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03-07-2014, 09:57 AM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by jimr-pdx Quote
If changes to the original shot are minimal, i find 4star jpegs to be quite excellent. They are dependent on the custom image though, so e.g. to go from Bright look to Muted would be simpler starting from raw as i see it. The jpeg in Pentax-land is very good.

---------- Post added 03-07-14 at 08:34 ----------



Wish i had eaten breakfast before reading this it will stick going down now!
I must admit Olympus is the king of JPEG processing. It's much harder to set up your in-camera JPEG processing on Pentax to achieve really good Caucasian skin tones.

03-07-2014, 10:20 AM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by Steve.Ledger Quote
Bert, if you bought some flour, eggs, butter and sugar then stuffed it all in your mouth would it be the same experience as eating a pre baked sponge cake?
No.
RAW means you are the cook.
OMFG, that is the best explanation I have heard about why unprocessed RAW look worse than JPG.

My RAW pics look darker, grainy (higher ISO) and blah on color.

I can only agree 100% on RAW being "uncooked." I shot in RAW+ a lot to show some of the pics on my Ipad right way. When I process the RAW, and compare them to their jpg counterparts the camera processed, it's totally obvious the advantage to shooting in RAW or RAW+
03-07-2014, 10:35 AM   #18
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To summarize the above and maybe add a bit of my own:
  • The default JPEG settings for your camera add significant bumps to contrast and saturation as well as quite a bit of noise reduction. This is pretty common for in-camera JPEGs, particularly with Canon cameras.
  • Your camera's RAW output is not an image format per se. Rather, it is the capture data as it comes from the camera's image processor packaged with information about the photo along with a thumbnail JPEG.
  • RAW output was missing from the first few generations of digital cameras and was initially offered only on high-end and enthusiast models
  • All RAW output requires processing using RAW converter software* before it can be displayed on your monitor or saved to a standard image format (JPEG, TIFF, PNG, etc.)
  • The format for RAW output is specific by camera maker and maybe even model
  • Initial processing of RAW output is usually the software's "best guess" at a neutral rendering and is usually pretty bland when compared to an in-camera JPEG of the same shot. It is up to the user to apply appropriate changes to brightness, contrast, noise reduction, sharpening, and color to create a final image that matches the original intent for the capture.
So, why bother?
As noted above, your camera's JPEG output usually results in a fairly pleasing image. Why go through the hassle of shooting RAW?
  • RAW output has the full capture data
  • JPEG images contain a processed sampling of the original capture data (a little more than half)
  • JPEG images are inherently more troublesome to work with in post-processing (PP) than the RAW output. There are numerous reasons, but the simplest way to look at it is that the JPEG output simply provides less data to work with (see point above).
  • JPEG is inherently 8-bits per color channel. This works great for display, but higher bit-depth provides for better latitude while editing.
  • RAW allows output to 16-bit TIFF. TIFF, while useless for the Web (not supported by browsers), is preferred for high quality prints and publishing.
Summary:
  • If you are happy with the camera's JPEG output and generally do minimal PP, shoot JPEG
  • If you want the most available data from the original capture available in PP, shoot RAW.

Steve

(...often shoots JPEG for snapshots and family gatherings...never uses JPEG for serious work...never...)

* RAW converter software is usually included with the camera and is an included feature of most photo editing software.

Last edited by stevebrot; 03-07-2014 at 11:10 AM.
03-07-2014, 10:58 AM   #19
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It's worth pointing out that jpg's can benefit from post processing too - for me taking pics with vintage lenses contrast is the most common adjustment, also sharpening. Compare this off the card 100% * crop of a jpg taken with my takumar 200mm with this .

*actually slightly resized to 800px - about 10%

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03-07-2014, 11:08 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by marcusBMG Quote
It's worth pointing out that jpg's can benefit from post processing too
They can benefit, but they are not as easy to work without creating artifact. The word that comes to my mind is "brittle".

BTW..that is one creepy looking bird.


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03-07-2014, 11:11 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by marcusBMG Quote
It's worth pointing out that jpg's can benefit from post processing too
They can, raw just gives you more headroom to work in than the 8 bits jpeg leaves you with.

I recently tried to quickly described this to my jpeg-only neighbor like: With raw, you can push the sliders farther in either direction before the image looks like crap

from raw, original, then with some PP


I think it's a good idea when you're starting out to shoot raw + jpeg, and then if you like the jpeg learn what things to do in PP to get that look. While you're in the process of doing that, you'll start to find you can really take advantage of all the DR and sharpness when you shoot raw, and things like Noise Reduction really work better on raw files.

Some cameras do have very good jpeg engines these days, but raw is by far the way to go.

