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08-10-2012, 10:37 AM   #1
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Shooting RAW

I've been shooting JPEG on my K-5. I'm not a big post processor and I do alot of monochrome conversions, but I know I am not getting the full dynamic range in the rendered image shot in JPEG. The K-5 is such a powerful expressive tool and I'm not getting everything I can out of it creatively. I shoot with optically astounding limited primes, so I know that with more sophisticated processing, even the minimal processing that I prefer, I could, with practice, render images that are closer to the way I see them in my mind's eye.

OK, so I'm weary of shooting raw because I don't use Photoshop or Lightroom (don't know how). Indeed, I've only been using Picasa. I'd like to use the Silkypix IV that came with my K-5...don't know how to use it...yet! Can anyone give me some confidence building advice and wisdom re shooting RAW to help me make the jump would be appreciated!

08-10-2012, 10:41 AM   #2
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Make the investment (time and $$) to learn Lightroom.........you won't be sorry.

If you are serious about photography for the long run, you might as well start learning the state-of-the-art tools.............Photoshop can wait until you max out on the capabilities of LR.

my .02
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08-10-2012, 11:00 AM   #3
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same as GDRoth

i'm using Corel AfterShot Pro. it's the same like lightroom, but a bit cheaper.

if you are looking for freeware, try paint.net or GIMP
08-10-2012, 11:05 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by simple mick Quote
same as GDRoth

i'm using Corel AfterShot Pro. it's the same like lightroom, but a bit cheaper.

if you are looking for freeware, try paint.net or GIMP
I agree with GIMP on something that's free, I used Lightroom and GIMP before Photoshop CS4 and now I am using Photoshop CS6 and I love Noise Ninja.

08-10-2012, 11:14 AM   #5
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Give some thought to your choice before actually jumping in. Once you learn a particular process, it will be more difficult to switch to something else. Case in point, me. I learned my post-process work flow before Lightroom was developed to what it is now. I am so wedded to Camera Raw/PS Elements and FastStone for sorting that I can't break the habits and switch to Lightroom. If I was starting out now, I'd start with LR and Kelby's or Kloskowski's book on learning LR and be perfectly happy. As it is, the software sits on my computer unused and I just keep going back to what I know.

Regardless of what you select, once you get comfortable with it, you will be very happy with how much more you can do with your images using RAW.
08-10-2012, 11:30 AM   #6
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I guess my point was missed.....................if you are going to invest the time to learn something new, why not learn the state-of-the-art? That's Lightroom!

Lightroom costs about $100, maybe less on sale. Why look for freeware, or something someone says "is just like Lightroom"? If you are in this hobby seriously, you are spending some money over the course of a year, so why look for shortcuts?

abmj is correct; don't invest time learning an off-brand..................Lightroom will be around the rest of your life, so get on-board............and no, I'm not associated with Adobe....
08-10-2012, 11:34 AM   #7
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I too hunkered down and learned LR, when I need to do more with the image I open it up in Photoshop straight out of LR, now I cannot imagine me using anything other than LR and Photoshop, I had a cool shot of my family in Universal Studios that I had someone shoot with my K-5 but they weren't paying attention and we ended up with someone else in the shot, my wife told me that it would be a great shot if only that person wasn't in it, luckily we had another shot that was taken within a second or two later without that individual in it but the shot wasn't as good as the one we liked. I opened up both images in Photoshop and after about ten minutes of cutting out certain elements and pasting in as layers I managed to remove the individual in the image and make it look believable, I just clicked "save" when I was finished and it automatically placed itself back into Lightroom. I don't often need to use Photoshop in my workflow but it is there when I need it.
you will meet folks in here that hate doing any PP work, but if I was that way then I would have just gotten me a P&S camera and just did snapshots, I invested in my DSLRs some serious coinage, using RAW and PP in my workflow utilizes the full potential of what these cameras produce, but that is just my opinion.
My wife is still shooting JPEG but that is because she is still learning photography and is not ready to learn PP, however I now have her camera set to RAW+, that way I can intervene and work on some of her keepers and show her just how much more control she can have over her images with the use of PP and RAW by my example.
08-10-2012, 11:42 AM   #8
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Lightroom is quite different from most photoediting programs. It really simplifies a lot of features, and it makes organizing photos a breeze. It also has a lot of available presets (and you can download more) that do monochrome conversions quickly.

For detail recovery in shooting RAW, Lightroom's exposure sliders, shadow compensation and highlight recovery sliders do a very very good job. I generally prefer Lightroom's recovery options over Photoshop (CS4) because it comes out looking a lot more natural. Photoshop will get more detail, however.

