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Thread: loss of quality post processing

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    loss of quality post processing

    hi can anyone tell me please what I can do in lightroom without losing picture quality (raw) and how much quality I lose from hdr and pano programs (roughly) as I think im becoming dependant on these programs and I cant afford to lose too much picture quality because I only have 6 mp (d70)

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    Member markjaffa's Avatar
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    I dont use Lighroom in my workflow - Bridge and Photoshop do me - but making adjustments to a RAW image doesnt involve any loss of quality. It should improve it - after sharpening and noise reduction it should look much better. If and when you change the image format you may lose quality - JPEGs compression involves discarding data to make the file smaller, TIFF is a loss-less image format. So if you were to export JPEGs to your HDR/Pano program, and then save the result as a JPEG there will be a further loss of quality. Whether or not the loss is acceptable would be dependent upon the final usage of the image - printed out at small size you might not notice it - a poster sized print on a glossy paper would probably look awful!

    I cant quantify how much quality you will lose from HDR and Pano programs, but "garbage in, garbage out" applies in this situation. Exporting the images to the HDR/Pano program using the image format that contains the most data will give the best result possible. If you can export RAW images after applying Camera Raw adjustments, then do it. If you cant, try images in the TIFF format. JPEG should be your last port of call.
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    Like any software, no matter what it is named, if you push your processing to far, you will end up with 'problems'. The trick is to learn your camera, understand how far you can push it (high ISO before to much noise, etc) then work with the image file, not against it, when post processing.

    You asked another question about HDR previously, and the answer there was to not use a single RAW file to create different files to merge to HDR, but rather take three shots and use those.

    I think the answers to your question in this thread lies not in what software can do for you, but what you can do with your photography to ensure you get the results you want. Post processing is limited by the quality of the original file. Improve your photography and you improve what you can do in post.
    Last edited by ricktas; 01-05-2011 at 6:59am.
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    Are you shooting RAW files?
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    I take some HDR photos...always shoot in raw as high quality as my camera allows. I use Photomatrix Pro 3.2.9 to build the HDR photos. I can import the Raw photos straight into this program. I limit the editing and agree with what Mark and Rick said...the more editing you do, the more you will lose quality. I never delete my Raw images, ALWAYS save in TIFF and then edit to JPG only to display online. I never edit JPG files EVER! That's the best way to make an exceptional image good and a good image poor!

    What Rick says is so true, try and depend on your camera to do the work. A lot of digital photographers have become lazy (including me) and snap away and depend on Photoshop to make everything better.

    I was a photographer in the days when all camera's were manual and film. You had to depend on your equipment and I think we all need to go back to the old ways of taking photos (yes, we can do that with our digital camera), noting natural light (with its shadows and highlights) and using it to advantage. One of the best ways of doing this is to set your camera up to take black and white and spend a few days shooting everything around you...looking at each shot after taken and working out if you have lighting right this can be time of day, cloud or sunshine, shadows and strong light etc. I believe that this is a great way for a digital photographer to get back to basics. Why do I say this will help? Because every shade of a black and white photo represents a colour. If you see these shades as shades it will help you to see the colours too.

    I always thought that HDR was the way to go in making great photos until I watched Ken Duncan taking his photos. He doesn't use HDR even though we could be excused for thinking his photos are HDR. He will go back to the same spot several times without taking any shots...waiting for the right time. When he sees it...he takes it and, well the rest is history.

    I have looked at a lot of the old photographers work from the last generation and tried to work out how they took their photos...how they used creativity without the fancy programs we have today. I think if I can emulate them, then I won't need a computer to 'make'the perfect photo.
    DON - Teachable, always learning, always experimenting, just want to know everything I can about photography!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doninoz View Post
    I take some HDR photos...always shoot in raw as high quality as my camera allows. I use Photomatrix Pro 3.2.9 to build the HDR photos. I can import the Raw photos straight into this program. I limit the editing and agree with what Mark and Rick said...the more editing you do, the more you will lose quality. I never delete my Raw images, ALWAYS save in TIFF and then edit to JPG only to display online. I never edit JPG files EVER! That's the best way to make an exceptional image good and a good image poor!

    What Rick says is so true, try and depend on your camera to do the work. A lot of digital photographers have become lazy (including me) and snap away and depend on Photoshop to make everything better.

    I was a photographer in the days when all camera's were manual and film. You had to depend on your equipment and I think we all need to go back to the old ways of taking photos (yes, we can do that with our digital camera), noting natural light (with its shadows and highlights) and using it to advantage. One of the best ways of doing this is to set your camera up to take black and white and spend a few days shooting everything around you...looking at each shot after taken and working out if you have lighting right this can be time of day, cloud or sunshine, shadows and strong light etc. I believe that this is a great way for a digital photographer to get back to basics. Why do I say this will help? Because every shade of a black and white photo represents a colour. If you see these shades as shades it will help you to see the colours too.

