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Author Topic: Convince me to shoot in RAW  (Read 19907 times)

DavidB

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Re: Convince me to shoot in RAW
« Reply #15 on: November 09, 2012, 10:22:49 AM »
since you're now shooting photography professionally, then it's important to think of photography as a business.  and in business your back-of-house / logistics is just as important as your front-of-house product.  to get 4 or 6 TB of storage nowadays should set you back about half a grand.  that's not an unreasonable investment (no different than purchasing a 50 f/1.4).  storage & backups are not really an "optional" part of running a serious photography business.

if you do have the time for it, you can go through and delete RAWs that will not be used for final p/p work.  but at the end of the day, there's a cost-benefit to that as well, you need to look at what your time is worth.  if you come back from a wedding shoot with three 16 GB cards full of photos each weekend in the summer, you may soon find that purchasing several RAID drives is in fact much cheaper than wasting time individually checking off photos from your cards as you download them.

+1

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« Last Edit: November 09, 2012, 10:24:59 AM by DavidB »

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Re: Convince me to shoot in RAW
« Reply #15 on: November 09, 2012, 10:22:49 AM »

DavidB

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Re: Convince me to shoot in RAW
« Reply #16 on: November 09, 2012, 10:24:00 AM »
JPG may as well not even be an option for me, I always always shoot RAW.  Storage space and external hard drives are SO CHEAP nowadays the extra space is basically a non-issue.  Lightroom is VERY efficient at processing raws so there is no noticeable extra processing time.  I shoot a lot of low light weddings and sometimes need to underexpose to get shutter speed fast enough, and then push exposure in PP, forget doing this if you shoot in JPG.  I also tweak white balance in PP, and RAW is much more flexible for that.  Why would you want to throw out all the extra information and settle with JPG?  The RAW file also serves as the "Digital Negative" giving you, the copyright owner, the end all proof that your picture is your picture.

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Marsu42

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Re: Convince me to shoot in RAW
« Reply #17 on: November 09, 2012, 10:33:55 AM »
Once I started shooting RAW, I found JPEG's to be absolute garbage. I use Small Jpeg + Raw so i can deliver the little jpeg file if needed ASAP but the RAW for real processing.

I'm using this small jpg sidecar, too - but just to see what the camera would have done and to be able to quickly browse though the collection outside Lightroom.

Does lightroom handle RAW files in an efficient manner?

My 2 cents:

a) Convert .cr2 to .dng in Lightroom which will save a few mb per shot

b) for less-than-stellar shots use lossy dng compression which about halves the file size, is virtually  indistinguishable from the uncompressed raw and way better than 100% jpeg + it retains the raw advantages

c) it's not like you cannot convert the raw files to jpeg later on to further save hd space

neuroanatomist

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Re: Convince me to shoot in RAW
« Reply #18 on: November 09, 2012, 10:39:54 AM »
Two words: white balance.  Most Canon bodies don't do Auto WB all that well, and shooting RAW lets you alter WB with no IQ penalty. 

Basically, you're trading time and storage space for better IQ.  Plus, the edits that you'd probably be doing (cropping, etc.), you'd be doing to the JPG as well, so most of the time is the computer doing the RAW conversions, and you just batch those and let them run while you do something else.
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magic koala

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Re: Convince me to shoot in RAW
« Reply #19 on: November 09, 2012, 10:43:48 AM »
I am not a professional but when I was starting I only shot in jpeg. In the beginning, you learn a lot of things and my problem was that my keeper rate was very poor. Maybe I'd keep 3/10 shots. To get more good pics, I'd just shoot more which was the wrong thing to do. As my skills improved, I got to about 70% and 80% keeper rate and could shoot less. I also realized I could further increase the rate by shooting RAW and "saving" pics by adjusting exposure and other dimensions. I find shooting RAW+jpeg works for me. Most of my shots are nice enough to share unprocessed (jpeg) and if I find I need to work on it, I've got the RAW files.

As for disk space, that should not be an issue if you are a "pro". As others have pointed out, external hard drives with TB capacity are quite affordable. I picked up a 3TB hard drive for 130 bucks and it was not on sale. I download RAW+jpeg onto my PC. I process what I need to do on RAW and save those as my final jpegs. I then copy everything to the external hard drive, but keep the jpegs for quick access on my PC.

