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Why I now make only RAW files - a bit of a story.
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Sep 4, 2022 20:34:35   #
TonyP Loc: New Zealand
 
Ive been a photographer for nearly 60 years, off and on. In my late teens I did an apprenticeship in photography and became what was then know as a 'Commercial Photographer'. I started with 35mm using a Leica M3 and then later switched to various Nikon cameras. I currently own a Nikon D7100 and Panny Lumix LX100II.
I only made jpg files until I bought the LX100I and started saving both jpg's and RAW files. I don't know why really, as I rarely dipped into processing RAW and when I did, I was never really happy with the results.

But recently, halfway through a radiation treatment for prostate cancer, I bought the LX100 MarkII. They say there's not much of an upgrade between the two, (maybe it was the radiation affecting my GAS) but there was enough for me to resort to YouTube for hints and tricks etc and a bit of help setting up some of the 'new' features.
In the course of that I discovered the then Panasonic Ambassador in Finland (he's since resigned, but his videos live on). His 2 reviews of the LX100II were so so, not overly enthusiastic but enough to convince me I had made a good, if not wise choice, for me.
However, he's a RAW addict (as every professional photographer seems to be) and he mentions RAW, a lot. His approach to his vids, for me, was perfect and I've almost become addicted to watching and listening to so many on a wide range of photography subjects, that I now want to share at least this one, on RAW processing.
After less than 2 weeks of practicing on some old RAW files I can now process the files in no longer than it took me to process a jpg file and appreciate the result.
Disclaimer: As when I was shooting jpg's, I setup my cameras fairly carefully and not all, but most files require minimal editing in Post.
I doubt I will ever save jpg files again unless I have the necessity to share them quickly via bluetooth or whatever.

Anyway, here's the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHNerbFtzk0

His workflow suggestions for processing your RAW files is so efficient and simple really. I use Elements 21 as my light room. At this stage I haven't needed to resort to Layers or any of the more advanced tools to get a better result than what I achieved with jpg's. I save my files to the Organiser, select the ones I want to process, click the Editor and that automatically opens ACR. I then process as is suggested in the order suggested in the Video and click Save. They are then opened in the Elements Editor automatically where one can do any final non destructive tuning if needed on a 16 bit file. If they are for my website I Save for Web. QED

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Sep 4, 2022 21:08:35   #
luvmypets Loc: Born & raised Texan living in Fayetteville NC
 
I started shooting RAW and jpg because I didn't really know what I was doing with RAW and figured I had the jpg if I screwed up. Once I learned how to work with a RAW file in post I discarded all the jpgs.

Information I received from a photography instructor is that a jpg at 8bit has only 256 levels of each color that you can manipulate in PP. Also something to note is that every time you open and close a jpg you lose a little bit of data.

A 14 bit RAW file has 4000 levels of each color and a 14 bit has 16,000. There is a whole lot more room for adjustments with RAW.

Hope this helps.

Dodie

Reply
Sep 4, 2022 21:10:17   #
robertjerl Loc: Corona, California
 
TonyP wrote:
Ive been a photographer for nearly 60 years, off and on. In my late teens I did an apprenticeship in photography and became what was then know as a 'Commercial Photographer'. I started with 35mm using a Leica M3 and then later switched to various Nikon cameras. I currently own a Nikon D7100 and Panny Lumix LX100II.
I only made jpg files until I bought the LX100I and started saving both jpg's and RAW files. I don't know why really, as I rarely dipped into processing RAW and when I did, I was never really happy with the results.

But recently, halfway through a radiation treatment for prostate cancer, I bought the LX100 MarkII. They say there's not much of an upgrade between the two, (maybe it was the radiation affecting my GAS) but there was enough for me to resort to YouTube for hints and tricks etc and a bit of help setting up some of the 'new' features.
In the course of that I discovered the then Panasonic Ambassador in Finland (he's since resigned, but his videos live on). His 2 reviews of the LX100II were so so, not overly enthusiastic but enough to convince me I had made a good, if not wise choice, for me.
However, he's a RAW addict (as every professional photographer seems to be) and he mentions RAW, a lot. His approach to his vids, for me, was perfect and I've almost become addicted to watching and listening to so many on a wide range of photography subjects, that I now want to share at least this one, on RAW processing.
After less than 2 weeks of practicing on some old RAW files I can now process the files in no longer than it took me to process a jpg file and appreciate the result.
Disclaimer: As when I was shooting jpg's, I setup my cameras fairly carefully and not all, but most files require minimal editing in Post.
I doubt I will ever save jpg files again unless I have the necessity to share them quickly via bluetooth or whatever.

