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General photography questions and answers: Discuss The importance of RAW?...I'm sort of in the market for a new point and shoot ie I want a new one but don't ...
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Old 10-11-2005, 08:18   #1 (permalink)
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The importance of RAW?

I'm sort of in the market for a new point and shoot ie I want a new one but don't actually NEED one yet I've found the new canon s80 for £300 + p&p then only thing stoping me pressing the add to cart button is the lack of RAW .

I don't want a dSLR (although if you're giving one away ..... ) I just wouldn't carry it around but I do want to be able to play with setting to get the shot I can see in my head Eventally I'd love to have posterish sized photos up around my house they'll never be as good as store bought pro photos but they'll be mine and have memories attached etc so its important to me that the photos will look as good as possible at full size.

Really what I want to know is is it worth the possibly hopless hunt and for a "full control" compact with RAW I'm discounting the panny lx1 due to the noisy looking sensor or should I just go for the s80 and play with the jpgs in CS2?

Oh as the s70 is still a decent camera has any seen any big prints from it is it worth me getting a camera that uses CF cards rather than the SDs I've already got?
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Old 10-11-2005, 08:23   #2 (permalink)
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I know the Canon G series are capable of shooting in RAW. That may be worth a look as they are basically compacts but allow full control of settings as well. I started of with a G3 which produced some great results, I would guess that they have only improved since then.
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Old 10-11-2005, 08:33   #3 (permalink)
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I'll agree with Steve, I too started into the 'photography' game with a Canon G3. (The very same one infact ). I had a few cameras before this, but the G3 was the fully controllable one.

I'm sure I saw the newer model, the G5 on offer at WareHouseExpress for 199 last night too.
 
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Old 10-11-2005, 19:15   #4 (permalink)
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Since I bought my Rebel, I have not used anything but RAW, can't understand why anyone would want to use jpg if RAW is available.
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Old 10-11-2005, 19:41   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steep
Since I bought my Rebel, I have not used anything but RAW, can't understand why anyone would want to use jpg if RAW is available.
I've been through this argument a few times.

Firstly I will not dispute that RAW gives you the best control and increases your options. I do use RAW - I just do not use it as a matter or course.

My first holiday with the 20D I took along a laptop so the volume of data to be stored was not an issue. I had the camera on RAW + small jpg ..so it saved both to the card. I have tuned the camera settings to produce jpgs' with the look I desire.

I spent an awful long time on my return going through the RAWs adjusting things...copying settings to similar shots etc. and finally processing the images. I ended up with what looked to be a quite presentable collection of jpgs for printing.

Out of curiosity I did a side by side comparison between my hard work jpgs and the small jpgs from the camera. There was maybe 3% that were better from RAW where exposure adjustment had made the difference, the rest were virtually identical.

It was obvious the subjects in question were difficult exposures and I would choose RAW if I tried something similar again.

I don't like photo editing. Working with the RAWs is not something I enjoy. For me there is little gain and a lot of hassle in always shooting RAW. For that reason I shoot best jpg and switch to RAW if I suspect a difficult subject to expose correctly.

My Autumn (though it looks more haloween) shot was the moon OOF through not too leafy tree branches. That was from RAW.

For someone that enjoys the editing process exclusive RAW is the way to go. It just does not work for me.
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Old 10-11-2005, 19:50   #6 (permalink)
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I enjoy shooting RAW. But.......I just returned from Dubrovnik where I took 500+ photographs....in jpg. Couldn't fancy converting that many RAW files. On a short shoot I will take RAW+jpg and adjust selected RAW files.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobertP
Out of curiosity I did a side by side comparison between my hard work jpgs and the small jpgs from the camera. There was maybe 3% that were better from RAW where exposure adjustment had made the difference, the rest were virtually identical.
.....and I agree with this quote from Robert's post.

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Old 10-11-2005, 20:47   #7 (permalink)
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agreed again here.

RAW is a godsend when i need it (difficult exp or white bal), but otherwise i for loads of shots i find it a pain.
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Old 10-11-2005, 21:54   #8 (permalink)
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I shoot jpegs quite a lot too, and find them perfectly acceptable, needing only minor levels adjustments usually. I get a lot more shots on a card too. I'll shoot RAW for difficult or very important shots, and I'd certainly consider the ability to shoot RAW desirable if not essential in any camera.