08-10-2012, 11:54 AM   #9
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Lots of books and online tutorials for Adobe products. I was (finally) given a book for the current version of Elements I'm using...it helps with some fine points.
08-10-2012, 12:22 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by CMG Quote
OK, so I'm wary of shooting raw because I don't use Photoshop or Lightroom (don't know how).
If you are serious about this either as a hobby or profession you need to use the tools that get the job done. Lightroom combined with an editor (GIMP, Elements or Photoshop) is state of the art. That's where you need to be.

There is nothing wrong with shooting jpeg if you can get the image you want doing that. Lots of pros never shoot RAW. But you have already said you are being limited by jpeg, so you need to go RAW. And that means getting and learning the tools to do so effectively. That will not be easy, I have been using Lightroom daily for over a year and am just starting to think I understand it. I use GIMP as my editor, and can truthfully say I do not understand it half the time but I do get my work done.

Digital photography is tied to post processing and computer software, no way around that if you want to get the best image possible. So either commit to buying and learning the software or be satisfied with what you can do in camera with jpegs.
08-10-2012, 12:49 PM   #11
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Lightroom came with my Leica M9, and I use it to organize and convert from DNG. When I convert the Leica DNG (18MP) files into jpg by LR, they are much improved over the in-camera jpg of the M9. However, the K-5 jpg files are already better than the M9 files, and are larger (even though the K-5 is 16MP to the Leica 18MP). The K-5 seems to have a better built-in jpg converter. I don't see enough difference in the K-5 for me to warrant using RAW on it (for convenience), but I use the Leica in RAW only.
Of course, I use the Leica more for critical work, while the K-5 is more for carry-around, macro, and telephoto.
08-10-2012, 12:56 PM   #12
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Another vote for Lightroom. Lightroom 3 is $99, and it's important to note that Lightroom 4 will not run on Windows XP computers, which was my situation. So for far less than the cost of a new lens, you get an excellent organization and basic touch-up tool.

I did a lot of my editing on GIMP before I bought LR though. I learned a good bit but the workflow was definitely much slower than with LR.
08-10-2012, 01:11 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by CMG Quote
OK, so I'm weary of shooting raw because I don't use Photoshop or Lightroom (don't know how). Indeed, I've only been using Picasa. I'd like to use the Silkypix IV that came with my K-5...don't know how to use it...yet! Can anyone give me some confidence building advice and wisdom re shooting RAW to help me make the jump would be appreciated!
Actually editing RAW is easier then editing JPEG, RAW is much more forgiving because its more flexible, you can turn and stretch it more than JPEG so to say.

The basicis is quite easy.
colour
- white-balance
- saturation

exposure
- Brightness
- contrast
- highlight
- shadows
- white
- black

no idea how to call this
- sharpening
- noise

Those are the basics and i doubt you will find anything from that very daunting right?
That's what you do most of the editing with but there are also more advance options but you don't really need to use them just yet.
Curves is something you might want to learn, that would come in really handy but for the rest just learn by trying.
08-10-2012, 01:18 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by CMG Quote
OK, so I'm weary of shooting raw because I don't use Photoshop or Lightroom (don't know how). Indeed, I've only been using Picasa. I'd like to use the Silkypix IV that came with my K-5...don't know how to use it...yet! Can anyone give me some confidence building advice and wisdom re shooting RAW to help me make the jump would be appreciated!
I use the Pentax DCU4 that came with the camera for raw conversion. If you understand the IQ menus in your camera, you can easily manipulate the files in DCU4, because the menus are very similar, just with more capabilities. I tried all levels of Adobe programs and found them non-intuitive. If you're into heavy processing, the bigger Adobe programs are more powerful, but I didn't get as nice results as DCU4 on basic conversions. I use Picasa on the jpegs for fine tuning and some special effects. I also use it for cropping because the Pentax cropping tool is clumsy.

Here's a set of photos I posted some time ago, showing the results I had with Pentax conversions vs ACR. I know I'm not alone, there are other posters in Pentax Forums and DPR who prefer Silkypix conversions to other softwares:

https://picasaweb.google.com/bonhommed/RawConversions?authkey=Gv1sRgCLqHn5yU5o7scw#
08-10-2012, 05:11 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Anvh Quote
Actually editing RAW is easier then editing JPEG, RAW is much more forgiving because its more flexible, you can turn and stretch it more than JPEG so to say.

The basicis is quite easy.
colour
- white-balance
- saturation

exposure
- Brightness
- contrast
- highlight
- shadows
- white
- black

no idea how to call this
- sharpening
- noise

Those are the basics and i doubt you will find anything from that very daunting right?
That's what you do most of the editing with but there are also more advance options but you don't really need to use them just yet.
Curves is something you might want to learn, that would come in really handy but for the rest just learn by trying.
This all very true. I also worry about overwriting my original jpgs when I use my P&S, so I would have to rename originals. With pef or dng, I don't think you can even accidentally do that, and file handling is simpler.
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