RAW snobism has got to stop!

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by rtrace, May 23, 2004.

  1. It never ceases to amaze me but RAW (WAR spelled backwards - which it seemingly seems
    to be!) vs. JPEG articles (not all but most) always end up with the same conclusion, in that
    those who care most about image quality shoot RAW and JPEG is good, but not in the same
    "league", etc.

    This otherwise accurate and quite good article, which claims and tries for the most part to
    be objective, is a good point to illustrate what I call "RAW sobism".

    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/understanding-series/u-raw-files.shtml

    All is well until the "Summary" part where the author really tells us how he feels:

    "Certainly anyone looking for the best possible image quality will want to shoot in raw
    mode whever possible"

    Now, pardon me but IMO this is utter crap. All his cases for JPEG are about convenience,
    speed, and lack of time or desire to sit behind a computer and edit away with a RAW
    converter at "of course" the sacrifice of quality. The latter of course being BS in a lot of
    cases.

    But you know what? Plenty of peple, myself include, DO care about quality and shoot JPEG.
    I don't shoot JPEG because I don't care about quality. That is absurd! In fact I used to shoot
    RAW exclusively (used ACR and C1 quite a LOT), but realized that for me personally it was
    a waste of time and the quality I got/get from a JPEG is the same with the way I shoot. I
    can show you 20x30 prints where you cannot tell the difference if the file was a JPEG or a
    RAW converted TIFF. I know - I had to convince myself at first to switch from RAW to JPEG.

    Yes, sure if you don't get your exposure or WB right, and do a lot of editing in Photoshop,
    RAW will get you better results. But in some ways this encourages bad practices (yes I
    know JPEG shooters are also called snobs because they advocate getting it right in the
    camera..). This is not to say that I'm anti people who choose to shoot RAW. For some I'm
    sure it's fun/nice/desirable to have a 16bit file on which edits are easier to make. And
    some like the flexibility of going back to the original file to make a new image with a
    different WB, etc.

    But don't come and tell me that unless I shoot RAW it must mean I don't care about
    quality.

    I don't want to generalize, but from what I've seen in person and read, it seems to be RAW
    is more of an escape route (and an easy one at that) for poor exposure, WB settings, etc.
    for a LOT of people. Not all, of course, but for most I've seen. "Expose to the right and
    blah, blah, blah". "Underexpose and fix it in the RAW converter". Funny things if you really
    stop to think about it. How about, "Expose it right and get your WB right, and do minimal
    stuff in Photoshop?" Why not?

    I guess that author ought to talk to Jay Maisel who mostly, if not only, shoots JPEG. Some
    of the big names in the pixel industry keep trying to get him to switch, but even they
    admit his results speak for themselves. So ask yourself. Are you as good as Jay Maisel?
    Does he not care about quality?

    Bogdan
     
  2. Tell us how you really feel...
     
  3. RE "Certainly anyone looking for the best possible image quality will want to shoot in raw mode whever (sic) possible"

    Now, pardon me but IMO this is utter crap.


    Shooting in TIFF versus JPEG is vastly better for some specialized subjects; such as text. This has been known for at least a decade; and common knownledge. We did tests on this at our shop 1 decade ago; when using Photoshop 2.5.

    JPEG is made for photos; and is total crap for fine text and line work; when the compression is too much.
     
  4. This is why I shoot film.
     
  5. yea, i agree...theres no real diff between raw and jpg....raw just allows you to change the settings is all...
     
  6. I guess there is no difference between LA and NYC either! :)
     
  7. -->I guess that author ought to talk to Jay Maisel who mostly, if not only, shoots JPEG.

    Used to. The pixel mafia has done a good job finally convincing Jay (actually his digital guy
    Jackson) into use RAW.

    Shot JPEG of you wish. If you're happy with what you get, no argument. Problem is you
    have NO control over the RAW to JPEG conversion today and anytime in the future. The
    color appearance from RAW to whatever you get is fixed. You have the wrong white
    balance or you need that extra stop of density, sorry. RAW is about options and getting
    ALL the available data (which isn't even in color yet) the camera can produce. It's like
    actually getting a color neg rather than a chrome. You don't like the neg, pop a different
    filter pack in the enlarger. You don't like the color in the chrome, tuff.

    Andrew Rodney

    http://digitaldog.imagingrevue.com/
     
  8. One of the great advantages digital offers is choice. Every photographer is free to choose the shooting style and digital workflow that makes the most sense. For me, the choice is about practicality, not snobbery.

    After ponying up big money for a couple of DSLRs, I choose to use the advantages of shooting RAW, especially for important and non-repeatable events.

    At important events I now shoot RAW + JPG high/fine. Usually, the camera and I nail the exposure and WB, and I just post-process the JPG files. If a WB or exposure correction is required on any frames, I convert and edit the RAW file.

    Under mixed lighting in theatre and concert venues, and under extreme backlighting and other challenges, RAW has saved the day several times. It's great insurance, and gives you the highest quality digital negative for backups and archiving.
     
