Raw vs Jpeg?

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by dominic-c-sensual-photography, Feb 29, 2012.

  1. Hi everybody,
    I would like to know what you think of the following article, as it left me rather unconvinced...
    Warm regards,
  2. My first reaction is that it is a three-year old article with lots of statements that, if true at the time, are no longer true. And it is by Ken Rockwell and around here that's like lighting a firecracker in a Sunday morning church service and asking people if they enjoyed it.
  3. He writes to confuse people, so that they will ask about the stupid things he says at places like photo.net. The links to his site improve its ratings. I'm not kidding. Warm regards to you.
  4. Dominic,
    If you are really serious about wanting perspectives on this, just use Google or search this site--there is plenty of information and Ken R is just one opinion. I am wondering though...your portfolio is very nice and you have been on this site since 2008--you haven't figured out what works for you yet (JPEG V. RAW)? You wouldn't be trolling would you?
  5. I've not read the article, because I would never click on a link to his site.
    Whatever he said it's nonsense.
    Raw files are the data as captured by the camera's sensor, without modification.
    Jpeg files are compressed, possibly with information loss, containing data modified by camera settings.
    - Leigh
  6. As Michael Reichmann of The Luminous Landscape said once, if when you shot on film you usually kept the prints and
    threw away the negatives, shooting JPEG is for you.
  7. Hi everybody,
    Thanks very much for your sharp answers that say it all. But let me explain further why I did ask the question:
    I spent 3 days, last week, shooting models (in a studio) for an American sarong company, and the owner tried to convince to me to shoot directly in Jpeg in order to make file transfers faster and compatible with PC softwares (I use Mac). I didn't follow his advice, although Raw files transfers from my camera to his laptop took a bit longer, but he kept on trying to convince me that he's right by later forwarding me Ken Rockwell's article. Moreover, my photo-retouching artist told me that there were no differences of quality between High Res Jpeg & Raw files...
    That's then the reason why I needed your comments, and your answers in way prove that I was right not to follow the sarongs company owner's advice.
    Now, here are below a few dedicated answers:
    David: I didn't know that Ken Rockwell's article was 3 yo... I unserstand better now.
    Hector: I understand a bit more about the man himself now. Thank you.
    Daniel: Thanks very much for the advice. I will follow it, when I'm a bit less busy. And, don't worry: I've always been working in Raw, since my very first Digital camera, but, as I'm not an expert in digital technology (I started photography more than 20 years ago, when argentic techniques were still widely used), I needed to clarify the matter. And it is clear to me now that I should keep on shooting in Raw... ;-)
    Leigh: I actually fully agree with you. That's why Ken Rockwell's article made me confused.
    Scott: ;-)
    Marc: He he... It's absolutely true. That's why I've always been working in Raw!
    Once again, thanks very much again to all of you, for spending time in answering my question.
    Warm regards,
  8. my photo-retouching artist told me that there were no differences of quality between High Res Jpeg & Raw files...​
    That's not true.
    A camera-generated JPEG will use whatever options and settings are set in the camera.
    They may or may not be correct. If they're wrong, it's difficult to correct the image.
    Shoot raw, or if the client insists shoot both and give them the JPEGs.
    Then you have the option to generate new JPEGs if the client decides there's a problem
    with WB or color or whatever.
    - Leigh
  9. Thanks very much again, Leigh, for your further answer.
  10. Why not shoot both at the same time, the client can have their faster transfers and you have the opportunity to be more creative with the raw files when and if you feel the need?
  11. Yes his article is dated, but there are some points that are valid. Equally, RAW is overrated and is not the holy grail some make it out to be.
    Firstly, a good exposure is a good exposure. If you are not getting correct exposures correct them in front of the lens. PS or LR will not make you a better photographer.
    Second, any editing step works by destroying some information contained in the photograph. Editing a jpg can be a quicker slide to lower quality but is not an excuse for using raw. Get it right in front of the lens.
    Third, at least half of the cost of RnD for your camera is the processing hardware/firmware. You are willing to pay that much not to use something?
    I actually force myself to NOT use raw to take better pictures. I started with film over 30 years ago and still shoot film 90% of the time. No pre/post views. View on development. Don't mistake film for raw, it's more comparable to the jpg - it's baked on development.
    I use LR and there isn't a disadvantage when you have exposed correctly. The workflow is optimized to not alter your original file and to optimize the order of your adjustments. I have yet to 'see' anything that would make me think 'i should have used raw'.
    Using a light meter is a much better skill to learn that wasting you time with raw.
    Let the flames roll.... ;)
  12. There's no such thing as an "excuse" for using raw, any more than there's an
    "excuse" for shooting film.
