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Thread: RAW vs JPG

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    RAW vs JPG

    Okay I tried a search, but I think because RAW and JPG are 3 characters the search didn't want to include them.

    I've always shot in JPG, and I've been asked why I don't shoot in RAW by people. Well, to be honest, I've never thought about it.

    What benefits are there in shooting RAW? I'm only a hobbyist not a professional, and I've always been okay with JPG files. I have an extensive Photoshop knowledge (being a graphics designer by trade) so I tend to be able to correct anything I come across.

    And from your own experiences how quickly would it fill up my memory card? (I have an 8gb card)

    I'm assuming RAW would be massive file size!

    Decided to "shave" my signature ;]
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    I read somewhere that CR2 Raw files from a 550D are about 12 megs a piece. vs a meg or 2 for a JPG depending upon the variance of colour/contrast in a scene.

    The big difference is in the bit depth.

    JPG is 8 Bits per pixel where raw is 14 or 16 bits per pixel
    that effectively doubles the ammount of data per pixel and also doubles the effective colour range available.
    and all this is before you take jpg's compression into account.

    Me, I shoot JPG, untill i have something i really want to keep or looks awesome in the viewfinder, then i hit the (pentax) dedicated RAW button 1 shot 1 raw.
    Greg Bartle,
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    I'll give you a simple exercise to go away and try, and I'm serious

    Take a shot three stops underexposed, one in raw the other in jpeg. Take another two stops overexposed, one in jpeg the other in raw....process both and look at the result

    Another test, change camera white balance to tungsten and take a shot outdoors of a human face and process both to do a colour correction in post processing

    Report back the results ok ?
    Darren
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    Hi Tommo, I always shoot in RAW except with my smaller point and shoot which I use for snapshots such as family birthdays etc.

    Generally speaking, each file type has its pros and cons.

    JPegs have small file size, processed and fast-save to memory card. The disadvantage of JPEG is that its Compression can delete detail in areas of similar tone/brightness and white balance is selected in camera. Each time you open and edit a JPEG file, you lose some quality!

    The benefits of RAW is that RAW is a Lossless format (all data captured by sensor is saved onto the card as data and later can be edited to include or exclude certain data/features of the photo. Also image settings can be applied on the PC (such as image sharpening, contrast etc) later on without loss of quality. Also white balance can be chosen later on computer.

    The downsides of RAW is it is normally slow to be processed by a camera due to large file size which takes large amounts of memory card space (but with a lot of the newer SLR cameras and faster memory cards this is less of a problem in 2011). Optimising images on PC takes time.

    I know some Wedding Photographers who only shoot in JPEG but I think that is a risk as you don't get a second chance...with RAW, at least you can play around without any loss of quality.

    On the other hand a lot of sports photographers shoot in JPEG as they can shoot more shots continuously. But most of them have camera (like the Canon 1D series) that especially caters for high compression JPEG images just for these people in mind.

    Another important aspect in the use of digital sensors is to understand what can and can‘t be saved. In digital imaging at the moment, overexposure spells a lost image. Whilst the shadow detail can, to a certain extent be recovered, highlight detail or overexposed areas cannot. If in doubt, bracket of course, but safe = under-exposure.

    A problem resulting from too much image compression, particularly for landscape photographers, is the appearance of what are called artefacts in the image. Artefacts occur when there are large areas in the image of a similar, lightly graduated hue (typically sky areas). High JPEG compression will reduce the graduation in order to reduce the file size, resulting in too great a difference in colour between areas, which can then be seen as distinct patches of colour rather than a gradually changing shade.

    To be safe, I shoot in Raw and spend time editing. Hope this helps. Regards Don
    Last edited by Doninoz; 16-06-2011 at 3:52pm.
    DON - Teachable, always learning, always experimenting, just want to know everything I can about photography!

