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General photography questions and answers: Discuss Jpeg Vs Raw...probably a controversial post, but i will ask. obviously Raw has its uses and is as flexible as you can ...
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Old 31-07-2005, 20:27   #1 (permalink)
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Jpeg Vs Raw

probably a controversial post, but i will ask.

obviously Raw has its uses and is as flexible as you can get, but

at what point is RAW required? is it really a must?

is tweaking with photoshop really required for every shot?

I have happily been taking shots with an Ixus with the only option of Jpegs for years, and been happy with the bright colourful (camera processed)pictures.

with only cropping and resizing, and at most and only very recently adding the odd border here and there.

could i own a DLSR and just use Jpeg's and get decent results?

without the flaffing about with software to enhance a picture?

tweaked images look great, but the occasions ive seen the original unmodified versions, there is something natural about them, the tweaked versions loose and then look artificial compared to the originals.
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Old 31-07-2005, 21:03   #2 (permalink)
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In a word...LATITUDE.
There must be a thousand threads on this subject around the forums and it often gets heated.

I personally dived in head first and notice more control over white balance and exposure latitude in particular.

Having said that, I still find myself having to open the converted files in photoshop for final tweaking.

The files are big (you'll get about 200 RAW shots on a 1gb card) but not as big as tiff.

I've stuck with it because I want to get the best quality I can but yes you can get excellent results shooting jpeg and if most of your stuff is web based like mine, you would have to have a keen eye to see the difference in the end result, I just find it's easier to get that end result from what would have otherwise been throwaways.

If you went down the jpeg route you should at least convert them to tiff before you start editing and saving/resaving them due to jpegs' lossy compression algorithm.
Only convert to jpeg when you have done all you intend to do to the image.

Thats an ameatures' angle on it...bring on the experts!
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Old 31-07-2005, 21:16   #3 (permalink)
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Well for a start, JPEG is lossy.
So there's one flaw already. JPEG is a compression format by standard, so data is lost from the off. How much data is where it becomes more of an argument.

I'll reply more, my wife is shouting me now, she's waiting in the kitchen with the scissors for my hair appointment Can't be late or I'll be banned from her salon
 
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Old 31-07-2005, 22:01   #4 (permalink)
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"how much data is lost"

i guess thats the point.

can you see what would be missing. (like a low bit rate mp3 for example)

an 8 megapixel shot jpeg isnt _that_ bad is it? given the fact its less labour intensive to view, and less tweaking required off the card.

Like Bachs most of my stuff will be web based, originals saved to DVD, viewed on PC TFT, with few actually printed.

and even then its an old 200 quid Hp photosmart 7350 so quality from a raw would probably exceed the printer anyway?

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Old 31-07-2005, 22:08   #5 (permalink)
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If you do mostly web and not much printing then, assuming you have the correct white balance and exposure settings, JPEG is the way for you.

For me it's RAW. As Bachs says it's about latitude and that's what's most impostant to me. I print them.
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Old 31-07-2005, 22:16   #6 (permalink)
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I personally have had bad experience with letting the camera use its auto-RAW mode.
When myself, Steve, and digitalfailure went out for a day in December 2003, all the way to Anglesey. Steve and I set off at around 5 that morning, picking df up along the way, and we didnt get home until around 11pm/midnight. Long day, LOTS of shots.

I went through them with my gob open. I'd shot in JPEG due to not having the space required to stay in RAW all day (even filled my cards in JPEG mode).
Anyway, the camera had got it all wrong. The shots at night had taken on the horrible green hue, runing all of them. The early morning shots of a lighthouse were very very 'cold' (Leaning heavily toward the blue end of the white balance range). They were all messed up.

I did salvage a couple of them for web viewing, and quite a few of the day ones were OK. But I've been very very wary since, and shot in RAW wherever possible.

Besides it gives me that one extra tweak, should I require it. Even now, with my 350, I find myself tweaking the WB a little before processing it in Photoshop. And the 350 usually gets the WB pretty much spot on most of the time.

Edit : Forgot to mention, it was my old Canon G3 that I used in Anglesey. I suppose I should have had the forethought to meter the WB myself each location / light change, but I was new (still am), and wouldnt have the time to have done that. We did fit quite alot into one day. Even managed a smashing pub lunch, a really nice mixed grill, and they did black pudding spot on
 
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Old 31-07-2005, 22:26   #7 (permalink)
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I shoot jpegs sometimes when I'm short of storage space on the card or just can't be arsed spending an evening processing and converting RAW files. Good results can be obtained with jpegs, but shooting RAW gives the ultimate control over your final results.

Whether you shoot jpeg or RAW, there are very few if any shots which come out of the camera which don't benefit from some tweaking, if only of the levels. Without wishing to sound patronising, it's not until you can assess a shot for correct exposure, a full range of tones, and no blocked up shadows or burned out highlights, that you begin to appreciate this.

