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Author Topic: JPEG as a travel alternative  (Read 4696 times)

miah

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JPEG as a travel alternative
« on: August 30, 2013, 04:36:51 PM »
Like probably most of the folks on this forum I shoot RAW, but I'm considering switching to large-format JPEG and would like some feedback.

I travel. A lot. I do so either on foot or by motorcycle, so space and weight are critical. In November of last year I swallowed hard and purchased a 5D3 to "replace" my T3i, knowing that this body and L lenses would be quite a bit larger and heavier than what I was accustomed to carrying. I did so because my desire for better IQ eventually trumped my desire to minimize weight/bulk. Here's a quick comparison of my old set-up vs new:

OLD: T3i + EF-S 15-85 + EF 70-300DO
NEW: 5D3 + EF 24-105 + EF 70-300L

I presently own a 2011, 11-inch MacBook Air equipped with USB 2.0. The new 2013 MacBook Air is equipped with USB 3.0. The latter would make transferring files between CF cards and computer much more rapid/convenient, though it would also require upgrading to all new USB 3.0 hard drives, as well (I carry 2, 1TB mirrors).

So here's my thought: I could forego upgrading my computer and hard drives, thus saving money that could be spent on traveling instead, and still maintain speed/convenience, if I switch from RAW to shooting JPEG for this trip. JPEG files are so much more compact than RAW that I wouldn't need larger HDDs or USB 3.0 to push the files around.

I'd love to hear some pros and cons while I still have time to exercise either option. Oh, and I use LR4 and Photoshop CS6 to edit my photos. I mention this because I've had good luck in the past when faced with editing the occasional JPEG file.

Thanks in advance for any input you can offer.
T3i • 10-22 • 15-85 • 70-300DO *** 5D3 • 35 f/2 • 50 f/1.8 • 24-105L • 100L • 70-300L • 35-350L • 400L f/5.6

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JPEG as a travel alternative
« on: August 30, 2013, 04:36:51 PM »

Sporgon

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Re: JPEG as a travel alternative
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2013, 05:22:50 PM »
It really depends upon how much pp you are going to do with the images. With the latest generation of FF if you can get it pretty much spot on in camera and only do minor pp adjustments then you won't see a difference. But the problem I find is that I don't always know how much pp manipulation I might end up doing to an image, and if you don't have access to the raw file you're going to produce an inferior quality image, are at least you will be greatly restricted in what you can do.

A compromise can be to shoot joeys when you are confident you are spot on and within the latitude of the sensor, shooting in easy or lower contrast lighting, but switch to raw ( on a custom setting for speed ) when lighting is more challenging.

Another option if you are not intending to produce huge prints is to shoot in a smaller raw so you can still convert and process in 16 bit.

I think on balance when I'm on a trip to special places I shoot everything with a raw option. Also if you don't shoot in full raw you'd be breaking the second commandment of CR, so expect a lot of condemnation  ;)

tpatana

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Re: JPEG as a travel alternative
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2013, 05:36:07 PM »
I missed the actual reason why you'd need to go jpeg instead of raw.

Are you saying you shoot more than 1TB on a trip, so your current hard drives are not big enough?

neuroanatomist

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Re: JPEG as a travel alternative
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2013, 06:39:57 PM »
If the pics are important, shoot RAW.

Does your 2011 MB Air have Thunderbolt?  Mine does.  Get a Thundebolt to FireWire adapter (Apple, $29) and FW800 drives, and your USB2 speed bottleneck is solved.
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Jim Saunders

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Re: JPEG as a travel alternative
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2013, 06:50:19 PM »
You might be able to put your current external drives in enclosures with USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt; It's more a question of what they're in now.  I have a Samsung 1TB hybrid drive in a Vantec USB 3.0 enclosure that goes like a... Well it's quick.  FFT.

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viggen61

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Re: JPEG as a travel alternative
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2013, 07:59:51 PM »
A couple years ago, I took a Scandinavian holiday, and shot primarily with JPEG instead of my usual RAW. I did that because I was recovering from a broken ankle and did not want to haul around my MacBook Pro and external drives. I did bring an iPad to back up my images to. But the 16GB cards held over 2000 JPEGs from my 7D.

