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Raw vs jpeg

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by izzikiorage, Sep 29, 2013.

  1. izzikiorage

    izzikiorage TalkEmount Veteran

    323
    Jul 30, 2013
    Since most of the people here shoot raw i was trying to convince myself that it was worth the effort

    10001796633_cf9f205842_c.
    RAW vs jpeg example by Amlan Mathur, on Flickr

    A comparison of what Raw files offer over the normal jpeg file.

    Notice the bands formed in the blue of the sky, this is since the jpeg captures less shades of the same color. Similarly there is loss of detail in the clouds on the left and on the details of the stones. This gives a fair idea of the advantage of Raw over jpeg if post processing in going to be done.

    I took this shot with the RAW + jpeg option, post processed the Raw to match the processing that the camera normally does and then processed both RAW and jpeg similarly (synced in Light room)


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  2. Bill

    Bill TalkEmount Veteran

    339
    Oct 22, 2012
    Brisbane, Australia
    Bill
    Raw v jpeg

    This RAW vs JPEG thing comes out every once and awhile, so I have used may earlier advice:

    RAW works for me too, but I recognise that it’s not for everyone.


    Many photographers are fully occupied with the opportunities they already have. They seem to be saying that if they have extra time, they want to spend it taking NEW pictures instead of sitting in front of their computers working with OLD ones. I have great respect for that argument.

    I understand why a serious digital photographer who is


    • taking the time to make sure that the picture going in the lens is the one that he or she wants; and
    • does not intend to manipulate the image in the computer; and
    • wants to print at 8 x 10 or smaller (or directly to the web)
    will be happy to work with JPEGs.

    Also, I think that JPEG users are also right to see the format as future-proofed. JPEG will probably be around longer than most of the RAW formats.

    And, finally, many of the pictures that we take are of family or friends. Working in JPEGs means that they are immediately portable. They can go into emails, social media sites, photography sites, blogs, into the new live photo frames, or many of the high-res digital TVs — with no more work to do.

    A family friend, for example, is an inveterate traveler and photographer. Her travel compact goes with her everywhere. She has a lovely eye, and is quite satisfied to capture moments in what can’t be described as anything other than Art. <<Note the capital “A.”

    In my youth, I did my time in the darkroom. In those days (the early 60’s), the darkroom was the only avenue for photographic control and it was the only way to do photography on the cheap. I think that once you get a taste of that level of control, it’s hard to give it up. So, for me, shooting digital (and RAW) is that control -- on steroids.

    So, if you have ambitions (and the time) to


    • print at exhibition sizes or quality;
    • work seriously in black and white;
    • rescue shots that might otherwise be lost;
    • maximise photos taken in low light;
    • exploit the full potential of photographs; or
    • improve the aesthetic appeal of your photos —
    then you should be working in RAW.

    But RAW is not without its troubles:

    Working with RAW as a once-in-awhile thing isn’t fun. For me, working with RAW needed to be part of a regular workflow. (For this reason I found saving in RAW + JPEG, and and doing a bit of one and then a bit of the other unhelpful.)

    At first I was using Silkypix, Raw Therapee, Sagelight and Noise Ninja (all great programs), but in ad hoc sorts of ways. I had some success, but I struggled.

    There’s a learning curve with RAW – understanding what makes digital files tick. (If you don’t understand them, it’s harder to fix them.) I see now that, initially, I didn’t have a firm grasp of all (okay, most) of the digital elements.

    Two things turned that around for me: First I bought Adobe Lightroom. Lightroom introduced me to a real workflow. Suddenly I had a, well, flow. Then I got the Luminous Landscape’s Lightroom videos. In addition to learning the program, that series of videos took what I knew about film and oriented it to digital photography. (While Lightroom worked for me, I’m not suggesting that similar results couldn’t be obtained by other programs like Aperture.)

    So, Good Luck — with whatever path you choose.

     
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  3. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    Wait... Are you trying to inject reason into the raw vs. jpeg debate, Bill? ;)
     
  4. Bill

    Bill TalkEmount Veteran

    339
    Oct 22, 2012
    Brisbane, Australia
    Bill
    To the question, should we shoot in RAW or JPEG? The answer is yes!
     
  5. shaolin95

    shaolin95 TalkEmount Top Veteran

    942
    Jul 3, 2013
    I normally shoot RAW and JPG or just RAW if I am going to some fast paced event where I want my camera to be able to take burst pictures as fast as possible.
    We all try our best to take the right picture , or at least I hope so but cameras have limitations that we can for sure improve with PP and RAW is the key there.
    I have been working on images I took in Lithuania and on some, the dynamic range, as good as it is with the nex-6, on the jpg is missing highlights that I cannot restore from the JPG but the RAW has it all there so I can greatly improve the image.
    So, while the original was a nice pic, the RAW processed one is much better. So is a matter of quantity or quality to me as well. I can always PP Raw when I have time, at least I dont shoot 24/7...but it feels good to know that if there is an image I like and is not quite how I want it, I do have the RAW file to make it the way I want it to look and not limited to the JPG file and whatever I can get from it.
    Regards
     
  6. -et-

    -et- TalkEmount Veteran

    205
    Jan 26, 2013
    Southern California
    Tom
    Interesting comparison.

    Personally, I always shoot RAW+Jpeg. Storage space is very cheap these days, so this gives me options with very little cost, especially since I can erase and reuse.

