Why many settings arguments don't matter with RAW

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by dtype, Mar 30, 2006.

  1. dtype

    dtype Guest

    I often see some religious discussions regarding certain camera
    settings, and wonder why they go on at all in a world of RAW pictures.
    (None of this post is relevant if you shoot in JPG.)

    sRGB vs Adobe RGB: Since this conversion happens after interpretation
    of the RAW image data, this is a function of your RAW converter, not
    the camera. Does this setting have any implication at all outside of a
    recommendation to your converstion software? Photo buffs far and wide
    argue the merits of Adobe RGB as a camera settings, but from my
    interpretation of the RAW image data, the color space of these images
    is unique to each manufacturer, and any conversion to another color
    space happens after/during the de-mosaicing step. This means that the
    camera setting is useless when shooting in RAW.

    Sharpness, Contrast, etc: This setting shouldn't mean anything when
    shooting RAW, since this is something that is performed after
    de-mosaicing. (I once posted images for comparison on a photo site, and
    had people beat me up for not posting what my sharpness setting in the
    camera was. They didn't seem to understand that this step wasn't
    performed in the camera.)

    Whitebalance: Same, no effect on RAW.

    In fact, the only real "settings" that matter to a raw image are the
    actual exposure (in as much as you can set exposure compenstion for an
    image), and ISO/aperature/shutter speed.

    I sort of wish that SLRs would simply remove these options when
    shooting in RAW, so people stop having some notion that they do

    Am I mistaking any of the features of my Camera, and how they are
    applied to images?

    dtype, Mar 30, 2006
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  2. dtype

    Mike Rooney Guest

    dtype, as an addendum to your comments: I've shot shot slide film for
    years -- literally, as you know, what you shot is what you got --- and RAW
    gives me the same type of results and feedback that slide film did. It
    allows me to tell the story I want to communicate with my photographs which
    is the bottom line of "writing with light".

    To me, RAW avoids the problem of interference by some set of algorithms that
    make me guess whether it was me or the camera that messed things up --
    shooting RAW tells me that it was the operator and not the equipment! And
    as a learning tool for new photographers or for experienced ones learning a
    new camera, RAW is invaluable.

    Lastly, and to me this is very important to me, I find RAW cuts down on the
    amount of time spent in post processing -- I don't have either the time nor
    the inclination to do a bunch of "adjustments" to an image that perhaps were
    a result of the camera settings in the first place. I'm a professional
    photographer, not a Photoshop expert.

    P.S. I like my vegetables raw too.....:)

    Mike Rooney, Mar 30, 2006
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  3. dtype

    John Bean Guest

    The settings don't effect the raw data but they're used to
    generate the thumbnail/preview and/or the accompanying JPEG.
    You wouldn't want to lose the ability to view images on the
    camera would you?

    In addition they are sometimes used to give a hint to the
    raw converter. They're harmless, so why worry about them?
    John Bean, Mar 30, 2006
  4. dtype

    dtype Guest

    True there, although on that LCD, color space and sharpening/etc
    probably don't have much meaning. I've never shot with an accompanying
    JPEG, so I hadn't thought of that.
    Yes, I can see their value, especially for accompanying JPEGs. As for
    hints to the RAW converters, I'd venture that since those hints are
    generated from the RAW data itself, and not from other camera settings
    (most of the time), raw converters are technically better prepared to
    make these judgements on their own. The exception might be if the
    photographer wanted to provide these hints at the time of taking a
    picture, and have those remembered through the workflow process.

    I think that it just isn't always known that these settings don't have
    meaning to your RAW workflow. It certainly wasn't to me at first. I
    spent a good bit of time internally considering color spaces to shoot
    in before coming to the realization that it didn't matter in the least.
    In reading 20 different flamewars on usenet, flickr, and dpreview on
    the subject, I never saw anyone raise his hand and say "Just shoot in
    RAW, and it doesn't really matter". (I'm sure folks have, but not
    enough for me to have seen it in several discussions.)

    Part of my post was also a question. Is my understanding incorrect?
    (Preview and accompanying JPEG are already two things I hadn't thought

    dtype, Mar 30, 2006
  5. dtype

    Matt Clara Guest

    When I open a Nikon NEF (RAW) file in Photoshop, one of my options is to
    convert as shot. Those are my settings right there.
    Frankly, though, I like PhaseOne's Raw capture software, and I don't think
    it even uses those settings for the previews.
    Matt Clara, Mar 30, 2006
  6. dtype

    Paul Furman Guest

    I believe WB does effect the RAW capture. It's probably not real
    critical in most cases but it's like EC for different colors and will
    reduce or increase the data captured to have WB set correctly. This is
    why Nikon was trying to encrypt their WB although it's not that
    important, the RAW converter can guess the intended WB or an operator
    can chose it manually.

    The exposure can also be adjusted in RAW conversion but it's not as good
    as shooting it correctly in the first place.

