Anyone Up For a "JPEG vs. RAW" Discussion?

Started Apr 25, 2012 | Discussions
MMACory
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Anyone Up For a "JPEG vs. RAW" Discussion?
Apr 25, 2012

I've been trying to work with RAW for the past few days using Canon's DPP and am looking at all of the Lightroom 4 tutorials. Now that I'm sleep deprived and my head's spinning I wonder if some are just wired for JPEG.

Is there anything wrong with trying to master white balance and picture styles, etc. in the camera, getting some really good lenses and all and sticking with JPEG's?
Thank you during this most difficult time.

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theatrus
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Re: Anyone Up For a "JPEG vs. RAW" Discussion?
In reply to MMACory, Apr 25, 2012

MMACory wrote:

Is there anything wrong with trying to master white balance and picture styles, etc. in the camera, getting some really good lenses and all and sticking with JPEG's?

No.

If extensive post processing is not for you, then by all means continue with JPEG out of camera - lots of advancements have been made to that in newer cameras.

If you're in doubt or in a difficult situation, there is nothing wrong with shooting RAW+JPEG in case you need to save an image later.

Thank you during this most difficult time.

Don't worry about it, there is much worse out there.

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beshannon
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Re: Anyone Up For a "JPEG vs. RAW" Discussion?
In reply to MMACory, Apr 25, 2012

MMACory wrote:

Is there anything wrong with trying to master white balance and picture styles, etc. in the camera, getting some really good lenses and all and sticking with JPEG's?

No, nothing wrong at all

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JulesJ
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Re: Anyone Up For a "JPEG vs. RAW" Discussion?
In reply to MMACory, Apr 25, 2012

I went to a pro talk given at Epson's in the UK last week. The speaker asked is anyone was still using jpgs and not Raw? . One or two (all pros) put there hands up. He replied....
Don't
Nuff said?
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citizenlouie
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Re: Anyone Up For a "JPEG vs. RAW" Discussion?
In reply to MMACory, Apr 25, 2012

I still don't understand why some people want to use JPEG at all.... I've been shooting JPEG+RAW since I got my DSLR and I have never used JPEG photo once. The resolution of the photo is just not there, the strong noise reduction algorithm is invasive. JPEG photos simply look like lo-fi compared to RAW photos. With RAW photos, there is no NR to kill detail, so you don't even have to touch that sharpen slider in Lightroom.

As for time, I don't understand that argument. Just batch process RAW files and it doesn't even take 2 seconds.

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tkbslc
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Re: Anyone Up For a "JPEG vs. RAW" Discussion?
In reply to MMACory, Apr 25, 2012

Nothing wrong with finding what you prefer and doing that. RAW is not a commandment, just a feature.

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MaxIso
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Re: Anyone Up For a "JPEG vs. RAW" Discussion?
In reply to tkbslc, Apr 25, 2012

i always say do what makes u happy, they r afterall your pictures. but if u r looking for pointers, perhaps i can help as well. ive only had a dslr(t) for not quite a year, my a33 is my first. bought it last fathers day, and ive loved it. ive shot maybe 6 or 7 thousand pics so far, maybe half or so r keepers and r saved on my pc. have sever hours of video total as well, but ive spend just as much time reading and researching as im a bit of a over analyst. the one thing i noticed about my a33 is it has real bad noise at high iso. the more i read, the more i heard that raw was better in many aspects including noise, and i only shot jpeg bc i hated PP. about a month ago, as i was experimenting with night shooting, i decided to try out raw. i had no idea how to view them, but i plugged in my card and tried a few things till i found my own way. i have photoshop as part of adobe cs5.5. i tried to drag and drop to my ps window, and another window popped, i clicked save, and it saved them back to my card folder as jpegs. when u view the jpegs taken from raw, they r not only less noisy but also better colors and sharper. this is with absolutely no PP, just a simple conversion. took me 30 secs to convert a dozen pics, with much better IQ. since then, ive still not done any PP on any of my work bc to me personally, phototgraphy is art and shouldnt b touched up with fake PP, otherwise its not a photo anymore. but thats just my opinion. heres a simple pic i took in raw with no PP, with a cheap a33. my little one playing with her ball. ill soon b upgrading, likely to a k5 or a d7k.

