Why you should shoot RAW: an example

Started Feb 13, 2009 | Discussions
Docno Veteran Member • Posts: 4,874
Why you should shoot RAW: an example

Still exploring my new A900+SAL24-70Z (and loving it). I've seen a few people here mention that they only shoot jpeg, and I'm occasionally guilty of that too. But yesterday, I accidently convinced myself that RAW (or cRAW) is the way to go. I was taking some 'practice' (unartistic) shots of an Indian-style mosque near my house using multi-segment metering and cRAW+jpg (w standard style). Here is a comparison of the untouched in-camera jpeg versus a jpeg generated by ACR. Check out the loss of shadows in the in-camera jpeg (walls and cloth at window). Those shadows are gone for good. But the cRAW retains them all. In fact, it seems that the A900 under-exposes a little to keep highlight details, then 'auto-levels' when creating the in-camera jpeg. But this gives you a lot more latitude when converting the RAW image yourself. May be old news, but it's made me a believer... -Glenn
In-camera jpeg:

ACR conversion:

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Ken_5D Forum Pro • Posts: 11,820
Re: Why you should shoot RAW: an example

I have been reading up on color spaces and when you add the colors that even Adobe RGB tosses away and add to it lost DR..
It's like leaving part of you camera at home to shoot JPG only.
---------
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JusLookN Veteran Member • Posts: 4,341
Re: Why you should shoot RAW: an example

Colors are much better. The white balance is great in your raw conversion.
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Alpha Jeff Regular Member • Posts: 187
Re: Why you should shoot RAW: an example

When you shoot raw and jpg together you are not getting a good quality jpg. If you want to compare a jpg you need to be shooting X Fine that will give you better quality. Im not trying to say that jpg is better than raw but this scenario is not going to give the jpg the credit it deserves. If light is good and you know your camera jpg is very nice. If you got a one shot chance and not sure of setting better shoot raw. That is how I see it.
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OP Docno Veteran Member • Posts: 4,874
Not sure about this

Alpha Jeff wrote:

When you shoot raw and jpg together you are not getting a good
quality jpg. If you want to compare a jpg you need to be shooting X
Fine that will give you better quality. Im not trying to say that jpg
is better than raw but this scenario is not going to give the jpg the
credit it deserves. If light is good and you know your camera jpg is
very nice. If you got a one shot chance and not sure of setting
better shoot raw. That is how I see it.
--
Jeff.. enjoying my a700

I've done a lot of testing of xFine versus Fine on my 'old' A700 and have not been able to detect any perceptible differences in IQ. Whenever I've asked others here to provide evidence of a difference, no-one responds. So I'm still not sure that there's a real 'seeable' difference in xFine vs Fine. Now granted, that's with the A700... and I'm willing to be proven wrong. That said, the issue here is what the camera is doing in terms of capturing subtle tonal differences. Since xFine-vs-Fine simply represents a difference in jpeg compression, I'm not sure it would make a difference to the shot I posted (at most, you might theoretically see fewer compression artifacts and better detail with xFine... though I haven't tested this on the A900). -Glenn

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Alpha Jeff Regular Member • Posts: 187
Re: Not sure about this

Im not sure to be exact but it has been said on this forum that when you shoot raw and jpg it uses the lowest quality jpg. So if that is the case I would say there would be a big difference in the picture quality you have showed us. I have not took the time to see this for myself. But it does stand to reason.
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Alpha Jeff Regular Member • Posts: 187
Re: Not sure about this

Just seen it is set to Fine when shooting raw and jpg. So Im not sure how much the difference would be. Like you said some situations may not see any difference. But where light was a factor you probably would see a little difference.
--
Jeff.. enjoying my a700

Ken_5D Forum Pro • Posts: 11,820
Re: Not sure about this

Alpha Jeff wrote:

Im not sure to be exact but it has been said on this forum that when
you shoot raw and jpg it uses the lowest quality jpg. So if that is
the case I would say there would be a big difference in the picture
quality you have showed us. I have not took the time to see this for
myself. But it does stand to reason.
--
Jeff.. enjoying my a700

Fine is like a lot of other systems best JPG I think the 40D Fine JPG is about 5MB same for Fine Xfine is probably like an uncompressed file and if I were shooting something with such subtle details I need Xfine.. just shoot RAW.

Not Shooting RAW+JPG because you can't get Xfine is odd because you are tossing out so much image info by no shooting RAW.
---------
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Alpha Jeff Regular Member • Posts: 187
Re: Not sure about this

If you are able to get proper exposure and white balance I just dont see the need for RAW. You can do wonders with JPGS in Lightroom. If lighting is tricky I can see why someone could benifit with RAW. I will shoot RAW in those conditions. Mojority of the time it is easier to deal with JPGS. I think in the Ops in camera JPG if it was not over exposed the detail would have been there.
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OP Docno Veteran Member • Posts: 4,874
Jeff...

Alpha Jeff wrote:

If you are able to get proper exposure and white balance I just dont
see the need for RAW. You can do wonders with JPGS in Lightroom. If
lighting is tricky I can see why someone could benifit with RAW. I
will shoot RAW in those conditions. Mojority of the time it is easier
to deal with JPGS. I think in the Ops in camera JPG if it was not
over exposed the detail would have been there.
--
Jeff.. enjoying my a700

I'm not sure it's a simple matter of over-exposure as you suggest. The A900 tends to under-expose (and I simply took the shot with matrix metering without any compensation). If the exposure was reduced, you'd lose detail in the dark window area... but the RAW allows you to capture detail in both the bright and dark areas rather than sacrificing one for the other. To further make the point, here is the image and histogram of the cRAW in default view in Picasa... some 'blowing out' in the red channel but overall exposure is fine (see the 'brown' area in the histogram).