Anyway, here's the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHNerbFtzk0

His workflow suggestions for processing your RAW files is so efficient and simple really. I use Elements 21 as my light room. At this stage I haven't needed to resort to Layers or any of the more advanced tools to get a better result than what I achieved with jpg's. I save my files to the Organiser, select the ones I want to process, click the Editor and that automatically opens ACR. I then process as is suggested in the order suggested in the Video and click Save. They are then opened in the Elements Editor automatically where one can do any final non destructive tuning if needed on a 16 bit file. If they are for my website I Save for Web. QED
Ive been a photographer for nearly 60 years, off a... (show quote)


Actually since RAW is just data the camera settings just change the jpeg you see in the viewfinder or on the back screen. Now SS, f-stop and ISO do change the RAW. I suspect a lot of the difference you are seeing is perception since those tutorials made you feel you now understand RAW better and expect it to come out better.
I got into RAW because my first dslr camera was a Sigma SD10 that only saved in RAW and the "free" processing app that came with the camera was a RAW app, though it would do single or gang conversions to jpeg, tiff etc. Then my second dslr was a Sigma SD14 which sort of sealed the deal with me. After that I got a Canon 6D and have been Canon ever since as far as dslr's and now my R7 go. I do have an older Fuji Superzoom/Bridge and a Panasonic pocket zoom that lives in a vest pocket for when I leave the house. You never know what might jump out and demand to have its picture taken while out and about for appointments, shopping etc.

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Sep 4, 2022 21:18:58   #
stan0301 Loc: Colorado
 
RAW is a capture format that assumes you will be engaging in post processing - JPEG is a printing format - it can be used for capture, and if done the file will be processed inside the camera at the moment of capture - it works pretty good, but with a little practice you can do a better job

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Sep 4, 2022 21:42:38   #
TonyP Loc: New Zealand
 
robertjerl wrote:
Actually since RAW is just data the camera settings just change the jpeg you see in the viewfinder or on the back screen. Now SS, f-stop and ISO do change the RAW. I suspect a lot of the difference you are seeing is perception since those tutorials made you feel you now understand RAW better and expect it to come out better.
I got into RAW because my first dslr camera was a Sigma SD10 that only saved in RAW and the "free" processing app that came with the camera was a RAW app, though it would do single or gang conversions to jpeg, tiff etc. Then my second dslr was a Sigma SD14 which sort of sealed the deal with me. After that I got a Canon 6D and have been Canon ever since as far as dslr's and now my R7 go. I do have an older Fuji Superzoom/Bridge and a Panasonic pocket zoom that lives in a vest pocket for when I leave the house. You never know what might jump out and demand to have its picture taken while out and about for appointments, shopping etc.
Actually since RAW is just data the camera setting... (show quote)


'Now SS, f-stop and ISO do change the RAW.' - What I said but include white balance, focus mode, saturation.
'I suspect a lot of the difference you are seeing is perception since those tutorials made you feel you now understand RAW better and expect it to come out better.' - Hardly. Ive taken and viewed more that enough pics over the years to appreciate what works 'for me' and what doesn't. I'm comparing my old jpg developed files with the new same RAW developed file. As a self taught fella, Ive never been particularly good at post processing but am happier now with the results using RAW. No psychobabble involved
As I think he said in the video, if you are happy with what you are doing, stay with it. This post wasn't intended to talk anyone into changing if they aren't interested to do so.
Cheers

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Sep 4, 2022 21:44:08   #
fredtoo Loc: Texas
 
stan, I find your words to be a well thought-out and objective response to the issue.

It seems to be a little like politics in that there is often not enough logic used in making a point.

thanks

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Sep 4, 2022 22:00:43   #
robertjerl Loc: Corona, California
 
[quote=TonyP]'Now SS, f-stop and ISO do change the RAW.' - What I said but include white balance, focus mode, saturation. = these do not change the RAW file data, only what you see in the viewfinder or on the rear screen. and sometimes those settings get passed along to the view mode of the processing app, just like you set the image to auto rotate to portrait mode in the camera and in the computer when you import the images. I have been doing nothing but RAW for a bit over 19 years now.


