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Raw vs JPEG Is it worth the extra space and effort?


25 Jul 2014 5:14PM
Your brain hurts when you start using raw but now combined with Lightroom I find it is fantastic .
I am shooting with a canon 7d and good as the metering is I find comfort in knowing I can still tweek the exposure a bit if required. I tend to eyeball the shots I have taken and then develop the best ones. If appropriate I copy the LR settings to images in similar light so I don't really have to develop every single shot. Good luck with using raw once you get the hang of it you won't want to go back Grin

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Chris_L e2
1.3k United Kingdom
25 Jul 2014 5:19PM
When not shooting something where speed is vitally important I've shot raw+jpeg. Sometimes raw+small jpeg

I can email the jpegs immediately (for preview purposes) from the card reader. If simple snaps and they look okay I'll share the jpegs with Facebook friends etc. The raw will go into my archive.

If the material is very important, once-in-a-lifetime type shots, I know that if I get a corrupt card there's that extra chance of recovery.

Every dlsr I've had has allowed me to shoot raw+jpeg; but if the feature was no longer available I'd not be too worried.
redhed17 9 666 England
25 Jul 2014 11:55PM
I get the speed thing for sports/action shooters with regard to how quickly the buffer fills up. Or if there is a need to quickly get images to someone/somewhere. However, if those two scenarios are are irrelevant, and you do any post processing, the the RAW files gives the more options for most editing situations imho.

Each to there own though. :-/

I only did RAW+Jpeg when it was difficult to see preview thumbnails of RAW files. Once I had found a program (Preview Extractor) to extract the embedded (Basic) Jpeg files from the RAW files I went to RAW only. When I bought a camera that had 2 memory card slots I briefly went back to RAW to one card, and Jpeg to the other. Why did I do that? Because I could. lol Once I realised I was always deleting the Jpeg files, usually without viewing, because I had seen the RAW file in Adobe Bridge, I went back to using the extra card slot as an overflow in normal use, and a back up during important (non sport/action) shooing. I also didn't consider how writing to two cards would probably cause slow down, or make the buffer fill quicker, especially if both cards were not the quickest cards.

For me, the buffer is large enough to shoot in RAW for sports/action on my camera 90% of the time it is needed. I don't need to get images to anyone in a hurry. But, most images need editing in some way, Wink so I want the best file, with the most information and editing options to play with. Smile
StrayCat e2
10 15.0k 2 Canada
26 Jul 2014 12:53AM
It probably depends on one's developing skills also. I shot RAW with my Canon 600D, and developed in DPP, which I found to be excellent, and I was happy with the shots. However, I don't think the RAW files produced any better images in my case than the jpegs. When I switched to Olympus, I tried RAW in LR, and gave up on it, being much happier with the jpegs straight out of the camera with some minor editing in LR. Then, after reading discussions like this one in the forum, I decided to take the bull by the horns and went to Adobes video tutorials on their site, and watched the lot of them through, many 2 or 3 times, and then I felt I had a handle on RAW Development in LR. I had been taking only RAW, and developing in LR for about 1.5 years, then recently I went out for a day and shot only jpeg, and I like the jpegs better than what I come up with using RAW. I'm sure it's me, but I have gone through the camera settings from start to finish a couple of times, thinking I might have accidentally changed something, but if I have, I can't find it. All of a sudden I'm not seeing the quality I'm used to getting in my images.

I should also add that space is not an issue, I use high speed 32gb cards, and I have 4.5 TBs of storage on my desktop.
Chris_L e2
1.3k United Kingdom
26 Jul 2014 1:53AM
I've changed from DPP to Lightroom, I did love the results I got with DPP on Canon files, but I've sometimes got to deal with all sorts of other files and have a lot more organisation to do, keywording etc which Lightroom excels at.

