Benefits of RAW

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by reconstyle, Feb 19, 2008.

  1. reconstyle

    reconstyle TPF Noob!

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    Ok, I know if you shoot raw it allows you to adjust the WB during pp, but what else can you do in RAW that you cant do to a jpeg?
     
  2. photogincollege

    photogincollege TPF Noob!

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    Well its not really what you can do in raw. It's what raw doesnt do to the image. You can still white balance a jpeg. With raw, all data is there, its uncompressed. You get better color representation, and with a jpeg everytime you work on it, it degrades the image a little more, with raw this isnt so.
     
  3. RKW3

    RKW3 TPF Noob!

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    That's a quote from this thread, which has the same topic.
     
  4. Mav

    Mav TPF Noob!

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    And here's the very next post after that one.

    You can do plenty of processing on JPEGs with little to no loss in quality, and still get outstanding large prints. Artifacts? Not when you're saving at 97% quality with the same or larger file size than what you started with. I can even process them twice and still never see any artifacts, and that's starting from a Large/Normal (not even Fine) JPEG on my D80. I shot an entire event in RAW + JPEG mode once and the only time a processed RAW truly looked better than a processed JPEG was when I made a mistake, such as overexposing, and needed to recover blown highlights. You can do that with RAW to some extent, but you're pretty much hosed with JPEG. So RAW helped me recover from some of my own mistakes, but it didn't do diddly for improving photos that were already done correctly in the first place.

    I'm definitely spoiled by the great JPEG outputs of my Nikons though. With Auto ISO, Auto Contrast, Auto Saturation, and other stuff they make sure you get a good JPEG straight off the camera, which minimizes the need for screwing around later. That isn't the case with other systems, which would increase the likelihood of me shooting RAW. I just got back from a vacation where I took 2900 photos, and there were at times very large differences in the Auto Contrast settings from shot to shot as scenes and light changed. Almost all of the JPEGs themselves look great from that perspective and all I'll need to do for the most part is simple lighting and color adjustments, and a WB tweak here and there.
     
  5. BoblyBill

    BoblyBill TPF Noob!

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    The advantage of RAW over JPEG is that instead of working with just 256 (8 bit) colors as in a JPEG, you are working with 4096 colors in RAW (16 bit (which actually 12 bit but whatever)). The advantage that it has is in trying to recover shots that have been blown out and underexposed.

    Do this for an experiment... Take a shot in RAW that is nicely exposed and everything. Then save it as a 16bit tif, and a 8bit jpeg. Now assuming you have photoprocessor that you can edit photos in 16bit, take both the 8 and 16 bit and goto Image>Adjustments>Levels (please understand that I'm working in Photoshop CS3).

    Should look like this:
    [​IMG]

    Once there move the left output level to read 245, like this:
    [​IMG]

    hit OK and save both of them. You should get a picture that is almost completely white that you can just barely make out the picture. Now close both of them and reopen them. Goto the same place, i.e. Image>Adjustments>Levels. If you look at the histogram, there should be a little spike on the right side of the box, like this:
    [​IMG]

    Now drag the lefthand input level to 245, like this:
    [​IMG]

    After doing that to both compare the two... the 16bit will look almost like the original as the 8bit is terribly grainy. here's an example of one of my pictures at 100% using the 8bit, 16bit, and original side by side.
    [​IMG]

    The advanage of RAW is in restoration of a photograph. I personally always shoot RAW because I 'cause most of what I shoot are clouds and ground which are never even close to the same light intensities and the clouds are always blown out or the ground is just black... but with raw I can usually compensate for that because I have the extra colors to work with.
     
  6. Mav

    Mav TPF Noob!

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    I use a 2-stop grad ND filter. :wink:

    Double stacked 2-stop ND and a 2-stop grad ND, shot in JPEG, enhanced in DxO for more punchy and dramatic colors, among other things. The sky and water/beach were pretty well balanced with little need to try to balance them.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Helen B

    Helen B TPF Noob!

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    Not only does Raw hold more information than TIFF and JPEG formats, but it also holds it in a different way. Raw data is usually linear, or close to it, as far as I know. That means that 50% of the data range represents 50% of the light. Parts of the image that are one stop down from what would be represented as pure white are recorded as 50% of the maximum numerical value (this need not be perfectly true).

    JPEGs have a tone curve (transform) applied, according to the colour space. This is more representative of the way we perceive tones, and it means that 50% of the numeric value may represent two or two-and-a-half stops down from what would be represented as pure white. Therefore the highlights have been compressed.

    This means that Raw is a much better format for highlight manipulations, apart from the simple fact that Raw holds more image data.

    You can't see this until you make adjustments - Raw files are rarely displayed without a tone curve being applied in one way or another.

    Confused enough now?

    Best,
    Helen
     
  8. KVB1085

    KVB1085 TPF Noob!

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    i spoke with someone last night about this matter...

    anyways, what i was wondering is which photo editing software is best for working with the RAW files and where can i download a copy?

    i have photoshop 7.0 but from what i can tell i can't edit the raw shots....
     
  9. nismo

    nismo TPF Noob!

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    that sunset pic is stunning
     
  10. Rob Duncan

    Rob Duncan TPF Noob!

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    I agree, I was reading this for other reasons, but that is really a great picture.
     
  11. Antithesis

    Antithesis No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If your using a Nikon, you can download ViewNX directly from them and it will do batch processing of RAW images which you can convert to TIFF and then should be able to open in Photoshop for advanced editing. I'd highly recommend saving up for CS3 though, it makes working with images absurdly easy.

    I began shooting in RAW not too long ago, and having the ability to change WB in post can save a lot of images. I shot about 200 images one day in jpeg and I didn't notice that I had the WB set for flash and all my images had a horrendous blue cast that was so bad that I couldn't correct it. It's nice to have peace of mind because I sometimes space on stuff like that, and that could be devastating in a professional scenario. Also, you have a little more wiggle room in terms of exposure with RAW, but I haven't really noticed too much a difference from jpeg in that regard.

    I still have a lot to learn, but I only use jpeg for snaps and things I need to do quickly (ebay and craigslist posts and the like), but other than that my camera stays on raw. My only issue is a lack of HD space, so my ipod seconds as a hard drive.
     

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