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Thread: Raw? JPEG?

  1. #1

    Raw? JPEG?

    Hi, I am a total novice with a Canon 550D and an interest in macro.
    I have never used any software to adjust my photos, (because I don't know how) and I have always used jpeg. I would appreciate any responses / help /advice re using raw. I have only heard of it never used it or even tried to - advantages? disadvantages? Or should I stick to jpeg and the software that came with the camera, whilst I am still learning manual settings and before I purchase Photoshop or similar to use with my Macbook computer?
    Hope that is not too many questions, it is just what I am currently wondering.

    thanks

  2. #2
    keen learner of new tricks. old dog's Avatar
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    Our last trip was to Tassie and I only shot RAW images. It takes a slight bit more work on the computer but well worth it. There is so much more you can do with raw as it keeps all the info the sensor sees. Much better recovery if you blow out the highlights etc. I only wish that I could have another play with all the favorite images from other trips (all in jpeg). Why don`t you shoot in jpeg and raw at the same time then you have the best of both worlds. Set your camera up to capture the jpeg `s (saturation, sharpening, etc) then you can view them and select which ones you really like and then process the same from the raw image......too easy. Have fun. All I can say is that raw is the best way by far and I`m sure the vast majority on here will agree.
    Graeme
    "May the good Lord look down and smile upon your face"......Norman Gunston___________________________________________________
    Nikon: D7000, D80, 12-24 f4, 17-55 f2.8, 18-135, 70-300VR, 35f2, SB 400, SB 600, TC-201 2x converter. Tamron: 90 macro 2.8 Kenko ext. tubes. Photoshop CS2.


  3. #3
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    Oh, didn't know I could shoot in raw & jpeg at the same time! I really need to go back to the camera manual to see how. Definitely high on my things to learn & do list.
    Thanks for taking the time and effort to reply to such a beginner question.

  4. #4
    keen learner of new tricks. old dog's Avatar
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    well, I`m assuming that your camera, which is a great DSLR BTW, should do this. You will need a good editing program to process the raw images. I use Adobe photoshop CS5. I start in Adobe camera raw and do the initial adjustments there before opening up in CS5. Oftentimes you can do pretty well everything in Camera raw and fine tuning, layers, masking etc in CS5 to finish off. I`m on L plates here but learning slowly. As I said earlier, once you get into shooting raw and seeing the many advantages when processing, you wont go back to jpeg. Cheers.....

  5. #5
    Just keep plodding away... Mat's Avatar
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    I only shoot RAW but JPG has got it's place. For example in sporting shoots where high speed burst at a fast shutter speed is needed to capture the action then the JPG smaller file size means faster saves to the card and allow the camera's internal buffer to clear faster giving you more frames per second. But with this you do need to think more about the type of image you want (vibrant, B&W, contrast white balance, etc). I mainly shoot landscape so the fast throughput is not a priority to me so RAW would be best suited. This allows me to less critical on the White Balance and Vibrance etc... and allow me to consentrate more on exposure, composition and looking out for different angles. As Graeme said Raw allows you to adjust the settings after the shoot and recover more detail out of blown out highlights and shadows. Another thing RAW aloows you to do is at a later date you decide that an image could look nicer with a different White Balance (warmer or cooler) along with outher changes you can do this without losing the detail of the original image. With a JPG every time you save the image it does lose detail.

    There are a lot more reasons why other people pick one over the other but it comes down to what you are going to do with the image. But do try the Raw + JPG.

  6. #6
    Just keep plodding away... Mat's Avatar
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    The first time you open up a RAW image you might think that it is flat in colour and contrast. This is normal and where your creative processing starts.

  7. #7
    Hi Hopefull,
    I have the same camera and learning as you are. I got a CD with mine "Digital Photo Professional" This is a canon program that I assumed all new Canon's came supplied with. After you download using EOS utility "on the same CD from memory" the editing program lets you adjust things in raw as well as jpeg. I have been using it for a while now to see what all the adjustments do. It is much more limited than Photoshop but there is enough to keep you busy for a while in any case, before you purchase a much more powerful and complex program. You can save RAW & Jpeg in the 550D. And then in Digital photo Professional you set the preferences to see one or the other format or both I think. I always shoot raw even though I am useless at editing but my thoughts on this are that I have ever learnt anything that I didn't try. There are also plenty of things that I never learnt but did try, but thats any story.
    If you didn't get the CD with your camera it may be on Canon's website. Worth a try at least

    Cheers Kieran

  8. #8
    Agree with all of the above, when I first did RAW I got so frustrated that I just went back to Jpeg! I so dearly wish I had continued with both, but it is what it is!!
    Even if you don't process them now or can't quite grasp it, continue with RAW+Jpeg because believe me in time you will be glad to go back and see the changes in your processing!! Storage is cheap enough these days to afford this luxury of hoarding lol!
    I now do it this way for everything but 'action' related shooting where I just use jpegs.

