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01-14-2009, 10:42 AM   #1
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Unprocessed RAW v JPEG print test

Last night I deecided to see what the difference is between an untouched raw and straight from camera jpeg photograph when printed out. I set my K10D to RAW+jpeg and photographed a book shelf with the camera on a tripod and using self timer.

I was always lead to believe at least in the magazine articles I saw on the subject some time ago that a raw image will look dull, flat and need some post processing before being useable.

The crops I printed out at 200% revealed the raw image to be the same in colour and contrast but sharper than the jpeg!

I opened the images in Photoshop Elements 6 and printed from there.

I've been using raw for a few months now but have never tried to print the unprocessed raw photo.

Has anyone else tried this?

01-14-2009, 10:45 AM   #2
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Check the default processing options in Photoshop. Generally, raw processors apply a default processing level, which may or may not match jpeg processing. For example, the Pentax software will apply your in-camera jpeg settings to your raw images. Of course, that's just a starting point and you can process the raw image anyway that you like.
01-14-2009, 11:25 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ashley Quote
Last night I deecided to see what the difference is between an untouched raw and straight from camera jpeg photograph when printed out. I set my K10D to RAW+jpeg and photographed a book shelf with the camera on a tripod and using self timer.

I was always lead to believe at least in the magazine articles I saw on the subject some time ago that a raw image will look dull, flat and need some post processing before being useable.

The crops I printed out at 200% revealed the raw image to be the same in colour and contrast but sharper than the jpeg!

I opened the images in Photoshop Elements 6 and printed from there.

I've been using raw for a few months now but have never tried to print the unprocessed raw photo.

Has anyone else tried this?
there is no such thing as an unprocessed RAW

RAW is not an image format, it is not viewable.

your test is nothing more than a comparison of your camera exporting into JPEG, and photoshop elements 6 exporting into JPEG
01-14-2009, 11:33 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gooshin Quote
there is no such thing as an unprocessed RAW

RAW is not an image format, it is not viewable.

your test is nothing more than a comparison of your camera exporting into JPEG, and photoshop elements 6 exporting into JPEG
well in this very case I believe the actual file that Element 6 would send to the printer would be a TIF file which is about looseless compression.

But it is true that RAW data format tries to keep as close as possible to the output of the sensor. In particular the bayer matrix is kept, every pixel is green, red or blue.

Regards,
Guillaume

01-14-2009, 11:36 AM   #5
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RAW is an uncompressed format, so the detail level can potentially be higher than that in a compressed JPEG. But Gooshin makes a good point: RAW is not viewable, it requires processing and conversion to be seen, and every piece of software processes it differently. Hence, if you shoot RAW, and preview your images on the camera, you'll find the colors different when you export them to the computer. If you export the images into three different editors, you'll get three different renditions of the image, and each one the colors will be a bit different.

To be honest, for all the post-editing ability RAW has, it's a royal pain in the ass to work with unless you know what to expect when you export the pictures. I tried different workflows for months with things like landscape and sunset photography (where the colors are obvious) and finally had to give up and admit that I was never going to get out of the file what I was seeing previewed on the camera, unless I shoot in JPEG.

If RAW retained the original processing applied in-body by the camera, including color modes and sharpness adjustments, then it would be far more useful. But I can keep dreaming.
01-14-2009, 11:38 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by ghelary Quote
well in this very case I believe the actual file that Element 6 would send to the printer would be a TIF file which is about looseless compression.

Regards,
Guillaume
true,

i would also like to add a few points

Elements 6 is doing one or some of the following

1. taking the in-camera jpeg settings, translating them into "element speak", and then applying them to the RAW

2. completely ignoring the in camera jpeg settings, and applying its own "basic" algorithm to the RAW file

3. completly ignoring the in camera jpeg setting, and not applying any processing to it

option 2 is most likely to happen, and the 3rd option is (IMO) least likely because there always has to be a "baseline" to which the program has to reference something. IE, blue is only blue if you reference it to blue, if what the camera says is blue but the program things is 1 point off blue towards green then you will obviously get conflict

same goes for sharpening and all that jazz
01-14-2009, 11:41 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by drewdlephone Quote

If RAW retained the original processing applied in-body by the camera, including color modes and sharpness adjustments, then it would be far more useful. But I can keep dreaming.
i'm just thinking outloud but i think if you use the software supplied with pentax then you will get exactly that

but no one bothers with that...
01-14-2009, 12:27 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by ghelary Quote
well in this very case I believe the actual file that Element 6 would send to the printer would be a TIF file which is about looseless compression.
99% sure your printer will be processing 8-bit color regardless.

01-14-2009, 12:29 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by drewdlephone Quote
To be honest, for all the post-editing ability RAW has, it's a royal pain in the ass to work with unless you know what to expect when you export the pictures. I tried different workflows for months with things like landscape and sunset photography (where the colors are obvious) and finally had to give up and admit that I was never going to get out of the file what I was seeing previewed on the camera, unless I shoot in JPEG.

