RAW Troublemaker Again

Started Aug 30, 2013 | Discussions thread
stevo23 Forum Pro • Posts: 20,820
There's not really a debate

Gary Eickmeier wrote:

Just an observation, OK? Sometimes the JPG is better.

I shot some outdoor shots of people at a meeting. RAW + JPG. In editing, I notice that the JPG looks so much better! The camera processing took much better care of noise, sharpening, but most of all automatic lens correction for Chromatic Aberration! Take a look at these 100% crops:

This isn't really something that should be debated, it can only be answered and explained. But the relative answer "jpeg is sometimes better" is unfortunately misinformed. If you shoot raw + jpeg, the jpeg you have is nothing more than a derivative of the raw that you have. Out of the camera, the jpeg might look better and in many cases SHOULD. But the potential of each is very different. Better results can be had from RAW. Sometimes, maybe you only match the jpeg, but i've personally never had a case where I couldn't get better results.

If you can't get better results from RAW, then there are a couple of issues:

1) You have to shoot to take advantage of the processor's DR, color, sharpness etc. characteristics.  Use your RGB histograms! It won't always look pretty right out of the camera, but that's OK.

2) In-camera jpeg is made using a much less powerful processor than you have in your computer and software. Learn how to process RAW photos in your computer.

3) Learn to use your RAW converter - if you require a special one.

If you're not skilled in certain aspects of post processing, RAW may not help you. But you can ALWAYS match or better the jpeg if you know what you're doing. And it's not hard either.

Actually - in many cases, RAW will look like flat crap coming right out of the camera if you're shooting it correctly! But after you start working with things, it will turn out beautiful results. Raw affords you tons of latitude for adjustment that is severely lacking in jpeg. For an example of how flat RAW can look straight from the camera, see below:

RAW Capture

Processed Result

Sorry, I didn't shoot a Jpeg here. And please pardon my editorial choice of the bi-color filter. This comparison is only to show you that the RAW isn't always a pretty image straight from the camera, the jpeg would have initially looked better. This was a very deliberate capture to keep everything as far right in the histograms as possible so I had minimal noise and maximum sharpness potential, DR, tonal range and color potential. Granted, now these are both jpegs, ha ha.

Hope this helps...

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