RAW help

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by stang96mj, May 21, 2010.

  1. stang96mj

    stang96mj TPF Noob!

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    Ok, I am wanting to convert to using RAW from jpeg. Is it easier to use RAW+Jpeg? I have Adobe Photoshop Elements 6 and also the software that came with my camera, Digital Photo Professional. I have a trial of the CS5 and the Corel Paint Shop Pro x3. Which one of these would you recommend that I use to process my photos in? And how do I save my RAW files to jpegs when done? Any thoughts or help is greatly appreciated!!!:D
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    In my opinion, shooting RAW+JPEG is a waste of card space. Once you get your workflow down, you can get a JPEG from a RAW in a few simple clicks.

    Canon DPP is a decent program for opening & converting RAW images. Basically, you open the RAW files, make your adjustments then save the image as a JPEG or TIFF etc. Then you can open Elements or whatever and continue the editing.

    If your camera is compatible with the version of ACR (Adobe Camera RAW) that is loaded into your Photoshop, then you can open the RAW directly with Photoshop (including Elements). ACR is basically a sub program where you open the RAW files, make your adjustments, then hit OK....which brings you back to Photoshop. You then save the file as JPEG, TIFF, PSD etc.

    My personal recommendation would be to buy Adobe Lightroom. It's a 'workflow' software that helps control your entire process...and it's really great for RAW files.
     
  3. Jeff Colburn

    Jeff Colburn TPF Noob!

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    I use CS3 and Bridge. Bridge came with the Adobe Suite I bought.

    You will want to do RAW only. You can process RAW without degrading the image, whereas every time you save a JPG it degrades. JPG is a lossy file, which means you lose something every time you save it. RAW is a lossless process, so the image never degrades.

    If Elements can read RAW files, it should let you do a Save As where you can save your RAW images as JPGs. Don't use trial versions of software unless you plan to buy them, as files you create may not be readable by the other software you have after the trial version expires. That is, Elements 6 may not be able to read CS5 files.

    Check out Digital Photo Professional too as it will read RAW files, and may be very useful for you.

    Have Fun,
    Jeff
     
  4. emh

    emh TPF Noob!

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    I'm a newbie, so I'm going to have a different perspective from the other guys who have already chimed in :D

    I do RAW+jpeg. Most of my pics I want to keep for memories and people, and the jpeg is just fine. But for the select few that I want to spend a bit more effort on (or the occasional shot the needs rescue), I have the RAW available.

    As for SW, I use Paintshop Photo Pro X3. CS5 is too expensive for my needs and Elements is too limiting. But if you are already used to Elements, you may be better of staying with one of the Adobe options to avoid the hassle of having to learn a whole new interface and way of doing things.
     
  5. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    RAW data files have either a 12-bit depth (4096 colors) or a 14-bit (16,384 colors) depth.

    JPEG only has an 8-bit (256 colors) depth and to get down to only 8-bits the conversion process has to discard a lot of color data the image sensor recorded. That's why it's called a lossy image format (destructive). None of that discarded color data is recoverable, it's gone forever. The image is also converteed into 8 pixel by 8 pixel squares and those 64 pixels are averaged to further reduce the image file size.

    If you have 10 MP camera you wind up with about 2 MP worth of image data. Yep, you loose about 80%. That's if you shoot JPEG Fine. If you shoot JPEG Medium or Basic you loose even more. (So what's the point in owning a 10 MP dSLR camera so you can look at 2 MP worth of image data?)

    When you shoot in RAW a JPEG Basic image is embedded in the RAW file. That is what you see on the back of the camera because the RAW data files aren't image files. The histogram you can see on the back of the camera is also from that JPEG Basic not the RAW data file.

    All RAW images need at the least a minimum of post processing and that is usually quickly accomplished in the RAW converter, which ever one you use. I use ACR (Adobe Camera RAW) myself. A RAW converter changes the RAW data file to an image file and sets the bit depth to 16 bits.

    A RAW image file can be edited without any loss of image data as long as it is kept in the 16-bit depth (non-destructive). However, not all editing features are 16-bit capable. So if you need to do edits with 8-bit tools those edits are destructive, unless you do them on a adjustment layer.

    Plus for web use or printing, the file has to be converted to the 8-bit depth (JPEG.)
     
  6. g-fi

    g-fi TPF Noob!

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    I shoot RAW+jpg and use the jpgs to view my pictures before editing and select the RAW files I want to work with, I don't edit or keep the jpg's after I upload the RAW files. It does eat up a little more memory, but it makes my workflow a little easier for me. I do have a RAW codec installed on my computer so that I can view RAW thumbnails, but I can't see a full size image that way so having the jpgs to view off the card before I even start uploading files works best for me.

    As for converting RAW to jpg (or tif or whatever) Bridge, or Lightroom, whatever editing program you use should have a RAW handler that will export the RAW files to a filetype of your choice. I always recommend Lightroom, I think it's a fantastic program that keeps getting more and more flexible.
     

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