The situation was no different with film with every darkroom trick and dodge in the book being used to try to achieve the perfect print. Some of the greatest photographers were masters at this - Ansell Adams being a prime example. The difference is that with Photoshop et al it's far more convenient and far more flexible. If Adams was around today he'd be loving Photoshop.

The camera is part of the creative process, it's never been the beginning and the end. Getting into photo editing can be a daunting prospect, but you need to start somewhere to get the best from your photography.
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Old 31-07-2005, 22:38   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcel
I personally have had bad experience with letting the camera use its auto-RAW mode.
I take it that's a typo and you meant Auto jpeg mode?

Shooting jpegs with the WB on auto, I find it's OK in sunlight, outdoors generally in good light, and with flash. Shooting under Tungsten light, flourescent light or in subdued light just doesn't hack it and using a custom picture and custom WB is the best way.

Does the 350D have Custom WB?
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Old 31-07-2005, 23:20   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CT
Does the 350D have Custom WB?
yes it does
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Old 31-07-2005, 23:25   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CT

Whether you shoot jpeg or RAW, there are very few if any shots which come out of the camera which don't benefit from some tweaking, if only of the levels. Without wishing to sound patronising, it's not until you can assess a shot for correct exposure, a full range of tones, and no blocked up shadows or burned out highlights, that you begin to appreciate this.

Couldn't agree more.
I can't be arsed with people who proudly say " straight from the camera, no post processing".
All, but all, shots can benefit from post processing.

Sorry if you're a " straight from the camera, no post processing" type of guy. :flipoff:

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Old 01-08-2005, 00:20   #11 (permalink)
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I agree too, and I think this is one my failings.
Quite alot of the time, I am disappointed when I don't get the shot I wanted 'straight from the camera'. I need to start looking at my camera as the start of the process of creating my 'image'.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CT
I take it that's a typo and you meant Auto jpeg mode?
Oops, a mistake there. You're close, I meant auto-WB mode.

I do still shoot in JPEG. Last night for example, at the Burnley Balloon Festival, I changed to JPEG halfway through. One because I was wary about running out of space during the upcoming balloon show, and the fireworks. Two for the speed of continuous shooting I might need (7 shots per second instead of 3 in RAW or whatever it is), and Three Steve did it, and if he does it, then it's for good reason

Like I say though, although I do try and shoot in RAW wherever possible, I do still shoot in JPEG, usually for space reasons, sometimes for the speed of continuous shooting, and also when the camera forces me (sometimes I do still put it into full auto if needed. For example today we had a leak and I wanted to photograph the damage).

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Old 01-08-2005, 00:38   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcel
I agree too, and I think this is one my failings.
Quite alot of the time, I am disappointed when I don't get the shot I wanted 'straight from the camera'. I need to start looking at my camera as the start of the process of creating my 'image'.
Ansell Adams who I mentioned earlier, is particularly relevant here because he invented the Zone Metering System, in an attempt to obtain perfect exposure in the camera. It's incredibly complicated to understand his system, let alone master it, and in spite of all his efforts, he still spent many hours in the darkroom manipulating his prints. Many of the scenes we photograph have a range of luminance which is just not within the capabilites of the medium to record faithfully, whether we use film or digital, and darkroom or Photoshop work is required to obtain the best result.

I can understand people who've never processed film themselves thinking that post processing is some sort of cheating, after all they've sent their film to the place round the corner and never had to think about how those prints are achieved, or get involved after pressing the shutter. If they took those same films, even just snapshots, to a pro lab, they'd pay more, but they'd see a massive difference in the quality of those same prints , simply because they're being made by someone exercising good judgement at the printing stage.

Last edited by CT; 01-08-2005 at 00:40.
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Old 01-08-2005, 10:05   #13 (permalink)
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i used to be a 'straight off the camera' man, then Matt showed me the error of my ways, since then, ive processed everything and i really wish id done it way back! I try to shoot RAW when i can, but its a space issue for me, need more CF!
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Old 01-08-2005, 10:57   #14 (permalink)
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'Straight off the camera' is fine -i f your camera is capable of having it's JPEGs parameters (quality, sharpness, saturation, contrast etc) customised properly, but I found very early on that the majority of images benefit from a little tweaking even if it's just pulling the levels in which most cameras won't do. I always shoot in RAW unless I'm shooting something where I need fast burst speeds, such as a football match, but that's just to answer a logistical problem where I don't want the camera to lock up while it's buffer empties, and nothing to do with quality. Post-processing is just one part of the process of producing a picture. Manipulation however, is to me, something entirely different and is something done to a picture after prodiction, by choice.
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Old 01-08-2005, 13:16   #15 (permalink)
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I always like to slightly under-expose my shots, I feel that gives more flexibility in post processing and gives far richer colours. Using RAW allows so much more flexibility and has saved many shots that would otherwise have been unusable.
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