Converting RAW to JPG

Started Dec 4, 2012 | Discussions
Brian
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Converting RAW to JPG
Dec 4, 2012

I have just started shooting in RAW and I took a picture, that has a file size of 16.8mb, and converted it to JPEG in both my new Lightroom software and the IrfanView freeware I have.  The file size via LR dropped to 10.3mb and 5.53mb for IrfanView.

My first question is, does the decreased file size converted by Lightroom sound about right?

Also, I just installed Lightroom today and have never used it, so just feeling my way around.  I did this conversion by importing the picture into LR and then clicking the Export button in the bottom left.  Is this the best/right process to do convert to JPEG?  (I will be curious to take a picture with the camera set to create a RAW and JPEG file.)

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Brian Miller
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(Previous cameras: Nikon D3100 w/kit lens and 55-200), Nikon D40 w/kit lens and Canon S30)

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Brian
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Re: Converting RAW to JPG
In reply to Brian, Dec 4, 2012

...I just converted the same picture via Nikon's supplied ViewNX 2 and the file size is 9.34 MB, so it appears the file size via LR is correct.

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Brian Miller
Nikon D5100 w/18-105 lens and Canon S100
(Previous cameras: Nikon D3100 w/kit lens and 55-200), Nikon D40 w/kit lens and Canon S30)

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Jim Hess
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Re: Converting RAW to JPG
In reply to Brian, Dec 4, 2012

Yes, the file size of the Lightroom-converted file sounds about right.  But, if I'm interpreting your comments correctly, why are you importing and then just converting to JPEG?  What do you think you are accomplishing?  The advantage of importing raw images is that you can use all of the Lightroom tools to take advantage of the additional flexibility you get when working with raw files.  Then, you export JPEG images when you need them for any specific purpose such as e-mail, or to send to a commercial printer, or tw  Io post on the web.

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Brian
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Re: Converting RAW to JPG
In reply to Jim Hess, Dec 4, 2012

Hi Jim,

My plan ​was​ to keep them in RAW format and convert for the reasons you list, although I am questioning that right now for this reason, I have a lot pictures on my computer and when I bring up my pictures folder they will not display a pictured thumbnail if in RAW.  Obviously if I get used to using Lightroom instead of going into "My Pictures" this will not be an issue.  Again, I just loaded LR today, so I'll have to get comfortable with it.

Also, from my researching cameras, it seems Nikon's in-camera jpeg's seem to be a bit lacking comparably, but their RAW files are quite good.  So even if I want jpeg's it would seem to me that shooting in RAW and converting ​may​ be best.

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Brian Miller
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(Previous cameras: Nikon D3100 w/kit lens and 55-200), Nikon D40 w/kit lens and Canon S30)

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dwight3
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Re: Converting RAW to JPG
In reply to Brian, Dec 4, 2012

Brian wrote:

... I have a lot pictures on my computer and when I bring up my pictures folder they will not display a pictured thumbnail if in RAW. Obviously if I get used to using Lightroom instead of going into "My Pictures" this will not be an issue. Again, I just loaded LR today, so I'll have to get comfortable with it.

Also, from my researching cameras, it seems Nikon's in-camera jpeg's seem to be a bit lacking comparably, but their RAW files are quite good. So even if I want jpeg's it would seem to me that shooting in RAW and converting ​may​ be best.

You can get your computer to show thumbnails of the RAW files by downloading and installing the Nikon Codec (Google it).

Jpg files are images that you can see on your computer. RAW files are just that: the raw data from the sensor, that requires some conversion before you can see it as an image. There is a jpg image embedded in the RAW file that represents what the camera would produce as a jpg.

At present you are not using the full capabilities of Lightroom. What is LR good for?

(1) Conversion from RAW to jpg (via the Adobe Camera RAW converter (common to Lightroom and PhotoShop) (this is what you are currently doing);

(2) Adjusting the image by cropping, changing brightness, contrast, white balance, noise levels, or sharpness (or some combination of those parameters);

(3) Keeping a catalog of all the pictures you import into LR. For this purpose you should be adding tags to your pictures. This will help you find a picture of something several years from now when you don't remember the name of the file. You can search the catalog within LR using appropriate tags or keywords.

(I expect there are a few things I've missed, but the above capabilities are those that are most important to me).

