RAW vs tif vs jpg (was Double Exposure)

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by Robert Peirce, Feb 25, 2007.

  1. Okay, I think I have this figured out. It seems to boil down to a
    difference in approach. At least some of us who come from film,
    especially large format, follow the approach of getting everything right
    in the camera. At least some of those who grew up with (or were early
    adapters of) digital and Photoshop seem to follow the approach of
    getting the shot and cleaning it up later. I can accept that.

    If potentially there is a lot to fix in an image then you are going to
    need all the help you can get. RAW makes a lot of sense.

    OTOH, if you have taken the time, assuming you have the time (!), to set
    up your shot, it should only require the minimum of post-processing.

    For me, post-processing is almost always no more than correcting white
    and black points, cropping to fit the desired paper size and doing some
    corner burning, pretty much the same thing I used to do in the darkroom.
    Sometimes I have to adjust the contrast or the color balance a little,
    ditto. That is probably why I like LightZone and can't stand Photoshop.

    So far I have been doing this, non-destructively in LightZone, in tif
    and jpg without any problems, and that is why I have been wondering what
    RAW is good for. Now I know. Those who need it, need it. For those
    who don't, it may be nice to have, but the world will not come to an end
    if it isn't used.

    Did I get that right or am I still missing something?
     
    Robert Peirce, Feb 25, 2007
    #1
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  2. Robert Peirce

    Aad Guest

    I think you've missed the part on bitdepth.
    Once gone, never back.
    Google on that.
    kr
    Aad
     
    Aad, Feb 25, 2007
    #2
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  3. Robert Peirce

    Paul Furman Guest

    Post processing is just like the darkroom and RAW conversion offers more
    possibilities. The Ansel Adams approach has been mentioned before in
    past reincarnations of this debate: he spent tons of time getting
    exactly the right capture then tons more time in the darkroom making it
    even better.

    Digital does have a problem with blown highlights more than film but
    shooting RAW eases that weakness.

    For high dynamic range scenes, using multiple converversions of a RAW
    file expands the dynamic range of the camera. You might argue that it's
    better to wait till there's softer light but it's just another
    possibility that opens up when shooting RAW so why not take advantage of
    all the camera has to offer? ...unless you just don't like fiddling on
    the computer... and if that's the case, that's perfectly fine too. There
    are more than one way to operate & still produce good results.

    If memory card space isn't an issue, it's just prudent to shoot RAW plus
    jpeg 'in case' even if you rarely need it. Anyone that hopes to produce
    a few spectacular large prints in their lifetime will be thankful to
    have that RAW file, even if it's only used once in 300,000 exposures
    over many decades. Probably my favorite shot ever, I had not begun using
    RAW and while it makes a nice 13x19 print, I would love to be able to
    print it at 24x36 but it's just not good enough for that size enlargement.

    If you don't mind tinkering on the computer, RAW conversion is capable
    of producing technically superior results. For normal lighting
    conditions well exposed and reasonable sized prints, the difference is
    trivial but RAW conversions are actually better and it's noticeable when
    making extra large prints.
     
    Paul Furman, Feb 25, 2007
    #3
  4. Robert Peirce

    Greg \_\ Guest

    Not missing anything, setting up and doing a first rate first time job
    save time,ultimately money...if doing a pro job.
    --
    "As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely,
    the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great
    and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire
    at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron."
    - H. L. Mencken, in the Baltimore Sun, July 26, 1920.


    Reality-Is finding that perfect picture
    and never looking back.

    www.gregblankphoto.com
     
    Greg \_\, Feb 26, 2007
    #4
  5. Robert Peirce

    Greg \_\ Guest

    If doing raw you get it.
    --
    "As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely,
    the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great
    and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire
    at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron."
    - H. L. Mencken, in the Baltimore Sun, July 26, 1920.


    Reality-Is finding that perfect picture
    and never looking back.

    www.gregblankphoto.com
     
    Greg \_\, Feb 26, 2007
    #5
  6. Robert Peirce

    Greg \_\ Guest

    Nothing compares to studying and making the best exposure. I have spoken
    with other perhaps more proficient photographers than little ole me and
    they state one can always light the subject using portable flash or
    otherwise to gain more lattitude.
    --
    "As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely,
    the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great
    and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire
    at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron."
    - H. L. Mencken, in the Baltimore Sun, July 26, 1920.


