Another shooting RAW vs. JPEG thread. HELP!

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by stsinner, Nov 4, 2008.

  1. stsinner

    stsinner TPF Noob!

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    I know it's probably been beaten to death. On every photography forum I go to it seems to be the elephant in the room.

    I've been told by a professional friend of mine that he shoots JPEG Fine, but I've been told by others that they shoot only RAW. Ken Rockwell the Great says that you can't tell a difference between JPEG Fine and JPEG Normal for most applications, so he shoots Normal..

    My problem is this: RAW files are useless until every single one of them is opened up and manipulated and saved as JPEG, creating duplicate files all over my hard drive. Also, RAW files are HUGE, and they severely reduce the number of pics I can store on my 2 Gig SD card.

    The pro friend of mine says that he uses tags with every single picture in Lightroom so that he can find them later, but in order to do that it seems that I would never have any time to take any photos between converting and tagging every picture..

    Finally, I don't know what my camera does, or if the software does it, (Nikon Transfer) but my pictures look much warmer when taken in JPEG rather than RAW.

    For a hobbyist and not someone who makes any money shooting, is RAW a waste of time and space?

    Thanks for the info.
     
  2. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    No.
     
  3. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    It has, search is your friend.

    Yep.

    The jury is still out on this one.

    The JPG/Raw debate depends on what you are doing and how involved in your photography you want to get. Most working pro's know the portion of their craft very well and shoot a lot by roat. That is to say pretty much the same poses/locations for each shoot. I'm taling about the day in day out wedding/portrait/seinor photographer. Once you get the lay of the land so to speak you don't need the flexability that Raw provides. You shoot, do minor tweaks and sell.

    Raw on the other hand is basically a digital negative. It is much more felxable than a JPG file and more forgiving. Raw if for the shooter that wants total control of their shot from inception to publishing. The darkroom for raw is a computer instead of a traditional wetroom/darkroom.

    If you are not a pro as I described above then you have to decide where you want to go with this. There were tons of film shooters that never processed one negative or printed on shot. They left that to some form of lab. In todays world that would be equilevent to shooting JPG's.

    On the other hand, I grew up in the dark processing and printing my own stuff. I like the control. Raw gives me the same control althogh Raw is still not as forgiving as film is in some ways. It comes down to where you want to go with your photography.
     
  4. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    If you aren't going to use RAW, you might as well pack up your DSLR camera and go buy a 'point & shoot' digicam.

    OK, that's a bit of an extreme take on the issue...but if you are at all concerned about image quality, then it would make sense to use the highest quality settings that you have available.

    There is a learning curve with RAW files. Learning how to efficiently process them could really make a difference in how you view RAW files.

    Of course, you don't have to shoot RAW...but you would certainly be missing out if you don't.
     
  5. stsinner

    stsinner TPF Noob!

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    Thanks, guys for the time.. Can anyone explain to me what people mean when they say that RAW gives you more control? Do you meant that if you took a JPEG photo and a RAW photo in Lightroom and used the various controls in the develop tab, they would respond differently to the adjustments?
     
  6. MikeBcos

    MikeBcos TPF Noob!

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    I've not had my D40 long but I'm shooting RAW+JPG, this gives me the best of both worlds. The RAW files are transferred into one folder where I sort and tag them all using Adobe Bridge. Tagging doesn't take long at all, you don't have to do one at a time, select multiples and tag them all together.

    The JPG are transferred into another folder, they are sorted into sub-folders but I don't tag them. They are the ones I use on the net and also email. I also have two computers set so that the screen saver is a slide show of all the photos in that folder, that way I get to see a random selection of my photographs displayed pretty much all the time.

    When I want to play with photos and take them to work to print on my good printers I want the RAW files, they are much better to work with in Photoshop etc.
     
  7. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Pretty much, yes.

    The camera has settings for White balance, saturation, sharpness, contrast etc. When you shoot JPEG, those setting are applied to the image and the the extra data is thrown out and the image is compressed. When you shoot RAW, those settings are recorded but not locked into the image. So you have the option of changing them, without doing damage to the image, before you convert the file into a typical image format like JPEG or TIFF etc.

    There are many situations when a shot was not exposed perfectly or something wasn't set the way you want it. A RAW image will give you a much better opportunity to save the image than a JPEG image will.

    WHY RAW?
     
  8. dEARlEADER

    dEARlEADER TPF Noob!

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    sounds like you should just shoot jpeg and be happy...
     
  9. Arch

    Arch Damn You! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    1. Shoot whatever you think is easier and most practical for you right now... if you start getting things printed larger for wall mounted pictures or if you want absolute control over your processing learn and shoot RAW.

    2. Many 'Professionals' will be set in thier ways and be totally wrong when giving advice to other people. I also know a wedding photographer who shoots jpeg... i never understood why, trouble is i don't think he does either.

    3. Camera cards are a low as $10 these days... room is no excuse not to shoot RAW.

    4. Ken Rockwell... i like some of his gear reviews, but the guy doesn't have a clue about processing and formats.
     
  10. tsaraleksi

    tsaraleksi TPF Noob!

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    If you can nail your exposures and you need to work through images very quickly and get stuff submitted or whatever, then you need to shoot JPEG. This is why a lot of professionals shoot that way-- to claim that if you know what you are doing you will shoot raw 100% of the time is just not accurate.
     
  11. rufus5150

    rufus5150 TPF Noob!

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    Hard drives and storage are cheap. Raw gives you a safety net to correct images you might not otherwise be able to salvage. I shot raw+jpeg until I felt comfortable that I could consistently get results from processing an image through raw. It took about a month.

    Things like lightroom and bridge give you the capacity to convert many images at once as well as tag many images at once. Again, this comes down to how you want to work. Establishing a good workflow will take a while but it's invaluable once you get used to it.
     
  12. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Also...
    You can always make a JPEG from a RAW file but you can't get a RAW file if you are shooting in JPEG.

    I always shoot in RAW, but if I just wanted JPEG files (for whatever reason) it would be a few simple clicks to output a whole batch of JPEG images from RAW files. With the right software, it can be very automatic.
     

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