Should I go RAW only?

Started 7 months ago | Discussions
richardplondon
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Re: Ask yourself
In reply to AlphaTikal, 6 months ago

Not all images needs to be post pricessed heavily and it depends on the scene, light quality, settings, style and post process.

Amount of post-processing is a separate question which AFAICT applies equally to Raw and to camera JPG.

The issue IMO is one of processing: the creation of a viewable image in the first place - where, and how, that happens and with what degree of interactivity.

And why is another debate started between raw against jpeg? The thread starter asked to go with raw+jpeg or raw only...

Exactly - good point.

If the Raw+JPG is seen as an alternative to shooting JPG only (e.g., as a backup to sometimes get you out of trouble tonally) - then the Raw is an asset which will largely go unused - and when it does, any difference in rendition between the camera, and your conversion software, may be a significant problem. Relying on this backup will not improve the critical accuracy of one's exposures and WB so far as shooting specifically for JPG is concerned, in my view. JPG is about (to some degree) committing a set of processing decisions, and that means, standing behind them fully. On this basis, Raw is only there to mitigate in case of pilot errors. IOW, it's "JPG+Raw".

OTOH, if the "Raw+JPG" is seen as an alternative to shooting Raw only, and especially for cameras which can develop JPGs after the fact if required, then I fail to see how the +JPG is any kind of an asset really - more of a liability.

And overcoming different rendition of your Raw processing compared with that of the camera JPG, is made completely beside the point in that case. Especially so, if you have not individualised your camera settings from scene to scene, to address the specific requirements of JPG - but instead, shot with Raw primarily in mind. On this basis, Raw has simply nothing to do with mitigating pilot errors. And on this basis, camera JPG has nothing to do with decisiveness about processing. It's just redundant.

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AlphaTikal
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Re: Ask yourself
In reply to richardplondon, 6 months ago

Well said!

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Tony Beach
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My approach
In reply to AlphaTikal, 6 months ago

AlphaTikal wrote:

So, then we are on same boat. I still shoot RAW+JPEG for years and 60% or more of the time I am happy with the JPEGs. Sometimes I am not able to beat the RAW.

The issue though is whether or not optimal JPEG exposure is the same as optimal Raw exposure, and often they are not the same.

And sometimes the time is very important value for me.

Here's my approach:

  • I review the photos in Capture One, they all will typically have WB and exposure compensation settings applied before I view them.
  • The photos I like I will crop (often necessary to make them fit on my computer screen or within a frame for printing), make final adjustments to the settings, clone out spots, then hit the process button and they go to Photoshop.
  • In Photoshop I apply sharpening, tonal curves, resize to fit output medium, then sharpen again before converting to JPEG format.  I have Actions that cover all of these tasks so it's a matter of hitting the Function keys in the correct order.

But when I try to make a really good shot, then I always or almost always use the RAW.

I always try to make a really good photo, so with every shot I take that's my intention.  That being the case, and since I approach the shot differently using Raw than I would using JPEG SOOC, I always just shoot Raw and skip JPEG.

Now sometimes I generate a load of photos that someone else wants to cull through, so while the approach I outlined takes perhaps a minute or so per photo and is not much for one photo taken in isolation, that approach can add up to a lot of time for lots of photos. This is when I go to batch processing where all the photos have the same default settings and quick JPEGs are generated for someone else to view.  After they get back to me with their selections as well as requests (output size, remove a spot on mom's dress, etc.) then I go back to the Capture One and use the approach I outlined above to make the best photo I can for them.

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carl english
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Re: Lazy
In reply to canonagain123, 6 months ago

canonagain123 wrote:

carl english wrote:

Blimey you are getting braver, Now you are saying all the jpeg and elderly Pro Photographers are lazy snapshooters.

What's more work?

Exposing for JPG, getting a JPG, post processing a JPG, releasing a JPG?

Or:

shooting RAW, exposing for subject with individual considerations for the DR latitude desired, exposure correcting, curving, de-hot pixeling and selective denoising and possibly tone-mapping the RAW, getting a 16-bit tiff, color grading the tiff, getting a tiff or png, post processing the png in photoshop or equivalent, and finally getting a png/jpg/tiff depending on what the client wants, and releasing the final image?

