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Raw shooter tries JPEG with D-Range
Lens: K-5 
Posted By: newmikey, 09-17-2012, 05:39 AM

We had our bi-annual walk with the OES (Old English Sheepdogs) club. The animals look like great, big exploded balls of hair on four legs. Ever since docking of tails became illegal in most countries in Europe, we can at least distinguish between the front and rear of our dogs They are wonderful, smart, nosy, cuddly and highly irritating all at the same time - you go left, they want right etc.

I have been (and still am) a conviced raw shooter for as far back as I care to remember, even having used firmware hacks to make my little Casio produce raws some 9 years ago. These dogs present an issue though, especially in certain types of weather like in bright sunlight. Their coats are typically white from the shoulders forward with the rest of the body being various shades of grey from a very light silvery grey right up to a dark almost brownish grey. Pups are white and pure black.

Metering on these walks can be a pain in the neck because you're constantly varying exposure corrections to second-guess the lightmeter and obviously you get it wrong sometimes. Days like this, partly cloudy with quite a bit of direct sunlight combined with deep, dark shadows at almost midday....yukkkk. Whatever the outcome, you end up working and correcting the raw files one by one and getting a lot of rejects where all color channels are so badly burned-out that no amount of reconstructing will get some detail back in the dogs' front half or no amount of noise reduction will reveal the detail on the dark hindparts ending up a mottled ugly kind of streaky grey instead.

It's either that or constantly underexposing and getting lots of shadow noise when you don't really want it. As I sometimes literally shoot a few hundred shots on a day like that, this is laborious and irritating/disappointing.

Yesterday I chose to just experiment with a)shooting JPEG and b)using D-Range both on shadows and highlights to see if my K-5 would figure it out with a bit less work from my side. I'm pretty chuffed by the results actually. Are they as detailed, sharp and delicately colored as I am used to seeing from raws? No, not really. Did I get more keepers? Yes, definitely! Will I venture into JPEG shooting a bit more after this? Most probably! What do you think?




















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09-17-2012, 05:53 AM   #2
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Nice shots! Yes, the jpeg in-camera processing isn't as bad as some people think. You just lose a bit of control over it, but if it works out - no problem
Just one thing.. at the end of the event, how do you know the dog you are leaving with is the same as the one you came with?
09-17-2012, 06:00 AM   #3
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I think these shots are very striking, and you have made the most of the rather dull lighting. I use the k7, but
09-17-2012, 06:06 AM   #4
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Oops, not a good start - what did I click there??? Sorry, I use the K7 so I guess the in camera settings are similar. You have two main areas to control - firstly on the control panel with the highlight correction and shadow corrections options, and secondly the custom image options (landscape, vibrant etc, and further fine tuning with these).

Theres no doubt the shadow adjustment has worked well for you - did you have highlight correction applied also? This can be controlled very finely in the Pentax Digital Utility software, but its obviously woked ok on these JPEGs.

I think this approach works well of the lighting remains fairly constant - if you're shooting in changable conditions then I think RAW would be better, or else you have to keep changing the settings on the camera, which would be fiddly when trying to catch the action.

09-17-2012, 06:20 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
I think this approach works well of the lighting remains fairly constant - if you're shooting in changable conditions then I think RAW would be better, or else you have to keep changing the settings on the camera, which would be fiddly when trying to catch the action.
I'd say it was actually the constantly changing conditions were what prompted me to do JPEG for once, actually. I'd have though exactly like you and I did until now but these shots seem to prove me wrong! I actually didn't change the settings on the camera, except for flipping to a higher ISO setting when things were getting active in order to keep my shutterspeeds up. These guys and gals can seem pretty lethargic at times, only to suddenly explode into action - running and jumping each other and simply bowling over anybody who stands in the wrong place. Most of this was ISO400 except the running bits where I switched to ISO800 or beyond. NeatImage took care of the little bit of noise that remained.
09-17-2012, 06:37 AM   #6
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Beautiful set of shots! Looks like a great time was had by all - seeing the groups of sheepdogs is quite a treat.