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Braxton7
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Re: Anyone Up For a "JPEG vs. RAW" Discussion?
In reply to citizenlouie, Apr 25, 2012

citizenlouie wrote:

I still don't understand why some people want to use JPEG at all.... I've been shooting JPEG+RAW since I got my DSLR and I have never used JPEG photo once. The resolution of the photo is just not there, the strong noise reduction algorithm is invasive. JPEG photos simply look like lo-fi compared to RAW photos. With RAW photos, there is no NR to kill detail, so you don't even have to touch that sharpen slider in Lightroom.

As for time, I don't understand that argument. Just batch process RAW files and it doesn't even take 2 seconds.

I haven't used JPEG for a long time now. Most of the pictures I take need to be deleted anyway :). Some of the ones that don't can be improved or just developed. I think people think you have to fool with every one but you really don't.

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tex
tex
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You are making this way too flippin' difficult
In reply to MMACory, Apr 25, 2012

MMACory wrote:

I've been trying to work with RAW for the past few days using Canon's DPP

Well, that could be one problem...

and am looking at all of the Lightroom 4 tutorials.

And that could be another. You really don't need to look at them all...

Now that I'm sleep deprived and my head's spinning

Problems #3 & 4.

I wonder if some are just wired for JPEG.

Maybe. But you don't know yet.

Is there anything wrong with trying to master white balance and picture styles, etc. in the camera, getting some really good lenses and all and sticking with JPEG's?

No, not at all. Some would argue that that is a very professional approach---dialing in your camera to the nth degree. Certainly doable, on better cameras.

But one reason I use raw is that I don't trust myself to get it 100% correct at the time of capture, and RAW gives me a bit of insurance that I can make more adjustments to my exposure, especially, if necessary, when I have more time to mess with it. For some pros, all of their time is at a premium and they don't have the luxury of computer time to mess with RAW. I think these people are a minority, given what I've seen, but anyway... For me, I have the time at the back-end, when I'm not fighting a crowd, or dawn, or nightfall, or a closing time, or....you get the picture.

Thank you during this most difficult time.

So, back to making this way too difficult and over-thinking it. Just try this: Go out and shoot some stuff, non-critical, non-deadline. Shoot some high contrast noon-time light, shoot some real low light, shoot sunny, shoot overcast, & etc. Shoot all this stuff in RAW + JPG. Separate it out on your computer by category of light quality/intensity.

Now pick a pair and take a good look at them side by side. Try to get your RAW to look like your JPG by fiddling around with your software controls . Just mess with it a bit, no worries. Undo it if you have to, and KISS. Mainly get 3 things where they roughly match: sharpness, saturation, and exposure. Maybe you'll have to fiddle with WB, but perhaps start with daylight shots so you don't really have to. You should find that a satisfactory result can be had (but probably not an exact match) w/o that much hassle. Now, understand that everything you just did can then be applied for a batch process. So, it's no big deal to shoot RAW. Bear in mind that it can be damn difficult to get those RAW's to look exactly like the JPG's. It can be done, but it must be remembered that the camera companies have spent a lot of money on those JPG engines, so don't expect it to be easy. What you're looking for in this experiment is just a satisfactory result from your RAW's.

The fun part starts when you then have some shots that are messed up in some way in the JPG---and this is where you will now find that RAW is your potential savior. In the future this may be a shot you absolutely cannot re-do. You just have so much more latitude in RAW to make larger changes. Changes that make or break the shot.

IMO, the fun part then gets more fun and way more interesting when you realize that you no longer have to accept some geeky software engineer's attitudes (or worse, a committee---just think Dilbert cartoon...) about what constitutes the "best" way for your photos to look. Because that is what a JPG engine is doing in your camera---applying someone else's "secret sauce". I would be a lot more interested in accepting that JPG engine "judgement" if I felt like it had come about after consultation with a panel of superb photographers, artists, and art historians, all of whom had cracker-jack eyesight.

I have never heard of that happening.

So, you decide. It's like voting. Do you want to cast your vote yourself, or do it by proxy? Sometimes proxy is the right way to go. Is it always?

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Mark Scott Abeln
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Re: Anyone Up For a "JPEG vs. RAW" Discussion?
In reply to MMACory, Apr 25, 2012

I’m a computer guy, but it took me a long time to learn the basics of post processing and the RAW converter. Now, I shoot RAW, but I know there are lots of folks who won’t or can’t use the computer. For them, JPEG is fine.

Now, I think it would do the industry some good if they came up with a replacement for JPEG — something that would be supported by all cameras, browsers, software, printers, etc. The problem is that you would need to get lots of companies in diverse industries to cooperate, which is not as easy as it may seem.