But I knew I would be shooting mostly "holiday snaps", and JPEG would be fine in 99% of the cases. And, I always had the 7D's one button RAW+JPEG available, and custom modes, etc. for the more interesting opportunities. And RAW was always a menu or two away, in any case.

While USB3 is (well, can be) a lot faster than USB2, I'm not sure I'd upgrade my entire kit just before a trip, when the money can be used for other things. The speed difference will be forgotten after the trip, but that evening cruise you had to omit from the itinerary...

As for the TB-FW800 adapter, it's only practical if you already have a lot of FW800 drives that don't have eSATA. USB3 blows the doors off FW800, do I don't see any point in buying new FW800 drives today, unless it has USB3 or eSATA as well, or they will be used exclusively on a non-TB Mac.

Late last year, I upgraded to a retina MacBook Pro. I had a whole string of FW800 drives connected to my old MBP, but their secret weapon was they also had eSATA connections. Two LaCie Thunderbolt to eSATA hubs later, and the olde FW800 drives were transformed. Fantastic speed (3Gb/sec, not even taxing the TB), and far cheaper than buying all new drives.

My point in all this is that while USB3 will phenomenally speed up your camera file transfers, in my book, that can wait until after your trip, when there isn't as much of a money crunch. You can always transfer those files while you're out at dinner...
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fugu82

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Re: JPEG as a travel alternative
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2013, 08:17:18 PM »
If you don't shoot a a vast number of images on a trip, you might try stocking up on CF cards, shoot in RAW on the CF + jpg on the SD, and leave the RAWs on the extra cards till you get back.

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Re: JPEG as a travel alternative
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2013, 08:17:18 PM »

miah

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Re: JPEG as a travel alternative
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2013, 09:35:05 PM »
Thanks for the feedback, guys.

OK, to make my objectives clearer, I could go on this 3-4 month trip with my current computer and HDD enclosures and shoot RAW, but I risk filling the HDDs too soon and slowing down my whole operation due to the size of the files. I'm often without electricity, so slow file transfers eat lots of battery.

I could solve the transfer time and get a more efficient battery by purchasing the latest MacBook Air, which has USB 3.0 plus a better battery, but this costs a lot of money (new computer plus one new HDD enclosure). Alternatively, I thought, maybe I could get by shooting JPEGs to squeeze more shots onto each drive and speed the transfer time (thus gaining power efficiency).

My current two external drives are a NEXTO Extreme (USB 2.0 + eSATA) 500 GB and a LaCie Rugged Mini (USB 2.0-3.0) 500GB. I attach both to my current MacBook Air using USB 2.0 which is very slow. Both drives are presently full, so either way I have to buy two, new 1TB drives to put in the existing enclosures. And to answer the question as to whether I could fill 1 TB in 3-4 months the answer is definitely yes, especially if shooting the 5D3 in RAW (the second terabyte simply mirrors the first, so I don't have 2 TBs of space--just one).

The 128GB SSD in my MacBook Air barely holds my system and apps, so all photo files are saved to the HDDs.

Buying new FW800 drives for an older computer and carrying a Thunderbolt adapter makes no sense, since Firewire is dead (they'll be obsolete once I do get a new computer). I don't think there is an adapter to convert eSata to Thunderbolt for my Nexto drive; at least there wasn't the last time I checked. Carrying more CF cards won't work for a trip of this duration. And uploading anything to the cloud is out of the question due to infrequent and extremely slow internet connections.

Sporgon's comments are along the lines of what I've always thought; RAW gives you a lot of PP options that might help rescue that once-in-a-lifetime shot. But I have to be practical. I can't physically carry more than one drive, plus one back-up drive. I have to preserve my Mac's battery during transfers, because I often have no access to electricity. Sometimes I nail 'em in-camera, but it's the rare shot that needs no PP.

Maybe, as some of you suggested, it's best to split the difference and shoot JPEGs in good light and RAW when it's dodgy. This would give me more PP possibilities for shots in poor light or low contrast, but still preserve CF/HDD space and transfer-speed/battery-life by shooting lots of JPEGs.
T3i • 10-22 • 15-85 • 70-300DO *** 5D3 • 35 f/2 • 50 f/1.8 • 24-105L • 100L • 70-300L • 35-350L • 400L f/5.6

Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: JPEG as a travel alternative
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2013, 10:16:52 PM »
I'd suggest looking at 2TB drives if you are short on file space.  They are reasonably priced. Get a USB3 model, they work on USB2, and you are ready for the future.  Get two!
 
