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DPChallenge Forums >> Hardware and Software >> Did Ken Rockwell finally see the value of RAW?
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11/24/2011 10:44:14 PM · #1
Ken has always trashed shooting in RAW format, generally I agree with him (for 80% of shooting), but here he sings the praises of RAW and illustrates its value.

Ken Rawwell
11/25/2011 11:08:25 AM · #2
Originally posted by Zeissman:

Ken has always trashed shooting in RAW format, generally I agree with him (for 80% of shooting)

Why would you not utilize RAW if your camera has the capability?
11/25/2011 11:15:01 AM · #3
Ahhh, too bad the classic Ken Rockwell thread is locked. Those were the days!
11/25/2011 11:56:19 AM · #4
Originally posted by NikonJeb:

Originally posted by Zeissman:

Ken has always trashed shooting in RAW format, generally I agree with him (for 80% of shooting)

Why would you not utilize RAW if your camera has the capability?


Well, as somebody who snapshots a lot and uses the camera as a way to keep a personal diary, I am flooded with files which are mediocre photos but good memories.
Was I keeping only the decent shots from all these years, even in raw I could probably do with a 16gb memorystick :)
But given I keep even bad photos, over 8 years I have around 2 terabytes of images (plus backup obviously), a mix of raw and jpeg files. I am planning to start converting all the 'not that interesting' ones into jpeg high quality and get rid of the raws.
Also, my camera is not well supported by Lightroom/ACR as for profiling , and the in-camera jpeg rendition is far superior to what LR will give me as a standard, even after tweaking camera profiles. Silkypix will do better than LR in that respect, but still..
Going through a bunch of images in raw to tweak them to what I could have straight from the camera doesn't make much sense to me. Not when these are snapshots. When I expect a series might merit or benefit from raw, I will use that.

Then, I do probably photograph more often and less thoughtfully than most.

11/25/2011 12:06:11 PM · #5
Originally posted by NikonJeb:

Why would you not utilize RAW if your camera has the capability?


Originally posted by mcaldo:

Well, as somebody who snapshots a lot and uses the camera as a way to keep a personal diary, I am flooded with files which are mediocre photos but good memories.
Was I keeping only the decent shots from all these years, even in raw I could probably do with a 16gb memorystick :)
But given I keep even bad photos, over 8 years I have around 2 terabytes of images (plus backup obviously), a mix of raw and jpeg files. I am planning to start converting all the 'not that interesting' ones into jpeg high quality and get rid of the raws.
Also, my camera is not well supported by Lightroom/ACR as for profiling , and the in-camera jpeg rendition is far superior to what LR will give me as a standard, even after tweaking camera profiles. Silkypix will do better than LR in that respect, but still..
Going through a bunch of images in raw to tweak them to what I could have straight from the camera doesn't make much sense to me. Not when these are snapshots. When I expect a series might merit or benefit from raw, I will use that.

Then, I do probably photograph more often and less thoughtfully than most.

I have to acknowledge that storage is an issue, but to me it's so much less of an issue than potentially being able to salvage an image because of the more forgiving nature of the RAW format. Space is cheap......not so good for me if I can't bring something back that I really wanted......8~)
11/25/2011 02:25:17 PM · #6
True, sure. At times I regret not having the raw file for certain images and perhaps advancements in digital processing might make raw files even more flexible in the future.
But it's not only the storage price and the time to mantain image files and backup, it's also the processing time as, again, I struggle finding standard setting for getting the neutral result I like in LR, while in-camera processing seems to manage quite well in most cases.
I think this is much less of a problem with camera models which Adobe prioritized more, such pretty much anything from Canon and Nikon.
11/25/2011 05:41:20 PM · #7
I don't use RAW very often for many of the reason stated. Also, I don't want to have to go in and adjust WB and noise on every shot. When I do shoot RAW I shoot RAW+JPEG.

