The Raw v JPEG challenge (RX100)

Started Jan 28, 2013 | Discussions
Docno
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The Raw v JPEG challenge (RX100)
Jan 28, 2013

Was out at a pub last night with some friends--man, does my head hurt today--and I took this shot just as the lighting system drenched us with dark purple-blue light. The photo looked unsalvageable when I loaded it on to my computer, but after a few minutes in ACR I achieved what I think is an 'acceptable' (given that it's a party snap, not high art). I tried doing the same thing with the default jpeg (using photoshop) and couldn't come close. Perhaps my PS skills need polishing.

Now some people have been saying that there's little to be gained from shooting Raw with the RX100. I'm not convinced, but I'm keeping an open mind. Anyway, here's the default JPEG (i.e., roughly what the camera would have produced as a JPEG) followed by what I managed to squeeze out from the RAW. Curious if anyone can achieve the same results using the 'blue' JPEG. [If you try, please specify what software and options/filters/etc you used to do it]. Let the learning begin!

If I'd been fussy, I could have masked out the window in the back so that it did not become shocking yellow

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Shamatt
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Re: The Raw v JPEG challenge (RX100)
In reply to Docno, Jan 28, 2013

I still don't see the attraction of RAW.

If I go on holiday and take 500 sots (As I easily do) It would take weeks and weeks to process them all in to jpg's. I can't see how people do this?

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Dutchpepper
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Re: The Raw v JPEG challenge (RX100)
In reply to Docno, Jan 28, 2013

I think the Jpeg did very well you said you where "drenched in dark purple-blue light" and that's what it gave you! and if you had used the "Multi Frame NR mode" it would have been even better! and you would have saved yourself a lot of time. I think what you have shown is that raw can't always save you

http://www.flickr.com/photos/loubella/

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Moti
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Re: The Raw v JPEG challenge (RX100)
In reply to Shamatt, Jan 28, 2013

Shamatt wrote:

I still don't see the attraction of RAW.

If I go on holiday and take 500 sots (As I easily do) It would take weeks and weeks to process them all in to jpg's. I can't see how people do this?

It s just a matter of having the right skills and an efficient workflow. With programs such as Lightroom, a basic processing and conversion of 500 photos, takes usually less than one day.

Moti

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Digital Nigel
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Re: The Raw v JPEG challenge (RX100)
In reply to Moti, Jan 28, 2013

Moti wrote:

Shamatt wrote:

I still don't see the attraction of RAW.

If I go on holiday and take 500 sots (As I easily do) It would take weeks and weeks to process them all in to jpg's. I can't see how people do this?

It s just a matter of having the right skills and an efficient workflow. With programs such as Lightroom, a basic processing and conversion of 500 photos, takes usually less than one day.

Moti

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Same with DxO -- while you spend a few seconds reviewing, cropping and perhaps fine-tuning one image, it's processing the previous one to JPEG, automatically resizing to a max side length if required and adding an optional postfix to the name. It's much quicker than doing the same with JPEGs. So, unless you intend to do absolutely no post-processing at all, it's actually quicker and easier to shoot RAW than JPEG. And it means you can ignore WB and not be too concerned about exposure while shooting.

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Moti
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Re: The Raw v JPEG challenge (RX100)
In reply to Docno, Jan 28, 2013

I think that before getting into endless debates about to RAW or not to RAW, there is a very important question that should be asked first - to process or not to process.

This is very personal and is just a matter of what you want to do with your photos. Nothing technical.

For those who are happy with what they get out of the camera and have no intention to do any further image processing, the question weather to shoot raw or not, is completely irrelevant. Of course, we can also debate over the question to process or not, but this is a different matter.

Those who have decided to post process their photos for any reason, and are ready to invest the extra time and effort involved in it, should know that with modern programs such as Lightroom, there is no difference between processing a raw file or a jpg. Both take exactly the same time and require the same effort. As a matter of fact, with the right skills, it is even easier and faster to process a raw file than a jpg.

If this is the, case I see no reason to use jpg at the first place. It is more simple and efficient to use one workflow only to process all the photos compared to a more complicated workflow, based on jpg and then switch to raw for all the cases when jpg isn't good enough. For me, it is as simple as that.

Moti

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busch
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First off ....
In reply to Docno, Jan 28, 2013

I basically agree with Moti but one should do what gives the desired results. I did a quick and dirty PP of your JPG using my ancient Photo Impact 12 and in 2 1/2 minutes had a shot about like yours except I think your PP'ed shot is a bit on the red/magenta side.

BUT, the real point is the camera captured what you saw and not what you would have liked to have seen!

I really do not understand this RAW vs JPG thing all the time. With today's cameras either one will deliver excellent results if the button pusher does their job.