    Raw is a way to capture and retain all information available from the subject.
    This is the same thing that happens with film.
    Creating JPEGs in camera is analogous to always shooting through a cc filter.
    It might be right for a given situation or it might not.
    It goes without saying that any exposure should be correct.
    If you screw up that step there's no way to correct it in a computer.
    - Leigh
  13. "...at least half of the cost of RnD for your camera is the processing hardware/firmware." If this is true, that is a staggering figure. Can you please cite your source for this? Also, your use of "hardware/firmware" is confusing.
  14. Hi there
    If you check out the camera reviews on on Dpreview you will see that every camera delivers sharper images in RAW mode than in JPEG.
    Whilst I would agree that most of the time JPEG maybe fine it is simply untrue to say that they give the same image, once you have lost the detail nothing will get it back.
    JPEG conversions are not all the same so taking a raw image and doing an in camera conversion is not the same as having your software do it on a computer.
    Anyone who argues otherwise simply doesn't know enough about the science.
    Simple facts- JPEGs are all 8 bit per color, raw files can be 10,12 or 16 bit per color. more bits gives more colors and better rendition of subtle changes, that's why high level monitors display 10 bits.
    8 bits in a JPEG wasn't selected because that is all you need, it was selected because that was all the computers of the time could mange to work with.
    Think of televisions, for years we have had 25 frames per second (30 in the US)and 24 with film. That rate was only selceted because the technology could not support anything faster but as technology developed we had to stay with the original standard for compatibility. Now digital TV and computer games deliver much higher frame rates and the pictures look better for it.
    JPEG is like that, its an old standard that we stick with so that its compatible and everyone is guaranteed to be able to view it. It doesn't mean that it cannot be bettered, JPEG2000 was an attempt to do that and it improved the quality but lost the compatibility.
    Choosing JPEG rather than RAW will reduce image quality, if you are happy that a JPEG suits your needs as Peter clearly is then great use that, otherwise accept that to get the very best image out of your camera you need to use RAW.
    As a professional you may of course have other pressures such as speed of delivery of the finished product but you need to accept, as does your client that you are trading off quality for speed.
    Simon Platt
  15. I have to say I'm a heretic regarding raw versus jpeg. With Nikon Active D-Lighting with automatic lens corrections, and very accurate white balance and exposure, the jpegs are nearly as good as I can do in raw conversion. I find this true for the current generation of cameras. My old D40 required post processing on almost all shots, so raw was a given, all of the time. It's older technology. My current D7000 demonstrates far better processing intelligence for jpegs and it's hard to equal it processing raw files myself. For tricky exposures and mixed light, raw is still the only way to shoot. But don't underestimate the power of modern in-camera processing.
  16. It's like anything else, in that it depends on your needs and what you intend to do. "Image quality" (however it is defined) and information loss have nothing to do with it. The only advantage of having a raw file is editability before it's assembled into a JPEG. For example, I was revisiting some pictures I took a couple of years ago. Some are JPEGs, some are raw. Because those JPEGs are large and only minimally-compressed, I can do a lot to them in an image editor if I want to, but I can't change the picture controls or styles that were set in the camera at the time the picture was taken. It's like a slide, where the characteristics of the Kodachrome were baked into it. For the raw files, I can change pretty much anything about them in terms of that initial rendering of the JPEG I will ultimately use, including lessening or even removing all sharpening (a major advantage, given that most digital photography is horribly over-sharpened). It's a little like being able to redo part of the taking of that picture.
    However, in practical terms, I can still easily modify contrast and do other basic photographic operations on the original JPEGs too, so raw vs JPEG is not a cut-and-dried kind of decision.
    If your pictures are poorly-exposed, have only tenuous links to any kind of subject, or are simply devoid of any interest, it doesn't matter whether you shot them as JPEGs or raws, except that you will expend a lot more effort dealing with a memory card-full of useless raws than you would with one full of useless JPEGs.
    It's not even a new argument, because I well remember in the mid-1970's when many people had interest in black and white slide film (essentially un-processable after the fact) vs the traditional black and white negative films. It's not BETTER or NOT BETTER. It just depends on your needs and personal preference. Neither choice reduced "image quality", as so many people state.
    Some of the things I might have wanted to do a couple of years ago can actually be done by the camera I have now, and it's only one model newer. But I still have to make the choice of letting the camera do it ahead of time (highlight vs shadow control, and to what degree, for example). It essentially does the same thing automatically that I would have done in raw file processing.
