canyonblue17
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Can Someone Explain Pro/con Of RAW Editing?

Wed Sep 28, 2011 6:16 pm

I see RAW editing as an option on my photo editing software but don't completely understand the pros/cons of it. Can someone offer their 2 cents on whether this type of editing can really help and under what circumstances it would be the most helpful? Thanks in advance for the advice. I continue to learn a ton from this site.
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vikkyvik
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RE: Can Someone Explain Pro/con Of RAW Editing?

Wed Sep 28, 2011 6:34 pm

Quoting canyonblue17 (Thread starter):

It generally allows more flexibility than JPEG editing. The RAW file from your camera preserves all the data that the camera recorded. You can then modify the settings on your computer with all the data available, before exporting to JPEG (once you export to JPEG, you won't have all the data anymore, and therefore it can be more restrictive for editing).

If you shoot JPEG, in essence the camera is choosing the settings for you and exporting to JPEG before you even upload the shots.

With that said, if you get your shots spot-on straight out of the camera, it probably won't benefit you as much. For someone like me, who is still practicing getting images the way I want them when I take the photos, it's useful for tweaking things like exposure, contrast, white balance, etc.

It's also quite useful for doing HDR images from a single exposure.
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nairda10
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RE: Can Someone Explain Pro/con Of RAW Editing?

Wed Sep 28, 2011 8:04 pm

As vikkyvik has already mentioned, RAW allows more flexibility. If you trust your camera to get the white balance and the exposure correct, then shoot JPG. Today's cameras (DSLR or not) aren't to bad at getting exposure and WB right on "standard" daytime (daylight) shots. Unfortunately, cameras (at least my Panasonic FZ50) are absolutely unreliable when it comes to exposure and WB for night shots and under tungsten lighting.

One drawback of RAW is the larger file size. Luckily for us, hard disk space is nearly for free nowadays, so that shouldn't be a problem. The reason for the larger file size is the higher bit depth, which means that RAW can still contain information when a JPG would already be pure white or black (good for scenes with high contrast). The higher bit depth also means that you can get the exposure (slightly) wrong and still get a not to over- / underexposed image after transformation to JPG.

Another thing to consider is that due to the larger file size of RAW, it may take longer to save it on the card (When I shoot RAW, I can take about one shot every 6 seconds, compared to about 1/sec for JPG). Due to this, you can lose opportunities to take a certain photos and / or take less photos in a series.

A further drawback of RAW is that each camera manufacturer has his own RAW format, and you (may) need special software to develop (RAW is a digital negative) and do further editing on the images. Do to the number of different RAW formats from each manufacturer, future support is not as sure as with JPG's, which has become the de facto standard for the internet.

I have the mentality to use RAW for night shoots, when I take my time anyway (due to the tripod and the longer exposure times) and because the camera doesn't deliver the results I want. For normal, daytime shots, I use JPG.
Current equipment: Panasonic FZ50 and Canon A-1
 
NicolasRubio
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RE: Can Someone Explain Pro/con Of RAW Editing?

Wed Sep 28, 2011 9:34 pm

I've never shot a single JPEG since I got my first DSLR, I see absolutely no disadvantages at all in shooting RAW. Of course it may be related to my shooting style and workflow, but I see no point in shooting JPEG.

[Edited 2011-09-28 14:35:22]
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Stealthz
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RE: Can Someone Explain Pro/con Of RAW Editing?

Thu Sep 29, 2011 2:19 am

Quoting NicolasRubio (Reply 3):
I've never shot a single JPEG since I got my first DSLR, I see absolutely no disadvantages at all in shooting RAW. Of course it may be related to my shooting style and workflow, but I see no point in shooting JPEG.

That hardly answered the question posed by the OP.

Do you have an explanation of why RAW suits your shooting and workflow style?

I Shoot RAW under some circumstances, when conditions are tricky or a particular result is required but also trust my experience and equipment in many situations.

RAW processing involves extra steps in the workflow that are not really required much of the time.

[Edited 2011-09-28 20:20:18]
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darreno1
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RE: Can Someone Explain Pro/con Of RAW Editing?

Thu Sep 29, 2011 2:53 am

I'm a RAW man myself. I guess like many things it comes down to personal preference. I like to have full control during post processing and I see the camera as merely the image data capture device. I also enjoy editing and I believe that surely plays a big role in people's format preferences.
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ckw
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RE: Can Someone Explain Pro/con Of RAW Editing?

Thu Sep 29, 2011 8:24 am

RAW does offer some quality benefits - it is, for example, possible to get perhaps a stop or two extra dynamic range over a jpg which may be important for highlights or dark shadows.

