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Author Topic: JPEGS or RAW  (Read 19271 times)
spidermike
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« on: November 08, 2007, 01:07:05 PM »
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I made a comment on a thread in the 'user critique' board related to the amount of time people can spend processing photos. This reminded me of an article on Kend Rockwell's website where he explains why he never shoots RAW.

http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/raw.htm

His view is (in brief) that instead of spending hours in front of a RAW editor he would rather take jpeg, let the camera do the work and take more photos. As a professional photographer he does not have time to process hundreds of photos.

Blansky's view (on that same 'user critique' thread) consdiders jpegs are not good enough, and using jpegs instead of RAW is a reflectoion on their level of commitment. I apologise to Blansky now for removing his comments from their original context, but I think he represents a significant number of digital photographers on this issue.

Having recently started in digital photography, I have no commitments either way, but Ken Rockwell's views do make sense to me.
Using jpeg instead of RAW is no indicator of commitment but instead shows a different approach. Why do we shoot RAW? The only reason is to increase your options on post-shoot processing. You can rescue borderline pictures that are 'not quite right'. Shooting jpegs does not mean a drop in standards - just a recognition that if you don't get it right in camera then you lose the shot.

And this got me thinking.
For those dedicated RAW shooters:
-  how much of your processing requires the processing to be done in RAW? If the picture is pretty good, minor tweak can be done in jpeg to good effect
-  Hand on heart - how much of your post-processing is to create 'an effect' and how much is to genuinely get closer to the original scene you photographed?
-  is the satisfaction you get from looking at your picture due purely to the result? Or is there pride because you know how much work you put into it?
-  if you took identical pictures with JPEG and RAW, and printed it at 18"x24", could a third party really tellyou which was which?

I will finish by saying that I realise RAW has a place. Some people love turning an average day-time scene into one of a burning sunset or crating fantasy montages. These would be hard to do in jpeg to the same effect. But I am someone who takes photos to record what I actually see - wonderful effects are (not yet) part of my hobby. What would RAW really give to me?
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mahleu
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« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2007, 01:15:17 PM »
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I would rather not throw away any of the limited dynamic range my camera can capture by using a compressing format.

My raws become tiffs and only jpegs  if they need to be printed somewhere that doesn't deal with tiffs.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2007, 01:17:11 PM by mahleu » Logged

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Schewe
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« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2007, 01:38:02 PM »
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Ken Rockwell should be drawn and quartered...

The ONLY reason to use JPEG is if seconds matter from the standpoint of news or other extremely time sensitive needs. Otherwise, a photographer who wants the optimal output from their efforts would be better served to develop an efficient and productive raw workflow...which apparently is something Ken doesn't know. I could teach him...but I think his mind is made up. Just don't let him think for you.
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jule
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« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2007, 02:04:49 PM »
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-  Hand on heart - how much of your post-processing is to create 'an effect' and how much is to genuinely get closer to the original scene you photographed?

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=151350\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

It is interesting that you make a discrepancy between photographs which are and 'effect' and use the phrase - 'genuinely get closer to the original scene you photographed.' I actually don't see that there is any need to differentiate between the two at all.  An image is an image...and to create the best one possible you need the most information available to give you the ability to do both. ...  I shoot RAW  

Julie
« Last Edit: November 08, 2007, 02:05:14 PM by jule » Logged

blansky
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« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2007, 02:57:27 PM »
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I made a comment on a thread in the 'user critique' board related to the amount of time people can spend processing photos. This reminded me of an article on Kend Rockwell's website where he explains why he never shoots RAW.

http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/raw.htm

 Hand on heart - how much of your post-processing is to create 'an effect' and how much is to genuinely get closer to the original scene you photographed?

I[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=151350\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

As I stated on the other thread, using the Ansel Adams quote, " if the negative is the score and the print is the symphony" then Mr Rockwell doesn't get many symphonies.

Now to be quite truthful I haven't seen much of Rockwells work so I really don't know how "good" he really is. I have heard that he shoots hundreds of images at a time, and whether he could cut the number considerably by spend more time composing and nailing a shot, I don't know.

Also as for your line "genuinely get closer to the originally scene" you presume that getting closer to the original scene is the object of the exercise. Some people may look at a scene and look at the possibilities and not the reality.


Michael
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digitaldog
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« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2007, 03:11:46 PM »
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I made a comment on a thread in the 'user critique' board related to the amount of time people can spend processing photos. This reminded me of an article on Kend Rockwell's website where he explains why he never shoots RAW.

And if he didn't focus, he could shoot even faster.

Its baloney.

Quote
His view is (in brief) that instead of spending hours in front of a RAW editor he would rather take jpeg, let the camera do the work and take more photos. As a professional photographer he does not have time to process hundreds of photos.

Well IF he's so busy shooting, he could easily afford to pay someone to do this right? Or he's just OK with a baked rendering of whatever he shoots, doesn't care how much data he tosses by using JPEG and doesn't have any desire to control the situation given what Raw provides, especially with modern tools like Lightroom. How old is this piece? I suspect its more to draw controversy and attention.

