RAW

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by gtaylor, Apr 14, 2008.

  1. gtaylor

    gtaylor TPF Noob!

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    I can't see much advantage in shooting RAW.

    I realize "pros" use only RAW files, but for my money the friendlier JPG is just fine.

    I'm trying to educate myself of its advantages to the average "shooter".

    :)
     
  2. asfixiate

    asfixiate TPF Noob!

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    Do you plan on editing any of your shots after you take them?

    Reasons to Shoot JPG

    — Files are smaller and therefore more of them fit on a card.
    — For many applications image quality is more than sufficient (family snapshots, news images).
    — Small files are more easily transmitted wirelessly and online. This is important to newspaper photographers.
    — Many photographers don't have the time or inclination to post-process their files.
    — Many cameras (especially digicams) can not shoot quickly when working in raw mode. Some lower-end models can't record raw files at all.
    Reasons to Shoot Raw

    — A raw file is comparable to the latent image contained in an exposed but undeveloped piece of film. It holds exactly what the imaging chip recorded. Nothing more. Nothing less. This means that the photographer is able to extract the maximum possible image quality, whether now or in the future. A good analogy with the traditional world of film is that you have the opportunity to use a different type of developer or development time at any point in the future if one comes along that you think might do a better job of processing the image.
    — Raw files have not had while balance set. They are tagged with whatever the camera's setting was, (either that which was manually set or via auto-white-balance), but the actual data has not been changed. This allows one to set any colour temperature and white balance one wishes after the fact with no image degradation. It should be understood that once the file has been converted from the linear space and has had a gamma curve applied (such as in a JPG) white balance can no longer be properly done.
    — File linearization and colour filter array (Bayer) conversion is done on a computer with a fast and powerful microprocessor. This allows much more sophisticated algorithms to be used than those done in a camera with its slower and less powerful processor and with less space for complex conversion programs.
    — The raw file is tagged with contrast and saturation information as set in the camera by the user, but the actual image data has not been changed. The user is free to set these based on a per-image evaluation rather than use one or two generalized settings for all images taken.
    — Possibly the biggest advantage of shooting raw is that one has a 16 bit image (post raw conversion) to work with. This means that the file has 65,536 levels to work with. This is opposed to a JPG file's 8 bit space with just 256 brightness levels available. This is important when editing an image, particularly if one is trying to open up shadows or alter brightness in any significant way.
     
  3. Big Mike

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

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  4. Mav

    Mav TPF Noob!

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    You can still adjust white balance in JPEG with little to no loss in quality. And you can still recover PLENTY of shadow detail in JPEG also with little to no loss in quality. Why were imaging systems standardized on 8-bits / 256 levels? Because the human visual system is hard pressed to identify even 100 distinct tones. 256 x 256 x 256 for each color channel is 16.7 million colors. How many do you need? The only thing RAW has ever helped me with is when I make a technical error such as overexposing, but that's about it.

    See also: http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/raw.htm :p
     
  5. Arch

    Arch Damn You! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Uh... Ken Rockwell has an awful opinion about RAW imo, take it with a pinch of salt.
    The link Big Mike gave is MUCH more accurate and informative.
    IMO shoot RAW at all times... but this opinion will change with every photog you talk to.
    Im really going to have to make a sticky on this subject. :roll:
     
  6. kbeelitz

    kbeelitz TPF Noob!

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    Since I purchased my Olympus E510, I've been able to utilize RAW. Ever since I discovered Photoshop years ago, I’ve always heard about RAW but was not able to take advantage of it. Basically, RAW = awesome/great. Like what Arch stated shoot RAW at all times. It gives you more leeway for editing. Do to its bulkiness, you may not want to use it on just “random” snapshots –the files are large.
     
  7. Socrates

    Socrates TPF Noob!

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    :thumbup:
     
  8. Mav

    Mav TPF Noob!

