POLL: How often do you shoot raw images?

Started May 1, 2014 | Polls thread
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gardenersassistant Senior Member • Posts: 2,024
Re: Photographic evidence -- part 1 of 3, 2004 thru 2007

phototransformations wrote:

The only meaningful evidence I can think of is sample files comparing the same image, shot at the same time, with the same settings (i.e., via RAW+JPEG), and then both the JPEG and the RAW processed to the best of the photographer's ability to see if the JPEG is equal to the RAW and vice versa.

I provided an even simpler example where the photographer's ability doesn't come into it to complicate the issue. In this post the first example is a RAW+JPEG pair. On importing into Lightroom they had just one thing done to them - pulling down Highlights. This showed that the RAW version contained more information than the JPEG version and this additional information allowed recovery of detail from the RAW version that was not possible with the JPEG version.

My contention is therefore that:

  1. RAW images contain more information than JPEG images
  2. The additional information in RAW images can be exploited to obtain non-trivial benefits

David Dollevoet has not responded to this, other than to ask for information about what processing was done to the JPEGs, which I provided and he thanked me for, saying that "The data that you have provided will be valuable". And the fact he sent me a PM asking for this information in addition to the post suggests he really did regard my information as important to him. But I'm not aware that he has made any use of this information yet.

In addition,

cainn24 wrote:

Sherm has provided an example of overexposed highlights and a rationale for why it's not always possible to avoid them (particularly when taking other factors in the IQ equation into consideration). So far you seem to have let that one go.

phototransformations has provided an example of how an in-camera JPEG engine can smear fine detail beyond recovery, and as we should all well know some cameras offer minimal or even zero control over the related JPEG engine parameters. So far you seem to have let that one go too.

So, with three examples provided (and I gave some other examples too, to do with details and smearing),  I'm having difficulty getting my head around this

djddpr wrote:


Is verbal argument all that you have? Are your verbal arguments superior to your raw post-processed photos?

It is long past due time for raw practitioners to show photographic evidence for their case. The same should be said of jpg practitioners. Let both sides in this issue show their photographic evidence and let participants in this issue and photographers at large decide for themselves.

Please, no more verbal argument. I am willing to be shown that raw post-processing is superior to jpg plus post-processing; and, if photographic evidence so indicates, I would be enthusiastically willing to learn from you

It is time for you to show your goods or kindly have the good grace to leave me alone on this issue.

David Dollevoet

In addition, the language used, such as "their case" and "both sides" and "superior" and "leave me alone" suggest a perception on David's part of a degree of conflict and schism that I don't see evidence for on the part of most people's contributions to this discussion, where the general view seems to be that JPEG and RAW both have merits and disadvantages, and which one it is best to use depends on personal needs, preferences, habits, subject matter etc. I'm not aware of anyone arguing that one or the other is exclusively better, except perhaps David Dollevoet, who may (I'm not sure) be arguing that RAW has no benefits over JPEG, and JPEG has benefits over RAW, and therefore JPEG is better.

In the absence of any comment from David Dollevoet, the only criticism so far of the examples I posted was this.

Erik Ohlson wrote:

Nick - your first illustration defines the problem:

"Expose for the (significant) highlights, develop ("PP") for the shadows"

It's just the old Zone System fo digital.

If the scene is exposed properly you would save yourself a lot of grief - "PP" time, and time between exposures.

As others have pointed out, it is infeasible for every capture to be "properly" exposed. When I go out to a nature reserve and spend six or seven hours capturing 1,000+ images (like I have done several times in the past couple of weeks) in often quite difficult situations (for example, shooting moving subjects using natural light with tiny apertures for maximum dof in low light levels around dawn, for example, invertebrates that pop up, in amongst undergrowth in sunshine which gives very high contrast scenes, with the subject possibly part in and part out of sunshine and shadow, and give you at most one chance to get a shot off before they move away), then some of the images are inevitably going to be noisy and/or sub-optimally exposed, examples including blown highlights on the one hand and radical underexposure on the other (for example when using flash, taking a shot before the flash has recycled). And of course there are some scenes that simply contain too large a dynamic range to be captured, making "proper" exposure impossible (if "proper" includes having neither blown highlights nor lost detail in shadows).

And it's not just invertebrates. When I'm photographing plants I like to photograph scenes which have constantly and rapidly changing patterns of sunlight coming through gaps in breeze-blown foliage. This changes faster than I or the camera can respond, again resulting in over- and under-exposure. And retaining colours in areas of delicately shaded petals where the sun is hitting at a particular angle is extremely difficult and can require radical underexposure.

By the way, as some context, I shot JPEG exclusively for six years before starting to use RAW a year or so ago. For the first four years that was because my cameras didn't do RAW. But then for two years I chose to continue using JPEG even though I then had RAW available. And all those six years I used JPEG with settings turned right down to give maximum latitude for post processing. So I have nothing against use JPEG. I think everyone should use whatever technology and techniques work best for them at a particular time and circumstance. I know I use various technology and techniques for my close-ups that some/many other people think are highly undesirable or can't be used for "serious" photography or in some cases that they know simply don't work. So, JPEG or RAW; whatever you prefer. That's what I think.

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