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RAW or Jpeg?

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RAW or Jpeg?

Post by Eric M Palmer on Sun Jun 15, 2014 5:28 am

Bill Furse takes some cracking photos and claims he does not use RAW. This poses a question does the camera’s built in software do a better job than Abobe RAW converter?

In the days of film manufactures got a name we hear Fuji Colour or Kodak Colour were very different but we don’t hear people talk about Canon colour or Nikon colour and their built in converter from RAW to Jpeg must vary so there must be a difference.

I am not saying we should all convert to taking in Jpeg as with both my Pentax and Nikon I can convert in camera RAW to Jpeg after exposure but in view of Bills stunning results I ask if we should use Adobe to convert or do it in camera?

There are some very clever members in the club so maybe they can explain why Bill takes such stunning photos without using RAW. There is no doubt he is the best we have at taking photos of insects and his lion complete with blood was also a crowd stopper.

So is the software built into Bill’s camera better than Adobe and should we all abandon Adobe and rely on the camera’s built in software? Maybe Bill will tell us which camera he uses he may convert me to Canon.

I will admit the Nikon does a better job than the Pentax mind you it should considering the price tag. How much is down to sensor and how much to software is another question?

On our trip to Llangollen I found to extract the best from my RAW images I had to produce multi Jpegs and combine with Photoshop CS5 the Adobe Camera RAW 6.5 could not handle the image in one go. OK did not try using RawTherapee maybe it would have done a better job but the question remains do our cameras inbuilt RAW to Jpeg converter do a better job than Adobe?

In other words has Bill got it right 95% of the time and are we kidding ourselves that RAW is king because of the 5% where it does a better job using our manual intervention?

My apology to Bill for using him as an example, but he is the only guy who will openly state he does not use RAW. I hope Bill will agree when I say his pictures are really good and this is the point he does take some cracking photos which I would love to emulate. OK Bill does have a field of expertise which may mean he does not need RAW? But his photo of the Lion was hardly macro at least I hope not!

So is using out of camera RAW converters really a good idea?

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Re: RAW or Jpeg?

Post by David Allen on Sun Jun 15, 2014 10:00 pm

Some cameras produce better jpgs than others. If the exposure is right at the time of pressing the shutter then using out of camera jpgs can work fine. If you want flexibility then use RAW. A RAW capture has far more information than a jpg and gives you choice and flexibility about the image look. By the way the later versions of Adobe Camera Raw are very much better than early versions. The shift from LR 3 to 4 was a huge leap in quality. The big downside of RAW is that you have to learn how to use your RAW processing software.

Bill is a very good photographer who has the skill to get the image right in camera.

p.s. I don't think that out of camera jpg quality is anything to do with the price of the camera. Some makers seem to get it right better than others. In the end getting the exposure right matters more than anything.
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Re: RAW or Jpeg?

Post by Eric M Palmer on Tue Jun 17, 2014 4:22 am

The big downside of RAW is that you have to learn how to use your RAW processing software.
I think that is the major thing. I was and likely still am making post exposure errors. We see demonstrations on how to use Photoshop main program but very few on how to convert the RAW file.
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Re: RAW or Jpeg?

Post by David Allen on Tue Jun 17, 2014 4:39 am

This is an image that would have been impossible in jpg. It was exposed for the sun and highlights in the sky knowing that the shadows could be got back from the RAW file. All the processing was done to a single RAW file in LR 5.4



Here is the finished article.

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Re: RAW or Jpeg?

Post by Eric M Palmer on Tue Jun 17, 2014 9:31 am

Very interesting I took the top image and tried to see how the RAW conversion compares with Jpeg conversion and clearly your RAW conversion is the better.

Your RAW conversion has held the detail far better than the Jpeg which does prove the point. However not by a huge margin. I did a screen shot as it shows exactly what I have done.

Clearly Lightroom 5.4 RAW converter is better then the one with the old CS5 Kevin did a demo and I was very impressed. I tried to lighten foreground to same amount you did and clearly with the one I have done the trees just could not stand that amount.

I do agree will Bill "get it right in the camera and there are only a few tweeks necessary." but to be frank I don't carry a neutral density filter with me and although the seen you have selected would have lent its self to using a neutral density filter being a very straight line many other do not. And of course the aperture then becomes critical to get the feather required which means you can't use it to adjust depth of field so yes I will stick with RAW.
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Re: RAW or Jpeg?