  9. The color appearance from RAW to whatever you get is fixed.
    If you shot the damn thing right in the first place you could use GIF for all I care and it would still look better than relying on the computer operator with his 'puck' in hand to fix the problem for you.
    Right here is an illustration of why film shooters are bitching about bad skin tones in high end magazines from digital capture, and rightfully making a point. If you ask the photographer, they'll just shrug their shoulders and claim they shot in RAW, so it's not their problem. The imaging/pre-press guy will simply point at his workflow tools and indicate it's not a problem. Hell, it was shot in RAW and converted to AdobeRGB and not that icky sRGB, so how dare somebody complain about skin tones. Must be the photographers fault. This from somebody that's convinced you need to use AdobeRGB to fit the gamut range of industrial inks on magazine paper. Give me a flippin' break.
    had to convince myself at first to switch from RAW to JPEG
    Boy, do I hear you. RAW capture's main advantage is to squeeze a bit more dymanic range out of the sensor, and that means a bit more detail at the extremes of color saturation, which digital capture sucks with anyways because it's a linear response and you'll likely never approach unless you only shoot, er, crayons for camera tests. For real world shooting stick to 100/200 speed as much as possible, and watch your histogram.
    Expose it right and get your WB right, and do minimal stuff in Photoshop?" Why not?
    Job security for an industry full of software manufacturers and pre-press techs that insist you need to do conversion from RAW because of all that hidden information hidden between the 1, and 0's. Just like you, I have yet to see much advantage with shooting in RAW unless I need just a hair more dynamic range. When my 10D is capable of a full, 48-bit capture, then I'll start shooting in RAW.
     
  10. > If you shot the damn thing right in the first place you could use GIF for all
    > I care and it would still look better than relying on the computer operator
    > with his 'puck' in hand to fix the problem for you.

    What's right? You get what you get. You have no control over the color rendering let alone
    the color space (sRGB, Adobe RGB which isn't even what it is).


    > Right here is an illustration of why film shooters are bitching about bad
    > skin tones in high end magazines from digital capture, and rightfully making a
    > point. If you ask the photographer, they'll just shrug their shoulders and
    > claim they shot in RAW,


    RAW is digital clay. You can make a lovely vase or an ugly ashtray. It's all up to the person
    and the software handling the conversion.


    > This from somebody that's convinced you need to use AdobeRGB to fit the gamut >
    range of industrial inks on magazine paper. Give me a flippin' break.


    RAW can become any color space you want at any time. Adobe RGB is a vastly better space
    for some output needs than sRGB.


    > Job security for an industry full of software manufacturers and pre-press
    > techs that insist you need to do conversion from RAW because of all that
    > hidden information hidden between the 1, and 0's.


    No one around here is insisting. There is no conspiracy theory about job security
    necessary. If you don't need the flexibility and possible control RAW provides don't use it.
    That doesn't change what RAW can do for those that have the tools and need the control
    and flexibility it provides.

    This is akin to those that say there's no reason to edit in high bit data. You don't want the
    flexibility it provides and don't believe you'll ever see banding on output and don't think
    the added flexibility it provides (at a price in file size and until recently editing flexibility)
    then don't use it.

    Andrew Rodney

    Http://digitaldog.imagingrevue.com/
     
  11. What gives with the sense of its one or the other? We are not talking religious dogma here. Most images do not niecessarily benefit from a raw file. A good photographer takes advantage of the tools available to him (her). You use what is necessary to get the best image. Something like film. You use a certain type of film for a certain effect. Sometimes you use RAW for the same reason.
    90% of the time I shoot jpeg images. Why? because I am almost positive what the outcome is goint to be. For production images Jpeg. The 10% of the rest of the time, I am dealing with either too much contrast or trickier colour balance than I want to have. That is where a RAW file comes in handy. It gives you just that additional edge when necessary.
    So if you want to limit yourself to one or the other, fill your boots.
    Practice, see if there are any advantages one or the other in your shooting style and see whether there is some benefit to you. That way you will prove to yoursel whether raw files are worth the bother. Remember, they dont cost anymore to shoot (except for space on the card)
     
  12. That is absurd! In fact I used to shoot RAW exclusively (used ACR and C1 quite a LOT), but realized that for me personally it was a waste of time and the quality I got/ get from a JPEG is the same with the way I shoot.
    Well that is certainly a personal decision but can't be applied to all circumstances and all photographers, only to you. I guess that author ought to talk to Jay Maisel who mostly, if not only, shoots JPEG.
    Ahem! Jay is an friend of mine of long standing and hasn't been shooting JPEG files for awhile. And to put a finer point on the matter: neither of his assistants let him touch a computer.
    Scott Eaton wrote:
    Right here is an illustration of why film shooters are bitching about bad skin tones in high end magazines from digital capture, and rightfully making a point. If you ask the photographer, they'll just shrug their shoulders and claim they shot in RAW, so it's not their problem.
    You touch on a good point there Scott. Most photographers don't really know what they are doing regarding digital imaging. Another point you touch on obliquely is that most most photographers don't/won't work at integrating themselves into their client's pre-press workflow. A third point you touch on is that some pre-press guys and printers consider it a reasonable business tactic to make even the best most digital & pre-press savvy photographers look bad as they perceive it will cut into their business & profits. Scott you are a great guy and I always look forward to seeing what you have to say , but in these matters I am gonna defer to Andrew Rodney.
     
  13. Bodgan, I'm afraid there's just no way you can be sure whether (a) those who
    disagree with you are snobs &/or careless shooters; or (b) they're simply
    workiing, at least on some images, to higher tolerances than you've been able
    to appreciate. We can't settle that point here - it just has to remain an open
    question.
     
  14. jbs

    jbs

    It all depends on the subject and environment. And I don't really care what others say per se because I do my own testing....;)...J
     
  15. Bogdan, cool down! Just do whatever you want. If you want to shoot JPEG and you get satisfying results, good for you. Nobody is forcing you to shoot RAW. Just do whatever you think works best for you.
     
  16. Kirk you're right! I don't know. And it's fine with me, as I've said, if people want to shoot
    RAW. What do I care? I'll shoot RAW once in a while too!

