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01-07-2013, 07:34 AM   #47
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QuoteOriginally posted by JinDesu Quote
I have to check, but I remember trying to correct a jpeg that was shot in tungsten back to daylight settings, and it was damn near impossible. RAW I have no issues randomly changing white balance to suit me.
If you use Photoshop [Elements], I've found the easiest way to white balance a jpeg is to go to Enhance/Adjust Lighting/Levels.

Find a pure white somewhere in your photo* and use the White Level Tool. The Black Level Tool works too, but isn't quite as sucessful. And unless you have a gray card in your scene, the Gray Level Tool is the least sucessful.

*I've gone to pixel peep magnification to make a pure white patch big enough to click on - it works most of the time.

But otherwise, agreed. Modifying white balance is almost always easier from RAW.
01-07-2013, 07:36 AM   #48
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QuoteOriginally posted by JimJohnson Quote
If you use Photoshop [Elements], I've found the easiest way to white balance a jpeg is to go to Enhance/Adjust Lighting/Levels.

Find a pure white somewhere in your photo* and use the White Level Tool. The Black Level Tool works too, but isn't quite as sucessful. And unless you have a gray card in your scene, the Gray Level Tool is the least sucessful.

*I've gone to pixel peep magnification to make a pure white patch big enough to click on - it works most of the time.

But otherwise, agreed. Modifying white balance is almost always easier from RAW.
I've used Lightroom and Photoshop CS4. I'll try when I get home from work later - I pretty much use RAW because I do a ton of tweaking.
01-07-2013, 07:52 AM - 1 Like   #49
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QuoteQuote:
Shooting raw, in my experience and opinion, is a lot of hooey. JPG losses are exaggerated to the point of myth if you use max quality in camera and editing software. The idea that you will need to use the "greater bit depth" to somehow magically make a bad exposure good (which implies, of course, that you are incapable of making a good exposure) is one that wastes the time of photographers worldwide.
I assume making such a statement would mean you're about to post a couple images to back this up.

QuoteQuote:
Do not take anyone's word for this, mine included. I spent HOURS comparing the "losses" in JPG files to raw and TIFF, making 500 edit/save cycles, pixel-peeping all the while. The difference? Nothing.
Yet not one image posted.

QuoteQuote:
Exposure compensation? Assuming you have an occasional missed exposure-and you try to fix it in post-processing by hitting auto-level or curves-that may cause you an issue regardless of file type, but there are better ways. One, of course, is to not miss the exposure in the first place. We seldom did in the match-needle metering days, why should it be so hard to get it now?
Too funny. Even in film days guys bracketed. There were some guys shooting 8x10 who went through ridiculous lengths to make sure they didn't blow an exposure because it was so expensive to miss one, but that's hardly relevant. As I pointed out in another thread. I calculate my best exposure and bracket, and 20% of the time, for one reason or another I prefer an image that is one or two stops removed from my calculated image. The simple fact is, no camera ever made can capture the whole DR of a natural scene. The photographer selects what he/she intends to capture. But they never get the whole picture. Real life is more than 14 EV. You can have a good exposure without having the exact exposure you wanted.

QuoteQuote:
I see SO many articles on editing where the photographer spend a lot of time with esoteric editing workflows to end up with something that looks so...well, so much like the starting point, with subtle differences-not improvements- that no one else will notice.
That's because so many of us have had other occasions where the difference between shooting raw and shooting jpeg made the difference between having a saleable image and a garbage shot. The fact that this has clearly never happened to you doesn't in any way alter the fact taht it could happen to you, or anybody.

QuoteQuote:
If you enjoy the process, I think that is great. But if you think your CAMERA is taking a lot of time to WRITE a raw file, imagine how long it will take you to process it-all to end up with something that looks like the JPG you could have had in seconds.
I have no idea what proficiency level we are discussing here. It's quite possible that for your style of photography, which for all we know might be snapshots in broad daylight, you may be happy with in camera jpeg processing. I'm quite happy to admit that it's quite possible that there could be camera owners who through lack of skill in PP, through inability to evaluate IQ, or many other factors might decide that jpeg is good enough for them, and be happy living with that decision. It could be as you said, it's just not worth the time to you. But to assume you're getting just as good results in every shot as people shooting in raw? I got two words for you...

Prove it.

01-07-2013, 08:17 AM   #50
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QuoteOriginally posted by wombat2go Quote
Why are so many here saying they can't correct white balance ...
I'm sure you know there is no degradation when adjusting the white balance in a raw file. That's not the case with jpeg, especially if you screw up royally (which isn't something anyone should advocate).

