D300 RAW: No "Visible" Difference?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by wjastrow, Feb 24, 2008.

  1. wjastrow

    wjastrow TPF Noob!

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    Gang,

    I've already seen several "RAW" threads but they tend to devolve into artistic debates with the participants already quite aware of the underlying question: Is RAW "better"?

    I moved up to the D300 recently after my D70 developed the unfortunate (GBLOD; Green Blinking Light of Death) and am enjoying it immensely.

    My pictures are "okay" (years later, I'm still learning) but I've switched to shooting in "14-bit" RAW (presumably the highest resolution on the D300?) and he images don't seem all that clearer than when I shoot in the highest JPEG and I get about 200 images on a 4GB cartridge instead of almost 700. Quality DOES matter but I'm not *seeing* it.

    I really don't edit my photos other than cropping. I've started to work with CaptureNX but the product seems to want more than the 1GB of RAM on my PC.

    Is the whole point of shooting in RAW the ability to precisely edit an image? I've yet to have prints of anything made I've done with the D300. Perhaps, this is when I'll see a difference?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. JimmyO

    JimmyO TPF Noob!

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    Yes, most of the advantages of shooting raw will become apparent in the post procesing of an image.
     
  3. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    RAW has no compression in it, Jpeg is lossy. You can see the difference even in basic color correction.

    About the sharpness and clarity, I don't know about the D300, but for the D70, it's night and day. (For the D70) Shooting RAW allows you to print larger as a result of the tighter detail and lack of the anti-aliasing blurring that murders images.

    If all you do is crop and not print any larger than 12x18, and are happy with the results the D300 cranks out, than by all means shoot jpeg, you'd be wasting your time with NEF's. If you want upmost quality for post and printing, shoot NEF because even in sharpening, you'll see the jpeg compression.
     
  4. CanadianMe

    CanadianMe TPF Noob!

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    View raw as a negative comparable to film. Its how I think of them.
     
  5. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Not sure about that camera, but most cameras apply sharpening when creating JPGs, whereas the RAW data of course has no sharpening applied. So, if at all, the JPG will be clearer unless you sharpen in the RAW conversion proicess (not sure though what exactly you mean by clear).

    With easy light and little postprocessing, you will not see much more difference between RAW and JPG. Only if you have to play with levels / curves a lot since the lighting situation was complicated, then the real advantages of 14 bit per channel become very obvious.
     
  6. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I find that for me and my D200, even after many months of diligent study, I can recoupe a LOT of detail and quality post processing my RAW pics over shooting JPG. I always now shoot RAW becuase of the obvious lossless format and eay and accurate WB adjustments.

    I also find that as I learn to postprocess better, more and more quality is coming out from my playing.

    If some do not think that they have enough room to take the pics they need... get more memory cards, but don't sacrifice quality, unless it is not important to you. I have two 8GB cards and that has proven to do me well enough for a full day no matter what the situation. If place could be a concern, I could use compressed RAW and double up on the # of pics per card.

    The thing all comes down to... as an enthusiast, how serious are you about extracting the MOST from each pic? That will decide for you what your needs are.
     
  7. A lot of times JPG is good enough, esp. if you're shooting in straight-forward lighting conditions. Theoretically there isn't a major difference in sharpness or contrast. Your camera allows you to preset those (along with a lot of other image parameters) for JPG, but for RAW that is irrelevant. When you shoot a JPG, your camera captures the image, applies the presets, and then compresses the image. The RAW data holds on to the full image data, and you can apply or discard settings as you like. You can even create multiple images off the same "digital negative."

    But normal sharpness etc has more to do with your lens and your ability to take a photograph, both of which seems pretty good. Nothing wrong with shooting JPG if you're getting the results you want.

    Of course, you can always let the camera shoot BOTH simultaneously... :)
     
  8. D-50

    D-50 TPF Noob!

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    I think the comparison to a film negative is a great way to think of RAW. You really cant compare RAW with JPEG or Tiff just like you really wouldn't compare a negative to a 4x6 photo. RAW is used for editing just like a film negative is used to create a photo you can do different things in the developing editing process to change the way the final print will look. Correct me if Im wrong but I do not think many people print from a RAW file. Rather the edited RAW is converted to a Tiff or Jpeg and then printed. If you do no editing and never plan to might as well shoot in JPEG. If you plan to edit always choose RAW.
     
  9. Silver.Winged.Demon

    Silver.Winged.Demon TPF Noob!

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    RAW is probably the best to shoot at for high quality. When you open photoshop or lightroom notice how much you can change in the image. With .jpg or .jpeg, it is all through computer generated colors. RAW is all of it's own colors in one file. That is one reason why the file is so big.

    The quality also depends on how you set your camera. I have a D200 (soon upgrading when Nikon makes a new camera) and there is a big difference in the quality from .jpg to RAW.

    Also if the image seems to be slightly fuzzy, it is also because you may have the Antidust setting on. Just Smart sharpen the image on gaussian 1.8 px (no higher) and choose the percentage that suits you.
     
  10. sabbath999

    sabbath999 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I only shoot RAW if the lighting conditions are very tricky.

    The D300 is a different kind of animal than most cameras that came before it... it really is. The the white balance settings available (gray-card) are insane on it, from 2,500 - 10,000K Kelvin. The Active D-Lighting is a GODSEND, and the colors you can produce with this camera are WILD.

    These settings are all fully used when making JPEGS. With RAW, some of Active D-Lighting is (the exposure, obviously, works with both) while the other settings are appended to the NEF file so that you can apply them with Capture NX (or not, your choice).

    I don't personally shoot RAW because, for me, it is nothing more than an extra set of steps in the workflow. If I get into a tough lighting situation on a shot I really care about, I will go RAW.

    My pictures look good out of my D300 at 20X30 when examined from an inch away when I shoot JPEGS... and I actually am pretty picky when it comes to prints.

    I know this isn't a popular opinion, and that I am in the minority, but on the other hand I just don't really care what other people think about it. They can shoot their stuff, I will shoot mine.
     
  11. Phranquey

    Phranquey TPF Noob!

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    Thank you...thank you...thank you.

    Yes, you are in a minority, but know that you are not alone.

    When asked (which I don't know why it matters to people, but people ALWAYS ask) "you shoot in RAW, right?"....."NOPE"....I am looked at like I am from an alien planet.

    If I am shooting an important event, like a wedding for a friend or someone through work, then yes, just in case.

    Otherwise "Real men shoot JPG" (a t-shirt I saw.....I almost hugged the guy...:hail:)
     
  12. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    On a completely different angle I shoot RAW because I don't like the colour that comes off the D200 or out of Nikon Capture NX either. I find the Lightroom default with a touch less contrast (my new default) gives a very realistic image.
     

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