  17. I do catalogue work. Even though it is on set and 100% nailed in with exposure, dynamic range, and lighting, I always shoot RAW. I do this because I use an X-Rite Color Passport to create custom camera profiles, I found for accurate colour renditions it is a minimum step to put in the workflow. Batch jpeg creation after profiling is simple and fast, but, it makes sure the sarongs are not only the right colour, but correct in tones against each other. In camera jpegs can not give accurate enough colours for pro catalogue work.
    The client doesn't know what he is talking about, there are no Mac/PC interface issues with camera RAW files, though I can well understand why he doesn't want RAW files. I shoot mostly artwork, if it is for the artist I give them the custom jpeg at full size, a 300dpi 8x10 jpeg, and the RAW file. If it is for pretty much anybody else I just give them the custom jpeg sized to their preference.
    "Moreover, my photo-retouching artist told me that there were no differences of quality between High Res Jpeg & Raw files..." That comment would cause me to look for a new retouching artist, they either don't know what they are doing, or are lying to you. Harsh but the truth, if they can't see differences in processed RAW and jpeg images then they are not worth the money.
  18. Ann: thanks for your post. Well, actually I don't have any problems to shoot in Jpeg if the client requires so. I was just wondering whether Ken Rockwell's article was accurate, and I then got the needed answers... :)
    Peter: I of course use a flash/light meter when I shoot in studio (and even outdoors). Thanks very much, anyway for your clear information & explanations. :)
    Leigh: I fully agree with you and I thank you again for re-assuring me... :)
    Simon: Thanks very much for that great "exposé"... I follow you on all points, definitely! :)
    David & Pierre: Thanks very much for your interesting points of views... :)
    Scott: Thanks very much for re-assuring me too... Once again, I've been using Raw for years and that 's why I was a bit "shocked" by Ken Rockwell's article. Now, regarding the differences of quality between Jpeg & Raw, I'll of course forward your comments to my photo-retouching assistant (he's Indonesian btw)... :)
  19. I mostly shoot in jpeg but when it comes to important event sure it will raw so you can have wider control on post
  20. A camera-generated JPEG will use whatever options and settings are set in the camera.
    They may or may not be correct. If they're wrong, it's difficult to correct the image.
    Nonsense! Scaremongering! Half Truths!
    Shoot RAW if you want to but I don't to avoid the hassles and drawbacks. Rockwell may be trolling, he's running a blogsite for income I gather, but I have no problems in editing and jpgs and hate to think if I had to work the cumbersome RAW process.
    I'm probably trolling too :) But the statements from RAW fanatics get my ....
  21. Well, JC,
    If a camera does not use the settings and options as currently set...
    What settings and options does it use???
    As to the "RAW fanatics" label, I am nothing of the sort. I'm an engineer.
    I made a simple statement that a RAW file contains the unaltered sensor data.
    That is an absolutely accurate description of the RAW file content, not based on any opinion whatsoever.
    Are you claiming that the statement is incorrect?
    And what exactly makes a RAW file "cumbersome"?
    People commonly fear that which they don't understand. It's human nature.
    - Leigh
  22. I am a RAW fanatic, I know the limitations of camera generated jpeg files and I won't accept them. Even simple, accurate, white balance corrections are often outside the capacity of in camera jpegs, generating accurate colour profiles are well beyond in camera capabilities. This doesn't mean in camera jpegs are worthless, just that they are worthless in a colour important and reproducible environment, as most product work is.
    Taking pictures at uncle Bob's 20th wedding anniversary, who cares if auntie Meg's top looks lime green instead of chartreuse? Nobody.
    Here is a product shot I took last week, the colors have to be accurate, the colors are an important part of the artists statement. In camera jpegs are unworkable in this situation, along with many others.
  23. I've read KR's article before. While he makes some valid points, every time I've shot jpegs for something important, I wish I had shot RAW. And yes, I know exposure and white balance. I've never had anyone look at one of my prints and ask if it was shot in RAW or jpeg. In most cases, I can't tell either. I don't do high-volume shoots, but I select a few images and work on them. I post-process every image. So I might as well shoot RAW for the added flexibility of adjusting exposure and WB. I understand that Jay Maisel shoots jpegs for his street work. He shoots three exposures of each shot using AEB, then his assistants select the best one. That's fine for Jay. But I'm not Jay Maisel.
  24. Scott, that image is a jpg. Are the colours accurate?
  25. peter,
    Nice try :) Probably not on your monitor, but they are on mine, they are on my printer, and they will be in the book it is for, because I can provide the printers with properly profiled files. That means the book you could buy will be an accurate representation of the platter you could buy (though I don't believe the platter is for sale).
    But my point is not that jpegs can't be forced to give accurate colours, it is that out of camera jpegs can't. The jpeg looks accurate on my monitor and to the printer because I applied custom response curves in the camera calibration setting when developing the RAW file, this can't be done to jpegs.