    But snobism is when someone says that, "Certainly anyone looking for the best possible
    image quality will want to shoot in raw mode whever possible", implying that if I shoot
    JPEG I'm somehow looking for lesser quality! The concept is elitist crap, pardon my
    english.

    And yes Jay might have switched, but was his stuff crap before he switched? Not from what
    I heard. And Jay is not the only pro. Many others STILL shoot JPEG. I used him as an
    example.

    I myself said RAW is really about flexibility! I did not disagree! I merely pointed out that a
    lot of people I've personally seen shoot RAW for the flexibility to fix mistakes. Not all of
    course, but a lot.

    Anyway, my point was not anti RAW (which some saw it as, hence WAR spelled backwards
    ;), but about the quality argument which upsets me because it's just not correct.

    So a lot of newcomers to the digital world feel that unless they shoot RAW they are lesser
    photographers and THAT is the wrong idea to install in people's minds. Like I said, people
    moving over to digital would probably be better off served starting out shooting JPEG,
    which in a way is like slide film - you either get it right or you don't. You have time to
    learn about digital's limitations and advantages. Then they can choose
    to go to RAW later if they like. I don't know - to me it just makes sense.

    How many questions do we see about RAW converters, RAW conversions, and people
    blaming their techniques, etc.? "My 10D's flesh tones are too red!" "What is wrong with it!"
    Well nothing, except you didn't calibrate ACR for your particular 10D and that's the
    problem.

    See what I'm saying? People are learning software before learning digital shooting, which is
    sort of backwards.

    Anyway, I digress, because my real argument has to do with quality of a JPEG vs a
    converted RAW. But that "JPEG is crappier attitude" leads some to the above, which IMHO is
    not right.

    Bogdan
     
  17. Jesper,

    I'm cool man! I think my style of writing (exclamation marks, capital letters, etc.) makes it
    more dramatic, but I'm cool and relaxed ;) Of course I shoot what I want.

    Believe me I shot RAW exclusively. Because after reading biased articles and so on, I felt it
    was the only way. It took me a while of messing around with ACR calibrations, shooting
    colorchecker cards to do the calibrations, messing with C1 profiles which make no sense
    (another story ;), etc. to realize that in fact I was getting better or similar results in my
    embedded JPEGS! Of course things like color and what is accurate or pleasing is very
    subjective, but I was never able to get ACR (even after all my calibrations which most don't
    even do!) to get me the accurate colors that my 10D gives me when converting in-camera
    to JPEGs. And I've tried 4-5 10Ds - same deal. Maybe I'm incompetent!

    Bogdan
     
  18. Jesper,

    I forgot to add. This is not about ME. I know I'm not being forced into anything, but see
    my previous post. And the main point is still missed about quality.

    So far I've seen only one argument for shooting text. Show me the examples!

    Bogdan
     
  19. Every time you shoot a picture it starts out as a raw file. Then if you have jpeg selected as the storage option, the tiny little CPU in your camera runs a set of algorithms to "throw away" the most data it can and still produce a reasonable image for you. JPEG was developed as a means of compressing images for low bandwidth transmission/ storage space reduction. There is some really cool math behind it but in order to fit it on the little chip in your camera, a lot of shortcuts were made. I shoot RAW and then use Capture 1 to do my file conversion. It takes about 20 seconds on a 3 GHz CPU to do the whole process and about a fraction of a second on my camera CPU. Hmmm... Also, shooting JPEG means you are probably using AWB (Awful white balance). When I shoot RAW, the first image is a Gretag color checker card. I use it later with Capture 1 to correct the white (Grey) balance of my shots. I can also fine tune the amount of sharpening (the jpeg process will force one on you). I am not color balancing in the blind post process, the color checker card and the grey balance process does it for me in a very controlled fashion. Do yourself a favor, try RAW and download a 30 day trial version of Capture1 (www.phaseone.com) and see just how much better your images can be.
     
  20. Ronald,

    No offense, but did you actually READ what I posted? I know how things work and have
    tried RAW converters more than you can imagine. So shooting JPEG now means I have no
    clue and use AWB? Please.....

    You are EXACTLY what's wrong here, sorry. You assume incompetence or unfamiliarity just
    because I shoot JPEG now, even though I posted info that explains what I do. Read my
    previous posts on this forum regarding RAW. Do YOURSELF a favor..... try a RAW converter
    that doesn't rely on faulty input profiles like C1 (don't get me started there). Try ACR.

    Andrew,

    I also thought about long term archivalness of RAW files, but realized that is a crap shoot.
    RAW files are not like negatives, in the sense that negs were/are a standard format. Will
    my CRW be around for me to re-touch in 5 years? Or will CRW.10 be the one? RAW is not a
    standard, so I cannot count on it for archival reasons. One reason against it for me. It's
    good until it's not supported anymore. And who will continue to support it in 5 years?
    Canon - maybe. ACR? C1? Who knows? I like to stick to standards when talking about
    archivalness. The negative analogy is correct, but only until the format changes. A
    standard RAW format would be nice - but hardly possible.

    Bogdan
     
  21. -->I also thought about long term archivalness of RAW files, but realized that is a crap
    shoot. RAW files are not like negatives, in the sense that negs were/are a standard format.
    Will my CRW be around for me to re-touch in 5 years?

