Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by astrostu, May 20, 2008.
Just saw this tonight. I think it makes some good points.
Sounds like someone lives in a world where everyone has all the time in the world to post process every picture... that or they are trying to sell you some photoshop software. Not to mention my pp skills are lacking. I wonder if those hackers can hack me a copy of some pro photoshop software:er:
Are you saying that you want a copy of Photoshop?
I actually tend to tell new people to shoot JPEG until they can't seem to get a shot to look the way they wanted it to (like due to discoloration from incandescant lights or something) and THEN switch to RAW. Gives on a much better understanding of the camera's limitations AND why RAW is so powerful and critical.
That said, it's not so much an issue of time as pickiness. I had a number of images absolutely RUINED because the camera made some bad determinations... or because I was a bit off on my exposure... or... or... or...
Shooting RAW saves your arse from these kinds of things. If you're not that picky, or ok with buggering an otherwise awesome shot now and again (and likely more often than you would expect), the JPEG away... but the minute you get angry at your camera for ruining a shot, you should switch to JPEG asap.
switch to RAW, you mean?
is the software that came with the camera adequate in editing RAW files? or do i need to look into photoshop? personally, i still need a lot of work getting exposures right before i even want to start 'processing' my pictures
Hmmm... well, here's my $00.02 worth; your opinion may vary.
If you're taking a photograph then shoot RAW. If you're taking a picture shoot .jpg or .tif. What's the difference? [As I define it] a photograph is something that you compose, take time over and for which you have a specific end result.
A picture is simply something that you snapped on the spur of the moment, family at a picnic, that sort of thing.
Crosby mentioned software; there's NO excuse for not using RAW files because you can't afford the latest software. There are freeware applications. Pixmatic's "RAWShooter Essentials" is a very good freeware RAW handler, and the GIMP (www.gimp.org) is an outstanding freeware photoshop-style application.
Bottom line: If you intend to do any serious post-processing, shoot RAW.
I'm not sure what to do with RAW (yet), nor do I have time to process all the raw files into something costco.com will print for me.
But I shoot in RAW+JPEG, just in case.
blah blah blah... RAW this, RAW that, blah blah blah
I'm convinced that all of these "pro-RAW" editorials are nothing but a scam to keep the memory card and storage markets afloat, along with propping up the RAW processing software companies. Click the "Why RAW" thread in my sig, but lets have a quick JPEG review...
You CAN do plenty of post processing on JPEGs with little to no loss of quality.
You CAN adjust white balance with little to no loss in quality.
You CAN recover shadow detail with little to no loss in quality.
You CAN push underexposed shots by 2 or even 3 stops with little to no loss in quality.
You CAN make even fairly aggressive adjustments with little to no loss in quality.
You CAN re-save two or even three times at high quality settings with little to no loss in quality.
You CAN get software that's setup to handle JPEGs well that won't save over your original file and won't even touch a non-original file.
You CAN NOT recover blown highlights in JPEG. That's its only real downfall for me. And that's why when I'm in a serious photo-journalist type situation where the light might be difficult and I know I won't be able to keep up with my D80's inconsistent meter, I switch over to RAW. It's saved me a few times. Once a lot, and another time a little, but I was still able to do pretty darn well with the JPEG. This is just for my style though. If you're more the graphic artist type (where's Arch), yes, by all means shoot RAW.
I shot some RAW + JPEG tonight on a sunset. It was fairly boring so I tried to see how much I could crank them up with pretty aggressive adjustments in post. At the end, looking at both the RAW and JPEG shots on my calibrated screen at 100% I could just barely see some posterization in the JPEG shot that I couldn't in the RAW. It was a blind test. I didn't know which file was which, but I was able to pick out the RAW, but only if I pixel-peeped at 100%. When it came down to it though, I still liked the in-camera processed JPEG better. The colors and tones and some other things just plain looked better than the RAW. So in the end the JPEG file once again got the nod. It's not surprising to me that some software reps at the recent trade shows have admitted off the record that they really can't keep up with all of the in-camera processing that the latest bodies are doing these days. Automatic dynamic range adjustments, automatic CA correction, etc.
Was going to post my original vs RAW vs JPEG shot, but Fotki managed to completely hose up the JPEG that I processed from RAW - had some weird color shift and not going to screw with it anymore.
And this whole attitude that JPEG shooters only take 'pictures', but RAW shooters take photographs is nothing but bull****. Sorry.
I can only speak out for using RAW.
Once you've integrated the RAW processing into your workflow, you can also do quick adjustments for photographs that are not that critical, so if you have a bunch of RAW photographs that don't need individual processing each, you can apply a preset way of developing to all of them at once and thus won't spend hours messing around with an individual photograph.
However, once you want to really invest some time into re-working a certain shot, you'll be glad you have the raw file.
Of course, one can argue, if you really have to shoot the next family picnic in RAW, but as I said, if there is no special treatment needed, it's easily possible to process a whole bunch of them with presets.
P.S. Since I am basically only shooting in black & white, I have really embraced the RAW format, I don't want to use the camera presets for converting into black & white, because if I do it manually in Lightroom or Photoshop afterwards, I have much more control over the whole process. RAW comes in handy here, because I get all the unprocessed data and as a result far better black & white photographs, than with jpegs that are either converted by the camera right away or that I convert into black & white afterwards.
First, if a highlight is blown, it's blown. You can't recover it in RAW, .jpg, or .bmp or any other format. It's gone, vamoosed, done like dinner. RAW however does allow you to recover a great dynamic range than jpg.
The chief objection to jpg is that it is a lossy format. That is, each time you open it, edit it, and then save it, you lose a little more data. Considering I sometimes push an image through the mill a half-dozen or more times trying different things, that can leave the final result (if shot in .jpg) looking less than ideal.
Also, I did not say that only RAW shooters take photographs and jpg shooters take pictures, and I'm sorry if it came out that way. I was suggesting that if you want to take a photograph (per my definition in the post) then RAW is a better format [IMHO]. If you're happy with .jpg, great. My belief is that since a Large, Fine .jpg on my camera weighs in at 5-7Mb and a 12 bit RAW at 20, then there has to be something useful in all that extra data.
Conspiracy theories? Come on, mav... Do you suppose us photogs pushing it are getting big kickbacks from Lexar for the extra $50 someone spent on the mem card 2x the size of the one they were originally going to purchase? :er:
That's more than a little silly.
If you don't see a benefit from raw, personally, fine... I would put you in the "less picky" bucket, and congrats to you for it.
Me, personally... I don't trust the camera to do things right and it is a FACT that when recording the image to jpeg that the camera tosses out the data "you don't need". It's gone. Gone gone gone. And no matter how much fiddling is ever going to get back the picture you COULD have had at the same quality you could have had. (if you can even get the pic)
I have about 50 pictues from one session that were RUINED by incandescant street lights. This is exactly the time I realized I needed to shoot raw. Here is one of the ones that wasn't SO bad, and even it is a total train wreck.
See all that hideous yellow? See the poor exposure where shadows are lost? Yeah. RAW would have made that far less of a problem, and possibly even a non-issue. JPG? No way. That info was GONE.
RAW has a very real and distinct purpose. Use it if you care that your pictures are as good as they can possibly be. Period.
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