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Guest Prosaic

How much more is RAW these days...?

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Guest NuteShack

While that is certainly a plausible approach, it uses card space you might need if it's going to be a long day.

Processing RAW files is NOT a big deal - current softwares like Lightroom are reasonably priced and most powerful - even offering features for asset management and output that make them worth their price for these features alone. I beg, I plead, I insist - learn to process RAW files and be a better photographer!

how in the world does shooting and processing raw files make u a better photog?

:o

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Guest brianpatterson

Nute-

My wedding shoot was done with a D300, which is marginal at ISO 800 for decent quality.

Learning to post with RAW images offers more data to edit, a wider set of post tools, and better color results, as has been mentioned. If it isn't needed for your particular output requirements, that's fine. For commercial purposes, it saves a lot of potential headaches due to exposure, color balance an other variables. Unless you're shooting under ideal conditions, RAW will maximize available dynamic range and respond to color adjustments better than a JPG.

Besides, JPG is intended an 8-bit 'output' format, like GIF, EPS, etc. RAW, PSD, NEF and DNG are formats that are designed for editing. Even a TIF won't retain layers, so it's intended for output technically. Nikon (and others) have invested a lot of time and money in these technologies for amazing results. Using these tools as intended will make you a better photographer.

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Guest NuteShack

Nute-

My wedding shoot was done with a D300, which is marginal at ISO 800 for decent quality.

Learning to post with RAW images offers more data to edit, a wider set of post tools, and better color results, as has been mentioned. If it isn't needed for your particular output requirements, that's fine. For commercial purposes, it saves a lot of potential headaches due to exposure, color balance an other variables. Unless you're shooting under ideal conditions, RAW will maximize available dynamic range and respond to color adjustments better than a JPG.

Besides, JPG is intended an 8-bit 'output' format, like GIF, EPS, etc. RAW, PSD, NEF and DNG are formats that are designed for editing. Even a TIF won't retain layers, so it's intended for output technically. Nikon (and others) have invested a lot of time and money in these technologies for amazing results. Using these tools as intended will make you a better photographer.

i understand that stuff ...but again, u lost me on the better photog bit again. a good or bad capture has nothing to do with whether it's shot in jpeg or raw or post skills. i think this is a case of putting the cart before the horse, or sumthing like that ..lol

;)

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Guest oztotl

I'd say that RAW, if nothing else, widens the margin for error.  It might not necessarily make you a better photographer, but luck favors the prepared.

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Guest NuteShack

I'd say that RAW, if nothing else, widens the margin for error.  It might not necessarily make you a better photographer, but luck favors the prepared.

so shooting n raw is like a winning ticket to the lottery? lol..sorry, but i must contest, shooting in raw will not make u a better photog.....;-)))

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I don't know why you all shoot RAW all the time. You treat each and every snapshot of yours like it will end up in a Museum?

No. I just don't see why I would throw away detail at the point the shot is taken - with no possible recovery.

I want the data to be recorded fully so that I get as good an image as the camera is capable of.

Reduced dynamic range, increased artifacts, reduced quality of fine detail. Why would I spend tens of thousands on lenses and then have the best part thrown away even before I see what it could have been?

For tweaking imperfect images to perfection?

Not for tweaking. Simply because I don't want detail thrown away a priori. Suppose you want to make a large print out of the file? And it has fine details like branches. Those look like mush if you use even the finest jpg setting. With raw, high contrast fine detail is seen.

Why do you think the JPGs are so much smaller? If it barks like a dog, walks like a dog, ...

Some people walk around town, shoot 1000+ Images of nothing, all RAW, and then brag about how they could recover some silly highlight detail because of the few extra bits. But the most amazing thing is they don't see their image, they are totally blind to the imagee they shot.

Are you suggesting that only bad photographers want fine details in their photos? That's an interesting thesis.

I bet it doesn't fly if you ask any landscape photographer.

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Guest brianpatterson

This is becoming a matter of semantics - some shooters look for constant opportunity and improvement when they shoot - others take the whole experience more lightly. It's no sin to shoot originals as JPGs if the intended purpose supports it - this is old news. My only point was that involving postprocessing as a part of the photographic experience is where a lot of learning and refining of even our shooting methods can be affected. Just being able to process a RAW shot into more than one finished version while retaining the original data is enough reason alone to learn this process. Some folks are not at all interested in post software and therefore RAW as a shooting format. No problem!

I stand on my statement, though, that you will improve as a shooter if you go the RAW direction in terms of factoring in potential image manipulation, correcting exposure errors or out-of-sensor-range situations, creating HDR images and the like. Not meant to belittle anyone or marginalize their efforts if they don't - there's no doubt much can be learned whenever we pick our cameras. Again, each to his own...

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Guest oztotl

so shooting n raw is like a winning ticket to the lottery?