Post by David Allen on Tue Jun 17, 2014 5:41 pm

Hi the other thing that I did was shift the colour balance something that is very critical to get right in jpg. In RAW it does not matter as you have complete control at the time of conversion.

The later versions of LR or ACR have a much better way of bringing up shadow detail without adding strange artefacts. my conversion was more complex than global controls with graduated filters applied to darken the sky and lighten the foreground grasses, all done in the RAW conversion.
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Re: RAW or Jpeg?

Post by Eric M Palmer on Wed Jun 18, 2014 9:49 am

I think the graduated filter or adjustment brush are really good at bringing out the detail but your point has been made it does depend on the subject and with close-up work likely there is less dynamic range required so it works well in Jpeg.
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Re: RAW or Jpeg?

Post by Harvey Mutch on Thu Jun 26, 2014 4:20 am

I shoot in RAW and JPEG for each shot and find RAW retains far more shadow and highlight detail. I find the ability to set White Balance after the event is especially useful, as my cameras sometimes get AWB spectacularly wrong, especially in low light or artificially light. The only time I turn RAW off is when I'm shooting bursts as the file size reduces buffer capacity. Best JPEG straight out of the camera - Olympus.

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Re: RAW or Jpeg?

Post by Eric M Palmer on Thu Jun 26, 2014 2:32 pm

I have been for a long time been taking in RAW only. My thoughts were if I need a Jpeg the camera can produce one at any time from the RAW file so no need to have both.

However I have realised all too easy to get colour wrong. I glance and only glance at the rear screen after taking a picture mainly to see if any blinkies blue or red to show over or under exposure. But I think I should either take a white card to set colour or a Jpeg set for type of light so on return I have some reference as to colour.

I do have a small compact camera without RAW and I have been surprised on how much one can do opening up the image in Photoshop RAW even though not a RAW file.

The maths tells us 12 or 14 bit v 8 bit so you can do more with RAW but that isn't strictly true as the camera still takes in 12 or 14 bit and in the conversion to 8 bit does some auto correction before it throws away the extra bits. It will depend on the camera of course but only really gaining a couple of bits of info not the whole 4 or 6.

My Pentax is 12 bit RAW and Abobe DNG is also 12 bit so swapping between both RAW formats is likely lossless! However my Nikon RAW file is 14 bit so clearly one does not want to convert to DNG before processing as it can't be lossless.

Before I found RawTherappe I was converting Nikon RAW files to DNG as CS4 would not handle them. I wonder if using the Jpeg in that case would have been better than RAW? I also at that time did not realise I could convert RAW to Jpeg in camera.

Today faced with same problem I would take in RAW and then convert in camera to where required multi Jpegs then blend but did not realise that was an option when I found I couldn't open my RAW files in CS4.

Today running CS5 so can open RAW files but many I know have not upgraded. Out of interest can you process the RAW files in the Olympus after exposure?
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Re: RAW or Jpeg?

Post by Harvey Mutch on Fri Jun 27, 2014 6:37 am

My Olympus Pen EPM1 does allow in camera conversions of RAW files to JPEG. This particular camera is one of the more humble options so any of the higher spec Pens or the OMDs are likely to have this facility. My Lumix G5 does not have the facility.

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Re: RAW or Jpeg?

Post by David Allen on Mon Jul 07, 2014 8:51 am

Why would one bother converting RAW to jpg in camera? How can you judge an image on the tiny screen on the back of any camera? Am I missing something?
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Re: RAW or Jpeg?

Post by Eric M Palmer on Tue Jul 08, 2014 10:42 pm

I would agree where one has the option of converting RAW to Jpeg using a good quality computer program then that is likely the best option.

However the program bundled with my Pentax was rather pathetic, it required the user to understand curves, where as in camera one could simply use sliders. Also in my early days in college I was able to use CS3 in the library, but CS3 RAW would not work with my camera. Had I at that time realised I could have converted in camera it would have really helped.

Looking from a beginner’s point of view I was rather loathed to take in RAW as I could not easy convert to Jpeg, and like many others started taking RAW + Jpeg which in turn slowed the camera down as it saved to disk.
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Re: RAW or Jpeg?

Post by Harvey Mutch on Tue Jul 15, 2014 7:42 am

From tomorrow, 15 Jul, the new Nikon Raw Converter software is available for download free (NX-D) which you could use for the D7000. This replaces the former pay only software I think was called Capture NX. Of course it remains to be seen if it is actually any good!

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