More importantly though, RAW offers much more lattitude for editing.

The thing to keep in mind is that each stage of processing an image involves throwing away data - a jpg is smaller than the RAW file simply becuase data is being destroyed - data which is not needed to produce the jpg as determined by the camera's programming is simply discarded and can never be recovered. This means you have much less to work with if, say, you want to adjust the exposure or colour balance in post processing. If you like, you can think of an image produced from RAW as a 1st generation copy, whereas an edited jpg is a 2nd generation copy.

With regard to sharpening, jpgs are generally sharpened in camera, and although you have some control on how much sharpening is applied to the image, the sharpening is global and of course can't be undone. So if you end up with jaggies in your jpeg, you're pretty much stuck. The RAW image is not sharpened which allows you to tune your sharpening to the individual image - or indeed parts of the image.

Of course you can add further sharpening to a jpeg if required, but this is a second pass, and is not going to produce as good a quality as a correctly done first pass.

Looking to the future, I have found the successive releases of RAW processing software have allowed for improved quality (better highlight recovery, improved noise reduction etc.) With RAW I have been able to take images I took back in 2002 and create new versions of higher quality than were possible with either the in camera jpeg processing or RAW convertors of the time.

Quoting nairda10 (Reply 2):
Do to the number of different RAW formats from each manufacturer, future support is not as sure as with JPG's, which has become the de facto standard for the internet.

This is true, however, you can convert RAW images to the DNG format (free utility from Adobe) which is not manufacturer specific and can be handled by a wide variety of convertors - I have been able to process RAW images from new model cameras before they were supported by the RAW convertor by converting them to DNG first.

Jpeg is of course the current defacto standard, but I'm not sure this will always be the case - as monitors and browsers improve, there could well come a time where an 8 bit jpg is just not sufficient (I think most cameras now natively produce 14bit image files) and, in years to come will seem to lack in tonal range and depth.

Having said all that, no doubt about it, RAW is more work and more memory. Most cameras offer the ability to save both a RAW image and a jpeg. I would suggest you shoot both for a while and see for yourself if you can gain some benefit from RAW - then you can decide if its worth the extra effort.

Cheers,

Colin
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Stil
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RE: Can Someone Explain Pro/con Of RAW Editing?

Thu Sep 29, 2011 7:06 pm

Hi all.

AFAIK RAW format takes advantage of one of the issues with dynamic range of digital sensors. Digital sensors hasn't got the same sensibility through all the histogram range, they work way much better on the lighten right side of the histogram. I don't have the figures here, but a digital sensor is capable of 'seeing' a larger number of different tones on the light side, but only a few tones on the dark zone of the histogram. In other words... is gives a much richer picture -tone relating speaking- if you 'darken' a right end aligned histogram than a 'lightened' image from a left adjusted histogram because the sensor works better on the right side of the histogram, defining much more different tones.
Having said that, is much better to meter the light to adjust it to the right side of the histogram; but if you shoot JPEG, you can easily burn your picture off by overexposing. If you took your picture on RAW data, it will be possible to recover the possible blown zones and give your picture a better histogram distribution.

Quoting NicolasRubio (Reply 3):
I see no point in shooting JPEG

JPEG images gives a bigger maximum burst because files are smaller and requires less time for card writing.

Hope it helps, I've tried to explain in english some words I can barely state on my native language.

Stil
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cliffak
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RE: Can Someone Explain Pro/con Of RAW Editing?

Thu Sep 29, 2011 7:39 pm

I shoot RAW when I want more editing latitude, and JPG when I just want images and maximum quality isn't a goal.

That said, Lightroom makes handling RAW files just as simple as handling JPGs which is a big plus for me since I personally can't stand the incredibly convoluted workflows some people seem to have. So, here's my take on it:

Pros
* Higher dynamic range (better ability to compensate for exposure errors)
* Better control of white balance in post-processing
* Noise reduction independent of in-camera algorithms
* Better control of final output

Cons
* Larger files (which is why shooting RAW for 500 party snaps destined for FB doesn't make sense)
* Higher processing power requirements makes editing slightly more time consuming
* Rumored to be more sensitive to "digital rot"
 
vikkyvik
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RE: Can Someone Explain Pro/con Of RAW Editing?

Thu Sep 29, 2011 8:00 pm

Quoting Stil (Reply 7):
it will be possible to recover the possible blown zones

Just to add, it won't always be possible to recover blown out areas, even in RAW. You can blow out an area in RAW just like you can in JPEG. It just might have more headroom, so you can recover up to a "higher level" of blown-out-ness.