    Ah, now you're bringing up something that DOES need to be discussed and fixed which is
    we need a RAW standard format. The advantages of RAW are clear to those who want to be
    able to render the data anytime using better and better software tools but ONLY if we can
    get the software manufacturers to open up this can of worms. There are over 100 RAW
    formats. If someone like Thomas Knoll wants to implement that in Adobe Camera RAW, he
    usually has to hack the source as there are usually no published SDKs. This is totally
    unacceptable. What if Nikon or Canon decides not to support our ability to deal with files
    created today in 10 years? We're screwed. Check out rawformat.com/

    As for Jay, thankfully he has seen the light (usually after seeing enormous 9600 prints).
    The fact that a lot of his older prints exhibit JPEG artifacts that could knock you out, it
    doesn't have anything to do with his amazing photographic talent. What Jay can do has
    nothing to do with RAW verses TIFF verses JPEG. The differences do show when he cranks
    out a huge print but that doesn't alter the fact that the image itself is totally amazing.

    Andrew Rodney

    Http://digitaldog.imagingrevue.com/
     
  22. I don't see the problem as raw-format snobbism -- I see more JPEG fear-mongering.
    I've seen posts on the forums right here with folks fearing their JPEGs are loosing quality sitting on their hard drives as if the files were decaying like radioactive elements. There is a severe lack of understanding just what a JPEG is and why it's being used.
    That being said, there are reasons to use raw just like there is for JPEG.
    IMHO, if someone needs to ask if they should use raw or JPEG, they should probably use JPEG -- they're much better off working on their photographic technique than spending time trying to rescue badly exposed and/or off color-balanced raw-format files.
    For my use, I've found the JPEGs out of the Canon 10D to be perfectly acceptable. For me, it's not worth the extra inconvenience of working with raw for the small (IMHO) gains in quality and dynamic range. YMMV.
     
  23. "As for Jay, thankfully he has seen the light (usually after seeing enormous 9600 prints). The fact that a lot of his older prints exhibit JPEG artifacts that could knock you out, it doesn't have anything to do with his amazing photographic talent. What Jay can do has nothing to do with RAW verses TIFF verses JPEG. The differences do show when he cranks out a huge print but that doesn't alter the fact that the image itself is totally amazing."

    Andrew,

    Agree on the standard RAW format, and that is a huge reason I don't use it (except rarely anymore - when I need 16bit for editing).

    But to comment on your quote above that is the point! The differences show up mostly on huge prints and are really irrelevant if the image is good. I'm afraid future photographers will be more versed in Photoshop than in capturing and composing an image....

    I've seen so many technically perfect images that are total crap lately. Maybe photography will turn into painting...

    Bogdan
     
  24. I've seen so many technically perfect images that are total crap lately.
    Yeah, but that's not the fault of using RAW. Given that it's so easy today to go from camera to web (in front of the whole world), it's not surprising that we are seeing more and more work than ever, and it's further not very surprising that some of it is technically excellent but not very interesting or creative. But it doesn't mean that technical perfection and creative imagery are at odds. If Jay Maisel has a great shot in which some people see flaws in the print, I would argue that it certainly wouldn't be a worse shot without those flaws, whether many others perceive them or not, and for some of his audience, it would be better.
     
  25. -->But to comment on your quote above that is the point! The differences show up mostly
    on huge prints and are really irrelevant if the image is good. I'm afraid future
    photographers will be more versed in Photoshop than in capturing and composing an
    image....

    This goes back to flexibility. Jay and most photographers would prefer NOT to see JPEG
    artifacts on large prints. Yes, if you look at a huge print real close, not viewing distance,
    you see this problem and likely none when you view accordingly. Yes, artifacts or not, the
    image stands on it's own. That doesn't change the facts that the artifacts are there, that
    everytime the file is opened, changed and saved (in JPEG) the loss is compounded. It
    doesn't change the facts that while the image itself is amazing, the artifacts get in Jay's
    way to make larger prints. It's like suggesting we set the camera to ISO 1600 all the time
    because who's really going to care about the substantial increase in noise. It's not going to
    change the art of the image. Why shoot large format? If we blow up a 35mm past where it
    should compared to a 4x5, it's still the same fine imagery. The only thing that "suffers" is
    the quality of the blow up. We have to decide if we want to separate the artistic intent of
    an image with the technology and methods in which the image was shot. Jay or anyone
    else could expose the image incorrectly and fix it in Photoshop to some degree. So we
    should therefore be casual about exposure? Camera shake, focus?

    This is by and large a technical debate. The bottom line is RAW provides a far higher level
    of flexibility in data handling than what a camera that gives you a color image provides.
    You can't really even debate this since it's a fact. You may find the tools poor or the
    workflow an issue in which case shooting outside of RAW is the right answer for you. The
    analogy of a color neg with RAW still applies because you have an huge degree of control
    over how the color is created from a RAW file compared to what you can do with the
    exiting
    color provided by the camera. What we need are better RAW converters so you can have
    your cake and eat it (faster, better control etc) and an open format so that RAW data can
    be handled today and in the future with vastly superior software.

    The quality possible from the same sensor dump today and in the future can be night and
    day. I've seen this as I've beta tested a number of camera products. The data hasn't
    changed but the results can be tremendously different in just the course of software
    development. The process that converts that RAW data you're shooting anyway is fixed
    today and will remain that way until you get yourself a new camera.

    Andrew Rodney
     
  26. Bogdan,

    I do believe you are correct. I am a photographer who has
    shot and continues to shoot for magazines, advertising and
    corporate clients around the world. I shoot personal work that
    has been exhibited in galleries and museums around the
    world.