Not at all what I was saying, and I'm pretty sure you'd be hard pressed to think it was my intention from what I posted.  But to respond to your statement, shooting RAW is not at all like a winning ticket.  It's more like narrowing the range of winning numbers from 1 in 16million to 1 in 15million.  And if you shoot in 14-bit, it's like further narrowing the range.

But if you write in a bunch of letters on your lottery ticket, your chances of success diminish greatly.  It helps to know what you're doing.

lol..sorry, but i must contest, shooting in raw will not make u a better photog.....;-)))

Seriously, what part of my post are you contesting?

I think I understand your point.  Either you know what you are doing or you don't, format be damned.  I'll agree to that.  However pedantic you become.

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Guest NuteShack

This is becoming a matter of semantics - some shooters look for constant opportunity and improvement when they shoot - others take the whole experience more lightly. It's no sin to shoot originals as JPGs if the intended purpose supports it - this is old news. My only point was that involving postprocessing as a part of the photographic experience is where a lot of learning and refining of even our shooting methods can be affected. Just being able to process a RAW shot into more than one finished version while retaining the original data is enough reason alone to learn this process. Some folks are not at all interested in post software and therefore RAW as a shooting format. No problem!

I stand on my statement, though, that you will improve as a shooter if you go the RAW direction in terms of factoring in potential image manipulation, correcting exposure errors or out-of-sensor-range situations, creating HDR images and the like. Not meant to belittle anyone or marginalize their efforts if they don't - there's no doubt much can be learned whenever we pick our cameras. Again, each to his own...

shooting in raw or jpeg will NOT improve your comp skills, understanding of exposure, etc etc. like i said, i'm not a jpeg advocate. but please, lets keep it real....;-)

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Guest NuteShack

Not at all what I was saying, and I'm pretty sure you'd be hard pressed to think it was my intention from what I posted.  But to respond to your statement, shooting RAW is not at all like a winning ticket.  It's more like narrowing the range of winning numbers from 1 in 16million to 1 in 15million.  And if you shoot in 14-bit, it's like further narrowing the range.

But if you write in a bunch of letters on your lottery ticket, your chances of success diminish greatly.  It helps to know what you're doing.

Seriously, what part of my post are you contesting?

I think I understand your point.  Either you know what you are doing or you don't, format be damned.  I'll agree to that.  However pedantic you become.

ok, we're on the same page..lol

;D

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shooting in raw or jpeg will NOT improve your comp skills, understanding of exposure, etc etc. like i said, i'm not a jpeg advocate. but please, lets keep it real....;-)

Did Ansel Adams' technical mastery make him a better photographer? Good question indeed. Fact is that with exposure his approach was very "raw-like". Measure dynamic extremes and overexpose/underdevelop accordingly - or whatever gave him best technical quality from the medium.

This debate reminds me of the slide/negative dichotomy. One produces a finished picture, the other is meant to be processed and tweaked. Both are photography.

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Guest NuteShack

Did Ansel Adams' technical mastery make him a better photographer? Good question indeed. Fact is that with exposure his approach was very "raw-like". Measure dynamic extremes and overexpose/underdevelop accordingly - or whatever gave him best technical quality from the medium.

This debate reminds me of the slide/negative dichotomy. One produces a finished picture, the other is meant to be processed and tweaked. Both are photography.

and i'm sure if he were alive today and shooting one of these new gizmos he'd be shooting in raw..it only makes sense. fact, i never said it doesn't. i just think getting it as "right" as possible in the camera is paramount, regardless of the format ;D

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I have always meant to perform the experiment of extracting that "Preview" Jpg

and comparing it to a Jpg conversion made from pulling the NEF into Capture NX2.

They must be almost identical, right ?

Set the camera quality on RAW+Fine, and open both raw and jpg in CaptureNX2 without changing anything, and compare at the pixel peeping level. In principle, both files should be the same, but they are not...

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Set the camera quality on RAW+Fine, and open both raw and jpg in CaptureNX2 without changing anything, and compare at the pixel peeping level. In principle, both files should be the same, but they are not...

No, they shouldn't be - even theoretically they can't. JPG is a truncated cosine transform of the original data. What the algorithm considers as the least significant spatial frequencies, are thrown out. If there were an option for doing a JPG without truncating the series, then the data would look the same as an in camera TIFF.  The truncation is one reason why the RAW image looks better than the in camera JPG at 100% view (if there is fine detail in the subject and the shot is correctly taken so that it's not out of focus and there is no motion blur) even when you don't alter the conversion settings in NX2. The other reason is of course that since NX2 can use many more processor cycles, the algorithm used may be superior. Either way, the point is that by choosing in camera JPG you already choose to throw away detail. If you use poor technique, too long shutter speeds, or a soft lens or shoot subjects which don't have fine detail - fine. But if your subject matter has fine detail and you use good technique to capture it, shooting in camera JPG is equal to reducing the quality of your output irrespective of whether you change something in raw conversion or not.

