RAW has gotten me confused.

Discussion in 'Digital Discussion & Q&A' started by pm63, Feb 14, 2009.

  1. pm63

    pm63 TPF Noob!

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    I've got a new PC (thanks for the advice Garbz) and have started shooting RAW, great.

    However, I'm finding it much more complex than JPEG and am wondering whether there is any real benefit.

    After copying the files from my card to PC, I use Picasa photo viewer, which installed with Picasa, to sort through them and make a selection for processing (uh-oh). When I scroll to an image, for a second or two the image looks good then it morphs into a butt-ugly thing devoid of contrast and saturation. I'm guessing the first image is the one with settings applied that my camera reccomended in the header file, and the second is the "pure" RAW file, if you like? If this is so, I am faced with a problem because this makes selection difficult - instead of being able to see the real RAW file from the start, I see the one with settings applied and have to wait a second to see the real one, unedited. I have no way of comparing side-by-side two files to see which one I prefer. Can someone reccomend me therefore a good image viewer that will let me see the untouched RAW files first thing, and compare them side by side (Nikon .NEF's)? Also, based on what should I choose the file to work on? By the cleanest histogram with no burnt out shadows or highlights, I presume? In that case, I need an app that will allow me to see a histgram.

    The next part of the workflow is the part I enjoy and find superior to JPG. I import to Adobe Camera Raw 4 to make my adjustments. This part is much easier and the controls are basically like my previous JPG workflow, but all in one place. When I am finished, however, I have 3 options: Save image, open image, cancel, and done. I see that 'done' saves a text file with all changes, without actually editing the file itself, I like that. However, my next step is to make more detailed adjustments in CS3, so I can either 'save image', and export as TIFF, then work on that in PS, or I can 'open image', and work on the NEF in PS anyway. I'm a bit confused here, which is the way to go? I always thought that exporting as TIFFs and editing in PS was what one should do, but now that I see I can work on the NEF's themselves I'm not sure. (N.B. I want the final, end-format to be uncompressed TIFF).

    After I've worked on the TIFF I save it, and I'm done. So far so good. Then it comes to picking a file to save for web and flickr, and possibly printing. Picasa photo viewer screws it up again. When I look at the files in that, they look completely different to when the same file is open either in PS or the default Windows photo viewer - they are much less saturated and generally don't look as nice. Now I'm wondering who to believe - Picasa photo viewer or PS and the Windows app? I didn't know different applications would render the same photo differently!

    Any help with this dilemmas would be much appreciated.
     
  2. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Ok a few things:

    1) I view images in windows picture viewer which only shows the RAW with its recomended jepg edit from the camera, so when I open them they do look different. I don't find this a problem though, a sharp wellexposed image is still the same when opened in the RAW editer - just that I might have to tweak a few things to get them right

    2) I always open the file after RAW editing - I only have elemets 6 so I edit RAW in that then open direct into elements for more editing, that saves the whole step of saving and then having to open the saved version. If you do decide to take that rout (say you do RAW in one program and editing in another) then always save as a TIFF to retain the details, JPEG is lossy and willl lose you data (it also will limit your bit rate of the photo as well which TIFF won't do)

    3) It sounds like your colour profile in your editing software is set to adob RGB - set it to sRGB to retain the colours and saturation since sRGB is the standard whilst RGB is not.
     
  3. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    If you want the nikon color back, under the camera profiles section in ACR select something like camera vivid.
     
  4. EOS_JD

    EOS_JD TPF Noob!

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  5. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    There is no such thing as viewing a "pure" RAW file. A RAW file is sensor data. What you see is the sensor data plus what the computer has done to convert it. As you already have figured out Picassa does a horrid job at processing a RAW file.

    Switch to something like Lightroom or CaptureNX (try the 30 day trials of each before you settle for one. [lightroom is better :)]). And within lightroom you can set the Camera profile at the very bottom down to Camera Standard or Camera Vivid to match the camera settings, or just use the superior (my opinion) Adobe Standard, which looks much less cartoony.
     
  6. KD5NRH

    KD5NRH TPF Noob!

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    Sure there is; debug will show you the whole thing in hex and ascii at the same time.
     
  7. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Ok guess I can't be right all the time :lmao:
     

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