Shooting JPG is easy??? Really???

Started Dec 28, 2013 | Discussions thread
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nixda
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Shooting JPG is easy??? Really???
Dec 28, 2013

I just came across Rico Pfirstinger's excellent article in the X-Pert Corner on how to properly expose with a Fuji X camera and was struck by the following paragraph (I hope he'll forgive me if I cite him verbatim):

"In oder to get a pleasing JPEG of this scene directly from your camera (and save yourself the manual RAW processing), the easiest and most effective way would have been to set ISO 800 (2 stops more overall gain), DR400% (2 stops more highlight dynamic range to compensate for the added overall gain) and the exact same aperture and shutter speed (f/2.8, 1/4s) as in the ISO 200 ETTR example. That way, the camera would have exposed the shadows two stops brighter (ISO 800 vs. ISO 200), while the highlights (christmas tree, bright windows) would have remained at ISO 200 thanks to the specific tone curve of the camera’s DR400% mode. The DR function automatically performs the tone-mapping for you. It’s a care-free package, and the RAW files of both versions (“ISO 200, DR100%, f/2.8, 1/4s” vs. “ISO 800, DR400%, f/2.8, ..."

Really???

I thought using the camera for JPG photography was simple, easy and didn't require any special knowledge.

I am joking here, of course.

This example shows in frightening clarity why shooting JPG is way more complicated than shooting raw. The aspects one has to think about in order to get an excellent JPG straight out of the camera are rather involved. It turns out one has to know quite a bit about how the camera works under the different circumstances, as well as about raw processing, whether one realizes that or not.

Imagine, you'd be taking a shot of a scene described above, having to go in your head through the thinking process outlined, and dial everything in just right. Not my cup of tea.

And if one doesn't know about these aspects and how to adjust them, then the results won't be as good as hoped. And it's not even the camera's "fault", because these modern devices are sophisticated tools that need to be tinkered with to get the best out of them.

Shooting raw, on the other hand, is quite simple: choose neutral film simulation and set all in-camera JPG parameters to -2, ETTR. Bang, that's it! Worry about the fine details later on a rainy day. You got the shot. Guaranteed!

Many shy away from raw processing because it's apparently 'complicated', but the know-how required to get good JPG images out of the camera is the same, because one, TATAA, has to steer the raw-processing pipeline just as much, but this time in the camera, and before the shot has been taken even. Or they don't want to "spend that much time on the computer". Well, you'll have to spend the time somewhere, if you want to get a good shot. With raw processing, the time saved during shooting can be used, for example, to take in a scene with one's own eyes, rather than through the viewfinder. It also sticks in one's memory much better that way

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