Intended usage, huh? So when your original intended use for an image has taken place (i.e. let's say you made the 5x7 print that was requested), do you throw away the file, then, since it is not needed after the original purpose has been fulfilled? Even if it turns out to be a great shot? Hardly. Why then would you throw away data which might help in a future unanticipated use of the image, say an A3 or A2 print? I do not understand that kind of thinking. I suppose some of us never make large prints, and never do post-processing corrections, and that justifies the use of JPG.

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Guest Carl Stone

Well, why pass up the opportunity to make a large print by deliberately reducing the available info in the image? It isn't as though every image I shoot is printed large, but then I never know when I might want to do that, so I shoot NEF only. Now, do I want to save those images as .dng files, or not...............

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Guest brianpatterson

This debate reminds me of the slide/negative dichotomy. One produces a finished picture, the other is meant to be processed and tweaked. Both are photography.

Good point, NM... and just as a neg offered the most use, the slide needed to be scanned to be made useable. Not a very close comparison, really, since digital is a whole different science than wet chem.

If one doesn't research the purpose and value of RAW they will simply never know its potential - JPGs are convenient but no more than 3 channels of 8-bit preprocessed data. No pixel headroom is available to adjust dynamic range, add fill light or sharpen effectively without degrading the image immediately. Prints made at larger sizes will show these limitations via pixelation and/or noise whenever the tonal range doesn't equal the output color space - this is especially aggravated using high ISO's where postprocessing best deals with those issues. And this is sad situation if a great shot is needed for litho print and image quality is not equal to the even greater color space of CMYK. With RAW you can create the ideal file for any color space and output requirement. (as a graphic designer, I've been doing this ever since digital arrived...BTW)

If you can make what you want that way, go for it. It's just as easy and quick to do all those things in RAW - it's really no inconvenience.

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No, they shouldn't be - even theoretically they can't.

T

I should have said "people expect them to be the same"...

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ok I have to go do the Experiment.

Shoot NEF + Fine.

Then compare the following 3 Jpgs:

1) the from-the-camera Fine Jpg.

2) the Preview Jpg "extracted" from the NEF.

3) the Jpg produced by "save as" from the NEF.

Stay tuned.....

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ok I did the Experiment.

I compared the 3 Jpgs by using Difference layers in Photoshop

and found that all 3 Jpgs are different.

Jpg #1 (Fine from camera) and Jpg #2 (extracted from NEF) are almost identical.

When viewed as Difference layers, you have to view them at 100% to see the slight differences.

Jpg #3, produced by a "save as" from the NEF in Capture NX2,

is noticably different from #1 or #2 when the Difference layers are viewed at any size.

There seems to be some shift in luminosity in certain areas of Jpg #3.

Well, this is hardly an earth-shaking result, but is has satisfied my curiosity !!  ;)

And proven yet once again that I am a total nerd at heart -- LOL  ;D  >:D

[Yes, I was careful to maintain the same colour profile throughout the experiment.

Just in case you were going to ask......]

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Guest NuteShack

Normally on "US Letter" but I frequently crop my captures

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Guest NuteShack

ok I did the Experiment.

I compared the 3 Jpgs by using Difference layers in Photoshop

and found that all 3 Jpgs are different.

Jpg #1 (Fine from camera) and Jpg #2 (extracted from NEF) are almost identical.

When viewed as Difference layers, you have to view them at 100% to see the slight differences.

Jpg #3, produced by a "save as" from the NEF in Capture NX2,

is noticably different from #1 or #2 when the Difference layers are viewed at any size.

There seems to be some shift in luminosity in certain areas of Jpg #3.

Well, this is hardly an earth-shaking result, but is has satisfied my curiosity !!  ;)

And proven yet once again that I am a total nerd at heart -- LOL  ;D  >:D

[Yes, I was careful to maintain the same colour profile throughout the experiment.

Just in case you were going to ask......]

ok, so you're a nerd, lol ....do u consider #3 better than the others?

;D

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Guest Carl Stone

I trust that we all understand that a jpg loses information every time that it is saved. So there will be a difference between such images. It's best to save it only once.

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Regarding the very limited number of camera SW updates that are thrown towards us, I have rather high regards for the (released output of the) Nikon embedded SW team...

With respect to raw file processing SW, another experiment at the pixel peeping level can be done. Open a few NEF's (e.g. in neutral profile so it gets little sharpening from NX) in both CaptureNX(2) and in ACR 5.3 from CS4. In ACR, use the same camera profile. Search for differences, especially in the edges / corners. For a lot of lenses, in ACR you have adjust the CA correction parameters (CaptureNX does that automatically). Even after that, differences in detail rendition remain. Nikon seems to know just a little bit better how to handle that.

Again, this is at the pixel peeping level and in daily life other factors, either practical, technical or political, are probably for the most of us much more important in choosing the right raw processing software.

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I trust that we all understand that a jpg loses information every time that it is saved. So there will be a difference between such images. It's best to save it only once.

I've done the Jpg Saving Experiment also. ;D

You can save a Jpg a few times without any serious or particularly noticeable damage.

Try it !!

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