    My philosophy in regard to the "debate" over RAW versus Jpeg is captured by the old saying, "Better is the enemy of good enough".

    Many of my photos are family snapshots and some of those are more than good enough in Jpeg, so why spend any time trying to get the last couple of percent of image quality out of those files by tweaking the RAW file? Some of those family snapshots do benefit visibly from post-processing in RAW, so those images will get that treatment.

    Many of my images that are attempts to be artistic will benefit from post-processing of the RAW file, especially since many of those have high dynamic range, so a high percentage of those images get that treatment. However, some do turn out great in Jpeg, so I just leave those alone.

    From my viewpoint, a quick answer to the "RAW versus Jpeg" debate is, "It depends".

    - Tom -
     
  7. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    I don't want to go over everything once more, so my short answer is: RAW. So many advantages, no real disadvantage.

    And I'm afraid your comparison doesn't make too much sense. JPEG files are processed, sharpened and optimized while RAW files are not. So a comparison only makes sense when processing both files the same way and looking into the results.
     
  8. izzikiorage

    izzikiorage TalkEmount Veteran

    323
    Jul 30, 2013
    wow, that was really informative, and it's exactly what I've been going through. I've never had any of my images used for absolutely professional purposes so the ease of jpeg is really alluring. But once you work with Raw and see the amount of detail hidden in that image it's hard to let go
     
  9. izzikiorage

    izzikiorage TalkEmount Veteran

    323
    Jul 30, 2013
    I ran the same process on the Raw that the camera would have normally done. Then started Pping them in the same way. Just wanted to compare how a raw would hold up vs a jpeg under post processing.
     
  10. izzikiorage

    izzikiorage TalkEmount Veteran

    323
    Jul 30, 2013
    Over the last few days that i've been shooting in raw i find that Raw shots come out really grainy even it ISO values that the camera handles easily ( like 1600 and 3200). Is it something that i am doing wrong or do i need to put in noise reduction to even higher levels in PP.
    http://m.flickr.com/photos/izzikiorage/10072528604/photostream/

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  11. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    Your link didn't work for me, so I can't see the level of noise you're encountering. But the jpegs from your camera are, as Poki mentioned, processed. That is, they will already some have noise reduction applied to them. Raw files don't have any processing; no noise reduction, contrast or saturation boost, sharpening, etc. And an unprocessed raw file, shot at higher ISO, will always look noisier than a jpeg shot at the same ISO until you provide the level of noise reduction that suits your taste.
     
  12. shaolin95

    shaolin95 TalkEmount Top Veteran

    942
    Jul 3, 2013
    Indeed and that is the beauty of RAW as well, YOU decide how much noise to remove and how much detail to leave instead of the camera. Plus many plugins with great NR processes too. :)
     
  13. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    Indeed, RAW files will always be noisier at the same ISO level, but they'll also include so much more detail. And in fact, I don't consider noise is taking away from most images. Look here for example - this image is noisier than most would ever call 'usable', and I even made it noisier with the high contrast processing, but it doesn't take away a bit from the photo.
     
  14. izzikiorage

    izzikiorage TalkEmount Veteran

    323
    Jul 30, 2013
    Wow, thats a pretty cool image. Btw whst plugins can i add onto lightroom to get the best noise reduction?

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  15. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
  16. shaolin95

    shaolin95 TalkEmount Top Veteran

    942
    Jul 3, 2013
    I have tried different ones and they all seem to have things the others dont but I have follow some guides on reducing with lightroom only which works pretty good but when I have a very noisy one I normally go to CS6 and work from there.
     
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  17. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    Just make sure you use a tool which allows local noise reduction, as global noise reduction usually either reduces the noise not even to a visible level or reduces detail in some areas far too much.
     
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  18. izzikiorage

    izzikiorage TalkEmount Veteran

    323
    Jul 30, 2013
    Have been trying out noise reduction in lightroom using with the following settings

    70 luminance (with around 50 detail)
    20-30 color
    Contrast is variable, and only if needed

    But still i either end up softening my image too much or the noise remains. Am not even able to match the quality of the in cam jpegs in sharpness and noise

    Suggestions please

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  19. Bill

    Bill TalkEmount Veteran

    339
    Oct 22, 2012
    Brisbane, Australia
    Bill
    One of the problems with RAW is that the water gets deep pretty quickly. Every photo is different, so no one noise setting will work for all of them. Also, the use of the noise sliders needs to be done in conjunction with input sharpening.

    If you want to come to grips with Lightroom, I suggest that you get the Luminous Landscape videos on both Lightroom 4 and 5. (Their Lightroom 5 videos were really an update on the in-depth discussions they provided for 4.

    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/videos/download-videos.shtml

    Good luck.

    Bill
     
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