So what's the lazy approach?

Good heavens you're right, so saying its actually quicker using raw is a LIE, how could you!

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carl english
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Re: In my previous post
In reply to canonagain123, 6 months ago

canonagain123 wrote:

AlphaTikal wrote:

It is easy. If the scene requires heavy post process, then RAW is sure better than out of the cam JPEG. But are you doing that with all of your images? Color grading and tone mapping? Sometimes the out of cam jpeg is really good and simple processing is all you need. Generalization is not possible.

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I said that a professional photographer understands the considerations for DR and headroom and can choose to take a JPG only when a JPG is all that is required. I've never argued against sometimes choosing JPG. Our friend Carl however has repeatedly mockingly said things like "here come the RAW shooters proclaiming DR and headroom again, oh DR, there are many pro photographers who don't even know what DR is" (paraphrased). That's a claim I can't stand for, and if it's ever proven to be true, I'll probably want to cry!

To answer your question, no, of course I don't do all that for every single one of my images, but I do find that post processing with the latitude RAW gives will always improve an image, including an image already perfectly framed and exposed. There are cases where RAW vs JPG post processing might only make a small difference to the desired final result, but the difference is nonetheless there.

Whats really amusing here is that I never claimed to be a jpeg guy in fact I run raw most of the time, but I would never never put down those who choose to use jpeg, the  mockingly bit is yet another lie, as a member of 3 camera clubs I can assure you my claim about the lack of knowledge re DR/TM/HR is true. Another factor you may check for yourself is a, many Photographers do not even have Computer and b, many more do not have software like PS or LR. When I go to photographic exhibitions my interest is the image, not what equipment was used or how it was processed.

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That's the best approach
In reply to Tony Beach, 6 months ago

Tony Beach wrote:


I always try to make a really good photo, so with every shot I take that's my intention. That being the case, and since I approach the shot differently using Raw than I would using JPEG SOOC, I always just shoot Raw and skip JPEG.

Now sometimes I generate a load of photos that someone else wants to cull through, so while the approach I outlined takes perhaps a minute or so per photo and is not much for one photo taken in isolation, that approach can add up to a lot of time for lots of photos. This is when I go to batch processing where all the photos have the same default settings and quick JPEGs are generated for someone else to view. After they get back to me with their selections as well as requests (output size, remove a spot on mom's dress, etc.) then I go back to the Capture One and use the approach I outlined above to make the best photo I can for them.

That's the approach I've found best as well!

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camera clubs
In reply to carl english, 6 months ago

carl english wrote:

Whats really amusing here is that I never claimed to be a jpeg guy in fact I run raw most of the time, but I would never never put down those who choose to use jpeg, the mockingly bit is yet another lie, as a member of 3 camera clubs I can assure you my claim about the lack of knowledge re DR/TM/HR is true. Another factor you may check for yourself is a, many Photographers do not even have Computer and b, many more do not have software like PS or LR. When I go to photographic exhibitions my interest is the image, not what equipment was used or how it was processed.

http://whattheduck.com/strip/184-sunday

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nunatak
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Re: My heart is not pure enough for that
In reply to trac63, 6 months ago

trac63 wrote:

I used to shoot RAW all the time but my Samsung NX210 has 40MB RAW files with only a handful of applications capable of opening them. My D7100 has 30MB RAW files. Both cameras give you a major boost in operating speed if you turn off RAW. I still shoot RAW sometimes, but only in really difficult lighting. Most of the time though, RAW just slows me down and needlessly quadruples the amount of data I have to deal with.

there's no single right way or wrong way. only the way which is better for you. the same was true for the film era. some photographers took their film to the one-hour-lab, and some preferred to develop and print on their own. some did both.

one way is quicker, more convenient and efficient. the other is more introspective, requires deeper knowledge of the photographic arts, and a much larger commitment to their passion.

only the photographer can best know whether they take photos for therapeutic, artistic, commercial or other reasons. that should influence the basis of their workflow.