I shot a wedding a several weeks ago as a favor a few weeks ago and one of my stipulations was that I was NOT (too much work since this was free) going to do the post process on them. Even though I thought my jpegs looked fine, I still supplied the original RAW to the photoshop expert. Having RAW gives you more options and if you are in this to make money and be successful, you need to have the best options available to you. I'm pretty sure the photoshop expert would have considered me quite unprofessional if I had given him jpeg only.


distant.star

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Re: Convince me to shoot in RAW
« Reply #20 on: November 09, 2012, 10:45:26 AM »

.
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awinphoto

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Re: Convince me to shoot in RAW
« Reply #21 on: November 09, 2012, 10:51:21 AM »
Just my 2 cents... some people shoot raw, a lot of high volume top pro's do not...  The more you shoot, the less raw you typically shoot...  Many of the top pro's will even outsource all their PS work...  It's all about speed and efficiency...  For the amateur and the semi pro's who dont have the reputation a big pro does and obsess over every pixel and quality... they shoot raw... There's nothing wrong with either way...  As i've mentioned on other threads... I've got my clients... i've got clients whom I know will never need or want all the detail of raw files so I will not shoot raw... I've got my clients whom I know will obsess over the tinest issues...  I also have a feeling when shooting if a shot has "that" potential to work its way into my portfolio... in that case, i shoot raw...  But yeah...  If you expose properly, if you do what you need to do, you can get great results and great large prints with jpegs...  Go with your instincts and use your business practices... If you have an entire room dedicated to storing and cataloging and managing hard drives and have a hard drive fetish... by all means... I'm frankly too busy for that. 

WB... you can still alter WB in jpeg in camera raw in adobe, and if you do custom white balance with an expo disc... your golden... 
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Re: Convince me to shoot in RAW
« Reply #21 on: November 09, 2012, 10:51:21 AM »

Marsu42

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Re: Convince me to shoot in RAW
« Reply #22 on: November 09, 2012, 10:57:06 AM »
Two words: white balance.  Most Canon bodies don't do Auto WB all that well, and shooting RAW lets you alter WB with no IQ penalty.

Recently I was asked what wb setting I'm using when I was shooting macro of reptiles at the local zoo. Only then I realized what people who don't shoot raw are missing - I always use awb, but with artificial light it's often way off - but I don't have to care :-)

ChrisAnderson

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Re: Convince me to shoot in RAW
« Reply #23 on: November 09, 2012, 11:30:08 AM »
If you need to be convinced about the benefits of RAW shooting, do you really care enough to use it?
It would be like an audio engineer trying to apply EQ to an MP3 file (which is the counterpart of a JPEG in the audio world) instead of opening up the protools session which contains all the high-quality individual performances that went into creating that track.
That's not even taking Lossy to Lossy conversions into account (which degrades quality each time).
IE,  Take a JPEG and edit it, save it to another JPEG - this is significantly more damaging to the file than if you opened the RAW file and exported a JPEG from there.

V8Beast

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Re: Convince me to shoot in RAW
« Reply #24 on: November 09, 2012, 11:32:03 AM »
1) Data management.
I don't have the budget for a bunch of HDD's, especially while saving every penny for the MkIII. This is not my biggest concern, but it will be a greater task trying to back up 800 RAW files instead of JPEGs. I know there has got to be a way to delete all images in a folder not chosen for import when using lightroom. If someone could explain that to me or if anyone knows of a workaround, data management wouldn't concern me as much. I always import more than I truly end up with, and I don't want to add to my workflow time by deleting all the out of focus images outside of lightroom before starting the import process.

2) Workflow time with only RAW files.
I know I'll figure out the speediest way for me once I actually start taking on the beast, but some advice on getting started would be greatly appreciated. I advertise a photo-journalistic style for weddings, so I often come home with over a thousand images expecting to choose about half of them to process. Part of this is needing to be more selective in shooting, but I still feel much safer taking three shots of the same pose using the 50D and shallow DoF as there is such a razor thin margin for getting critical areas in focus.

Does lightroom handle RAW files in an efficient manner? With so many images per session, I'd prefer to keep all my work within lightroom. I'm just worried that processing RAW and then processing all the produced images will prove to be too time consuming. It may not be a problem if I did photography full time, but it is currently a weekend job on top of my normal full time job. Business is starting to pick up for me, and time management is starting to become a real issue.

Help please  ;D

Good questions. I have a very efficient rating system called the delete button :) ACR gets my images 90% of the way there in terms of processing, so I like how it simply deletes the unwanted files off the memory card instead of having to import the files in Lightroom. It's a very simple and somewhat barbaric system, but it gets the job done ;D

As for the RAW vs. jpeg debate, for files that need to be pushed hard RAW is definitely the way to go. I like the very fine adjustments to the contrast curve that RAW files allow without a penalty in image degradation. With RAW files, I find that I can more precisely isolate minor tweaks to the, midtones, and  highlights individually. Conversely, the jpeg engine tends to take a whack at the extreme ends of the contrast curve, sacrificing detail in the process. The camera doesn't know which parts of the image are important to me and which parts aren't, so how can it possibly apply a contrast curve perfectly tailored to each image? The answer is that it can't.

That said, for files that don't need to be pushed hard, for me there is very little difference in overall IQ between a processed RAW and an out-of-camera jpeg. As such, the tradeoff between time invested and income generated certainly isn't justifiable. Fortunately, I don't need to shoot in high volume to stay profitable. Like awinphoto said, a very effective approach is to pick and choose which gigs can justify the additional processing time of shooting in RAW, and which gigs are better suited for jpegs.