'I suspect a lot of the difference you are seeing is perception since those tutorials made you feel you now understand RAW better and expect it to come out better.' - Hardly. Ive taken and viewed more that enough pics over the years to appreciate what works 'for me' and what doesn't. I'm comparing my old jpg developed files with the new same RAW developed file. As a self taught fella, Ive never been particularly good at post processing but am happier now with the results using RAW. No psychobabble involved
As I think he said in the video, if you are happy with what you are doing, stay with it. This post wasn't intended to talk anyone into changing if they aren't interested to do so.
Cheers

Reply
 
 
Sep 5, 2022 07:13:19   #
camerapapi Loc: Miami, Fl.
 
"Information I received from a photography instructor is that a jpg at 8bit has only 256 levels of each color that you can manipulate in PP. Also something to note is that every time you open and close a jpg you lose a little bit of data.
A 14 bit RAW file has 4000 levels of each color and a 14 bit has 16,000. There is a whole lot more room for adjustments with RAW."

Nobody in this planet can see 256 levels of colors. Not all monitors can see them either. If I shoot JPEG I keep manipulation to a minimum. It is not true that every time a JPEG is open data is lost, it is lost only if adjustments are made and then the file is closed.
RAW data has millions of colors that nobody can see either. Color spaces like ProPhoto are not seen by monitors but the advantage is that being a 12 or 14 bits manipulation of the data and specially when it comes to colors there are not abrupt shifts or artifacts to affect the quality.

RAW offers flexibility but to obtain all the goodness in a RAW image the operator needs to know and understand what the RAW editor can do when applying adjustments. Shoot a sunset, usually lifeless unless the data is properly manipulated. With JPEG all the goodness in the file is processed in camera assuming the operator made the right adjustments. Colors look beautiful and the file has excellent quality. The new JPEG engines are better than ever.

I shoot mostly RAW data and all those are edited with proprietary software. I use Nikon and Olympus cameras so I always start editing with NX Studio and OM Workspace. If printing the files that in my opinion is the best approach to editing RAW.

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Sep 5, 2022 08:58:45   #
rmalarz Loc: Tempe, Arizona
 
A slight correction, William. Opening and closing doesn't change the image. Opening and saving (without doing anything to the image) will change a jpg image.
--Bob
camerapapi wrote:
"Information I received from a photography instructor is that a jpg at 8bit has only 256 levels of each color that you can manipulate in PP. Also something to note is that every time you open and close a jpg you lose a little bit of data.
A 14 bit RAW file has 4000 levels of each color and a 14 bit has 16,000. There is a whole lot more room for adjustments with RAW."

Nobody in this planet can see 256 levels of colors. Not all monitors can see them either. If I shoot JPEG I keep manipulation to a minimum. It is not true that every time a JPEG is open data is lost, it is lost only if adjustments are made and then the file is closed.
RAW data has millions of colors that nobody can see either. Color spaces like ProPhoto are not seen by monitors but the advantage is that being a 12 or 14 bits manipulation of the data and specially when it comes to colors there are not abrupt shifts or artifacts to affect the quality.

RAW offers flexibility but to obtain all the goodness in a RAW image the operator needs to know and understand what the RAW editor can do when applying adjustments. Shoot a sunset, usually lifeless unless the data is properly manipulated. With JPEG all the goodness in the file is processed in camera assuming the operator made the right adjustments. Colors look beautiful and the file has excellent quality. The new JPEG engines are better than ever.

I shoot mostly RAW data and all those are edited with proprietary software. I use Nikon and Olympus cameras so I always start editing with NX Studio and OM Workspace. If printing the files that in my opinion is the best approach to editing RAW.
"Information I received from a photography in... (show quote)

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Sep 5, 2022 10:23:31   #
Ysarex Loc: St. Louis
 
camerapapi wrote:
It is not true that every time a JPEG is open data is lost, it is lost only if adjustments are made and then the file is closed.

This issue seems to be wrapped up in some permanent confusion.

First: A JPEG image is degraded by making it a JPEG image. The JPEG compression algorithm is destructive and degrades the image. (CAVEAT: It works very well and the loss is well controlled often resulting in no visible harm).

Further degradation of the image results from:
First: Any edit that alters the tone/color of the image. Open the JPEG in an editor. Make editing changes to tone and color of the image and that action further degrades the image -- right then and right there before the image is re-saved. This is the most serious and substantial cause of further degradation to a JPEG image.