While I shoot raw, I've also had situations where I wanted jpeg output from the camera. There are so many fine adjustments you can make to most of the parameters. I've tried to tweak the jpeg settings on my K-5 to get as close as I can to what I see after my regular raw precessing with some very good results.

But.....I get a bit apprehensive if shotting jpeg only as I am so afraid I might get that shot of a lifetime that needs some correction that only a raw file can give. So, the easy way out for me is to just shoot raw+ then I get the best of both worlds. I especially do raw+ if I know I am going to be taking a lot of shots (100+) in varied light conditions as you had and don't want to worry about processing each image individually. This has worked out well in the past where most of my jpegs were very usable. Then I still have the raw files if there are a couple images I feel can be helped by some more processing.
09-17-2012, 07:04 AM   #7
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Nice results indeed.

Which level of shadow protection did you use?


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09-17-2012, 07:08 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by asp1880 Quote
Nice results indeed.

Which level of shadow protection did you use?


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The first (lowest) one. I'd seen some results from the 2 stronger versions that I didn't like in the past.

09-17-2012, 07:14 AM   #9
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What would be great to see from Pentax / Silkypix, would be some form of batch processing functionality. I continue to use RAW only, and recently have started to use the Pentax / Silkypix software, as I find the quality of the output very high. But then again I don't tend to edit a whole lot of photos from one shoot all together.

If this was available for you it would be easier to have the best of both worlds - you could shoot RAW, not worrying about setting up the camera beforehand, then open all the shots in the software and make the settings, applying them to all automatically.
09-17-2012, 07:19 AM   #10
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And lets not forget, the software allows you to output to 16bit TIFF as well - significant for high quality printing I'd have thought - you can't output TIFFs directly from the camera (although there might be a conversion option in-camera if you've shot RAW, but I think this is fiddlly to use in the field?)
09-17-2012, 07:21 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
What would be great to see from Pentax / Silkypix, would be some form of batch processing functionality. I continue to use RAW only, and recently have started to use the Pentax / Silkypix software, as I find the quality of the output very high. But then again I don't tend to edit a whole lot of photos from one shoot all together.

If this was available for you it would be easier to have the best of both worlds - you could shoot RAW, not worrying about setting up the camera beforehand, then open all the shots in the software and make the settings, applying them to all automatically.
I always shoot RAW, sometimes RAW+ but this time decided to use JPEG only. No need to convince me of the benefits of RAW I do not use or need Pentax / Silkypix software and have my own RAW workflow which includes the option to use a profiled batch process if so required. The whole point of this post was that there are circumstances where "applying them to all automatically" simply does not work and shooting JPEG actually is a viable option.
09-17-2012, 07:48 AM   #12
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Having always shot jpeg, and modified settings as I would have selected film in the past, to me the shadow and highlit correction are great.. I use it on both the K5 and K7. Works very well not just on dark / light subjects as you demonstrated but also on high contrast days
09-17-2012, 09:48 AM   #13
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I love your dogs, ...and the photos are very nice too!!
09-17-2012, 12:39 PM   #14
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Sorry, didn't mean to take your thread on a tangent. I was thinking that in fact as your photos so ably demonstrate, these camera settings are very effective, no levels or curves anywhere to be seen! But if we want the versatility of using these settings in RAW as well, then AFAIK the only software to directly apply them is the Pentax Utility. this offers extra fine control (eg the highlight corrections beyond what can be applied in-camera, but no batch processing for the same settings on multiple shots. this I find limiting.

In RAW these settings are saved as metadata, but I'm not aware that other converter programs (Lightroom etc) can actually read this Pentax specific metadata??
09-17-2012, 01:04 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
What would be great to see from Pentax / Silkypix, would be some form of batch processing functionality.
Pentax software does allow batch processing. Make the change(s) you want on one file, right click on the file, select Copy Parameters. Highlight all the files you want to apply the changes to, right click and select Paste Parameters.
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