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Busch
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Docno
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Re: The Raw v JPEG challenge (RX100)
In reply to Shamatt, Jan 28, 2013

Shamatt wrote:

I still don't see the attraction of RAW.

If I go on holiday and take 500 sots (As I easily do) It would take weeks and weeks to process them all in to jpg's. I can't see how people do this?

You don't need to individually process every image. Simply get the settings right in one image, then copy them to the others taken in the same conditions (basically copy, select, paste) and batch process. Takes less than a minute.

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Docno
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Sorry, I don't understand
In reply to Dutchpepper, Jan 28, 2013

Dutchpepper wrote:

I think the Jpeg did very well you said you where "drenched in dark purple-blue light" and that's what it gave you! and if you had used the "Multi Frame NR mode" it would have been even better! and you would have saved yourself a lot of time. I think what you have shown is that raw can't always save you

http://www.flickr.com/photos/loubella/

There was a live band nearby. The lighting was constantly changing. When I took the shot, I certainly wasn't aiming to have her all dark blue like that. Also, with flashing lights (and beers in the belly) you don't notice these quickly changing colour shifts ... the eyes adapt the scene and you see fairly naturalistic colours. And when taking a photo, I certain wouldn't want the person all green or purple. The Raw has clearly saved the shot in this case. Not sure why you would say otherwise. She was happy with the shot. If I had given her the blue shot, what do you think her reaction would have been then?

Also I don't see how a multi-frame process would have helped other than perhaps with exposure. With mutli-frame, one frame may have been blue, one frame green, etc., because of the flashing coloured lights. Would have ended up with mud...

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Docno
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Agree, but with one proviso...
In reply to Moti, Jan 28, 2013

Moti wrote:

I think that before getting into endless debates about to RAW or not to RAW, there is a very important question that should be asked first - to process or not to process.

This is very personal and is just a matter of what you want to do with your photos. Nothing technical.

For those who are happy with what they get out of the camera and have no intention to do any further image processing, the question weather to shoot raw or not, is completely irrelevant. Of course, we can also debate over the question to process or not, but this is a different matter.

Those who have decided to post process their photos for any reason, and are ready to invest the extra time and effort involved in it, should know that with modern programs such as Lightroom, there is no difference between processing a raw file or a jpg. Both take exactly the same time and require the same effort. As a matter of fact, with the right skills, it is even easier and faster to process a raw file than a jpg.

If this is the, case I see no reason to use jpg at the first place. It is more simple and efficient to use one workflow only to process all the photos compared to a more complicated workflow, based on jpg and then switch to raw for all the cases when jpg isn't good enough. For me, it is as simple as that.

Moti

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I think it makes perfect sense to shoot JPEG under 'normal conditions' that do not challenge the camera's sensor, WB engine, etc. That will be most of the time. But when you are in challenging conditions--pub with constantly changing coloured lights--RAW gives you greater 'safety' and flexibility...

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Docno
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Not really
In reply to busch, Jan 28, 2013

busch wrote:

I basically agree with Moti but one should do what gives the desired results. I did a quick and dirty PP of your JPG using my ancient Photo Impact 12 and in 2 1/2 minutes had a shot about like yours except I think your PP'ed shot is a bit on the red/magenta side.

BUT, the real point is the camera captured what you saw and not what you would have liked to have seen!

I really do not understand this RAW vs JPG thing all the time. With today's cameras either one will deliver excellent results if the button pusher does their job.

-- hide signature --

Busch
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It captured what was there, not what was perceived. These were quickly changing (flashing) colored lights at a live music venue. When I took the shot, I did not even 'see' the purple light because it was just a momentary flash. I certainly wouldn't waste my time intentionally taking someone's picture under such lighting. To prove the point these lousy photos of the band itself were taken within a space of about 3 seconds. Note how much the lighting differs from one image to the next:

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Veijo Vilva
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Re: First off ....
In reply to busch, Jan 28, 2013

busch wrote:

I really do not understand this RAW vs JPG thing all the time. With today's cameras either one will deliver excellent results if the button pusher does their job.

RX100 JPEGs have one major limitation: it isn't possible to completely turn off the noise reduction, which even at the lowest in-camera setting can obliterate low level textures and delicate details.

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Veijo

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Docno
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Also....
In reply to busch, Jan 28, 2013

busch wrote:

....

I really do not understand this RAW vs JPG thing all the time. With today's cameras either one will deliver excellent results if the button pusher does their job.

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Busch
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"Button pusher does their job" ... under the conditions in which this image was taken, that would mean adjusting white balance and exposure in less than a second and continually (since I was dealing with strobing coloured lights). Certainly beyond my modest skills...

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elliottnewcomb
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Music Clubs, Nasty light color changing machines, especially green
In reply to Docno, Jan 28, 2013

I will look at any pic of her, and I like the purple better.

