Started Feb 10, 2013 | Discussions thread
MarkInSF Senior Member • Posts: 2,237
Re: RAW vs. JPEG

hedwards wrote:

GreenMountainGirl wrote:

Carey Brown wrote:

The two sticking points with RAW that I still see is the "side car" issue and the need for ALL RAW images to have some amount of post processing.

As a relative beginner, I use RAW but don't really understand all the principles and subtleties of it. Why do you say that ALL RAW images need post-processing? When I take a picture I really like as I see it on my computer screen, why would I have to alter it? Of course, there is usually something I do to improve it, but I attribute that to flaws in my technique, settings I put on the camera, etc.

It's a matter of semantics and no, it isn't true. The reason is that the OEMs presume that the photographer knows what they're doing if they're using RAW files and they tend to err on the side of conservativism and assume that the photog wants to develop the images.

Counting development as processing is a bit dishonest when the JPG option does a straight print for you without your say.

The necessity is only there if you're insisting upon blowing things up to massive sizes. If you're printing at 8x10" or smaller, the difference isn't likely to be significant.

Also, a lot of the people who say that, are just not that good with their cameras. I have no idea if that applies to the GP, but a fair number of photogs have grown rather lazy about learning how to use their equipment and use software to do what they could and should have done in camera.

I've personally found that of all the images I've taken over the years that get the best response, only maybe 2 or 3 have required any sort of processing beyond basic development. And the basic development could have been done in the camera had my camera more pre-set options.

The other issue is that ALL RAW images look bad compared to their JPG equivalents unless some amount of post processing is applied.

I edit RAW images by creating a virtual copy, and use soft-proofing because somewhere I read that this will make the pictures appear the way they will as a JPEG. But I don't know why. And I print directly from the NEF file I created. As far as I can tell, there is no problem!

I do understand that I ought to keep my RAW images because as I improve in my editing capabilities (and perhaps so do the software upgrades), I will probably want to go back to them some day and make changes to improve the final product. I only convert to JPEG when I want to use the picture in an application, such as making note cards!

The GP is wrong about that. I've had a fair number of images that came out looking terrible because of the JPG compression artifacts ruining my bokeh and my continuous tones. In those cases, the RAW files even without any sort of adjustment looked far better than the garbage that is JPG.

But, if you're not into smooth tonalities and nice bokeh, JPEG is at substantially less of a disadvantage.

You aren't really seeing the RAW file.   It is always is being converted to some viewable or printable format.   If you haven't edited the image, that conversion will follow default settings.  What you're saying is you liked that default rendering of your conversion tool better than the jpeg you created.   That suggests you used the wrong settings.   Of course, if you need a highly compressed image it's going to lose quality, but that's nothing fundamental to jpeg.  Lightly compressed jpegs can look very good.

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