*********

as an anecdote, i'll volunteer my first Nikon DSLR was a D70. i shot both RAW and JPEG. looking back, the JPEGs were very unforgiving. the RAW files weren't much better given the state of sensor technology, and Adobe Camera RAW. a decade later, i can't do much more for my JPEGs, but given the improvements made to Adobe Camera RAW and DxO, i can probably squeeze one to two additional stops out from my RAW files. i was recently given the opportunity to publish a few, which would have plugged up the shadows on press if they were only JPEG. for purposes of archiving, at least for me, shooting RAW reserved unforeseen opportunities. but if you're just shooting for fun, YMMV.

**********

the conclusion i drew is shooting RAW adds a premium equivalent to an insurance policy on your photos. if that premium is too expensive in terms of time, commitment, and resources, there is no need to burden yourself with it.

if however photography is your passion, it's a reasonable price to pay. JMO.

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carl english
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Re: camera clubs
In reply to canonagain123, 6 months ago

canonagain123 wrote:

carl english wrote:

Whats really amusing here is that I never claimed to be a jpeg guy in fact I run raw most of the time, but I would never never put down those who choose to use jpeg, the mockingly bit is yet another lie, as a member of 3 camera clubs I can assure you my claim about the lack of knowledge re DR/TM/HR is true. Another factor you may check for yourself is a, many Photographers do not even have Computer and b, many more do not have software like PS or LR. When I go to photographic exhibitions my interest is the image, not what equipment was used or how it was processed.

http://whattheduck.com/strip/184-sunday

I'm only guessing you are in UK if so you may or may not have heard of The RPS, in one of our clubs 32% have achieved LRPS and 6% ARPS another club its 23% and 2% you mock Camera clubs obviously because you can talk Photography but would not have the courage to submit your work for the scrutiny of the Judges.

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In reply to carl english, 6 months ago

carl english wrote:

I'm only guessing you are in UK if so you may or may not have heard of The RPS, in one of our clubs 32% have achieved LRPS and 6% ARPS another club its 23% and 2% you mock Camera clubs obviously because you can talk Photography but would not have the courage to submit your work for the scrutiny of the Judges.

Where you got the idea I'm in the UK. The rest of your post was just trying to wee really high. Or far.

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Timj351
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Re: Should I go RAW only?
In reply to IGotShot, 6 months ago

IGotShot wrote:

I've been shooting RAW+JPEG and now after seeing the ability of the Adobe RAW converter, I'm considering whether to just shoot RAW. What do you guys think?

I think it isn't necessary to shoot Raw+Jpeg. I shoot Raw most of the time unless I am shooting a lot of high speed bursts. When I first get a camera and I am testing it out and learning it's settings I will shoot Raw+Jpeg. This is so I can compare the two files and setup my camera to take Jpegs that I am happy with for the action pics.

It's just a personal preference that I shoot in Raw. Partly it is because I really dislike having to think about WB settings while I am shooting and plus I have PS with it's batch processing, ACR presets, and Actions that make the Raw processing very quick. If I had to rely on some of the other less-featured Raw converters than I might just stick to Jpegs. I admit I have spent considerable time tweaking my settings and Raw workflow but now it is very efficient for me. I'm a bit of a perfectionist so I enjoy the PP but, like most people, I don't always have a lot of time to waste so having the ability to quickly process my shots is important too. There is misconception among a lot of people that Raw processing has to be tedious and time consuming and it doesn't have to be that way.

I also do not process all of my Raw files, it's probably only 20% or less. I start by viewing all of my Raw images in FastStone Image Viewer where the imbedded Jpegs still look decent on a monitor and then when I get to a pic that I want to process I hit the "E" (edit) key and it instantly loads into ACR for processing. It usually takes less then a minute to process and save the file and then I am on to the next pic. I start this procedure the moment I sit down to see what I got and so I am usually studying and enjoying the image's contents at the same time I am quickly editing it. So it is a very fluid and enjoyable process for me and not at all tedious.

I still use a camera that shoots Jpeg only and those files are still perfectly fine too. But I usually still apply a PS Action to the keepers so my workflow is essentially the same as with the Raw files. My problem is that I can almost never look at an original pic from my cameras and not find something to adjust. So it just seems logical that if you are going to be doing any kind of editing then why not start with the Raw file to begin with, if you have it available?

This is, of course, just my opinion and both Raw and Jpeg can produce excellent results.

