Camera JPEG engines

Discussion in 'Digital Cameras' started by Alfred Molon, Nov 18, 2012.

  1. Alfred Molon

    Alfred Molon Guest

    I'd be curious about your opinion/experience with the JPEG output of
    today's cameras. Do you only shoot RAW and postprocess everything, or
    RAW+JPEG and only postprocess selectively, or do you only shoot JPEG?

    My personal experience is that the JPEG output of modern cameras is not
    bad, sometimes surprisingly good, and -if the camera is set up properly-
    only a certain percentage of images need RAW processing.
     
    Alfred Molon, Nov 18, 2012
    #1
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  2. Alfred Molon

    ray Guest

    Several cameras include a jpeg 'preview' in the raw file. That's what I
    use - shoot raw only and check the embedded jpeg before I process.
     
    ray, Nov 19, 2012
    #2
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  3. Alfred Molon

    Savageduck Guest

    I usually shoot RAW only, and I guess that is in part due to some
    control issues on my part. I just prefer the leeway I have with a RAW
    files in post processing.

    When I have had cameras which only offered JPEG I was always surprised
    by the quality of the results using the available camera settings.

    I shoot RAW+JPEG with my D300S when there are other folks involved, so
    I can provide immediate images for some friends and family. That is
    usually at some event such as the looming Thanksgiving Day holiday.

    With my G11 there is no RAW only mode, so it is RAW+JPEG with that when
    using AV, EV, P, or M modes. If any of the program modes are selected
    the only option is JPEG. I have toyed with those from time to time and
    have again been surprised at the more than acceptable results.

    There have been times when I am just shooting snapshots with my G11
    and/or my iPhone, and so shot JPEG only and I have been quite happy
    with the results. However I remain anal enough to shoot RAW only 99% of
    the time so I can entertain myself playing with post processing.
     
    Savageduck, Nov 19, 2012
    #3
  4. Mine simulataneously makes both raw and jpeg as separate files. I usually
    find the jpeg is good enough but the raws can have slightly more highlight
    detail due to the pseudo-film highlight roll-off that jpegs tend to have,
    also clearer shadow detail due to lack of denoising. Of course raw
    processors often apply such effects themselves in which case the output
    would be much the same as the jpeg.
     
    Gordon Freeman, Nov 19, 2012
    #4
  5. Alfred Molon

    tony cooper Guest

    It depends.

    If I'm shooting family pix outdoors in good light, I'll shoot RAW plus
    ..jpg. Usually, when I skim through the results, the .jpg versions are
    just fine. I'll only use the RAW when there's some reason to. It's
    quicker to process the .jpgs.

    The rest of the time I'll shoot RAW only.
     
    tony cooper, Nov 19, 2012
    #5
  6. Alfred Molon

    Alfred Molon Guest

    Is the JPEG output of your camera so bad?
     
    Alfred Molon, Nov 19, 2012
    #6
  7. Alfred Molon

    David Taylor Guest

    For my purposes, the JPEG output is just fine (from my Nikon D5000), and
    has been OK with the limited amount of shooting on my Sony HX200V. The
    Nikon has dynamic range extension - "Active-D lighting" - which I always
    have enabled.

    I would only use RAW in exceptional circumstances.
     
    David Taylor, Nov 19, 2012
    #7
  8. Alfred Molon

    Martin Brown Guest

    There is not enough time in the day to shoot everything in RAW and post
    process. Highest quality JPEG is generally very good on most decent
    cameras and has been for ages. Some are actually faithfully digitising
    the thermal noise as well as the image - wasting space on the card.

    The days when JPEGs quality names were inflated so that "Good" = "Bad",
    "Very Good" = "Good" and "Excellent" = "Very Good" are long gone!
    Mostly those including insane dynamic range where shadow detail and
    highlights are both simultaneously important. Weddings being an obvious
    situation where you will need to use post processing or risk disaster.
     
    Martin Brown, Nov 19, 2012
    #8
  9. Alfred Molon

    nick c Guest

    I used to shoot RAW all the time then later changed to shooting
    high-quality JPEG for most of my pictures to reduce processing time.
    That's when I used to spend more time processing my shots than taking
    the shots. Besides that, I now tend to use Active D-lighting should I
    think the scene would be enhanced using the D-lighting feature.

    When in doubt about the lighting of a scene, I'll shoot RAW+JPEG just in
    case the color temperature may need to be adjusted or other features may
    need to be adjusted, for which RAW is best suited to the task.

    However, over a period of time I've come to the conclusion that
    high-quality JPEG is very suitable for the type of pictures I like to take.
     
    nick c, Nov 19, 2012
    #9
  10. I started shooting RAW+JPEG because a magazine I submit to required RAW.
    I shoot the jpeg at a reduced size to use as a quick reference & so I
    can see a thumbnail of a picture in Windows since I don't know how to
    make Windows display a thumbnail of a RAW image. I am using a Canon 7D.

    I use Capture One to process the RAWs. It does a better job than I can
    get with a jpeg, & it doesn't take a lot of time.
     
    the Legend of LAX, Nov 19, 2012
    #10
  11. Alfred Molon

    Rob Guest


    I only shoot JPG and only in exceptional circumstances will make a RAW
    or HDR file. Can't afford the card/HDD space. I will only get ~1400
    fine JPG images on a 32Gb card. NEF 12 bit lossless make 32mb 14bit
    lossless make 41MB files and a large tiff 108.2 Mb.

    As for as I can tell my JPG images have enough information to make large
    prints.
     
    Rob, Nov 19, 2012
    #11
  12. I have almost no experience with camera JPEG engines, because I shoot
    everything RAW.

