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Thread: Recommended shop for printing RAW images

  1. #1

    Default Recommended shop for printing RAW images

    Hi, I tried searching for this but couldn't find... pardon me if I have missed it.

    I want to print some photos at 5R and would prefer to print direct from Nikon RAW rather than convert to JPEG and suffer any loss in quality. These are photos I want to keep for a long time and I wanna be a perfectionist about it

    Are there any good shops around that print from raw? The ones I enquired at said they could only print jpeg. I've seen threads discussing printing of raw images, so I guess some shops must be able to do this. Any suggestions?

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2

    Default Re: Recommended shop for printing RAW images

    Quote Originally Posted by crankcase View Post
    Hi, I tried searching for this but couldn't find... pardon me if I have missed it.

    I want to print some photos at 5R and would prefer to print direct from Nikon RAW rather than convert to JPEG and suffer any loss in quality. These are photos I want to keep for a long time and I wanna be a perfectionist about it

    Are there any good shops around that print from raw? The ones I enquired at said they could only print jpeg. I've seen threads discussing printing of raw images, so I guess some shops must be able to do this. Any suggestions?

    Thanks in advance!
    I doubt anyone prints RAW. If you are concern about the quality, just convert into TIFF. If you are a perfectionist, you can always keep them in lossless compressed PSD or TIFF. TIFF has been around since 1986 and I doubt it will go away soon. Just keep it as 16bits TIFF and you will get the quality of your RAW.
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  3. #3
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommended shop for printing RAW images

    Quote Originally Posted by crankcase View Post
    Hi, I tried searching for this but couldn't find... pardon me if I have missed it.

    I want to print some photos at 5R and would prefer to print direct from Nikon RAW rather than convert to JPEG and suffer any loss in quality. These are photos I want to keep for a long time and I wanna be a perfectionist about it

    Are there any good shops around that print from raw? The ones I enquired at said they could only print jpeg. I've seen threads discussing printing of raw images, so I guess some shops must be able to do this. Any suggestions?

    Thanks in advance!
    no, AFAIK, all the machine only accept jpg or tiff, if you insist, the might use photoshop to convert the RAW file to jpg for printing, but they will not do any adjustment on your RAW file, they may and only do color/density adjustment with the jpg when printing, as such, it is better you do your own adjustment and conversion to jpg for printing.

    in short, you will not gain any benefit by send a RAW to the labs, it is better for them to reject you than taking all the trouble explaining this to you.

    btw, a 5R print only need 2100pixel by 1500pixel for 300ppi, send any file bigger than this will not come out any nicer print.
    Last edited by catchlights; 24th November 2011 at 12:36 AM.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Recommended shop for printing RAW images

    If you can understand a good print is beyond those 'numbers' manufacturer dished out to woo consumers, then you will realize it does not work this way.

    Your raw file is 14bit

    Tiff is 16bit

    If you export your raw to 16bit, it's like pouring the contents from a 14bit container to a 16bit container.

    But - monitors displays are 8bit only. Jpeg is 8bit. Prints might be even lesser, or greater, depending upon capability of hardware and knowledge and skill of the print person.

    Viewing a 16bit file on screen is no different than viewing it's 8bit jpeg version. Because you are limited by the monitor and more importantly you are limited by human vision.

    Printing a 16bit file or a 8bit file won't show much differences. You are limited by how much a print can reproduce.

    That is why good prints are expensive. An optical handprint could cost several thousands of dollars overseas. And cheap print cost 15 cents per 4R at AMK.

    Quote Originally Posted by crankcase View Post
    Hi, I tried searching for this but couldn't find... pardon me if I have missed it.

    I want to print some photos at 5R and would prefer to print direct from Nikon RAW rather than convert to JPEG and suffer any loss in quality. These are photos I want to keep for a long time and I wanna be a perfectionist about it

    Are there any good shops around that print from raw? The ones I enquired at said they could only print jpeg. I've seen threads discussing printing of raw images, so I guess some shops must be able to do this. Any suggestions?

    Thanks in advance!
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  5. #5
    Moderator Octarine's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommended shop for printing RAW images

    If you knew what RAW is you would understand why it cannot be printed. RAW data need converting because it's not a bitmap image yet, RAW is nothing but sensor values, quantified electrical signals. Only the RAW conversion will bring the three colours Red Green Blue and form an image. If you are such a perfectionist then it should be your highest priority to supervise and adjust exactly this moment of conversion instead of letting a lab run a standard 'holidays / beach / wedding / kiddie party / mountain view' conversion. Secondly, I truly doubt that all your images are perfectly fine straight from the cam without any touch up. Reason is: none of your colour profile or picture settings in the camera affects the RAW image and no lab can read out Nikon proprietary information from the NEF file. Adjustments need to be done by you, but you can't write into a RAW file. It's kind of 'read only' format. So you need to create a new file format (tiff or jpg) which you can hand over to the lab. Btw: There is also a jpg lossless format and jpg at 100% quality setting. I doubt you can see the difference on a 5R print...
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  6. #6

    Default Re: Recommended shop for printing RAW images

    This is not the correct understanding of RAW.
    RAW is just unprocessed data that is generated by the camera.
    Its not even a fixed standard and usually only understandable by the software made by the camera company itself (unless its DNG, which is an initiative to have a standard RAW format)
    Its meant to be processed and o/p to TIFF or JPG to 'communicate' to the rest of the world as a fixed standard (ie. TIFF; JPEG).

    The RAW file is meant to be corrected for color, WB, exposure, sharpness, noise, etc to get the best JPG ot TIFF o/p.
    In fact if you want the best out of your print, you are supposed to process the file properly for printing, not just making it look good on screen.

    So short answer, is no, shop usually won't print in RAW. Furthermore, it will likely look not as good if not properly processed for printing,

  7. #7

    Default Re: Recommended shop for printing RAW images

    Thanks a lot for the explanations!

    I did make some basic adjustments (white balance, exposure comp, etc) to the photos within Nikon ViewNX2 and save them back as RAW copies, and was hoping those could be printed as is. But I understand, will convert them to TIFF instead.

    Thanks again for the advice and info

  8. #8
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default

    What I usually do is export a set of jpg just for printing, don't even print with tiff, it don't make any different in term of quality but only slow down thier system if you make a lot of prints.
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  9. #9

    Default Re: Recommended shop for printing RAW images

    Best printing quality is in Tiff, JPEG not really recommend (but i agree Tiff size is big). After doin your post-processing, save them to Tiff and print in the Print Shop

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