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08-27-2007, 12:44 PM   #1
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Pentax K10D - RAW or jpeg for maximum image quality?

I should receive my Pentax K10D on August 29. I will be using the camera mostly for landscapes and macro. For best image quality, RAW is recommended for the K10D (I have read several reviews stating that jpeg IQ is not that good with this camera).

Opinions appreciated. Also, I will be using CS2 for RAW conversion. Would I be better off with another converter for best IQ?

Thanks!

08-27-2007, 01:51 PM   #2
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What are you doing with the photos?

If you're going to be printing them in 8x11 or smaller, jpg is more than fine.

If you're going to be posting your photos on the net, RAW is what you'll need to appease the pixel peepers.

If you're taking true to life photos and you have a good understanding of how your camera works, jpg is more than fine.

If you're going to be turning the skies blood red over Yosemite, RAW is what you'll need.
08-27-2007, 04:57 PM   #3
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RAW always has more potential than JPG granted the same exposure. I only shoot in RAW because different photos require different adjustments IMO. Being able to easily adjust the WB in post processing alone might have already been worth shooting RAW, but you get so much more than that!

RAW plug-in for CS2 is great. I used it for a while. I will say the RAW plug-in built in CS3 is better though.
08-27-2007, 08:19 PM   #4
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IQ or not, the ability to correct WB and (to some degree) exposure puts RAW way ahead of JPEG.

I never record JPEG any more, 100% RAW for me.

08-27-2007, 09:18 PM   #5
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Camera is irrelevant - shoot RAW

QuoteOriginally posted by rrobinson54 Quote
I should receive my Pentax K10D on August 29. I will be using the camera mostly for landscapes and macro. For best image quality, RAW is recommended for the K10D (I have read several reviews stating that jpeg IQ is not that good with this camera).

Opinions appreciated. Also, I will be using CS2 for RAW conversion. Would I be better off with another converter for best IQ?

Thanks!
You have a choice - take a RAW file and use a RAW converter to refine the output, or allow the camera to apply its own processing and end up with a compromise. This is true whether you shoot with a K10D or a 1DS mk3.

Once you have a JPEG file, the camera has already set the whitebalance, tone curve, sharpness etc. Not only have you lost much of the potential dynamic range of the output, but if you then apply further editing on top of this you are very likely to make the artifacts already added look even worse, and being an 8bit file, you are quite likely to get colour banding with more aggressive changes to contrast and colour.

JPEG is fine for sports shooters filling up their cards with rapid fire shots and posting them to the newpapers from their laptops, but if you are shooting landscapes and macros there is no advantage. It is no harder to edit a RAW file than a JPEG, but the editing in a RAW file is non-destructive and you have far greater scope for altering white-balance, contrast and colour.
08-27-2007, 10:03 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by rrobinson54 Quote
I should receive my Pentax K10D on August 29. I will be using the camera mostly for landscapes and macro. For best image quality, RAW is recommended for the K10D (I have read several reviews stating that jpeg IQ is not that good with this camera).
Remember, you're shooting raw whether you like it or not. Raw data is simply the record of what the sensor "sees". So the real question is, do you want to keep what the sensor saw, or are you willing to let the camera throw a very large amount of that data away (irretrievably, I might add) when it converts the file to jpeg for you? That's really all there is to this whole raw vs jpeg question.

Letting the camera throw away a lot of that data for you is not necessarily a stupid thing to do. Why not? Because jpeg files are much smaller, and smaller files means you can get a lot more shots on your storage card; it also means you can store a lot more photos on your hard drive before you have to buy another drive or start archiving things to DVDs and such. I might add that the in-camera conversion to jpeg is generally surprisingly good. If it weren't so darned good in most cameras, well, then the raw vs jpeg issue would have died a quiet death a long time ago.

Jpeg has another advantage, although this one, I think, is either trivial or at least it matters to relatively few people. The raw data is converted to jpeg in the camera's "ram" which is very fast. And because the jpeg is smaller, it takes much less time to write it to the disk; and because of that, the buffer is cleared more quickly and so, when you let the camera do the raw-to-jpeg conversion for you, you can get keep shooting in continuous mode longer. For somebody that's an advantage.

Anyway, the main thing jpeg has going for it is its smaller size. So if the money you save on storage is more important to you than keeping the original data recorded by the camera's sensor, then stick with jpeg. For many users, this is a perfectly reasonable compromise.

But that's about it for jpeg's advantages. Just a year ago, when raw was still a bit of a novelty, there was some truth to the notion that raw files were hard to deal with. That's no longer the case. There is NO DIFFERENCE at all in the way that I handle jpeg files and raw files after they leave the camera. No difference at all.

Well, no difference except for the fact that there's a LOT more I can do with a raw file. Not surprising, because I have a lot more data to work with.


QuoteQuote:
Opinions appreciated. Also, I will be using CS2 for RAW conversion. Would I be better off with another converter for best IQ?
Here again, the issue has changed in the last year or so. You're no longer looking for a raw "converter." Just about anything you get can convert your raw files to jpegs. What you're looking for is a raw workflow program -- a program that allows you to view your raw image files, tag them, edit them (non destructively of course), keep them organized, perhaps even to print them -- and when you're ready, to export them to jpeg if that's what you need. There are now LOTS of good raw workflow programs available, including Lightroom, Aperture, Capture One, Bibble Pro, Silkypix, and another half dozen or more that I'm forgetting.