    Good luck with your journey and plenty of people on here to ease the frustration and lessen the learning curve.
    Cheers and Happy Shooting
    Cindy

    Canon 7D, 50mm, 100mm Macro
    Olympus E-30, 9-18mm, 14-54mm, 50-200mm
    Photoshop CS5


  9. #9
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    To all who have replied -thanks for increasing my understanding.
    Does shooting in raw mean that a lot of time is spent processing them? Currently I just download them to the computer and decide if the image is OK or to be trashed.
    Do you use raw for all/most photos or only those you want to adjust to a achieve a specific style?
    I have so many questions wonder if I will ever really understand and fully utilise even the basics of photography?
    Last edited by hopefull; 17-05-2012 at 9:43pm. Reason: Typo

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    Hi Hopefull,
    Don't worry too much that you have been shooting in Jpeg only, because if you get Adobe Photoshop (Elements or CS5 etc.) you can use a little trick to open your Jpeg files and process them similar to Raw files.
    Instead of using the "Open File" command use the "Open File As" command and in the drop down panel select "Raw" and select the Jpeg file you want to open. You will then be able to do the "Raw" adjustments before hitting the "Open Image" command (or whatever is used) and moving the file into the Photoshop editing panel.

    As said above shoot in both Raw and Jpeg until you get your image editing software and get comfortable using it.
    Cheers
    Darey

    Nikon user, Thick skinned and wanting to improve, genuine C & C welcomed.

    Photographs don't lie ! - Anonymous Liar

  11. #11
    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hopefull View Post
    To all who have replied -thanks for increasing my understanding.
    Does shooting in raw mean that a lot of time is spent processing them? Currently I just download them to the computer and decide if the image is OK or to be trashed.
    Do you use raw for all/most photos or only those you want to adjust to a achieve a specific style?
    I have so many questions wonder if I will ever really understand and fully utilise even the basics of photography?
    To me, you just spend the "necessary" amount of time. How you approach raw processing will change over time as you learn more.
    The main Q is: why do you use raw?
    My main answer is: because of the wealth of information it contains and what it can allow you to do.
    A simple for instance is to recover a fairly well exposed image from a shot that would have been lost in jpeg mode.
    Don't worry about the heap of Qs all at once. Try it a bit, see what you learn, and go from there.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darey View Post
    Hi Hopefull,
    Don't worry too much that you have been shooting in Jpeg only, because if you get Adobe Photoshop (Elements or CS5 etc.) you can use a little trick to open your Jpeg files and process them similar to Raw files.
    Instead of using the "Open File" command use the "Open File As" command and in the drop down panel select "Raw" and select the Jpeg file you want to open. You will then be able to do the "Raw" adjustments before hitting the "Open Image" command (or whatever is used) and moving the file into the Photoshop editing panel.

    As said above shoot in both Raw and Jpeg until you get your image editing software and get comfortable using it.
    Darey. I'm not dismissing your advice, but although you can open a jpeg as raw the exercise would have limited value, as you do not have all the raw info to manipulate.
    In effect, it would be rather like just familiarising yourself wit the raw processor.

    I would suggest shoot in raw+jpeg, and use the jpeg as a guide to process your raw image.

    Am to both.
    CC, Image editing OK.

  12. #12
    Perpetually Bewildered fillum's Avatar
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    For me it's simple, if I'm going to do any post-processing on the computer I will shoot raw. There are a few extra sliders but doesn't really add much to time to the workflow (you can even just accept the defaults if you like).

    Best way is to give it a go. Most software is available to be downloaded for a free trial if you don't already have any...


    Cheers.
    Phil.

    Some Nikon stuff.


  13. #13
    Ausphotography Regular pixy's Avatar
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    Hopefull,
    Most beginners start in auto mode on their cameras using JPEG.

    When they feel comfortable and experiment they will try the semi-auto programs, aperture-priority, shutter-priority,etc, or stay at the sane level and enjoy the snaps as they are.

    You will obtain more detail in Raw,but as already been mentioned you can use both,storage is cheap,but when you take that magic moment and the photo is black on your screen,

    you don't have to cry because Raw can give you a usable photo.

    Photoshop is the benchmark in editing programs,but there are other free programs which work quite well.

    Jack

  14. #14
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    All the info is so helpful thanks. I have had trouble downloading gimp etc to my macbook os 10.7.3, have recently received info from Canon re upgrade to the software that came with the 550D to suit my computer but have not had a chance to play with it yet. Seriously considering getting Photoshop (Dept Ed discount).
    Jack - You sound like you know me "...black on your screen, you don't have to cry because..."
    To all - thanks again, very nice of you to take the time to reply to such novice questions.

  15. #15
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    Originally posted by ameerat42:
    Darey. I'm not dismissing your advice, but although you can open a jpeg as raw the exercise would have limited value, as you do not have all the raw info to manipulate.
    In effect, it would be rather like just familiarising yourself wit the raw processor.

