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Author Topic: The RAW or JPG question from a different angle  (Read 11532 times)
djb21au
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« on: November 18, 2010, 08:18:32 PM »
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You folks look like you know what you're talking about so I thought I ask the oft-asked RAW vs JPG question again here as I'm still a little confused. I understand the difference between RAW and JPG; what I'm still grappling with are the pros and cons of using one or other as master in Aperture. But rather than ask that question straight out, please allow me to describe the workflow I'm using so you can tell me what, if anything, is wrong with it.

1/ I shoot RAW + JPG
2/ I import JPG only, without renaming, and quickly reject the obvious duds
3/ I use the 'Matching RAW files' option to import the RAW files for images I want to keep
4/ I set 'RAW as Master' and get to work, creating new versions as I go where I want more than one version of a picture.

Step 4 is where I seem to differ from some who advocate JPG as master. I can understand the distinction in software which requires a separate RAW processing step, but to me Aperture simply processes RAW files on the fly so there is no need to use the JPG as a master. The way I see it, by using RAW as master I'm editing with a lot more flexibility (to, say, pull detail out of shadows) than if I were editing the JPG. I understood this extra flexibility is the biggest advantage of using RAW in the first place. 

Of course, through all of this I'm really editing a JPG anyway, as that's what's on screen.

Seems to me that Aperture makes RAW editing so seamless that there is no advantage in not using the RAW as a master. But perhaps I'm wrong? Perhaps there is a speed advantage in editing the JPG? If so I don't notice it. Or is it that using the JPG as master would allow me to store my RAW files externally and still work on the images when I'm not on my network? (And if that's the case how do I apply edits to a RAW file later if I've pushed the JPG adjustments past their useful limit?). And/or does JPG as master speed up exporting (which is one thing I do notice takes a while at times)?

Sorry, a lot in there, but it's something I haven't been able to find a clear answer to on numerous forums.

David,
Melbourne, Australia
(Pentax K-r)

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digitaldog
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« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2010, 08:36:06 PM »
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This piece kind of sums it up:
http://wwwimages.adobe.com/www.adobe.com/products/photoshop/family/prophotographer/pdfs/pscs3_renderprint.pdf
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Andrew Rodney
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djb21au
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« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2010, 09:01:40 PM »
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Thanks Andrew. In fact I read that article some time ago – it is excellent.

Based on that, I can't see why anyone would choose to edit a JPG as master, unless it is for performance reasons. My approach of working with the RAW as master – because it contains the most information – would seem to be in keeping with Karl's advice.

David
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NikoJorj
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« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2010, 11:23:18 PM »
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Seems to me that Aperture makes RAW editing so seamless that there is no advantage in not using the RAW as a master.
Sir yes Sir!
That's at least what I see using Lightroom (seems quite close to Aperture, practically).

You could even simplify your workflow and set the camera to raw only : even if the import is longer (but you definitely have to imports those raw files at one time or the other don't you?), you suppress the juggling with jpeg files which should result in a net gain (unless you discard half of the images in the 2/ jpeg phase).
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Nicolas from Grenoble
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kikashi
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« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2010, 02:44:06 AM »
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Of course, through all of this I'm really editing a JPG anyway, as that's what's on screen.
No!

What you're editing is a rendered version of the raw file, with all the advantages of raw retained and none of the disadvantages (such as compression, reduced bit depth, fixed white point) introduced. In Lightroom, and I expect in Aperture, the parameters you set for conversion of the raw file from raw to something visible (jpeg, tiff, psd, whatever) are not applied until you do something, such as export or print, which requires them to be applied.

I'll let others more knowledgable than I expand further but I thought that one-line misconception was worth correcting.

Jeremy
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djb21au
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« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2010, 03:54:20 AM »
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Thanks Jeremy. Now we're getting somewhere! That's the sort of answer I've been fishing for.

So that still says to me that it's better to edit the RAW file, as Master in Aperture, hence leaving any 'compressive compromise' until the final conversion to a usable format. To use a (loose) film analogy, get the development of the negative as good as you can before printing.

David
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michswiss
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« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2010, 04:37:35 AM »
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I'm a heavy Aperture user and I only shoot RAW.  Even then, my primary camera embeds a JPG in the RAW file that can be used for preview.

You can eliminate a couple of steps in your workflow if you don't mind moving all the original captures to your work machine.  Not directed at you per se, but I honestly don't understand why this question keeps cropping up in crowds that otherwise seem like technically competent  photographers.

The only thing I've heard / read advocating for JPG that made sense to me is for very high volume sports shooters that might need to sell or submit shots from the venue itself without any onsite PP or review capabilities.  I guess I can also understand that there is a set of people with the new dSLR that wouldn't understand why their images don't "Pop" straight out of the camera.   
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djb21au
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« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2010, 06:30:04 AM »
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That makes sense to me michswiss. What was confusing me was that some prominent Aperture tutorials advocate JPG as master, which didn't fit with what I had learnt.

The only reason I do the JPG step first is to avoid unnecessary use of disk space, but I understand that it isn't really necessary.

Thanks to all – I'm happy now.  Grin
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k bennett
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« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2010, 08:44:55 AM »
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I'm not seeing any real advantage to your raw+jpeg workflow in which you download jpeg only, edit, and then download the matching raw files. Unless you are shooting so many gigabytes of photos that the download times are measured in hours, and then editing down to a handful of raw files before the raw download, there's not an obvious time savings here.

Otherwise, your analysis is correct, given Aperture or Lightroom, or my own preferred combo of Photo Mechanic and Camera Raw, there is no disadvantage to a raw-only workflow other than disk space.