You might consider shooting RAW+jpg if you're not yet comfortable with RAW. The jpg will give you an immediate image that you can use. If it needs to be adjusted you have the RAW file which has more data than the jpg from the camera since a jpg is an 8 bit image and the RAW file will store 12 bits (or more for some cameras). I did that when, after shooting jpg only for a while, I messed up the white balance settings for a few shots. Recovering from that error using the jpg was difficult, but would have been much easier if I had a RAW file available. After getting comfortable converting with LR I switched to RAW only. That forces me to use LR, and in the process I add tags to my pictures, which makes the LR catalog useful to me.

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Jim Hess
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Re: Converting RAW to JPG
In reply to Brian, Dec 4, 2012

As Dwight indicated, you can download a Nikon codec and install it so that your computer can display the NEF files.  And you could export JPEG images when you're all finished with your editing to use for displaying in other viewers.  As an example, I export small jpegs to a folder for creating my personalized desktop.  But, generally speaking, I don't have a lot of jpegs.  That's my choice, you might have a different approach.  And that's OK too.

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Brian
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Re: Converting RAW to JPG
In reply to dwight3, Dec 5, 2012

Thanks Dwight,

Thank you for the tip on the Codec.

The steps you list are my ​intent​.  I played around a little bit with Lightroom but lack knowledge at this point for changing photos for the better.

Question of curiosity, does changes to images work better for RAW over jpeg because of having more data or due to being a different file type that serves better for the function.

I haven't come across the ​tag​ option yet.

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Brian Miller
Nikon D5100 w/18-105 lens and Canon S100
(Previous cameras: Nikon D3100 w/kit lens and 55-200), Nikon D40 w/kit lens and Canon S30)

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Nikon D5100 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G
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Brian
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Re: Converting RAW to JPG
In reply to Brian, Dec 5, 2012

By the way, do you use Lightroom to import the pictures from your camera, assuming it can?

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Brian Miller
Nikon D5100 w/18-105 lens and Canon S100
(Previous cameras: Nikon D3100 w/kit lens and 55-200), Nikon D40 w/kit lens and Canon S30)

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Nikon D5100 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G
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dwight3
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Re: Converting RAW to JPG
In reply to Brian, Dec 5, 2012

Brian wrote:

Thanks Dwight,

Thank you for the tip on the Codec.

The steps you list are my ​intent​. I played around a little bit with Lightroom but lack knowledge at this point for changing photos for the better.

Question of curiosity, does changes to images work better for RAW over jpeg because of having more data or due to being a different file type that serves better for the function.

I haven't come across the ​tag​ option yet.

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Brian Miller
Nikon D5100 w/18-105 lens and Canon S100
(Previous cameras: Nikon D3100 w/kit lens and 55-200), Nikon D40 w/kit lens and Canon S30)

Processing in Lightroom works better on RAW files because there's more data. You ​can​ also do similar things on jpg files in Lightroom but there's less data to work with.

The tags are actually called Keywords in LR. Sorry to mislead you. When you import files you can add a set of keywords to all the files you import. Then in the Library you can place additional keywords on the images (I try to add people's names). You can also delete keywords there. If you misspell something there's a keyword list on the right panel. Find your misspelled keyword and right-click it. You can then edit it. Doing so changes all the occurrences of that keyword on all the appropriate images.

Tagging or keywording is an art you have to develop. There are ways to produce heirarchical keywords e.g. Animal>Cat>Ginger.

And in answer to your next question, I personally don't move files from the card to LR directly, but some people do. A long time ago I started using Downloader Pro, which you can use to rename all your files from things like DSC_4729 to "Suzie's Birthday Party 20121204 073" which is a lot more useful IMHO. After I got used to doing it that way I found that LR can rename your files on import, but since I had something that worked for me I didn't change it. Downloader Pro will also store the file in a folder with the same name you give the files. I expect there are many such programs around now.

LR loads with the option to start the import dialog when it detects a card being inserted (or a camera connected). If LR isn't running, inserting the card will start it.. I turn that option off because I want to use a different program to download my files.

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Vedochiaro
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Re: Converting RAW to JPG
In reply to Brian, Dec 5, 2012

Thank you for the tip on the Codec.

In case you haven't found it, here's the Nikon codec.

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JJMacks
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Re: Converting RAW to JPG
In reply to Brian, Dec 5, 2012

Brian wrote:

I have just started shooting in RAW and I took a picture, that has a file size of 16.8mb, and converted it to JPEG in both my new Lightroom software and the IrfanView freeware I have. The file size via LR dropped to 10.3mb and 5.53mb for IrfanView.

All those file sizes are correct for you can use the all files. So they are good files not corrupt.