    I have gained a tremendous amount of knowledge about
    digtal photography on this sight. However, as in the film
    medium, there are many, many folks who seem to be more
    interested in technique than in taking pictures. That's their
    business. I believe way too much space is taken complaining
    about imaginary problems and fixes. If the picture works for
    you, than it doesn't matter what format or camera or software
    or printer, etc. was used.

    Scott Eaton,

    You are one of the voices of reason on this sight. You are into
    taking pictures and giving rational, sincere advice based on
    real world experience. Too many folks give advice based on
    their perceived expertise. They scare away people who would
    like answers to their qustions and learn more about
    photography.

    RAW is way overkill in most situations IMHO. It uses too much
    space and requires too much post time. It has it's place.

    To many of you 'experts,

    Go out and take some pictures and stop worrying about
    perfect technique.


    gw
     
  27. So a lot of newcomers to the digital world feel that unless they shoot RAW they are lesser photographers and THAT is the wrong idea to install in people's minds.
    A few years ago i was having a discussion with a client about how a project i was hired to salvage after another vendor had screwed it up in the first place. The two of us had a meeting with the other vendor during which we both realized that the entire thing (setting up a library of images for a non-profit corporation) would have to be started again from scratch. During this meeting it was also concluded that the other vendor would be working under my direction to do a lot of the "scut" work in exchange for criminal charges not being filed. Afterthe meeting I looked at my client and asked him if he thought the other guy understood something. He replied:"Never me ask me what someone else understands."
    It is nice that you are worried about the mental capacities and ego-strength of your fellow photographers, but don't try to be a "catcher in the rye".
     
  28. Ellis,

    Yes Sir! How dare I? Excuse me for stating my opinion. You are quite right. Now may I please have my Grey Poupon back? ....

    Bogdan
     
  29. Ken Rockwell writes on exactly this topic:

    JPG vs RAW vs TIFF: Get it Right the First Time

    Professional journalists like Karl Grobl who need to produce results shoot JPG. Karl just returned from a two month series of assignments in Asia. He brought back 20 Gigabytes of JPGs, and those were just the keepers. Karl no longer has the time to piddle with anything in Photoshop: if the image isn't perfect as shot it gets deleted. Life is too short to piddle with sloppy images if making images is what you do for a living. Of course if photography is your hobby and you find the piddling enjoyable or if you're in a studio with time to burn then that's another story.

    Somewhat simplified, the gist of his message seems to be that the in-crowd uses JPEG.

    Another point that Bogdan makes here -- the quality of different RAW conversion, would seem to be one argument for capturing in RAW -- for some hypothetical time in the future where the same format is still supported by better conversion algorithms have been devised, and the photos are still desired.
     
  30. Andrew,

    I don't disagree - I just see it differently. I'm not anti RAW! I just don't like people saying that if I want quality I HAVE to shoot RAW. That is BS. I'm all for quality. I calibrate everything, and am anal in general. You know. So when some article that pretends to be objective makes a statement like that I have to react.

    Yeah sure if I take my 6MP camera and save a JPEG 10 times until it looks like crap and then blow up the pic to 20x30 it will look bad. That is obvious. But I don't do that! If I know I'm going to do that (edit heavily and save 10 times, layers, etc.) I WILL shoot RAW. It's just rare that I do. And I'm not the only one.

    People that care about quality and shoot JPEG do NOT edit and save 10 times, expose bad, choose a bad WB, or blow noisy images way too large for a 6MP camera to begin with. These people care about PHOTOGRAPHY and shooting rather than editing in Photoshop a lot. Getting it right in the viewfinder. Just like Jay who I guess is not allowed to touch his computer does :)

    I'm all for better RAW software that's easier to use and more intuitive. Time is not even an issue for me. I made actions in Photoshop to use ACR rather quickly - it's a no brainer. But after all my anal calibrations to get my 10D to match the one Thomas Knoll used to create the two profiles for ACR, I still cannot get consistent colors that I like. ACR needs to really improve in that area IMO. If it worked for me, I'd still use it. And you know for what? Just if I needed to edit a lot where 16bits would save me some.

    Bogdan
     
  31. Is there "RAW snobbery"? Of course. Just as there is "SERIOUS photography" snobbery. And "not OUR kind, dear" snobbery.

    RAW is like The Zone System. Under certain circumstances, for the right kind of picture, there is no question that it provides the photographer a great amount of latitude and control.

    But that doesn't mean it's always best all the time. Any more than the Zone System is suited to the work of Garry Winograd or Henri Cartier-Bresson.

    No doubt back in the 20s-30s there were format snobs who opined that "No SERIOUS photographer would shoot with those 35mm toy cameras" - until H. C-B. and Robert Frank and countless others proved how idiotic that statement was.

    Snobbery is stupid, and someone always proves it wrong eventually. But that doesn't mean you can't weigh the differences between RAW and JPEG (and for that matter the differences between one manufacturer's RAW or JPEG and another's - they vary widely) and make your own choice to shoot one or the other (or both).

    As to the plethora of RAW formats - it's inescapable. RAW is the raw data from an imaging chip, and each chip type/size will have a different pattern of data: R-G-B-G, or R-G-B-E, or C-M-Y-G pixels; or 2560 x 1920 vs. 3448 x 2620 pixels; or even something as simple as "top left pixel is red (or blue - or green)". Plus a lot of other factors.

    You cannot have a common RAW format - any more than you can print 3 different novels and expect the same words to show up on the same pages in each.
     
