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Thread: Advantage of taking Raw files?

  1. #1

    Default Advantage of taking Raw files?

    I have been reading about the benefits of taking photos in raw format rather than Jpg or Tiff lately.
    Understand the benefits but wonder if doing so is defeating (to some extent) the benefits of using digicam in the first place for a lot of people.
    One of the compelling reason for switching to digicam for lots of people is the ability to preview what one has just snapped. The ability of preview can be drilled down to quite good details on the lcd. Taking pictures in raw will mean that the pictures taken had not been thru the various processing (refinement) features of the digicam. Hence, white balancing, sharpening, contrast etc are not applied. The picture might (might becos I have not experimented yet) appear bland or unattractive? of course, then the benefit of able to have a final product without post production is defeated.
    On top of that, a lot of the higher end digicams pride themselves of good processor (like Canon Digic). Taking pictures in raw will nullify these benefits.
    Discussion appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Read the current issue of ShutterBug magazine

  3. #3

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    Digic does not work magic.

    You still have to tweak your images to bring out the best in them, whether you're shooting RAW, Jpeg, TIFF, NEF, whatever.

    The benefit of RAW and NEF is that it's a more flexible format - it saves data without additional post-processing, and this guarantees no loss of information. So later in your digital darkroom, you can apply your own custom sharpening, white-balance, etc. Do that with Jpegs and you lose image data.

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    Default Re: Advantage of taking Raw files?

    Originally posted by rejang9
    Taking pictures in raw will mean that the pictures taken had not been thru the various processing (refinement) features of the digicam.
    That's nonsense. I don't know what camera you are using but with the Nikon CP5000 and D100, you can review the NEF files like normal JPEGs. All the "processing" is seen. However, you have the option of adjusting the exposure, white balance, sharpening, noise reduction later.

  5. #5

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    just to clarify...

    when previewing on the LCD, you are viewing a shot that has been taking with whatever current settings on your camera. that means that you can see the effect of whatever settings you use.

    advantage of shooting RAW/NEF is that you can alter these setting later without data loss.

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    Default Re: Advantage of taking Raw files?

    Theoretically, you lose data when you work in JPEG. In reality (at least for me), working in JPEG is OK. There is no perceptible difference in RAW and high quality JPEG. i used to shoot only RAW. Now i shoot exclusively JPEG. i post-process and print at A3. i cannot tell which were shot in RAW, which from JPEG. My gripe with RAW files is that they are incredibly inconvenient to handle.

    If anyone has a picture where there *is* a significant diff btw RAW and HQ Jpeg, pls share. i don't mind bringing a laptop down to the next SEED.

    BTW, Watcher, what does the current Shutterbug say? i don't have access to a copy.

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    Senior Member ivor's Avatar
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    I seconded munfai saying. We can't really much of a diff just by looking.

    Originally posted by munfai
    just to clarify...

    when previewing on the LCD, you are viewing a shot that has been taking with whatever current settings on your camera. that means that you can see the effect of whatever settings you use.

    advantage of shooting RAW/NEF is that you can alter these setting later without data loss.

  8. #8

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    If you are into your own processing of the photos, RAW files are definitely the way to go. They are akin to the undeveloped film in today's digital labs. JPEG is fine for most people as the quality done by today's processors are very good. But if you do a lot of processing, RAW is best. Furthermore, RAW files also contain details like those in EXIF and you can extract JPEG-EXIF from RAW but not vice versa. But RAW files are disk hoggers. Try Phase One's Capture ONe DSLR if you like RAW files. It's much better than Adobe's RAW plugin.

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    I am a newbie here, so plse excuse me for sounding a bit silly and naive.

    It seems that there are 2 advantages in shooting RAW compared to JPG. (1) no compression or loss of info (2) ability to process the data in some way that shooting in JPG cannot afford.

    So, if we break down the processes in a digicam as follows:

    1) CCD/CMOS capture light info
    2) light info converted to picture
    3) chip process picture by application of white balance, contrast & other settings

    4) data/picture is compressed to JPG format. OR
    5) data is saved in RAW format

    Is it that for RAW, one can go back to step (3) and change/tweak the various settings whereas for JPG, step (3) cannot be undone?

  10. #10

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    This article should be useful for you:
    http://www.cleanimages.com/articles/.../ImagesRaw.htm
    It's not so simple to work with RAW files but they can salvage bad shots such as underexposure and wrong white balance. Sure, you can adjust this with Photoshop but it will be harder and there will be more image quality loss.

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    Originally posted by block306
    I am a newbie here, so plse excuse me for sounding a bit silly and naive.

    It seems that there are 2 advantages in shooting RAW compared to JPG. (1) no compression or loss of info (2) ability to process the data in some way that shooting in JPG cannot afford.

    So, if we break down the processes in a digicam as follows:

    1) CCD/CMOS capture light info
    2) light info converted to picture
    3) chip process picture by application of white balance, contrast & other settings

    4) data/picture is compressed to JPG format. OR
    5) data is saved in RAW format

    Is it that for RAW, one can go back to step (3) and change/tweak the various settings whereas for JPG, step (3) cannot be undone?
    If you shoot in RAW steps 2 and 3 are only in-camera processes in order to display the image on the LCD. The RAW file stored is straight from step 1.
    As complexity rises, precise statements lose meaning and meaningful statements lose precision.

  12. #12

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    RAW image is 36 (or 48) bits, jpg is 24 bits. You may lose highlight detail more easily shooting in jpeg whereas in RAW some highlight detail can be recovered (eg: with Breezebrowser)

    There is also the noise level at high ISOs. Jpegs are noisier than RAW for most dslrs (see dpreview).

    Regarding file sizes, if I wanted to save space, I would still shoot RAW, convert to jpegs with correct white balance applied and noise reduction and then <delete> the RAW files.

    But... I'm not a 'high-volume' shooter. Those who shoot 1000 pictures a day might prefer to stick to jpegs until storage technology advances further...

    I always say in relation to auditioning Hi-Fi equipment and tweaks "If you can't hear a difference, there's no difference"

  13. #13
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    JPEG's 24bit per pixel as you have stated uses 8 bits per channel.

    For RAW, each pixel only carries one channel (12 bits) because of the bayer filtering. The 36 or 48 bit per pixels only happens after the conversion to Tiff in software.
    As complexity rises, precise statements lose meaning and meaningful statements lose precision.

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