If RAW retained the original processing applied in-body by the camera, including color modes and sharpness adjustments, then it would be far more useful. But I can keep dreaming.
I have found that Lightroom 2.2 with its camera profiles does a superb job at least on my 1Ds2 when it comes to getting it close to in-camera jpeg. Haven't tried it with K20D though.
01-14-2009, 01:02 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gooshin Quote
there is no such thing as an unprocessed RAW

RAW is not an image format, it is not viewable.

your test is nothing more than a comparison of your camera exporting into JPEG, and photoshop elements 6 exporting into JPEG
By unprocessed raw I meant I hadn't adjusted it myself in any way. Simply opened in photoshop, cropped and printed. It was purely a test to see what would happen. I automatically assumed the in camera jpeg would be sharper.
01-14-2009, 01:11 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ashley Quote
By unprocessed raw I meant I hadn't adjusted it myself in any way. Simply opened in photoshop, cropped and printed. It was purely a test to see what would happen. I automatically assumed the in camera jpeg would be sharper.
but you did adjust it... you decided to use Photoshop to open it, versus lets say.. SilkyPix, or Aperture.

edit:

also, what are you jpeg settings for your in camera jpegs? which mode were they shot in? Keep in mind sharpness is relative, "0" sharpness is still a debatable point in the sharpness scale...

for instance, a pentax's "-1" sharpness would be "0" sharpness on a canon or something...


what i'm trying to say is that you are chasing your tail, you are trying to compare raw and jpeg in a way that it was not meant to be compared.

Last edited by Gooshin; 01-14-2009 at 01:23 PM.
01-14-2009, 02:54 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by drewdlephone Quote
.

If RAW retained the original processing applied in-body by the camera, including color modes and sharpness adjustments, then it would be far more useful. But I can keep dreaming.
That's exactly what the Pentax software does. It uses the in-camera jpeg settings and uses them to process the raw file. The difference, of course, is that you can then adjust them to your heart's content, or not. Lots of times, the default settings are perfectly fine, and then I'm done "processing" my raw file. However, sometimes something is a little off and then I adjust it how I see appropriate.

Shooting in raw is basically no different than shooting jpeg, except that you have much more room for adjustments after the shot. However, it's not required. Using a program like Lightroom is exactly the same regardless of the file format. You never even know you're dealing with raw files, except that you retain the full range of adjustment options, instead of the limited range of jpeg adjustments. (Note - I'm not talking about the number of attributes that can be adjusted. The same attributes in raw can be adjusted in jpeg. However, the range of adjustments is much greater with raw.)
01-14-2009, 03:41 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ashley Quote
Last night I deecided to see what the difference is between an untouched raw and straight from camera jpeg photograph when printed out. I set my K10D to RAW+jpeg
It's pretty well known that K10D JPGs are are not optimal -
There is even a current thread on this - why don't people like K10D JPEGs (with lots of links to comparisons and comments) -
that does not mean they are bad - just that they could be better
and there are lots of examples out there comparing K10D JPG and RAW -

One of the best I've seen comes from the DCRP review of the Pentax K10D - about 3/4 way down the page they say:

" Summarizing my feelings about the K10D's image quality is not easy. When shooting JPEGs with the camera at its default settings, the K10D's photo quality was somewhat disappointing by D-SLR standards. Photos are soft (which is, admittedly, common on midrange SLRs) and colors are fairly dull. When I started taking RAW and JPEG images at the same time, I was floored by the differences: the RAW images were significantly better, and truly show what the camera is capable of. "

followed by quite a few examples.

dpReview also pointed out the difference between JPG and RAW -

" Image sharpness / demosaicing (JPEG vs. RAW)
We were a little disappointed that the K10D's built-in image processor didn't deliver the crisp sharp edges which can be produced by shooting RAW and converting using a third party engine (such as Adobe Camera RAW). It's speculation but it does appear to me to be a combination of the type of demosaicing algorithm used (not isolating edge detail well enough) and the type of sharpening algorithm (as discussed earlier this appears to work to enhance the 'undershoot', the black side, of an edge). As we saw in the Image Parameters section of this review increasing sharpening only appears to increase the visibility of texture type detail rather than edge sharpness.
Below you can see a comparison using our standard studio scene between JPEG straight from the camera and a RAW converted using Adobe Camera RAW (as per our normal RAW converter settings, no sharpening and then a 80% unsharp mask applied after conversion). "
01-14-2009, 03:57 PM   #14
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When you're printing make sure you set the profile to Adobe RGB
01-14-2009, 04:08 PM   #15
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You sure about that?

QuoteOriginally posted by Gooshin Quote
true,

i would also like to add a few points

Elements 6 is doing one or some of the following

1. taking the in-camera jpeg settings, translating them into "element speak", and then applying them to the RAW

2. completely ignoring the in camera jpeg settings, and applying its own "basic" algorithm to the RAW file

3. completly ignoring the in camera jpeg setting, and not applying any processing to it

option 2 is most likely to happen, and the 3rd option is (IMO) least likely because there always has to be a "baseline" to which the program has to reference something. IE, blue is only blue if you reference it to blue, if what the camera says is blue but the program things is 1 point off blue towards green then you will obviously get conflict

same goes for sharpening and all that jazz
My understanding is that RAW data is not processed in PS if the Default Image Settings (defaults) are deselected. In that case, PS opens the RAW data without processing; it opens JPEG with the camera settings.

Brian
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