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General photography questions and answers: Discuss File formats...I have a dilemma!! Using a digital camera I can save files in RAW format. As far as my personal ...
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Old 08-07-2006, 11:19   #1 (permalink)
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File formats

I have a dilemma!! Using a digital camera I can save files in RAW format. As far as my personal use goes this is good.

If I want to post files on web sites or use them for other purposes, JPG seems to the file format.

If I want to edit the file in Photoshop I end up with a PSD file.

See where Iím going with this?

So what do other people do?

Shoot RAW and convert?

Shoot JPG and rely on Photoshop?

Shoot both?

I would appreciate to hear what other 'toggers do on this site.
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Old 08-07-2006, 14:21   #2 (permalink)
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Re: File formats

I shoot in RAW then convert to tiff during post processing and save in that format as well (unless I add many layers in which case I will save as a PSD). Tiff is a lossless format and so can be edited as many times as you want in PS including using additional layers and still be saved as a tiff (albeit a large file).

I only ever convert the final tiff or PSD to a jpg for online use and those are processed slightly differently (due to the smaller size) at the last stage from the already converted and post processed file. Often the sharpening is increased, the file size reduced and borders added...which is a very quick process for me.

Hope that helps
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Old 09-07-2006, 01:24   #3 (permalink)
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Re: File formats

Yeh i only just found out that if you keep on editing jpegs they lose sharpness/quality with the compression or something, been recommended to save in PSD/TIFF while working on an image then save to TIFF or jpeg when ur done.....my pics lack sharpness and quality to start with without adding some more afterwards!....he he
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Old 13-07-2006, 20:42   #4 (permalink)
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Re: File formats

I shoot RAW and archive them in that state. Any conversions to tiff or JPG are on an "as needed" basis for client delivery. I have no use for JPG or TIFF files stored on my hard drive, since JPG doesn't retain the full quality, and TIFF files are far larger than RAW.
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Old 13-07-2006, 21:08   #5 (permalink)
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Re: File formats

same here except I also keep copies of processed images in PSD. Which is why a 5 month old camera is eating in excess of 70GB of disk space
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Old 13-07-2006, 22:32   #6 (permalink)
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Re: File formats

Quote:
Originally Posted by orangepeel
Which is why a 5 month old camera is eating in excess of 70GB of disk space
Just wait until you have been at it for a few years
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Old 13-07-2006, 23:25   #7 (permalink)
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Re: File formats

I normally miss out the RAW stage and 95% of the time shoot in highest quality jpeg. I'm damned if I can tell the difference in final quality and it saves a ton of time if you're processing 1500 images at a time
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Old 14-07-2006, 23:38   #8 (permalink)
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Exclamation Re: File formats

There's a bit more to RAW files and their importance than merely issues such as white balance, image sharpness and so in-camera processing vs. using a RAW converter to create TIFF's and JPG's.

The tonal range of a 12-bit per pixel RAW file is 4096 shades for each colour channel, resulting in a possible 68 billion discreet colours. That's far more tones than the human eye can perceive.

JPG files are 8-bit per pixel, giving 256 shades per channel and thus 16.7 million discreet colours. This was agreed as the lowest common threshold to represent a photographic quality image.

Now, when it comes to recording that data you have to consider the issue of how the numbers are used to describe the tones captured in each image. I could try to explain this in words, but a diagram would be much better





As you can see, there is more data available in a RAW file to describe the transitions from light to dark tones than in a JPG file. This is one of the prime reasons why RAW files are better able to recover "blown" highlight information when they compress the dynamic range of your shots - typically you can recover up to 1.3 EV of blown data if you shoot uncompressed RAW.

Both the histograms illustrate the importance of "exposing to the right" in digital capture and why trying to correct under-exposure is such a bad thing with JPG images. The fact that a RAW file retains more data in the darkest tones makes it a better candidate for recovering underexposed data, but not by much. You could probably boost by 0.3 to 0.5 EV in RAW conversion before you start getting artefacting.

Anothe issue to consider in the RAW vs. JPG arena is pixel math. If you're working in an 8-bit colour space, all of your image calculations are being performed at 8-bit precision. That's what leads to posterization or the dreaded 'colour banding' seen on heavily processed JPGs.

Going from a RAW file to a 16-bit per pixel workspace won't add tones to your image, but it does mean that your edits and alterations will be performed with greater precision. When working with RAW files, it pays to stay in 16 bpp mode for as long as possilbe, converting down to 8 bpp only when necessary. Once you throw away the extra bit depth, you can't get it back.