Quoting cliffak (Reply 8):
* Rumored to be more sensitive to "digital rot"

I haven't heard of that before - can someone explain what it means?
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Silver1SWA
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RE: Can Someone Explain Pro/con Of RAW Editing?

Thu Sep 29, 2011 8:10 pm

Here's the thing...and I'll speak in Canon terminology because that's I'm most familiar with.

One thing about jpeg is when you have internal parameters set, for example Canons Picture Styles settings, those effects are embedded in the jpeg and cannot be undone in post processing. With RAW, not only can you remove those effects, you can switch to other picture styles.

Same with in camera sharpening, white balance, contrast etc. When those are set in camera they have permanent effects on the final jpeg, but can be removed or changed in editing for RAW files. So if shooting in jpeg it's often a good idea to make sure not to use those in camera settings.
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trvyyz
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RE: Can Someone Explain Pro/con Of RAW Editing?

Fri Sep 30, 2011 12:34 am

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 9):
Just to add, it won't always be possible to recover blown out areas, even in RAW. You can blow out an area in RAW just like you can in JPEG. It just might have more headroom, so you can recover up to a "higher level" of blown-out-ness.

From what I have heard you can recover upto 1 stop, if it is blown more the too bad. The same cannot be said about jpgs.
 
ckw
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RE: Can Someone Explain Pro/con Of RAW Editing?

Fri Sep 30, 2011 12:46 am

Quoting Stil (Reply 7):
RAW format takes advantage of one of the issues with dynamic range of digital sensors. Digital sensors hasn't got the same sensibility through all the histogram range, they work way much better on the lighten right side of the histogram.

That's quite true - on the darkest side (before pure black) of the histogram a sensor (with 12 bits per pixel site) can record only 32 tone values, but at the lightest side (before pure white) it can record 2048 tones. This is why noise appears in the shadows before the highlights. Basically there is a lot more info in the bright side of the image.

If you are careful, you can use this to your advantage - in theory you can obtain a better quality image by overexposing the image and then adjusting the exposure in postprocessing ... eg. record near blacks as grey, and then adjust them back to near black in post. The dark areas will then have a greater tonal range. The catch is that you can only do this if you can avoid blowing the highlights - but RAW does give you a bit more head-room to play with.

The extra head room comes from the fact that RAW processors can often reconstruct highlight detail from just 2 (or sometimes just 1) of the color channels. When we blow the highlights, its often only the Red Green or Blue channel that has been blown.

Quoting cliffak (Reply 8):
Rumored to be more sensitive to "digital rot"

That's a new one on me too - I've only heard it in the context of camera deprecation or the life expectancy of CD media - though I guess it is possible that RAW files are more sensitive to file corruption than jpegs (ie if a few bytes are corrupted a jpeg may be readable and a RAW file not?).


In any case, we all have backups ... don't we??  

Cheers,

Colin
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stevemchey
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RE: Can Someone Explain Pro/con Of RAW Editing?

Fri Sep 30, 2011 2:09 am

Quoting ckw (Reply 12):
If you are careful, you can use this to your advantage - in theory you can obtain a better quality image by overexposing the image and then adjusting the exposure in postprocessing ... eg. record near blacks as grey, and then adjust them back to near black in post. The dark areas will then have a greater tonal range. The catch is that you can only do this if you can avoid blowing the highlights - but RAW does give you a bit more head-room to play with.

I know that night photographers (astro photography) use this method. If you expose your shot of the Milky Way to the right of the histogram and then lower the exposure in post, you get a much greater detail of the colors of the stars.
 
vikkyvik
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RE: Can Someone Explain Pro/con Of RAW Editing?

Fri Sep 30, 2011 5:45 am

Quoting trvyyz (Reply 11):
From what I have heard you can recover upto 1 stop, if it is blown more the too bad. The same cannot be said about jpgs.

Right. I was just clarifying the other poster's comment - it's not always possible to recover blown areas, even shooting RAW.
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viv
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RE: Can Someone Explain Pro/con Of RAW Editing?

Fri Sep 30, 2011 10:50 am

Pro: It gives you more control and possibilities in post-processing.

Con: It gives you more possibilities to ruin a shot in post-processing. Also, the files are much larger.
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ckw
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RE: Can Someone Explain Pro/con Of RAW Editing?

Fri Sep 30, 2011 11:35 am

Quoting viv (Reply 15):
It gives you more possibilities to ruin a shot in post-processing

One thing I find quite useful with difficult shots is to apply the various "auto" features in photoshop (auto colour, auto contrast) - these will seldom provide the optimum result, but can sometimes point you towards a look that you might not otherwise have tried.