If you've got CS2 and it works for you, stick with it. I am personally very fond of Adobe Lightroom, but I'm not an evangelist for it.

Will
08-28-2007, 02:57 AM   #7
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raw......................
08-28-2007, 05:58 AM   #8
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I shot RAW for the first time today ... mainly due to the fact it was my Brother-in-Law's graduation from the Police Academy ... it was a middle of the day ... no shade ... very bright/warm for Winter I might add.

I just wanted to make sure I had more flexibility is adjusting the shots later on ... as i know I was going to get awful shadow casting across images.

I have found with fiddling around with Post Processing ... I can do much more with RAW ... and I can salvage a lot of photos that I would not have been able to with JPG.

If the lighting is nicer I use JPG as I get more on the card ... but today ... I used RAW ... now I need to find time to sit in front of the computer and PP all my images from the day.

08-28-2007, 10:40 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mechan1k Quote
I shot RAW for the first time today ... mainly due to the fact it was my Brother-in-Law's graduation from the Police Academy ... it was a middle of the day ... no shade ... very bright/warm for Winter I might add.

I just wanted to make sure I had more flexibility is adjusting the shots later on ... as i know I was going to get awful shadow casting across images.

I have found with fiddling around with Post Processing ... I can do much more with RAW ... and I can salvage a lot of photos that I would not have been able to with JPG.

If the lighting is nicer I use JPG as I get more on the card ... but today ... I used RAW ... now I need to find time to sit in front of the computer and PP all my images from the day.
Once you get used to it, and get a good work flow going. The time invested to image improvement ratio is minimal.

I actually shoot everything in RAW no matter what, but have a Auto JPG action in my Photoshop for the shots that I don't plan on doing PP to. I select those, apply my auto settings, let the computer do the rest while I'm off doing other things. I have a few of these actions, one for portraiture, one for still life, one for full auto.
08-28-2007, 11:24 AM   #10
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Shoot RAW, if for no other reason it's you that has creative control over the way the image is processed. Not your K10D (which does a very good job by the way). I just like having that added control over my final image. When I have an idea of what I'm going to do with an image I know RAW editing is my express ticket there.

The reviews you read about the jpeg results out of camera are a bit misleading in my opinion, you can tweak the jpeg processing settings in your camera menu and get the over-processed over-saturated plasticky Canon/Nikon look very easily if you really want to. I personally just turn up the sharpening setting a little bit when I'm shooting a jpeg.

As far as RAW editing programs go, I've used Photoshop CS2's ACR plugin with good results. The new CS3 version is better simply because of a few added features like the ability to add a fill flash effect and increase the blacks to give the photograph some of it's depth back after adding the fill flash. Those updates would be hard for me to live without now that I've used them. However; I also have Lightroom and it's RAW editor is essentially identical to CS3's (it just has a different user interface). Buying Lightroom would be a better move simply because it is an excellent organization tool as well, that and it costs $299 vs at least $600 for Photoshop CS3 or $999 for Photoshop CS3 extended.

I got them all for free though

SLC
08-28-2007, 12:31 PM   #11
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Raw

I have el cheapo Photoshop Elements 5.0 (which utilizes ACR 4.1!) and I just love my RAW conversions. Takes a little more time and hard drive space than JPEG, but well worth it in my mind.

Ted
08-28-2007, 01:07 PM   #12
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i shoot mostly RAW and process with Lightroom 1.1. JPEG is fine for casual shooting - things I don't plan on printing to photographic paper. RAW is much more forgiving, and I never have to check the WB settings - just leave it on AWB!
08-28-2007, 04:47 PM   #13
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Well, I build my own computers and set them up so I can do stuff. I mean I have a computer to do stuff with it, whether that be games, music or whatever. I've been waiting forever it seems for digital photography to come within my reach. In the film days I was never satisfied because I never felt I had control. I couldn't take all the pictures I wanted because I couldn't afford to get them printed and the ones I did get printed, except for slides, I didn't have any control on HOW they were printed. What a day when I discovered early this year what Pentax was up to. Finally a digital dslr camera came along at a time when I could afford it. So now I had the puter system and the camera. Why in the world, after waiting all this time, and spending all this money, would I not shoot raw when I finally have the control?
08-29-2007, 12:59 AM   #14
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Digital imaging is about information - RAW provides the maximum information from the camera. Since you do not modify the RAW file during PP, you can create multiple images from the same "negative".

Each PP'ed image can be of varying quality - depending on the criteria the artist has selected. My way of dealing with this addiction of ours - is shoot RAW. Get the most information to work with you can.

PDL

Last edited by PDL; 08-29-2007 at 12:59 AM. Reason: sentence said ?
08-29-2007, 02:09 AM   #15
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I like Silkypix as a raw converter this is the Engine that pentax uses in photoLab but it has a way better interface. I find it has very natural look auto setting and also it has a very good lens correction section

Last edited by Spot Focus; 08-29-2007 at 02:24 AM.
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