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Old Jun 30th, 2009, 06:14 PM   #1
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Shooting in raw

Hey guys ive been taking pictures now for about 2-3 years with my d40 and have gotten a few lenses and a flash now. I keep getting told to shoot in raw and i totally understand why, its just that no programs or pcs like it. So i use photoshop cs4 to import them edit and then i just end up saving then in the highest resolution jpeg. So i really don't understand what the point of me shooting in raw is when i just have to compress again anyway. I must be missing somthing here if anyone could fill me in id appreciate it
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Old Jun 30th, 2009, 08:43 PM   #2
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You have a lot more lee way in making adjustments before you need to save out again to a compressed file format (if that is what you need to do). RAW is unprocessed and allows you to finish the processing on your desktop by making adjustments - you can open shadows much more for instance, if your camera has a good dynamic range and do many other tweaks that would not be possible if you shot in jpg because the information (a lot of the data associated with the colour and light/shadows) is thrown out.
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Old Jun 30th, 2009, 11:11 PM   #3
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I'm not sure what the "no programs or pcs like it." part was, as I use Lightroom and have used Apature, and both are native RAW supporters. Currently I'm using Lightroom to import and sort shots, make some adjustments and downgrade to jpeg to upload to websites. I'm sure I will shortly, but I haven't even had to bring things into PhotoShop yet.
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Old Jun 30th, 2009, 11:32 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pcronin View Post
I'm not sure what the "no programs or pcs like it." part was, as I use Lightroom and have used Apature, and both are native RAW supporters. Currently I'm using Lightroom to import and sort shots, make some adjustments and downgrade to jpeg to upload to websites. I'm sure I will shortly, but I haven't even had to bring things into PhotoShop yet.
I think the OP means that typically computers and their programs don't use RAW images (ie: for backgrounds or for placing in images, etc.) but RAW is not intended as a final format (other than printing directly I suppose) but as a format to finalize processing.
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Old Jul 1st, 2009, 08:33 AM   #5
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If you're using a D40, consider processing raw files using Nikon Capture NX2. I use it for all my raw files, and I find it more than satisfactory. Excellent depth of control and compatibility with Nikon equipment & raw Nikon files. As with any software, there's a learning curve.

Depending on my goals with a particular image, I may save a processed / finished raw file as a jpeg and leave it at that. Or, I may save it as a jpeg then monkey around with it using other software (PS Elements, GraphicConverterX, etc.).

But back to your original concern - it all depends on you. Are you satisfied with the results you're getting with jpegs shot with your D40? If yes, you do not absolutely have to shoot raw. Even if you're happy with your jpegs, if you want to have substantial control over your images, then shoot raw. Try NX2 or other software and explore, explore, explore...
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Old Jul 1st, 2009, 05:51 PM   #6
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I have a D80 and it offers an option to shoot in both Raw & jpeg.

I heard of an unusual reason to shoot in Raw. If a picture that you have taken ever has an ownership dispute (someone else claim it is theirs). You can always ask them to produce the Raw image. You'll be the only one with this version of the photo.
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Old Jul 1st, 2009, 08:56 PM   #7
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Oh thats diffrent but thx guys helps alot
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Old Jul 1st, 2009, 10:05 PM   #8
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Shooting in RAW will also chew up storage - so you will need spare SD or CF cards (whatever it uses). A RAW will be larger as whatever MegaPixels your camera takes (or is set to). A 10MP camera will generate a RAW that is 30MB, while a JPG will be perhaps 1MB or so (with decent settings), or 100kB if you really throttle things back.

I don't know of much PC software that can handle RAW - pretty much any photographer I have saw has used a Mac of some kind to do RAW processing, and the Mac has the best packages available for dealing with RAW.

RAW is more important if you need to blow up pictures to huge sizes, like doing a billboard - while a JPG with decent settings (like they are not compressed to 5% at the lowest dpi settings) will be entirely adequate for regular sized stuff, and even at 8.5x11, a JPG will be entirely adequate. The balance is that of storage and processing - RAW will take much more storage and need more CPU to process, but you get greater control over colour, and much less granularity, since the picture will be at the full DPI of the camera, rather than compressed by various factors. If you are taking snapshots for photo albums, JPG is entirely fine - but for professional style work, RAW is the way to go...
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Old Jul 1st, 2009, 10:58 PM   #9
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RAW is like shooting film and getting negatives (which you can then develop into whatever you want to do with them) so you're getting "digital negatives" so to speak ... shooting jpg is like shooting a Polaroid in that you get what you get when it spits out the image on the photo paper. RAW files are considerably bigger but allow you a ton of freedom to adjust things like white balance, color, brightness/contrast, tone curves, black levels, etc. When you shoot in camera jpgs the camera basically decides all of this stuff and outputs a compressed file based on what it thinks the settings should be. RAW captures the actual raw data in the camera pipleine (right off the sensor) before the camera does anything to the actual pixels.

Yes, you _can_ manipulate a jpg after the fact, but you don't get the same results as when you're manipulating a RAW file. To equate it to audio it's like working with uncompressed audio (RAW) or with MP3's (jpg). If you're going for quality you don't record your tracks as MP3 files. You do the compression one time, and as the last step in the process. Same goes for photos if you want top notch quality.

It all depends on what you're looking to do with the photos at the end of the day. If you're simply doing some cropping of snapshots RAW is probably not worth it. If you're looking to do any more serious manipulation RAW is totally worth it.

I personally shoot RAW exclusively and do all my "developing" in Adobe Lightroom.

P.S. a 10MP camera won't generate a 30MB RAW file, more like 7-12MB typically -- but it depends on the actual photo in question, sizes vary from shot to shot.
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Old Jul 2nd, 2009, 03:29 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EvanPitts View Post
Shooting in RAW will also chew up storage - so you will need spare SD or CF cards (whatever it uses). A RAW will be larger as whatever MegaPixels your camera takes (or is set to). A 10MP camera will generate a RAW that is 30MB, while a JPG will be perhaps 1MB or so (with decent settings), or 100kB if you really throttle things back.
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Originally Posted by mguertin View Post
I personally shoot RAW exclusively and do all my "developing" in Adobe Lightroom.

P.S. a 10MP camera won't generate a 30MB RAW file, more like 7-12MB typically -- but it depends on the actual photo in question, sizes vary from shot to shot.

a note on file size;
my Canon Rebel XT, an 8MP camera, averages 7.5-8.5MB on normal lighting. The biggest .CR2/RAW file I have at the moment is a sunny outdoor shot with a fountain and some people around it, that comes in at 9.8MB. The manual says average RAW file size is 8.3 MB, So I think the 3x MP-MB ratio might be a touch off.

While slow at rendering, JustLooking is a nice preview replacement for pictures, allowing for next/previous from keyboard and slideshow functions. I import with Lightroom, just because I suck at organizing by hand, and I don't have iPhoto installed (if it can handle RAW).

I also believe that RAW vs JPEG is a bit like film negative vs Polaroid. RAW+JPEG if your camera supports it would allow for a shot and preview/print situation if a client wants a quick preview/sample to look at, and also allow for major post production if needed.

Whatever makes you and the people you're taking pics for happy, go for it.
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