One reason why I love shooting RAW


Prieni

Link Posted 26/07/2011 - 18:51
I do understand the reasoning behind the 'getting it right in camera' argument. And I understand that there are reasons for shooting JPG when you need to show the result quickly. I'm very hesitant to shoot JPG and only do so as RAW+JPG. Here is why:

As we have had a pretty rainy July in our neck of the woods I had many a chance to shoot some clouds. Straight from camera they look ok (just) but the shots don’t really convey what I saw (and here I use the term seeing more in the sense of complete sensual experience, not in the forensic sense).

A picture tells more than a thousand words, so here is an example (shot in DNG+JPG)
Here is the JPG version:


I should add that this is not the best JPG I could have gotten of the scene. I shot this with the post processing in mind (and in that respect this post is a bit biased against JPG shooting).

It certainly is lacking. Now I took the DNG into SILKYPIX Developer Studio (the RAW converter I use), adjusted colour temperature, CA, distortion (the JPG has the distortion correction applied by the camera already) gamma and contrast. The result was saved as a 16-bit TIF and looks like this:




Already a bit better, more definition in the clouds, better overall contrast.

A little bit of fiddling around in the photo processing software (duplicating the image and use of blending modes together with a couple of gradients from black to transparent (top) and white to transparent (bottom), some curve adjustments in individual layers and overall) and finally the image looks like I saw it when taking the shot:




If I had tried that kind of PP on the JPG I would have got some serious posterization. Also I find it much harder to get the colours right (as I don't care much about white balance; again, if shooting RAW I would adjust WB). Here is an example:

JPG out of camera



JPG post processed



RAW post processed



Prieni
How inappropriate to call this planet earth when it is quite clearly Ocean. - Arthur C. Clarke
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gartmore

Link Posted 26/07/2011 - 19:49
This is quite a remarkable lesson in utilising the potential of a file. I must say I prefer the second version of the first image and the third version of the second one.

Good to hear from you.
Ken
“We must avoid however, snapping away, shooting quickly and without thought, overloading ourselves with unnecessary images that clutter our memory and diminish the clarity of the whole.” - Henri Cartier-Bresson -
Last Edited by gartmore on 26/07/2011 - 19:50

Pentaxophile

Link Posted 26/07/2011 - 21:11
The last two illustrate the benefits of RAW as well as I have seen. Too often it's framed just as an IQ issue, but this highlights the better malleability of RAW files. You've squeezed even more contrast out of the RAW shot but you haven't got any of the degradation evident in the jpeg.
[link=https://500px.com/will_brealey/[/link]

DanielH

Link Posted 26/07/2011 - 21:24
The alternative view is that the OP is not as familiar with processing JPEGS as RAW and so treats them in the same way in PP.

I can get very similar results as the above with JPEG's and therefore thats why I don't bother with RAW.

Different strokes for different folks

Anvh

Link Posted 26/07/2011 - 21:41
dannyh wrote:
I can get very similar results as the above with JPEG's and therefore thats why I don't bother with RAW.

prove it i would say.

The imaged are quite exposed to the right, perfect for raw but not perfect for JPG, like Prieni said posterization will most likely be a problem.

Certainly with the K5 which is able to capture 14 stops with RAW, JPG can't and won't hold that amount of information.
Stefan


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Karl

Link Posted 26/07/2011 - 21:42
Hi dannyh, what do you do different in the processing of jpegs compared to RAW?
My understanding is that you have as much and more options and latitude with RAW over jpeg,

bwlchmawr

Link Posted 26/07/2011 - 21:42
Highly instructive, Prieni. Thanks for offering us your thoughts and results.

We too have had a grim June and July until the last few days when there has been sunshine and blue sky with large fluffy white clouds. I shot RAW+JPEG most JPEGs were fine but I was glad to have some of the RAW files to recover blown highlights in the clouds. Invaluable.
Best wishes,

Andrew

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Ernst Hass
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Prieni

Link Posted 26/07/2011 - 21:46
Well, the OP is quite familiar with processing JPEGs, let me assure you . There is no question that RAW gives you more room for PP. So while you get very similar results your results would be even better would you work with RAW.

As long as it works for you it's fine. And there are arguments and several situations where JPG is the method of choice.

Prieni
How inappropriate to call this planet earth when it is quite clearly Ocean. - Arthur C. Clarke
Prieni's PPG page

Smeggypants

Link Posted 27/07/2011 - 01:46
Prieni wrote:
Well, the OP is quite familiar with processing JPEGs, let me assure you . There is no question that RAW gives you more room for PP. So while you get very similar results your results would be even better would you work with RAW.

As long as it works for you it's fine. And there are arguments and several situations where JPG is the method of choice.

Prieni

Exactly. JPG is 8 bit compressed. RAW has far more signal to noise ratio and thus room for processing.

RAWs everytime here.


the only time I'd use jpgs, is I was working for a News Copany which ws more interested in getting journalistic images 10 microseconds after the event happened.
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Frogfish

Link Posted 27/07/2011 - 04:14
Prieni. I'm not quite sure what you are showing us here. There is no way in the world that you could not get the jpgs to look more like the RAW versions. There will of course be a wider DR in the RAWs but nothing like those you have indicated above.

It almost looks like you've fully processed the RAW versions to achieve something close to what your eyes perceived - but done almost nothing to the jpgs ?

I shoot jpgs most of the time but switch to RAW when I'm aware there may be issues and I want the security of the recoverability of RAW.
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Prieni

Link Posted 27/07/2011 - 05:51
Frogfish, in the first example that is true (and I said that it is biased against JPG). In the second case I loaded the JPG into Photoshop unintendedly. Only when I was done with the processing I thought that something looked odd and when I did the conversion to 8-bit (for saving the final result as JPG) I saw that it already was 8-bit and I did load the JPG inadvertently. So this was a blind test, I didn't know that I was working from the JPG.

I thought, ok, that is a good chance to see how different the result would be when starting from the developed TIF.

You are right, though, in that a bit more TLC could make this small version look almost identical. The A4 print would be a different story...

Prieni
How inappropriate to call this planet earth when it is quite clearly Ocean. - Arthur C. Clarke
Prieni's PPG page

Hardgravity

Link Posted 27/07/2011 - 06:31
As a straight from the camera person I must admit to being amazed at the potential difference shown.

Clouds are notoriously hard to get a good image of, I struggle at the best of times, these samples have made me think again about how I shoot.

Thanks for an eye opener Prieni
Cheers, HG

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K10D

Link Posted 27/07/2011 - 07:48
Smeggypants wrote:
the only time I'd use jpgs, is I was working for a News Copany which ws more interested in getting journalistic images 10 microseconds after the event happened.

Not always needed, Karl Grobl has time to work on images after an assignment yet shoots JPG.

link

Read his final comment about JPG vs RAW and getting it right in camera.

I agree that there is "more" to be had from a RAW file yet Mr Grobl's clients don't seem to mind either way as they only receive untouched JPG's.

Best regards
Last Edited by K10D on 27/07/2011 - 07:48

japers45

Link Posted 27/07/2011 - 08:17
I shoot RAW. I understand that speed of processing and memory space are the key benefits of jpeg (are there any others?)- benefits that I don't require, so RAW DNG every time. Downside is I always have a backlog of unprocessed images- but when the weather sucks or at night I like having a library of RAW images to work on.

matwhittington

Link Posted 27/07/2011 - 19:16
+1 to what japers45 said for me too. Nice shots Prieni - they look like proper 'wall-hangers' to me.

Regards
Mat W

My Flickr: link
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