Software suggestions for Newbee

Started Nov 19, 2012 | Discussions thread
MikeFromMesa Senior Member • Posts: 2,849
Re: Software suggestions for Newbee

Brian wrote:

A lot of excellent information, thank you all!

The camera will most likely be the Nikon D5100. Looking at the DPR reviews it appears Nikon loses more information than other brands in their jpeg photos, but the RAW files are much better.

I compared a couple photos shot in RAW from my D3100 to a converted jpeg via ViewNX 2, the supplied software from Nikon, and I couldn't tell any difference. Maybe it is the software or maybe there was a difference but I wasn't looking in the right area or the right kind of photo...

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Brian Miller
Nikon D3100 (sold and looking to replace) and Canon S100
(Used to own: Nikon D40 and Canon S30)

The jpgs are typically pre-processed in the camera and what you are seeing are the images with that processing. Raws are not pre-processed but when they are loaded into the image software it (the software) typically applies whatever preset values it uses. For example Canon typically applies extra sharpening to the raw image when it is viewed. So you are comparing camera pre-processed jpgs with software pre-processed raws. In addition jpgs have (I think) 8 bits of color where raws have 12 or 14 bits (I am not sure of the color depth of raws so that may be wrong. It may be higher). What that means is that there is greater color variation in raws as well as more information of all sorts. You may or may not be able to see that when you look at them but when you start processing you will find quite a difference.

When working with raw images you have a greater ability to pull details out of the shadows because there is more information in the shadows to extract and the same is true in the highlights. There are more color variations (8 bits gives you 256 shades, more information gives you more color detail) and your raw processing software will make more adjustments available for you to use. For example PhotoNinja provides for color recovery, but only with raw images. And, if you adjusting colors there are more tones to play with with raw than with jpgs.

In the end you will decide what is best for you. Play around with raw images, take some poorly exposed images and see what you can do with them both with raw images and with jpgs, and see what works best for you. Take some photos with both strong highlights and shadows and play with those using both raw and jpgs and see what works best for you with those. I suggest that because, you are like me, when you are taking images for real you probably will end up with some poorly exposed images or some requiring a high dynamic range. I know I do.

Once you know what works best for you, you are off and running ... But do what seems best for you, not because others tell you what is best. Only you can judge what works best for you.

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