A new file format with more than 8 bits per color channel and a superior compression algorithm would be very nice. This has been tried and the past, and it has failed, and so a new standard image file format is needed — since once a standard is dead (like JPEG 2000), it is never revived. JPEG 2000 was once a leading contender, but possible patent issues caused vendors to avoid it. Also, the standard itself is not freely available.

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Mako2011
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Best said
In reply to MMACory, Apr 25, 2012

MMACory wrote:

Is there anything wrong with trying to master white balance and picture styles, etc. in the camera, getting some really good lenses and all and sticking with JPEG's?

That is how I try to shoot every single exposure...as if I'm shooting JPEG and will have very limited ability to better the image in PP. The reason I do this is because I shoot RAW and starting with a well exposed shot gives me the best chances for significant final improvement. Going into Photoshop with a high quality Tiff generated from a high quality RAW file gives significantly greater potential for best possible output media. Going in with a good/great JPEG is like driving a Corvette with one Spark plug missing. Still fun but not up to max potential by a significant amount.

RomanJohnston:

"JPG = All setting from in camera processor "cooked" into the photo and the output sent to the card. All "in camera settings" are utilized and permanent in the file.

RAW = All settings from in camera processor put in a "side car" file and if the software used to convert the raw file is native to the info, it will pre-apply the settings during the conversion as a baseline for you to start editing. If your using Adobe products, it only uses the basics like White Balance, and such to present the file in it's conversion. All decisions are made by you in the converter. (you can set your own presets for your camera in Adobe, including a calibration tool like from X-rite highly recommended by the way)

JPG = 8 bit file and not very happy with strong edits (artifacts start to show up very early in the adjustment phase, and get very noticeable with strong edits.)

RAW = 12 or 14bit file (depending on how your camera is configured or if it even allows for 14bit files.) This gives you a lot of editing overhead and even stronger adjustment so much less artifacts. It also give you a virgin file to revisit as your editing skills increase. Even to this day, I often re-visit files from even my old D70 after I have learned some techniques.

One is not better or worse than the other, it all depends on your goals. If speed and convenience outweigh time spent on the computer and your not doing critical work or you are time sensitive with your work, then get really familiar with your "in camera" settings, and take the time to dial them all in. The results can often be very nice.

If highest quality, and even artistic expression are your goals, as well as printing large, or maybe selling your work as art are in your goals, you will want to learn as much as you can about RAW, it's advantages, and walk that path.

Hope this helps.

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LightRoom
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Re: Anyone Up For a "JPEG vs. RAW" Discussion?
In reply to Mark Scott Abeln, Apr 26, 2012

I myself just use jpeg. I'd rather do the settings in the camera. I think I understand why people want to use RAW. But in my case RAW is just a waste of time. My great final images are paintings. My process is already quite slow. I find a landscape I like, get out my bloc of nice paper, my fine set of pencils and sketch away then, when the light is at it's finest, I take some photos for reference. Once I'm back in my studio I unload the photos, choose the best one and draw a few reference lines on it, check composition, print it. and then it's oil paints

I do take just photos as well, after all I started as a photographer.

But I digress... The way I see it is that in the end you have to throw away a whole bunch of information. It will all end up as a jpeg or print one way or another. So for me RAW vs jpeg is not really an issue. With a good modern camera it's more a matter of when. You can shoot RAW and process later, or you can use the settings in your camera before you take the photo.

It is true that if you have a RAW file you might be able to correct some mistakes in the exposure, white balance, colour department. But there are many other things that make a good photo.

In the end I believe this is a decision you have to make yourself. But by all means learn about RAW and how to use it. It's always better to make an informed decision.

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Graham Meale
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Re: Anyone Up For a "JPEG vs. RAW" Discussion?
In reply to MMACory, Apr 26, 2012

One thing I like about raw is I can defer decisions on white balance, sharpening, and features like "auto light optimiser" etc. I prefer to make these decisions coolly and calmly in post processing rather than on the run.
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jon404
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Re: Anyone Up For a "JPEG vs. RAW" Discussion?
In reply to Graham Meale, Apr 26, 2012

Almost all pix I take with my Olympus XZ-1 are JPGS. Once in a while, when I know I'll have trouble with the color balance, I'll use RAW plus JPG. But not often. I'm an amateur, and, with no need to satisfy fussy clients, am quite happy with JPGs.

