To RAW or not to RAW

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by D.Mac, Aug 5, 2007.

  1. D.Mac

    D.Mac Guest

    Suprise, suprise, suprise.
    RAW camera images are not the be all and end all of photographic
    Sure they don't (usually) contain artifacts
    Sure they (supposedly) contain 2 or 3 stops of "extra" information
    but... When you take the time to tune the custom functions of a camera
    aimed at capturing excellent quality JPEG images, the RAW images don't
    appear to warrant the extra trouble of processing them.

    OK so a camera RAW file is created from sensor data but it is
    processed by the camera's computer before it gets created... Just like
    a JPEG camera file is. The mail difference is that a JPEG camera file
    is compressed to a level the camera makers feel is as small as it can
    be and still result in "good" quality photographs.

    A JPEG camera file is processed by the camera's computer too. It also
    develops artifacts as it gets compressed but as my tests with a
    Panasonic FZ50 show, Artifacts have little or no effect when the
    destination is a 8x12 or smaller photographic print. Even the supposed
    "Blown highlight" problem is no problem at all.

    SO why do we need 18 Megabyte camera files when we can get just as
    good a photographic print from a 1.8
    megabyte one?
    D.Mac, Aug 5, 2007
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  2. D.Mac

    JimKramer Guest

    Sometimes shooting RAW can be a pain in the neck, but a 7.2 MB RAW
    file works just fine.

    Don't blame the format on the camera's problems and vice versa.

    JimKramer, Aug 6, 2007
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  3. D.Mac

    babaloo Guest

    I am a great believer in EVF cameras of the Z50 genre. I think most amateur
    users would be happier with one of them than a dSLR if they only shoot
    jpegs. But these cameras have significant compromises in their designs,
    starting with sensor size and extending to the viewing, optical and
    recording systems. The size and weight of EVF cameras, considering the focal
    lengths and image stabilization available, are a reasonable trade off for
    the superior technical capabilities of the much larger and heavier dSLR
    camera and lens combos.
    But EVF cameras are what they are.
    The Z50 is, to me, a disappointment in terms of image quality considering
    some of the laudatory reviews this thing has received. I don't own one but I
    have seen many jpegs produced by a friend's camera.
    If the Z50 can only record uncompressed raw images I begin to understand the
    writer's confusion. The Ur camera of this genre, the late Sony 828, which I
    used to own and I think creates images superior in quality to the Z50, was
    similarly crippled by taking forever to record massive file size
    uncompressed raw images.
    This is not the case for dSLRs: the 10mp D80 records raw images in about
    8mbs near instantaneously.
    The 828 had fairly good jpeg algorithms built into the camera, better than
    what I've seen from the Z50, but raw images were still superior.
    As to the comments about highlights, well, most people never let the facts
    get in the way of a good opinion.
    To each his own.
    babaloo, Aug 6, 2007
  4. D.Mac

    PixelPix Guest

    My thoughts on RAW v JPEG...
    PixelPix, Aug 6, 2007
  5. D.Mac

    Noons Guest

    because some of us might actually want to produce
    a slightly larger image than 640X480?
    Noons, Aug 6, 2007
  6. D.Mac

    Draco Guest

    I have to agree with Noons. Some of us want to print larger images.
    RAW files also allow you to change what didn't work at first. ASA/ISO,
    color balance, color or b&w and a lot more. Then go back to the same
    image and all the info is still there with no loss of information.
    One analogy I like is a RAW file is like a pizza shop. You have the
    dough, the sauce, all the differant toppings and being able to cook
    the pizza for as little or as long as you wish.
    A JPEG is like taking the pizza dough and shaping it, adding how
    much sauce to it;topping with as much or as little cheese;adding what
    ever toppings and baking it at what ever temp. Out comes the final
    product. But, you still have the pizza shop to make differant
    selections from the original material with RAW. With JPEG you take
    away something to make it differant you have lost that thing. No going
    back and re-doing with a JPEG file. Can't be done. Once the file is
    saved as all the other "stuff" is thrown away. Never to be found

    So RAW files can be a great help and they can be a pain in the
    backside. Just like any other photographic process can be.


