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Encouragement to shoot raw

Hey Erregeo. - I was late to realize the power of RAW as well, but once I did, never looked back.

My camera is always set to shoot both RAW and JPG because 99.5% of what I shoot is never going to be of any value. I like the convenience of having a JPG shot I can use, send and share straight out of the camera. They are faster and easier for compact review so I treat them like a proof sheet to pick the negative I want to print. But once I "pick" the shot I want, I pull the RAW to process and "print" the final image.

There is a whole 'nuther conversation I have with people, most of whom don't really understand photography (and thus are not on this forum), who think processing an image makes it a "lie" and not what it "really" looked like. To my mind that's a failure to understand how cameras capture images, be it film or digital. There is no "real" version straight from a camera. There is however (1) what it looked like to your eye and making the image match what a viewer would have seen, rather than what the camera saw, and (2) what it felt like when you looked at it or want to make it look like artistically to create the image you feel.

But... that's another discussion.

No matter what, for a serious final version, starting with RAW is always good, when you can. Took me awhile to understand it too.
 
Hey Erregeo. - I was late to realize the power of RAW as well, but once I did, never looked back.

My camera is always set to shoot both RAW and JPG because 99.5% of what I shoot is never going to be of any value. I like the convenience of having a JPG shot I can use, send and share straight out of the camera. They are faster and easier for compact review so I treat them like a proof sheet to pick the negative I want to print. But once I "pick" the shot I want, I pull the RAW to process and "print" the final image.

There is a whole 'nuther conversation I have with people, most of whom don't really understand photography (and thus are not on this forum), who think processing an image makes it a "lie" and not what it "really" looked like. To my mind that's a failure to understand how cameras capture images, be it film or digital. There is no "real" version straight from a camera. There is however (1) what it looked like to your eye and making the image match what a viewer would have seen, rather than what the camera saw, and (2) what it felt like when you looked at it or want to make it look like artistically to create the image you feel.

But... that's another discussion.

No matter what, for a serious final version, starting with RAW is always good, when you can. Took me awhile to understand it too.
Very interesting reflections, thanks for sharing.
Regards.
 
Yes you can edit a JPEG and there's a lot you can do to improve a JPEG however you do not have all the same editing capabilities that are available working with raw files. That's not the case.

Load a JPEG into Adobe Camera Raw and increase the color temp value by 450 degrees K. You can't and it does matter.
You can't alter the input profile used to create a JPEG.
You can't alter the demosaicing algorithm used to create the JPEG.
You can't alter the lens distortion corrections used to create the JPEG.
You can't undo processes poorly applied when the JPEG was created.

You presented an impressive example of how access to a raw file can salvage a failed exposure. Consider that, working with most modern cameras, given access to a raw file and a good exposure for the camera JPEG I can always create from the raw file a final image with superior technical IQ than the JPEG created by the camera. There's a reason for this:

The software embedded in the camera processor that creates the camera JPEG is compromised. Over the years the engineers have worked very hard to minimize that compromise and to their credit they've done well, but ultimately they remain stuck between the classic rock and hard place. Every camera holds a gun to their head with the threat that at any time the user may press down the shutter release and hold it down. The expectation then is the camera will take a burst of photos very quickly. The camera's embedded JPEG processor has to keep up. To do that the engineers cut corners in the JPEG processing and it shows in that final image. They have no choice.

No camera manufacturer has yet attempted to offer a model camera advertised as; "get better quality SOOC JPEGs if you don't need to shoot X frames per second."

Here's an example. The OP has a Nikon D3500. I went to DPReview and the sample photos for the D3500 and selected an image that offered a low-light challenge: Nikon D3500 sample gallery ISO was raised to 2800.

The camera JPEG processing is pretty awful. I processed the raw file using DXO PL-6. Here's a link to that processed image at full res: d3500-raw.jpg

Below is a 100% crop comparing the two. I'm not using highly refined processing skills that took me years to learn. I'm just using better software. The D3500 isn't a poor camera it's typical. I can show you the same from my Z7. Could Nikon put better software into their cameras? Of course they can but that will come at a price they can't afford. The D3500 is rated at an impressive 5 frames per second continuous shooting. They'll have to give up.


View attachment 268078

Fuji has tried to address this problem recently and I'm not sure they're having much success. Here's a recent question that popped up at DPReview: X-H2: Question about clarity setting: Fujifilm X System / SLR Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review about the new X-H2 slowing down when the JPEG clarity setting is used. Fuji added a couple JPEG features to their newest cameras and then put warning notices in the manual that using those features will slow the processor down. Users aren't seeing the notices in the manual they just think their cameras aren't working -- rock and a hard place.
Boy there is a difference in those two! I tried RAW one time and couldn't figure out how to open them in my computer so gave up on RAW. I think if I was a professional if would be something really worth having buy it is way beyond my skill's.

Seeing those two picture's side by side like that sure does drive the point home!
 
Boy there is a difference in those two! I tried RAW one time and couldn't figure out how to open them in my computer so gave up on RAW. I think if I was a professional if would be something really worth having buy it is way beyond my skill's.

You can't really view a RAW image, because a RAW file is not much of a viewable image. It is a set of linear monochrome luminance values that has not had gamma correction, other light curves, demosaicing, etc. applied. When the data is converted to RGB in post processing software using demosaicing certain settings such as gamma, contrast, color balance and temperature, saturation, etc. are applied. What you're seeing in camera is a JPEG thumbnail created by the camera in a sidecar file.
 