Cheers,

Colin
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DJdeRidder
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RE: Can Someone Explain Pro/con Of RAW Editing?

Fri Sep 30, 2011 12:05 pm

Quoting viv (Reply 15):
Con: It gives you more possibilities to ruin a shot in post-processing.

On the other hand, Raw files are non-destructive. You can never ruin a shot forever, there is always a way back. If you ruin a JPEG in Photoshop and you press Save, there is no way back.
 
Silver1SWA
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RE: Can Someone Explain Pro/con Of RAW Editing?

Fri Sep 30, 2011 2:21 pm

Quoting ckw (Reply 16):
One thing I find quite useful with difficult shots is to apply the various "auto" features in photoshop (auto colour, auto contrast) - these will seldom provide the optimum result, but can sometimes point you towards a look that you might not otherwise have tried.

Exactly. I always click auto first as a starting point or a hint as to the proper tweaks to be made.
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JakTrax
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RE: Can Someone Explain Pro/con Of RAW Editing?

Fri Sep 30, 2011 2:51 pm

Quoting ckw (Reply 12):
If you are careful, you can use this to your advantage - in theory you can obtain a better quality image by overexposing the image and then adjusting the exposure in postprocessing

I actually used to use this method but found it of no real benefit for much of what I do. If anything, these days I prefer a slight under-exposure.

Quoting ckw (Reply 6):
So if you end up with jaggies in your jpeg, you're pretty much stuck

I think that's applicable to resized images as I can't imagine a full-sized, fine, 15mp image having default jaggies - even at the higher in-camera sharpness settings. Don't quote me on that though.....

Quoting DJdeRidder (Reply 17):
On the other hand, Raw files are non-destructive. You can never ruin a shot forever, there is always a way back. If you ruin a JPEG in Photoshop and you press Save, there is no way back

If it suffers motion blur, camera shake or OOF, it's impossible to rescue it whichever format you shot it in! You still have to be careful at times using RAW.

By the way, I thought you could successfully salvage a RAW file so long as it isn't more than +/-2 stops either way?

Karl
 
Stealthz
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RE: Can Someone Explain Pro/con Of RAW Editing?

Fri Sep 30, 2011 3:25 pm

Quoting JakTrax (Reply 19):
You still have to be careful at times using RAW.

Not sure I follow this point, there is no difference in motion blur, camera shake or OOF, shooting in RAW or Jpeg has no bearing.
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NicolasRubio
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RE: Can Someone Explain Pro/con Of RAW Editing?

Fri Sep 30, 2011 3:45 pm

Quoting stealthz (Reply 4):
Do you have an explanation of why RAW suits your shooting and workflow style?

The most common disadvantages people find in RAW are larger files and longer post-processing.

The larger files are not a problem to me because both CF cards and HD storage are very cheap these days, and my camera handles a longer burst of RAW shots at 8fps than I ever needed or may need.

And regarding the longer post-processing, with Adobe Lightroom I've solved all the possible "problems", It's fast, I can handle batches, order my files, etc.
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vikkyvik
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RE: Can Someone Explain Pro/con Of RAW Editing?

Fri Sep 30, 2011 4:30 pm

Quoting Silver1SWA (Reply 18):
Quoting ckw (Reply 16):
One thing I find quite useful with difficult shots is to apply the various "auto" features in photoshop (auto colour, auto contrast) - these will seldom provide the optimum result, but can sometimes point you towards a look that you might not otherwise have tried.

Exactly. I always click auto first as a starting point or a hint as to the proper tweaks to be made.

  

For me, I mostly do that for color casts, because I don't always see them otherwise.

Quoting JakTrax (Reply 19):

By the way, I thought you could successfully salvage a RAW file so long as it isn't more than +/-2 stops either way?

+/-2 stops above blown out (and below black)? Or +/-2 stops away from whatever exposure you were trying to get?

With careful editing, I've salvaged shots where I completely screwed up the exposure accidentally (usually by forgetting to change whatever settings I had dialed in). If it was too dark, it's usually a matter of controlling noise.
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ckw
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RE: Can Someone Explain Pro/con Of RAW Editing?

Fri Sep 30, 2011 11:32 pm

Quoting JakTrax (Reply 19):
By the way, I thought you could successfully salvage a RAW file so long as it isn't more than +/-2 stops either way?

Hmm 2 stops is a bit extreme - depends on the image I guess. Certainly if you are 2 stops over exposed in one channel, then recovery would be possible, but in general I find 1 stop either way the practical limit (though still worth having!)