Second: Re-saving a JPEG as a JPEG. This re-compresses the image and the destructive compression algorithm will cause additional degradation. This is most often very minor and nearly inconsequential compared with the damage done by making edit changes to the tone/color of the image.

Remedies:
Further degradation to a JPEG resulting from edit changes to tone/color cannot be prevented -- no remedy. Converting the image to 16 bit before editing can be beneficial in reducing banding but the loss due to the edit changes is unpreventable. (CAVEAT: This was more of a problem in the past when our cameras were lower resolution and the degradation was more visible. The loss still occurs but it is now swamped in our modern higher-resolution files and less visible given normal usage).

The degradation caused by re-saving and re-compressing the JPEG as a JPEG can be avoided by saving the file as a different file type that does not apply lossy compression. The image can be saved as a PNG or TIFF file and re-compression degradation is avoided. The editing can be done parametrically and the changes saved as a parametric instruction set and re-compression degradation is avoided.

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Sep 5, 2022 16:51:20   #
Harry0 Loc: Gardena, Cal
 
TonyP wrote:
'Now SS, f-stop and ISO do change the RAW.' - What I said but include white balance, focus mode, saturation.
'I suspect a lot of the difference you are seeing is perception since those tutorials made you feel you now understand RAW better and expect it to come out better.' - Hardly. Ive taken and viewed more that enough pics over the years to appreciate what works 'for me' and what doesn't. I'm comparing my old jpg developed files with the new same RAW developed file. As a self taught fella, Ive never been particularly good at post processing but am happier now with the results using RAW. No psychobabble involved
As I think he said in the video, if you are happy with what you are doing, stay with it. This post wasn't intended to talk anyone into changing if they aren't interested to do so.
Cheers
'Now SS, f-stop and ISO do change the RAW.' - What... (show quote)


Well, yeah!
"RAW" is the data received. Change the data, change the file.
The JPG is derived from a camera's interpretation of the RAW file.
Got RAW, already got J{G.
Once again the void of the breech doth call:
On average, a RAW file is @ twice the size of it's JPG.
That can slow processing and buffering in camera.
Saving both?
1 RAW plus 1 JPG equals 3 times the space and processing.
Stick with RAW if you can.

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Sep 5, 2022 17:19:06   #
rmalarz Loc: Tempe, Arizona
 
Having started out with film, RAW seems natural to me. It's similar to film. The best way to obtain a photograph from it is processing. Starting with a RAW file provides the greatest possibilities to produce the photograph one envisioned when looking at the scene originally.

jpgs are similar to Polaroids. What you get is what you got.
--Bob
TonyP wrote:
Ive been a photographer for nearly 60 years, off and on. In my late teens I did an apprenticeship in photography and became what was then know as a 'Commercial Photographer'. I started with 35mm using a Leica M3 and then later switched to various Nikon cameras. I currently own a Nikon D7100 and Panny Lumix LX100II.
I only made jpg files until I bought the LX100I and started saving both jpg's and RAW files. I don't know why really, as I rarely dipped into processing RAW and when I did, I was never really happy with the results.

But recently, halfway through a radiation treatment for prostate cancer, I bought the LX100 MarkII. They say there's not much of an upgrade between the two, (maybe it was the radiation affecting my GAS) but there was enough for me to resort to YouTube for hints and tricks etc and a bit of help setting up some of the 'new' features.
In the course of that I discovered the then Panasonic Ambassador in Finland (he's since resigned, but his videos live on). His 2 reviews of the LX100II were so so, not overly enthusiastic but enough to convince me I had made a good, if not wise choice, for me.
However, he's a RAW addict (as every professional photographer seems to be) and he mentions RAW, a lot. His approach to his vids, for me, was perfect and I've almost become addicted to watching and listening to so many on a wide range of photography subjects, that I now want to share at least this one, on RAW processing.
After less than 2 weeks of practicing on some old RAW files I can now process the files in no longer than it took me to process a jpg file and appreciate the result.
Disclaimer: As when I was shooting jpg's, I setup my cameras fairly carefully and not all, but most files require minimal editing in Post.
I doubt I will ever save jpg files again unless I have the necessity to share them quickly via bluetooth or whatever.

