Jpeg or RAW ( & Why) June 2013

Started Jun 8, 2013 | Photos thread
gardenersassistant Veteran Member • Posts: 4,710
Re: You won't convince the faithful

walkaround wrote:

Well done. It looks better than his Raw version... as if this needed to be proved. The only ones who think jpegs can't be edited are the religious fanatics of the Cult of Raw. So sadly your demo won't put this to rest.

An interesting response. Perhaps you missed the bit where I said 'not having access to the RAW version to work on, any comparison between your and my versions will presumably tell us more about our comparative preferences and PP skills, and the capabilities of the software we are using, rather than telling us much one way or the other about whether one can get better results from RAW than from JPEG, although you know what I think about that of course."'

In case you didn't pick up “what I think about that” from our earlier exchanges in this thread, unlike you I believe there is such a thing as a RAW version of an image, unlike you I shoot RAW most of the time these days, unlike you I believe I can often get better results from a RAW version than a JPEG version and can always get at least as good a version from RAW, unlike you I often (including in this example of DM's) bring highlights or/and shadows up/down, which as you have rightly pointed out can make an image look flatter,

Lightroom settings for the DM challenge example

and unlike you I often "recover" detail from a RAW version that is not available in the JPEG version of an image, and when processing JPEGs sometimes “recover” detail that is not visible in the out of the camera JPEG.

On the other hand, I too have come across the stated belief that "you can't edit JPEGs", which is obviously incorrect, and have argued the contrary view from time to time.

I see from this whole thread that "Raw" is also used like a secret handshake to differentiate amateurs from self-styled serious photographers. Same thing as the "real photographers don't use the LCD to shoot".

I am an amateur photographer. I use RAW. I wouldn't know about secret handshakes. As it happens, I use the LCD to shoot almost all the time (and all the time on my SX240 which doesn't have a viewfinder). I don't know (or care) if I am a “real photographer” or not.

I have some sympathy with your “religious fanatics” line of argument, even though I wouldn't use those particular terms for it. I routinely use a number of techniques about which I have seen strong, doubt-free assertions that they are either (in so many words) so grossly suboptimal as to be not worth using, or simply don't work at all, or are unecessary. These include (mainly relating to close-ups/macros, which is mostly what I do):

  • Using the smallest aperture available on my cameras despite the – demonstrably correct - observation that you lose a lot of sharpness/detail in so doing
  • Using autofocus for close-ups/macros, up to and beyond 1:1
  • Using a tripod for close-ups/macros of living, moving subjects
  • Not necessarily using flash even at quite high magnifications (beyond 1:1)
  • Using slow shutter speeds, including in breezy conditions.
  • Using high ISOs with small sensor cameras.
  • Photographing flowers in bright sunshine.
  • Always post processing my images and attempting to capture an image that is suitable for post processing rather than striving to get an image which is optimal “out of the camera”.
  • Using RAW. And prior to that, using JPEG.

Photography as I experience it has many particularities, ifs, buts, complications and trade-offs, just as people doing photography have many and varied motivations, preferences, experiences, skills, habits, beliefs, comfort zones, equipment sets and mind sets.

I have learnt to be very cautious about strong, generalised assertions about what does and does not work when it comes to photography.

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