Quoting JakTrax (Reply 19):
I actually used to use this method but found it of no real benefit for much of what I do. If anything, these days I prefer a slight under-exposure.

If your subject already utiliises the full dynamic range of the sensor, then no, not much room for manoeuver - and this would apply to many sunlit outdoor shots - but in dull conditions, night shots, interiors etc. where the scene does not use the full range, then you can take advantage of the sensor's properties.

Cheers,

Colin
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cliffak
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RE: Can Someone Explain Pro/con Of RAW Editing?

Sun Oct 02, 2011 9:07 pm

Quoting ckw (Reply 12):
That's a new one on me too - I've only heard it in the context of camera deprecation or the life expectancy of CD media - though I guess it is possible that RAW files are more sensitive to file corruption than jpegs (ie if a few bytes are corrupted a jpeg may be readable and a RAW file not?).

In any case, we all have backups ... don't we??

Well, there's this notion that support for older camera models will be dropped from future versions of image editing programs. I don't really see the problem as there is no particular reason to drop support and if that happens someone will surely come up with a little utility to convert the files to DNG.

Media life expectancy is an entirely different beast where file format doesn't really matter. Still, it is one reason you may even want to take some photos of your family and friends on b/w or slide film - properly developed it's much simpler to store and, of course, retrieve. I don't know where to find a disk drive to read all those old 5.25" diskettes but my 25 year old negs are still perfectly usable without having to be transfered to newer storage technologies regularly.
 
DJdeRidder
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RE: Can Someone Explain Pro/con Of RAW Editing?

Mon Oct 03, 2011 1:24 pm

Quoting JakTrax (Reply 19):
If it suffers motion blur, camera shake or OOF, it's impossible to rescue it whichever format you shot it in! You still have to be careful at times using RAW.

I meant to say Raw files are impossible to ruin in post-processing. You can overdo exposure settings, oversharpen the image, crop it very badly and make it a Black and White version, but you can always go back to your original. It is impossible to overwrite data, unlike with JPEG.
 
xenon
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RE: Can Someone Explain Pro/con Of RAW Editing?

Mon Oct 03, 2011 3:31 pm

Quick question regarding RAW;

I only shoot RAW at night. Just for the easy correctable whitebalance. But I'm thinking of swapping completly to RAW. How do can you do 'unsharp mask' on a RAW file? You always have to convert to JPG first?

Thx
Daniel
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cliffak
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RE: Can Someone Explain Pro/con Of RAW Editing?

Mon Oct 03, 2011 3:47 pm

Quoting DJdeRidder (Reply 25):
It is impossible to overwrite data, unlike with JPEG.

Unless you run Lightroom, which simply saves all your edits in a database and never overwrites anything.
 
vikkyvik
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RE: Can Someone Explain Pro/con Of RAW Editing?

Mon Oct 03, 2011 4:40 pm

Quoting cliffak (Reply 27):

Unless you run Lightroom, which simply saves all your edits in a database and never overwrites anything.

Even if you save?

Does PS have a similar function? Although it has the history, so you can always go back, that's limited by when you click "Save".

Quoting xenon (Reply 26):
How do can you do 'unsharp mask' on a RAW file? You always have to convert to JPG first?

For the Unsharp Mask filter, far as I know, yes you'd have to convert to JPEG first.

However, the RAW editors I've used (Canon DPP, Adobe Camera Raw) have a sharpness slider in them. I'm guessing most/all do.
I'm watching Jeopardy. The category is worst Madonna songs. "This one from 1987 is terrible".
 
cliffak
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RE: Can Someone Explain Pro/con Of RAW Editing?

Mon Oct 03, 2011 6:12 pm

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 28):
Even if you save?

Does PS have a similar function? Although it has the history, so you can always go back, that's limited by when you click "Save".

You don't save, everything is shown to you in real time and you can step backwards whenever you want. It is also possible to create "virtual copies" with completely different settings. To create a copy with your settings applied, you have to "export" the image, which writes a JPG which your settings applied. Personally, I like LR's workflow because it seems to have been developed with photographers in mind, not graphics designers or publishing people like PS is. In a way, it feels a bit like working with analog images, the "export" function is sort of the digital equivalent to developing a print.
 
vikkyvik
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RE: Can Someone Explain Pro/con Of RAW Editing?