    The jpeg contrast settings will effect the histogram used for judging
    exposure in the field, although it's arguably most useful to turn down
    contrast & saturation so that resembles RAW more closely.

    Also, yes I do shoot RAW+jpeg to speed up download & the culling
    process, then I only download the best RAW files & keep many of the
    'seconds' in basic jpeg just in case I come back & want a little
    different view or something (it happens). Often I won't even bother
    converting the raw because the jpeg is fine, later if I decide to print
    large, then it's worth fiddling with RAW.
    Paul Furman, Mar 30, 2006
  7. dtype

    dtype Guest

    Is this the case? Can a Bayer-pattern sensor adjust sensitivity on a
    per-color basis? I guess it is technically feasible, but wasn't a
    feature of sensors that I was aware of. Are you sure that this isn't
    just a hint to the RAW processor that gets handled after demosaicing?

    dtype, Mar 30, 2006
  8. I think certain noise reduction choices also affect the RAW image. In
    particular, I am referring to "long exposure noise reduction".
    Thomas T. Veldhouse, Mar 30, 2006
  9. dtype

    John Bean Guest

    Not so. Some converters use more or less of the camera
    settings metadata, but they all have the ability to use some
    of it. Every converter I'm familiar with has at least a "use
    camera WB" option. Where does it get that from then? ;-)
    John Bean, Mar 30, 2006
  10. dtype

    John Bean Guest

    AKA "dark fram subtraction". Absolutely correct, it does
    effect the raw data.
    John Bean, Mar 30, 2006
  11. I don't believe this to be the case. The RAW data is what it is. Changing
    temperature is simply an algorithm applied during post processing.
    Thomas T. Veldhouse, Mar 30, 2006
  12. John> AKA "dark fram subtraction". Absolutely correct, it does
    John> effect the raw data.

    Well, it has an effect on the raw data, because it *a*ffects the raw data.

    Affect = verb
    Effect = noun

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  13. dtype

    Paul Furman Guest

    I guess I was thinking of the D2x with the WB protected.
    "With conventional digital cameras, reproduction of gradation depends
    solely on the results of digital measurement, eventually causing gaps in
    gradation. To minimize such gaps in gradation, the D2X introduces our
    unconventional approach of analog adjustment for white balance in the
    first stage of signal processing."
    Paul Furman, Mar 30, 2006
  14. dtype

    Paul Furman Guest

    WB is the only setting that carries over with ACR.
    Paul Furman, Mar 30, 2006
  15. dtype

    Pete D Guest

    What utter rubbish, surely the reverse is true, surely RAW gives you maximum
    opportunity to change everything afterwards?
    If you have the settings right in jpeg mode surely that will take less
    effort to get to the final product?
    Me too.
    Pete D, Mar 30, 2006
  16. dtype

    John Bean Guest

    My English references all indicate that "effect" can be a
    noun or a verb. Perhaps your version of English differs.

    "Have a nice day"
    John Bean, Mar 30, 2006
  17. dtype

    Ben Brugman Guest

    The settings for the camera are sometimes used as
    a starting point for the Raw software, most software
    at least uses the White Balance, but Nikon Capture
    uses allmost all (or all) settings.

    This means a faster workflow for all pictures which
    do not need any postprocessing. Losing this feature,
    the 'camera' settings. Would make postprocessing
    a need for a larger number of the pictures.

    In General the settings should improve the pictures
    on average. So Statistically less pictures need
    postprocessing with the 'correct' settings. For all
    the pictures that need other settings than at the time
    of taking the picture Raw can be used.

    Most 'Slide' people should be familliar that you can't
    postprocess and so should use the right parameters
    when taking the pictures. Now you have the best off
    both worlds. Use the best parameters and still be able
    to postprocess where you have 'goofed' / 'didn't have the time',
    'the situation was to difficult to judge in the field'.

    But different people use different workflows.
    So I can imagine that some people ignore all the settings
    and always start to work from scratch with the raw.
    (I don't).

    Ben Brugman, Mar 30, 2006
  18. ? All raw require post processing by definition.
    Ed Ruf (REPLY to E-MAIL IN SIG!), Mar 30, 2006
  19. dtype

    Frank ess Guest

    Time for someone to effect his escape...
    Frank ess, Mar 30, 2006
  20. dtype

    Ben Brugman Guest

    No they don't.

    Most camera's are capable of taking raw together with a jpg.
    So if the picture is not worth bothering about, or the jpg
    is sufficient the raw does not need any post processing.

    What I actually meant was that even if you want to use the
    raw, it doesn't need any postprocessing where you have to
    do work as an operator. You can just batch process all raws
    with the parameters as in the camera set.
    As I do mostly because the jpg in my camera is only a basic jpg.
    So the only thing I do with the raw is to make a fine jpg.

    The bottom line is, if the jpg is sufficient, you do not need
    the raw at all.

    Ben Brugman, Mar 31, 2006
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