    Here is the Color Checker from that shoot. The shot on the left is processed as camera neutral and could be output by an out of camera jpeg, the shot on the right is after the custom profile has been applied and could not be output by an out of camera jpeg.
  26. Peter wrote: "RAW is overrated and is not the holy grail some make it out to be." "Using a light meter is a much better skill to learn that wasting you time with raw." " that image is a jpg. Are the colours accurate?"​
    I'd love to see two large prints shot (even in difficult lighting.) One shot in raw and one shot in jpg. Then the files are adjusted to the best of the photographers ability. I'd like to see how much better the RAW print is, if at all.
    I'd love to see where someone demonstrates in a print "this is the best we could do with jpg"..."look how much better the RAW print is."
    This cannot be demonstrated on the Web and I don't know if it's been demonstrated anywhere. I agree that Ken Rockwell made MANY valid points. He seems to say RAW is not needed for most photographers in most situations.
  27. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    What's the book? We can pick it up when it comes out and see if it matches anything.
  28. J,
    Do the two images above look the same to you? If they do then use in camera jpegs the rest of your life. If not, can you tell me how, when exposed identically, I can make an out of camera jpeg look like the right hand image? If you can, you could save me a lot of time, but it can't be done. If the accurate reproduction of colors are immaterial to your work then all power to the out of camera jpeg.
    For most people, if they can expose within the narrow band of latitude and dynamic range a jpeg allows, out of camera jpegs can work fine, provided they are not too colour critical. But many work outside those very narrow areas. It depends a lot on how you work and what you shoot and what your end result needs to be.
  29. BTW since photo.net adds a "no-follow" tag to most outgoing links, they don't help improve a site's "page rank". To many links with a no-follow tag can lower page rank.
  30. Jeff, you cynic....
    It's part of a ceramics series called 500. So 500 Teapots, 500 Plates and Chargers etc, it is a popular series amongst ceramicists. Here is an Amazon link, look at the bottom at the "customers who bought this also bought" for more in the series.
    I believe publication for the next plates one is summer this year, but you'll have to come out East to compare it to the original.
    J, What is your point? Oh and I loved the way you edited your earlier post when I called you out :) Don't forget, the OP went on to talk about product photography.
  31. I did not edit a post based on any comment from you Scott.
  32. Scott, what happened to the neutrals in your posted X-rite Passport target? Why are they so blue? What color temp are you referencing?
    D50 isn't that blue.
  33. J.
    Sure you didn't :)
    The funny thing is I agree with some of what you are saying, that is, if the scene falls within the sensors dynamic range, we nail exposure, and we don't care too much about slight colour issues, out of camera jpegs will work fine for most people most of the time.
    But often enthusiasts want much more than that, they want to push DR, they want to see what information is in the sensors ability to capture in 14 bits, they want to see the subtlest evening sky gradation without posterization, they want to see macro flower images that are colour accurate, or the finest details without artifacts. Often pros need more than an in camera jpeg can create, I was relaying my experiences in a similar situation to Dominic's that related specifically to colour, others have different needs. I regularly hit the capabilities of out of camera jpegs, so much so I never use them, other than for wireless viewing on set when I shoot RAW and jpeg. But that is me, my workflow, subjects, and standards, but everyone is different.
    If you want to see the difference between RAW and jpeg prints go and shoot a bunch of red, blue and purple flowers and try and get the colours close to right in your jpeg, and try not to blow the red channel too.
    Now what did you mean by "BTW since photo.net adds a "no-follow" tag to most outgoing links, they don't help improve a site's "page rank". To many links with a no-follow tag can lower page rank." I am at a loss, I have no links here or on my user page, I don't run my account as a mini stock agency or solicit work or sales. I see some users do though.
    It would depend on what temp you have your screen calibrated to wouldn't it. But this is direct from camera calibration and before white balance, you can choose any you like, it doesn't matter with a RAW file, as opposed to a jpeg.
  34. Ken Rockwell recently posted an 'article' about how great raw files were. I admittedly like to read his site. I think his reviews are fairly decent in a limited way, and he makes me laugh a bit. Every camera released is the BEST (as long as its a Nikon or a Leica). And they can apparently all be the BEST at the same time, or alternatively they take turns being the BEST.
  35. Scott,
    But my point is not that jpegs can't be forced to give accurate colours, it is
    that out of camera jpegs can't. The jpeg looks accurate on my monitor and to
    the printer because I applied custom response curves in the camera calibration
    setting when developing the RAW file, this can't be done to jpegs.​
    I don't know why you assumed I have not profiled my monitor. It is, and my printer too. I usually shoot with grey cards.
