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Thread: Got that great Pentax K10D or K20D! Take the plunge to RAW files.

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    Post Got that great Pentax K10D or K20D! Take the plunge to RAW files.

    This post is a brief reasoning (my own, mind you) of why you should shoot RAW. A full twenty pages could have been written, but I tried to keep it short and simple. There are also many reasons why you should shoot in RAW mode, and so few reasons why you should shoot in JPEG mode. See the reasons at the end of this post.

    What is Raw Mode anyway?

    When a DSLR takes an exposure, the sensor records the amount of light that has hit each photo site or pixel. This is recorded as a voltage level. The camera's A/D converter (Analog to Digital converter) transforms this analog signal into a digital interpretation. Depending on the camera's circuitry either 12 bit or 14 bit (Pentax K20D) or even 22 bit in the case of the Pentax K10D) of data are recorded. If your DSLR records 12 bit of data then each pixel can deal with with 4,096 brightness levels, if it records14 bit then it can record 16,384 different brightness levels and if it records 22 bit like the K10D, it can record 4.2 million different brightness levels or gradations. What happens after you've taken the photograph depends on whether you have the camera set to save your image to the memory card as RAW files or JPEG. If you've saved the file in RAW mode, you can later convert it to a TIFF file or PSD file in a 16 bit workspace or even JEPG in an 8 bit workspace (With only 256 brightness level or gradation), using a RAW converter software package. Of course, your DSLR can convert to JEPG in-camera, rendering a compressed lossy file.

    Shooting and saving in RAW

    If you are shooting a RAW image, the camera creates a header file which contains all of the camera settings, including sharpening level, contrast and saturation settings, white balance, and more. The image is not altered by these settings; they are simply attached onto the RAW image data. The RAW data is then saved to your memory card along with the meta-data.

    Shooting and saving in JPEG

    First, did you know that sensors cannot record colors? A Bayer Matrix/color Filter Array is used in order to record colors. Red, blue, and green filters are placed over each pixel. Half of the pixels are filtered by the green filter and the remaining colors are either red or blue. A proprietary algorithm is used to convert the values recorded by each pixel by comparing each pixel with its neighboring colors. Full color information is consequently derived from this complex process. Itís a wonder that such small ďin-camera computer chipsĒ can do this job at all. The in-camera conversion of the RAW file to a JPEG file also applies some Unsharp Masking, contrast, color saturation and save the results to an 8 bit mode file. The brightness level or gradation is now reduced to 256 levels. The resulting JPEG file is compressed to reduce the file size as a lossy file format. To attain this, the in-camera processing has to throw away information, which cannot ever be recuperated.

    Differences

    RAW file is basically the data that the DSLR sensor recorded along with some additional information added on and non-destructive. A JPEG is a file that has had the camera apply matrix conversion, white balance, contrast, and saturation, and then has had some level of destructive compression added. Also note that each manufacturer decides for you what conversion should be applied to the JPEG file.

    Why shoot JPG?

    Because you are scared to make the plunge to RAW, like I did. (Once you do, you will forever wonder why you didnít switch sooner.)

    Files are smaller and more can fit on a memory card. (Memory is getting cheaper all the time and this reason is somewhat not valid anymore.)

    For many applications, JPEG image quality is more than sufficient (Snapshots, emails, computer screen rendition only) (That may be true, but why not keep your image in a non-destructive RAW file and convert to JPEG as needed, while keeping the original data intact?)

    Smaller files are easily transmitted wirelessly and online. (Again, that may be true, but why not keep your image in a non-destructive RAW file and convert to JPEG as needed, while keeping the original data intact?)

    Many photographers don't have the time or desire to post-process their files. (This is like saying that you like your food well cooked, but donít have the time to do so.)

    Why shoot RAW?

    It holds exactly what the sensor recorded. You are able to extrapolate the best possible image quality, now or in the future. Better image processing software will come along and you will be able to re-process old images in their RAW form with better software.

