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

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

  1. Yes it always cost me more than having the lab did it. I did it for the same the reason I need RAW because nobody even expert can make a print my way.
  2. I wouldn't. And with digital is easy to provide a choice. Thus no reason to not have the option to save the RAW file - ever. BeBu gave the reason - wanting the meal cooked his way. As opposed to those who are happy with pre-cooked - be it TV dinner or restaurant food.
  3. 2d


    While I agree in the future Raw will probably go away but when is the real question. More than likely not for the next twenty years. I can see computational processes and the cameras processor equaling out to where the camera could do an in-camera pixel shift, focus stacking or produce a 32bit hdr file where the outputted file had enough info as too basically allow a wide white balance adjustment after the fact. This is not going to happen in the next ten years and I question what the file format will be

    I thought jpeg 2000 was already being outdated to jpeg Xr?
  4. My advantage in shooting is Raw is that the final quality of my photos is determined by my PP skills and not by my camera, I think this is true for all audio/visual genres. The trend is towards PP skills. Microphones, cameras and video-recorders deliver raw data which are edited to produce audio and video clips and photos.
  5. If this were as big of an issue as you claim, I wouldn't be able to take RAW files from a Nikon D1 made in 1999 and open it using software from 2019.

    In this year, I've both shot a number of frames on a D1 and processed them in current software. There again, I can plug a card reader into a Mac running macOS Mojave(released fall 2018) and open/manipulate files from a D1 using software that's packaged/bundled with the operating system. The OS can read them well enough to generate a thumbnail preview of a D1 .nef in Finder(the basic GUI/file browser in the OS).

    You're imagining a problem where none exists.

    Even at that, I save all of my files both in their original RAW format(.nef) and the Adobe .dng conversions. This is as close to a RAW "standard" as we will get.
  6. JPEG 2000 has arbitrary bit depth and can do lossless compression. It's a better tiff. If you absolutely need RAW in post processing you might be making pictures rather than taking them. Nothing wrong with that but it does take your picture-making process further into the synthetic realm occupied by traditional visual arts such as painting -- different pictorial standards, creative issues, challenges etc. Different art forms. Also raises some social issues, see Reuters, which accepts only in-camera jpeg submissions (traditional dark room effects (cropping, curves) are still permitted).
  7. VHS is analog format, not a digital one. With something like a jpeg, either the file is correct or it is corrupt in someway. There's no halfway. They can be corrupted in a way that they're still readable, but even losing one single bit could result in an image that's clearly messed up in a compressed format like a jpeg. It wouldn't just start looking a little bit worse over time. It would like fine, then suddenly really bad, - like chunks of it missing, lines running through the image, or parts of it substantially darker. Look up "bit rot" and jpeg if you want to see examples.

    This is one reason why archiving digital data can be more problematic than archiving something like film.

    What you might have been noticing, (as others have mentioned) is that the image in a jpeg can degrade if it's getting re-saved and re-compressed, not just read.

    Think about a movie on VHS that gets played over and over vs a scratched up DVD. The VHS movie will play unless until the tape breaks or gets tangle up in knots. A scratched DVD may not play at all or may skip entire scenes. The scenes that do play will look like they did on a brand new DVD. I had kids that grew up during the transition from VHS to DVD. We still have VHS tapes from the late 90's and early 2000's that will play. Kids and DVDs didn't mix so well.
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2019
  8. Data is stored on magnetic media as bits with opposite magnetic orientation. Eventually these bits will interact causing a decrease in signal to noise ratio, consequently reading errors. Magnetic tape is particularly problematic, since this interaction can occur between layers (bleed-through). The domains on hard drives are very small and close together, and magnetic interaction is inversely proportional to the 4th power of separation. This deterioration is mitigated by redundancy, and for hard drives, the domains are automatically refreshed when the drive is running. Placed on a shelf, hard drive data and magnetic tapes have an expected life of only about 5 years.

    Digital media in general is subject to rapid obsolescence. The disks and tapes remain, but the means of reading them are disappearing. For those cherished VHS tapes, who is making the players? I recorded, professionally, on analog tape for decades, and assure you that their longevity is not that great. Furthermore, the machines required frequent cleaning and alignment. Digital audio and video tape was even worse, where dropouts plagued their use even in the short term. At the moment, I can't seem to load, much less play, DAT tapes from the mid 80's.

    The real weakness of digital media is the loss of the means to read it. I chuckle a bit over the mention of ZIP drives. They've been gone for over 30 years, and were never a truly viable means of archiving data.