    I never mentioned profiling. However profiling can certainly be done on a jpg in post just as easily. In fact it is every time I import into LR. I have not profiled my camera (I use the stock one), but I could just as easily do it. It is not a requirement to be a raw.
  36. Peter,
    You really don't understand the conversation.
    It's not about whether or not a JPEG can accurately display information.
    It's about what a camera-generated JPEG can do and how it does it.
    - Leigh
  37. peter,
    I didn't assume your monitor is not profiled, I assumed the likelihood of both our monitors being profiled and outputting the same was virtually zero. In a multi screen environment it is not enough to just profile two monitors and they be the same, even the same brand and model generally display slightly differently and require manual adjustment, across brands and models and locations, forget it. Yes we are both "profiled", but not to each other.
    " I have not profiled my camera (I use the stock one), but I could just as easily do it."

    That is obvious, if you had you would know it is not enough to just move sliders. Ever wonder why a RAW file WB slider in LR is in degrees and for a jpeg is in +/- 100? Applying a custom camera profile to a RAW file will give you a different output to applying the same profile to an out of camera jpeg, same as white balance, exposure etc etc. Shoot a RAW and jpeg of a colorful scene, import to Lightroom and slide the WB for the RAW a long way one way or the other, now try and critically get the jpeg to match it, 80% of the time you can't. Do the same with exposure with even moderate adjustments, save the results and scroll through them, then you will see what I am talking about.
    Thanks, I felt a bit lonely holding back a tide for a while there :)
  38. I have decided to make the jump on my Nikon D-300 to raw and J-peg so I assume I would get a photo of each. Now, I have a question. I bracket my shots using 5 or 7 shots. What would be the firing order if I keep my camera set on raw and J-peg. Any advise would be appreciated.
  39. acm


    A pertinent question: (may be I am ignorant) : if one shoots RAW+Jpeg and put the two images side by side on a monitor would the look different before retouching?
  40. It will be exactly as you have set it and get the shots so far James, you will just have a jpeg next to each NEF file.
    • 4573.NEF
    • 4573.jpg
    • 4574.NEF
    • 4574.jpg
    The RAW and out of camera jpeg are created from the same exposure at the same time, so the file number is the same, just the extension (.) is different.
  41. if one shoots RAW+Jpeg and put the two images side by side on a monitor would the look different before retouching?
    They might. It depends on the camera settings.
    You're proceeding from a false assumption...
    There is no such thing as a camera-generated JPEG "before retouching". Such a file does not exist.
    The retouching is done in the camera as it translates the raw sensor information into a JPEG file.
    A lot of the misinformation in this thread is the result of people not understanding
    that a digital camera IS a computer. It has all the same components as your laptop.
    - Leigh
  42. Apurva,
    A very good question.
    Generally, in most post programs, yes they would look different, in DPP, no they won't, but in a large part that is down to in camera choices and the way the software works.
    The reason is, DPP will read the camera selected jpeg shooting style even if you only shot RAW, on opening the RAW file it will process it with those jpeg preferences as a start point. Lightroom, Photoshop, Gimp, Aperture etc don't read the camera selected jpeg preference in a RAW file so will develop the RAW to that programs base level. So different software will display the same file differently. Though many third party programs do give you the Natural, Landscape etc style options they are similar processes, they are not the same as Canon/Nikon/Sony ones.
    Open a RAW and jpeg in DPP next to each other and they will look very similar, in anything else, no they won't.
  43. As I said "the raw fanatics" LOL.
    What perhaps concerns me is the way raw is quoted as the Holy Grail and beginners are informed that it is the answer to all their problems and it will make them a brilliant photographer.
    Dominic C has surely started a long thread :)
  44. I'm surprised that this discussion has had the legs it has. It seems so fundamental -- RAW is the negative -- .jpg is the print.
  45. Hi John,
    Yep. Exactly.
    Those who normally keep the print and discard the negative
    will be perfectly happy with camera-generated JPEGs.
    - Leigh
  46. JC,
    Like all other jpeg cranks, you comment on comments, not the substance of the objections to your flawed, dogmatic, belief.
    Do you have any photographic knowledge to add to the thread? Do you have any answers to the list of limitations, and uses, I have given both for and against out of camera jpegs?
    I have not said RAW files are a Holy Grail, I have pointed out some of the problems people run up against if they don't use them, and one was very specific to the OP's use, rather than reply to those concerns with photographic counterpoints you choose to label me a fanatic. Now that is cause to ROTFLMAO, thanks for making my day fun.............
  47. What perhaps concerns me is the way raw is quoted as the Holy Grail and beginners are informed that it is the answer to all their problems and it will make them a brilliant photographer.​
    I've never heard anyone claim that besides you.
