On the dynamic range of RAW...

Started Nov 30, 2004 | Discussions
OP Brian G. Veteran Member • Posts: 6,531
Re: Blending

Hi Typeaux (love the name, by the way)!,

Typeaux wrote:

My turn for a stupid question (and yes, there is such a thing,
I'm afraid), but wouldn't it be better, if using Photoshop, to
create PSD files and blend those as layers? That way there no loss
whatsoever, and you can flatten the final image into a JPEG, if
desired.

Yes, you could certainly do it that way also. I tend to convert my RAw files to Tiffs, which also suport layers. But there are a number of ways to accomplish this.

I'm a little fanatical, I confess... whenever I shoot in SHQ mode,
for example, the first thing I do when I open the image in
Photoshop is to save it as a PSD to ensure that I don't lose even
more data. I'd shoot in TIFF, but the file sizes are prohibitive.
Since I don't yet have the appropriate PS plug-in for RAW, I'm
using the highest JPEG quality I can right now. Based on your fine
tutorial, I am eager to try processing RAW images as soon as
possible.

I know what you mean- I immediately turn any jpegs into Tiffs, and for the same reason as you- don't want to lose data.

As for RAW- I'm happy to have piqued your interest.

Kind Regards,
Brian

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Typeaux

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OP Brian G. Veteran Member • Posts: 6,531
Re: Mind boggling

Hi CC!

Thank you very much for your kind comments. I am glad you found this post useful.

You asked me about using RAW while out flying- personally, I believe that if you want to create the highest quality images you can, and you have the time and memory space, you should always be shooting RAW. I know others who disagree with me, but that's how I feel.

I certainly understand that some cameras are slow to write RAW files. If I were out trying to catch fast action with my 8080, I'd opt for jpegs. But other than those types of situations, I'd go RAW.

Thanks again CC!

Kind Regards,
Brian

Canadian Club wrote:

Hi Brian. I just responded you your other post about the camera
and this is exactly what I was talking about that we would miss.

Your tutorial with showing the photos on the changes was excellent
and we should all appreciate the time you have taken to explain RAW
to us.

I have a D70 and have never ventured into RAW as I thought it was
just too far over my head. When I'm out at the flying field or in
an airplane taking 150 shots would you still recommend RAW or just
in certain situations?

I should go look for a plug-in for the D70 on Adobe.

Thanks very much Brian.

CC

3D and Frame Gallery
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Canadian Club (with a chaser)

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OP Brian G. Veteran Member • Posts: 6,531
You're very welcome, Dave. :) (nt)

dwit1 wrote:

Great tutorial.

I have been playing with PSCS and Raw (shot with 5060).

I can say that the level of control and adjustment available with
PSCS is amazing.

Thanks for the website too, that is bookmarked.

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Davew
'Better be wise by the misfortunes of others than by your own.'
(Aesop)

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OP Brian G. Veteran Member • Posts: 6,531
Thank you Bob! :) (nt)

Bob Rheaume wrote:

Hi, Brian! This is really a wonderful illustration of the benefits
of shooting in the raw format. Your photos make the case about as
convincingly as it can be made. Thanks for sharing

Bob

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OP Brian G. Veteran Member • Posts: 6,531
Thanks Stan! :) (nt)

Stan Powers wrote:

Always appreciate your cogent style. Excellent presentation!

Stan

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OP Brian G. Veteran Member • Posts: 6,531
Re: Brian, I disagree.....

Hi Andy,

AJohn wrote:

It makes a DAMN good photograph! I really like the final version.
This an explaination I thought I would never understand but I do.
Excellent explaination and examples. Would you please stop now, you
are gonna end up costing me money. LOL!

lol. Sorry about that. Seriously- I'm glad you found the post useful.

Now for the REALLY dumb question. Be kind. What's the difference
between RAW and TIFF?

I'm not going to say anything here since I see you've already received some very informative responses.

Kind Regards,
--
Brian (el picador, Sir Brian)

Digital Image Gallery:
http://mywebpages.comcast.net/spiritmist/Brian_G_Digital_Image_Gallery/index.htm

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OP Brian G. Veteran Member • Posts: 6,531
Thanks Josh! (nt)

gripman wrote:

AJohn wrote:

It makes a DAMN good photograph! I really like the final version.
This an explaination I thought I would never understand but I do.
Excellent explaination and examples. Would you please stop now, you
are gonna end up costing me money. LOL!

Now for the REALLY dumb question. Be kind. What's the difference
between RAW and TIFF?

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Andy (Critiques Always Welcome)
C750
http://imageevent.com/ajrphotos

Makes me want to run out and shoot RAW. which the C5060 does, just
didn't see any benefit till now. Great job!

Josh
C3000,C4000, C5060, Stylus Epic Limited & SonyDCR-TRV17

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OP Brian G. Veteran Member • Posts: 6,531
Re: Great stuff, Brian

Hi Typeaux,

Typeaux wrote:

A fine demonstration of the benefits of shooting in RAW mode,
Brian. Thanks. Just a few things, though. Not all RAW is 12-bit.
Some of the older cameras shoot in 10-bit RAW, which yields far
less dynamic range.