Quote
Blansky's view (on that same 'user critique' thread) consdiders jpegs are not good enough, and using jpegs instead of RAW is a reflectoion on their level of commitment. I apologise to Blansky now for removing his comments from their original context, but I think he represents a significant number of digital photographers on this issue.

In camera JPEGs can be lovely. Or not. Point is, you can't put that toothpaste back into the tube. Its about control.

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Having recently started in digital photography, I have no commitments either way, but Ken Rockwell's views do make sense to me.

Shoot more JPEG+Raw, then play with what you can do with Raw data and get back to us.

This is a far more valuable read about rendering than what you'll hear from Rockwell IMHO:

http://wwwimages.adobe.com/www.adobe.com/p...renderprint.pdf

Please take the time to read it, let us know what you think.
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Andrew Rodney
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sniper
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« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2007, 03:26:55 PM »
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Post processing doesn't need to take hours, software like Lightroom can automate a lot of workflow, while your doing something else.
It's about quality, if you truly want the best your camera can produce go with RAW, if you can live with second best shoot jpeg.   Wayne
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John.Murray
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« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2007, 03:40:12 PM »
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I recently heard this analogy describing the difference:

jpeg:  shooting a polaroid - all processing done for you, exposure, whitebalance, etc.  limited amount of information stored  - no possibility of using future advances in photo processing software.

raw: shooting a negative - you get to choose your processor, be it relatively automated, or manual.  full control of exposure, whitebalance, etc.  information stored is *exactly* what the camera sensor recorded - future software advances will probably result in improved image quality in the future.

-John
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Raw shooter
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« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2007, 03:53:12 PM »
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Rockwell may have been talking about 2003-2004 RAW, certainly not what RAW has become.
Really no one with experience would take Rockwell's stance.
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2007, 04:13:50 PM »
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Back in film days, some folks took their film to the corner drugstore for developing and printing, while the rest of us spent time in darkrooms doing it all ourselves. It's the same as the difference between jpeg and Raw as far as I can see.

So Ken R is happy as a drugstore shooter. So be it.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2007, 07:30:35 PM »
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Ken Rockwell should be drawn and quartered...

The ONLY reason to use JPEG is if seconds matter from the standpoint of news or other extremely time sensitive needs. Otherwise, a photographer who wants the optimal output from their efforts would be better served to develop an efficient and productive raw workflow...which apparently is something Ken doesn't know. I could teach him...but I think his mind is made up. Just don't let him think for you.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=151356\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

OK, I second that!

Erik
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2007, 07:41:13 PM »
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Hi!

The idea with RAW is that you keep all information. You can use standard settings or try to extract maximum information from your images. With JPEG yo make decisons before taking the picture with RAW afterwards.

You don't need to care about white balance, sharpening, noise reduction and so on. You decide all after the fact. With good software like Lightroom you don't even see a difference between JPEG, TIFF and RAW, except that RAW is a bit slower.

Best regards

Erik

Quote
I made a comment on a thread in the 'user critique' board related to the amount of time people can spend processing photos. This reminded me of an article on Kend Rockwell's website where he explains why he never shoots RAW.

http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/raw.htm

His view is (in brief) that instead of spending hours in front of a RAW editor he would rather take jpeg, let the camera do the work and take more photos. As a professional photographer he does not have time to process hundreds of photos.

Blansky's view (on that same 'user critique' thread) consdiders jpegs are not good enough, and using jpegs instead of RAW is a reflectoion on their level of commitment. I apologise to Blansky now for removing his comments from their original context, but I think he represents a significant number of digital photographers on this issue.

Having recently started in digital photography, I have no commitments either way, but Ken Rockwell's views do make sense to me.
Using jpeg instead of RAW is no indicator of commitment but instead shows a different approach. Why do we shoot RAW? The only reason is to increase your options on post-shoot processing. You can rescue borderline pictures that are 'not quite right'. Shooting jpegs does not mean a drop in standards - just a recognition that if you don't get it right in camera then you lose the shot.

And this got me thinking.
For those dedicated RAW shooters:
-  how much of your processing requires the processing to be done in RAW? If the picture is pretty good, minor tweak can be done in jpeg to good effect
-  Hand on heart - how much of your post-processing is to create 'an effect' and how much is to genuinely get closer to the original scene you photographed?
-  is the satisfaction you get from looking at your picture due purely to the result? Or is there pride because you know how much work you put into it?
-  if you took identical pictures with JPEG and RAW, and printed it at 18"x24", could a third party really tellyou which was which?

