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02-24-2009, 02:17 AM   #16
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I tried to shoot in raw and postprocess, but now I'm back to jpeg. I've tried different raw development apps for linux, but neither of them were capable of doing all the adjusments I wanted, or not in an easy way. Some of them couldn't do this, other couldn't do that, and pretty much none of them was "beginner-friendly". I've played around 8 hours with them and the results were not better (in most cases even worst) than the camera's jpeg, so I just gave up. After all, the camera's jpeg (after some adjustments in the camera) is fine for me in most of the cases.

To be honest I don't like any postprocessing, in the past 4 years I postprocessed less than 10 pictures. I either take a good picture needing no further adjustment or it goes to trash For micro adjustments (exposure or white balance just a little off) I don't care. But I'm also not a photographer, just a person who shoots untypical pictures for his own joy The photo lab did the darkroom work for me in film days, now the camare does it in digital age.

02-24-2009, 09:59 AM   #17
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@simico: I use Linux too and the RAW processing tool I use is UFRaw (there's also RawTherapee available but I feel confortable with UFRaw). Have to say that I discovered/understood the whole workflow with RAW files in a not-so-short time: about 3 months with about a hundred and half RAW files processed.

In my experience I can say that you will not find RAWs useful and necessary if you don't need them. For example if the JPEG produced by the camera are just good for you, so you don't need wasting drive space with RAW files... with "just good" I mean that, for example, you don't care if sometimes you get a bad WB evaluation or you don't have to use your shots to create other images or even you don't care of using your preferred JPEG compression tool to store them.
On the other side a RAW photo allows you to adjust WD not even when the camera does a bad evaluation but also when you have to join many shots in a panoramic image... in panoramas you need to have control over the WB and curves (all the shots must be coherent in color and gamma). Another use of RAW photos is to allow you to gain an extra stop (or even something more) in low light conditions (I often use the RAWs to turn off the flash): in UFRaw (like in all the RAW processing tools) you have an exposition widget that allow you to raise or lower the the final exposition: this allows you to shot at - example - 1/400" and get the photo as it was shot at 1/200" in a moment.
If you make HDR images again RAWs help you: you can easily get 16bit TIFF (where you don't lose anything of your shot) and stack them gaining a precise work (if you use Linux you can safely save your HDR images in OpenEXR format).
Raising the exposure, as said, is a possibility you have with the RAWs... but rasing the exposure also works like raising the ISO. The plus you get in using RAWs is that you can choose your preferred noise removal tool to lower the noise. UFRaw has built-in wavelet noise reduction: works very well for me.

The bad side of RAWs is the drive usage (and even the bigger battery usage to save more data).
BTW, if you need help with RAWs and Linux feel free to ask...

Bye
Jenner
02-24-2009, 10:28 AM   #18
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For me Raw therapee was the most useable or easiest to use. I'm not on my main pc right now, but I think ufraw was only some sort of a gimp plugin in my case, although 1 app (which I don't remember the name) used it as the underlying engine.
I may try again this raw development thing when I'll have more free time. I'm sure I'll have some questions
02-24-2009, 10:53 AM   #19
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My advice...

what is your current level of photo taking? Beginner/learning, intermediate/hobbyist, expert/professional?

If you are a beginner, I would suggest just sticking to JPEG for now. Get to know the camera, the settings, the basic principles of photography and then when you are ready, begin shooting Raw or Raw+JPEG. No use getting bogged down in so much post processing at this point.

If you insist, the cheapest way other than Pentax Photo software is using Picassa to open and manage your images with the minimum tweaking functions or perhaps Raw Therapee for more robust processing, and is another free software package.

Jason

02-24-2009, 03:00 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by simico Quote
For me Raw therapee was the most useable or easiest to use.
I've used a bit RawTherapee and it's really far from my workflow. Nice but overcrowed GUI... it is the slower image manipulation software I have (even more than the HDR tone mapper!). I hope they will improve speed.
If I have to choose a companion for managing RAWs I think I would go for Bibble Pro: it has a not so high price and its workflow seems to be closer to mine.

QuoteOriginally posted by simico Quote
I'm not on my main pc right now, but I think ufraw was only some sort of a gimp plugin in my case, although 1 app (which I don't remember the name) used it as the underlying engine.
The RAW decoder running under quite all the RAW manipulation apps is DCRaw. UFRaw, like the other apps, is a sort-of front end of it.

UFRaw comes in two independent packages: the GIMP plugin and the stand-alone application. They could live without problem in the same system. I rarely use the UFRaw GIMP plugin but I learn the basics on it (and so I switched to the stand-alone).
You won't find many difference between the plugin and the stand-alone... the key is understanding what every feature does: UFRaw has not so many feature related to image retouch (this is demanded to the image editor which is supposed to do that better), it just prepare the best image data from the RAW... if you don't need further retouch you can save the data in you preferred format or you can edit it in your favorite image editor.