Yes, this is true. It should be noted, hoever, that a 10 bit RAw file still allows for 1024 discrete tonality levels per channel which is still four times as many as in an 8-bit jpg.

Also, JPEG and TIFF are eight bits per
channel
(RGB) to yield a full 24-bit color image, which is why the
RAW file takes up half the space of a TIFF (but without having to
split it into three color channels). But since yours were
monochrome images, the JPEG/TIFF might only be 8-bits anyway...

You are correct that color jpgs are 8 bits per channel RAW files are smaller than TIFFs because not only are they compressed, but they also have not undergone the Bayer interpolation that the TIFFs do.

Further, not all cameras produce the same RAW format, which causes
some difficulties in post processing. Adobe's ability to process
RAW images is more or less effective depending on the camera
manufacturer's chosen RAW format. Not sure that it affects Olympus
or Canon users, but it has been problematic for some.

Yes, this is true. My own experience has only been with Oly and Canon, and PS CS does a very nice job with these, in my opinion.

Thanks again for taking the time and effort to bring us the
brilliant tutorial. Good job.

Thank you Typeaux. I am glad you enjoyed it.

Kind Regards,
Brian

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Typeaux

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Michael Meissner
Michael Meissner Forum Pro • Posts: 25,177
Re: RAW and TIF, maybe some help.

ecm wrote:

Typeaux wrote:

A specific question for Guy:
I tried to use RAW on my C-5060 to do some portraits, and I had a
lot of trouble with graininess, ie. very high noise levels. It was
like I was shooting at ISO 400 (or worse), but I'd set the ISO at
80 manually. Is this normal for RAW?

Hi ecm,

I'm not Guy. I'm sure you guessed.

I'm also no expert at RAW, but it sounds like it might be your
RAW processing software. Have you tried looking at all of your
preferences? Does the graininess/noise persist if you convert to a
file format native to your software (i.e. .psd in Photoshop)? I've
had severe "noise" problems with some images that were corrected
simply by saving the image as something the software could handle
more effectively.

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Typeaux

Thanks for the replies!

I have to use Cameida 4.1 to convert them to TIFF, then edit
them(in GIMP for Windows). The only other program I've got that'll
swallow Oly's ORF format is Irfanview, and it doesn't get the color
balance at all right - everything is green after conversion. The
files in Camedia were grainy even before conversion, the conversion
process faithfully reproduced every pixel of noise. I did notice
later that converting to JPEG reduced the noise levels a lot;
that's why I wonder whether JPEG conversion also applies a good
noise filter. The noise reduction I got converting to JPEG in
Camedia was far superior to the results I got from Neat Image.

Unfortunately, I'm not able to fork out more than the cost of my
camera for Photoshop CS at present..... Oh well, I'm going to try
more lights next weekend. I'll try to post some examples when I get
a chance.

You might want to check out dcraw and the GIMP plugins to do this conversion: http://www.cybercom.net/~dcoffin/dcraw/

I suspect you probably need to get cinepaint (the 16-bit fork of GIMP) or ImageMagick ( http://www.imagemagick.org ) to handle 16-bit inputs.

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Wayne N. Veteran Member • Posts: 9,986
Any point shooting in TIFF then?

If a TIFF file is already processed (albeit without compression), is there much point shooting in TIFF? (my c770 only offers JPG or TIFF I think).

Ie can you do the same kind of stuff with a TIFF file that you can do with a RAW (or whatever it is called) file?

Thanks (and sorry in advance if this is a stupid question lol!)

Cheers,

Wayne
http://www.pbase.com/wayne_n

Michael Meissner
Michael Meissner Forum Pro • Posts: 25,177
Re: Any point shooting in TIFF then?

Wayne N. wrote:

If a TIFF file is already processed (albeit without compression),
is there much point shooting in TIFF? (my c770 only offers JPG or
TIFF I think).

Ie can you do the same kind of stuff with a TIFF file that you can
do with a RAW (or whatever it is called) file?

Thanks (and sorry in advance if this is a stupid question lol!)

All shooting in TIFF does is prevent any compression artifacts from the initial encoding from coming in. There are basically two steps involved where errors can creep in: The first step is the conversion from the sensor to an image format (ie, convert a 12 bit datum into an 8 bit datum). The second step involves compressing the image data into a smaller format that is logically equivalent, because our eyes can't see the difference (in theory). Making a JPG involves both steps, while making a TIFF only involves the first step, and using a RAW format skips both steps, postponing them until you are on a computer.

For a static (ie, non-moving subject) what you can do if shooting TIFF or JPEG is shoot the image with exposure compesation set at -2, 0, and +2 (either manually or with bracketing). Then you can combine the pictures in post processing, taking shadow detail from the overexposed picture and highlight detail from the underexposed picture.