But that sample pic he posted on his site is a great testament to why RAW should be used many times.
11/25/2011 06:15:22 PM · #8
He was a fool not to have seen it earlier, but a genius now he's discovered it.
11/25/2011 06:19:29 PM · #9
Originally posted by Zeissman:

I don't use RAW very often for many of the reason stated. Also, I don't want to have to go in and adjust WB and noise on every shot. When I do shoot RAW I shoot RAW+JPEG.

But that sample pic he posted on his site is a great testament to why RAW should be used many times.


I used to do RAW+JPEG as well, but now I resorted extracting the jpg thumbnail with instantjpgfromraw, a free utility.
It's not full resolution, but high enough for quickly posting to the web or sending out if I need to, and it saves me a bit of space and gives me a reference if I decide to tweak the raw in LR or Silkypix..
11/26/2011 09:26:05 AM · #10
Originally posted by Zeissman:

I don't use RAW very often for many of the reason stated. Also, I don't want to have to go in and adjust WB and noise on every shot. When I do shoot RAW I shoot RAW+JPEG.

Okay......I'm confused. What does shooting RAW have to do with having to adjust noise & white balance? I shoot entirely in RAW, and I find noise to be a result of exposure and/or ISO issues. As far as WB goes, again, what does the format have to do with that?
11/26/2011 10:02:40 AM · #11
More than a year ago, I gave up on suggesting people use RAW format for best results. I strongly believe that's the only way to go, but some people are too stubborn to accept good advice. That's okay. But, the reasoning becomes circular when they subsequently ask how to solve problem A or problem B with their photography.
11/26/2011 11:12:07 AM · #12
Originally posted by NikonJeb:

Originally posted by Zeissman:

I don't use RAW very often for many of the reason stated. Also, I don't want to have to go in and adjust WB and noise on every shot. When I do shoot RAW I shoot RAW+JPEG.

Okay......I'm confused. What does shooting RAW have to do with having to adjust noise & white balance? I shoot entirely in RAW, and I find noise to be a result of exposure and/or ISO issues. As far as WB goes, again, what does the format have to do with that?


It's much harder to adjust the WB of JPEG files. The files are cooked and compressed. Changing color values (which is what White Balance really does) can be problematic when the color shifts are extreme, like when shooting in tungsten outdoors. In some cases, it is almost impossible to correct.
11/26/2011 11:46:31 AM · #13
Originally posted by hahn23:

More than a year ago, I gave up on suggesting people use RAW format for best results. I strongly believe that's the only way to go, but some people are too stubborn to accept good advice. That's okay. But, the reasoning becomes circular when they subsequently ask how to solve problem A or problem B with their photography.


+1
In days gone by, shooting RAW meant an "extra step" in processing. But for those using a workflow tool like Lightroom (or Aperture), there's no difference in workflow, period. The only impact of RAW is a larger file; small price to pay for the added bit depth and dynamic range.
The camera *always* shoots in RAW; when we select JPEG we are limiting ourselves to the in-camera JPEG conversion engine, which is limited by the fact that it must operate with limited computing power and also by the need to complete the task in a very short time. The end result is a sub-optimal conversion. Don't believe me? Go browse through DSLR reviews over at DPReview.com; many of them comment on shortcomings of the in-camera JPRG conversions, and suggest shooting RAW to get the most out of the images. P&S cameras? Even more serious issues.
11/26/2011 12:52:52 PM · #14
Originally posted by NikonJeb:


Okay......I'm confused. What does shooting RAW have to do with having to adjust noise & white balance? I shoot entirely in RAW, and I find noise to be a result of exposure and/or ISO issues. As far as WB goes, again, what does the format have to do with that?


