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Shooting in RAW


c7fnt 2 24 United Kingdom
3 Mar 2013 8:23PM
Hi guys
I currently have a Nikon D40 and feel like my images are not as good as if like them to be.
I currently shoot in the best quality fine JPEG setting. Would my images be any better if I shot in RAW?

Cheers
Chris

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3 Mar 2013 8:36PM
As far as I can tell if you take pictures in RAW more information is stored so that it gives you more to work with at the editing stage. I have only been using it for a while and I have found it useful to get the basic photograph the way I would want it, before I 'play' with it any further in photoshop

Pete
Jestertheclown 6 6.4k 241 England
3 Mar 2013 8:38PM
Maybe, possibly but not necessarily.

Shooting in raw gives you the opportunity to process the images to get the result that you want, rather than what your camera thinks you want but you're opening up a whole new can of worms.

If you're not sure about the differences between the two, I'd suggest a little research before you get too bogged down with the many answers you'll receive on here.
Coast e2
6 1.4k 292 United Kingdom
3 Mar 2013 8:41PM
In what way do you mean your images are not as good as you would like them to be?

In camera JPEG will give you a decent image but is an output based on pre-set averages for want of a more complex answer. Shooting in Raw is best described as a digital negative. It allows you to modify all manner of variables to eke out the very best from the original exposure.

A Raw converter will start with an output similar to the JPEG but through tweaking levels, saturation, sharpness, colour temperature.... You can pull so much more detail into the final image. Obviously this requires more time to process your images and learning and understanding what each variable can do for the picture.

If you want more from your images then it is certainly the best way to go. Remember however although Raw will allow you to rescue images that are less than perfectly exposed at capture nothing beats good camera craft at the outset.
User_Removed 10 3.3k 4 United Kingdom
3 Mar 2013 8:48PM
Your camera shoots in raw and creates a jpeg using some predefined settings, that jpeg gets saved to disk. If you shoot raw camera saves a raw file to disk allowing you more control over how the settings are applied.

Settings typically include contrast, exposure level, sharpness, colour saturation and white balance.

If the problem you have with your images isn't one of those then shooting raw probably won't help.
tomcat e2
9 6.0k 15 United Kingdom
3 Mar 2013 9:08PM
No images to pass judgement on, which considering you have been a member for over 12 months, is a a tad surprisingWink

Adrian
rambler e2
6 477 14 England
3 Mar 2013 9:14PM
I gave up shooting jpegs ages ago, I was finding that a slightly overexposed sky could not be rescued in processing. Also if I cropped a shot down then quality was diminished. If my camera skills were better I might have been able to overcome these issues but it was far easier to start shooting in raw.

The range of adjustments I can make, the greater ability to crop certainly allow me to rescue my poorer taken shots. The downside is the size of the files the computer has to store but an external hard drive can help there. I would not go back to shooting jpeg.
mikehit e2
5 6.8k 11 United Kingdom
3 Mar 2013 9:15PM
If your image is exposed and composed properly then it is unlikely that you can process a raw image any better than the in-camera jpeg. Typical situations are photos taken in bright but cloudy days where no highlight is excessively bright - basically the histogram is well distributed and is not off either end of the scale.
Raw has its advantages where:
you want to create a specific effect not possible with a straight exposure
difficult lighting conditions where there is a heavy shadow area from which you want to recover detail, a very very bright highlight where you want to recover detail. You can recover detail from a jpeg image but because the raw image has more information you can do more before you get artefects
you have screwed up the image - maybe set the wrong exposure, the wrong white balance, the wrong auto mode ('landscape' when you meant to set it to 'portrait')

I started shooting jpeg but found I could rarely beat the in-camera jpeg so I was wondering what all the blather about raw was gong on about. Then I went to Canada to shoot bears and found some images I wished I could recover a bit more detail so I moved to shooting most images jpeg but using raw/jpeg when they really mattered. I then moved to shooting all raw+jpeg, with the raw as back up in case it needed correction. When post processing programmes improved (and I got a better computer), I found I could batch process raw to jpeg quite quickly and realised I was trawling through twice the number of photos so I decided to shoot raw only.

Many journalists will shoot jpeg only so they can send the images to the newsdesk by email with minimal processing delay, and if I could match the quality that I see in newspapers, magazines and books I would probably not bother with raw either. But I want that safety net.
Jpeg only will still be OK for over 90% of people who take photographs, but it depends what you want.
Paul Morgan e2
13 15.7k 6 England
3 Mar 2013 9:18PM

Quote:In camera JPEG will give you a decent image but is an output based on pre-set averages for want of a more complex answer


Pre set averages ? these are set by the user not the camera, even the Raw images open with the settings you had set in camera.

Its just that the Raw image gives your more scope to correct and alter the image before saving as a Jpeg.
Coast e2
6 1.4k 292 United Kingdom
3 Mar 2013 9:36PM

Quote:In camera JPEG will give you a decent image but is an output based on pre-set averages for want of a more complex answer

Pre set averages ? these are set by the user not the camera, even the Raw images open with the settings you had set in camera.

Its just that the Raw image gives your more scope to correct and alter the image before saving as a Jpeg.



I understand your point but not strictly true. The camera software produces the jpeg image from pre-programmed data. This can be effected by the exposure mode and options set by the user but even these are then pre-set by the camera software. RAW allows you to modify those outputs from the data captured at the time of exposure. Capturing in JPEG only, limits the amount of data the camera records as this is set at the time of exposure. Although photo editing software allows you to modify some of those settings it is only within the range of the data captured. RAW capture on the other hand records a lot more data allowing more control in the RAW converter or editing software.

Equally from the RAW file you can choose to output to other formats other than JPEG with least loss of quality. Converting a JPEG file to other formats is possible but at lower quality than that from the RAW file.
lobsterboy e2
10 14.2k 13 United Kingdom
3 Mar 2013 9:42PM

Quote: my images are not as good as if like them to be.


Chris, Why not upload some pictures to the gallery, then we can all see what you mean.
There are many things that go into making a good shot: lighting, composition, exposure, technique, post-processing.
Raw helps you squueze the last 5 or 10% out of an image but it is not the be all & end all.
Paul Morgan e2
13 15.7k 6 England
3 Mar 2013 10:15PM

Quote:The camera software produces the jpeg image from pre-programmed data


Same goes for Raw software, some are better than others with any given Raw file format and camera model.
JJGEE 9 6.4k 18 England
3 Mar 2013 10:27PM

Quote:Same goes for Raw software, some are better than others with any given Raw file format and camera model.

But how do you tell one is better than the other ?

I have looked at several different packages which start out looking slightly different but after processing end up all looking the same to me.
Paul Morgan e2
13 15.7k 6 England
3 Mar 2013 10:30PM
That`s the big question, you can`t always, guess a lot comes down to personal taste.

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