RAW & JPEG photo difference

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by pvclobster, Jun 25, 2010.

  1. pvclobster

    pvclobster TPF Noob!

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    Tonight at the fireworks (yes, this small town has them a week early), I decided to shoot in RAW+JPEG. When I loaded them into iphoto, I was surprised to see that in my photos the JPEG copies looked like the sky was totally black, while the RAW copies it looked blue-almost like it was slightly more exposed. Similarly, I could see more of the smoke in the sky in the RAW photos than in the JPEG copies. Is that just a function of the fact that RAW has more color options, or was something else weird going on? Thanks!

    Example:
    JPEG-[​IMG]

    RAW-[​IMG]
     
  2. adversus

    adversus TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    The short answer is:

    When your camera creates the JPEG from the RAW, it does it's own internal processing which generally reduces detail and quality. This is why most folks shoot with RAW and use that image as the base for post processing. The more data that's there (i.e. in your case, the sky + smoke), the better the image and the more to work with later.
     
  3. rangerman

    rangerman TPF Noob!

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    I am shooting raw most of the time. Was using jpeg for one year, but RAW has too many good points that I cannot ignore. NIKON raw is NEF format
     
  4. Dwig

    Dwig TPF Noob!

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    quite true, but as a preface:

    You camera always shoots RAW. All digital cameras only shoot RAW, and nothing but RAW, even your cell phone. The setting in the camera to select JPEG and/or RAW is selecting what format the camera saves to the card and not what it shoots. When the camera is asked to save as JPEG it uses its own internal RAW-to-JPEG converter to create the JPEG.

    additionally:

    When you view either a RAW or JPEG image on a computer the computer must convert either to an uncompressed bitmap that it can display. To create this screen image, the viewing software uses it own RAW-to-Bitmap converter to generate the displayed image from the RAW files.

    In effect, you are seing the difference between the two converter and their settings. You camera's converter is opting to loose some of the shadow, probably to keep contrast and saturation levels high. iPhoto, on the other hand, is preserving more of the original image's shadow detail.
     
  5. pvclobster

    pvclobster TPF Noob!

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    Thanks, that makes more sense!
     
  6. Vautrin

    Vautrin No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    You know most digital cameras let you choose presets.

    If you were using a specific preset, the camera might be doing a series of edits before saving.

    For instance, if I choose "landscape" mode on my olympus it'll bump up saturation, do some sharpening, and probably some other things.

    For particularly colorful scenes the difference is quite noticable compared with RAW with no program settings.

    Also I'm not sure how iPhoto treats raw files. In lightroom no matter what program setting I have on (e.g. monochrome, landscape) lightroom will pull the raw file back to its unprocessed settings...
     
  7. smackitsakic

    smackitsakic TPF Noob!

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    I don't mean to hijack this thread, but a fireworks show is coming through my city next week and i'd like to capture some photos. The pictures in this thread are great - what kind of settings does a guy need to use to capture fireworks? How do you meter properly?
     
  8. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Presets and any other in-camera edit options (including white balance), do not get applied to a RAW data file.

    JPEG images can only render 256 tones/colors (8-bit depth) per channel, while Raw can render up to 65,536 tones/colors per channel at the 14-bit depth.
     
  9. pvclobster

    pvclobster TPF Noob!

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    These photos happened to be in manual. But now I'd be curious to see what my camera does with some of the other modes (I haven't really used most of them yet).
     
  10. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Sure you did, that's why you went ahead and did it instead of starting your own. :mrgreen:
     
  11. pvclobster

    pvclobster TPF Noob!

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    I set my focus to infinity, the iso to 100, aperture to f11 or so, and the shutter to bulb. It was easy-just sat there with my tripod and held the shutter for however long seemed appropriate. There's a whole bunch of threads on fireworks that I went through, and those seemed to be typical settings from what I was reading.
     
  12. pvclobster

    pvclobster TPF Noob!

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    That's what I was wondering about-thanks.
     

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