JPEG vs RAW

Discussion in 'UK Photography' started by David, Aug 25, 2008.

  1. David

    David Guest

    I have seen advice offered to inexperienced photographers that it is
    better to shoot RAW rather than JPEG. I assumed it was a graduation
    in seriousness from JPEG to RAW; but now I think I see.
    I was dissatisfied with most of my JPEGs, so I started shooting RAW
    just to see what all the fuss was about. Now I see what massive
    capacity there is to change what you shot! Some of my shots have been
    off exposure by 1 1/2 stops, but were still capable of full correction
    in PS. As I process, I try to think about why the shots needed the
    specific corrections applied. (I can usually pin it down to wrong
    camera settings; like choice of metering area, for instance.) When my
    images no longer need modidication before converting to JPEGs, I'll
    know I can shoot straight JPEG.

    Regards
    David
     
    David, Aug 25, 2008
    #1
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  2. David

    Alex Monro Guest

    There are a few other advantages to RAW which still apply, even if you
    nail the exposure spot on. One is the ability to adjust the white
    balance in post processing. Another is the wider dynamic range
    recorded, which allows you to use tone mapping in post processing to
    reveal a greater range of light intensities, from the shadows to
    highlights, without them blocking up as black or burning out to white.

    This is particularly useful for high contrast subjects, such as
    landscapes in bright conditions. Studio shots, of course, give you
    more control of the light to enable you to keep it within the dynamic
    range of jpeg.
     
    Alex Monro, Aug 26, 2008
    #2
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  3. David

    David Guest

    Funny you should mention 'landscapes in bright conditions'. Guess
    which type of shot needed the 1 1/2 stops correction !
    Just as well that I enjoy the PP almost as much as being out there
    with the camera.

    Regards,
    David
     
    David, Aug 26, 2008
    #3
  4. David

    Marty Fremen Guest

    Two general advantages of raw spring to mind.

    One is that JPEG is limited to 8 bits per channel in dynamic range, whereas
    raw gives you the full bit depth the sensor is capable of. Compact cameras
    may inherently not have much more than 8 usable bits of dynamic range but
    SLRs will have up to 14 (the raw file will probably be 16 bits per channel
    but the lower bits will only be noise).

    The second advantage is that the in-camera noise processing is not applied
    to the raw, which means you will retain more shadow detail. With my Ricoh
    GX100, despite Ricoh having quite a light touch in jpeg noise reduction,
    there is nevertheless a lot more shadow detail in raws than jpegs. If you
    have, say, a Panasonic camera, the difference is likely to be immense.

    The third of the two advantages is that other in-camera processing is also
    avoided, notably film effect highlights. By film effect I mean the abrupt
    digital cutoff of highlight detail is often ameleorated by in-camera
    processing which progressively attenuates the highlights to emulate the
    shoulder found in film. This means that usable highlight detail is being
    bleached out in order to prevent the scarring of a sudden cutoff. With raw,
    all the tonal detail is retained up to the cutoff point. (A raw processor
    like Ufraw can reinstate the film effect if scarred highlights are a
    problem.)
     
    Marty Fremen, Aug 28, 2008
    #4
  5. David

    Rob Guest

    Thank you for your message on uk.rec.photo. I have just posted a sob
    story on my new Fuji Pro S5 camera. But by the look of it shooting
    Raw files seem to be a better option

    To quote you " As I process, I try to think about why the shots needed
    the specific corrections applied......." you have been an eye opener.

    Could I ask what program you use to edit Raw files

    Thanks

    Rob
     
    Rob, Sep 6, 2008
    #5
  6. David

    David Guest

    Rob, I use PS CS3, importing my images as RAW of course, automatically
    opens ACR. The tools I use are still the 'basic' set, with occasional
    excursions into that one with individual colour sliders. Still
    learning ! (And still making the same old mistakes, like failing to
    check ALL camera settings after a lens change.)

    The points made by Alex and Marty are well received. Honestly, I
    cannot see myself going back to JPEG anytime soon. The only exception
    was when I tested a lens in a camera shop recently, and anticipated
    makeing comparisons in the shop (took them home in the end).

    Regards,
    David
     
    David, Sep 24, 2008
    #6
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