  32. I'm reading through this thread. I'm not at the end yet but I have the feeling it all boils down to different definitions of quality (if I can summarize, it seems it boils down to making sure one gets a top-notch shoot by being very careful with the camera vs making sure one gets top-notch editing by using the least pre-processed file).
    A writer should be very careful in his/her choice of word. Quality is an emotional word, we all aim for quality but we have different means to achieve it.
    I agree with the original poster, the luminous landscape article was good and well- balanced until the conclusion. I guess the author tried to summarize his point in too few words.
    --ben
    marchal.com
     
  33. -->You cannot have a common RAW format - any more than you can print 3 different
    novels and expect the same words to show up on the same pages in each.

    You might want to tell Thomas Knoll and Adobe that because they are under the
    impression that such a format can be created, with lots of hooks for manufacturers to
    place secrete sauce while still allowing 3rd parties to easily extract the data into a color
    image without having to resort to reverse engineering.

    Andrew Rodney

    http://digitaldog.imagingrevue.com/
     
  34. Here's one plug for RAW vs. jpeg. First, I'll admit that I'm a firm believer in getting things right in the camera. There is no substitute for a good starting point. A print made from a RAW file that is off by 2/3 stop will never be as good as one from a properly exposed jpeg.

    The comments above equating a RAW file to an undeveloped negative are on the mark. This was driven home to me when I had the occasion to reprocess D1X images I originally shot in Spring of 2001 (love those situations where you've already got the shots needed!). I did the original conversions using either Nikon Capture 2.0 or some early version of Bibble. My skill at working with D1X images has improved during the intervening years, but so has the available software. Crunching the files through Capture One with an accurate camera profile made a hell of a difference. In film terms, it was something like the difference between shooting with Superia and NPZ. Had I shot jpegs I would have been stuck with the image the camera's converter produced.

    That ties in with the need for a sensible, common RAW format. As Andrew mentions, there is no reason why some proprietary tags can not be implemented if it gives the camera manufacturers jollies. Basic information - data layout, orientation, white balance - these need to be standardized if there is to be any hope of using digital cameras for the long(er) term. For example, when Capture One came out close to two years ago, Phase One's decision was that the Nikon D1H was hopelessly outdated and need not be supported. Granted, it had been almost a year since the camera was introduced, but this seemed a bit premature. My CYA solution has been to archive both the RAW file and the initial tiff created by the raw converter as well as finished product.

    The RAW confusion gets even worse when companies such as Sony start encrypting the RAW files. If these idiots really think they'll support the corporate bottom line on the strength of their raw converters, they should create a general purpose converter. That was Phase One's approach, and it worked. I would not want to use Sony's software on a bet, but that might just be me.
     
  35. I completely agree with the analogy between a RAW file and an undeveloped negative. The
    issue to me, as I mentioned, is one of future compatibility. Will my RAW files from my
    camera today be supported in the future? Long term that is. And by what converters? This
    is a big unknown. So I like Andrew would love to see a common RAW format, but I just
    don't see it happening. We can be optimistic, but so far camera manufacturers have been
    less than cooperative with divulging information to 3d party RAW converters like C1 or
    ACR. It's a battle, I know. Point is I can't predict the future.

    I also wonder why then would Canon be bothering with producing new RAW converter
    software like EVU and DPP, if they did NOT intend to keep things from being shared or
    divulged? And they are NOT charging for it! This is an important point as it sort of shows
    me what Canon is thinking long term. That is, they seemingly do NOT want to cooperate
    too much with the 3d parties and so are creating software that is trying to match the
    quality and more so, the functionality of ACR or C1.

    EVU is actually VERY good quality wise - better in some areas than ACR and C1 from what
    I've tried. Especially with noise in the shadows. Funcionally it's crippled. DPP is better in
    terms of functionality/workflow/speed but IMO it's quality is not as good as EVU.

    Imagine EVU/DPP on steroids next year. What would that do to C1 or ACR? They probably
    will have to play catch-up.

    We'll wait and see, but it seems that if Canon wanted to be really helpful, they would get
    out of the software business and not come out with EVU or especially DPP. Canon KNOWS
    their pro photographers are using C1 or ACR. So it seems they are trying to hook them -
    for free! The quality is there in EVU and DPP for the most part. Wait until the functionality
    comes..

    So this leaves me looking at the situation differently. While I know it's possible, I'm not
    sure it's probable.

    Another important point is that while I agree that RAW files shot and converted with
    current converts can look better in the future when better converters come out (if they still
    support the particular RAW files that is), this only really applies to mostly personal
    photographs.

    When I shoot for a client I have to deliver NOW. Not in a year later!

    There's the dilemma.

    RAW is about flexibility now and *possibly* later. Not really about quality unless all your
    prints are HUGE gallery prints where small JPEG artifacts will look bad when staring at the
    print inches from it instead of feet..

    Bogdan
     
  36. "Thomas Knoll and Adobe ... are under the impression that such a format can be created..."

    Fair enough. Although I'd call this "Meta-RAW" or "Encapsulated RAW" or some such. In effect you (or the camera makers) would be taking the RAW interpretation "plug-in" unique for each camera/chip and building it into the image file alongside the "raw" output from the chip as the camera saves it, rather than running the plug-in in Photoshop. Packaging the codebook with the coded message, as it were.

    No doubt Adobe backs the idea - they could quit having to reverse-engineer plug-ins for every new camera that comes along, and just leave it up to the manufacturers' software writers to support their own products.
     
