I'll pass on RAW, except for Sushi!

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by Sandy Vongries, May 4, 2017.

  1. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Moderator Staff Member

    I have been running RAW on my DF and both on the D 750 for the last six months, but it just isn't for me. Using JPEG fine / large I get a much higher percentage of images that didn't require any post processing to meet my expectation and the vision I was trying to capture. Partly, I suppose, since I tend to use spot metering the same as I did for film and "trick" the meter to get what I want. Since post processing is not something I'm particularly fond of, and nearly everything in RAW seems to require some, though it is heresy, I changed back. Between less satisfactory results, the large file size, slower speed to load, and my dislike of PP. I'm thinking my test was a waste of my time. In any case, as an amateur, my photos only have to satisfy me, and are not likely to "be for the ages." Though I'm sure most will disagree, some few might consider their own situation and agree..
  2. Sandy, my understanding is that most photojournalists and sports pros essentially end up shooting JPEG (although they may also be shooting RAW), but most times, for publication/online use, JPEGs are used, so you are in good company. Also helps to keep them honest to the photographed scene.
  3. I found the same thing. I messed with .RAW, but frankly didn't find the return worth the investment. The best combo I came up with was shoot .RAW, convert to 16-bit .TIF, modify .TIF if needed & finally convert to .JPG for the finished product.
  4. I use RAW and am happy doing so. I find it gives me more flexibility than jpg and don't mind some additional work, which I, too, find it can sometimes demand. I don't agree or disagree with your decision. I simply acknowledge that people work differently and have different needs and desires. I'm glad you found a method that suits you and believe there's good reason for a variety of choices.
  5. There is an option to save both RAW and jpeg. Once you are satisfied with the results, you can delete the RAWs to save space. In most cases, you will be fine with just the jpegs, but in one or two odd cases (impromptu action shot, didn't have time to determine exposure etc) you may need the RAW to adjust exposure better than the jpeg will allow. In my opinion, its better to cover all your bases than to regret later. The other area where the RAW helps is to adjust color balance, specially in tricky situations like flower macros etc. RAW does the job with less artifacts to worry about.

    Sometimes, even with optimal exposure, the jpeg still clips the highlights or shadows or both. Sometimes, aggressive noise reduction leads to artifacts, typically at high ISO. Its an automated process after all. Different cameras have different algorithms for jpeg processing. Some are excellent, others not so good, and it does not always correlate with the overall quality of the camera. If you shoot jpeg mostly, may be its better to invest in a camera that does jpeg processing really well.
    vrankin likes this.
  6. In the film era, most of my friends and relatives kept the prints and threw out the negatives. Fortunately, I learned better. Along the way, I also learned how to organize them for quick retrieval, a technique even more important for digital images.

    The main purpose of in-camera JPEG is to speed delivery to a client, without further processing. I shot RAW+JPEG for a couple of years, then dropped the JPEG. "Processing" is so easy in Lightroom, and completely non-destructive, that for most of us outside sports and news photography, speed isn't an issue. Storage space is a non-issue. A 4TB drive is a little more than $100, and to date I have used only about 3 TB (mostly RAW). A single drive, or even duplicate single drives are to fragile to be considered "archival," so I use a RAID (actually, a DROBO drive).
    ben_hutcherson likes this.
  7. We old slide shooters knew how to get it right at the time we took the photo, no RAW needed to correct exposure errors. Mirrorless makes it even easier.
  8. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Moderator Staff Member

    Ed -- I have negatives on negatives and bushels of prints -- not sure it's the same thing. If when the Dark Ages rolled in, everything had been electronic... it would have got even darker! To each his own!

    Sanford -- got a couple of those as well. Old Ricoh GXR -- they are very good "opportunity" cameras, but I still like my Nikons best!
    archaeoImages likes this.
  9. Sanford, the great misunderstanding you just personified is that post processing or use of RAW format is needed "to correct exposure errors." In many cases, it is desired to add flexibility. Much as I don't worship Ansel Adams, he wasn't post processing to correct exposure errors. He did it to express what he wanted from a print. No one should do that or feel they need to do that. But no one should mistake why others shoot RAW or why others post process. It's an unfortunate faulty understanding of photography and its possibilities that stimulates one to tell others what they're doing is done to correct their mistakes.

    There is no "right" when it comes to what a photo might or will look like or how precisely to get there.
  10. This is a well known sentiment I have read in other forums too. RAW shooters don't know what they are doing while shooting, so they have to somehow compensate for exposure during post processing. The benefits of RAW are evident to those who use it and they go far beyond simple exposure correction.