    However, from my little experience, and what I read from others, your
    suggestion that the JPEG output is often surprisingly good seems to be
    true; certainly for snapshots, event photos, stuff you're not going to
    do half an hour or so of work on an individual photo getting to
    "exhibition quality" prints. (Nailing the exposure is almost always
    more important than setting the JPEG engine in the camera up right; just
    avoid any extreme settings, and you should do okay there.)

    For me, event photos are exactly where I need the safety margin RAW
    provides, though -- there are no do-overs, and the tradeoff between
    "fast" and "perfect" often has to be made in favor of "fast" or you may
    miss the shot entirely. When I get a good exposure, RAW rarely adds
    much; but when I *don't*, RAW frequently lets me pull a good-looking
    photo out.

    Yeah, after 40+ years, I still don't nail exposures perfectly each time.
    Whoda thunkit? I think I've tended to go for "faster" whenever the
    choice comes up. I often get photos because I *didn't* take time to go
    for perfect at the moment they occurred, and am able to get a good print
    from the RAW file later. If I'd spent extra time fixing the exposure, I
    wouldn't have gotten the photo at all.
     
    David Dyer-Bennet, Nov 19, 2012
    #12
  13. Ah; now THAT is why I converted to Bibble Pro, these many years ago.
    Makes processing 1500 raw files much more palatable -- I can adjust
    groups rather than individual files, and get the equivalent of pro-lab
    video-analyzed prints in similar amounts of operator time, or less.
     
    David Dyer-Bennet, Nov 19, 2012
    #13
  14. Alfred Molon

    Alan Browne Guest

    In camera JPEG is pretty good, even very good. But.

    - compression into 8 bit representation means info is missing.
    - if you left it WB for outdoor and then shot under incandescent or
    fluorescent, you will have a hard time correcting it.
    - if you under-exposed, you have little correction available w/o ramping
    up quantization noiuse
    - if you over-exposed, you can correct and end up with hard-blocked
    colors/whites.
    - a raw leaves you a lot more leeway for adjustments of all kinds - JPEG
    does not because the information space is much narrower.

    So, I shoot raw only. I "develop" in ACR - and if a bunch of images are
    in the same light then I can "batch" adjust all of them at once.

    There really is no excuse for "serious" photographers to shoot JPEG only.

    Some professional photogs on the other hand may be better off with JPEG
    where time and speed (small files) are of the essence (photojournalists
    in particular).
     
    Alan Browne, Nov 20, 2012
    #14
  15. Alfred Molon

    Savageduck Guest

    Memory is cheap!
    If you could afford the camera you should easily be able to afford one
    more 32GB card. 1TB of HDD space is quite affordable.
    Your camera has support needs, you should provide them.
    "ONLY ~1400 fine JPEGS"!!

    If those are from a single shoot you have management issues far greater
    than the cost of card/HDD space

    Buy a few extra cards and shoot RAW, and RAW+JPEG more often. If you
    are using cards for storage of 1400 JPEGs you have a faulty storage
    protocol. I don't know what type of shooting you do, but personally, if
    I spend a day at a target rich event I find that I might have shot
    750-1200 NEFs, but a more typical figure is 200-350. Then on a local
    stroll I might only shoot 20-30 shots.

    I always transfer to computer and my triple redundant backup setup.
    Once that is done I reformat the card.
    They probably do, but I somehow think you might not be printing 1400 of
    them from a single shoot.
     
    Savageduck, Nov 20, 2012
    #15
  16. Alfred Molon

    Rob Guest

    I now have 8x 32Gb Sandisk Extreme cards for my trips. $40 each - I
    don't carry a laptop, too heavy.

    Just bought a 3Tb external HDD today quite cheap at $149.00 that should
    see me out for the next 12 months at least :)

    No its not management issues its a finger problem, Fine JPEG file is on
    average 20Mb (that is dependent on the content as you are aware.)

    Its a Nikon camera.
    No but I don't get to go places all the time so I take quite a few
    images when I travel - 7000 images last time - I scabbed a few good ones
    though :) Next trip is for 2 weeks.
     
    Rob, Nov 20, 2012
    #16
  17. Alfred Molon

    Savageduck Guest

    See my suggestion below.
    At least. ;-)

    ....and that FF Nikon deserves only the best. :)
    Since you don't want to travel with a laptop, you should consider a
    traveling backup, which fits in your bag without a weight penalty.

    My suggestion is a Colorspace UDMA (the first leg of my triple
    redundant road backup) with an appropriately sized HDD. A great
    investment for the road, and one leg of a backup for those new cards. I
    would suggest a 500GB-1TB, but you can buy a basic unit and add your
    own high volume HDD.

    I originally bought a 250GB UDMA and upgraded it my self with a 1TB
    drive. That cost a lot less than they were/are asking. I have been
    using that for 4 years without a problem. It accepts several card types
    (most importantly CF & SDHC) and does full and incremental backups
    without issue, and handles NEF, TIFF, & JPEG.
    < http://www.hypershop.com/HyperDrive-COLORSPACE-UDMA-s/64.htm >
     
    Savageduck, Nov 20, 2012
    #17
  18. Alfred Molon

    Alfred Molon Guest

    Why not RAW+JPEG, then use either the RAW or the JPEG depending on the
    image?
     
    Alfred Molon, Nov 20, 2012
    #18
  19. Alfred Molon

    Alfred Molon Guest

    It must take forever to process all these images.
     
    Alfred Molon, Nov 20, 2012
    #19
  20. Alfred Molon

    David Taylor Guest

    So you try and get them right in the camera, rather than relying on
    having to post-process!
     
    David Taylor, Nov 20, 2012
    #20
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