    RAW files do not make anyone a better photographer, nor do they make any photograph better.
    A RAW file is simply that... the negative, produced according to the exposure criteria you used.
    Nothing more, nothing less.
    And that's the critical factor... nothing less...
    That is not true of camera-generated JPEGs.
    - Leigh
  48. Here's a demo of how 4 imaging applications preview at default settings the same Raw image from my Pentax K100D.
    Not only hues change but contrast and definiton as well and is the reason for creating a custom camera profile if accuracy to the original scene is what's desired. Camera brands may offer closer or not so close matches between different apps.
  49. Tim,
    Nice example, and even in that correctly exposed RAW image it looks like the red channel is blown in the belly button.
    Sorry, you are obviously a subversive ill intentioned fanatic as well :)
  50. Scott, the red belly button I glued to the Lulu Doll as a way to test the red gamut at default settings.
    The preview generated by the Raw converter's default settings doesn't mean the detail is gone in the Raw file as it would be in the jpeg. The detail in the red belly button can be brought out to look correct in the Raw file because the preview is being generated by instructions ready to be changed where as the jpeg is made up of an x/y table of individually colored square pixels.
    Not preaching to the choir here but thought I get that concept across for those on the fence about going the Raw route. There's far more data not seen by the naked eye in a Raw capture than a jpeg especially if special color effects, distortions and styles are desired.
  51. "The preview generated by the Raw converter's default settings doesn't mean the detail is gone in the Raw file as it would be in the jpeg."

    That is exactly what I meant Tim, it is a perfect demo.
    Now if J really wants to
    "... love to see two large prints shot (even in difficult lighting.) One shot in raw and one shot in jpg. Then the files are adjusted to the best of the photographers ability. I'd like to see how much better the RAW print is, if at all.
    I'd love to see where someone demonstrates in a print "this is the best we could do with jpg"..."look how much better the RAW print is."

    All he actually needs to do is photograph a bunch of red carnations and print his out of camera jpeg and compare that to a RAW file print, even at 4x6 in good light he will see a dramatic difference.
  52. I am forsooth a fanatic, and I shall smite any nay-sayers.
    Just not sure what I'm a fanatic about... ;-)
    - Leigh
  53. One shot in raw and one shot in jpg.​
    Perhaps this is a good example of the misunderstandings that are so rampant in this thread.
    There is no such thing as a photo "shot in JPEG". That's physically impossible. It's not how a camera works.
    ALL images are captured as raw data. Period. End of story.
    Software in the camera then transforms the raw data into a JPEG if you told it to do so,
    using options and settings stored in the camera.
    This transformation is a completely separate step, no different than doing it on your laptop.
    JPEG is a compression algorithm. Originally it provided only lossy conversion, but a
    later revision of the standard provided a lossless option.
    - Leigh
  54. I knew this would be a very hot thread and it's fascinating to see the passion. All I will add by way of my personal experience is that I am very grateful for the itsy bitsy little help RAW gives me in recovering blown highlights and how incredibly easy it is to correct white balance in the unfortunate event of my accidentally selecting the wrong setting. I can't always shoot custom white balance. Honestly, I think that's more than enough reason for me to love RAW.
    By the way, I'm NOT saying that I use the recovery slider to correct "poor exposure". Some scenes just seem to be beyond the dynamic range I see in the jpeg and I get a little help from RAW. It goes without saying that proper exposure (whatever that is) should be a given for good photography, keeping in mind that it's ultimately a creative decision.
  55. JC: I'm indeed amazed that this thread is full of passion and arguments. I've made my mind anyway and this thread has just confirmed that I've always been right in using Raw. Raw is indeed the "negative"... No need to argue further... ;-) But thanks to all the posts in this thread, I've also learnt more on how other photographers use their cameras. That's very interesting...
  56. Shoot Hipstamatic and it's all good...
  57. I guess you are both right and wrong in your comments and assumptions.
    Firstly is there a way of taking a raw file out of the camera and directly printing it? In my limited knowledge of raw because I never use the process these days I don't know.
    So the statement about printing a jpg file out of the camera is irrelevant and misleading. The raw file is processed to make a print I believe just as jpg files become lossless files before being printed. lets ignore the modern equivalent of the D&P factories and talk about the moderately serious worker.
    I have it on authority that I believe and trust that the camera jpg process I use, FINE, dumps about 3/4 of the file information that the camera is capable of recording and that informations is not really needed, particularly if you expose correctly. This speeds up the data transfer to storage card and is more valuable to me than some nebulous advantage in what I could do if I shot raw if I had the skill to use it ... which I don't becuase I choose not to ....