Mon Oct 03, 2011 6:35 pm

Quoting cliffak (Reply 29):
You don't save, everything is shown to you in real time and you can step backwards whenever you want. It is also possible to create "virtual copies" with completely different settings. To create a copy with your settings applied, you have to "export" the image, which writes a JPG which your settings applied. Personally, I like LR's workflow because it seems to have been developed with photographers in mind, not graphics designers or publishing people like PS is. In a way, it feels a bit like working with analog images, the "export" function is sort of the digital equivalent to developing a print.

That is interesting. So if, say, I finish editing a JPEG, export it and close it, I could then open it again and undo my changes? Like, the same way I would do that for RAW editing?

Pretty neat, and might make it worth a look at LR instead of PS. There have been times when I saved an edit, and then realized I should have done something different halfway through. But all I have is the unedited and fully edited JPEGs, so I have to start over.
I'm watching Jeopardy. The category is worst Madonna songs. "This one from 1987 is terrible".
 
cliffak
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RE: Can Someone Explain Pro/con Of RAW Editing?

Mon Oct 03, 2011 8:20 pm

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 30):
That is interesting. So if, say, I finish editing a JPEG, export it and close it, I could then open it again and undo my changes? Like, the same way I would do that for RAW editing?

Yes, as long as the Lightroom Catalog (the database where all changes are stored) remains intact you can do that. Please note that you don't really "close" files in LR, all files in the entire catalog are available at all times. For example, since I sort by date, every date gets its own folder. All files in one folder are instantly available in a "filmstrip" at the bottom of the screen. You can then rate and tag the images with various tools for more advanced sorting. Exit and restart and LR picks up where you left off.

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 30):

Pretty neat, and might make it worth a look at LR instead of PS. There have been times when I saved an edit, and then realized I should have done something different halfway through. But all I have is the unedited and fully edited JPEGs, so I have to start over.

Since I started using LR a few years ago I've never looked back. I rarely use PS these days since I find LR much much more user friendly. I guess it's the one piece of software Adobe did right. 
 
spencer
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RE: Can Someone Explain Pro/con Of RAW Editing?

Mon Oct 03, 2011 8:46 pm

I'm also finding LR amazing. All images readily available and all viewable via tags.
Spence
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RE: Can Someone Explain Pro/con Of RAW Editing?

Tue Oct 04, 2011 6:07 am

Another otion is to use DNG which in general is around 20% smaller than RAW.
Its non propiatary so will never become obsolete over time and also any mods are not saved as XMP files cluttering up your photo folders.
Has all the benefits of RAW including if you buy a new camera a simple DNG conversion enables you to NOT have to upgrade your software when a new non supported model is released.
All the benefits and none of the pitfalls..
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sulman
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RE: Can Someone Explain Pro/con Of RAW Editing?

Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:23 am

One thing I would add with raw files is that dependant on the platform you use (POSIX , OS X, or Windows) you need the right editor - it makes workflow so much easier.

I've used CS3 for about three years with Adobe Bridge & Camera Raw, prior to that I'd used Canon DPP with Photoshop 7. Both platforms are fast. Once good raw editor performance is experienced, you do not want to return to something slow, and a lot of the free editors - while very good, and you can't beat the price - tend to be slow.

On Linux I found Bibble was superb (quick), and GIMP's fine as soon as you work out where everything is, although it's still prone to death-by-a-thousand-clicks, and the sharpening tool is different enough to take a while to get the results.

Recently at work I've had the chance to try Lightroom 3, and CS5 and I have to say I'm very taken with Lightroom. Adobe have taken a hard look at the properties that matter to a photography user (performance, ease of use, and having the tools close to hand), and I'm very impressed.

The automatic tools are getting better all the time, and I find I'm having to do less with the images to get pleasing results.

To answer the question, I started using raw because my exposure and setup were occasionally sloppy, and it offered latitude. Nowadays it's much less of a problem (because over time one understands the camera better) but I love being able to mess about with a picture and do no harm to it.

The comment about exposing to the right is interesting, because I've been doing this for a while - it results in some very bright looking images, even though the Histogram says they're fine. As Colin says, it gives you much to play with in processing.


James

[Edited 2011-10-04 01:25:37]
It takes a big man to admit they are wrong, and I am not a big man.
 
cliffak
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RE: Can Someone Explain Pro/con Of RAW Editing?

Tue Oct 04, 2011 2:49 pm

Quoting sulman (Reply 34):
On Linux I found Bibble was superb (quick), and GIMP's fine as soon as you work out where everything is, although it's still prone to death-by-a-thousand-clicks, and the sharpening tool is different enough to take a while to get the results.

I have to use GIMP at work (it's either that or Paint.net) for some simple JPG editing and find it a royal pain to use. It's obviously not geared towards photographers and the usability, as it is with most FOSS software, is lacking.
 
darreno1
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RE: Can Someone Explain Pro/con Of RAW Editing?