I'm all for 'getting it right' in camera, but I can't fine tune the white balance on my camera (k100d) without having to press a bunch of buttons and carry a white card around and do a custom white balance, and even then I'd have to carry around some off white cards in case I want the 'wrong' white balance to achieve an effect. It's much easier to just punch the white balance preset for different lighting conditions I have set up in the raw converter. This alone was enough reason for me to embrace raw, the white balance is a time saver and lets me get what I want.

There's no noticeable downside for me, the storage difference is irrelevant compared to the cost of memory, I never shoot in burst mode anyway so buffer space is irrelevant, and there's really no extra time required once you get your raw converter set up to defaults you like, just hit 'import' and the computer does the rest while I put some coffee on (extra time is spent processing anything I'm really pleased with, but I'd do that with jpeg anyway). If I need to look at my shots while on vacation, I use the computer of whoever I'm staying with to back things up on a portable harddrive and browse with Faststone (the 'portable' version lives on this HD, no need to install anything on the friends computer).

Most raw converters have free trial periods. Anyone interested should try a couple out and see if shooting raw is worth it for them. If not and they're happy with the jpegs, then go crazy. Funnily enough there's no one way of doing things that will appeal to everyone.
01-07-2013, 10:08 AM   #51
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OK, another question. I generally use Photo.net for quick processing of images and Gimp for more indepth stuff. Do either of these process RAW. Also, I have not yet got round to installing silkypix onto my new laptop; will that do it?
01-07-2013, 10:25 AM   #52
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Let’s revisit the “blown” highlights issue once more. Let’s assume that you have a cloudy sky that looks like pure white. The histogram has a hard spike and the right end. Everything points that the highlights are blown.

If you read the RGB values and ALL are at 255, 255, 255 then most likely you have blown highlights and very little (if anything) can be done to recover details. You can “darken” the clouds but they still will be at the same gray level.

If the RGB values read 255,255,255 is some areas and 254, 254,254 in others (or similar values), the image still looks like pure white indicating that the highlights are blown; the monitor and the eye will have a very difficult time differentiating such a small range.

Since there are more than one set of values in the highlights it is possible to recover details by pulling down the 254 values (let’s say down to 200 for a bright gray). If the original image was in 8-bit format (as in JPG), the sky will have two large bands, one in 255 and another in 200. Very pronounced ugly contours will mark the image.

If we have the original RAW image at 14 bits, then it potentially has 64 intermediate shades between 254 and 255. When we pull 254 down to 200 we are distributing the 64 shades in-between. The resulting image will have a lot more detail in the otherwise pure white cloud areas.

The same overall principle applies to the dark, under exposed areas, although sensor noise will play a role on how far you can recover details there.
01-07-2013, 12:03 PM   #53
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I got inspired to go run a test.

Here's the original jpg, there's no point in showing the original raw, it wasn't even supposed to look good.
It is intentionally underexposed to help keep the sky, which typically gets blown out in these types of shots.



Heres the cabin in jpeg, after a considerable amount of work, in fact, I applied the same settings to both images and then reduced the jpeg images to pull then down to raw levels. It actually took more work to bring the jpeg to a level I was happy with, than it did the raw file. The difference between the original jpeg and finished jpeg and original raw file and finished raw file was more dramatic... but it still needed a lot of work for a less satisfying result.



Heres the corrected raw file.



The raw file gave me a much better blues in the sky, there was an un-natural red to the area under the eve that couldn't be corrected in the jpeg file. It's a sort of messy red colour , that's not at all present in the raw file.

The other three areas of interest were as follows.



The loss of detail (look at the blinds in the window) was surprising even for me.) This is shot in Raw + so this is absoltuely not an aberration in exposure. As well, the JPG file just looks a lot less sharp than the RAW image.



IN the bottom left corner I was able to rescue wood grain right to the snow line. The jpg has a black area.



Once again it you look at the porch post, the post is dark wood coloured in the Raw and black in the jpeg in parts of it.

That gives you some idea of why some of us would be tempted to just use RAW. But the first unaltered jpeg is still quite nice. To me this is like the same argument as k-5 IIs or D800e. You can see a difference, but what is that worth to you? For some of us nothing. SO shoot jpeg. I shoot a lot of sunsets where 1/4 of my pictures is in the area of the scale that would be black on a jpeg but a perfectly acceptable image taken in a raw file. In a full sun shot like this, there is very little of the images that is affected. For the casual shooter, I'm guessing RAW isn't worth it.

01-07-2013, 04:47 PM   #54
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QuoteOriginally posted by redimp Quote
OK, another question. I generally use Photo.net for quick processing of images and Gimp for more indepth stuff. Do either of these process RAW. Also, I have not yet got round to installing silkypix onto my new laptop; will that do it?
I believe GIMP will process RAW using plugins. You might have to shoot DNG instead of PEF, not sure if the plugin understands PEF, I think it uses DCRAW. I use GIMP as my editor but Lightroom as the main program for RAW processing, cataloging, keywording and so on. Just export out to GIMP if I need layers for something and then back into Lightroom.