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    I always shoot in RAW mode - yes the files are huge - on my Canon 7D they can be between 20 and 30 Mb each. This can make it slow to deal with the images, but at least I'm sure I have exactly what the camera captured, no compression artifacts. I only save images to jpeg, once i have finished all editing, but still keep the original RAW images as well. Thanks god storage keeps getting cheaper.
    Cheers,

    Greg
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    The difference, Chalk and Cheese/Black and White, I shoot in the RAW all the time, I love being able to process my images , With all the original data intact, A JPEG Throws a heap of information away
    Canon : 30D, and sometimes the 5D mkIII , Sigma 10-20, 50mm 1.8, Canon 24-105 f4 L , On loan Sigma 120-400 DG and Canon 17 - 40 f4 L , Cokin Filters




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    Depends what I am shooting if shooting sport I shoot jpegs, If doing portraights,weddings etc then shoot raw
    Photoshop CS4 and lightroom 2 (lI know a little bit but am learning )
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    I shoot in raw for the reasons that doninoz has explained in post #4. Plus the other reason is that if I spent well over $4000 on a camera and lenses, why shoot in a format that can be produced with a $400 point and shoot.
    With many genres of photography if you want to do it properly you need every pixel to be a good as you can get. You have a lot more options in CS4/5 camera raw that you can play with as well.
    About the 8gb card. I have never filled my 8gig. I might take 200-400 shots on a day, all between 10 - 12Mb each. I just upload them onto the computer, then delete them off the card once I have gone though them, ready for the next day out.

    I also hope this helps.

    Geoff.

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    I shoot in RAW, i then batch process to jpeg and send those files to the client asking which images they like, then post process the RAW files to my liking. Following what Kiwi said you will understand exactly why shooting with RAW is important.

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    There is one main point that folks need to fully understand about the differences between shooting raw or JPG in camera, and that is there is no right or wrong answer, only what work well enough for you.

    OP said:
    Well, to be honest, I've never thought about it.
    So, there's probably no reason to change anything.

    But the main points about raw files have already been stated(and do try the Kiwi exposure exercise if only for the sake of curiosity!!)
    The benefits of raw over jpg are:

    *Lots of exposure latitude.

    *Proper WB adjustment, as opposed to re-tinting an already tinted file.

    *The ability to set higher bit depths if required offering higher printing standards. Otherwise this advantage is pretty much useless.(eg. if you only ever publish to the web having access to higher bit depth is ultimately a futile exercise as your final output is always only jpg.

    *camera pre processing: all cameras have to process a jpg file. A raw file is just that, an unprocessed file still yet to be processed at all. This is a matter of quality again, and how processing a jpg file slowly degrades the quality of each pixel as you process over already processed pixels. The loss of quality is probably insignificant after the first or second edits, but this doesn't mean it doesn't exist, so further processing is only going to make the file worse.
    Raw files don't have this issue. You can process a raw file as many times as you like over the old version, and it never loses any quality in the data it contains. For some folks this can be important.
    It means that you don't require a 'master file' as such, as the original raw file is always there for further processing.

    As an extreme example of what this means is take a jpg file and process it with a high key look and save it. Once done, trying to further process this jpg file back to a low contrast dark look is impossible without massive degradation of the pixel data now. This means that multiple versions will be required, whereas a raw file can be all of those versions in a single file.


    Once again. The most important aspect of deciding whether to use jpg or raw is simply about what works for you.
    If jpg files work for your needs, then there is no reason to shoot in raw.
    The only advantages that jpg files have over raw are speed/space issues. Shooting jpg in camera is usually done for the purpose of speeding up the camera(shooting rates and buffer clearing reasons) and holding more files onto a single card.
    Some people claim that there is a 'faster workflow' in shooting jpg as it eliminates the need to convert raw images into jpgs.. which is technically true, but the process of extracting a jpg out of a raw image is so trivial that this argument easily becomes null and void.