I shoot in small music clubs all the time, and try to remember to get ready, pre-focus, wait for the combo of expression and decent light color, avoiding the deathly green at all times,

except, this green one probably could be cropped for an interesting green glow

usually hate green light, this one?

same dude, different light

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YiannisPP
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RX100 jpegs obliterate fine details?
In reply to Veijo Vilva, Jan 28, 2013

Veijo Vilva wrote:

RX100 JPEGs have one major limitation: it isn't possible to completely turn off the noise reduction, which even at the lowest in-camera setting can obliterate low level textures and delicate details.

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Veijo

Obliterate? I would say this is a harsh word for such a good ipeg engine as the RX100's engine is in general. Maybe the Olympus XZ1 used to obliterate detail, the RX100 doesn't. Not in good light at least. At high ISOs I'm with you, as my own test convinced me of: http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/post/50725029

But at base/medium ISO I have yet to see a major improvement using RAW, without increasing fine grain in faces for example when compared to the OOC jeg. Yes in some cases when the fabric of a cloth is just at the right distance and right texture size, it can be just muddied by the jpeg engine and you can retrieve it with RAW, but as I said, you'll add a bit more grain. The way I see it you'd only need such fine detail if you want to crop a photo at about 100%. Then again you'd be noticing the grain too maybe at such magnification.

Please go ahead and show me that I'm wrong and that my RAW skills need improving!

Before you do that, have in mind that DPR agrees with this assessment as they note in the RX100 review. I quote:

"Running the (RX100 file) Raw file through Adobe Camera Raw doesn't offer much scope for improved results - it's hard to apply finer sharpening without emphasizing noise"

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Liz Z.
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Re: The Raw v JPEG challenge (RX100)
In reply to Docno, Jan 28, 2013

Docno wrote:

Was out at a pub last night with some friends--man, does my head hurt today--and I took this shot just as the lighting system drenched us with dark purple-blue light. The photo looked unsalvageable when I loaded it on to my computer, but after a few minutes in ACR I achieved what I think is an 'acceptable' (given that it's a party snap, not high art). I tried doing the same thing with the default jpeg (using photoshop) and couldn't come close. Perhaps my PS skills need polishing.

Now some people have been saying that there's little to be gained from shooting Raw with the RX100. I'm not convinced, but I'm keeping an open mind. Anyway, here's the default JPEG (i.e., roughly what the camera would have produced as a JPEG) followed by what I managed to squeeze out from the RAW. Curious if anyone can achieve the same results using the 'blue' JPEG. [If you try, please specify what software and options/filters/etc you used to do it]. Let the learning begin!


If I'd been fussy, I could have masked out the window in the back so that it did not become shocking yellow

I ran the jpg through some PP in Qimage and then PS. Here's what I got (I spent about three minutes on it):

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Liz

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YiannisPP
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Re: The Raw v JPEG challenge (RX100)
In reply to Docno, Jan 28, 2013

Docno wrote:

Shamatt wrote:

I still don't see the attraction of RAW.

If I go on holiday and take 500 sots (As I easily do) It would take weeks and weeks to process them all in to jpg's. I can't see how people do this?

You don't need to individually process every image. Simply get the settings right in one image, then copy them to the others taken in the same conditions (basically copy, select, paste) and batch process. Takes less than a minute.

Not all photographs have the same optimal conversion settings I have found with my limited time with RAW. Batch processing with the same parameters for all you'd end up with some of your photos looking inferior to the corresponding OOC jpegs, especially in good light with the RX100.

The way I see it, batch-processing RAW files and then leaving them as they come out, would only make sense if a camera's jpeg engine is sub-par in general and you know that the conversions are going to be a clear and easy improvement with no need to fine tune each case. Not the case with the RX100 though.

Quoting from DPR's RX100's review:

"The RX100's processing isn't perfect - it looks a lot like some noise reduction is being applied and then the results sharpened, but the overall effect is a lot more pleasant, realistic and detailed."

That's exactly what I've found myself, but it still seems like the jpeg engine doesn't apply exactly the same combination of NR and kind of sharpening for each photo, even if they are at the same ISO. It seems smarter than that as I need to alter those parameters to match the pixel look of the jegs. I spent hours the other day trying to mimic an outdoor good light OOC jpeg using the RAW file in LR. I finally made it, using luminance NR +60 & detail 80, sharpening +40 with radius 1.7 and detail 50, clarity +10, contrast +10, etc... I ended up with more fine details in buildings when looking at 100% and only marginally more grain on a face in the scene, otherwise matching the very pleasing jpeg in every aspect. Plus retrieving some highlights, brightening shadows...Then I saved it thinking I had found the RX100's jpeg recipee! Then I applied to other similar light photos and the horror, it didn't match them equally well! Then I tried to impove on a portrait in good light and I just couldn't without increasing fine grain in the face...