I could go on about this a bit more but it's plain to see that, in order to retain maximal image quality and flexibility for post processing, you should be shooting RAW where possible.

Of course, if you plan to do next-to-no post processing at all and are happy enough with your camera's conversion engine - not to mention confident that you've nailed both exposure and white balance - then JPG is the best route.
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Old 15-07-2006, 20:31   #9 (permalink)
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Re: File formats

I have a couple of RAW questions, OK I'm starting to see the benefits of shooting in RAW but one thing i like to do is upload all photos from any memory cards to a specific folder then i like to preview my shots and delete any that are no good. Now if i shoot in RAW i cannot preview them in XP i have to start PS to view them. Very frustrating if I've got 250 RAW files. I've tried downloading MS Raw viewer but get a 'Failed to load' message every time i load one. Any Ideas?

Secondly, i notice that if i use one of my cameras (Canon 30D) auto settings it defaults to JPEG and i find sometimes that use the auto settings is perfect for certain shots, I'm relatively new to the camera and photography in general so letting the camera sort out aperture, shutter and ISO is ideal at times, can the JPEG setting be changed?.

And finally what conversion software do people use, i use Adobe Raw conversion software but is it any good being a free download or would it pay to fork out some dosh on a more sophisticated bit of software, i have Canon's offering as well.

A little bit to digest there, but any help much appreciated.

Last edited by stupot; 15-07-2006 at 20:39.
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Old 16-07-2006, 08:57   #10 (permalink)
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Re: File formats

You can use Adobe bridge, part of CS2, to view files, or can can use Thumbs plus with a raw converter plug-in.

As the the file formats on the Canon it seems you can only select RAW file format whan you are in creative mode IE Av Tv, the PIC modes see to default to JPEG.
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Old 16-07-2006, 14:57   #11 (permalink)
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Re: File formats

Thanks for the detailed explanation VP I had read up about shooting to the right & your graphs back that up
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Old 17-07-2006, 13:38   #12 (permalink)
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Re: File formats

Quote:
Originally Posted by stupot
I have a couple of RAW questions, OK I'm starting to see the benefits of shooting in RAW but one thing i like to do is upload all photos from any memory cards to a specific folder then i like to preview my shots and delete any that are no good. Now if i shoot in RAW i cannot preview them in XP i have to start PS to view them. Very frustrating if I've got 250 RAW files. I've tried downloading MS Raw viewer but get a 'Failed to load' message every time i load one. Any Ideas?
I have never used the MS Raw viewer but I have heard good responses about MS themselves monitoring and helping out on the MS forums, does Raw Viewer have a related MS forum where you could ask? I believe that MS are having a big push into the digital side of image software as they see it a big market that they have not really tapped yet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stupot
Secondly, i notice that if i use one of my cameras (Canon 30D) auto settings it defaults to JPEG and i find sometimes that use the auto settings is perfect for certain shots, I'm relatively new to the camera and photography in general so letting the camera sort out aperture, shutter and ISO is ideal at times, can the JPEG setting be changed?.
Again its a while since I have shot on auto mode on any camera however with the Canon I believe that any mode other than the auto choices (scenic, portrait etc) or full auto will allow your raw setting to become active and not be overridden by .jpg If you think about it once you are in the area of selecting RAW as a file format you are getting way beyound the basic shooting anyway and thats why its not available in the fully auto modes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stupot
And finally what conversion software do people use, i use Adobe Raw conversion software but is it any good being a free download or would it pay to fork out some dosh on a more sophisticated bit of software, i have Canon's offering as well.

A little bit to digest there, but any help much appreciated.
This is a tricky one now as many here used Rawshooter, either the totally free Essentials or the pay for Premium but as Adobe as just bought them out and discontinued both packages then it leaves you with limited free options. I believe that if you still wish to use Rawshooter Essentials then its is avaialable (for the time being) as a download from Rawworkflow.com but you have to realise that it is no longer supported. It still remains fully functional though....

RAWWorkflow.com - Make better pictures from your pixels™

Other than that the supplied Canon software that came with your camera doesn't do a bad job but is less intuative to use. Whatever you choose you will have to learn a little about at the beginning though...

HTH
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Old 17-07-2006, 17:45   #13 (permalink)
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Re: File formats

cheers steve
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