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04/27/2008 01:19:57 PM · #1
I don't have much experience w/ digital photography, and I was just wondering if anyone could explain to me why raw is better than jpg?

I know that RAW is minimally edited, but anything else?

Thanks. :).
04/27/2008 01:26:06 PM · #2
JPEG is a lossy compression algorithim. That means that when the file is compressed some information is lost. Usually the more you compress the image, the more information you loose. Raw keeps the image exactly as the sensor captured it.
04/27/2008 01:26:09 PM · #3
see if this still works
04/27/2008 01:28:29 PM · #4
Typically RAW images contain more data per pixel. For this reason they may contain slightly higher contrast or detail in shadows and highlights. Also since RAW images come directly off your sensor they do not undergo processing such as noise reduction, white balance, etc. As amazing as cameras are usually the conversion software for RAW can do a better job at these tasks and give more control over the process. They also typically do not use lossy compression and therefore are sharper than a JPEG which is good if you plan to edit and resave the image, otherwise the image is turned into a JPEG twice, once by the camera, then by your photo program which can cause blurring, noise and artifacts in your images.

I usually shoot JPEG for normal shots, they are fast and take up a fraction of the space. However for important shots I always use raw so that I have the most control in repairing lighting or white balance later in the day.

I hope this helps, however I bet I am not the first to answer. :) Edit: Haha, told ya!

Message edited by author 2008-04-27 13:29:30.
04/27/2008 01:50:28 PM · #5
Thank you!
04/29/2008 01:17:42 PM · #6
i know a few things are a lot more easy to tweak when you shoot raw, ie is easier to correct white balance or exposure with raw rather than with jpeg. however with raw you do have to sharpen your images, which some people forget. i think raw is also lossless, where with jpeg the more you save an image the more degraded it gets...

but yeah, i shoot everything raw now a days.
04/29/2008 01:58:16 PM · #7
Originally posted by bsq2phat:

however with raw you do have to sharpen your images, which some people forget.

Umm....no, this is wrong.

Where did you get this idea?

Message edited by author 2008-04-29 14:00:21.
04/29/2008 01:59:59 PM · #8
I like to think of RAW as the digital negative as it were. You can play around with it all you want but the only thing you end up changing (if you use the right software) is the end result. The original is still there, more or less pristine. With a JPG, I think of it as a print. You are then editing that. There's no going back afterwards.

The nice about RAW is that you do get a lot more information. I've had shots that were so underexposed that the histogram was vertical bar on the right hand side and nothing else. Yet I still managed to get something out of it. (Grainy as heck but better than nothing at all). With a JPG that shot would be lost.

The bad thing about RAW is that it really is a negative and your computer has to process it to display it. What you see on your screen when you open a RAW file is, for all intents and purposes, a one time JPG rendering of the RAW file. That means that it takes time to process it so going through the three or four hundred shots you took is going to take a while. (Some programs are better at this than others though).

JPGs open quickly and if you are doing a lot of action shots this is of great benefit. If you are doing a burst of shots you can go through them and ditch the ones that don't look quite as good so it helps streamline your workflow.

edit to add: white balance in a RAW file is stored separately. With a JPG its part of the image and can't be altered. If you have quirky light (ie. multiple light sources) its handy to be able to correct it after the fact.

Message edited by author 2008-04-29 14:01:19.
04/29/2008 05:02:05 PM · #9
Originally posted by NikonJeb:

Originally posted by bsq2phat:

however with raw you do have to sharpen your images, which some people forget.

Umm....no, this is wrong.

Where did you get this idea?


The last line makes me think you might have been sarcastic or joking ... if so, I apologize for speaking out.

And while I can't speak for Nikon (which, for all I know could be different), but with Canon's files, you definitely have to sharpen the image coming out of raw.

The thing is, the "in camera processing" that is normally applied to a jpeg, has NOT been done to the raw file. This includes: white balance, color saturation, contrast, sharpening, style (b&w, sepia, etc). The raw file is simply the data that came off the sensor, uninterpreted by in-camera settings. It's up to you to decide how much to sharpen, or how much contrast to apply, etc.


04/29/2008 05:35:32 PM · #10
Originally posted by bsq2phat:

however with raw you do have to sharpen your images, which some people forget.

Originally posted by NikonJeb:

Umm....no, this is wrong.

Where did you get this idea?

Originally posted by dwterry:

The last line makes me think you might have been sarcastic or joking ... if so, I apologize for speaking out.

And while I can't speak for Nikon (which, for all I know could be different), but with Canon's files, you definitely have to sharpen the image coming out of raw.