The camera's WB adjustments and noise reductions get applied to JPEGs but not the RAW images (plus any saturation or sharpness tweaks). Shoot some RAW plus JPEG and then switch between the two in your photo viewer, if you have your camera set up correctly the JPEG will look much better straight out of the camera. You can save yourself hours in post processing. Yeah, there are times when I want the flexibility of RAW, but it isn't very often so I generally just shoot JPEG and switch to RAW + JPEG when I am shooting something I think I may want to enlarge, even then I generally just use the JPEGs.
11/26/2011 12:53:56 PM · #15
Picking the format (RAW or JPEG) is as important as deciding which aperture you want to use. There is a time and a place for everything. Tonight I'll be shooting at the Mystic River Lighted Boat Parade...I'll definitely be shooting RAW for that. Bright lights, dark background the RAW format offers the flexibility. Shooting family at Turkey dinner: JPEG.
11/26/2011 01:51:58 PM · #16
Originally posted by PGerst:

...Shooting family at Turkey dinner: JPEG.


I'm very curious as to why you'd make this choice. This is also a low-light scenario, unless I choose to supplement with bounced flash. In any case, I still want the processing flexibility that RAW allows. JPEG really offers no benefit other than reduced file sizes, and that matters not a bit to me (pun intended) for this application.
One of the very few cases where JPEG is pretty much a necessity is in pro sports where the images will be rapidly provided to other folks processing them for publication. In this case, JPEG still makes sense.
11/26/2011 02:07:15 PM · #17
The only time I find JPEG useful is when I shoot a burst of images and fill the memory card buffer. But even with the small buffer on my T2i I rarely run out of buffer.

This thread was my first exposure to Ken Rockwell. I've never seen such a plethora of poor advice.
11/26/2011 02:56:40 PM · #18
It was simply for size. The indoor shots had very well controlled lighting with bounce flash so I can get a very good balance across the histogram without having to worry about highlight recovery. In addition, the white balance control in the room I shot in was very good. One excellent benefit for RAW is the white balance control.

Originally posted by kirbic:

Originally posted by PGerst:

...Shooting family at Turkey dinner: JPEG.


I'm very curious as to why you'd make this choice. This is also a low-light scenario, unless I choose to supplement with bounced flash. In any case, I still want the processing flexibility that RAW allows. JPEG really offers no benefit other than reduced file sizes, and that matters not a bit to me (pun intended) for this application.
One of the very few cases where JPEG is pretty much a necessity is in pro sports where the images will be rapidly provided to other folks processing them for publication. In this case, JPEG still makes sense.
11/26/2011 05:16:17 PM · #19
Originally posted by Zeissman:

The camera's WB adjustments and noise reductions get applied to JPEGs but not the RAW images (plus any saturation or sharpness tweaks). Shoot some RAW plus JPEG and then switch between the two in your photo viewer, if you have your camera set up correctly the JPEG will look much better straight out of the camera. You can save yourself hours in post processing. Yeah, there are times when I want the flexibility of RAW, but it isn't very often so I generally just shoot JPEG and switch to RAW + JPEG when I am shooting something I think I may want to enlarge, even then I generally just use the JPEGs.


You can set your RAW converter to default to the camera settings, if you wish. So whatever settings would have been on the JPG, are applied to the RAW as the starting point in your conversion. This allows 1-click RAW conversion in all those instances where the JPG is "good enough" but still leaves you the ability to tweak WB and exposure as needed, in conversion.

R.
11/26/2011 05:40:24 PM · #20
Originally posted by Bear_Music:



You can set your RAW converter to default to the camera settings, if you wish. So whatever settings would have been on the JPG, are applied to the RAW as the starting point in your conversion. This allows 1-click RAW conversion in all those instances where the JPG is "good enough" but still leaves you the ability to tweak WB and exposure as needed, in conversion.

R.


I see your point and I'd love it was so with my camera, which is a clone of a pentax k10d.
But Lightroom 2 is consistently off the mark with my images, but unfortunately not consistently between images. White balance, selective saturation, they are all off and not for the better. So I cannot create a preset in camera calibration and make that my default. Even tricking LR into assuming I am using a pentax k10d will not give a good result.
Silkypix in the samsung variety is much closer, but it lacks the features I so much like in LR. I never tested with Aperture.
Comprehensibly, Nikon and Canon models are much better catered for in that respect.