    In another forum, casual, we are discussing different peoples work and our approach to it, I know that my work doesn't need raw and wins or looses on its visual content .
    So please don't talk down to me and if you have never read the comments I mentioned then obviously you have not had my experience with blogs in reading comments that raw is the answer to every problem even if it obviously isn't ... it is hilarious if it wasn't so sad and indicative of closed minds. I'm not suggesting yours are, just those who write that nonsense :) Nor am I impressed with the comments about negatives and prints and the silly assumptions in those statements.
  58. Having now read the Rockwell article I can only say he sums it up so well for those with an open mind that I wonder why I bothered to write anything, I should have read it first before I joined this thread :)
  59. red channel is blown in the belly button​

    No any clipping on belly button.
    Some clipping perhaps on whites, but of no any interest.
    The rendering is different as algorithms are different and default level is different.
  60. Not all camera's deliver the same level of quality jpeg when shooting under uncontrollable and/or mixed lighting conditions. However, my Pentax sometimes can't even do that with a well and unmixed lit scenes like the demo I posted. I don't know why this is.
    Here's a white rose I shot under similarly well lit conditions and even using the rule of "Sunny 16"...
  61. Tim,
    I have to say that, for me, unedited jpg is better than edited raw.
  62. Dominic,
    No more arguing, promise, just clearing up the battlefield :)
    "limited knowledge of raw because I never use the process" Says it all really......
    "The Council Disapproves" is typically under exposed for a white subject and would benefit greatly from RAW processing.
    The belly button is channel clipped, only the red channel is over exposed, not the blue or green channels, so it is not blown out white, what looks, on the face of it, to be a well exposed image, actually perfectly displays a limitation with out of camera jpegs. In RAW Tim can select that button and reduce exposure in the red channel only and get much more detail, and a more lifelike appearance in it, with an out of camera jpeg he can't. Now that might be important to your photograph or it might not, certainly a closeup of a grooms buttonhole, a very popular image, would be very important, to some, to record accurately. Tim, again, has a perfect demonstration of this here.
  63. Scott,
    the belly button is not clipped.
  64. Yes it is.
  65. I don't see any clipping in the red channel (nor the others).
    It's high level, certainly, but not clipped.
    Clipping occurs at a level of 255, indicating that higher values may have been present in the subject that were not recorded.
    - Leigh
  66. Scott,
    your histograms are wrong.
  67. Well I see a column in 255 (no detail) and we can't know, unless we looked at a RAW histogram after reducing exposure, what is above it.
    "your histograms are wrong." :)
    No yours are too broad. If you want the histogram for the button, select the button, not the whole picture.
    I'm not getting bent out of shape over this, the point about RAW use has been well demonstrated here, just chatting.
  68. Hi Scott,
    Yes, there are a couple of pixels at 255, and a couple more at 252. But they're way down in the noise.
    If you look across the histogram you'll see hits at that level at almost every value.
    The peak intensity is perhaps 220 or somewhere in that vicinity.
    - Leigh
  69. Leigh,
    I'm not suggesting it is like Tim's other image, with real problems in the red channel, just pointing it out. Is this enough of a problem to ruin an out of camera jpeg image? No of course not, but I think Tim's flower picture is, and that seems to be something jpegists can't seem to get their heads around, good exposure is not good exposure unless you control the three channels, it is surprisingly easy, even with an evenly illuminated scene with simple exposure, to blow a channel, and detail, enough to make a difference in many situations. Lowering the exposure to allow for channel clipping in a jpeg is the worst thing you can do to it for noise and shadow detail.
  70. Scott,
    I attached an image.
    In this image you can see the histograms and the image crop.
    The histograms I posted are right for my crop.
    Your histograms are wrong.
    In any case there is not a 255 red value on the belly button (maximum red value is 213).
  71. +Jpeg
    1. ready image
    2. smaller size
    3. I can't think of anything else
    1. information, information, information. For those who can't tell the difference between Jpeg and Jpeg from RAW, good for you, avoid RAW and stick with Jpeg. For those with more keep eyes, shoot Jpeg and don't answer question in forums "Jpeg vs. RAW".
    2. Blow out your highlight with Jpeg, and then you will wonder "geeee I wonder if that would happen with RAW" Offcourse it will, its all about the exposure, but those who shoot in raw, know that sometimes you will find something in those highlight, while in Jpeg, foget bout it.
    3. Can't think of anythig else either at the moment, but 1 and 2 under RAW keep me away from Jpeg as the acquired image.
    Just shot some tricky (high contrast) situations with both RAW and Jpeg on, and see if you get anything out of it. Otherwise this is pretty much waste of time. GIGO.
