Converting RAW to JPG

Started Dec 4, 2012 | Discussions thread
dwight3 Senior Member • Posts: 2,519
Re: Converting RAW to JPG

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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