unimpressed with RAW

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by mui, Nov 9, 2007.

  1. mui

    mui TPF Noob!

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    i've been a travel photographer junkie for a few years, and have always shot as high res as my camera would allow.

    now i'm shooting in a studio, and want to make sure i can blow my pictures up as big as possible - and have been experimenting with shooting RAW (as opposed to my usual jpeg)

    While my file sizes are now much bigger, i am finding there is very very little difference in the actual quality of the image. The way it deals with light seems to be a little different, but once again - not greatly.

    4048 x 3038 RAW verses 4048 x 3038 JPEG

    is there no clear winner?
     
  2. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    define what you mean by quality.

    When you directly shoot save your images as JPG, then the camera software does convert the RAW data to JPG on the fly with some default parameters.

    When you save as RAW and later convert into JPG on your computer with the same default parameters, then you will get more or less the same final JPG.

    You should see RAW as the unprocessed image data, which you can process the way you want, and not the way your camera thinks right. Use this freedom and you will get improved results in some cases, in particular when shooting in difficult light.

    Shooting RAW does not improve the resolution.
     
  3. Dave Hoffmann

    Dave Hoffmann TPF Noob!

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    RAW isn't supposed to produce a higher quality image. It provides you with the RAW data from the camera rather than a processed JPG image.

    A very simple example: Say you screwed up and had your WB on daylight when indoors under tungsten lighting -- you can edit the RAW files to switch to tungsten in a snap. With your JPG file, you now have a more challenging task -- you must use levels or curves and locate the white/black/gray points on the image to correct the WB. If you have a hundred JPGs that were incorrect, you now have more work ahead of you.

    If you nail the exposure, white balance, etc. everytime, forget using RAW and shoot JPG.

    You can always create a JPG from a RAW file, but you can't go the other way. Memory cards are cheap.
     
  4. Mohain

    Mohain TPF Noob!

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    RAW is the ideal studio format. Wholesale, non-destructive changes can be made to all of your images at once, plus individual tweaks can be made before outputting to your favoured file format and size. You can output directly to 16bit TIFF which can have significant quality benifits depending on your output. Another thing RAW is very good for is high ISO images (perhaps not that useful for studio work). RAW noise handling (plus other photoshop or stand alone plug-ins) tend to make much cleaner, practically noise free images, much better than in camera noise reduction.
     
  5. nossie

    nossie TPF Noob!

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    I'd never shoot outside of RAW. There is a work flow that you have to accept afterwards during the conversion but it's worth it.

    RAW gives you the light that hit the camera sensor, so if for example you had the light balance set to cloudy on a sunny day your jpg would look very yellow but in raw it doesn't matter coz no balance or adjustments were made on your behalf.
    Also jpegs are recorded in 8 bit colour depth and RAW usually around 12bit which allows you to capture or recover data that is impossible to do with straight jpeg.

    These 3 images are from the one click. The first is approximately what you would get if you save straight to jpeg but because I used RAW I was able to darken down 2 stops for the sky and then blend the 2 images together. This is just a 2 min job for your benefit but you can be a lot more precise of course, here the horse has a bit of a halo which could be bettered in a 5 min job and 2 stops looks a bit strong but I hope it helps you get the idea of what more is available in RAW.

    [​IMG]
    Powerscourt Gardens, Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow.
     
  6. mui

    mui TPF Noob!

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    thanks for your feedback; very helpful.

    'shooting RAW does not improve resolution'

    Ah... my expectations of RAW were that I would recieve more clarity in my images - less noise and - most significantly- sharper in low light conditions.

    I thought the difference would be like shooting (video) SD to HD.

    The photographs i'm shooting at the moment are low light, and i'm finding when i'm looking at them at 100% - they're not sharp (and it's not a focus issue)

    I thought RAW could solve this, but perhaps this is an exposure issue, not a RAW/JPEG issue.

    Should I post a sample...? Can I post that kind of size?
     
  7. mui

    mui TPF Noob!

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    nossie - do you mean you only shot ONE image. And you were able to tweak the RAW image to produce this result????
     
  8. Sideburns

    Sideburns TPF Noob!

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    Post it, but host it on photobucket or something.
     
  9. mui

    mui TPF Noob!

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    hmmm... sorry - am new here. not sure how to do that
     
  10. nossie

    nossie TPF Noob!

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    Yup! I only clicked the shutter once. You are looking at only 1 exposure.
     
  11. mui

    mui TPF Noob!

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    nossie - that is incredible. i didn't realise RAW could hold so much information. the sky on first image is so blown out - that would be unrecoverable.

    that makes perfect sense... RAW it is!

    thanks very much :)
     
  12. patrickt

    patrickt TPF Noob!

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    My first look at raw was with my Olympus C5050z about six years ago. I took some pictures in JPEG and the same shots in raw, converted the raw and saw absolutly no difference. When I moved to a DSLR it was a different matter because I took more shots in bad light. With the C5050z I tended to restrict my shooting to well-lit shots.

    If you try some of your travel shots at dusk, both JPEG and raw, I'm betting you'd see the advantage.
     

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