Wed Oct 05, 2011 5:04 am

I gave Lightroom 3 a try but I must say, other than the cataloging and non-destructive benefits (which is indeed impressive), it left me wanting in terms of the available editing functions. Not having access to select tools or layers is a big handicap IMO. I'm also not crazy about the UI. It's obviously meant to be a compliment to Photoshop rather than a replacement. If I can have the same cataloging / database functions rolled into Photoshop CS5 I'd be set.
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vikkyvik
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RE: Can Someone Explain Pro/con Of RAW Editing?

Wed Oct 05, 2011 5:42 am

Quoting cliffak (Reply 31):

Thanks much for your input! Very useful for future consideration.

Quoting darreno1 (Reply 36):

Wait, does that mean that LR doesn't have layers?
I'm watching Jeopardy. The category is worst Madonna songs. "This one from 1987 is terrible".
 
darreno1
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RE: Can Someone Explain Pro/con Of RAW Editing?

Wed Oct 05, 2011 6:06 am

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 37):

Wait, does that mean that LR doesn't have layers?

Nope. You can download a free 30-day trial from Adobe and check it out yourself.
Nikon D7000 / Nikkor 105mm AF f2.8 / Nikkor 35 f1.8G / Nikkor 50 f1.8D / Nikkor 85mm / Nikkor 300mm f4 AF
 
DJdeRidder
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RE: Can Someone Explain Pro/con Of RAW Editing?

Wed Oct 05, 2011 9:49 am

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 37):
Wait, does that mean that LR doesn't have layers?

You shouldn't compare Lightroom to Photoshop. Lightroom is more like a (very) advanced version of a Raw editor. Yet still, many people are able to edit 99% of their aviation images in LR only..
 
vikkyvik
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RE: Can Someone Explain Pro/con Of RAW Editing?

Wed Oct 05, 2011 4:11 pm

Quoting DJdeRidder (Reply 39):
You shouldn't compare Lightroom to Photoshop. Lightroom is more like a (very) advanced version of a Raw editor. Yet still, many people are able to edit 99% of their aviation images in LR only..

They may be geared towards different crowds and have many different functions, but at the end of the day, if I'm considering replacing PS with LR, of course I'm going to compare them!

Obviously you can do most of the same basic photo-editing functions in both. That's really all I use in PS - I've probably never touched 98% of the features in it.
I'm watching Jeopardy. The category is worst Madonna songs. "This one from 1987 is terrible".
 
jforbes
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RE: Can Someone Explain Pro/con Of RAW Editing?

Wed Oct 05, 2011 6:50 pm

vikkyvik -

You may or may not be able to replace PS with LR, but they're meant to work together. If you can't do what you need to do in LR, you just export it directly in to PS, do your thing, and you're all set.

I don't use PS any more. I miss a few of the capabilities, but LR is plenty powerful for my needs.

LR doesn't have layers because it doesn't need layers. You can create masks in it, and everything is totally non-destructive and reversible. If you utilize a complicated sharpening scheme in Photoshop where you're using multiple layers and masks with different USM settings, you'll be out of luck. LR has adequate sharpening and NR capabilities, but you can do significantly more in PS. In PS, where you might use a layer mask to adjust exposure in a region of the image, for example, in LR, you would just use a brush set to adjust exposure, and it works sort of like that adjustment is on its own layer.

Give it a whirl. It's an entirely different workflow and you may love it or hate it, but it will do most of the things that most photographers want to do, and all of the things that some photographers want to do. A likely scenario is that you keep PS around for occasional use, but use LR for the majority of work - which I did for a while, myself.
 
vikkyvik
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RE: Can Someone Explain Pro/con Of RAW Editing?

Wed Oct 05, 2011 8:37 pm

Quoting JForbes (Reply 41):

Thanks much for the info. Yes, per Darren's suggestion, I was going to download the trial (I never think of that on my own, for some reason).

While I am resistant to changing methods that have worked well for me, if I determine that a new (to me) product makes editing easier and/or faster and/or better, then I might be all for it.

Similar to when I first got CS5. I switched from Canon DPP to ACR/CS5 for RAW editing, but stayed with CS3 for JPEG editing, as CS5 runs too slowly on my computer. So I run a combo of ACR/CS5 and CS3 for my editing needs.
I'm watching Jeopardy. The category is worst Madonna songs. "This one from 1987 is terrible".
 
cliffak
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RE: Can Someone Explain Pro/con Of RAW Editing?

