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01-29-2007, 02:38 PM   #1
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Explain raw to a newbie!

I think I understand what raw is, but would like an explanation of it and the benefits of it, if any. I am pretty good with photoshop and someone told me you can use photoshop to alter the pictures shot in raw to correct problems?!

I really would like to know more, thanks.

01-29-2007, 02:46 PM   #2
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I think these articles explain it much better than I ever could. Ron does a very good job here.

Raw -- Part I
Raw -- Part II
Raw -- Part III

Here is a link to Ron Bigelow's main page. There is very good information here.

Articles

Hope this helps
01-29-2007, 02:55 PM   #3
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Cool, going to read it now, thanks.
01-29-2007, 08:42 PM   #4
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Ron's articles are good reading and I can't explain it any better than he does.

What I can contribute is that there are several adjustments you can make to your shots that will improve the result that you can't make if you are shooting jpeg. Not without twiddling pixel values, that is. Adjustments to pixels are harder to control, more damaging, and less precise than making adjustments to the WB, saturation, tint, etc. in a RAW file.

RAW is more time consuming, no doubt about it. But, if you want more than snapshots you really must make the jump. If you are good at Photoshop, then you probably don't mind spending time with it. Once you've figured out a basic workflow, it's not that much extra work over shooting jpeg.

Good luck

01-30-2007, 09:28 AM   #5
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"But, if you want more than snapshots you really must make the jump"

i shoot jpeg and like to think i get more than snapshots..

so with the greatest of respect i would have to say "rubbish" to your statement.. or at least that part of it.. he he

wave enough redflags and u are bound to get the odd enraged bull..

trog
01-31-2007, 05:13 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by trog100 Quote
so with the greatest of respect i would have to say "rubbish" to your statement.. or at least that part of it.. he he
trog
couldn't agree more, trog.

Here's another article on RAW vs JPG - if in doubt, read both, then make up your own mind.
01-31-2007, 05:50 AM   #7
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With all due respect to Trog100 and dseang, I must disagree because of just one issue. We have no idea of what the future holds in the way of processing images. If several years from now 64 bit or higher processing becomes the norm and higher dynamic range can be obtained those with jpeg files will find themselves at a big disadvantage. The RAW file holds twice as much info as a jpeg so more DR will be available from it.

That's not to say you need to work with RAW at this time but you should at least store all your saved images in the largest possible files for future refinement.

Also with all due respect to you "Purists". Many of us are not the accomplished shooters you are but trying to learn. We mess up more than we get it exactly right coming out of the camera. Sometimes RAW allows us to "Save" us from our own mistakes while we are going through the learning curve. Agreed we should learn how to do it right but we still want to preserve those moments we capture while we are learning.

Last edited by regken; 01-31-2007 at 05:59 AM.
01-31-2007, 06:30 AM   #8
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Ken - you make a very interesting point which I've never heard before. My first reaction would be a) I'm not convinced that tomorrow's increased processing power can wring more DR out of today's RAW files (it'll just process 'em a lot quicker), and b) several years from now, god willing, I'll be too busy making new photos to mess about with today's files. That being said, I'm definitely interested in hearing more about this - any links?

As for your second point, I'm neither a 'purist' nor an 'accomplished shooter' and I make plenty of mistakes :-) - however, I find JPGs surprisingly amenable to post processing when needed -

01-31-2007, 06:41 AM   #9
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the futiue could well make everything we are doing today obsolete.. to me at the moment raw is too "clunky".. too slow.. the file sizes are too large.. in essence its just not there yet..

i think it gets in the way of the picture taking learning curve.. my advice to a newcomer would be.. take advantage of the nice jpegs your camera can produce.. takes lots and lot of pictures.. learn to use your camera.. dont waste time on raw..

i can see the logic in thinking my currently novice and therefore faullty pictress can at a later date be turned into good ones which i think is at work here.. i think is a bad idea thow to be honest..

correct my learning mistakes later is an interesting concept thow..

trog
01-31-2007, 10:18 AM   #10
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Hi trog, I have only one point to make. Raw makes my actual picture taking a simpler process. How? I don't have to worry about WB. I shoot LOTS of flowers, both indoors and out. When I first started with a dslr, I used jpeg exclusively. When shooting outside and walking from shade to sun to cloudy, I had to remember to check and change WB constantly. Otherwise the colors would come out wrong. And I'm sorry, but AWB does not give consistantly good results. If I am shooting Raw, I don't have to worry about WB, and concentrate on composition, framing, aperature, shutter speed and ISO. I don't know how many shots I ruined because of wrong WB. And unfortunately it's extremely difficult to correct PP. Shooting raw adds a step or two to my PP work, but it sure beats a ruined off color shot because of wrong WB.