    You can set any color temperature or white balance you want after the fact, with no image degradation.

    File color filter array conversion is done on a computer with a fast and powerful microprocessor when compared to the small in-camera processor.

    The RAW file is tagged with information as set in the camera by the user, but the actual image data has not been changed. You are free to set parameters based on each image evaluation. You can change your mind now or in the future as the RAW file is non-destructive.

    Summary

    Every DSLR is actually always shooting in RAW mode. If you choose to save the file as a JPEG, you are committing to the RAW conversion that is built into the DSLR. If you save your image in RAW, you can do the conversion on a more sophisticated platform, and do so time after time. Do you want to do the RAW file conversion now in your DSLR with the manufacturerís preferences, or later on your powerful computer, the way you like it? Certainly anyone looking for the best possible image quality will want to shoot in RAW mode.

    Why would you purchase a sophisticated DSLR, such as the Pentax Line of DSLRs, if you donít intend to use it to its full potential?


    Thank you for reading, and have a great Pentax Day.

    Yvon Bourque - http://pentaxdslrs.blogspot.com/


    P.S. You don't have top agree with me, let me know your point-of-view.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Got that great Pentax K10D or K20D! Take the plunge to RAW files.

    Thanks for Sharing, Yvon. I have a K100D but seldom shoot in raw because its too cumbersome for me especially if I have hundreds of holiday photos to process.
    I do try raw once in a while but somehow can't seem to get the settings right, i.e. all my efforts always looks worse than the in-camera settings.
    I think it would help if you could include techniques on how to tweak the main settings to get better-than-in-camera images.
    cheers

  3. #3

    Default Re: Got that great Pentax K10D or K20D! Take the plunge to RAW files.

    I now shoot in RAW+JPG. The JPG is use for quick reference before I do any post-processing. I use lightroom to adjust the raws that I like to upload on clickr or send to friends (the resulting JPG can be adjusted on image size, file size and quality. The setting can be save and apply to multiple pictures. However, I tend to do micro-adjustment per photo.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Got that great Pentax K10D or K20D! Take the plunge to RAW files.

    I tried shooting RAW + JPEG once. When I compare the 2 photo types, they looked the same to me. I then converted one of my RAW photos to JPEG using Pentax supplied software and it looked the same as the JPEG photo that was recorded with my K10. Maybe its my untrained eyes that can't tell the difference.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Got that great Pentax K10D or K20D! Take the plunge to RAW files.

    Quote Originally Posted by sgk68 View Post
    I tried shooting RAW + JPEG once. When I compare the 2 photo types, they looked the same to me. I then converted one of my RAW photos to JPEG using Pentax supplied software and it looked the same as the JPEG photo that was recorded with my K10. Maybe its my untrained eyes that can't tell the difference.
    it is much more obvious at large size

    if you post web-size and keep as websize only, then jpg will be no different from raw

    still, raw will allow you to change white balance, recover much more if mistakes are made - i.e. overexposure and underexposure.. without getting too much degradation of image

    to add on, raw also allow you to do hdr if you see fit. if you have the relevant program anyways.

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    Default Re: Got that great Pentax K10D or K20D! Take the plunge to RAW files.

    K100d buffer speed is slow .. if do continious shooting ...may not catch up the action though haven't really try in Raw..

    I would shoot in Raw, if the quality at the instance is as good as Jpeg.. because I think post-processing are only for light repairs, Jpeg instance train me to be better at understanding my SLR....

    But I never really shoot in raw, This thread enlighten me not to ignore raw .. I am glad and tomorrow I will shoot in Raw ...

    SLR should be also be good at Jpeg ..in camera processing ...Jpeg has equal importance as raw ...depend on what you like ..

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    Default Re: Got that great Pentax K10D or K20D! Take the plunge to RAW files.

    I just test shoot Raw on my K100d superior quality ...but buffer between shots very slow ..