    Ameerat42,
    I somewhat agree but even though JPEG and TIFF photos won't have all of the advantages of RAW photos, at least you'll have all of the intuitive controls Camera Raw brings to the table.

  16. #16
    another user tittle Mark L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hopefull View Post
    ....
    Does shooting in raw mean that a lot of time is spent processing them? .....
    You get used to what you use. So you know I only use D.P.P.. Originally I'd spent some time on an image, but that was just learning what could be done with the photo. Now in D.P.P. using RAW it is unusual to spend more than a minute (at most, usually a lot less) on an image.
    If you can get that discount on Photoshop, it's probably worth doing for the future. D.P.P. has taught me the value of RAW (and the basics of what can be done), but I'm getting to the stage of wanting more (layers, selective sharpening...).
    "If you think you can or if you think you can't,
    your right."

    60D, a couple of old lenses.

  17. #17
    Just to add my 2c worth. I shoot RAW + JPEG - 90% of the time. The one gift that RAW gives you is that you can always go back to the original capture - none of your changes destroy the original RAW file. Especially as someone who is learning both in Photography and in Post-Processing, the ability to go back an re-visit an image is a big advantage. As I have got better in using Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom I am finding I can go back to old Wedding Shoots and Fashion Shoots and previously "so-So" images I can rework and make some good things out of.

    The one thing is that RAW eats up memory, so have some good storage systems in place, also you will start building a workflow that works for you, the thing is to get rid of the RAW files for the dodgy shots (eg. Blurry, Out of Focus, Cut-Off Heads) - there is really no point keeping them in RAW they just eat up your HDD.

    Sometimes though there are occasions where I need the speed of JPEG, #1 is shots I don't really care much about, happy snaps and the such. Also some sports and action really lends itself to the speed of JPEG. I am shooting with the D300s at the moment which has Dual Memory Card slots so I just slap the RAW to one card and the JPEG to the other, this also gives me some redundancy in protecting images incase one card should (touch wood, turn around twice and spit) ever fail.

    EDIT > Re: Editing time - basically my whole RAW Workflow is conducted in Adobe Bridge, I go through the RAW files in Preview Mode, giving them a star rating. I put all my Rejects into a folder called "Rejects" and then once I am down with the top shots that I wanna play with, I will select them all and open in Adobe Camera Raw, apply some basic settings to all images: Lens Profile / Sharpening / Clarity. Then once I have the images to a point I am happy with I just click "Save Images" and batch them all out as JPEGS.

    Something handy with ACR is that I will save the Settings as a "preset" this allows me to re-apply the same settings again in the future. Which means I can often process a whole wedding of 1,000 images in a couple of hours, because I will generally apply the same preset to most images and then just work on maybe only a small % - thus speeding up my timelines. I recently processed a wedding shoot in little over 4 hours work (spread over a few nights because sadly I have a boring day job!). So RAW doesn't add too much time to my processing.

    Cheers and best of Luck with it all

    Ross...
    Last edited by RMPhoto; 18-05-2012 at 8:15pm. Reason: Wanted to add a thought.

  18. #18
    You might want to consider using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom (or Lightroom for short). While Photoshop is a powerful image editor, it is a very complex piece of software. Lightroom is far simpler to learn and use and is designed specifically for editing photos. It is also far cheaper - as I type this, I see it for US$149.00 on the Adobe website. You can do away with the software your camera came with as Lightroom will import directly from the camera. If you decide to take RAW + JPEG, it will manage both of them for you. Good Luck!

    Michael.
    Nikon D3100, Nikon DX 18-55, Nikon DX 55-300

  19. #19
    Member Solo1's Avatar
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    RAW Versus JPG

    Hopeful, welcome to the world of not knowing, I've been photographing for more years than I care to say and I'm still undecided about RAW or jpg.
    I shoot mostly jpg and edit in lightroom and photoshop. I only shoot RAW if I know I'm going to do a lot of editing including white balance. from your perspective forget RAW at this stage and concentrate on your photography, the slight difference in editing RAW is not a benefit to you at this time, you will know when you need it.
    Buy a good editing program like photoshop elements or CS5 and lightroom, There is no doubt that lightroom 4 is the best IMHO, but you need elements for cloning bits in or out, look at the pricing for education versions they are full versions at a fraction of the price, but you need to be a student ,teacher, or a parent of a student.
    Without a good editing program you will not advance in your photography skills, so you need to spend many hours learning, there are bags of tutorials for both programs and some very good books, I have Scott Kelby's book on Lightroom 3 its really a great learning tool.
    Good luck

  20. #20
    Always learning Ionica's Avatar
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    " I see it for US$149.00 on the Adobe website"
    It can be bought on - line from a company in Sydney ( student/teacher discount) for $105, and may be collected from the business premises, or delivered. It is in Ultimo,so easy to get to. I'm not sure if I can give details, so if you are interested you can pm me for the details.
    Constructive critique of my photos is welcome and appreciated.


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