Prediction: RAW is going to eventually be a deprecated file format

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by Karim Ghantous, Oct 18, 2019.

  1. I just wonder if the folks who don't care about RAW really understand it? It reminds me of a conversation about using or not using the histogram.
    sjmurray likes this.
  2. I am happy with DNG. But JPEG works for me too, although shoot raw most of the time with DNG for Leica.
  3. AJG


    As more photographs are made with phones by people who have little or no interest in the process, raw files will become less important to most people. I think the relevant analogy is what most photographers did 25 years ago with film--they dropped it off somewhere and came back and picked up their prints and negatives and had no interest in doing their own darkroom work. But serious photographers will want the greater control of their images that raw files provide and will continue to want them. Since all digital cameras make raw files (most phones and many P/S cameras discard them and put out JPEGs) and storage continues to get cheaper raw files are likely to be around for a long time.
    samstevens likes this.
  4. In that sense, I would argue that nothing has changed in the digital world.

    Back before phones obsolesced the ~$200 digital P&S, having one that could output RAW was a notable feature. Even though resolution was low, storage was also unfathomably expensive. Even on 4 and 5 figure cameras, RAW wasn't always available. My Kodak DCS 760, which I think was close to $10K new, gives you the choice of JPEG or TIFF. The Nikon D1 can record RAW, but you need to make a trip to the manual to figure out how to do it at least the first time.

    In a sense, nothing has changed from George Eastman's original Brownie model. I forget where the "You push the button and we do the rest" came in, but 100+ years later the philosophy is still the same.
  5. What also hasn’t changed is that there have always been more and less serious photographers, those who are everyday shooters less interested in the nuances available and those who relish the more nuanced, craft-oriented approach. And many in between on a spectrum of interests and abilities.
  6. No question on that.

    In fact, I would almost argue that it's easier than ever for someone interested in getting more hands on to do so these days. Perfectly capable DSLR kits that can get you in the door of a comprehensive system can be had for $400 on sale. I've never explored it, but I understand that it's possible to get RAW files out of many smart phones these days.

    Getting hands on in the film era required you to devote space in your house to a darkroom plus outfit it with an enlarger and plenty of other equipment. Now, even a basic computer can make a competent-if not overly efficient-editing station that can also do a lot of other things.
  7. Even if one goes relatively high end with computer equipment and software for may be $5000 it's still a lot less expensive than a typical darkroom back in the days if you factor in inflation. You can buy used darkroom equipment cheap these days but for a few new ones you can still buy they are quite expensive. Of course plus the fact that you need a room plus plumbing facility. Also during the learning phase mistakes are very costly with film. So the percentage of people who have darkroom is significantly less than the percentage of people who do PP with digital.
  8. I am sure you can shoot JPEG in any camera today, it's pretty similar.
  9. Vincent Peri

    Vincent Peri Metairie, LA

    I don't think I spent more than $300 for my Beseler 23CII enlarger back in 1978. "In other words, $300 in 1978 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $1,181.41 in 2019. That's not even close to $5000.
  10. It makes sense to me that each camera's sensor dumps/processes its raw sensor data differently, and consequently there would be differences in the files.

    Regardless, Adobe does a good job of seamlessly handling any supported camera(and the list is pretty darn long) through Adobe Camera RAW. Apple also keeps Apple Camera RAW, which is baked into the OS and allows viewing RAW files in built-in programs like Preview and Photos-up to date for the current OSs. I've yet to run across a RAW file from Nikon(.nef), Canon(.cr2), Fuji(.raf), or Kodak(.dcr) DSLR that I couldn't open in Lightroom or Apple Photos, even with Nikon D1 or Fuji Finepix S1 in the current Lightroom Classic version(which I've only used on trial-I still use Lightroom 6.14 as my main processor) or macOS Mojave.

    BTW, I'd like to see a basis for the assertion that you degrade the quality of a JPEG every time you open it on magnetic media. With that said, I don't know who in their right mind would store photos on a floppy or a ZIP disk these days. I don't think I have a camera in regular use where I could fit a straight out of camera JPEG fine on a floppy disk, and a ZIP disk would hold 5-8 JPEG Fines from my D800. I store my files in a couple of different ways, but unreliable small capacity removable magnetic storage is not one of those ways.

    There is also an open "universal" RAW format called .dng, short for "digital negative." Adobe holds the patent for it, and when I import RAW files of whatever format to Lightroom they get converted to .dngs. With that said, some cameras do use .dng directly.
  11. The Internet and bases for assertions sometimes seem mutually exclusive! :rolleyes:
  12. Opening a file does not degrade it, regardless of the medium. Even saving the file again does not necessarily degrade it. Only when changes are made which require re-compression is likely to cause degradation.
  13. There are many RAW formats and they are being deprecated on an ongoing basis, - so it's a safe prediction. :)

    I think it will be a long time before camera and smart phone manufacturers agree on a single format. There doesn't seem to be a lot of incentive for them to do so and adding features to their own formats is one way they can differentiate themselves from the competition.
  14. You don't need only an enlarger. You need the dichroic head. You need easel, lenses, focusing aid, processing stuff.
  15. There will always be people that want access to the unprocessed sensor data; it's already there and requires minimal effort to save so why would a camera company eliminate the option? Seems like a made-up worry.
  16. RAW is not a brand name. Raw is simply an adjective, meaning not yet processed (like raw vegetables). There is no "raw" standard. JPEG is an acronym, standing for Joint Photographic Experts Group. Unlike RAW, it indicates a file that conforms to specific standards, just as TIFF or PNG does.

    Opening a file has no effect on its quality, regardless of the file format. Saving a file can affect the quality of JPEGs if the save causes an additional round of compression, which is where data is lost.
  17. Vincent Peri

    Vincent Peri Metairie, LA

    I never printed color, so no dichroic head. The lens cost me about $50 (Rodenstock Rodagon), and the other misc costs were another $75-$100. Still nowhere near $5000
  18. The majority of people who did their own processing did B&W but if you compare to today how many people post process B&W. In my case, since I can't visualize images in B&W I almost always shot in color (except for a period about 6 months when I took a photography class) so I had to be able to process color.
    However, the $5000 budget for PP is in the relatively high range. One can do well for about $2000 and the computer can be used for other purposes which most people would need anyway.
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2019
  19. $5,000 is pretty high end. I wouldn’t use that as a baseline for cost of the ability to post process digitally.

    And, regardless, is it really cost that determines these decisions? I suspect cost is a rather minor factor in determining whether someone uses a darkroom or doesn’t. It’s much more likely that it will be their relationship to the craft, their emotional attachment, and comfort or preference for a way of doing things. Those are certainly valid enough reasons (and there may be more) without having to artificially inflate or deflate costs, both of which I suspect have been done in this particular Internet argument.
  20. DIY wet processing for color always sucked. It was expensive, time consuming and the most of the results were second rate, save for the few that really mastered it. Digital has raised the bar so high that I'd never look back. Black and white, OTOH, could be enjoyable and your results could equal the best, even with modest equipment. I used to visualize in black and white with no trouble, but I suspect I've completely lost that ability, not having done wet process black and white in about 15 years. Back to the raw argument, I still save raw with my jpegs, but unless I see some great advantage in doing it, I'll probably stop, save for special circumstances.

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