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04-18-2014, 07:45 AM   #1
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New User- Jpeg Settings

I have a new K3 on order. I am new to the Pentax forum and new to using Pentax cameras. In the past I have used Canon's, Sony's and Fuji cameras. I was reading in some reviews that the out of camera Jpegs are not preferred by some reviewers/users. Is this a generally accepted viewpoint by Pentaxians? More importantly, can someone or has someone found some settings that have worked to get acceptable out of camera jpeg images. Moreover, are there some of you who prefer or like the out of camera jpegs?

Disclaimer: I just want to iterate that I am not a pro and simply find the hobby of taking pictures very enjoyable. I don't have any experience with using software outside of organizing my photos in IPhoto. I know I may get grilled for purchasing a pro level camera and wanting only to use Jpegs but I like keeping things simple. My main reason for switching to Pentax has to to with ergonomics (love the feel of the camera - can't get used to small size of mirror less cameras), and ruggedness of camera since I am an avid outdoors person and subject my cameras to much abuse.

Glad to be a new member and look forward to your replies.

04-18-2014, 08:05 AM   #2
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My first curiosity was why you bought Pentax but then you explained it very well. I'm glad to be the first responder here :-P because you are sure to hear from some who will tell you you must shoot RAW to get the most out of your camera... but never mind them. Since you enjoy taking the pics mostly, there's no reason to get caught up in details like photo editing. I've found that the JPEG settings are generally excellent. And you can modify them easily if you want to. Also, if you shoot JPEG, its a little more like using film since the intent is that you do not edit them in post processing. You set your aperture/speed to get the desired DOF and motion effect (or use a preset), compose, focus and shoot. The result is fixed at the press of the button, something of a purist way of doing things, I think. Enjoy your new camera!
04-18-2014, 08:11 AM   #3
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You can always shoot jpegs in camera and typically be quite happy with them. To get good results with jpegs, shoot the highest resolution you can and do your best to control the exposure/white balance with each scene. The reason that many of us tend to prefer RAW files (and this is not a brand specific issue) is that RAW files give you full control of the image both in camera and in post processing with what ever tool you use. RAW files are essentially digital negatives that can be used to creatively extract different versions of the image captured in post processing by the camera or adjusted in post to correct exposure flaws. When you shoot jpegs in camera, most of the exposure adjustments are baked into the image and you have to live with it. That's the basics of the issue here.

Here is a good summary of this issue. Full disclosure - I shot jpeg for the first year (2008) with my first DSLR, since then, 98% of my images are RAW.

RAW vs JPEG: An End to the War | Enticing the Light
04-18-2014, 08:15 AM   #4
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I can't really shoot RAW most of the time as I'm event shooting dance routines - the burst modes / buffers and SD cards can't keep up with the pace I need to write the photos at. Not to mention the size of the output (3500+ photos X RAW = need more HDDs!!)

I'm not 100% happy with the out of camera JPEGs from my latest event, so I'm going to try fiddling with them soon. The difficulty being I can't do this on the fly (the routines only last three minutes) so it will be a bit of guesswork at first. I'm planning to use the recent review information from DPReview as a start for the right settings to alter, and go from there.

That having been said, I'm not displeased with the OOC JPGs per sae, I just think they could be better.

04-18-2014, 08:27 AM   #5
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Thanks for the input. Blackcloudbrew, I read the article and it presented a fair assessment of the issue. Pheo, let me know if you find settings that work for you. I too will use the DPreview settings as a starting point. gbeaton, thanks for the encouragement.
04-18-2014, 09:28 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Oddity Quote
Thanks for the input. Blackcloudbrew, I read the article and it presented a fair assessment of the issue.
Glad that helped. It really laid it all out for me as well.
04-18-2014, 09:38 AM   #7
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I am quite fond of the Reversal Film mode. You just have to make sure you have correct white balance first.
04-18-2014, 10:04 AM   #8
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One of the nice features of the K3 is the dual SD card slots. You can set these up to record JPEG on one card and RAW on the other, which seems a popular setup. I use it that way and use the jpegs for downloading to my iPad and then download the RAW files to my desktop later - that way I don't fill up my iPad and still get a better view of the photos than on the K3's LCD. You can also review the two files to see the difference between them.

04-18-2014, 10:19 AM   #9
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If you're shooting JPG, make sure to get a good lens. I could probably shoot JPG most of the time, at least in good light, with my DA* 50-135 or DA* 60-250 -- I'm very happy with the straight-out-of-the-camera picture on those and much of the time the only corrections I apply are for lens distortions, which are quite minor, and color profile if I'm shooting in mixed light or indoors and bothered to snap photos of my XRite Color Passport.

A big part of the reason I switched from Nikon is how much better I like Pentax's default color rendering.
04-18-2014, 10:22 AM   #10
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I am also a jpeg only photographer. I just want better than average snapshots of my family, which I can get easily with my k-01. Plus I don't have the time or the desire to edit. As for jpeg settings, I have found that the best settings for my camera are lens specific. My fa 43 is usually on vibrant contrast +1, sharpness +2. But I also like it on portrait no dial ins. My DA 35 2.4 is usually on natural, hue + all the way, h\l key + all the way, contrast +1, sharpness +1. I just got the sigma 70-300 apo and am still learning how it performs. But portrait with saturation -1, h\l -2, sharpness +2 is the best setting so far. Reversal film is a very popular jpeg setting. And settings can be season specific too. Natural is great in the spring for example. Good luck!
04-18-2014, 10:33 AM   #11
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Its encouraging to see that there are other jpeg only shooters out there. I like the idea John4287 of using the two card slots for jpeg and raw. Worth a look, even if I simply want to tinker with a few images. kharry2012, it makes sense what u say about the lenses being a factor on how you might adjust settings. I have a Sigma 17-70 on order, so id be interested to see if others have found good settings for that lens. I was contemplating the 50 1.8 but man I don't know if i can tolerate the noise of that lens. I never knew, before seeing some Pentax lenses, that lenses even made such a racket!!
04-18-2014, 10:59 AM   #12
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Hi Oddity,