Thu Oct 06, 2011 4:47 pm

Quoting JForbes (Reply 41):
You may or may not be able to replace PS with LR, but they're meant to work together. If you can't do what you need to do in LR, you just export it directly in to PS, do your thing, and you're all set.

Not only that, you simply select "edit in photoshop" and most of the time you'll want it to do the default, which is create a copy with the LR adjustments added to it. Edit the image in PS, save, and any changes will be visible in LR as well, and the copy will also be visible in the LR catalog. To me, LR shows that Adobe can create brilliant software if they only try. Too bad the creators of Flash and Acrobat will most likely never read this.. :P
 
soon7x7
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RE: Can Someone Explain Pro/con Of RAW Editing?

Fri Oct 07, 2011 2:08 am

Just shot a Global Express interior with almost white side panels, ceiling panels, white sidewalls, and seats...along with a rich reddish neutral wood with BLACK carpet. Like a wedding photo...black and white, bride and groom!,...for the first time I used Nikons capture Software to kind of pre process before I converted to PS. Problem was I wanted to make evident the "pile" in the black carpet with out blowing out the other white stuff. Worked great...never tried this before...will use again as much as possible. PS alone I feel would not have achieved same results without scarificing image quality.
 
spencer
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RE: Can Someone Explain Pro/con Of RAW Editing?

Fri Oct 07, 2011 7:58 am

Why couldn't you have masked?
Spence
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ckw
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RE: Can Someone Explain Pro/con Of RAW Editing?

Fri Oct 07, 2011 10:50 am

Quoting spencer (Reply 45):
Why couldn't you have masked?

You could - in theory, but that assumes opening the image in PS in a 16bit format in with a wide colour gamut (eg. ProPhoto). If you open the image as an 8 bit jpg then already a lot of data is lost -esp. in the shadows, which would be critical for the image.

I currently use a mixed approach to my image editing (using CS 5 and ACR).

In ACR I use the exposure controls to deal with broad adjustments (and highlight/shadow recovery if necessary), clarity and vibrance. I also prefer the noise and lens features in ACR over those in CS5. The theory is that by applying these modifcations prior to the actual RAW image conversion, then the conversion process has the maximum amount of data to work with.

After opening in PS (16bit ProColor) I will make subtle adjustments to to tone curve and apply sharpening - simply because CS5 currently offers more precise control, and of course, the ability to use layers and masks.

As a last step I convert to 8bit mode and save a jpg.

My aim is to delay data loss as long as possible - but I make some compromises where I think a more sophisticated tool makes up for possible minor losses in quality. In a perfect world, I would make all adjustments in ACR

Cheers,

Colin
Colin K. Work, Pixstel
 
HarryImp
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RE: Can Someone Explain Pro/con Of RAW Editing?

Mon Oct 17, 2011 3:03 pm

Sorry to dig up an old thread but I currently shoot RAW but often find myself filling the buffer with just 6 in the buffer at 3fps.

Should i shoot RAW or does anyone have any tips to alter my shooting style instead of just hold and hope???


Harry
 
vikkyvik
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RE: Can Someone Explain Pro/con Of RAW Editing?

Mon Oct 17, 2011 4:18 pm

Quoting HarryImp (Reply 47):
Sorry to dig up an old thread but I currently shoot RAW but often find myself filling the buffer with just 6 in the buffer at 3fps.

Should i shoot RAW or does anyone have any tips to alter my shooting style instead of just hold and hope???

Take fewer photos.

Seriously. My camera buffer fills up usually at 3 photos at 1.5 fps RAW. That means I have to be very selective when shooting. I can't just hold the shutter down and expect to get all the angles and whatever that I may want. It's forced me to think while shooting - "OK, I want this angle, press shutter", then wait, then "OK, I want this angle, press shutter", etc....

You have to make each photo count, which just takes practice.
I'm watching Jeopardy. The category is worst Madonna songs. "This one from 1987 is terrible".
 
ckw
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RE: Can Someone Explain Pro/con Of RAW Editing?

Mon Oct 17, 2011 8:06 pm

Quoting HarryImp (Reply 47):
tips to alter my shooting style instead of just hold and hope

Keep in mind that for the majority of the history pf photography, people worked with single shot only. The key is, and always has been, to anticipate and capture the decisive moment. There are very few situations which actually require multiple frame per second shooting.

Why not try shooting in single shot mode for a while - you'll find you can still click off frames at a pretty fast rate if you want to, but each frame will be a concious decision - take control back from the camera.

Cheers,

Colin
Colin K. Work, Pixstel

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