Actually, depending on the circumstances, shooting raw can be a huge time savings. This came home to me during the 2008 presidential campaign, when we had one of the major candidates visit our campus (where I am now a staff photographer, formerly a newspaper photog.) I shot the event side by side with a photog from a major daily newspaper. Then we sat side by side to edit the photos on our laptops, and then upload them to our respective editors. She was shooting all JPEG files for "speed of editing," while I was shooting all raw files because that's what I do. Given that the stage lighting was *awful*, our in-camera white balance was just terrible. I was able to completely correct the white balance and exposure on the first image in ACR, then apply it to all the others. She had to manually correct each jpeg photo she wanted to upload in Photoshop. I finished editing and transmitting all my photos before she had transmitted a single image.
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« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2010, 04:45:50 PM »
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I haven't used a JPEG with Aperture since it came out.  There are few advantages, unless your machine can't handle the speed with the RAW files, or if you're actually working on deadline.

A RAW+JPEG workflow is a lot of extra effort, and unless you're using the "import JPEGs first, edit and later import the matching RAW files for final work" workflow, I'd say just going RAW only is the way to go.  With some import presets (edge sharpening to counteract the anti-alias filter, a little contrast), you can counteract the default "flat" rendering of RAW files and it's pretty darned seamless.
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djb21au
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« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2010, 07:08:35 PM »
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Thanks folks. As a result of this thread I've switched to RAW only. As I'm only shooting 12MP I don't notice any substantial speed penalty, and once the pictures are inside Aperture, the software's preview feature creates a JPG anyway.

Using Aperture's presets feature (after import) speeds things up too, though I need to learn how to make the most of import presets, as you suggest CatOne. If anyone can point me to a good source of guidance on that I'd appreciate it.

David
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KirbyKrieger
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« Reply #11 on: November 24, 2010, 11:20:44 PM »
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Using Aperture's presets feature (after import) speeds things up too, though I need to learn how to make the most of import presets, as you suggest CatOne. If anyone can point me to a good source of guidance on that I'd appreciate it.

David -- I suspect you mean adjustment presets, but I heeded the advice in the LumLa Lightroom video and set up a preset to include the following metadata fields.  I use it with every shot I take.


And from the section "IPTC Status"



Fwiw (apropos of this thread), I have never shot JPG.  I don't shoot on deadline.  I do shoot to gather the most, and most specific, data which I can.  RAW fits the bill.
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djb21au
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« Reply #12 on: November 24, 2010, 11:31:42 PM »
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Thanks Kirby. On presets, I'm actually referring to the presets CatOne mentions above:

Quote
With some import presets (edge sharpening to counteract the anti-alias filter, a little contrast), you can counteract the default "flat" rendering of RAW files and it's pretty darned seamless.

David
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« Reply #13 on: November 25, 2010, 04:40:41 PM »
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Open Aperture's Help and type "Adjustment Presets" and you'll see instructions on how to create a preset.  Basically, though, you would just adjust a photo as you want (take a photo and reset all adjustments, then dial in the right amount of edge sharpening, contrast, etc.) and then choose the "save as preset" option as shown in the help.

Once you've done that, when you are importing files, select the drop down at the top of the import window and ensure that "adjustment presets" is checked.  From there, you can choose the presets you've created and apply them to all photos at import.

I apply metadata presets and adjustment presets to all photos I import.  I have different presets set for my Canon cameras and my Leica, as the Leica doesn't have nearly as strong an AA filter as the Canon does.
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djb21au
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« Reply #14 on: November 25, 2010, 05:03:08 PM »
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Excellent – I was unaware of the ability to impose adjustment presets at import.

So much to learn!  Tongue
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« Reply #15 on: November 26, 2010, 12:53:48 AM »
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It would have been nice to have some mechanism that "emulated" the camera JPEG using the raw-file. This way, you would have a starting-point for editing that mimiced how Canon/Nikon/... thinks the image should look, but still have the precision of the raw-file.

-h
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djb21au
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« Reply #16 on: December 07, 2010, 02:48:13 PM »
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It would have been nice to have some mechanism that "emulated" the camera JPEG using the raw-file. This way, you would have a starting-point for editing that mimiced how Canon/Nikon/... thinks the image should look, but still have the precision of the raw-file.

My understanding is that Aperture does that, at least for camera's it officially supports. That's why the RAW fine tuning area (in adjustments) has a 'Camera' field. So, in effect, the JPG preview generated by Aperture should somewhat emulate what the camera does.

Happy to be corrected.
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caerphoto
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« Reply #17 on: August 15, 2011, 04:50:00 AM »
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Hello! First off, apologies for resurrecting an old thread but I did want to add some extra information which some may find useful.

To further support the case for a raw-only, one feature I find very useful is the View ► Quick Preview menu item (it's also a button on the bottom toolbar thing, on the right). This tells Aperture to only load the small JPEG preview it generates on import, rather than a full-size decoded raw image, which makes it very fast to skim through a large number of images in order to make an initial selection.

There is a downside: if you start browsing right away, Aperture won't have had time to generate its preview image, and in such cases it'll fall back to using the JPEG preview embedded in the raw file, which, depending on the Preset you applied on import, might not look much like the Aperture-generated preview (e.g. if you shot a bunch of images in colour, then applied a B&W preset on import).
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KirbyKrieger
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« Reply #18 on: August 15, 2011, 11:27:35 PM »
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There is a downside: if you start browsing right away, Aperture won't have had time to generate its preview image, and in such cases it'll fall back to using the JPEG preview embedded in the raw file

Note that you you can suppress the use of the embedded JPG by not checking "Use embedded JPEG from camera when possible" on the preferences pane at "Aperture→Preferences→Previews".  I recommend leaving this unchecked.

The "bottom toolbar thing" is called the Toolstrip.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2011, 11:29:40 PM by KirbyKrieger » Logged

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