    Reality-Is finding that perfect picture
    and never looking back.

    www.gregblankphoto.com
     
    Greg \_\, Feb 26, 2007
    #6
  7. Robert Peirce

    babaloo Guest

    Although this will likely not be read:
    No one who knows what they are doing fools themselves into thinking they do
    it all "in the camera" unless their end purpose is a directly viewed
    negative or positive transparency. If you make a print you have not done it
    all "in the camera." Whoever made the print has made all kinds of decisions
    for you that were not made "in the camera."
    Familarize yourself with Ansel Adams' techniques.
    Once you understand what you are doing you will shoot exclusively in raw
    format if your purpose is to create an image that is technically optimal and
    suits your aesthetic purposes.
    Digital is not film: repeat this to yourself until you understand that
    digital is a different medium than film. If you shoot jpeg you are deferring
    to a rigid in-camera program algorithm that has been crafted with arbitrary
    and immutable decisions about the end image. I suppose this is "in the
    camera" but it is like having the kid who runs the drugstore film processor
    make all your aesthetic decisions.
     
    babaloo, Feb 26, 2007
    #7
  8. Robert Peirce

    Scott W Guest

    Well I do believe you are missing something, you are doing enough post
    processing that raw should make you life easier not harder. I find it
    far easier to get the WB I want using raw compared to jpeg. And it is
    a pretty rare photographer who never blows out a highlight when
    shooting jpeg, and if you never blowout a highlight likely you tend to
    underexpose and are losing more shadow detail then you really need to.

    No the world will not come to an end is you don't shoot raw, but you
    are making your life needlessly harder.

    Scott
     
    Scott W, Feb 26, 2007
    #8
  9. Robert Peirce

    l v Guest

    Robert Peirce wrote:
    [snip]
    [snip]

    RAW is not about how much there is to fix. A photo editor does not care
    if it's RAW, tif or jpeg. It's more about starting your editing with a
    negative (RAW) or start by scanning a print that has been pre-processed
    (in-camera jpg).
    Experiment with RAW vs jpg. I did years ago on my 300D. I found the
    images converted from RAW to have better, more accurate color and
    sharper. The effort to convert was minimal and well worth a minute of
    so. However, to each his own.
     
    l v, Feb 26, 2007
    #9
  10. I think I may have given the impression that I make an image and send it
    out to be printed. That is not the case.

    My serious work is done on a 4x5 view camera. I did read this and
    Adams' books. When I shot negative film I processed my own negatives
    and prints. When I took the shot I recorded what film processing was
    required and what zones various parts of the image were to fall on.
    This information allowed me to develop a printable negative and a
    correspondingly good print. That is what I mean by doing it in the
    camera.

    Now, transparencies are the only way to go because I don't have a
    darkroom and I don't want to trust my work to commercial labs unless all
    the work is carefully controlled, as E-6 is. I can scan these into my
    computer which allows me to still print them the way I think they should
    be printed.

    I don't use my digital camera for this kind of work. I edit the image,
    and I still do my own printing. I want good quality, but these shots
    are more action oriented. So far I have had no problem in compressing
    or expanding the scale to get a full range print. That's the nice thing
    about digital. It is actually easier to do this than it was with film.
     
    Robert Peirce, Feb 26, 2007
    #10
  11. Yes why read the babblings of a utter moron.
    How urbane.
    OK-some stuff of his works even now.
    Who made your decision to post this drivel.....please say this
    will never happen again.
     
    Little Green Eyed Dragon, Feb 26, 2007
    #11
  12. Robert Peirce

    Greg \_\ Guest

    "Serious" work from photographers stand point can be done with any type
    camera. Although I like 4x5 :)
    --
    "As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely,
    the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great
    and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire
    at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron."
    - H. L. Mencken, in the Baltimore Sun, July 26, 1920.


    Reality-Is finding that perfect picture
    and never looking back.

    www.gregblankphoto.com
     
    Greg \_\, Feb 26, 2007
    #12
  13. Hi. I think the idea here is that this sort of thing is easier if one
    starts from a raw file than a jpeg, to which this has already been
    done (not that it's impossible). If this isn't what you want to do
    with digital, there's not much advantage to raw.

    Regarding your tests. Suppose I told you that I shot two rolls of
    film. I sent one to an automatic lab (I mean not some guy printing
    them with an enlarger but these 1h things) and got back prints. I
    developed and printed the other myself (and it is the 3rd film I have
    developed in my life). The lab prints were better, or at least now
    worse. Would you conclude from this that there is no advantage for one
    to develop and print his own film?