    Thanks so much on giving RAW attention..

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    Default Re: Got that great Pentax K10D or K20D! Take the plunge to RAW files.

    Thanks Yvon for sharing. I shoot Raw almost all the time. I will always use Jpeg when shooting fireworks as buffer between shots will be too slow.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Got that great Pentax K10D or K20D! Take the plunge to RAW files.

    The RAW file from a K10D is about 10mb or bigger in size, but its JPG output is normally 2 to 3mb. There is too much info lost during the conversion, that's why many K10D users are not happy w/ its jpg out put. On the other hand, many K100D users are pretty happy w/ the JPG output straight out of the camera (and I'm one of them ). We all have a compromise between best image quality and convenience.

    One thing I need to tellya, when set at the highest quality, JPG output from K20D can easily realy even 15mb! For a simple scene, it can reach 7 to 10mb very easily. I've been shooting in JPG mostly during the first two days, and I'm very happy w/ the output even used indoor. The AWB works great (one of the major reason why we shoot in RAW is because of the AWB problem). I'll probably use the camera in JPG mostly as I did w/ the K100D camera. The other reason is the huge RAW file size on the K20D: easlily over 23mb each!

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    Default Re: Got that great Pentax K10D or K20D! Take the plunge to RAW files.

    Quote Originally Posted by fengwei View Post
    The RAW file from a K10D is about 10mb or bigger in size, but its JPG output is normally 2 to 3mb. There is too much info lost during the conversion, that's why many K10D users are not happy w/ its jpg out put. On the other hand, many K100D users are pretty happy w/ the JPG output straight out of the camera (and I'm one of them ). We all have a compromise between best image quality and convenience.

    One thing I need to tellya, when set at the highest quality, JPG output from K20D can easily realy even 15mb! For a simple scene, it can reach 7 to 10mb very easily. I've been shooting in JPG mostly during the first two days, and I'm very happy w/ the output even used indoor. The AWB works great (one of the major reason why we shoot in RAW is because of the AWB problem). I'll probably use the camera in JPG mostly as I did w/ the K100D camera. The other reason is the huge RAW file size on the K20D: easlily over 23mb each!
    Good information. I too shoot jpg with the K100D and RAW for the odd times when I find exposure tricky. The file size issue is another reason why I'll probably keep the K100D.

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    Default Re: Got that great Pentax K10D or K20D! Take the plunge to RAW files.

    talk about file size...my 250GB external hard disk is almost used up... time for a new 1...good data management habits will be critical i guess... in future we might have image size in GB ...
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    Default Re: Got that great Pentax K10D or K20D! Take the plunge to RAW files.

    Quote Originally Posted by flowerpot View Post
    talk about file size...my 250GB external hard disk is almost used up... time for a new 1...good data management habits will be critical i guess... in future we might have image size in GB ...
    Actually, what's wrong with saving files (Just the keepers) on CD or DVD's? CD's and DVD's won't ever crash like a hard drive will eventually.

    Regards,

    Yvon Bourque

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    Default Re: Got that great Pentax K10D or K20D! Take the plunge to RAW files.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yvon Bourque View Post
    Actually, what's wrong with saving files (Just the keepers) on CD or DVD's? CD's and DVD's won't ever crash like a hard drive will eventually.

    Regards,

    Yvon Bourque
    Thats why we must have good data management habits like saving them to CD/DVDs as backups...

    that what im doing also...try to archive to CD/DVDs if possible...but then again...CD/DVDs are also not permanent...ever have your old music CDs with mould?? some of my old music CD after yrs of not listening to them start to grow mould/fungus...

    another thing about saving your photos to CD/DVDs...you will not look at them unless they are in the hard disk..

    well...im getting an external hard disk to backup another external hard disk...
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    Default Re: Got that great Pentax K10D or K20D! Take the plunge to RAW files.