The file sizes has to do with the files contents and quality. RAW files contains your camera's meta data, your cameras RAW sensor data and an embedded jpeg image. Compression may be used on the raw data as well as the jpeg image. So the size of you cameras RAW files will vary in size.

Jpeg files do not contain you cameras sensors RAW data. They just contain metadata and a RGB image. Jpeg files use a lossy compression when you encode(save) your image into a Jpeg format image file. When you decode a Jpeg file it does not decode the compressed data to exactly the same image that was encoded there is some quality loss. A jpeg file will always decode the same way to the same decoded image. Because compression is used Jpeg file sizes at any give quality will vary in size depending on image content and detail.

During jpeg encoding a quality value is uses that influences the compression a value 0 to 12. Using a low value will produce a smaller file at the expense of reduced image quality. As far as image quality goes you not going to see a big difference between quality 10 and quality 12. However the quality 10 file size is quite a bit smaller then the quality 12 file size. I think most cameras use quality 10 for their cameras high quality jpeg image sizes.

When you encode decode encode decode etc you accumulate image quality loss. However. If you convert a RAW file into a RGB image and the save it 100 time during Post processing its the same as doing on doing one. You only accumulate the quality loss when you go through the process of decoding an encoded image process it some then encode a new image. If you decode once ans save 100 time its the same as doing one encode save. Generation degrade. All in a generation have the same quality as long as the same quality setting is used for each save.

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JJMack

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Reilly Diefenbach
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Re: Converting RAW to JPG
In reply to Brian, Dec 5, 2012

Brian, very few people could ever come close to using LR properly without some kind of training.  Grab the Scott Kelby book and become a Lightroom expert in just a few weeks of a chapter or two a day:

http://www.amazon.com/Photoshop-Lightroom-Digital-Photographers-Voices/dp/0321819586/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1354722921&sr=8-4&keywords=scott+kelby

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Brian
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Re: Converting RAW to JPG
In reply to Vedochiaro, Dec 5, 2012

Excellent, thank you, this worked perfectly!!

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Brian Miller
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(Previous cameras: Nikon D3100 w/kit lens and 55-200), Nikon D40 w/kit lens and Canon S30)

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Brian
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Re: Converting RAW to JPG
In reply to dwight3, Dec 5, 2012

Thanks Dwight, you have been ​very​ helpful.

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Brian Miller
Nikon D5100 w/18-105 lens and Canon S100
(Previous cameras: Nikon D3100 w/kit lens and 55-200), Nikon D40 w/kit lens and Canon S30)

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Brian
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Re: Converting RAW to JPG
In reply to Reilly Diefenbach, Dec 5, 2012

Reilly Diefenbach wrote:

Brian, very few people could ever come close to using LR properly without some kind of training. Grab the Scott Kelby book and become a Lightroom expert in just a few weeks of a chapter or two a day:

http://www.amazon.com/Photoshop-Lightroom-Digital-Photographers-Voices/dp/0321819586/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1354722921&sr=8-4&keywords=scott+kelby

Thanks for the tip Reilly.  I am surprised the software didn't come with a manual.

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Brian Miller
Nikon D5100 w/18-105 lens and Canon S100
(Previous cameras: Nikon D3100 w/kit lens and 55-200), Nikon D40 w/kit lens and Canon S30)

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Valant
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Re: Converting RAW to JPG
In reply to Brian, Dec 5, 2012

At a given number of pixels the 5mb file will have less quality (information) than the 10mb file. LR can also produce 5mb files, 2mb files ans so on. If the 5mb file looks good enough use it, sometimes the difference is hard to see. As the quality goes down posterization will for instance appear, instead of smooth transitions blocks of color/ tone. Often to be seen in blue skies.

I think you can set infraview to output at 10mb as well.

Also reducing the number of pixels will reduce the size of the jpeg. If low enough one can easily see the pixels. A small picture (thumbnails and so on) may only need 200 by 300 pixels for instance. This small size can also be output with high to low quality. Some years ago mailing a file above say 100kb often was not allowed jpeg compression was necessary.

Take a RAW file and output at different sizes and qualities to see the differences. Lightroom is great for exporting for different conditions: make an export recipies, name and save the recipies, and use them again and again.

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dwight3
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Re: Converting RAW to JPG
In reply to Brian, Dec 7, 2012

Brian wrote:

...Thanks for the tip Reilly. I am surprised the software didn't come with a manual.
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Brian Miller
Nikon D5100 w/18-105 lens and Canon S100
(Previous cameras: Nikon D3100 w/kit lens and 55-200), Nikon D40 w/kit lens and Canon S30)

That's one of my pet peeves. No software comes with a manual these days. Maybe we get a help file. Maybe we get an online help file. Not likely we get a good index to look for a topic. 90% of the answers we get online are irrelevant.

