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DPChallenge Forums >> Tips, Tricks, and Q&A >> Would you shoot raw or JPG?
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05/29/2006 04:24:53 PM · #1
I have posted this question on another photo web site and have received some mixed reviews. The photos on this site are sweet, and I would really be interested to hear what the pros around here feel about this topic.

Preface:
I am a noob, but I don't plan on being one forever, and just because I am new to photography I don't want to settle for something less for the sake of not having to learn how to do it right. I have tons of storage space, plenty of computer speed and can buy any software I need. I only say that because that seems to be the first questions people ask. I really like shooting landscapes on hikes I take in Colorado. I have a Nikon D50 with a couple lenses.

Why would I shoot in Raw vs JPG?
What software would I need to do Raw right?
Is the raw image the closest thing to the analog of film I can get digitally?
Somebody told me that the JPG conversion with software is worse than the camera's JPG conversion is this true?
What is with all the talk of noise in the raw image that is not in the JPG?
Is is hard to keep so many raw Images organized?

Thanks in advance if you can help me along my journey. I am getting more confused than when I started because people seem to really be on opposite sides of this one.
05/29/2006 04:27:19 PM · #2
Shoot RAW. No question.
05/29/2006 04:27:19 PM · #3
//www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/understanding-series/u-raw-files.shtml

//www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/rawtruth1.shtml

Message edited by author 2006-05-29 16:28:48.
05/29/2006 04:37:07 PM · #4
RAW allows sooo much more lattitude. Unless you get every single shot dead on every time, shoot raw.
05/29/2006 04:43:26 PM · #5
Thanks for the quick ad vice and the links, I will check those out.
05/29/2006 04:44:44 PM · #6
>Why would I shoot in Raw vs JPG?
Because Raw is more forgiving if you don't get the exposure just right

>What software would I need to do Raw right?
There seems to be lots of options. I use the Raw plugin that comes with Photoshop, but I'm seriously thinking about switching to Adobe's Lightroom.

>Is the raw image the closest thing to the analog of film I can get digitally?
Yes

>Somebody told me that the JPG conversion with software is worse than the camera's JPG conversion is this true?
No, the algorithm is the same, just one's in software and the other in hardware.

>What is with all the talk of noise in the raw image that is not in the JPG?
Not sure, but I suppose that since JPG removes high spatial frequency information from the image, it probably removes some noise too.

>Is is hard to keep so many raw Images organized?
Why would that be any different? You keep just one original version of each image (Raw or JPG) and then as many edited versions as you need (in PSD, TIFF, or JPG form). Use some naming convention that keeps the edits alphabetically next to the original, and split images into folders by shoot, day, month, or some such.
05/29/2006 04:44:46 PM · #7
If you have to ask, just shoot JPG, seriously...get your settings right and no one can tell the difference.
05/29/2006 04:47:44 PM · #8
I used to only shoot jpg...then I learned how to use RAW to my advantage and was sold on it's freedom and forgiveness. BUT...I also have learned that there are some times when I don't have the luxury of memory space or time to process shots, so I have adapted to shooting jpg when I can and RAW when I really need the latitude. For instance, if I'm shooting a wedding, I shoot the formals and indoor ceremony shots in RAW, and the pre-wedding and reception stuff in jpg. Makes it easier on me to process and it frees up memory for me since I only have 2 1Gb cards. It works for me to do both, anyway.
05/29/2006 05:02:43 PM · #9
This was discussed here recently.
05/29/2006 05:24:02 PM · #10
Originally posted by Louis:

This was discussed here recently.


Thanks for the great advice.
05/29/2006 05:43:59 PM · #11
I shoot RAW plus basic Jpeg ALWAYS. I don't care much about memory space because cards prices have come way down and I have 4.5 GB worth of them. If I fill them before I return home, I've got my laptop to transfer them images to.

I regret that as a beginner on this site that I never shot anything but Jpeg fine. I feel that I am so limited in what I can do with the best of those files compared to what I can do with RAW files now.

Software: RAW Shooter's Essentials has a great, free version that can be downloaded from the web. Works fine for me.
05/29/2006 05:47:06 PM · #12
Originally posted by yakatme:

I shoot RAW plus basic Jpeg ALWAYS. I don't care much about memory space because cards prices have come way down and I have 4.5 GB worth of them. If I fill them before I return home, I've got my laptop to transfer them images to.

I regret that as a beginner on this site that I never shot anything but Jpeg fine. I feel that I am so limited in what I can do with the best of those files compared to what I can do with RAW files now.

Software: RAW Shooter's Essentials has a great, free version that can be downloaded from the web. Works fine for me.


That is useful, because that is what I fear, regreting having not shot raw in the beggining. Thanks!
05/29/2006 05:49:09 PM · #13
why would you regret not shooting RAW? Think of all the time you save yourself by getting your settings right the first time.
05/29/2006 05:59:53 PM · #14
Originally posted by deapee:

why would you regret not shooting RAW? Think of all the time you save yourself by getting your settings right the first time.


I've often seen this type of comment from you and it surprises me. Settings vary from one shot to the next. I guess I'm not as good with the D70 as you are, but it doesn't matter much, because I can do a lot more with the RAW conversion out of the camera than I can in the camera.

If, for some reason, I don't "get the settngs right the first time" then I have some means of correcting my oversight or lack of experience. I might get the settings right 85% of the time, but I like to know that I have the flexibility of making certain changes if I want to and am glad that I can for the other 15% or so of the time.