I shoot jpegs for the great majority of what I shoot. I've been shooting digital for about 15 years, and Pentax DSLRs for about 9 years. I disagree with the implication that those shooting jpegs do so because either they don't like doing PP, or don't have the tools or skill. I set up my cameras to give me images that I can work with in PP, then process the best images with my computer for final output. I probably spend more time doing PP on individual files than the great majority of RAW shooters. Jpegs, reasonably exposed, can be very effectively enhanced with quite a bit of range in PP, and I can still utilize the maximum performance of my cameras while shooting if I want or need it.

I set the camera to shoot at max resolution, at one of the highest quality (lowest compression) settings. With the K-5 series bodies, i found that the lowest compression (****) wasn't worth the larger file sizes so I shoot (***), which to my eyes, give essentially the same IQ, while with the K-3, the design engineers apparently felt the same, so the highest quality is (***). I shoot in "Natural" mode and have found that with this setting, colors are rarely blown, and tweak the colors/hue so they match what I see. I leave all of the image properties settings at "0" except for Sharpness, which I set to "-4" so in-camera sharpening is kept to a minimum, and I set Contrast to a negative setting to gain a little in Dynamic Range. With these settings, my cameras give me images that show considerably less noise at higher ISO. I set in-camera high ISO NR to "off" at all ISO. The contrast, saturation and brightness are very easy and quick to adjust in PP, and I can use Deconvolution Sharpening and add Micro Contrast (using Topaz InFocus, which is pretty slow) to actually sharpen an image instead of using high pass or Unsharp Mask, which really only give the appearance of a sharper image by boosting edge contrast locally. I also use Topaz DeNoise, which I feel is the most effective Noise Reduction program as it effectively reduces noise as well as it can fix some edges which have been damaged by noise at higher ISO. It also retains details better than the other programs I've tried, but there will always be newer versions of programs that will probably push the bar higher. I no longer shop other programs for these functions because these do everything that I need. Maybe in another couple of years, i'll try some others again. . .The bottom line is that in-camera image properties can be very effectively controlled with the exception of noise reduction and sharpening where the camera's processing power can't even approach a computer's power with effective programs for these functions.

There certainly is a place for RAW, but for what I shoot, it's a relatively small percentage of shots (much less than 10% in my experience), and Pentax has given us the RAW button and the ability to save the last shot in RAW if we want, so I only save a RAW when it's really appropriate. I can't think of a better way to learn when RAW is really needed than to shoot jpegs and see when the greater DR or a wider range of adjustment would have been worth capturing. I'm not adverse to blowing some shots. Of course it's unfortunate if one of these could have been a great capture, but I learn from my mistakes, and with highlight and shadow correction available, along with Ev compensation, a lot of exposure mistakes can be minimized, so blown shots that are totally useless are relatively few and far between.

I'm sure others will disagree, and that's fine, but it won't change the way i like to shoot. . .

Scott

Last edited by snostorm; 04-18-2014 at 11:15 AM.
04-18-2014, 11:01 AM   #13
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The biggest issue I see with the K-3 and jpegs is noise reduction by default is set too aggressively. I turned it off for everything up to 12,800, and then picked the lowest select from there up. I shoot RAW+ to record both .pef and .jpg files, so if I don't like the jpeg, I can work with the raw file.
04-18-2014, 11:20 AM   #14
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Good point with the 2 slots. One benefit of shooting with raw is that as raw processing software improves, you can continue to improve the image. You don't want to do it, now, but if you shoot in raw+jpg, and once you've selected your keeper images from the JPGs, save the corresponding raw files, you'll have them available down the line if you ever change your mind, or want to pass them to someone who likes to do post-processing, and it still won't take up an excessive amount of space (unless you have loads of keepers, of course )
If you only keep the JPG versions, they can of course still be edited, but what can be done with them is much more limited and much more likely to reduce the quality of the final image.
04-18-2014, 11:42 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by snostorm Quote
Hi Oddity,

I shoot jpegs for the great majority of what I shoot. I've been shooting digital for about 15 years, and Pentax DSLRs for about 9 years. I disagree with the implication that those shooting jpegs do so because either they don't like doing PP, or don't have the tools or skill. I set up my cameras to give me images that I can work with in PP, then process the best images with my computer for final output. I probably spend more time doing PP on individual files than the great majority of RAW shooters. Jpegs, reasonably exposed, can be very effectively enhanced with quite a bit of range in PP, and I can still utilize the maximum performance of my cameras while shooting if I want or need it.
...

I'm sure others will disagree, and that's fine, but it won't change the way i like to shoot. . .

Scott
I'm with Scott as well, I pretty much shoot JPEG with my K-3 as well, and have similar settings to give me a good starting point for post process.
(He has some suggestions listed I am going to try myself.)

I try to be careful during shooting to keep exposures correct and not blow highlights, use built the in WB functions etc to try to get as close to reality out of the camera.

I use Lightroom for my post work, because I also use it as a cataloging tool.

I'd rather be out shooting, post work is not my favorite activity.

Most of the stuff I shoot I prefer to look natural (birds) or I convert to B/W using some saved presets (street.)

Use a good lens, make sure shots are in focus and properly exposed - this will give good results in JPEG.
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