    Problem with backing up to optical media is not so much mould/fungus as you can clean those away.
    But the problem is the 'burning' of the disks is actually a chemical procoess.
    And the chemical degrade over time.
    That's why I don't backup my very important data on optical media.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Got that great Pentax K10D or K20D! Take the plunge to RAW files.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yvon Bourque View Post
    Actually, what's wrong with saving files (Just the keepers) on CD or DVD's? CD's and DVD's won't ever crash like a hard drive will eventually.

    Regards,

    Yvon Bourque
    That's ok if you have a small collection. But when it runs to hundreds of gigabytes, managing the files is cumbersome because you need a filing system and you need to switch disks. HD DVD could solve some problems but bluray is not pc friendly and sadly, the one that is (HD-DVD) lost the battle for survival recenrly...
    If you had all your photos on a single hard disk, you can access all of them easily and hey, a third hard disk for backup of the second hard disk is quite cheap these days too and much faster than burning DVDs.

    cheers

  16. #16

    Default Re: Got that great Pentax K10D or K20D! Take the plunge to RAW files.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yvon Bourque View Post
    Actually, what's wrong with saving files (Just the keepers) on CD or DVD's? CD's and DVD's won't ever crash like a hard drive will eventually.

    Regards,

    Yvon Bourque
    they will degrade, same thing as any other

    and while they might be considered more sturdy than hdd for some.. storage is so much of a problem. just compare a 80gb hdd in case with say, many dvds or if cd, the situation is worsened. if you put it in a proper folder, certainly it would take up much more space than a simple hdd.

    i find myself deleting a lot of old files now and then that i no longer find appealing to keep.. to save space i guess.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Got that great Pentax K10D or K20D! Take the plunge to RAW files.

    Quote Originally Posted by night86mare View Post
    they will degrade, same thing as any other

    and while they might be considered more sturdy than hdd for some.. storage is so much of a problem. just compare a 80gb hdd in case with say, many dvds or if cd, the situation is worsened. if you put it in a proper folder, certainly it would take up much more space than a simple hdd.

    i find myself deleting a lot of old files now and then that i no longer find appealing to keep.. to save space i guess.
    I was watching this tech prgramme of a Singaporean who agonised over deleting his photos no matter how bad they were because they bring back memories.
    His solution ? Buy a commercial terabyte harddisk backuo sysem!

  18. #18

    Default Re: Got that great Pentax K10D or K20D! Take the plunge to RAW files.

    Quote Originally Posted by airconvent View Post
    I was watching this tech prgramme of a Singaporean who agonised over deleting his photos no matter how bad they were because they bring back memories.
    His solution ? Buy a commercial terabyte harddisk backuo sysem!
    ...even that might not work, it's murphy's law.. you can backup all you want, you can store it at home, online, on dvds..

    you just need 2 fires, one at the server where your data online is stored, and one at wherever you place your data, say home.. dvds melt, hard disks too.. and it's all for nothing

    of course obsessing more about it would reduce the probability of losing the pictures.. but like everything else in life.. after a certain level of effort, it becomes exponential to provide further security..

    me, i just have the data on 3 hard disks, my notebook, a portable media thingy, and a separate portable hard disk.. notebook is the most constnat, then now and then i back it up on the portable hard disk.. if all 3 fail then suck thumb and like that lor.
    Last edited by night86mare; 3rd March 2008 at 09:54 PM.

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    Default Re: Got that great Pentax K10D or K20D! Take the plunge to RAW files.

    well i use to have it on my pc and a backup external hardisk...my pc hard disk run out of space so backup to external hard disk...guess wat...my external hard disk crash... painful lesson learn... i lost so much important stuff...now i have a backup external hard disk plus another external hard disk to backup my backup...
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    Default Re: Got that great Pentax K10D or K20D! Take the plunge to RAW files.

    I have my photos on 2 external hard disks...
    Plus some impt. ones in my PC.
    And really really important ones in my office laptop as well...
    No prize for guessing.... I really am a Singaporean...

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