Anyway, here's the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHNerbFtzk0

His workflow suggestions for processing your RAW files is so efficient and simple really. I use Elements 21 as my light room. At this stage I haven't needed to resort to Layers or any of the more advanced tools to get a better result than what I achieved with jpg's. I save my files to the Organiser, select the ones I want to process, click the Editor and that automatically opens ACR. I then process as is suggested in the order suggested in the Video and click Save. They are then opened in the Elements Editor automatically where one can do any final non destructive tuning if needed on a 16 bit file. If they are for my website I Save for Web. QED
Ive been a photographer for nearly 60 years, off a... (show quote)

Reply
Sep 6, 2022 00:47:55   #
profbowman Loc: Harrisonburg, VA, USA
 
luvmypets wrote:
I started shooting RAW and jpg because I didn't really know what I was doing with RAW and figured I had the jpg if I screwed up. Once I learned how to work with a RAW file in post I discarded all the jpgs.

Information I received from a photography instructor is that a jpg at 8bit has only 256 levels of each color that you can manipulate in PP. Also something to note is that every time you open and close a jpg you lose a little bit of data.

A 14 bit RAW file has 4000 levels of each color and a 14 bit has 16,000. There is a whole lot more room for adjustments with RAW.

Hope this helps.

Dodie
I started shooting RAW and jpg because I didn't re... (show quote)


The problem is that the best of human eyesight cannot see more than an 8-bit color differentiation, or more than 256 of any of the three channels RGB. And most of us can only see at most 6-bitt color defenses. See my thread "Five-bit Color & Human Perception" at
https://www.uglyhedgehog.com/t-747475-1.htm

So, having 12-bit or 14-bit color does not help us because we cannot see that many gradations of one color of RGB. High-definition color helps us out by mapping some region of the 8-bit color back on the colors we can see so that some of them are more spread out. That is good, but we have to realize that we cannot do that over the whole photo because when a section of our color space i s spread out, some other region must be compressed within our 8-bit if seeing.

So, use RAW format if you wish, but realize it will be no better than editing an 8-bit jpg file that is saved at 100 quality which is close to lossless. --Richard

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Sep 6, 2022 06:43:21   #
rmalarz Loc: Tempe, Arizona
 
Regardless of the capabilities of human sight, processing in 12 or 14bit color avoids certain problems that are inherent with 8bit processing, which the human eye can perceive.
--Bob
profbowman wrote:
The problem is that the best of human eyesight cannot see more than an 8-bit color differentiation, or more than 256 of any of the three channels RGB. And most of us can only see at most 6-bitt color defenses. See my thread "Five-bit Color & Human Perception" at
https://www.uglyhedgehog.com/t-747475-1.htm

So, having 12-bit or 14-bit color does not help us because we cannot see that many gradations of one color of RGB. High-definition color helps us out by mapping some region of the 8-bit color back on the colors we can see so that some of them are more spread out. That is good, but we have to realize that we cannot do that over the whole photo because when a section of our color space i s spread out, some other region must be compressed within our 8-bit if seeing.

So, use RAW format if you wish, but realize it will be no better than editing an 8-bit jpg file that is saved at 100 quality which is close to lossless. --Richard
The problem is that the best of human eyesight can... (show quote)

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Sep 6, 2022 09:44:16   #
Ysarex Loc: St. Louis
 
profbowman wrote:
So, use RAW format if you wish, but realize it will be no better than editing an 8-bit jpg file that is saved at 100 quality which is close to lossless. --Richard


Basically I can't make a photo as bad as the JPEGs that come from the cameras -- I'd have to work hard at it. Processing a raw file I will always produce a final image with superior IQ to what the camera creates in it's JPEG. There are numerous reasons why:

1. I can expose the raw file more. I get a better SNR and better IQ as a result.
2. I can select how the raw file will be demosaiced. I do better at that than the camera.
3. I can process the raw data with local adjustments.
4. I can selectively sharpen or noise filter the image.
5. etc.

Below is an example of a processed raw file. The lighting was high-contrast sidelight and that's going to create a problem for any camera processor. In a landscape with a clear sky the camera will typically render the sky too light and shift the color cyan. The Sony R1 used here did precisely that. It's easy to take care of while processing the raw file -- I gave the photo I nice blue sky without causing the damage that would have resulted from editing a JPEG. Below is a link to the SOOC camera JPEG.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ud6376z7uwdaucb/_DSC4212.JPG?dl=0

Anyone thinks they can edit the JPEG and get equivalent results to the sky I produced processing the raw file please try. You will fail because the JPEG is already degraded by the action of making it a JPEG -- conversion to 8 bit and lossy compression.


(Download)

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