I think we're far too quick though to advise newcomers to digital photography to jump into RAW processing straight away, when they'd be better served getting some decent results from jpegs first. Someone very recently rather sheepishly asked the very intelligent question "What should I be looking for when I'm adjusting levels?" It's the first time I've actually heard this question asked, and there must be a fair few people struggling with levels and contrast in RAW processing who also have white balance and all the rest of it to contend with.
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Old 10-11-2005, 22:20   #9 (permalink)
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I doubt very much that i'd use RAW more than 2% or 3% of the time but its that 3% when I'd need it I'd be kicking myself for not having it. I guess if end up not having RAW I'll just have to remember to bracket my shots when ever possible and monkey around in photoshop with multiple jpgs
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Old 10-11-2005, 22:54   #10 (permalink)
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As above really. I only tend to use RAW on my camera when I know I'm looking at a good shot or the exposure is too tricky for the cameras meter to sort out for itself, and then I'll bracket manually using RAW as my camera won't do it automatically. The problem with any non-Dslr camera is that it won't have a RAW buffer, so your files will take anywhere between 3 and 15 seconds to save to the memory card, disabling the camera for anymore shots in the meantime. I've found with the panny that if I set the in camera procerssing settings to minimum and bracket by about 1 stop then I'm fine. Plus I get about 280 images versus 50 RAW on a 1Gb card. Panasonic don't compress their RAW files. grrrrrr.
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Old 11-11-2005, 00:57   #11 (permalink)
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I use RAW pretty much most of the time (unless my cameras in Auto of course).

The main reason I shoot in RAW is 1 : I had a very bad experience with Auto White Balance on my G3 at the end of 03, and lost lots of shots, so it has soured my taste somewhat.
Also, with DVD's being so cheap, I have nearly half a terabyte of HD space, and also I haven't been in the position yet, to fill up my 1.5 gig of CF card space before being able to empty it.

Because of these reasons I shoot RAW most of the time, purely because I enjoy the safety net it affords me in case I need it, and also I don't really have anything to gain in shooting JPEG.

Obviously if the situation dictates and I need the space or whatever, I won't rule JPEGs out at all.

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Old 11-11-2005, 07:04   #12 (permalink)
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The "pain" that some of the people are suffering with from the time and effort it is taking you to post process your RAW files is purly down to you not quite having your workflow sorted. I can process a full batch of RAW files, be it 2 or 2000 in just two steps to give me massive , lossless tiff files. I leave the pc to do the work and make a brew. When I come back I have the highest quality I can get from my camera and the safety net of being able to selectively re process any raw files that are either very important or worthy of individual attention.

If space, or buffer issues are not the reasons why you are shooting Jpgs then I see no excuse for not shooting in RAW, it is a easy choice for me.
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Old 11-11-2005, 07:12   #13 (permalink)
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Steve - batch processing is something I don't get. Isn't one making a rather large assumption that say 300 odd files will need the same processing parameters. I don't understand how you can batch process that many when different shots may require a different W/B, exposure etc.

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Old 11-11-2005, 07:17   #14 (permalink)
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Well if you allow it to process the files "as shot" then you are basically getting high quality uncompressed tiffs out instead of .jpgs. Or you can set up one custom setting with say exposure up by 1/3, saturation increased slightly and some sharpening added (if that how you like your shots to be in general) and apply that to everything as a batch job. Like I say, any that come out wrong or you fancy playing with more later, this way you can, so its a win/win and gives you much more lattitude and a huge saftey net.
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Old 11-11-2005, 07:21   #15 (permalink)
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I can understand people saying that they see no benefit (if they always get everything spot on then yes) or that they don't have the space or it slows their camera down as the buffer fills much faster, all that I can accept but what I can't accept that it takes much longer to process RAW files. If it does, it is simply that your workflow needs to be refined.
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Old 11-11-2005, 07:48   #16 (permalink)
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OK - based on the parameters you've just described then I can understand that processing needn't be laborious. Will give it a shot :coat:

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Old 11-11-2005, 08:19   #17 (permalink)
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No problem. Stepheno what are you using to process your raw files? If you are using one of the RawShooter packages then just open one photo (preferably one that is well exposed etc in the first place so as not to mess up the majority of well exposed images), make the adjustments that you think are required and then copy all the settings (Ctrl+C), highlight all the other photos, paste the adjustments in at one go (Ctrl+V), then batch process the lot. Doing that way you maximum time you should be at the pc processing will be about 2 mins.

I can also accept that people that are new to photography will learn much more and gain a bigger benefit initially by shooting in Jpeg and learning what each setting does on their camera and how that equates to the finished photo. RAW can negate much of that as they will be able to adjust for the bad camera technique to such an extent that it could be a very long time before they gain the actual basics of photography. Thatís slightly off topic though and probably a debate for another thread
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Old 11-11-2005, 08:31   #18 (permalink)
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So is it 8 or 16bit Tifs for you Steve?
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Old 11-11-2005, 08:40   #19 (permalink)
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16bit tiffs with exif
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Old 11-11-2005, 08:59   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve
Stepheno what are you using to process your raw files?
I use Rawshooter Premium 2006 so thanks for the workflow