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Dayo Senior Member • Posts: 2,837
RAW is good but not sure about example

C NX on In Cam Jpeg

I'll say it holds up quite well against your ACR conversion

I shoot RAW most times but jpeg only has it's place and is not half as bad as some make out. Most of the images in your sports mag were shot as jpegs for instance and I bet you don't turn your nose away on looking at them.

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KMSEA: 12:33:17 PM, Saturday, November 12, 2005 (GMT)

OP Docno Veteran Member • Posts: 4,874
Re: RAW is good but not sure about example

My point was about the shadows on the walls and in the cloth... they're still not there in your jpeg.
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Ken_5D Forum Pro • Posts: 11,820
Re: Not sure about this

Alpha Jeff wrote:

If you are able to get proper exposure and white balance I just dont
see the need for RAW. You can do wonders with JPGS in Lightroom. If
lighting is tricky I can see why someone could benifit with RAW. I
will shoot RAW in those conditions. Mojority of the time it is easier
to deal with JPGS. I think in the Ops in camera JPG if it was not
over exposed the detail would have been there.
--
Jeff.. enjoying my a700

Take some time and read up on color spaces. RAW is not a crutch for people who can't expose.. it is about having access to all the camera can do.. because JPG was not designed for high quality photography.. but it became a standard so we shoot .. Its a lossy compression with a limited ability to represent colors.

Then there is the DR of the jpg, this is also what DRO is about. even a properly mapped JPG can't get it all so DRO starts to fix it and it is a permanent change.. In Raw you can go "I think I want to bring some of the shadows my eye saw, or you can say I think I like the stark contrast.

If you want easy.. just haul it into PS elements and batch it out to JPGs but you still have all the image you paid a lot of money to capture.

RAW is easy and you can choose to make it harder if you want.. but you can also just get JPGS now and go back later and discover new ways or working the image.

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Ken_5D Forum Pro • Posts: 11,820
Re: RAW is good but not sure about example

Not really you made the whites nice.. but the greens and the iron work are still washed out.
---------
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Diversants Junior Member • Posts: 35
RAW and JPG

When shooting RAW+JPG on A900 it is the "normal" JPG, not the Fine or xFine. xFine is so much better than normal.

I have discovered that in good lighting there is very little difference between RAW and xFine, and it is so much more convenient of not having to sit in front of a computer to tweak RAW.

And yet when the lighting is difficult - low light or extremely high contrast RAW is much better than any JPG.

So I have come to my own conclusion - to shoot xFine for most outdoor good light scenes and RAW (+JPG) for indoor and difficult light scenes.

RAW is also necessary if you want to play with pseudo-HDR (I am trying but not really succeeding yet).

OP Docno Veteran Member • Posts: 4,874
Nope...

The jpeg is Fine. See p108 of the manual.

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Dayo Senior Member • Posts: 2,837
Easy to fix

I spent a few seconds on the image just to show that the main washed out areas of the blown out white wall and the orangy column could easily be fixed in the jpeg.

The "washed out" green as well. Iron work a bit trickier but doesn't seem too bad to me.

Point is that there is a point to shooting jpeg if one wants to.

Ken_5D wrote:

Not really you made the whites nice.. but the greens and the iron
work are still washed out.
---------
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KMSEA: 12:33:17 PM, Saturday, November 12, 2005 (GMT)

DaddyBit Contributing Member • Posts: 544
Congratulations about your finding and decision

The debate about RAW vs JPG has no sense. RAW is the way to go for the serious work. Period.

In my lib I have RAWs made in early 2006. Still return to some of them to make JPG conversion using modern sophisticated conversion algorithms and my improved PP skills. So I am happy that I started shooting RAW from the very first digital frame.

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ledgars Regular Member • Posts: 314
Re: RAW is good but not sure about example
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Its not the best sample, because RAW vs JPG shines in terms of resolution/noise reduction and WB correction, especially in case of mixed light sources. Moreover, new cameras have excellent DR, but anyway you could get wider DR in RAW.

Dave Farmer Senior Member • Posts: 1,239
I've see-sawed on this...

I used to shoot jpg only, tried raw (everyone said I should!) but found I didn't have the time needed to get the best out of the raw files so went to raw + jpg. I shot like that for a long time, but a few months ago decided to forget the raw files as they take up a lot of space and I never did anything with them.

So I started shooting jpg only - taking more care with settings, trying to get everything spot on in camera as I had no safety net. All was well until I decided to try processing some raws from the summer to see if I could replicate the DRO effects, and I preferred the result from the raw! The DROed jpgs seemed to suffer some colour shifts and loss of detail in grass and foliage in shadow areas, and as a landscaper predominantly that was a major problem (of course I only noticed the issue when comparing to my converted jpgs - realising the extra info was there and I was missing it in the jpg).

So I decided to go the whole hog and shoot raw, leaving off DRO and picture styles etc. as I'd make those decisions at conversion - after all, any pic I actually do anything with I tweak the levels and sharpening at least anyway and converting a raw wasn't a lot more effort.

Then my wife wanted to email some photos to her friends... and of course I had no jpgs! A straight batch process wouldn't help as I needed to do things like bring up some shadows, boost some saturation here and there...

I've decided to return to raw+jpg (well, craw actually), try to get everything right in camera and have the raw as a fallback if I need it, and put up with the extra clutter on my hard drives and in Elements.

Ah, life was so much simpler when I sent my film away and got back whatever the processer gave me!

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