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You are right, JPEGs are already edited when the camera saves them. As the "sacrilege" we have just to think in the times of film photography. You could do many things by chemical ways, contrast, brightness, color rendition and the so. What I dont like to do is to remove elements to the pic other than ctopping.
Regard
My favorite place in Mexico, and it's stunningly beautiful; hope you enjoy. San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico I hope to return soon.
 

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Boy there is a difference in those two! I tried RAW one time and couldn't figure out how to open them in my computer so gave up on RAW. I think if I was a professional if would be something really worth having buy it is way beyond my skill's.

Seeing those two picture's side by side like that sure does drive the point home!
Worth noting that this is just one example and to make the point I picked on the weakest link for all of our digital cameras. The difference is less in other circumstances. Noise filtering is the camera JPEG processor's big Achilles heel. There's no getting around that good noise filtering is processor intensive. The camera's just can't afford the processor overhead. That photo was shot at ISO 2800 and the D3500 tried to reduce the noise. That's why it's so bad. At lower ISO values the camera processors do better. The issue really is camera make/model specific and different cameras do better/worse. So if you want to rely at all on the camera JPEGs it's worth investigating which specific camera will give you the best results given your expectations.
 
You can't really view a RAW image, because a RAW file is not much of a viewable image. It is a set of linear monochrome luminance values that has not had gamma correction, other light curves, demosaicing, etc. applied. When the data is converted to RGB in post processing software using demosaicing certain settings such as gamma, contrast, color balance and temperature, saturation, etc. are applied. What you're seeing in camera is a JPEG thumbnail created by the camera in a sidecar file.
Wow. Have no idea what you just said!
 
I shoot everything raw because I like the options it gives me in post processing. However, if I was shooting professionally I would shoot in jpeg and raw and only use the raw image if the jpeg needed too much processing.
 
Wow. Have no idea what you just said!
Raw files are uncompressed data. To see them you need a software program capable of interpretation.

However, if I was shooting professionally I would shoot in jpeg and raw and only use the raw image if the jpeg needed too much processing.
The time required to batch export JPEGS post from a DNG is far less trouble than saving dual file streams. Plus the increased file space requirements and slower camera write times make Raw+ not a good option for me.
 
Hmmmm.... I very rarely ever shoot raw and always wondered what the reason for doing so was. I'm not one to really touch my pics at all aside from maybe rotating it slightly to get the horizon level if I had tilted an otherwise good shot. There's also the very rare crop but that's about it.

Plus, I use The Gimp and it doesn't have native support for .CR2 files. I finally got that going a few days ago.

A lot of times if I shoot and it doesn't look like the way I see it, I keep shooting until it does.
 
Hmmmm.... I very rarely ever shoot raw and always wondered what the reason for doing so was. I'm not one to really touch my pics at all aside from maybe rotating it slightly to get the horizon level if I had tilted an otherwise good shot. There's also the very rare crop but that's about it.

Plus, I use The Gimp and it doesn't have native support for .CR2 files. I finally got that going a few days ago.

A lot of times if I shoot and it doesn't look like the way I see it, I keep shooting until it does.
This is why your camera gives you a choice of RAW or JPEG. You are using the one that suits your needs. I shoot RAW because I love to labor over the frames I keep. I like to adjust the color from standard to vivid and back. I like to adjust the sharpness and noise control etc. etc. but, that's me. Use what works for you.
 
I have my canon’s set to save Raw and jpg files for each shot, covers my bases.
I look at raw as I did film. The image is there and it’s up to me how I develop it. Jpg I regard as those pics you get back from the 1hour film develop....
and just to add to the argument..... oh sorry I mean debate.......I save as a tiff file only converting to jpg if I need to post here or if I am using my local print house who request jpg files
 
the argument..... oh sorry I mean debate.......I save as a tiff file only converting to jpg if I need to post here or if I am using my local print house who request jpg files

So, are you saying you convert your native camera raw format (in my case DNG) to a tiff regardles of further editing? Or saving further edited files as tiff?
 
Hmmmm.... I very rarely ever shoot raw and always wondered what the reason for doing so was.
I've got a couple reasons why I only save raw files:
1. I want the best image quality possible.
2. I don't want to do unnecessary work especially behind the camera. I want to keep what I have to do taking the photo to a minimum. Likewise at the computer I'd prefer to do as little work as possible.
3. I want to photograph whatever I want (whatever I see) unencumbered by the software in the camera that would otherwise limit my ability to do so.
I'm not one to really touch my pics at all aside from maybe rotating it slightly to get the horizon level if I had tilted an otherwise good shot. There's also the very rare crop but that's about it.

Plus, I use The Gimp and it doesn't have native support for .CR2 files. I finally got that going a few days ago.

A lot of times if I shoot and it doesn't look like the way I see it, I keep shooting until it does.
 
Interesting discussion. I use RAW exclusively as well. If you are on a Windows machine, the native Photos app can open most RAW images, like CR2/CR3 Canon RAW. RAW provides me more flexibility with post processing, plus being able to salvage some poor shots. Sometimes, you only get one attempt for that pic, so it's nice to be able to try and work with what you end up with.
 

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