    The advantages and disadvantages of raw are much the same, althought
    the disadvantages are less (not as messy as a darkroom, not all that
    hard to work out how to do it well, ie how to use your particular
    program), and quickly it becomes easy enough to do. For example, I
    tried using jpeg+raw and found that half the time the jpegs were
    almost unprintable (too high contrast etc). Yes you can tune this in
    camera, but then it's not faster than doing it on a computer.
    In some cases, raw really does give you more dynamic range; it really
    does have more information in it, but whether it's useful or not
    depends. For example, these two shots were shot with exactly the same
    settings except that one was at 1s and the other at 1/3200s (ie almost
    12 stops below):
    http://www.pbase.com/al599/image/74720053
    http://www.pbase.com/al599/image/74719850
    Now I am not saying that the 12 stop underexposed one is useable, but
    as you can see there is indeed information there, and therefore by
    interpolation there would have been information in the lighter zones
    too. Whether it is useful or not depends.

    Anyway, since you say you don't plan to use the digital camera for
    anything serious, I don't think there is much advatage to using raw.
     
    achilleaslazarides, Feb 26, 2007
    #13
  14. Robert Peirce

    Ken Davey Guest

    message
    Why did you decide to label his post 'drivel'?
    I thought it was a well reasoned argument for considering the use of RAW as
    a starting point.
    It was in no way dogmatic or judgemental and seemed intended to provoke
    positive thinking on the subject.

    Ken.
     
    Ken Davey, Feb 26, 2007
    #14
  15. Robert Peirce

    Lionel Guest

    On Sun, 25 Feb 2007 21:58:34 GMT, Robert Peirce
    You missed quite a few things:

    * A photo can require a dynamic range greater than that possible in
    the JPEG format. (8 bit levels, & it's a "brick wall" limit - not a
    'soft' limit like film.)
    * Lighting can be such (mixed, variable, deceptive, or any
    combination) that it's impossible to get a correct (or at least
    pleasing) white balance in camera.
    * The light levels may be so poor that even at high ISO settings, you
    have to 'push' the RAW image a stop or two in the same way as we used
    to do with film.
    * You're shooting images with very delicate tonality that needs to be
    precisely matched to your printing technology, or you'll get ugly
    posterisation on your prints. (I have an otherwise very lovely
    portrait of my GF that printed very poorly for this reason. Because I
    shot it in RAW, I was able to reprocess it & get a good print.)
    * You like being able to take advantage of unexpected photo-op's where
    you have zero time to tweak your camera settings, & still end up with
    a high quality image, instead of (for example) a 2-stops too dark JPEG
    that's too crappy to use.

    If none of those things apply to you, then no, RAW is probably not
    going to be of any value to you.

    OTOH, CF cards & hard disks get cheaper every day, & by shooting RAW,
    I've gotten some really nice shots that would've been useless crap if
    I'd been shooting JPEGs, so I shoot RAW exclusively, & will continue
    to do so.
     
    Lionel, Feb 26, 2007
    #15
  16. Robert Peirce

    Lionel Guest

    Except for studying & making the best exposure in RAW format, which
    gives you greater dynamic range &/or better tonal detail.
    How do you do that with a landscape?
     
    Lionel, Feb 26, 2007
    #16
  17. Robert Peirce

    Lionel Guest

    Well said.
     
    Lionel, Feb 26, 2007
    #17
  18. Robert Peirce

    Lionel Guest

    His comment is 100% correct, both technically & aesthetically. Calling
    him a twit without providing any arguments to support your belief just
    makes *you* look like the twit.
     
    Lionel, Feb 26, 2007
    #18
  19. Robert Peirce

    Alan Browne Guest

    It's read and reasonably right if overstated and very much a repeat of
    what various people have been saying here since the NG was created.

    The only comment I would make is that slide film exposure is just about
    right for digital except that you end up with more shaddow detail, esp.
    if you shoot RAW. (Unless it's a FujiFilm S1, S2, S3, S5 which have
    another ~2 stops on the highlight side).

    Cheers,
    Alan.
     
    Alan Browne, Feb 26, 2007
    #19
  20. Robert Peirce

    Jan Böhme Guest

    I think you flatter yourself a bit with that description. While RAW
    shooting certainly makes it more possible to follow the "shoot first,
    bother later" approach that you outline as a contrast to your own, it
    also makes it possible to do things that simply cannot be done in-
    camera.

    It makes it possible to tweak the exposured down to (with my
    converter) 0.05 of a stop, instead of a third of a stop, as my camera
    does. And it makes it possible to lighten the shades of subjects that
    are too contrasty also when they are out of reach for reflectors or
    fill flash, with a considerably better result than what can be done on
    a single jpeg.

    These are things that you abstain from unconditionally if you don't
    shoot RAW, no matter how good you are att getting things absolutely
    right in the camera.

    Jan Böhme
     
    Jan Böhme, Feb 26, 2007
    #20
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