At the end of the day I think that shooting RAW+jpeg is the best for me with the RX100. In some cases you can improve with RAW (especially at high ISOs) so it's good to have it. But shooting only RAW not so sure about it.

EDIT: I only touched on noise/details/smoothness. I need to add that of course RAW can retrieve more highlights (though not much imo) and fix WB issues a lot better.

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Docno
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Let me clarify...
In reply to YiannisPP, Jan 28, 2013

YiannisPP wrote:

Docno wrote:

Shamatt wrote:

I still don't see the attraction of RAW.

If I go on holiday and take 500 sots (As I easily do) It would take weeks and weeks to process them all in to jpg's. I can't see how people do this?

You don't need to individually process every image. Simply get the settings right in one image, then copy them to the others taken in the same conditions (basically copy, select, paste) and batch process. Takes less than a minute.

Not all photographs have the same optimal conversion settings I have found with my limited time with RAW. Batch processing with the same parameters for all you'd end up with some of your photos looking inferior to the corresponding OOC jpegs, especially in good light with the RX100.

The way I see it, batch-processing RAW files and then leaving them as they come out, would only make sense if a camera's jpeg engine is sub-par in general and you know that the conversions are going to be a clear and easy improvement with no need to fine tune each case. Not the case with the RX100 though.

Quoting from DPR's RX100's review:

"The RX100's processing isn't perfect - it looks a lot like some noise reduction is being applied and then the results sharpened, but the overall effect is a lot more pleasant, realistic and detailed."

That's exactly what I've found myself, but it still seems like the jpeg engine doesn't apply exactly the same combination of NR and kind of sharpening for each photo, even if they are at the same ISO. It seems smarter than that as I need to alter those parameters to match the pixel look of the jegs. I spent hours the other day trying to mimic an outdoor good light OOC jpeg using the RAW file in LR. I finally made it, using luminance NR +60 & detail 80, sharpening +40 with radius 1.7 and detail 50, clarity +10, contrast +10, etc... I ended up with more fine details in buildings when looking at 100% and only marginally more grain on a face in the scene, otherwise matching the very pleasing jpeg in every aspect. Plus retrieving some highlights, brightening shadows...Then I saved it thinking I had found the RX100's jpeg recipee! Then I applied to other similar light photos and the horror, it didn't match them equally well! Then I tried to impove on a portrait in good light and I just couldn't without increasing fine grain in the face...

At the end of the day I think that shooting RAW+jpeg is the best for me with the RX100. In some cases you can improve with RAW (especially at high ISOs) so it's good to have it. But shooting only RAW not so sure about it.

EDIT: I only touched on noise/details/smoothness. I need to add that of course RAW can retrieve more highlights (though not much imo) and fix WB issues a lot better.

I wasn't meaning to suggest that one should use the same set of develop settings for all photos. I said that you can do this for ​photos taken under the same conditions. ​That is, if you take a series of shots of a building, for example, there may be no need to have unique settings; but you may need to have different settings if you move to a different environment.

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Docno
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Re: The Raw v JPEG challenge (RX100)
In reply to Liz Z., Jan 28, 2013

Liz Z. wrote:

Docno wrote:

Was out at a pub last night with some friends--man, does my head hurt today--and I took this shot just as the lighting system drenched us with dark purple-blue light. The photo looked unsalvageable when I loaded it on to my computer, but after a few minutes in ACR I achieved what I think is an 'acceptable' (given that it's a party snap, not high art). I tried doing the same thing with the default jpeg (using photoshop) and couldn't come close. Perhaps my PS skills need polishing.

Now some people have been saying that there's little to be gained from shooting Raw with the RX100. I'm not convinced, but I'm keeping an open mind. Anyway, here's the default JPEG (i.e., roughly what the camera would have produced as a JPEG) followed by what I managed to squeeze out from the RAW. Curious if anyone can achieve the same results using the 'blue' JPEG. [If you try, please specify what software and options/filters/etc you used to do it]. Let the learning begin!


If I'd been fussy, I could have masked out the window in the back so that it did not become shocking yellow

I ran the jpg through some PP in Qimage and then PS. Here's what I got (I spent about three minutes on it):

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Liz

Not bad at all, Liz. Better than what I was able to achieve with the jpeg. Still a little too pinkish for my taste, and I'd pull down the blacks more, but these would be easy additional fixes at this point. Thanks!

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Docno
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Re: Music Clubs, Nasty light color changing machines, especially green
In reply to elliottnewcomb, Jan 28, 2013

Yeah. I normally don't have problems with shooting in clubs. But the shot of my lady friend was really messed up by that unexpected blast of blue light. BTW, the shots below started out blue as well (but not quite so nasty)

[I like the shots you took, BTW ... shooting musicians is fun because they are so expressive and unpredictable and there's so much going on]

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