.

Last edited by jsherman999; 03-07-2014 at 11:37 AM.
03-07-2014, 11:12 AM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by jsherman999 Quote
With raw, you can push the sliders farther in either direction before the image looks like crap
I could not have said it better.


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03-07-2014, 11:23 AM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
BTW..that is one creepy looking bird.
The bird blinked.

I have recently acquired lightroom with the intent of learning the RAW ropes so to speak but its a substantial learning curve. I entirely take on board your well informed remarks on working with RAW vs JPG. For me I eased in to the development of my images by doing simple things like contrast and sharpening in simple programs like irfanview. The pics benefit nuff said.

03-07-2014, 11:36 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by marcusBMG Quote

.. For me I eased in to the development of my images by doing simple things like contrast and sharpening in simple programs like irfanview. The pics benefit nuff said.
I did too, nothing wrong with that. Sometimes people can go too far and imply jpegs are baked in stone and can never be altered by PP, but slight contrast changes and sharpening can really enhance jpegs at times.

Last edited by jsherman999; 03-07-2014 at 12:21 PM.
03-07-2014, 11:36 AM   #25
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I would point out that the Pentax .PEF file (raw) can not be over-written accidentally, which is handy. With my jpg-only P&S I'd always have to first make a back-up copy with an X or something in the name, then after I was through renaming certain ones, I'd have to go back an rename the originals, etc. Actually a bit of a hassle. (And I noticed the Canon software will overwrite the .CR2 raw file).

Raw software normally has more options than the 5-feature/5-strength options in the camera.

I would not use card-space shooting raw+jpg as nearly any processor can do them all in a batch. (And the Pentax software can "extract" the embedded jpg very quickly (a minute or so for a whole card).

Finally, it is not more difficult or time-consuming to process raw as jpgs. Most of my time is in file-handling (chimping, renaming, moving, backing up), not processing.
03-07-2014, 12:01 PM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by marcusBMG Quote
for me taking pics with vintage lenses contrast is the most common adjustment, also sharpening.
That brings up an excellent point. Often lack of mid tone contrast is mistaken for a need for sharpening, resulting in over sharpened images. Sharpening should always be the last operation, but even if you don't make it the last, do it after you get the curves adjustment right.
03-07-2014, 12:12 PM   #27
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Alternately, you could change the jpg settings on your camera so they matched the raw output as closely as possible. Then you know what you're getting when you take the photo. Turning off some of the dynamic range stuff made a big difference on my nikon, but less so on my pentax. Setting the color scheme to the most neutral option (I think it's called "natural"? camera isn't in front of me to check) makes the preview on the phone match the raw output a good bit closer (and switching the color profile in lightroom to "embedded" helps, too).
03-07-2014, 12:54 PM   #28
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If you decide to pursue RAW, you might want to have a look at this book:
Real World Camera Raw
http://www.amazon.ca/Real-World-Camera-Adobe-Photoshop/dp/0321713095
You many be able to find in in your local Public Library.
03-07-2014, 01:01 PM   #29
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The big benefit I have found with RAW shooting is that I can extract details from shadows and lower seemingly blown highlights better than I could ever do in JPG. RAW captures the image with 12 or 14 bit color depth whereas JPG is downsampled to 8 bits per color channel. That's pretty significant to me. The JPG feels more locked-in to me.

I have come to realize that there are many, many similarities between RAW processing and B&W film processing. The big difference to me (and the initial shock) was learning how to do the same things but with a mouse and slider bar vs. something mechanical and tactile.

JPGs to me are sort of like instant Polaroids. They works great for some things, especially on my phone when I'm too lazy to write something down and I photograph it instead. eBay auctions are another JPG format for me.

RAW is truly a digital negative. The data represents what the image sensor sees. It's up to me to develop that data into the image I want, within the bounds of digital limits. Processing my own images makes me a lot more aware of the nuts and bolts of photography in terms of color, structure, and composition. I feel like I have to work "harder" at my images but it also makes me a lot more aware. Fixing things in post processing can be harder than getting it right before I press the shutter button.
03-07-2014, 01:21 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
There is really no particular reason to shoot RAW if you are satisfied with jpegs. There are certain places where shooting RAW will help, if you are good at post processing. The biggest place where I find this to be the case is in landscape photos that have wide dynamic range. The jpegs just don't have as much leeway with regard to bringing up shadows after the fact. The other thing is I think noise reduction outside of the camera can be better than in camera.
Another case I find RAW invaluable is indoor available-light shooting, where if you meter to the highlights, then your subject is completely dark.
A camera with wide DR can salvage that if RAW was used.
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