Corel Aftershot Pro is a very good program -- inexpensive, great for working with both RAW and JPGs.

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GodSpeaks
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Re: Anyone Up For a "JPEG vs. RAW" Discussion?
In reply to MMACory, Apr 26, 2012

More data is always better than less data.

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BertIverson
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Why I use raw ...
In reply to MMACory, Apr 26, 2012

I am only an amateur but catching the moment is what is most important to me. For 99% of my daylight shooting, I use a camera preset consisting of: raw, A mode, f8, Auto ISO, AWB, matrix metering with -1/2 EV and I simply never think about the camera (other than composition and focus). For PP (developing) I have ACR default presets for each ISO (NR, sharpening) so PP consists of simply opening all files in ACR and saving as JPG (proofs if you like). (maybe a couple minutes for 50 photos). After deleting the tossers I go back to ACR and tweak a few important shots. My point being that, when shooting, I no longer look at histograms or use chimping to get exposure, WB perfect . These settings can be tweaked LEISURELY in ACR.
PS: I switched from JPG a couple years ago and have never looked back - YMMV
Bert

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citizenlouie
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Re: Anyone Up For a "JPEG vs. RAW" Discussion?
In reply to Braxton7, Apr 26, 2012

Yeah, I think you nailed it. It's a misconception that every RAW file must be tweaked to death. Just because you can doesn't mean you have to. 99% of the time, saving the RAW files into JPEG is all you need to do, given the photo was shot correctly in the first place.

Develop your own RAW instead of letting the camera develop it is like doing your own film developing vs let the lab do the process. You have no idea what lab does to your film negatives. But when you develop your own RAWs, you can do as many or as little as you like. Most of the time I prefer no unnecessary processes. Less is more. Lower NR and sharpening to minimum and your photos will look much better (given your lenses are high quality).

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Starshot
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Re: Anyone Up For a "JPEG vs. RAW" Discussion?
In reply to MMACory, Apr 26, 2012

There are definitely space/speed issues with RAW.

So in the rare occurrence when you need a gazillion shots in rapid succession... jpeg would work.

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Stuart001
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Re: Anyone Up For a "JPEG vs. RAW" Discussion?
In reply to MMACory, Apr 26, 2012

I now shoot raw only. I used shoot both, but it is pointless because I never used jpegs.

But this is not really a 'jpeg vs raw' discussion. What the discussion really needs to be is: do YOU want to make the final decision on how your images will look, or do you trust your camera manufacturer?

All images begin life as a raw of sorts. All cameras have a native file type that they use to capture the light hitting the sensor. A Raw files is simply a file that contains ALL of that information. If you shoot jpeg, the camera's internal settings alter colour balance, sharpness, saturation etc to give you a usable image but which ditches much of the information that someone else has determined is superfluous. The camera settings for jpeg will alter slightly if you choose 'portrait' or 'landscape' or 'night'--whatever your camera setting are.

The main difference between the two is that in the case of raw you can determine on a case-by-case basis how you want to 'tweak' your images; with a jpeg a great deal has already been done for you. This is not to say that you CAN'T post-process jpegs, just that you begin with a lot less information.

If you shoot raw, you should be able to quite easily set up whatever program you use for downloading images to make adjustments as you import them if you wish. In Lightroom, for example, this is quite straight forward, but Lightroom is a non-destructive editor--it preserves the raw files in tact, and stores changes as a set of instructions that are not acted on until you 'export' the image.

If you shoot raw, you can always preserve your RAW files on a separate hard drive if you wish, and only use the jpegs. You never know what you may want to do with some of your images in the future.

In my opinion it is certainly worthwhile taking some of the advice above, and sticking with raw for a while longer. You may not get your head around it for a while, but the more that you understand how to work with raw files the more you will see their value. And if in a month or two you still want to shoot in jpeg, you can always go back to it. It is easy to make a jpeg from a raw file, but impossible to go the other way round.

And then, of course, there is the question of DNG.

Stuart

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citizenlouie
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Re: Anyone Up For a "JPEG vs. RAW" Discussion?
In reply to Mark Scott Abeln, Apr 26, 2012

That format you mentioned is called TIFF. It's a non-compressed format used by many of us who doesn't like JPEG's lossy compression and still being an industrial standard. A separate type of TIFF is called EXIF-TIFF, which also retains EXIF info. You can manipulate TIFF as easily as RAW, except TIFF is a common standard that most photo processing suites can read and use.

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