    Getting even isn't good enough.

    Doing better does.
    Draco, Aug 6, 2007
  7. D.Mac

    Scott W Guest

    Well now I find myself on both sides of the fence on this one.
    On the one side I believe that starting out with a raw file is always a
    good idea. On the other side when you are making a jpeg from the raw
    file 1.8 MB is way more then what is needed for a 640x480 image.

    This image is just under 1.8MB and will make a 8 x 12 inch print at 300 ppi.

    Raw is much more then not losing detail, it is also about the ability to
    do things like choose the color space you want to work in after you have
    taken the photo. Things like WB adjustment are also much easier with a
    raw file. And then there is the extra dynamic range that you get with
    raw, always nice. But detail is not a large issue between raw and jpeg.

    Scott W, Aug 6, 2007
  8. D.Mac

    Draco Guest

    Amen Babaloo, Amen.


    Getting even isn't good enough.

    Doing better does.
    Draco, Aug 6, 2007
  9. D.Mac

    Annika1980 Guest

    Amen, brother.

    Anyone who has accidentally shot a pic with the wrong WB setting can
    tell you that. For example:
    Annika1980, Aug 6, 2007
  10. D.Mac

    Draco Guest

    Can everyone say, "Whoopsie"?


    Draco, Aug 6, 2007
  11. D.Mac

    D.Mac Guest

    All this might have been really important *once* and some of it still
    applicable but things like "choosing color space" and WB adjustment
    are of little importance now that Adobe Bridge allow opening JPEGs in
    ACR 4.1. You can work with JPEGs in Photoshop in very much the way you
    would work with RAW images and in case you were unaware...

    You can convert a JPEG to Adobe's universal RAW (The DNG) format and
    then edit it with such programs as "Raw Shooter" or "Lightroom" as a
    RAW image and have all the recovery tools (aliebit without some of the
    headroom on exposure) as you get with a RAW file. There is nothing
    presently that allows you to repair artifacts but I suspect this is
    coming in the next generation of cameras, now that large storage cards
    are freely available ther is little reason to engage in such heavy
    file compression.

    D.Mac, Aug 6, 2007
  12. D.Mac

    Doug Jewell Guest

    Both raw and jpg have their place. JPG is quick, easy, and probably 99 times
    out of 100 is good enough. JPG does struggle in _some_ situations - eg high
    dynamic range, images with ultra fine detail and scenes with difficult white
    balance. For these situations having RAW is very handy. This is one thing I
    like about the GX10/K10D - I can set it to JPG and tweak the contrast,
    saturation and sharpness to my taste, but by pressing 1 button I have both
    JPG and RAW until I press that button again.
    Doug Jewell, Aug 7, 2007
  13. D.Mac

    m II Guest

    Hi Draco...

    Your .sig seems to have a problem..shouldn't it read:


    Sometimes our noses are too close to the problem to see it.

    m II, Aug 7, 2007
  14. D.Mac

    Noons Guest

    Precisely. In particular, the example given by ryadia doesn't need
    raw because it is a simple 640x480 image: any file format will do if
    one wants
    to produce images at that size. Then again, no one will even dream of
    that image to anything larger than a postage stamp.

    yeah, but that doesn't really prove anything about raw vs jpg:
    it's a stitch of many images, maybe raw in origin but now a jpg.
    It would be rather difficult to produce the same image with a single
    raw file or jpg, no matter what. Still: note that it is a much larger
    image than ryadia's example, showing enormous detail by comparison.

    There is no getting away from it: if one wants big prints with lots
    of detail, one needs a big, detailed image to start with. If it is
    stored in raw or jpg, that is immaterial to the details. But very
    relevant for example if one wants to recover some shadow detail:
    8 bit colour is just not enough for that.

