Jpeg or RAW ( & Why) June 2013

Started Jun 8, 2013 | Photos thread
gardenersassistant Veteran Member • Posts: 5,393
Re: Straightforward answer to your question

Bob Tullis wrote:

I like the overall clarity of the images, but personally I'd introduce more contrast. Subjective, of course. I think that's what a lot of folks interpret as looking like HDR (when it's not a garish HDR display, that is [g]).

Thanks Bob. I think I understand what is going on here better now. I introduced the examples solely to respond to josbiker's repeated request for someone who thinks RAW has benefits to provide full size images people could try out for themselves. Necessarily, these had to be "out of the camera" versions. So as not to confuse the issue I deliberately did only one thing to each of them - drawing down the highlights - with the purpose of illustrating that the RAW files contained information that the JPEG versions did not. None of the versions, JPEG or RAW, has been post processed in the usual sense of the word (ie to improve the overall look of the image), which obviously can involve a number of adjustments, including various adjustments which affect the contrast.

So the images were as flat as they came out of the camera (which was, for the JPEG version, adjusted specifically to tone down the contrast and saturation - that comes from some years of processing JPEGs, where I wanted them to come out of the camera as little "messed with" by the camera as my starting point for post processing). It is a bit different obviously for the RAW versions, where it is the default processing by (in this case) Lightroom which determines the starting point for post processing (although of course even the initial default adjustments made by Lightroom (or whatever) can be fully reversed anyway, unlike with the camera's JPEG adjustments which get "cooked into" the image, like the non-reversible, detail-destroying noise reduction smudging).

So yes, if I was processing them to try and make them look good I would make more adjustments, including beefing up the contrast in one way and another (eg adjusting any or all of Contrast in the normal sense, gamma, the white, black or grey points in Levels, Curves, Highlights, Shadows, adjusting micro-contrast through defogging, or colour contrasts by adjusting saturation or white balance ....).

I will be interested to learn whether for walkaround the 'typical "HDR" look to "recovered" Raw files' he sees in my examples is a flat look lacking in contrast like you describe. I had rather assumed he thought the recovered areas of the clouds looked overcooked in the way you often see in HDR images. I don't see it that way myself, but that is a subjective matter of course, and I can see that other people might well put the "ok/nasty HDR-like" boundary in a different place for that image, and place the Highlight-adjusted image into the nasty category. However, I would have thought the rather milder (to my eye) effect in the petal image would be rather less prone to evoke such a reaction, but perhaps I've misread the situation with that.


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