Add the Thunderbolt to USB3 adaptor and you have the speed.
 
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822236187
 
 

tpatana

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Re: JPEG as a travel alternative
« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2013, 10:40:47 PM »

OK, to make my objectives clearer, I could go on this 3-4 month trip with my current computer and HDD enclosures and shoot RAW, but I risk filling the HDDs too soon and slowing down my whole operation due to the size of the files. I'm often without electricity, so slow file transfers eat lots of battery.


That is tough one, I'm not sure how I'd solve that problem. Have you thought about those automatic CF-copy-devices, can't remember the name/models, but the simple device where you stick your CF / SD card and it automatically copies it to the internal hard drive. If you want mirroring, get two of them. That way you don't need to haul your laptop around so much.

miah

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Re: JPEG as a travel alternative
« Reply #10 on: August 30, 2013, 10:51:33 PM »
Have you thought about those automatic CF-copy-devices, can't remember the name/models, but the simple device where you stick your CF / SD card and it automatically copies it to the internal hard drive. If you want mirroring, get two of them. That way you don't need to haul your laptop around so much.

The Nexto HDD enclosure I mentioned is such a device. The problem is that it's internal battery is worthless and cannot be replaced/upgraded. That means that I have to plug it into my MacBook Air with its USB cable to get power as well as to view the files on it. This rapidly degrades the MacBook's battery.
T3i • 10-22 • 15-85 • 70-300DO *** 5D3 • 35 f/2 • 50 f/1.8 • 24-105L • 100L • 70-300L • 35-350L • 400L f/5.6

miah

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Re: JPEG as a travel alternative
« Reply #11 on: August 30, 2013, 11:01:45 PM »
Thanks for the link, MSP, I was unaware that they had pushed to 2TBs in the 2-1/2" drive format. Unfortunately neither Newegg nor WD list the speed of this drive. I'll bet it's 5400 RPM, but prefer 7200 RPM drives. There are 1TB 2-1/2" drives that rotate at the higher speed, but as you say, they hold half as much data. Do you have one of these drives and can you tell me what its rotational speed is?
T3i • 10-22 • 15-85 • 70-300DO *** 5D3 • 35 f/2 • 50 f/1.8 • 24-105L • 100L • 70-300L • 35-350L • 400L f/5.6

hgraf

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Re: JPEG as a travel alternative
« Reply #12 on: August 31, 2013, 12:47:42 AM »
Thanks for the link, MSP, I was unaware that they had pushed to 2TBs in the 2-1/2" drive format. Unfortunately neither Newegg nor WD list the speed of this drive. I'll bet it's 5400 RPM, but prefer 7200 RPM drives. There are 1TB 2-1/2" drives that rotate at the higher speed, but as you say, they hold half as much data. Do you have one of these drives and can you tell me what its rotational speed is?

I'm confused: you want to preserve battery power right? Then why do you want 7200rpm drives?

The slowest 5400 rpm drive will still be faster then any SD card, and pretty much even the fasted cf card. Using 7200 drives is just a waste of power and money in your case. You don't need the lower latency or extra throughput for the task you are describing.

Thanks, ttyl

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Re: JPEG as a travel alternative
« Reply #12 on: August 31, 2013, 12:47:42 AM »

ecka

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Re: JPEG as a travel alternative
« Reply #13 on: August 31, 2013, 01:24:19 AM »
I'd rather shoot mRAW/sRAW than a JPEG.
FF + primes !

shashinkaman

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Re: JPEG as a travel alternative
« Reply #14 on: August 31, 2013, 04:14:46 AM »
It's always nice to read about the (luxury) problems amateur photographers have  :'(

First of all, talking about "weight and bulk" when you are referring to an eos-5d mark III and two not-heavy-at-all zoom lenses!?    ::)Jeezzzzz ::)

And secondly, how many pictures do you take on average per day when traveling 32.000!?!?  8)

Just download the 'catch of the day' while taking a shower before going to dinner on a 2,5 inch (500-750GB) HD connected to your old and ever so slow Mac and be done with it  ::)Jeeeeezzz ::)

Don't be such a Pixel Peeper!

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Re: JPEG as a travel alternative
« Reply #14 on: August 31, 2013, 04:14:46 AM »