    Exactly. And I think in the case of stitching, it becomes very
    to be able to manipulate the colour balances for example so that the
    stitch doesn't look like a quilt.
    BTW: is PTGui smart enough to compensate for that as well?
    Noons, Aug 7, 2007
  15. D.Mac

    Noons Guest

    Yeah, I know what you talking about. But that has been available
    via plug-ins for quite a while, nothing new there. There are quite a
    that will convert an 8-bit colour image to 16-bit, then apply an
    from the original values to try and fill in the "gaps".
    It works. Most of the time.

    Mainly because few folks are really looking at large images: they
    just plonk a result at 640X480 in some website somewhere and are
    perfectly happy with that. At that size, even strong posterization is
    to see unless one is running an adjusted monitor to show that image
    as large.

    Let's face it: with a monitor set to 1280X1028, 640x480 image size is
    so small you'll hardly see any detail in it. You need a monitor
    capable of displaying accurately at 300dpi to have a detail image at
    size - it's also called a printer. Most crts and lcd monitors hardly
    reach 96dpi.

    So yes: at small image sizes, all that is possible. At large image
    sizes needed for detail prints, you better start with something
    all the info. Or else you'll forever be in "recover" mode.

    It's a lot easier to take away extra information than to add it
    afterwards, out of nothing. I know which one I'd prefer.
    Noons, Aug 7, 2007
  16. D.Mac

    D.Mac Guest

    Opinions are everywhere. What works best for you, may not work best
    for someone else.
    The important thing to keep in mind is that posters here have been
    doing a bash up on JPEG capture just because it's a JPEG file that
    gets recorded and that is quite unfair on a general front. Granted,
    some brands of cameras deserve the bashing but not all of them.

    Given that I have many, many examples from Olympus E300 cameras, set
    to capture as JPEG only, I am prepared to say (with evidence to back
    up the statement) that not all camera maker's set their products to
    make the best of JPEG. Canon are one such firm. For most of last year
    my second shooter used an Olympus E300, in JPEG mode.

    Had I given him a Canon camera set to JPEG capture, I would indeed
    have spent a lot of time in disaster recovery mode. Not so with the
    Olympus compression of JPEGs. I've taken the unusual step (for me) of
    posting an actual camera image from an E300. I used Photoshop to
    overlay the copyright notice but it is a camera file, complete with
    EXIF data. Spot metering (something 20Ds don't have) allowed this shot
    to be well exposed. If we only get a camera
    made with the best features from all those on offer, we'd actually
    have no excuses for "off" shots.

    D.Mac, Aug 7, 2007
  17. D.Mac

    Draco Guest

    Nope. My sig. is just fine. And as far as a problem, grammatically,
    there is none.

    But thanks for trying.


    Getting even isn't good enough.

    Doing better, DOES.
    Draco, Aug 7, 2007
  18. D.Mac

    Annika1980 Guest

    Using ACR is a nice "quick-and-dirty" way to make adjustments on a JPG
    file (or group of files), but you will not get equivalent results to
    using a RAW file. You can experiment for yourself using this test
    image where I shot in the wrong WB mode and was able to correct the
    RAW file.

    The whole crux of the matter is that when a JPG file is created in
    camera much of the original data is lost forever. The RAW file, on
    the other hand, retains all of the original data. The resulting JPG
    file may be perfectly usable to you as is, but if you plan on doing
    further editing to the file it makes no sense to shoot in JPG mode.
    Why wouldn't you want to have ALL the original data to work with to
    create the best possible result?
    Annika1980, Aug 7, 2007
  19. D.Mac

    Noons Guest

    Noons, Aug 7, 2007
  20. D.Mac

    Alan Browne Guest

    Do that all the time ... RAW saves the day.

    OTOH, if you want some real chilling winter scenes, set your WB to about
    2800 - 3000K (Tungsten will do). (You can post-work it in RAW of course).
    Alan Browne, Aug 7, 2007
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