  37. I had a look into the steps involved in RAW to TIFF conversion. I don't claim to be an expert in this field but I'm a computer scientist and my special experience is in interoperable business applications (getting two business software to talk to each other by means of common formats and others so, while my experience is not directly applicable, I think it is close enough to be valid).
    Anyway it does not appear that the difference between Nikon and Canon formats are that great (based on the reversed documentation available online). Basically both manufacturer store an array of pixels. The differences are in the number of bits per pixel, the byte order, the specifics of the bayer pattern, the compression used, and of course the file header.
    Technically it would not be difficult to agree on a common header, a set of compression algorithms and move the rest to header (parameter) information. So I would tend to agree with Adobe, technically it is doable; whether there's a willingness to define such a format is another issue, obviously.
    --ben
    marchal.com
     
  38. -->So I would tend to agree with Adobe, technically it is doable; whether there's a
    willingness to define such a format is another issue, obviously.

    Agreed, it's not a technology issue, it's a business (I'd say cultural issue). We vote with our
    dollars. Those of us that write reviews automatically knock off points for camera
    manufacturers who will not get on the band wagon of opening up their RAW files to a
    standard that insures it's not a total PITA to use a 3rd party converter. Eventually, all RAW
    users who demand this might actually get this (with help from the 900lb Gorilla in San
    Jose).

    Andrew Rodney
    http://digitaldog.imagingrevue.com/
     
  39. Interesting cross post on RAW:

    http://www.robgalbraith.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php?
    Cat=&Board=UBB13&Number=240731&Forum=,All_Forums,&Words=&Searchpage=0&Lim
    it=25&Main=240731&Search=true&where=&Name=&daterange=1&newerval=1&newertyp
    e=d&olderval=&oldertype=&bodyprev=#Post240731
     
  40. "Agreed, it's not a technology issue, it's a business (I'd say cultural issue). We vote with our dollars. Those of us that write reviews automatically knock off points for camera manufacturers who will not get on the band wagon of opening up their RAW files to a standard that insures it's not a total PITA to use a 3rd party converter. Eventually, all RAW users who demand this might actually get this (with help from the 900lb Gorilla in San Jose). "

    I just don't see it happening, but can hope?! See my comments above on DPP and EVU and especially read this thread and the last message:

    http://www.robgalbraith.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php?Cat=&Number=239593&page=0&view=collapsed&sb=5&o=&fpart=1

    How can we vote with our $$ when Canon and Nikon the two largest makers don't care and keep on supply FREE RAW software that gets better and better. Adobe will be struggling me thinks. Do you think people are going to go out and dump their Canon or Nikon gear and get a Minolta or Olympus because it supports a RAW standard????

    Bogdan
     
  41. -->How can we vote with our $$ when Canon and Nikon the two largest makers don't care
    and keep on supply FREE RAW software that gets better and better.

    They have to do this (although it's kind of dumb since I've yet to see a product from either,
    or for that matter a Japanese company that wasn't totally bad). They can't produce a
    product that produces a format that requires the user to have Photoshop or C1 or some
    other commercial product. What if the user doesn't own or want to buy these products?
    Yes I know, how many people dropping the bucks on the 1Ds don't own Photoshop. That's
    not the point as far as they are concerned. The cultural aspect I alluded to is that by and
    large, my experience working with these companies is that "not built here" is, in their
    minds a bad thing. It's shocking how long it took the manufacturers to even support the
    illusion that they could produce data in "Adobe RGB" (which really isn't the case). The
    900lb Gorilla and more importantly all their customers who upgraded to Photoshop 5 way
    back when and found that they had to define RGB color to work in Photoshop made these
    guys kind of get with the program. So this idea of a standard RAW format could take.

    If Canon and Nikon want to continue spending time and, money and R&D making what
    amounts to piss poor software, fine with me (although we all pay for this in the end). I'm
    willing to drop that money if someone better (Adobe) can produce a better product for me.
    But to continue this proprietary attitude is simply not acceptable.

    Andrew Rodney
    http://digitaldog.imagingrevue.com/
     
  42. "What Jay can do has nothing to do with RAW verses TIFF verses JPEG. The differences do show when he cranks out a huge print but that doesn't alter the fact that the image itself is totally amazing."

    I tend to think the above carries the day....if your scrapping for bits and bytes then something is wrong....either it knocks you on your ass or it doesn't....take your favorite photo and *X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#* with the WB here and there...does it really take away from that "God Damn!" reaction....Just a thought...
     
  43. Andrew
    Having a standard/portable format would not prevent Canon or Nikon from shipping free (or even paying) software with their camera. I don't know about Canon but Nikon has software that works with JPEG (an industry standard) and the software works with any JPEG, not just those produced by Nikon cameras.
    I noticed two things on this matter recently: Foveon released a PR to announce that Adobe will eventually support their format later this year... and, at a recent event, a Nikon representative was quick to point to me that Adobe would support the D70 "very shortly" (it was added since).
    So I guess their sales guys are seeing that RAW support in Photoshop is something that some of their customers want, which gives ammunitions to Adobe to promote an open format.
    Will we have a standard RAW format in 2004? No way. 2005? Maybe. 2006? A real possibility judging from the current market. Time for the information to move up the chain of command.
    Manufacturers have a tradition to work together. Look at CompactFlash, Exif, ExifPrint and now direct camera printing. Heck, in the days of film, there was no "Nikon 35mm film", "Canon 35mm film" or "Pentax 35mm film"... why should be settle for a "Nikon/ Canon/Pentax RAW file format"?
    --ben
    marchal.com
     
  44. We still need to rememeber that we are still in digital's infancy period, even though it may
    not seem so simply because it's so ubiquitous. We still have small sensors, a small
    dynamic range, crappy AWB, 12bits of capture, etc. All these things WILL improve. Yes,
    today's fancy RAW software allow for some flexibility and give you the ability to squeeze
    that final 5% or whatever one thinks it is out of a file that JPEG in *some* cases, not all,
    can't. But like Scott said above, until digital cameras can capture way more bits JPEG *IS*
    the standard now, NOT RAW. RAW is a work/format in progress. So we will have to wait
    and see what "develops" on that front. For now I'll use JPEG 99% of the time because it
    makes sense to me and most importantly (the main reason for which anyone should make
    a choice) is that it give me equal results w/o the BS of working with RAW converters and
    such.