By SilkyPIX do you mean the software that came with the camera? If so, yes it will work, however I (and many others) have found that program a pain to work with. If you are serious about photography and being able to find and use your images down the road do yourself a favor and invest in a good system now. That can be Lightroom or a number of other solutions but without a consistent workflow system to process, catalog and backup your images you will have a big mess later and an almost impossible job to sort it all out.

I know this thread is about RAW, not workflow, but the decision to use RAW or jpeg is part of your workflow and much of the software and procedures you use are determined first by whether you use jpeg or RAW.
01-07-2013, 04:51 PM   #55
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Thank you for the images and tests, Norm.

As to proving my point-I have, to my satisfaction. I am not here to convince anyone of anything.

As to your excellent comparison, it brings up one reason to use raw-if the noise reduction of your camera obscures detail, AND you feel you have an alternate method of noise reduction in your workflow-and find the difference worthwhile.

I generally shoot low ISO to avoid noise, with a non-Pentax camera. So far the Pentax has done just fine for my personal shots-my clients ( such as they are) couldn't care less about any of this!
01-07-2013, 04:53 PM   #56
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
I believe GIMP will process RAW using plugins. You might have to shoot DNG instead of PEF, not sure if the plugin understands PEF, I think it uses DCRAW. I use GIMP as my editor but Lightroom as the main program for RAW processing, cataloging, keywording and so on. Just export out to GIMP if I need layers for something and then back into Lightroom.

By SilkyPIX do you mean the software that came with the camera? If so, yes it will work, however I (and many others) have found that program a pain to work with. If you are serious about photography and being able to find and use your images down the road do yourself a favor and invest in a good system now. That can be Lightroom or a number of other solutions but without a consistent workflow system to process, catalog and backup your images you will have a big mess later and an almost impossible job to sort it all out.

I know this thread is about RAW, not workflow, but the decision to use RAW or jpeg is part of your workflow and much of the software and procedures you use are determined first by whether you use jpeg or RAW.
GIMP comes with UFRaw. It will read PEF files.

If you have a Mac, Preview and iPhoto both will convert raw as well.
01-10-2013, 03:04 PM - 2 Likes   #57
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Well, this is probably one of the best RAW vs Jpeg discussions I've seen. A reasonable balance of considered opinions from both sides -- that's unusual.

Here's my take. . .

I assume that the question as posed is from someone relatively new to digital photography or at least at this level of sophistication, but excuse me if I'm wrong.

If the former is the case, my suggestion would be to shoot jpegs for the great majority of your shots, and thoroughly learn your camera and the features that effect exposure and image qualities that can be tweaked in the camera's processing. In the process, you'll blow some shots. For me, at least, these are not totally disastrous, as i learn from these mistakes (still learning -- and making mistakes -- after 7 years with a DSLR), and it's effective learning because of the immediacy that digital allows us. The limitations of jpegs vs RAW are not that huge, so a great great majority of your shots will be fine.

For shots that demand more than Jpeg can deliver, shooting jpeg is about the best way to learn to recognize these conditions before you take the shot -- In my mind, this is part of the digital experience and learning process. When, and if, you get to the point where you're discerning enough to notice and care about the fine details of the capture as illustrated by Norm's post, then you might decide to shoot RAW to get this level of control over all the aspects of all of your images. I think that it would be fair to say that only a very small minority of amateur photographers get to that point.

It's been implied that jpeg shooters either don't care, or are "casual" photographers, which may be true for some, but not all by any means. In the same spirit of over-generalization, I'd think that it would be just as fair to say that a significant percentage of RAW photographers shoot RAW to allow themselves "fudge factors" against mistakes in technique or effective utilization of the features built into the camera. I don't think that condescending attitudes from either side is very productive. There are legitimate reasons to use either format, and while one might trump the other for a given situation, there are other situations where the reverse is true.

Personally I choose to shoot jpegs for speed as I primarily shoot birds, and a number of factors make the format more suitable for what I do. I take pride in what I shoot, and PP the shots I choose for final output, probably to a similar extent as most RAW shooters. I probably change settings more often and have to do this more quickly and intuitively than most photographers since my subjects are neither cooperative nor considerate of where they choose to land from a photographic standpoint, so I sometimes need to go from strongly backlit to direct sunlit, to deep in shadow on a shot to shot basis within seconds. I also take some pride in my ability to handle my gear effectively, and spend an incredible amount of time practicing technique -- there's a great amount of satisfaction when everything comes together in some very good images -- this is far from "casual" for me though I'll always be "just" an amateur.