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Wayne N. Veteran Member • Posts: 9,986
Re: Any point shooting in TIFF then?

Thanks Michael,

Until I get a camera with RAW file capabilities, I think I'll just continue dealing with JPG rather than bother with the slower write times and larger files associated with TIFF.

Cheers,

Wayne
http://www.pbase.com/wayne_n

andrewD2 Veteran Member • Posts: 8,984
Re: On the dynamic range of RAW...

Well done. Excellent explanation. I have used the extra headroom in the highlights and then boosted the shadows a bit with curves. Going to do the blend idea now, meant to try it for awhile.
Thanks Andrew

nickoly Veteran Member • Posts: 6,965
It's not a stupid question

Particularly if your camera does not shoot RAW. For static subjects at least, you can get the dynamic range with TIFF or (shock, horror) JPG by bracketing exposures and combining the results. There have been several excellent examples of this on this very forum.

I do montages and use TIFF all the time. Any serious editing can be a dangerous game with JPGs.

While this is the most ionteresting thread I have ever seen on this forum (I've bookmarked it, for Chrissakes, the first ever), I can't help feeling that if you are serious about RAW, you've got the wrong camera - because Olympus clearly isn't.

Wayne N. wrote:

If a TIFF file is already processed (albeit without compression),> is there much point shooting in TIFF? (my c770 only offers JPG or> TIFF I think).> > Ie can you do the same kind of stuff with a TIFF file that you can> do with a RAW (or whatever it is called) file?> > Thanks (and sorry in advance if this is a stupid question lol!)

Niktron Regular Member • Posts: 156
Re: Anders and Guy...

Hey dude

I think your trouble sparks from different types of compression.

JPG is incorperates lossy compression, i.e. data is thrown away each time a file is saved as a jpg.

TIFF and PNG etc use lossless compression i.e the image is compressed but no data is lost.

When you save a file as a JPG, the program doing so will apply lossy compression to the saved file. Thus if you open a jpg, save it as a jpg, close the file, open it, save it as a jpg, close it open it, save it as jpg, eventually your image will look rubbish.

So if you save your files as a lossless compression such as tiff or png etc there will be no loss on saves, and no matter how many times you save (and therefore apply the compression) the image will always be of the same quality

hope this helps
Nik.

AJohn wrote:

Thanks, I am starting to understand SOME of it. :] I must admit
though, there is some over load, sparking and sputtering going on
in my brain and I am struggling with some things that may be
obvious.

I shoot in SHQ Jpeg so my files are already compressed as they come
out of the camera. OK, so if I then convert them to TIFF, what have
I done to that file? I have decompressed it but that doesn't give
me any more info than the file had to begin with, correct?

So, is the purpose of doing this so I won't loose anymore quality
to the file from this point on? In other words, if I open a jpeg
and do the normal adjustments in PSE (color, contrast, etc.) and
then click yes to 'save changes' (not 'save as'), and save at it
the highest quality, the file has degraded some and this would not
have been the case had these adjustments been done in TIFF? MAN, I
hope that made sense. LOL.

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stana Veteran Member • Posts: 6,257
Thanks Brian

Hi Brian,

I like to shoot in raw mode but did not realize how much I could push the image after it was taken. I will revisit some of my shots to see if I can get more details using the multiple processing technique.

Inigo Montoya Forum Pro • Posts: 13,577
A Classic post...

Excellent example Brian -- you should have Bill add it to the OTF resources page: http://www.pbase.com/otfchallenge/resources

Inigo Montoya Forum Pro • Posts: 13,577
Re: Any point shooting in TIFF then?

If you have RAW, TIFF makes little sense as it adds "insult to injury". Not only do you still lose the full dynamic range (assuming 8 bit TIFF), but the file size is actually larger than RAW.

If no RAW is available, and you've got time to wait for files to save, and the space to save them, TIFF is better than JPG.

Wayne N. wrote:

If a TIFF file is already processed (albeit without compression),
is there much point shooting in TIFF? (my c770 only offers JPG or
TIFF I think).

Ie can you do the same kind of stuff with a TIFF file that you can
do with a RAW (or whatever it is called) file?

Thanks (and sorry in advance if this is a stupid question lol!)

Cheers,

Wayne
http://www.pbase.com/wayne_n

Alexey Contributing Member • Posts: 755
Re: Blending

Why use blending in this situation if PS shadow/highlight is available? Or does blending provide some advantage?

In the layer mask mode, what does Gaussian blur do and how do you determine proper values? It that what you would have tweaked to make blending perfect?

Again, thanks for wonderful presentation.

Dave Zz Veteran Member • Posts: 7,414
Very well done Brian!!

An excellent demonstration of the benefits of shooting in raw ~ both text and visuals!! I must confess I don't know a lot about shooting in raw ~ the UZI has Tiff only. I have often wonderd what all the fuss was about ~ thanks for filling me in!!

Who knows, someday I may be referring to this thread from a more hands-on point of view!!

DaveZ
UZI

http://www.pbase.com/davezz

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