The thing is, the "in camera processing" that is normally applied to a jpeg, has NOT been done to the raw file. This includes: white balance, color saturation, contrast, sharpening, style (b&w, sepia, etc). The raw file is simply the data that came off the sensor, uninterpreted by in-camera settings. It's up to you to decide how much to sharpen, or how much contrast to apply, etc.

Hmm.....now I'm confused.......if you have good clean focus, decent lighting and lens, and a good eye, why on earth would the RAW file need sharpening?

I get a lot of really, REALLY clean imagery that I never touch with sharpening......and I like to doink with the cool effects that I get with alternating noise reduction and sharpening of certain images.

So I'm kinda floored by the premise.

As to your Nikon/Canon reference, I'd probably have to say that you have a better chance of getting away with sharpening than I do because of Nikon's tendency to grain up quicker in its images than Canon.

I constantly have to fight slower shutter speeds than I like with a slow lens and low light because of the way that the images get grainy above 400 ISO.

Sharpening on an already grainy image makes me twitch!!! LOL!!!

And I do have some features such as WB, saturation, etc set in my base camera settings, though the NR and sharpening are not.
04/29/2008 05:40:02 PM · #11
everything that comes out of a standard Bayer sensor (i.e., almost all digital SLRs without a foveon sensor) requires some sharpening.

There is a filter in front of the lens specifically designed to smooth out and blur the image that is captured, to remove aliasing effects, caused by the bayer sensor pattern.

JPEG files get this sharpening automatically, based on the camera settings.
RAW files aren't sharpened, until you do it later - and you should do it later.

More typical RAW workflows use three or more sharpening steps. First to undo the effect of the AA filter, one for perhaps creative sharpening, local sharpening etc and then a final sharpening step that is very dependent on the output destination, more for large prints, less for web display and always tuned to the features in the image.

You can, of course, never sharpen your RAW files if you want to, but you then accepting the softening of the filter in front of your sensor. The strength of it varies by camera, but they all have it (other than the Foveons). The expected RAW processing flow requires sharpening, to get something comparable to what is possible with JPEG.

This sort of thing is in part why I don't often recommend RAW format.

The D70 is known for having a weaker AA filter than typical, which means maybe you can get away without sharpening more often, but that brings its own issues.

Message edited by author 2008-04-29 17:45:07.
05/01/2008 02:54:34 PM · #12
To the guy shooting canon, the reason have to boost your sharpen in post is bc your picture styles arent set to your liking. You like sharper images, so go in to picture styles boost sharpen in the camera, and all your raw will be pre-sharpened.

also, RAW does indeed do WB, on top of this it allows for the post prod. adjustment or tuning of WB.
05/01/2008 03:21:27 PM · #13
Originally posted by FourTDSean:

To the guy shooting canon, the reason have to boost your sharpen in post is bc your picture styles arent set to your liking. You like sharper images, so go in to picture styles boost sharpen in the camera, and all your raw will be pre-sharpened.

also, RAW does indeed do WB, on top of this it allows for the post prod. adjustment or tuning of WB.


Raw files are completely uneditied. Doing anything in picture styles might edit the picture for the *on camera preview* (which is how it works with nikon), but once the files are taken off the camera you will notice that they require the same amount of editing as if picture style settings were off.

Message edited by author 2008-05-01 15:21:48.
05/01/2008 03:21:45 PM · #14
Originally posted by NikonJeb:

Hmm.....now I'm confused.......if you have good clean focus, decent lighting and lens, and a good eye, why on earth would the RAW file need sharpening?

I get a lot of really, REALLY clean imagery that I never touch with sharpening......and I like to doink with the cool effects that I get with alternating noise reduction and sharpening of certain images.


There's a difference between applying no sharpening and simply using the default in your RAW converter (which, if you never touch it, may seem like you're not sharpening, when in fact you've simply let your RAW converter do it for you).

Originally posted by NikonJeb:

As to your Nikon/Canon reference, I'd probably have to say that you have a better chance of getting away with sharpening than I do because of Nikon's tendency to grain up quicker in its images than Canon.

Depends on the actual camera model, not the brand. Sure, a 5D vs. a D80 or D200 fits your above statement, but something like the D3 does not.

Originally posted by NikonJeb:

Sharpening on an already grainy image makes me twitch!!! LOL!!!


The sharpening you're probably referring to now is output sharpening (High Pass, USM, etc.), whereas the sharpening mentioned by ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', '/') + 1) . ' dwterry, ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/31.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/31.gif', '/') + 1) . ' Gordon, ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_F.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_F.gif', '/') + 1) . ' bsq2phat, etc. is input sharpening (done in-camera or in the RAW converter--no later).

Originally posted by NikonJeb:

And I do have some features such as WB, saturation, etc set in my base camera settings, though the NR and sharpening are not.