« Last Edit: November 09, 2012, 11:34:53 AM by V8Beast »

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Re: Convince me to shoot in RAW
« Reply #25 on: November 09, 2012, 11:34:37 AM »
That's not even taking Lossy to Lossy conversions into account (which degrades quality each time).
IE,  Take a JPEG and edit it, save it to another JPEG - this is significantly more damaging to the file than if you opened the RAW file and exported a JPEG from there.
+1

Shawn L

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Re: Convince me to shoot in RAW
« Reply #26 on: November 09, 2012, 11:37:57 AM »
RAW files on a 50D have 14 bits of data per channel. JPGs, on the other hand, only have 8 bits of data per channel. What does this mean? Well, in a JPG file, values for red, green, and blue range from 0 to 255. In a RAW, red, green, and blue range from 0 to 16383 (effectively). That means there's 64 times more data in the RAW file.

But you can't really display all of that, so why would you want it?

Well, let's suppose you accidentally overexpose an image so that all of the data is in the right half of the histogram. With a JPG, that would mean red, green, and blue only had 128 possible values (values from 128 - 255 (the left hand-side of the histogram, 0-127 is empty)).

If you edited the image, spreading the data out so that the entire histogram was filled, there would still only be 128 unique values for each channel (here, I'm ignoring interpolation which would cause the image to soften; I'm also ignoring dithering, which would help, but effectively introduce noise). So even though you'd now have an image with solid blacks and bright whites, gradations would be blocky.

Looked at numerically:

Initially, your gradation contained: 128, 129, 130, ... 255
After corrections, the gradation contained: 0, 2, 4, 6, 8, ...254


You're jumping by twos in the corrected image because you're trying to cover 256 values with 128 unique inputs.

If, however, you did the same thing with a RAW file, you'd have started with 8192 possible values for red, green, and blue (8192-16383). Looking at that numerically:

Initially, the gradation contained: 8192, 8193, 8194, 8195, ... 16383
After adjustments: 0, 2, 4, 6, 8, ... 16382

But, you're still counting by 2's, right? How is this better?

Well, you still have way colors than are displayable by most devices you're likely to use (your monitor probably is 8 bit, or possibly 10 bit; either way, it has fewer colors than the 14 bit RAW file). When you scale your data back down to fit into the 0 to 255 range used by your display, printer, etc, you get:

0 / 64, 2 / 64, 4 / 64,...
0, 0.03, 0.06, ..., 16384/64
0, 0, 0, ..., 255


Thus, all numbers from 0 to 255 are represented (without averaging any of the existing data) and you get smooth gradations.

That means RAW allows you to more heavily edit images without causing visual artifacts.

Note that the above works no matter how you've over or under exposed your image -- up to a point, of course :)

Shawn L.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2012, 11:41:21 AM by Shawn L »

awinphoto

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Re: Convince me to shoot in RAW
« Reply #27 on: November 09, 2012, 12:08:12 PM »
Fortunately, I don't need to shoot in high volume to stay profitable. Like awinphoto said, a very effective approach is to pick and choose which gigs can justify the additional processing time of shooting in RAW, and which gigs are better suited for jpegs.

It's not a situation of needing to shoot high volume...  but for files that dont need the pushing... I can spend a few hours mucking with raw files, or shoot jpeg and spend the time.... with my family?  on marketing?  on PR?  Shooting more clients?  Time is money and money is money...  It is what it is...  Plus, as I perfect my craft, I find less and less of my stuff needs retouching... Less and less of my stuff needs pushed...  The better I light, the more consistent I light (especially since I stopped using speedlights), if i can do some quick changes... heal brush a pimple or two, do a quick few changes... and since there really isn't that much noticeable difference...  There has been less and less reason to use them...  Now...  If i'm shooting for one of my big clients like wells fargo, Marlboro, prudential, etc... damn right i'm shooting raw... they are paying for it...  But for a portrait of a girl who may or may not order a 16x20 max... eh... screw it. 
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Re: Convince me to shoot in RAW
« Reply #27 on: November 09, 2012, 12:08:12 PM »

sandymandy

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Re: Convince me to shoot in RAW
« Reply #28 on: November 09, 2012, 12:13:49 PM »
If u dont want best image quality just go on shooting in JPG. But i think thats not using a major advantage of DSLR ameras, if not probably THE biggest reason. Same way like u can buy fake leather shoes instead of real leather. But if u can afford real leather....why should u still get fake one?

Canon-F1

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Re: Convince me to shoot in RAW
« Reply #29 on: November 09, 2012, 12:30:36 PM »
Quote
Convince me to shoot in RAW

why?

it´s your fault when you shoot JPG....
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Re: Convince me to shoot in RAW
« Reply #29 on: November 09, 2012, 12:30:36 PM »