This is less of a problem for photos I want to spend significant time working with anyway, but with most images is a pain.
11/27/2011 03:38:35 AM · #21
*bounces into the thread*

Did someone say Ken Rockwell? :D Are we fighting about him, can I rant, please can I rant!?

Laugh!

*bounces back out of the thread*

*walks back in calmly*

I use RAW whenever possible but it does reduce rate of capture and I haven't been able to afford a really large fast card so I'm usually knocked to either picking my shots leading to the dreaded "DAMN! Half a second earlier and I would have captured that." or using JPEG leading to "Ugh that guys face was entirely in the shadow of that alien spacecraft, I'll never be able to correct that now."

*wanders back out*
01/29/2012 03:02:14 AM · #22
I've always shot JPEG until I got my Panasonic GH2, and started using Lightroom. Now it's all I shoot, even if it's just snapshots. It's fairly trivial to make minor adjustments if you need to, and for the shots you are more proud of, it gives you a lot more leeway in creating a final image good enough to hang on the wall.
01/29/2012 05:24:44 AM · #23
Why would you let a machine dictate your end result?

A JPG is your cameras best guess at what you were actually trying to photograph. JPG is much better suited to your pocket sized, point and shoot style camera user.

I do understand that if taking lots of shots on older cameras that speed might be an issue but my D7000 in the right light will take around 5-6 RAW shots per second - I bet there's not many real life situations where you actually need a faster response than this?

In fact I just don't understand JPG shooting if you have discovered RAW and have some decent software such as Lightroom or Aperture.

If processing each image is an issue, my suggestion would be to refine / select your photos as you take them on the camera screen.

There's no point storing mediocre photos in either format if you ask me!!
01/29/2012 07:56:31 AM · #24
Originally posted by NikonJeb:

Okay......I'm confused. What does shooting RAW have to do with having to adjust noise & white balance? I shoot entirely in RAW, and I find noise to be a result of exposure and/or ISO issues. As far as WB goes, again, what does the format have to do with that?


Originally posted by Zeissman:

The camera's WB adjustments and noise reductions get applied to JPEGs but not the RAW images (plus any saturation or sharpness tweaks). Shoot some RAW plus JPEG and then switch between the two in your photo viewer, if you have your camera set up correctly the JPEG will look much better straight out of the camera. You can save yourself hours in post processing. Yeah, there are times when I want the flexibility of RAW, but it isn't very often so I generally just shoot JPEG and switch to RAW + JPEG when I am shooting something I think I may want to enlarge, even then I generally just use the JPEGs.


Originally posted by Bear_Music:

You can set your RAW converter to default to the camera settings, if you wish. So whatever settings would have been on the JPG, are applied to the RAW as the starting point in your conversion. This allows 1-click RAW conversion in all those instances where the JPG is "good enough" but still leaves you the ability to tweak WB and exposure as needed, in conversion.

R.


Originally posted by mcaldo:

I see your point and I'd love it was so with my camera, which is a clone of a pentax k10d.
But Lightroom 2 is consistently off the mark with my images, but unfortunately not consistently between images. White balance, selective saturation, they are all off and not for the better. So I cannot create a preset in camera calibration and make that my default. Even tricking LR into assuming I am using a pentax k10d will not give a good result.
Silkypix in the samsung variety is much closer, but it lacks the features I so much like in LR. I never tested with Aperture.
Comprehensibly, Nikon and Canon models are much better catered for in that respect.

This is less of a problem for photos I want to spend significant time working with anyway, but with most images is a pain.

I guess a lot of this boils down to the shot you're taking in the first place, the comfortability level with your equipment, and the level of editing you do. It seems to me any more that I don't really spend much time editing at all. I think that's simply a product of my relationship with my camera, subject material, and having settled in to my own particular methods/style of doing things. I don't seem to have any of the issues you are talking about....
01/29/2012 09:15:26 AM · #25
Not really in the topic. My question is TIFF format after the RAW conversion. The file size increase 3 fold, does anyone keep the TIFF file or just Jpeg after editing?
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