    I am an old slide shooter too, and I know how little latitude slides provide to exposure errors. I also know what extra lengths photographers went to, to get it right, beyond determining the correct exposure... graduated filters, exposure stacking. All that to compensate for the limited dynamic range of slide film. With modern digital sensors with improved dynamic range and power of the RAW, it is not clear to me, why one wouldn't utilize the benefit of these to make one's life convenient. Does that make me somewhat inferior to old slide shooters? I don't think so, because the extension of that argument would be to compare the 20th century film shooters to 19th century plate shooters, who didn't even have access to exposure meters.
  11. I'm an old slide shooter too, and pride myself in getting the exposure at least mostly right most of the time, and don't do much cropping and such either. But even the basic free programs I usually use to resize and process files for things like posting on Photo net will read a raw file anyway, using the JPG sidecar info, and save it as a JPG. I don't see any real advantage to JPG originals, especially if subsequent operations result in a recomputation and another compression.
  12. I'm an old black and white negative shooter, making my own developer, darkroom printing, selenium toning, zone system, etc. RAW gives me the power I had and more so when I shot and developed film. I do a lot of processing on all my shots and I do it quickly. JPG for me is losing out on information I might want later.
  13. If all you're doing is capturing what's there in front of the lens and that's all you need then jpeg is the way to go.

    But if you're turning your camera into a paintbox palace and want to create what's more than there is to reality then you shoot Raw.

    I could have never gotten the color in the image below by manipulating white balance and HSL panel in ACR on a jpeg. I could shooting Raw.

    dcstep likes this.
  14. Actually, RAW files are the digital digital equivalent of negatives or slides. In audio and video, I save the master tracks, not just the edited results. A typical job is 100 to 200 GB. That fills up a 4T drive pretty quickly ;)
  15. Slides were pretty much all I shot during the film days and I am very well aware of the their shortcomings and the tedious ways to overcome them. Which is why I can't agree with the statement "getting exposure right in the camera" thing. With slide film it was often the decision to let the highlights go to get some shadow detail or to preserve the highlights and loose the details on the shadows. Grad filters and other tricks sometimes helped, sometimes there was just no way out. An optimum exposure of a RAW images can differ substantially from an optimal in-camera JPEG exposure. When shooting RAW I often make a choice of exposure parameters that deliberately overexposes the image, knowing very well that I can recover that information later in post but having the advantage of a reduced amount of noise especially in the shadow areas as well as good shadow detail. This is an example of "getting the exposure right" that takes the post processing steps into account and doesn't rely on the quite meaningless SOOC many trumpet as the holy grail of photography. Overexposing the RAW file doesn't mean I am not getting the exposure right; on the contrary, it means I am optimizing the file taking the technical details of the medium into account and getting me a data that form a very good basis from which to develop the final image in post.

    I totally agree with Fred and Supriyo above that shooting RAW goes way beyond a means to correcting exposure after the fact or that is an indication of the inferiority of RAW shooters in getting "things right in camera". Presenting and defending these views just goes to show that those uttering them have not understood the power and capabilities that shooting RAW offers. On the other hand, I, for one, am not looking down on those who choose to shoot JPEG and forgo post (because they don't like it or because JPEG only offers very limited editing capabilities). To each its own; after all, photography is supposed to be fun (and fun can be had shooting either JPEG or RAW).

    I, for one, was about to give up on photography because I couldn't overcome the shortcomings of film. I found new enjoyment in photography with digital and to me an existential part is to have control over the final result by shooting RAW which provides me with an optimized basis from which to develop the final image in ways I could have never achieved on film or with shooting JPEG.

    When starting with digital, I made the mistake of shooting JPEG. I learned the lesson and will never shoot solely JPEG again. I realize there are times when it is nice to have a JPEG handy and deliverable straight out of camera and I can certainly deal with that. But in general, RAW is it for me.

    They are the equivalent of a negative but not of a slide. With slide film, there's literally no way to do manipulation after the exposure has been made. At least nowhere near what one can do with negatives. In that regard, slide is a lot like JPEG.
    Last edited: May 4, 2017
    JamesFarabaugh likes this.
  16. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Moderator Staff Member

    When I shoot Raw, theoretically, I capture "everything" if I care to PP, can't fail. For me, shotgun vs. rifle -- each device / method for its proper purpose. When I first had a good enough income to shoot all the slide film I cared to, the result was a hiatus in my photographic obsession after decades of B&W. Raw feels the same to me -- there has to be skill and the risk of of missing a shot forever. Each of us has our own set of standards. No intent to impose mine on others -- just passing on a Satori.
  17. What I mean is, you can copy or scan a slide, and manipulate the results. In the end, you still have the slide unchanged. For that matter, how do you manipulate a negative? Did you mean the printing process? You can manipulate the development process, but in the end you have one negative.
  18. I don't have any problems with getting the right exposure or WB, or things like that, but I always prefer to have RAW files. They give me more options, so why not? Sometimes, more and more now, that I shoot in JPEG only because my cameras are not top the line ones and they are slow in writing RAW files. Many times, when shooting fast is not a need, I do have the RAW files, and then throw them away because they don't really help much.
  19. James G. Dainis

    James G. Dainis Moderator

    I know how to expose and compose the same as with film so I just shoot JPG. I tried RAW a few times but found I could make any corrections - lighten, darken, crop, adjust colors with JPG. Back in the old days of film, one could tell people that to get good results they had to have their own darkroom to make color corrects, burn, dodge etc.True, but few people wanted to bother. Today that is the same as telling people they must shoot in RAW.
  20. If having the widest number of possible options available to optimize your photos is a "bother" then jpeg is the way to go. I prefer raw but appreciate that we all have our own standards.

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