-Tim

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LeeStar
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Re: Should I go RAW only?
In reply to IGotShot, 6 months ago

Well, you know, I prefer to shoot both for everyday  purposes.  The RAW are like my negatives and get saved into a special folder on my computer.  The best shots I want to work on are then available for me.  The shots mixed in of Aunt Berta and her parakeet, well, I just want to do a quick upload to Facebook.  For those having a jpeg from the camera is quick and easy.   On the other hand, if I'm going on a trip specifically or mainly to do photography, I usually shoot only RAW.  But then the idea of batch processing gives me the hives.  I must do each image individually, to get the exact look that I want for that specific one.

Lee

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richardplondon
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Re: Should I go RAW only?
In reply to LeeStar, 6 months ago

But then the idea of batch processing gives me the hives. I must do each image individually, to get the exact look that I want for that specific one.

Sure. But IMO the idea of batch processing, does not require the same final processing to more than one image. It lets you get somewhere into the right area quickly FIRST, and properly evaluate the various pictures - including, how each capture responds to processing.

Also so you have some kind of a useable summary of the pictures taken, to at least show someone else meanwhile.

My idea of Raw batch processing is directly equivalent to what you actually get with JPG. Unless one always tunes the camera JPG processing individually shot-by-shot before ever pressing the shutter, batch processing is exactly what one is in fact doing, there.

If you customise your Raw processing defaults, or have simply decided to leave those alone, and if you apply any kind of a saved or provided processing "preset" - then all that is also a form of batch processing.

A starting point for rating, culling, and deciding which images are taken to that next step.

I use Lightroom. In my case, camera JPG does not escape batch processing of some kind, routinely across the board - rapidly and provisionally applied - no different than Raw. For example, the in-camera JPG settings are tuned to protect highlights including especially, channel clipping - and to avoid oversharpening and excessive noise reduction, since those things are unrecoverable later. So that means rather dark and soft appearing images, while left unmodified. This batch processing can be as simple, as (user-adjusted) processing defaults automatically applied. Plus I can highlight twenty images with AutoSync turned on, and give them all a chunk of increased Shadows just to see what happens. This approach only really works in such a context - similarly with Aperture, etc.

IOW starting out very general, progressively narrowing right down to the specific - where a given image gets very individualised attention extending to Photoshop operations wherever appropriate.

RP

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LeeStar
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Re: Should I go RAW only?
In reply to richardplondon, 6 months ago

Good points, I have no argument against them to offer.  Everyone has their own unique style of PP/editing, which may or not make sense to anyone else.  My quirky habits work for me, they match my quirky brain. 

Lee

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trac63
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Re: My heart is not pure enough for that
In reply to nunatak, 6 months ago

nunatak wrote:

trac63 wrote:

I used to shoot RAW all the time but my Samsung NX210 has 40MB RAW files with only a handful of applications capable of opening them. My D7100 has 30MB RAW files. Both cameras give you a major boost in operating speed if you turn off RAW. I still shoot RAW sometimes, but only in really difficult lighting. Most of the time though, RAW just slows me down and needlessly quadruples the amount of data I have to deal with.

there's no single right way or wrong way. only the way which is better for you. the same was true for the film era. some photographers took their film to the one-hour-lab, and some preferred to develop and print on their own. some did both.

one way is quicker, more convenient and efficient. the other is more introspective, requires deeper knowledge of the photographic arts, and a much larger commitment to their passion.

I see it the other way. Getting the metering, lighting and exposure correct in the first place takes a lot more commitment to the art of photography than simply underexposing everything and "pulling" uninspired photos in post-processing.


as an anecdote, i'll volunteer my first Nikon DSLR was a D70. i shot both RAW and JPEG. looking back, the JPEGs were very unforgiving. the RAW files weren't much better given the state of sensor technology, and Adobe Camera RAW. a decade later, i can't do much more for my JPEGs, but given the improvements made to Adobe Camera RAW and DxO, i can probably squeeze one to two additional stops out from my RAW files. i was recently given the opportunity to publish a few, which would have plugged up the shadows on press if they were only JPEG. for purposes of archiving, at least for me, shooting RAW reserved unforeseen opportunities. but if you're just shooting for fun, YMMV.