    The best summary I can think of as to why you would shoot a particular format is

    Raw = Quality

    JPG = Convenience

    Keep the philosophy simple(and don't get into semantics), each individual then decides which of the limitations of each file type they're prepared to live with.

    FWIW: my (two)main reason(s) for shooting in raw is quality of print and whitebalance leeway.
    I once shot in jpg as an exercise and was not happy with the inability to control tint via whiteblance adjustment, and instead had to 'warm/cool' the image via a series of tinting steps. This is not the same thing as adjusting whitebalance on a raw file. While it can look similar, it never looks the same.
    High quality tiff files print better than jpg files(at a quality print service!.. not your bubble jet printer at home).
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    It's all about the Light!
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    Personally...

    • Shoot raw
    • If in doubt - shoot raw
    • If you want the most options in PP - shoot raw
    • If you want creative control - shoot raw
    • Only shoot JPEG if you really need to (i.e. maybe fast frame rate, or you are in a lazy mood), otherwise shoot raw
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    Wow this thread was more helpful than I originally anticipated

    Thanks all! I think I might take a step in to RAW and test it out, one of my friends has asked me to photoshoot their car, so I might do it in RAW. Think it'll be a safe situation to test it out

    JPG has always suited me well, but if you say RAW is more dynamic then by all means I'm going to see how it goes! It's going to change the way I've always post-processed, but I'm willing to give it a go haha..

    I'll also try that face thing, sounds like homework, but also sounds quite interesting to try

    @AthurKing - Very very helpful post, bit of points from both sides in that one, quite well written. Thank you

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    Be prepared for very dull flat looking raw files....they are like eggs...they need cooking prior to eating

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    Yep, I was just going to say the same thing Kiwi!

    Your monitor on the camera will show a JPEG looking image but when you download it into the computer you will see the flat, unedited RAW photo. Sometimes it is hard for me to get that around my head, as i see a great photo in the camera but not on the computer. Since you are very apt at editing you will have no problem at all with editing RAW files.
    Monika
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi View Post
    Be prepared for very dull flat looking raw files....they are like eggs...they need cooking prior to eating
    You have to caress/extract the colours and tones that lay hidden in the file

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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi View Post
    Be prepared for very dull flat looking raw files....they are like eggs...they need cooking prior to eating
    Not always a bad thing.

    Seeing your images in the raw (pun intended, sadly) makes it evident how good a photographer you are and if your improving/what you need to work on, no sugar coating of images there.
    Last edited by crf529; 17-06-2011 at 10:54am.

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    If in doubt shoot in RAW/jpg all DSLR cameras give you this option. That way you can use the same shot /different format when processing.
    See which format gives you the best processing options. Unless you take 200 shots or more you will not fill up your 8gig card.
    Geoff
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    Hi I found a script that enables ACR (Adobe Camera Raw) editing of JPEG and TIFF files. This super advanced script will convert a standard layer in Photoshop CS5, into a Smart Object that can be edited with the Adobe Camera Raw tools. I have tried it on a couple of JPEG files and it looks as though there is no quality Loss but I wonder if others have used it and can shed some light on it. It can be found here at SCRIPT. Search for heading "Adobe Photoshop CS5 Standard Edition Tutorials". It is the 1st entry under this heading "CS5 Script: Edit Layers in ACR".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doninoz View Post
    Hi I found a script that enables ACR (Adobe Camera Raw) editing of JPEG and TIFF files. This super advanced script will convert a standard layer in Photoshop CS5, into a Smart Object that can be edited with the Adobe Camera Raw tools. I have tried it on a couple of JPEG files and it looks as though there is no quality Loss but I wonder if others have used it and can shed some light on it. It can be found here at SCRIPT. Search for heading "Adobe Photoshop CS5 Standard Edition Tutorials". It is the 1st entry under this heading "CS5 Script: Edit Layers in ACR".
    Open Bridge. Right-click on the JPEG. Choose "Open in Camera RAW". Done. Retains settings in xmp file just like a RAW file.

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