Guess I'm just old school. I learned to read from paper and I like it that way. But then I'm old everything else, too.

OTOH, my D4 came with a big manual. I ran off and started shooting before picking up the manual and starting to read it. (The manual stays with me for the moment because I ​do​ have to refer to it occasionally).

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Vulcanrider
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Re: Converting RAW to JPG
In reply to dwight3, Dec 7, 2012

Brian,

Your questions are the same ones I had (and many more) two years ago.  Keep it up.

I worked 35mm in film and after several years absence from photography bought into digital.  I chose LR and PS CS(5) because they offered terrific "headroom" (perhaps the most in the business) for learning, exploring, etc.  This "expansive" software however, came with some cost to me; a long (albeit fun) learning process.  Sounds like you made a similar decision.

Alan

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MrPhotoBob
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Re: Converting RAW to JPG
In reply to Brian, Dec 7, 2012

Brian, I found this video on YouTube about three weeks ago, and after watching it over and over a few times, I am up and running with Lightroom 4 and have no problems doing anything in the software. I have had Lightroom 4 for quite a while, but like you I did not have any books, but as for myself, I also did not wish to get on those pay sites to try and learn from their videos. Now that I have learned how to use the software, I am off and running. I finally did break down and pay to use the Kelby training site when they came out with their Cyber Monday special and the videos with their special deal came out to be only $13 a month and around $.31 a day. Kelby training is coming out with a new program where you can get on their site and rent some of their videos for only $6.99 for three days and you are allowed to view those videos for as long as you wish during those three days. They do not have a lot of videos set us as of yet, but I can see that being something that I would like to do as well once my year subscription runs out. You can also get on Adobetv.com and look at their videos on using their software and it is free to everyone, I did not know this before I signed up for Kelby training. I will say that I am more than glad that I did sign up for that training, I have learned a great deal on using software for my images. I have always found myself not being a person who could read a book once and catch on how to do something, I would have to read sections of that book over and over a few times before it would start sinking in. I hope that this video does help, and there are other videos on YouTube that are just as helpful.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGREWqMSUJ0

Good luck with Lightroom. The one great thing that I like about Lightroom 4, is that in their Print Module, they have a print adjustment slider that has allowed me to fine tune my prints so well, they are identical to what is on my screen, and my screen has been calibrated.

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Brian
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Re: Converting RAW to JPG
In reply to MrPhotoBob, Dec 8, 2012

MrPhotoBob wrote:

Brian, I found this video on YouTube about three weeks ago, and after watching it over and over a few times, I am up and running with Lightroom 4 and have no problems doing anything in the software. I have had Lightroom 4 for quite a while, but like you I did not have any books, but as for myself, I also did not wish to get on those pay sites to try and learn from their videos. Now that I have learned how to use the software, I am off and running. I finally did break down and pay to use the Kelby training site when they came out with their Cyber Monday special and the videos with their special deal came out to be only $13 a month and around $.31 a day. Kelby training is coming out with a new program where you can get on their site and rent some of their videos for only $6.99 for three days and you are allowed to view those videos for as long as you wish during those three days. They do not have a lot of videos set us as of yet, but I can see that being something that I would like to do as well once my year subscription runs out. You can also get on Adobetv.com and look at their videos on using their software and it is free to everyone, I did not know this before I signed up for Kelby training. I will say that I am more than glad that I did sign up for that training, I have learned a great deal on using software for my images. I have always found myself not being a person who could read a book once and catch on how to do something, I would have to read sections of that book over and over a few times before it would start sinking in. I hope that this video does help, and there are other videos on YouTube that are just as helpful.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGREWqMSUJ0

Good luck with Lightroom. The one great thing that I like about Lightroom 4, is that in their Print Module, they have a print adjustment slider that has allowed me to fine tune my prints so well, they are identical to what is on my screen, and my screen has been calibrated.

Bob, thank you so much for sharing that link; I have played it through once and like you I will have to play it more.  That was very helpful, I learned a lot!!

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Brian Miller
Nikon D5100 w/18-105 lens and Canon S100
(Previous cameras: Nikon D3100 w/kit lens and 55-200), Nikon D40 w/kit lens and Canon S30)

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Nikon D5100 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G
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