D800 RAW vs JPEG

Started May 16, 2012 | Discussions
Kabe Luna
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If you can't get
In reply to benjaminblack, May 16, 2012

better results from a Canon CRW or CR2 than from any Canon in-camera JPEG, you have too many workflow problems to even broach.

That said, I have been playing with the idea of shooting in-camera JPEGs with my D800 and, for all but the most demanding subject matter under the most torturous of lighting conditions, by minimizing the in-camera processing and choosing quality (rather than size) priority, the D800's in-camera JPEGs are surprisingly well suited to PP work. This past weekend, I put it to the test for the first time during an assignment and I actually used the JPEGs for the finals. I think the D800 is the first Nikon DSLR I've owned (and I've had all the enthusiast cameras since the D100, including the D3 and D700) where the JPEGs are good enough to effectively replace NEFs for some uses.

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AlbieSky
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A paradox
In reply to benjaminblack, May 16, 2012

Canon's jpgs have always been better to most people than Nikon's jpg.

If Canon's jpg looks better than its RAW, then I would stick with Canon since it is less work.

Nikon's jpgs have alwyas been worse than Canon's. Canon knows how to put out great jpg pictures. Some say it's plastic looking, but if you show pictures to average people Nikon jpg versus Canon jpg, the Canon will be favored most of the time.

To get the best of Nikon, you have to use NEF and post process for sharpness and 'pop.'

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Kaj E
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Re: D800 RAW vs JPEG
In reply to Tony Beach, May 16, 2012

Tony Beach wrote:

Kaj E wrote:

Luke Kaven wrote:

If you are using Capture NX2, then you have the JPG engine on your PC -- the same JPG engine that is used by your camera to make in-camera JPGs.

I doubt that is correct. It seem to me that the RAW engine in Capture NX2 does a better job than the in camera one.

Have you done side-by-side comparisons? I doubt there's much of a difference between the JPEG quality from the camera and from NX2.

Not much but, it's there.

You PC is much more powerful than the in camera "engine" and can therefore be made to do a higher quality job.

It can, but my experience with Capture NX (pre-NX2) is that the highest quality (lowest compression) JPEGs were no better than the same option used from the camera. As I mentioned in a previous post in this thread, Photoshop has a higher quality JPEG option that produces marginally better results than what I could get from NX.

Why do you think Nikon shot the D800 and D800E as RAW and then converted them to JPEGs in Capture NX2 without any further adjustments?

For lesser cameras samples have been shot directly as JPEGs.

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Tony Beach
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Re: D800 RAW vs JPEG
In reply to Kaj E, May 17, 2012

Kaj E wrote:

Tony Beach wrote:

Kaj E wrote:

You PC is much more powerful than the in camera "engine" and can therefore be made to do a higher quality job.

It can, but my experience with Capture NX (pre-NX2) is that the highest quality (lowest compression) JPEGs were no better than the same option used from the camera. As I mentioned in a previous post in this thread, Photoshop has a higher quality JPEG option that produces marginally better results than what I could get from NX.

Why do you think Nikon shot the D800 and D800E as RAW and then converted them to JPEGs in Capture NX2 without any further adjustments?

Why do many sites convert to JPEG from TIFF using level 11 in Photoshop, when there is a level 12? FWIW, I have seen the difference between the two, so quality is being left on the table.

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Tony Beach
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Re: A paradox
In reply to AlbieSky, May 17, 2012

AlbieSky wrote:

Canon's jpgs have always been better to most people than Nikon's jpg.

If Canon's jpg looks better than its RAW, then I would stick with Canon since it is less work.

Lame. The same argument was made in the film days, when most would just drop their film off at the local 1 hour photo and call it good enough, while a select few would do their own darkroom work. Today it is far easier, but laziness knows no bounds.

Nikon's jpgs have alwyas been worse than Canon's. Canon knows how to put out great jpg pictures. Some say it's plastic looking, but if you show pictures to average people Nikon jpg versus Canon jpg, the Canon will be favored most of the time.

Right, because apparently your goal is to satisfy "average" people's expectations.

To get the best of Nikon, you have to use NEF and post process for sharpness and 'pop.'

Yeah, that should take all of two minutes.

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AlephNull
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Re: D800 RAW vs JPEG
In reply to InTheMist, May 17, 2012

InTheMist wrote:

Welcome!

Do this for a day and see how you like it:

Underexpose 0.7 or one stop with exposure compensation, then push shadows in post.

This is my every-day shooting method because Nikon RAWs have so much detail in the shadows, however, blown highlights are gone.

Thank you for mentioning this. I thought I was doing something wrong - I've been needing -0.7 exposure compensation a lot of the time when shooting with the D800.

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DrGoon
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Re: D800 RAW vs JPEG
In reply to Luke Kaven, May 17, 2012

Luke Kaven wrote:

benjaminblack wrote:

Ok, simply put, when I look at the RAW image on my Mac I'm not seeing a RAW, I'm seeing a JPEG preview created by, in this case, Apple.

You may be looking at a preview sized image on screen. This is only a very crude rendering. When you zoom in to 100% it is more accurate.

So in the screen shot I posted above, where I opened the RAW version in Preview and then put the JPEG next it, the discrepancy I see between the images derives from Apple's superior rendering?

Not necessarily. In some cases, a crude preview image is generated. There is a preview JPG packaged in the Nikon NEF file along with the RAW data. That preview is nothing to look at except to be able to distinguish two images apart from a distance.

Just to be clear, the image on the right was created by the D800, the image on the left is a RAW file I opened in Preview. So what's happening is, Nikon created a crappy JPEG and Apple created a sharper JPEG preview from the RAW featuring more detail and better color? Am I understanding this correctly?

Preview JPGs, JPGs with high compression, JPGs with an excess of noise reduction, or too little. Hard to tell what's going on in this case.

He's using the Mac app 'Preview' to 'open' the NEF file as opposed to lower case preview. This uses the Apple Mac OS X Camera RAW library and the Quartz libraries to create a screen render. This can then be saved as a TIFF, JPEG, PNG or OpenEXR file if desired.

Since Aperture uses the same libraries the displayed image will look identical to a NEF imported into Aperture using the default settings and prior to any filters being applied.

Apple have put some workaday defaults in place so the results are generally quite good. For a Canon camera JPEG or DPP look, it could take a little fine tuning and application of import presets.

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Luke Kaven
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Re: D800 RAW vs JPEG
In reply to AlephNull, May 17, 2012

You might want to use UniWB and a "neutral" setting on capture to see what the true histogram looks like.

Also, I've found the D800 LCD to be too hot. It gives the impression of overexposure falsely sometimes. But this is only important when reviewing on the camera.

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Luke Kaven
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Re: D800 RAW vs JPEG
In reply to DrGoon, May 17, 2012

Thanks, that was helpful.

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