Even with my cameras set up to shoot jpegs primarily, our newer Pentax DSLRs give us three options to override this easily, the RAW button, the "Save as RAW" option with the AEL button upon review, and the Info Screen, so it's quick and easy to switch between the two formats as is necessary. There's really no need to shoot one or the other exclusively. I say shoot both, but with a realistic understanding of why you're making the choice.

Scott
01-10-2013, 03:10 PM   #58
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Scott. This pretty well sums it up

P,s. why not join the birders social group

Last edited by Lowell Goudge; 01-10-2013 at 03:16 PM.
01-10-2013, 03:22 PM   #59
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QuoteOriginally posted by snostorm Quote
Well, this is probably one of the best RAW vs Jpeg discussions I've seen. A reasonable balance of considered opinions from both sides -- that's unusual.

Here's my take. . .

I assume that the question as posed is from someone relatively new to digital photography or at least at this level of sophistication, but excuse me if I'm wrong.

If the former is the case, my suggestion would be to shoot jpegs for the great majority of your shots, and thoroughly learn your camera and the features that effect exposure and image qualities that can be tweaked in the camera's processing. In the process, you'll blow some shots. For me, at least, these are not totally disastrous, as i learn from these mistakes (still learning -- and making mistakes -- after 7 years with a DSLR), and it's effective learning because of the immediacy that digital allows us. The limitations of jpegs vs RAW are not that huge, so a great great majority of your shots will be fine.

For shots that demand more than Jpeg can deliver, shooting jpeg is about the best way to learn to recognize these conditions before you take the shot -- In my mind, this is part of the digital experience and learning process. When, and if, you get to the point where you're discerning enough to notice and care about the fine details of the capture as illustrated by Norm's post, then you might decide to shoot RAW to get this level of control over all the aspects of all of your images. I think that it would be fair to say that only a very small minority of amateur photographers get to that point.

It's been implied that jpeg shooters either don't care, or are "casual" photographers, which may be true for some, but not all by any means. In the same spirit of over-generalization, I'd think that it would be just as fair to say that a significant percentage of RAW photographers shoot RAW to allow themselves "fudge factors" against mistakes in technique or effective utilization of the features built into the camera. I don't think that condescending attitudes from either side is very productive. There are legitimate reasons to use either format, and while one might trump the other for a given situation, there are other situations where the reverse is true.

Personally I choose to shoot jpegs for speed as I primarily shoot birds, and a number of factors make the format more suitable for what I do. I take pride in what I shoot, and PP the shots I choose for final output, probably to a similar extent as most RAW shooters. I probably change settings more often and have to do this more quickly and intuitively than most photographers since my subjects are neither cooperative nor considerate of where they choose to land from a photographic standpoint, so I sometimes need to go from strongly backlit to direct sunlit, to deep in shadow on a shot to shot basis within seconds. I also take some pride in my ability to handle my gear effectively, and spend an incredible amount of time practicing technique -- there's a great amount of satisfaction when everything comes together in some very good images -- this is far from "casual" for me though I'll always be "just" an amateur.

Even with my cameras set up to shoot jpegs primarily, our newer Pentax DSLRs give us three options to override this easily, the RAW button, the "Save as RAW" option with the AEL button upon review, and the Info Screen, so it's quick and easy to switch between the two formats as is necessary. There's really no need to shoot one or the other exclusively. I say shoot both, but with a realistic understanding of why you're making the choice.

Scott
Fantastic answer thanks - and that is not to discredit all the others which I have found very interesting and learnt the two sides. I am relatively new to 'serious' digital photography. I learnt photography on film (Zenit 11, Practica BC10, Ricoh XR-X and its replacement. Digital costs kept me out except for a Pentax compactg until I got a K-x. I did not really investigate beyond jpg at that point but now I have upgraded to a K-30 (due to theft of K-x) and have split up with my long term partner, I want to get back into photography properly. Thus, posting lots of questions and valuing the answers.
01-10-2013, 03:34 PM   #60
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QuoteOriginally posted by redimp Quote
Fantastic answer thanks - and that is not to discredit all the others which I have found very interesting and learnt the two sides. I am relatively new to 'serious' digital photography. I learnt photography on film (Zenit 11, Practica BC10, Ricoh XR-X and its replacement. Digital costs kept me out except for a Pentax compactg until I got a K-x. I did not really investigate beyond jpg at that point but now I have upgraded to a K-30 (due to theft of K-x) and have split up with my long term partner, I want to get back into photography properly. Thus, posting lots of questions and valuing the answers.
Even if you decide to shoot raw, it is a good idea to try to get tehe JPEG settings as close as possible since you have an option with most editors of importing using the JPEG settings, and if you get good at it, you will see the benefit of getting it right in camera by the reduced time spent making adjustments in post processing
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