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    Over half of what I see posted about JPEG by RAW shooters is awfully inaccurate and provably false at worse, or exaggerated at best. Some of the benefits of RAW while technically accurate you might only be able to see at 100% viewing (the equivalent of having your nose into a 3 foot wide print), or even 200% (nose into a 6 foot wide print) which isn't how anybody actually views photos. And I routinely do things with my JPEGs that people say you "can't" do unless you're shooting RAW, which I honestly think is pretty funny. The article that Mike posted is good, but you can hardly tell ANY difference in the example images posted.

    Here's the biggest reason for shooting RAW as per that article.

    Line by line...

    Not really. "Burned in" implies you're hard-locked to whatever the JPEG is, but that's not true at all.

    Most JPEG outputs from DSLRS are on the SOFT side precisely because over-sharpened JPEGs that you try to soften up end up looking like crap. It looks far better to have a soft JPEG output and add sharpening as needed, which is how pretty much everybody does it. The cameras are tuned so that the very best professional level lens you can put on the camera will look just right, but the lesser lenses will need to have some sharpening added for the best results. I've never seen an overcooked JPEG out of my Nikons with regards to sharpening.

    Nope. I can completely yank around screwed up white balance in JPEGs and it looks just the same as RAW. RAW does make it easier for you since you can select among the different in-camera settings, but I have yet to see a JPEG I've taken with messed up white balance where the RAW resulted in any better of a photo. And yes I've shot both side by side.

    Nikons have auto-contrast which is great. In over 20,000 shots between my D40 and D80 I've never had a single shot where shadow details were dropped because the auto contrast takes care of it. If I shot with Canon, I'd be far more likely to shoot in RAW precisely because of this, but thanks to Nikon I don't have to. This is one of the big reasons why I never switched to Canon. My buddy shoots Canon, and yes he tends to blow out his JPEGs from time to time with regards to contrast, and yes he's hosed unless he shot RAW too.

    Even the lowest "Basic" JPEG quality setting on Nikon has great output with no visible artifacting or loss of detail. In fact I've processed a Basic JPEG and a RAW side by side and honestly could not tell the difference in which was which in a blind "after" test. Usually I shoot JPEG / Normal which is one step higher just because it makes me "feel better" but even from my own testing the Basic JPEG is just fine, and a lot smaller. Even after two rounds of processing re-saving both such that the file size after was the same as the file size before, you still cannot see any artifacting or other JPEG compression issues, even when viewed at 100% or more.


    Going through the rest of the article, the part about JPEG compression and "squares" is hilarious. I can NEVER see the JPEG "squares" at any reasonable magnification. What magnification did the author use to display that, 600%? :roll: And nobody shooting JPEG re-saves at low quality levels anyways, so the whole point is moot. The next part talks about sharpening being worse on JPEGs because it'll just sharpen the squares?? WTF? I never see them to begin with viewing at normal magnification and saving at reasonable quality settings, so another moot point. I never see any posterization either, and I don't have time to go on all day. :)


    So a lot of the reasons people give for shooting RAW and why JPEG is so bad is built on myths, lies, and exaggerations. Yes there ARE reasons to shoot RAW and I do shoot RAW from time to time, mainly for money shots where I can't afford a mistake, and primarily for the purpose of being better able to recover from any mistakes, not to make a better image had I actually gotten my technique right in the first place. I try to get it right on the camera the first time, and when you do that there's little real reason to shoot RAW.

    I need to make a "The Myths of RAW" post. I'm sure it'll go over very well and be very popular. :roll:
     
  9. Socrates

    Socrates TPF Noob!

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    :wav:
     
  10. STICKMAN

    STICKMAN TPF Noob!

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    Can the Nikon D40 shoot Raw? And what are some estimates as to file sizes when shooting such. Being new to this makes me want to be sure i make the right purchase the first time.
     
  11. Mav

    Mav TPF Noob!

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    Yeah the D40 will shoot RAW only or RAW + Basic JPEG. A Basic JPEG is about 750 KB and a RAW is around 5 MB.
     
  12. noob873

    noob873 TPF Noob!

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    I shoot RAW most of the time, probably like 90%, but I dont believe you should only use RAW like some of you had said. Like if you're doing something where you need to use (or show someone) most/all the pictures you have taken, you wont want to edit every single one to be able to have them viewable. I think you should understand what I mean
     

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