Another powerful use of RAW which I forget to say is using them to get print-optimized JPEGs by using the ICC profiles of your paper (the online shop where I print my photos provides the profiles for their paper): it's like having a JPEG tuned for printing directly from the camera sensor!

QuoteOriginally posted by simico Quote
I may try again this raw development thing when I'll have more free time. I'm sure I'll have some questions
It's not strange to never find an advantage in RAWs: within my friends I'm the only massive RAW user.

Bye
Jenner
02-24-2009, 03:48 PM   #21
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I was wary of switching to RAW but am glad I did. Having the right software (I like Adobe Lightroom) on a decently fast computer helps a lot. The thing is that in most cases you're not really getting completely away from post-processing anyway as you'll normally need to downsize the image for e-mail or web-friendly output. I decided against using RAW+JPEG because it complicates my workflow in terms of editing & in particular, metadata (title/caption/keywords). A good program like Lightroom (I used ACDSee Pro on a PC which was OK but a little clunkier, and kind of slow on the PC I had at the time) makes it easy to apply changes quickly and often you'll repeat the same changes on multiple pictures--say you took a series of pictures in similar lighting--this is very fast.

In truth some of these advantages of good software will work with JPEG as well, but the latitude and quality of changes is somewhat diminished.
02-25-2009, 08:03 AM   #22
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marc... being on a budget, what software would you recommend for raw conversion..
i've read that corel ultimate is relatively inexpensive, relatively easier interface...
i'd like to venture into raw shooting and processing, but a little apprehensive..........
thanks.......
02-25-2009, 10:04 AM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by dcmsox2004 Quote
marc... being on a budget, what software would you recommend for raw conversion..
i've read that corel ultimate is relatively inexpensive, relatively easier interface...
i'd like to venture into raw shooting and processing, but a little apprehensive..........
thanks.......
Everyone seems to work differently. Most programs have free trials available, so I'd recommend trying any of the ones that seem promising to see for yourself. I'm happy with ACDSee Pro (a little over $100), but imagine I'd be just as happy with Lightroom (can be had for $100 if you quality for the educational discount) or Photoshop Elements among the relatively inexpensive options I'm at least a little familiar with. But there's quite a few I've never seen.

Anyhow, let me step back and give some big picture advice first: there's no particular reason to jump right into shooting RAW. Despite what some reviewer might say about some model (and another reviewer say about a different model - this stuff is all subjective), JPEG output is fine for most purposes, and you're not really likely to improve on it significantly just because you shot RAW then converted to JPEG afterwards. That's not the point of RAW.

The advantage of shooting RAW show up when you are doing significant amounts of PP - like it you need to adjust exposure or color for lots of shots at once. RAW lets you do this more effectively *and* more easily (with the right software) than JPEG.

02-26-2009, 04:03 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by AndrewG NY Quote
I decided against using RAW+JPEG because it complicates my workflow in terms of editing & in particular, metadata (title/caption/keywords).
The RAW+JPEG feature must be handled by the photo management software you use (or you may use...). If the photo manager is capable of handling it you'll find it very useful when you take shots in manual mode: the RAW gives you the possibility to fix some error, otherwise - if the JPEG is just good - you can discard the RAW and save disk space.
If you can't handle the RAW+JPEG as they was a single file, I agree, it's a feature that complicates the life of everyone.

Bye
Jenner
02-28-2009, 08:29 PM   #25
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The only downside with Raw is the size of the files. That's why you can use the Raw button for the shots you know that really matters.
The initial aspect of the Raw may disappoint you, but post processing takes much less than you think. And the results will convince about the benefits.
Picasa is easy to use if yo're a beginner.
02-28-2009, 08:59 PM   #26
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RAW saved my butt on a paid photoshoot I did a few days ago. Most of my model photoshoots are planned with ample time, but when you're shooting for an assignment, there's extra pressure to hurry up. Needless to say, I ended up overexposing a lot of shots with my flash, but managed to pull things back down in post. Definitely would have been screwed if I had shot JPG.
03-01-2009, 04:02 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by ntx Quote
The RAW+JPEG feature must be handled by the photo management software you use (or you may use...). If the photo manager is capable of handling it you'll find it very useful when you take shots in manual mode: the RAW gives you the possibility to fix some error, otherwise - if the JPEG is just good - you can discard the RAW and save disk space.
If you can't handle the RAW+JPEG as they was a single file, I agree, it's a feature that complicates the life of everyone.

Bye
Jenner
My experience with DSLR's has been from .jpg's only, to RAW only, and now I save images as RAW +jpeg. After I download from camera to computer I can quickly look at the jpeg's in windows picture viewer and decide which will be discarded completely, kept as jpeg or opened as RAW and processed.

Some images just end up on my digital picture frame and don't need to be tweaked to poster-sized perfection, so jpeg is just fine. Other images will need WB adjustment or various other PP tweaking and they are best worked from RAW.

It's not a perfect process, but one that works for me now.
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