They're all set (even "off" is a setting), but you're just able to change them later.
05/01/2008 03:35:26 PM · #15
Originally posted by dwterry:


And while I can't speak for Nikon (which, for all I know could be different), but with Canon's files, you definitely have to sharpen the image coming out of raw.



I've done Sr. portraits with a Canon 100mm F 2.8 Macro that didn't need any sharpening. Some say this lens is too sharp and I would have to agree.
05/01/2008 03:47:44 PM · #16
Originally posted by NstiG8tr:

Originally posted by dwterry:


And while I can't speak for Nikon (which, for all I know could be different), but with Canon's files, you definitely have to sharpen the image coming out of raw.



I've done Sr. portraits with a Canon 100mm F 2.8 Macro that didn't need any sharpening. Some say this lens is too sharp and I would have to agree.


You mean sharpening was turned down to 0 in your RAW converter? That's very surprising, since the reason for input sharpening isn't so much to deal with lens defects, but rather the weaknesses of the Bayer filter. If that's the case, though, then you've got one great lens!
05/01/2008 04:04:58 PM · #17
Originally posted by geoffb:

You mean sharpening was turned down to 0 in your RAW converter? That's very surprising, since the reason for input sharpening isn't so much to deal with lens defects, but rather the weaknesses of the Bayer filter. If that's the case, though, then you've got one great lens!


Just for you I went to my RAW converter made sure everything was at 0, converted to JPEG 200 DPI. Opened CS3, resize photo 720 on the long side, optimized to 200kb file size and Save for web. Would it benefit from some sharpening? Sure. But it doesn't really need it.

[thumb]675199[/thumb]
05/01/2008 04:05:30 PM · #18
Canon themselves recommend a USM pass of 300/0.3/0 on RAW files.
05/01/2008 04:07:36 PM · #19
Originally posted by NstiG8tr:

Would it benefit from some sharpening? Sure. But it doesn't really need it.


Just to bug you a bit, what are you saying here? The picture would benefit from the sharpening but is fine without it? If you can make it better, why wouldn't you?
05/01/2008 04:11:44 PM · #20
Originally posted by DrAchoo:

Just to bug you a bit, what are you saying here? The picture would benefit from the sharpening but is fine without it? If you can make it better, why wouldn't you?


I would choose to make it better. But most of the responses to this are saying it's an absolute must to sharpen and there is no way possible to get a sharp image in RAW. I could make wallets out this just fine with a a few tweeks to others things without sharpening at all.
05/01/2008 08:52:46 PM · #21
Originally posted by NstiG8tr:

Originally posted by DrAchoo:

Just to bug you a bit, what are you saying here? The picture would benefit from the sharpening but is fine without it? If you can make it better, why wouldn't you?


I would choose to make it better. But most of the responses to this are saying it's an absolute must to sharpen and there is no way possible to get a sharp image in RAW. I could make wallets out this just fine with a a few tweeks to others things without sharpening at all.


It wasn't meant as a jab at you or the lens; I just wanted to make sure we were on the same page about zero sharpening versus default sharpening.
05/02/2008 08:48:07 AM · #22
Originally posted by geoffb:

It wasn't meant as a jab at you or the lens; I just wanted to make sure we were on the same page about zero sharpening versus default sharpening.


I understood what you were getting at.
05/02/2008 08:54:22 AM · #23
I have the same experience with shooting portraits with the Canon 100mm f2.8 macro.
The results are almost too sharp for most people, without sharpening. You can still make
them sharper, but for most faces, it is already enough.

That doesn't mean the file doesn't need sharpening to restore the best image sharpness
though, just that in that particular application, it is more flattering for people to
apply a bit of blur (via the anti-aliasing filter)
05/02/2008 08:57:27 AM · #24
Originally posted by DrAchoo:

If you can make it better, why wouldn't you?


Because often it isn't too flattering to have every pore in sharp, perfect detail? Particularly if you are only printing small and if the lens is exceptional, the sharpening isn't so critical. Often more of an issue for women and young children. Same way in general you might not add as much contrast to an image of a woman as you would to a man. Sharpening is really only adding local contrast around high frequency areas in the image.

Part of sharpening is based on size of the final output and part of it is a creative decision, after all.

Message edited by author 2008-05-02 08:59:21.
10/15/2008 08:36:33 PM · #25
I realize I may be hijacking this thread a little, but I'd like some advice.

I am shooting RAW with my D40 then converting to PSD and doing all editing in PSD. Then I save final file as JPEG and upload that.

Got a comment on a shot re compression grain. As the shot is currently in voting I won't divulge what it is, but would like to know more about compression grain. Help!
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