I will finish by saying that I realise RAW has a place. Some people love turning an average day-time scene into one of a burning sunset or crating fantasy montages. These would be hard to do in jpeg to the same effect. But I am someone who takes photos to record what I actually see - wonderful effects are (not yet) part of my hobby. What would RAW really give to me?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=151350\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
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TomJB
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« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2007, 11:45:25 PM »
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I recently heard this analogy describing the difference:

jpeg:  shooting a polaroid - all processing done for you, exposure, whitebalance, etc.  limited amount of information stored  - no possibility of using future advances in photo processing software.

raw: shooting a negative - you get to choose your processor, be it relatively automated, or manual.  full control of exposure, whitebalance, etc.  information stored is *exactly* what the camera sensor recorded - future software advances will probably result in improved image quality in the future.

-John
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=151385\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Actually, shooting RAW is more akin to having access to the latent image before the film is developed into a negative.  To carry the analogy along, you could, for example, try several different B&W developers or with color, several different cross development chemistries!
 
  - Tom
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2007, 11:52:39 PM »
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I recently heard this analogy describing the difference:

jpeg:  shooting a polaroid - all processing done for you, exposure, whitebalance, etc.  limited amount of information stored  - no possibility of using future advances in photo processing software.

raw: shooting a negative - you get to choose your processor, be it relatively automated, or manual.  full control of exposure, whitebalance, etc.  information stored is *exactly* what the camera sensor recorded - future software advances will probably result in improved image quality in the future.

-John
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=151385\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I would concur with possible one addition ... shooting raw is as though you also get to make your own film and developer as well.  Much of what film captured (funny I use past tense for that now )was baked into the film - especially color film, whereas with RAW you aren't limited by that.

(To go one step farther than Tom)
« Last Edit: November 09, 2007, 11:58:14 PM by Wayne Fox » Logged

islandboy
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« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2007, 11:02:56 AM »
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I'm still relatively new to Raw processing but I don't see anything wrong with shooting both JPEG and Raw. If the shot settings are right on and I am going to post a photo online, e-mail it or print a small 4x6 I can use the JPEG with no processing. However, I also have the option of working with the Raw file if I choose to in situations where I need more control or want the highest quality I can squeeze out of my camera. Contrary to what some people argue, I find that I can process a Raw file much faster than a JPEG if I need to make color and exposure changes.
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digitaldog
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« Reply #15 on: November 10, 2007, 11:23:31 AM »
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I'm still relatively new to Raw processing but I don't see anything wrong with shooting both JPEG and Raw.

Here's a problem. The JPEG is processed in camera using quite complex, proprietary conversions. Unless you use the manufacturers Raw converter, and this isn't a guarantee, its often very difficult or impossible to produce a Raw conversion that matches the JPEG. This may, may be an issue. For example, you shoot Raw+JPEG and provide JEPGs for clients to pick from and intend to process the Raws from there. Getting the two to match is not easy. However, if you process the Raw's and in a product like Lightroom, export JPEGs from these instructions, the two match exactly. Its for this reason I stopped shooting Raw+JPEG (and to free up space on my cards).
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Graeme Nattress
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« Reply #16 on: November 10, 2007, 12:54:45 PM »
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Shooting JPEG is like shooting with an automatic camera - with no choice of focus, aperture, shutter speed or ISO. Shooting RAW is like shooting manual - you get to choose how the tones you've captured generate the final look.

With tools like Lightroom and Aperture that deal with RAW files natively, I see no need to shoot RAW+JPEG as generating a JPEG is very easy and quick.

Graeme
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PeterLange
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« Reply #17 on: November 11, 2007, 04:36:45 AM »
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I’ve been reading both articles very carefully, and in essence I do not see the great contradiction. Karl Lang’s article is very educated, and therefore much more balanced, so that he doesn’t per se exclude Ken Rockwell’s or Jay Maisel’s point of view, even though his own conclusion may be different.

My 2 ct. Peter

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Schewe
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« Reply #18 on: November 11, 2007, 12:43:42 PM »
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The only useful thing Mr. Rockwell said in the referenced article is this:

WHICH SHOULD YOU SHOOT?

If you have to ask then just shoot JPG.


If you don't know the difference, it won't matter.

But to compare Karl's article with Ken's article is a REAL stretch...and does a disservice to Karl's article.
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spidermike
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« Reply #19 on: November 11, 2007, 01:02:58 PM »
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The only useful thing Mr. Rockwell said in the referenced article is this:

WHICH SHOULD YOU SHOOT?

If you have to ask then just shoot JPG.


If you don't know the difference, it won't matter.

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=151956\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Fair point, Schewe.
 

Everyone on the 'RAW' side seems to talk about control. And I fully accept that.
But my thinking was more fundamental than that - can the output of a JPEG picture be just as good as the output of a RAW picture.

Suppose you set your custom settings accurately and know from experience exactly what you are doing with your camera and how those settings will respond under certain lighting conditions. Then if the final JPEG picture is damned good, does processing the RAW equivalent make a better picture or does it allow you to make it different.

Could you, as an experienced picture-processor make a print ftom a jpeg original and convince everyone it was a RAW original with the final print?

If the answer is 'yes' my presumption would be that people shoot RAW just in case the picture needs more 'rescue' than JPEG allows.
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