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Thread: raw vs jpeg

  1. #1
    Member AKMarmot's Avatar
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    Default raw vs jpeg

    I am leaving for Kodiak on Friday & hope to get some good pictures of deer & goat. I currently have a Panasonic DMC-FZ18 & am looking for advice on using raw & jpeg vs just jpeg. 95% of the photos will be jpeg but for the one or two money shots to enlarage should I switch to both?
    I don't have special software to edit the raw with just use elements4.0.
    Any advice would be appreciated as I am not more than a point & shoot user so I won't be changing any settings from the macros on the camera.

    Also is it worth buying the new elements 6 or 7 as I would like to use the adobe premere software for videos as well.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Member EricL's Avatar
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    If you haven't played around with post processing, I wouldn't use RAW on this trip. Get some practice down before using it on something important!! I love RAW but am still learning the PPing.
    EricL

  3. #3
    Member Floyd_Davidson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKMarmot View Post
    I am leaving for Kodiak on Friday & hope to get some good pictures of deer & goat. I currently have a Panasonic DMC-FZ18 & am looking for advice on using raw & jpeg vs just jpeg. 95% of the photos will be jpeg but for the one or two money shots to enlarage should I switch to both?
    I don't have special software to edit the raw with just use elements4.0.
    There is a little more to this than meets the eye at first glance. Just for starters, I would recommend that you always shoot RAW+JPEG! But, there are indeed a couple of gotcha's with that, and you will need to weigh your priorities.

    First, the speed you can shoot at is cut to less than half, and there simply is no continuous mode when RAW is enabled. Apparently, from the reviews that I just read, you can shoot a 3 image burst in continuous mode when only JPEG is enabled. In normal shooting it takes about 1 second between shots, but with RAW enabled it will be more like 4 seconds. Hence, whenever speed is of significance it is JPEG only.

    JPEG only will also allow 250 images per 1 Gb of SD card, while with RAW it is 57 and RAW+JPEG it is 51. For extended trips you'll need a laptop or something for storage, and of course RAW will take up significantly more storage space. Those are basically simple logistics problems, but pre-awareness is necessary...

    As to software and dealing with RAW data files, that really isn't much of a problem. There are both inexensive and free programs available to convert RAW to an image format. Which brings us to the reason to shoot RAW+JPEG!

    If you shoot JPEG alone, you get to edit your image exactly one time, when you set the parameters such as sharpening and contrast for processing in the camera. The camera immediately uses the RAW data to produce a JPEG with the parameters you've chosen, and then deletes the RAW data forever. Which is okay if you nailed it, and a total loss if you didn't.

    If you shoot RAW+JPEG, you get that JPEG (which is mostly useful for immediate previewing), but you also keep the RAW data, and can use it again (and again in a different way if you like). Some things, such as White Balance, exposure and contrast are significantly easier to adjust with the RAW data than with a JPEG file. Some others, such as sharpness, are simply impossible to correct once done (e.g., to the JPEG file) but if you have the RAW data you can produce a new JPEG as many times as you like.

    Note that you don't have to do anything with the RAW file. However, I'll warn that if you start messing with doing your own custom conversions from RAW to JPEG... you might get hooked and never be satisfied with the relatively gross granularity of adjustments you can make with the camera compared to the extreme precision and fine granularity available when using RAW. That is a slippery slope, and eventually leads to a full blown "darkroom on the computer", and of course that means hours and hours of time wasted trying to get the Perfect Picture. :-)

  4. #4
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    Adding to what Floyd said, there are some adjustments that can not be made with a JPG that are easy with a raw file. Usually the most important of these being that if you overexpose an image even slightly you will often get areas that are completely blown out and now white. There is usually no recovering that with a JPG image, but with raw you usually have a stop or so of extra data hidden away that can be recovered for a good fix.

    So, it's like Floyd said, it is "...okay if you nailed it, and a total loss if you didn't.

    Upgrading to Elements version 6 (or the latest 7) will allow you to download and use Adobe Camera Raw for your raw conversions. I don't think this is possible with version 4.

  5. #5

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    There is an update to view RAW images with PS Elements 4.0. However, I'm having a bit of trouble with that combo, and plan to upgrade to Elements 6.0 or higher.

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    Member Sierra Hotel's Avatar
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    The piece of information I keep in the back of my mind (OK, it probably rattles around in the vast expanse of nothingness up there ) is that when you shoot RAW, you maintain 100% of the data that came into the sensor. JPEG is a compressed format, meaning you are losing the data due to the compression of the format - which can be up to as much as 10-1 (meaning you've lost up to 90% of the original data). When it comes time to decide which one to use, keep that in mind, as data lost cannot be recovered.

    When planning for high quality prints or digital displays, more data is always better. That's why it's important to learn about PP, it's just on the computer today versus the darkroom of yesteryear.

    Cheers,
    SH

  7. #7
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    Default Shooting raw vs jpg & elements

    I cant go back to jpg now. I'm spoiled. I decided that there was no reason for me to shoot 300 jpg photos anyway. 175 raw photos at one time are plenty, then if I open them in Adobe Bridge I can see them a decent size, delete the bad, save the good rename them into their new file and work on them as I need them.
    The Elements gallery is good for seeing the entire collection too but it seems to take a life time for them to load. I think Elements is a great starter software. I still use it once in a while but since I need to convert to cmyk for printing I needed the big suite.

    I just started working more with the D-70 menu adjustments too and I dont think you have those options unless your in raw mode. I changed the sharp and saturation settings and The DockDogs competition looked absolutly sunny and crisp. The dog portraits looked freaky though. ... Im still a work in progress. My Pentax K-1000 is so easy...

    I am still learning this stuff but once you have a handle on Elements look into upgrading to the Creative Suites. It's big money but what else is that PFD for?

    I had to be cheezy and put up my Sarah photos and a slide video
    take a peek www.imageworkspub.com

  8. #8
    Member Majik Imaje's Avatar
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    Yes your Pentax K 1000 was so easy, all you had to do was focus on CREATING an image.

    Now you have to be an expert with a computer and understanding what the camera is trying to accomplish. The camera is doing all the work.

    As an old school film photographer ( extremly successful) I can impart my feelings on this subject.

    I never shoot RAW, this is my personal preference. When I take a jpeg and print a 40 X 60 with razor sharpness, with gorgeous color(s), I need nothing more.

    Remember this: It is not your computer experience & SKILLS that you are trying to sell. It is just that FINAL image that is going to get peoples attention!!

    My only concern: are people going to buy this image and be satisfied with it ??

    If I can accomplish that with a Pentax K 1000 or a Panasonic DSLR... ..

    My only concern, is to CREATE an image in the camera ! Learning how to do that, is what is going to lead to sales.

    I make a ton of money each year from my images.. .. and I do absolutly no post processing at all. There is no need to, if you create that image correctly in the first place.!!

    I know there are tons of people that will disagree with me, and those that do, do not make very much money in the photography field!

    I speak with decades of experience in (making money) from images !!
    IN THE DARKROOM, and in the new lightroom !!

    That is what is important !!! The bottom line is all that is IMPORTANT !!

    Do not get sidetracked in your quest. Learn how to create that initial photograph.

    If you have to use extensive time in post processing then your not creating the image correctly in the first place.

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