NaCl(I have enough to worry about, shooting raw give me the flexibility I need)H2O
01-31-2007, 10:48 AM   #11
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raw does give more fexiblity.. when u are not sure of the camera produced results i would say that is the time to shoot raw.. i wish my k100 had the quick raw button the k10 has..

i dont take many indoor no flash shots.. but i can see your point if the camera often gets things wrong..

my approach is too fire off lots of shots in an attempt to get the "best" one.. which is why i think i dont like raw..

but when my camera can handle raw at the same speed as it handles jpegs.. and my pc can convert and present a viewable image as quickly as it does with jpeg.. there wont be much point in not useing raw all the time..

with cheaper storage cards.. faster hardware and better software.. why not.. soon the question whether to shoot raw or jpeg will become pointless..

trog
01-31-2007, 11:11 AM   #12
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HUH?

This is not argumentative or to start an argument but your statements seem (ARE) contradictory:
"Raw makes my actual picture taking a simpler process. How? I don't have to worry about WB" and
"unfortunately it's (WB) extremely difficult to correct PP".

From the first statement, one could conclude that ignoring the WB entirely is the preferred method of operation. From the second, one concludes that getting the WB correct may be nearly impossible.

I shoot a great deal of color critical material. I do a custom WB with every change of lighting and often include a MacBeth Colorchecker in a separate frame or place the chart in a non-critical area of an actual shot. In post I use Thom Fors' ACR Calibrator for a mathematically optimal WB or the Pictographic InCamera Plug-in for a custom 'location specific WB" based ICC input(camera) profile. In studio I use the InCamera plug-in and a Wolf-Faust it/8 target.

While RAW file capture and storage doesn't specifically require a specific WB, RAW conversion does and both of these corrective procedures require a best first guess of the true WB as an input parameter. This would seem to make correct WB a mission critical element.

WB does change with every passing minute. For non-critical shooting a custom WB every 30 minutes to an hour or a WB preset may be satisfactory. But when shots are critical, as in your flower material, how can use justify ignoring an exposure element as crucial as obtaining a specific location WB?

Please frame your answer in a way which accounts for the subtle improvements in fine details both in shadow and in highlight that are present in a more refined fashion when the WB is 'spot on' as opposed to your 'guess it later' methodology.
01-31-2007, 11:37 AM   #13
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Dseang,
I'm afraid I didn't fully explain myself. The increased computer power will just speed up processing RAW files. As far as increasing DR, the new version of Photoshop has taken the first step toward making that a reality with the HD function. I'm just guessing but think that is the first step we will see in new and improved software that will be able to combine/ manipulate/ and-or who knows what to data from a RAW file. Storage is cheap. Why take the chance that that very special occasion you shoot today doesn't get the best treatment from future technology.

Regards,
01-31-2007, 01:53 PM   #14
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Well, interesting and certainly food for thought - but all highly speculative, surely? Who's to say that JPEGs or other file formats will not benefit from currently undreamt-of algorithms - that RAW will benefit more than other formats by somehow yielding up information that is currently not being extracted or taken advantage of by current RAW-processing apps?

A rather more likely scenario is that I will not be able to read these files at all without keeping an antediluvian PC/software combination running in the corner. RAW formats are highly proprietary and certain vendors (Nikon, I'm looking at you) have already shown little interest in maintaining support for older versions of their RAW formats in their latest software updates.

Witness also the notorious example of Apple's Aperture software being unable to read WB settings from NEF files because Nikon (unbelievably) encrypted this data in-camera!!

Unfortunately, my crappily exposed shots will be unlikely to benefit from this fabulous future technology - not because they weren't shot in RAW, but because they will have long since been deleted :-)

Last edited by dseang; 01-31-2007 at 02:04 PM.
01-31-2007, 05:38 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by trog100 Quote
wave enough redflags and u are bound to get the odd enraged bull..
Not at all. You're not worth getting enraged over. I put you on my ignore list three weeks ago. If I hadn't seen a reply to your post in one of the other posts, I wouldn't even be acknowledging your presence. Toodles.
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