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Thread started 22 Oct 2003 (Wednesday) 10:33
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ALLWAYS SHOOT RAW

 
CyberDyneSystems
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Oct 22, 2003 10:33 |  #1

Oh man I am so bummed!

It took me some time to get the hang of working with RAW files. But since then I have realized that there is a significant difference both in image quality as shot, and more to the point in the images flexibility in post processing when compared to jpegs.

Despite this understanding, I have a tendancy to shoot jpeg with my 10D "when it doesn't matter"

In this case I was in a salt marsh,. no birds in sight,. so I mounted my 17-40mm "L" to take some fall foliage shots and mostly to get more used to working the circular polarizer in various circumstances.

In essence,. in my mind these were "test shots" so I was shooting jpeg. ("saving" card space)

Well,. along comes a Great Blue Heron,.. I swap the 17-40 for the 500mm f/4.5 (which is allready right next to me mounted on the tripod) and manage to take the most amazing "heron in flight" images I have ever taken. I was in the perfect place at the perfect time and was even given enough time to mount the perfect lens before the Heron took it's sweeping flight directly in front of me.

I could just die!

The large fine jepg images don't even come CLOSE to what this lens can do on the 10D when shooting raw! :(

In essence despite the fact that I "got the pcis" and made NO mistakes with exposure... shutter speed (in fact the light was so perfect I was able to get these action shots at a remarkable ISO 200 (which would also have made these the lowest ISO action shots I have taken succesfully)

But despite hours of tweeking in PS the images do not compare at all to the images i took moments later once the heron landed and I had time to remember to switch back to RAW. No other settings on the camera changed, nor the subject,.. but the jpegs are poop in comparison.

Sure there may be times when jpeg is fine,. i have allways felt that. And it took me some time to get used to working with RAW files (plus I needed to get better tools like the Adobe RAW plugin)

...but now I have learned a hard lesson :(

The folks who preach RAW on this forum know what they are talking about. Now I have my own side by side images to prove it to my own self. The difference is HUGE! and I have about 6 of the best photos I have ever taken ruined as jpegs to prove it. :(


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HeatherJL
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Oct 22, 2003 12:10 |  #2

Hmmm, I haven't been shooting in RAW, only because I haven't messed with the file type before... maybe I should learn. Thanks for the advice.

I would bet that the pictures are still pretty impressive, why don't you post one? :)




  
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Roger_Cavanagh
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Oct 22, 2003 12:16 |  #3

Trying hide to wipe the "told-you-so" smirk off my face. :)

OK - feel the sympathy - now, how 'bout posting some examples of the good stuff?

Regards,


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iwatkins
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Oct 22, 2003 12:32 |  #4

Sorry to hear that the lesson has been learned hard way CDS.

I shoot RAW even when messing with filters, playing with lighting etc. If I run out of space on the card while in the field I just delete those which are obviously trash.

Anyway, chin up lad, they were only heron shots ;)

As my grandad used to say (he was a pro photographer) "doesn't matter if you actually get it on film, you still have it up here". And he would tap his temple with his finger. :)

Cheers

Ian




  
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CyberDyneSystems
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Oct 22, 2003 13:16 |  #5

Roger_Cavanagh wrote:
Trying hide to wipe the "told-you-so" smirk off my face. :)

lol,. it is true!

And I have never argued,. I have from very early on understood some of the advantages of RAW files. (thanks mostly to Roger and others who have steered us newcomers in the right direction :) )

And even when I was shooting "mostly" jpeg,. I was aware that I absolutely NEEDED to get to a point where I could take advantage of the format. (some of the first 10D images I saw were Pekkas first examples the day his newly recalibrated 10D came back from Canon,.. and at that point I knew that whatever he was doing,. it had to be the right thing!)

Roger_Cavanagh wrote:OK - feel the sympathy - now, how 'bout posting some examples of the good stuff?

Regards,

I will indeed,. :D

...when I get home I will upload the flight images that started life as jpegs and some of the "walking in the reeds" shots that started life as RAW files. I am not at all sure how much of the difference will be visible once both originals are reduced to 800X600 or so jpegs,. so I may be compelled to actually upload a full sized tiff or at least full res jpeg.

I also have not printed yet,. it will be interesting to see large prints side by side as well.

But I can tell you tht the full size images on a Sony FW900 tell the whole tale. The jpegs are not only not nearly as good,. but they are FAR less flexible hwen it comes time to post processing. Altering exposure, white balance, level and color saturation on a RAW file is fluid and very effective. "a little bit goes a long way" the same exact adjustments made to a jpeg result in a very mechanical and overprocessed looking image,. they LOOK like they have been done on a computer,. where the RAW files look like a photo.


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Vegas ­ Poboy
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Oct 22, 2003 15:36 |  #6

Wow, this is funny only due to the fact I just emailed Roger yesterday about shooting RAW and after this thread I know unless I'm short on card space RAW is the only way to go.
CDS sorry about your shots but thanks for sharing the info. I'm sure you just helped hundreds of photographers.
I love this Site


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CyberDyneSystems
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Oct 22, 2003 18:06 |  #7

O-kay,. posted the examples in the "Share" forum.

The jpeg flight images are HERE

And the RAW images are HERE

All reduced to 700X jpegs for the purposes of the forum

If anyone is interested I could upload some full sized images and post links.


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Webster
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Oct 23, 2003 10:56 |  #8

Fantastic shots! I have to wonder, though, whether there would have been a lot of improvement in the flight shots if RAW had been used. They were shot at 1/500 on a 500mm lens. That is slower than the one-over-focal length rule of thumb, the effective focal length being 800mm. The difference may well just be motion blur.

The RAW pictures were of a still subject shot at 1/1000. Much less motion to affect the shot.




  
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CyberDyneSystems
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Oct 23, 2003 11:14 |  #9

You have a point Webster however motion blur is not the problem I was facing when working with these files.

In fact before the Heron took off I had a number of images of it standing in the tall grass. They were both less interesting and had the same quality issue. Yes If I had taken the time I could have bumped the ISO up for a faster shutter as well as switch to RAW mode, but I actually liked the very slight motion blur discenable at the very tips of the wings.

And the "rule" is meant to be broken.
I have gotten clear photos at 1/60 shutter on a 500mm.

No the phenomena of the difference in quality has a lot more to do with the file type in this particular instance. Look at the third image,. it is as sharp as any jpeg I have seen. It is the compression and "unnatural" color that really detracts from the image.


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jthomaslambert
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Oct 24, 2003 09:30 |  #10

Okay--so as a digital rookie I understand that RAW is the way to go due to increased sharpness and greater flexibility with Photoshop.

My question is: what do I lose with respect to the 300D's adjustments compared to shooting in Large JPG "P" mode? (i.e. does white balance matter anymore? what about the +1+1+1 adjustment in parameter 1 mode? etc...)




  
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CyberDyneSystems
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Oct 24, 2003 10:09 |  #11

I have a 10D so I'm not 100% certain that hte same applies,. but based on the similarity of the cameras and the identical RAW file system I am 99% certain it works like this;

When shooting RAW, the RAW file will retain a record of all the settings you have for your camera including White balance and saturation, sharpness etc....

The difference is that although these "settings" are recorded,. none of them are applied to the RAW file untill YOU process the RAW file with software. (with jpeg the camera apllies these settings as you shoot)

So,. with the RAW utility you use, the image will be displayed with the "as shot" parameters/settings,. but you can adjust them to your liking before the parametera/settings are actually applied and the file is converted to a tiff,. psd, or whatever file you use.

This is one of the bigest advantages of the raw format.


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