Still Trying to Convince Myself on RAW

Started Jun 29, 2013 | Photos thread
Mel Snyder
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Re: I like your raw examples much better
In reply to Allan Olesen, Jun 30, 2013

Allan Olesen wrote:

When I look at your first two photos, these are my observations:

  1. In your raw photo, almost all color noise has been removed, pixel by pixel.
  2. In your JPG photo, the color noise has not been removed. Instead it has just been smeared around so the dark grey background has all kinds of color tones which are very visible even in the downscaled photo we see before clicking on it in your post.
  3. In your raw photo, the musicians have real faces. I can see their facial expressions and see which way they are looking. Yes, I have to "look through" a lot of grain, but that doesn't really bother me.
  4. In your JPG photo, the musicians' faces have strange splotches of smear, mixed with rather hard edges which don't exist in a human's face. So those edges are probably false detail. Overall, I don't see faces, only strange masks.

Item 1 and 2 above are actually my main reason for shooting raw. Item 3 and 4 are only visible to pixel peepers, but the bad color noise handling of most cameras is visible without any pixel peeping.

You, Allan, are a rare and wonderful bird. You knew what to look for.

I'd like to address an important point: For this shot, what does it matter? This is not great art, he was just trying to capture an event, and had low expectations for the shot. Unless I missed the point, this was not to be enlarged into a 4-foot wide print for the band room. If it was, the jpeg would be a joke - and your observation 3 and 4 would be obvious to even the casual observer.

By putting fine cameras into the hands of the masses, the manufacturers slyly made it possible for those masses to operate their machines with the least amount of effort - before or after the shot. Because those masses didn't have high expectations, they were never disappointed with whatever they got.

I never cease to be amazed as I travel the world and see the great gear being handled by people with expectations little higher than their iPhone. I discovered that many great scenes I'd observed shot by others didn't look at all in real life like what 99% of people capture without knowing how to set their white balance - or how to balance their exposure for a RAW shot so Lightroom magic could retrieve shadow and highlight detail as the eye saw the scene.

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