    Heck, I agree with Andrew when he calls for a single, standalone program. But for me
    Photoshop is OVERKILL as an app for digital photography. We need a new standalone ACR
    with many more options but the 900lb Photoshop gorilla looks like it's putting on more
    weight rather than taking some off. Mr. Knoll should think to make ACR a standalone an
    incorporate some Photoshop feature into it, but the route he's taking (from what I've read)
    is to do some things in ACR but not to duplicate a lot of Photoshop stuff, which means his
    intention is to still use Photoshop. And face it, for most of us how many of the Photoshop
    feature do we really use for processing photos? Chances are 10% if that. I'm not saying get
    rid of Photoshop, because certainly some people DO use a lot of its features, but give me a
    good alternative that is slim, fast, and mean. I see Adobe going the way of MS - more
    bloated software.

    If we have a RAW standard then we will see real competition from more than Adobe and
    C1. Programs that are fast, sleek, self-contained, and produce great output. THAT is the
    future I want to see.

    Bogdan
     
  45. I don't quite understand - on the 10D doesn't the PC raw conversion software have the same default settings as the in-camera conversion software? I usually don't need to edit my D70 RAW files at all to get nice prints. There is essentially no drawback to using RAW for me. I can shoot 120 raw files on one 1 GB CF card and I never shoot fast sequences. Since it's quite clear that JPG ditches fine detail, I don't see much point in using it. In time the in-camera electronics and cards get faster in handling large files, so that fast bursts of RAW will be possible. JPG is good for transmitting files for web display and other time-critical applications but I think the vast majority of photography doesn't require it once cameras are fast enough. Same thing with computers; there will be little penalty in processing time in a few years. If you need to use JPG now, use it! I agree that the loss in quality with the best JPG settings is not too bad unless your image just doesn't fit well for truncated cosine transformation. I don't want to learn when JPG looses noticeable quality and when it doesn't - I'll just shoot the native format and forget about the existence of JPG.
     
  46. I shoot RAW, because I'd like to increase the number of keepers in my files. Back in the E-6 days, nothing would frustrate me more than a slide that was somehow off (color balance, slightly mis-exposed,...). Thank god for desktop scanners that allowed me to correct some of these images. But back to the topic at hand: no one will get every shot right the first time, I don't care who you are. And you don't always have an opportunity to reshoot (unless you're shooting in a studio environment).

    I'd rather have the option of being able to better tune the image on the desktop. Sure, I could get try to get it right when I'm out in the field like I did during the E-6 days, but I'd rather not deal with color correction issues out in the field (thankfully, we can now use white balance adjustments instead of specialized film and/or filters). I don't know about you, but I can never get my white balance "right" out in the field when I'm shooting mixed lighting scenes (tungsten + fluorescent + daylight,...).

    When I do get it right the first time, I simply convert to jpeg using the default camera settings, which is exactly the same as shooting jpeg in the first place. No problem--CF memory is cheap these days, and I have yet to run out of room.

    You might ask, "why go through the trouble of converting to jpeg?" No trouble at all--I batch process those images, walk away from my computer (or check my email), and the jpegs are ready in no time at all. The only difference being that RAW takes up more room on my CF cards. No problem---memory is cheap compared to film.

    When I don't get it right, RAW can save an image. Sure, it can only hold an extra 1/2 to 1 stop of info, but that can mean the difference between filing it and trashing it.

    I do check my histogram after just about every shot. If the highlights are clipping, I'll adjust and reshoot. But sometimes, I just don't have opportunity to recapture a moment image. That 1/2 to 1-stop CAN and has saved some of my images.

    I've noticed a difference, albeit very slight, in the quality of RAW (converted to 16-bit TIFF) vs. jpeg. This becomes a bit more apparent when adjustments are necessary (e.g. curves, levels,...). This can probably be attributed to the added bit depth of RAW images (12-bits/channel vs 8-bits/channel).
     
  47. Could somebody please remind me what Ansel Adams used in Yosemite?? Was it RAW or JPEG? Am I the only one who understands Bogdan's point?
     
  48. "until digital cameras can capture way more bits JPEG *IS* the standard now, NOT RAW"

    You are correct in this statement as far as you go. Tiff is also a standard and can have zero compression.

    I understand that a new standard for JPEG has been developed, JPEG 2000. This begs the question of the lifespan of 'standard jpegs' should the software people decide to support JPEG 2000 in addition to or instead of the 'standard jpegs'. Unless I am mistaken, TIFF has been a DTP standard much longer than jpeg has been around. Heck, haven't GIF's been around longer than jpegs?

    So, in reality, there is no 'standard' and won't ever be. Technology marches on and the best we can hope for is to stay on top of the compatibility curve or shoot film and use the latest whizz bang do everthing scanner to rescan as needed.

    I love digital, but looking for a 'standard' is like hoping that Mac's and PC's will one day work together. Not going to happen. Profit and profit only drives this technology!

    My opinion.

    Kent
     

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