    Film is perfect though, never fades, suffers water damage, nor eaten by insects. NOT! That's why it's so important to digitize film before those images are irretrievable.
    Nick D. likes this.
  9. I get preservation and think about it myself. As I age, though, I’m constantly reminded that life is fleeting. So are moments. There’s a connection between photography and life, between photography and moments, between photography and what’s often fleeting. Maybe the potential impermanence of negatives and digital files is a feature and not necessarily a bug. Shoot for NOW.
  10. Well sure. Reuters is a news organization. They don't want images that have been manipulated in a way that ends up misrepresenting what was captured.

    But, if I deliberately get up before sunrise to get to a spot where I want to take a picture of fog and early morning light, am I taking a picture or making one? What if I set the aperture to maximize bokeh while shooting a portrait or leave the shutter open awhile when taking pictures of a waterfall? Or use supplemental lighting? Having the RAW data just gives you more opportunity to hone the image to what you want it to be. I don't think it's any less valid of an approach as what you may do with the camera itself or even all the work that may have been done prior to pressing the shutter button.

    A jpeg can still be manipulated in ways that make a photo appear radically different from what was in front of the camera.
    samstevens likes this.
  11. ... Not to mention traditional photography which required “synthetic” darkroom work.

    Face it. Photography is manufactured. Photos don’t grow on trees!
  12. So by "nothing wrong with that" I did not mean to imply "less valid".

    The taking vs making distinction is pretty basic, though, the reason photographs look the way they do is because photography is a mechanical picture-making process based on selection rather than synthesis. You select what's in the frame. You select what's in focus. You select the duration in which the picture is made. You select the lighting. The camera does the rest, and -- very important! -- it doesn't rely on a cultural archive of knowledge, skills and attitudes in order to accomplish this feat. It's just physics. That's why almost all photographs are sh*t. It's hard to take a good picture.

    It's called printing.
  13. Traditionally, and for many photographers, darkroom work meant a lot more than printing. It was very much a synthetic process.
  14. I’d submit that photos that result from this kind of narrow and mechanical thinking are often sh*t. Photos made by photographers who are in touch with the amount of active involvement (as much as or more than selection) and humanity that go into making a photo tend to make engaging photos. And that’s before they even begin the refinement of their craft and artistry with good and appropriate post work, darkroom or digital.
  15. "Mechanical thinking" etc -- what are you even talking about?
  16. I’m thinking of your words.
  17. Ah, one of my finer moments.
    samstevens likes this.
  18. All you're doing in a darkroom is selectively adjusting the exposure of a negative on a substrate such as paper. Printing. It's harder than it sounds, practically an art form unto itself, but still, it's a removal of information not an addition. Yes, experimental/mixed media techniques that synthesize new information on a negative are a thing photographers can play with, but I wouldn't call it an essential feature or tradition.
  19. You also select the aperture and focal length, not to mention long exposures, which completely change the way a given frame looks to the naked eye. I am not sure if you call that a synthesis. In many genre, the photographer also selects lighting. Anyway, what I am saying is, selection and synthesis are not that binary that we may think. Many synthesis processes are a string of numerous micro selections. Thats the reason they seem entirely 'made' vs picked out of an array of choices. Even something as obvious as sculpture or peotry that would be considered 'synthetic' by most, are technically a product of micro-choices the artists make, whether its hand orientations and pressure levels, or combination of words. Same goes with post-processing. One selects a number of parameters in a specific sequence to give the picture it's final look. Now, to judge 'something' as synthesis, ones needs to define a threshold for the number of micro choices one has to make to arrive at the creation. More the number of selections, farther the creation moves into the realm of synthesis away from selection, if we go by mechanistic definition.

    On the other hand, when a street photographer sees (perceives) and frames something amongst chaos that nobody else notices although the scene is laid flat before everyone's eyes, thats a selection that is as precious as a skillfully constructed pottery or a poetry made out of choice words, in my opinion.

    In my view, its pointless to argue about distinction between selection vs synthesis when it comes to creative photography or any other art. Yes, we may give mechanistic definition to artistic processes, but art is different than science. So these definitions seem less relevant when describing artistic processes. One distinction is, if an artist willfully imposes restrictions on his/her process as a challenge, that restriction can become part of the creative appeal, but that would depend case by case.

    Its not just physics. I explained it in my previous paragraph where I gave example of the street photographer. What makes one photographer capture a desolate park bench in fog, and another one the same bench in bright sunlight full of people. Both are making choices that come from personal attitudes.
  20. "... that's a selection ..."

    I agree.

    I don't want to argue at what point a pile of dirt turns into a mountain, I mean even painters select what to paint, but this:

    Is it pointless though? Do you sometimes look at a photograph and call it a painting?

    Every art form has its own set of creative issues that arise from its structure. I'm no scientist, just an ordinary Joe who can (hint) successfully operate a shutter, mission accomplished.

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