I don't find that to be the case with the D200. The photos are about the same regardless of what I use to open the RAW files.

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jackdan
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Re: Should I go RAW only?
In reply to richardplondon, 6 months ago

richardplondon wrote:

But then the idea of batch processing gives me the hives. I must do each image individually, to get the exact look that I want for that specific one.

Sure. But IMO the idea of batch processing, does not require the same final processing to more than one image. It lets you get somewhere into the right area quickly FIRST, and properly evaluate the various pictures - including, how each capture responds to processing.

Also so you have some kind of a useable summary of the pictures taken, to at least show someone else meanwhile.

My idea of Raw batch processing is directly equivalent to what you actually get with JPG. Unless one always tunes the camera JPG processing individually shot-by-shot before ever pressing the shutter, batch processing is exactly what one is in fact doing, there.

If you customise your Raw processing defaults, or have simply decided to leave those alone, and if you apply any kind of a saved or provided processing "preset" - then all that is also a form of batch processing.

A starting point for rating, culling, and deciding which images are taken to that next step.

I use Lightroom. In my case, camera JPG does not escape batch processing of some kind, routinely across the board - rapidly and provisionally applied - no different than Raw. For example, the in-camera JPG settings are tuned to protect highlights including especially, channel clipping - and to avoid oversharpening and excessive noise reduction, since those things are unrecoverable later. So that means rather dark and soft appearing images, while left unmodified. This batch processing can be as simple, as (user-adjusted) processing defaults automatically applied. Plus I can highlight twenty images with AutoSync turned on, and give them all a chunk of increased Shadows just to see what happens. This approach only really works in such a context - similarly with Aperture, etc.

IOW starting out very general, progressively narrowing right down to the specific - where a given image gets very individualised attention extending to Photoshop operations wherever appropriate.

RP

Taking advantage of the best of both RAW and JPEG, absolutely brilliant. So much for RAW vs JPEG.

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Michel J
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Re: Should I go RAW only?
In reply to IGotShot, 6 months ago

IGotShot wrote:

I've been shooting RAW+JPEG and now after seeing the ability of the Adobe RAW converter, I'm considering whether to just shoot RAW. What do you guys think?

If you set up your WB in-the-field too, why not.

But I shoot mostly RAW+ like you. And more xFine JPEG with new 24MP cameras, because there isn't much time to spend to PP today.

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nunatak
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Re: My heart is not pure enough for that
In reply to trac63, 6 months ago

trac63 wrote:

I see it the other way. Getting the metering, lighting and exposure correct in the first place takes a lot more commitment to the art of photography than simply underexposing everything and "pulling" uninspired photos in post-processing.

shooting entirely in manual mode can be challenging. but i don't think that's what you meant. many people are committed to auto-focus, and/or some kind of auto-exposure mode. they let the camera program do part (or all) of the work for them.

there's nothing wrong with that, but to comprehend the art better, it's necessary to parse all the ingredients. letting the camera cook your jpeg with decisions pre-determined by the manufacturer doesn't make you a better chef, just a more consistent one.  learning to cook from scratch, deviating from a recipe and emphasizing whatever raw ingredients are truer to one's own taste is necessary for a deeper comprehension of any art.

that, IMO, requires a deeper passion and commitment — unless one believes they already know everything there is to know.

I don't find that to be the case with the D200. The photos are about the same regardless of what I use to open the RAW files.

you may discover differently in years to come. until then, feel free to drive uninsured.

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Michel J
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Re: A reason to shoot raw + JPG
In reply to Charles2, 6 months ago

Charles2 wrote:

Depending on the camera, the camera JPG may be good for many uses yet difficult to duplicate. Even the software from many camera manufacturers does not duplicate the JPG; the camera JPG recipe is apparently regarded as a secret sauce.

Yes Charles, reason why most of the pros shoot .jpeg btw.

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Michel J
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Re: Should I go RAW only?
In reply to Colin Franks, 6 months ago

Colin Franks wrote:

The enormous latitude for adjusting exposure

No offense, but this is a pure myth. Shooting raw require the same perfect adjustment. If not, you would not need an histogram in-camera!

alone is reason enough to shoot Raw only (except maybe for fluffy, unimportant quickie shots).

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