There's a new DPP out, which does a load of new stuff, major overhaul, think I'll have to take a look. I never forget a photo I had with some purplish flowers that had oversaturated, camera raw / LR couldn't get it right, so I went to DPP which nailed it, I stopped using ACR from then on but back to that engine now.
Paul Morgan e2
13 15.7k 6 England
26 Jul 2014 7:15PM
I never forget a photo I had with some purplish flowers that had oversaturated, camera raw / LR couldn't get it right

That is a pretty common problem with purples, I find Lr pretty good but I do use my own color profiles.
JJGEE 9 6.4k 18 England
26 Jul 2014 7:19PM

Quote:I never forget a photo I had with some purplish flowers that had oversaturated, camera raw / LR couldn't get it right

In what way could you not make adjustments in Lightroom to get it right ?
Paul Morgan e2
13 15.7k 6 England
26 Jul 2014 7:23PM

Quote:I never forget a photo I had with some purplish flowers that had oversaturated, camera raw / LR couldn't get it right
In what way could you not make adjustments in Lightroom to get it right ?



You could make adjustments, but its a lot easier to use proper profiles.

It gets discussed here (about 10 minutes in)




Chris_L e2
1.3k United Kingdom
26 Jul 2014 8:06PM
I do owe it to myself to look into the profiles thing, wonder how accurate can they be though if there are variables, the accuracy of the palette you shoot and the variability of the light you shoot it under
Quote:In what way could you not make adjustments in Lightroom to get it right


I'm going to try and dig it out Jeff, (it was ACR in PS not LR but pretty sure they've always been the same engine). I'll have a look for it and upload the raw, pretty sure I've still got it.
Paul Morgan e2
13 15.7k 6 England
26 Jul 2014 10:45PM

Quote:I do owe it to myself to look into the profiles thing, wonder how accurate can they be though if there are variables, the accuracy of the palette you shoot and the variability of the light you shoot it under


I find them to be very good, far better than the often supplied profiles that are supposed to simulate any jpeg flavour, they just give me a much better starting point.
thewilliam 6 4.7k
26 Jul 2014 11:27PM
When we started with digital back in 2002, the camera had a massive 6 Megapixels and we sometimes needed to create 30x24 inch prints.

When I asked my friends in Kodak Professional, they advised me always to shoot RAW even though the 640Meg CF cards were costing us 350 + VAT. They were right and the habit has stuck!
26 Jul 2014 11:42PM
Profiles, convertors, dynamic ranges, etc... Hmm... Yep, photography is art. How good do you draw by hand? If not well - the best picture you can create is by coloring pre-printed contours.

It is all the same with photography. Either you leave it all to the camera, do a slight tweak to what it does, or do most of it yourself. Be sure you know where you are and develop slowly from there. Being good in coloring pictures does not mean you are an artist enough to draw it yourself. The same with JPG and RAW. Sometimes I shudder when see the results of my first edits in RAWTongue
Paul Morgan e2
13 15.7k 6 England
27 Jul 2014 1:30AM
Profiles, convertors, dynamic ranges, etc... Hmm... Yep, photography is art

But there are many instances were you may need to get the colors right Smile
Chris_L e2
1.3k United Kingdom
27 Jul 2014 2:08AM

Quote:Sometimes I shudder when see the results of my first edits in RAW


It can be daunting at first, the people who made your camera did a lot of work to get it to produce the best possible jpegs. When a shot first loads up in Lightroom it might look pretty flat and dull.

Most raw converters have some presets built-in, there's loads you can download too. Great to use as a starting point or just to browse through to explore possible ideas for the image.
Evertonian 1 461 England
27 Jul 2014 10:53AM
Well I don't really care if I am in a minority, I get along just fine with "RAW+jpg". Being an old film buff, I find it a lot faster to process jpg files in PSE than I do RAW in Lightroom.

Being sort of critical about this doesn't help. If you wish to make people feel that to be "in the know" they should use RAW only stunts the development of beginners and intermediates in the world of digital processing. I mastered the processing of B&W and colour negative processing as well as photography as a whole, light and shade, many years ago and find nothing wrong in being a little slow with digital processing and Lightroom in particular.

I feel sure that more than a "minority" of people do not use RAW alone, but perhaps without a survey of all photographers, we will never know. So lets not be too critical of those who may well be in the majority, those who process .jpg files, or "RAW + jpg."

When it comes to space, I do admit to not keeping every original, I will be selective and keep the original that I found the easiest to process whether it be RAW or .jpg FINE. Anyway why worry, memory is cheap and I use 3 USB hard disks for backup so I don't see any problem. I don't just back up original files, but submissions to agencies and 'all files' as well. For all files I use Microsoft free issue "Sync Toy".

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