  72. Hi Scott,
    Exposure is certainly more critical with digital than with film,
    particularly as regards holding highlight detail.
    Film has a knee and a saturation area that still yields increasing density,
    but not linearly related to the mid-tones.
    Digital on the other hand has an absolute flattop. It records no information
    above the saturation level in any channel.
    That's why the auto-exposure algorithms in modern digital cameras
    emphasize highlight detail over shadow detail, the latter being deemed unimportant.
    - Leigh
  73. raw is such a dogs breakfast of different standards and makers that frankly I looked at it and simply couldn't be bothered with the set-up. Now if it was a consistent standard like jpg or tif or bmp I might look at it. At the time I looked at it it seemed that the 'raw control layer' was held as a separate entity and evaporated after three months or something ... whereas my pspimage layers I can come back to years after. Of course I don't consider photoshop to be the bee's knees either but that is another discussion :)
    Thank you for viewing my website Scott to find one photo to criticize from a technical PoV, I think it is rather fun with the 'expressions' on their faces :)
    I enjoy photography rather than slavishly treating it as a technical exercise in masochism :)
    If it is a three year article it has stood the test of time the way things change with digital.
  74. JC,
    "raw is such a dogs breakfast of different standards and makers that frankly I looked at it and simply couldn't be bothered ". Now I empathize with that sentiment 100% :)
    Before Lightroom and Aperture I shot RAW and jpeg, opening RAW files one at a time in PS was very slow even with 4.2MP images, and the only way you could view multiple images without opening them was with jpegs.
    But software has leapt forward at a frenetic pace. For keen photographers the very best money you can spend on your interest is not a light meter or better lens, it is Lightroom. Less than $100 and you have your images at your fingertips with capabilities that could only be dreamt of back in my darkroom days. Don't get me wrong, as Leigh said earlier in the thread, "RAW files do not make anyone a better photographer, nor do they make any photograph better." But Lightroom and Aperture etc have enabled us to use the total of our cameras capabilities in a non distractive way, regardless of brand, type, or age of equipment, in one simple yet powerful interface.
  75. Scott, do you mean that we're at war? ;-) I'm not sure who'll be the overall winner, but I'm enjoying reading all the posts that remind me of my student years... when we couldn't yet discuss about Jpeg vs Raw, simply because digital photography didn't publicly exist (at the beginning of the '90s)... :) We were rather talking about E40 or C41 processings... or of the girls on the pictures (Cindy Crawford, Stephanie Seymour, Naomi Campbell...)... he he...
  76. No Dominic, this isn't a war, just a skirmish :)
    To make war breakout ask about using a UV filter and no lens hood for protection, or, for a real laugh, ask why your 7D images seem much better than your 6x9 slides on the medium format forum, I was once told over there that a 5D MkII couldn't produce a sub 100kb 450x300 pixel thumbnail that could compare with a scanned medium format film capture, seriously.........
    Here the worst I got was a claim I made a "wrong" histogram even though I showed the crop and the histogram next to each other.
    Glad you enjoyed the show!
  77. He he... Yeah, UV filter vs Lens hood is a great one! :-D And I'm sure that if I'm starting (again?) the Canon vs Nikon thread, I'll get plenty of posts too...
    Seriously now, I couldn't imagine that my initial question would lead to such technical answers, but I at least learnt from them, and that's very positive, despite, like you said, some weird comments. But they also contributed to the fun... ;-)
  78. Dominic,
    Considering some of your lovely work posted here and on your website...
    Perhaps your definition of 'raw' differs a bit from what some of the
    participants in this thread might expect. ;-D
    Great shots!
    - Leigh
  79. Ha ha ha... You're right, Leigh! :) Thanks very much, anyway, for appreciating my work... I'm rather proud of my "raw beauties" too... ;-)
  80. I'm rather proud of my "raw beauties" too... ;-)​
    As well you should be. Lovely work, and lovely models.
    - Leigh
  81. Thanks very much again, Leigh... ;-)
  82. "if when you shot on film you usually kept the prints and threw away the negatives, shooting JPEG is for you."
    This argument is often used to bolster the argument for using Raw. But Apple iPhoto always offers you the option to either duplicate an image or click on "revert to original". Wouldn't "revert to original" be the same as keeping a Raw original? No matter how you screwed it up. you could always "evert to original" No?
  83. It will revert to the originally imported jpeg, but as has been shown, that jpeg contains far less than the RAW file would
    have done.
  84. "if when you shot on film you usually kept the prints and threw away the negatives, shooting JPEG is for you."​
    No any doubt that raw is more manageable than jpg, but this sentence is ridiculous.
    It shows no any knowledge of print process.

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