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Old 11-11-2005, 10:12   #21 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve

I can also accept that people that are new to photography will learn much more and gain a bigger benefit initially by shooting in Jpeg and learning what each setting does on their camera and how that equates to the finished photo. RAW can negate much of that as they will be able to adjust for the bad camera technique to such an extent that it could be a very long time before they gain the actual basics of photography. Thatís slightly off topic though and probably a debate for another thread
That's pretty much what I was trying to say earlier Steve, but I think you explained the potential problem admirably there.
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Old 11-11-2005, 11:24   #22 (permalink)
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We have to use RAW, as it's the agreed format for all military photographers: workflow goes thus - RAW>TIFF>JPEG with the TIFFs being for print output and JPEGs being for transmission.

To be honest, I was using RAW a long time before it became compulsory and was one of the movers behind its adoption as the 'digital negative' format of choice. Unlike Steve, I don't batch process all my images at once, as my subject matter is so varied and the lighting differs from shot to shot, but since I would still have to apply sharpening and do a levels adjustment to every image before transmission, it only takes a couple of seconds more to do a quick edit in the RAW adjustments panel. Once the exposure and colour balance are set for one image, you can apply that to a batch from the same subject/location group in Adobe Bridge, then open them up and do the rest of your adjustments manually - which I prefer.
I could automate everything, but I might as well set the camera to Program Mode in that case and stop trying.
RAW offers me the same amount of control as I used to have shooting film - I can alter the colour balance and mood of a shot with far more precision than if I shot TIFF of JPEG - those of you who think that shooting RAW is an easy method of saving bad exposures are only partly correct - no amount of tinkering in Photoshop will save a bad exposure and make it as good as a correctly exposed image.
It's still faster this way than it ever was in the old days processing film in a hotel toilet and scanning the wet negs to get them out on the wire before everyone else.
My recent Baghdad job (which was an easy once compared to some I've been on) gave me some 60Gb of images. I'm now having to buy a 250Gb LaCie portable hard drive to take with me on jobs as the stuff I'm issued can't cope with the amount of imagery generated by the new cameras.
Trust me - if there were a faster method of working that gave me the same quality and control that RAW offers, I'd have found it.
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Old 11-11-2005, 12:26   #23 (permalink)
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I'll tend to use RAW for any macro work, landscape anything like that. Motocross is jpeg purely from card space restrictions. I've only got about 2.5Gb total so medium size, best quality jpegs gives me the number of shots needed.
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Old 11-11-2005, 12:34   #24 (permalink)
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I use RAW for everything. Went through a phase of using RAW+Jpeg (small, bad-quality) for a while just to make it easy to get at the Exif info as RawShooter doesn't make it a very good job of showing you the Exif. But now I'm back to just RAW.

Hard drives and DVD+/-Rs are so cheap now that there's no point worrying about data size.

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Old 11-11-2005, 12:51   #25 (permalink)
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Size is only one aspect of it, as has been mentioned in this thread is the need to post process them.

Depends on your requirements, I would expect anyone out on a day to shoot something for the monthly comp would use RAW but for a day trip somewhere then why not use Jpeg.
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Old 11-11-2005, 12:58   #26 (permalink)
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I shoot exclusively in RAW and don't find it a pain (except for it filling up my cards in no time) I use the Converter built into Photoshop CS2 and tend to only adjust exposure and white balance, so it isn't a pain for me in terms of time.

I usually hit Ctrl+U to untick all the adjustment boxes, tweak exp/WB and do all my other fiddling about in Photochop.

I very often do need to adjust exposure in the raw editor and obviously, you get more latitude for this adjustment than in PS.

The most time I spend in the RAW converter is about 1 minute.

Maybe I'm doing it wrong
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Old 11-11-2005, 13:04   #27 (permalink)
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Since starting my photoblog I never really process a whole batch of images. I concentrate on one image per day and try to make a good job of it, so RAW is better for me. But yeah, horses for courses. If you need to take lots of shots and you're confident you're getting the exposure close to perfect then use Jpegs.
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Old 11-11-2005, 14:12   #28 (permalink)
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Same here Bachs - still trying to work out how to have the default set at manual rather than Auto-Adjust
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Old 11-11-2005, 18:29   #29 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arkady
Same here Bachs - still trying to work out how to have the default set at manual rather than Auto-Adjust
I have a very good book that may just have the answer...leave it with me

EDIT 21:42...buggered if I can find it...still looking

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Old 11-11-2005, 20:53   #30 (permalink)
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Grrr damn canon for not puting RAW on the s80. I've decided there is not way I'm laying out 300 notes on a camera without RAW as I'm bound to want it once I've tried it as it were. I'm going to have to look at the s70 I guess as much as I hate not buying the latest generation of tech in this case it may be better.
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