matter what is set in the camera - at least part of which is an inevitable consequence of the demosaicing algorithm.

Regarding the Raw version, it would be nice if you could mention which version of PSE and which version of the ACR plugin were used. It does make a difference. The edits you mention indicate a somewhat old version of each, but they could be representative of either ACR Process Version 2003 or Process Version 2010 (but not the modern P.V. 2012). The major difference between them was that Adobe changed its demosaicing from a "smoother" to a grittier version, which is better at detail extraction but by the same token extracts more noise as well. They were able to do this because they also upgraded the NR tools in P.V. 2010 - but of course you had to know how to do the compensations to retain the extra detail while reducing noise or to make the judgement call about how much of one to accept for the sake of the other. They also suggested dropping Sharpening>Detail from the default 25 to 15 if you wanted the old smoother rendering.

IMO, the demosaicing used in the 50D jpg processing (the same as used in my 5D2) is too smeary. And of course we don't know what your in-camera NR settings were. But right from the outset, comparing Canon processing to Adobe processing is apples and oranges.


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Jan 16, 2016 17:58 |  #12

chauncey wrote in post #17860087 (external link)
Aah...you do realize that the appearance of the jpeg image is dependent upon the "picture style" settings dialed into the camera?
Do you understand the phrase "ETTR" and how to achieve it in manual and auto modes?

No I do not.

tzalman wrote in post #17860689 (external link)
Regarding the Raw version, it would be nice if you could mention which version of PSE and which version of the ACR plugin were used. It does make a difference. The edits you mention indicate a somewhat old version of each, but they could be representative of either ACR Process Version 2003 or Process Version 2010 (but not the modern P.V. 2012). The major difference between them was that Adobe changed its demosaicing from a "smoother" to a grittier version, which is better at detail extraction but by the same token extracts more noise as well. They were able to do this because they also upgraded the NR tools in P.V. 2010 - but of course you had to know how to do the compensations to retain the extra detail while reducing noise or to make the judgement call about how much of one to accept for the sake of the other. They also suggested dropping Sharpening>Detail from the default 25 to 15 if you wanted the old smoother rendering.

IMO, the demosaicing used in the 50D jpg processing (the same as used in my 5D2) is too smeary. And of course we don't know what your in-camera NR settings were. But right from the outset, comparing Canon processing to Adobe processing is apples and oranges.

FWIW, when I did my experiment I was using lightroom cc. So it's always the latest version. Same with photoshop when I use that.


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Ralph ­ III
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Jan 16, 2016 21:21 |  #13

tzalman wrote in post #17860689 (external link)
Maybe because the camera performed noise reduction as part of its processing of the jpg?

Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding!

You are correct. I didn't realize Canon had incorporated noise reduction as part of its Jpeg algorithm with the 50d. I don't think that was a feature of my previous camera's (30d, 40d, 5d)?

My camera was set to "standard" noise reduction so it surely would have applied some with the Jpeg image. I had also forgotten that I had increased saturation from the "Standard" mode default setting, so that helps account for the color difference.


Anyhow, I went back and increased the noise reduction for the finished RAW image in getting the results closer to the results that I got with the Jpeg image. I can see now that the RAW file result is better and I've uploaded those above. I believe the difference in remaining noise is due to the lighter and more brownish color of the RAW file image versus the darker colors in the jpeg file.

Still, I was hoping the RAW file would have been a significant and clear winner but it's not to that degree. I've edited my previous posts but I will have to conduct this experiment again.

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Jan 17, 2016 06:51 |  #14

Ralph III wrote in post #17860947 (external link)
Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding!

You are correct. I didn't realize Canon had incorporated noise reduction as part of its Jpeg algorithm with the 50d. I don't think that was a feature of my previous camera's (30d, 40d, 5d)?

My camera was set to "standard" noise reduction so it surely would have applied some with the Jpeg image. I had also forgotten that I had increased saturation from the "Standard" mode default setting, so that helps account for the color difference.

Anyhow, I went back and increased the noise reduction for the finished RAW image in getting the results closer to the results that I got with the Jpeg image. I can see now that the RAW file result is better and I've uploaded those above. I believe the difference in remaining noise is due to the lighter and more brownish color of the RAW file image versus the darker colors in the jpeg file.

Still, I was hoping the RAW file would have been a significant and clear winner but it's not to that degree. I've edited my previous posts but I will have to conduct this experiment again.

God Bless,
Ralph


What you have to realise is that the defaults from almost any other RAW converter except DPP will be significantly different to ANY out of camera JPEG. Generally the camera manufacturers are going for a well saturated, image with mid levels of contrast along with quite a bit of both sharpening and noise reduction. Canon's DPP is able to read the in camera settings and is designed to produce results that are effectively identical to those that are SOOC. Pretty much everybody else goes for a low saturation low contrast, low sharpening and low NR image as a basic default conversion. With these RAW converters the basic assumption is that YOU want to work on your own images in order to extract the very best from them. I think the best analogy is that SOOC JPEGs are like dropping a roll of film in your drugstore one hour processing machine, and getting a finished product directly from it. That's what your SOOC JPEG is, an instantly produced finished product. While the RAW process is like using your own home darkroom used to be. The RAW file is the exposed roll of film, and the first stage is to develop the film, and how you processed the film was a very important first step in a multi stage process.

Of course once we start to have an idea of how we like to expose and process our RAW files it is then easy to setup new defaults that are more suited to our own preferred processing methods. This is usually going to save us some effort, although it's still usual to have to add the final finishing touches on a shot by shot basis, just as we did in the darkroom.

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Jan 17, 2016 07:46 |  #15

I was hoping the RAW file would have been a significant and clear winner but it's not to that degree

And what, pray tell, would your definition of a winner be?
If you're unable to define it...perhaps you should stick to "good enough".


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