    I always thought that HDR was the way to go in making great photos until I watched Ken Duncan taking his photos. He doesn't use HDR even though we could be excused for thinking his photos are HDR. He will go back to the same spot several times without taking any shots...waiting for the right time. When he sees it...he takes it and, well the rest is history.

    I have looked at a lot of the old photographers work from the last generation and tried to work out how they took their photos...how they used creativity without the fancy programs we have today. I think if I can emulate them, then I won't need a computer to 'make'the perfect photo.
    Of course you will need a computer. Those prints you are looking at did not spring magically from their cameras you know!

    Yes, it is important to get it as right as you can in the initial image, but you then have to emulate the print process to get a display worthy result. I've read Ansel Adams once spent 4 days getting a print 'just right', with innumerable steps of dodging, burning, etc - and I'll bet Ken Duncan does a fair bit of PP to bring the image up to his 'vision'.

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    I know with digital, you need a computer to finish the developing of the photo. What I meant is we shouldn't rely on the computer to produce good photos. BTW Ken Duncan uses LF film...so PP is mostly done in the dark room...and very little at that.

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markjaffa View Post
    I dont use Lighroom in my workflow - Bridge and Photoshop do me - but making adjustments to a RAW image doesnt involve any loss of quality. It should improve it - after sharpening and noise reduction it should look much better. If and when you change the image format you may lose quality - JPEGs compression involves discarding data to make the file smaller, TIFF is a loss-less image format. So if you were to export JPEGs to your HDR/Pano program, and then save the result as a JPEG there will be a further loss of quality. Whether or not the loss is acceptable would be dependent upon the final usage of the image - printed out at small size you might not notice it - a poster sized print on a glossy paper would probably look awful!

    I cant quantify how much quality you will lose from HDR and Pano programs, but "garbage in, garbage out" applies in this situation. Exporting the images to the HDR/Pano program using the image format that contains the most data will give the best result possible. If you can export RAW images after applying Camera Raw adjustments, then do it. If you cant, try images in the TIFF format. JPEG should be your last port of call.
    - but making adjustments to a RAW image doesnt involve any loss of quality. It should improve it -
    Mark, I'm not disagreeing with the your reply (I am in general agreement with nearly all you have said) except to raise an issue with the last line pasted above.

    I would put it as: "...does not involve any change in quality..." and that what you can improve on the OUTPUT from that RAW file, that is, a different file altogether, be it jpeg, tiff...
    Am.
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    Moderately Underexposed I @ M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doninoz View Post
    I know with digital, you need a computer to finish the developing of the photo.
    There are printers available that you can plug your camera into and simply print the JPEG straight from the camera.

    Quote Originally Posted by Doninoz View Post
    What I meant is we shouldn't rely on the computer to produce good photos.
    Every time you push the shutter button on a digital camera you are relying on a computer to produce a photo for you, good or bad, because a digital camera is purely a computerised imaging device.
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    Member markjaffa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ameerat42 View Post
    I would put it as: "...does not involve any change in quality..." and that what you can improve on the OUTPUT from that RAW file, that is, a different file altogether, be it jpeg, tiff...
    Am.
    Good point Am. I shouldnt answer posts so late at night! The RAW image would often need to be saved in another format to enable its end use - emailing to clients, web display, outsourcing of printing, etc.

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    cheers everyone I have now canned jpeg

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by d1star View Post
    cheers everyone I have now canned jpeg
    Guessing you mean you don't shoot "only jpeg" any more.

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    ok i just started exporting tiff and they are 30mb more than jpeg that seems to be a good sign

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    I export 16-bit tiffs from my raws, although the raws are only 12-bit to start with. Yes, they can be large. Mine get to 100 MB, but that's only for a few shots out of a batch of many. Eventually they end up as 8-bit jpegs for posting here, though they are hosted from another site. I reckon it's more useful to work on "redundant" 16-bit data rather than non-existent data from an 8-bit file. That's just the final product, and if I am not satisfied with it I go back to the 16-bit tiff and have another go.
    Am.

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    hi ameerat I always shoot raw but I was exporting jpegs, I had no idea about tiff, file compression, 8bit, 16bit etc. I have photomatix pro that can take raw files but im not happy with it I prefer dynamic hdr its easier to use and I seem to get better results. now that I know to bracket shots instead of using the 1 shot I might try photomatix agian with raw

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    Well, your camera outputs raws in 12-bit, same as mine. I don't think I'd use raw files in any prog like Photomatix. At best it does some conversion to a standard format, but it couldn't be as good as the program designed to treat the NEF files. Yeah. A drop from 12 to 8-bits from your raw converter is a bit of a sacrifice of possibly useful info. Hence the 16-bit version I work on (if nec.) in Photoshop. Am.

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