Also, I don't spend much time converting from RAW. I've done it often enough that I am probably as confident, quick, and efficient, in handling RAW conversion software as you are in handling the D70.
This flexibility is one of the advantages of digital over film and it is one that I really do appreciate.

Message edited by author 2006-05-29 18:01:39.
05/29/2006 06:21:53 PM · #15
I used to be in the JPEG camp, mostly because I was lazy and my Coolpix 8700 wasn't exactly spiffy about writing them. But, once I went RAW, I can't see myself going back.

I rarely miss exposure and if I take my time won't miss WB. But RAW offers much more than just those. You have a lot more control of shadows, highlights, contrast, saturation and sharpness, just to name a few.

CF cards are cheap, so I don't think available memory should be much of a choce in RAW vs JpEG. Also, as far as time is concerned, batch conversions will work for 99% of your shots, if you got them right in-camera.

I'm not going to diss anyone who decides to shoot JPEG over RAW. It's a personal choice. But, I personally won't be going back to JPEG. To me, throwing away data in-camera just doesn't cut it. I "might" want that data in Post-process.

Edit: Oh the OP asked a question about noise in RAW. That happens sometimes if you miss the exposure and try to bump it up in conversion. But if you hit the exposure and don't have to do any compensationn in conversion you won't see any more noise than you would in a JPEG file.

Software : I use Adobe CS2 on my desktop and also have Rawshooter Essentials on my Notebook. I find they both do a good job at conversion. I like Rawshooter Essentials better if I want to batch convert photos. But, use Adobe RAW for most stuff.

Message edited by author 2006-05-29 18:27:34.
05/29/2006 06:43:04 PM · #16
Originally posted by fotomann_forever:

CF cards are cheap, so I don't think available memory should be much of a choce in RAW vs JpEG.


Cheap is relative...nothing over $50.00 is cheap to me (and probably a lot of other people around here).
05/29/2006 06:50:49 PM · #17
Originally posted by laurielblack:

Originally posted by fotomann_forever:

CF cards are cheap, so I don't think available memory should be much of a choce in RAW vs JpEG.


Cheap is relative...nothing over $50.00 is cheap to me (and probably a lot of other people around here).


Ok, I'll reframe that. They are cheap compared to the rest of the gear we want/need ;-)
05/29/2006 06:54:08 PM · #18
DOnt know if its been mentioned yet but a good raw program is definitely RawShooter. You can get a free version.. so maybe check it out. Im pretty happy with it so far. I use it for correcting the image before sending it on to photoshop.

Def shoot raw tho! A bit of a hassle if u are just doing snapshots, so dont bother with those, cause you have to convert them. With more professional stuff, def go raw.
05/29/2006 07:02:30 PM · #19
shoot both raw and jpg depending on what your are going to do with the images.

i.e. I shoot alot of volleyball matches I throw out the out of focus and realy bad shots and upload the rest on my website for the players and other intrested to see.
I shoot this always in jpg since i'm not going to edit them or just very little editing. Having to convert them all from raw would take too much time for me.

If i'm shooting and I want to be sure I can do what ever I want to in post editing then I alwasy shoot raw.

If you don't know alot about raw then shoot raw try it out and play with the pictures in post editing to see what you can do.
05/29/2006 07:06:49 PM · #20
This is why you shoot RAW. The photos in this thread could easily be fixed.
See this thread
05/29/2006 07:08:23 PM · #21
Shoot in Raw. You can get FREE software from Nikon to process and convert the raw files to either Jpeg, or Tiff(8 or 16 Bit) Nikon View is a simple program to learn does a good job, and did I mention it is FREE.
05/29/2006 08:18:09 PM · #22
Seems to be plenty of free raw software out there. Rawshooter, Picasa2, Nikon View, and a few others.
05/29/2006 09:39:00 PM · #23
Different RAW converters do create different end results. So just because it's free or easy to use is not (necessarily) a good reason to use it.

$50 may not be cheap, but it's a tank of gas, a couple of dinners out, 1/2 week's groceries....a 2Gb card can be had for $65. that'll hold a bit over 200 RAW files from a 30D/20D.

Back to the OP's question:
RAW allows you to adjust the exposure and WB afterwards - be that for technically screwing up the original for whatever reason for creative purposes (people often shoot one one type of film in another type of light on purpose).

It's easier to keep RAW fiels strait as you cannot modify them. You cahnge the WB today and tommorrow you change your mind - you can go back to the file and try something else - even cropping -and the original RAW file is unharmed. Nothing to track on this front, but with a JPG you have to watch which is the original as it can be changed permanently.

RAW files have the most info possible. if in 2 years CS4 comes out with some wonderful new filter/effect/etc and you want to go back and edit your old files, you know you'll have the best you could have had - so if sharpening routines get better etc you can re-edit from the true original -

Canon has just come out with 'Picture Styles' on the 5D and now 30D - it's like film so to speak. Say you shot something on your 10D in RAW 4 years ago - you can process that file as a Picture Style. had you shot only JPG, sorry, no changing it now.

For converting RAW i like DPP (a canon product) or BreezeBrowser Pro.
05/29/2006 10:17:04 PM · #24
would you shoot in AVI or MPEG?
05/29/2006 10:40:47 PM · #25
the answer is not always shoot raw. While there are a lot of benifits, sometimes it's impractical for somebody to process everyshot afterwards. If you have everything setup the way you want, and you don't plan on doing much editing, jpeg is a good fast way to get pictures.
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