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Raw File Format
Old 03-22-2007, 03:47 PM   #1 (permalink)
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When I download my images from my flashcard, I have the choice of downloading as a jpeg and a unconverted Tiff or a converted to a 16 bit Tiff .... Question Why do I OR do I not what to covert the raw image.... I have noticed that there are some applications in Photoshop that I can do only in an unconverted Tiff.... Please explain the pros and cons to converting the raw....

Thank you much...
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Re: Raw File Format
Old 03-22-2007, 04:55 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by I_B_Don View Post
When I download my images from my flashcard, I have the choice of downloading as a jpeg and a unconverted Tiff or a converted to a 16 bit Tiff .... Question Why do I OR do I not what to covert the raw image.... I have noticed that there are some applications in Photoshop that I can do only in an unconverted Tiff.... Please explain the pros and cons to converting the raw....

Thank you much...
I rarely convert my RAW images to anything! What do I mean by that?

A raw image is all the data that the sensor was able to capture using the fstop an shutterspeed and ISO I had set at the time. I copy the RAW images from the Flash card to my computer. I make backups of the RAW images at that point. In other words, I backup, before I start playing with the images.

One should never fail to copy the RAW image off the card and archive it in some way. If you just directly convert from the RAW image on the flash card to JPG or TIF on the computer, then if you erase the flash card, you no longer have the RAW image. You can no longer go back and use the extra data that was originally there. It is gone. So you must be sure to save the RAW image and archive it in some way.

Now, what did I mean by my original starting statement? What I normally do, is load the RAW photos into Photoshop Bridge and look through each set of them (a set being defined as photos taken in the same lighting set). I select the photos from that set that I want to work with and load them into the ACR that is part of Photoshop. I choose a representative sample, and tweak it to look as I want it to look. I sync the rest of the photos to that. I then may do some light additional tweaking to each photo if needed and this may include minor cropping or straightening. I then click on the Done button. Does this convert the photos from RAW and save out a TIF or a JPG? No! It only saves information for each photo about the settings that I've chosen for that Photo in ACR. Now later when I decide to work with the photo, I just bring it directly into Photoshop. But Photoshop sees those settings and applies them automatically to the internal working copy that it maintains. Now I tweak, do whatever, and then output to JPG if going to the web, or I might output to the printer. I then save the overall work and any layers, etc as a PSD file (Photoshop's format).

So in reality there was no converted image saved to disk and then later loaded into Photoshop. I am doing the conversion process on the fly directly into Photoshop at the time I want to work with the image. This saves lots of disk space because then I only have the PSD files of those photos I work with and the RAW data for all of the photos. Ultimately I'll move the RAW copies off the hard drive (remember I have 2 or more backups of the RAW files already out there), but I'll leave the PSDs on the computer should I need to work with them again in the future.

If shooting a wedding, I use a much different workflow. In that case, I simply run the sets through the ACR and save out 1000x1000 JPG images of each keeper and I use those to build a gallery to show to the wedding party for them to make their selections from. When the selections are made, I then go back to the RAW image for final preparation of the images.

As another note, in Photoshop CS2 and (also in coming CS3), you can embed the RAW image into the photo you're working on in PHotoshop (smart object). This means every change you make in photoshop can actually have access to the original RAW data which gives even more power for working with difficult images.

Cheers,
rfs
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Re: Raw File Format
Old 03-22-2007, 07:07 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Hey Roger, Do you print from a raw file? I've been saving everything in raw but seem to have better luck overall in coverting to a jpeg. What do you usally do with a raw image to get it to look like something ? My color and sat never seems to be just what I want.
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Re: Raw File Format
Old 03-22-2007, 07:22 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Hey Roger, Do you print from a raw file? I've been saving everything in raw but seem to have better luck overall in converting to a jpeg. What do you usually do with a raw image to get it to look like something ? My color and sat never seems to be just what I want.

You can't directly print from a RAW file. I just load the RAW file into Photoshop, do what ever post processing I want, and then do final sharpening appropriate for printing, and then let it "rip".

I do all my printing out of Photoshop for photos (what few I print), and so you're really not in any of the standard formats at that moment. You are printing from Photoshop's internal format. If you have your monitor calibrated and also your printer, then you just do your color corrections in PS or RAW converter and finally print and it should look about the same printed as it did on the screen.

But this may depend on what options you choose when you print the photo out of Photoshop and on your printer. What workflow do you use for actually printing?

Cheers,
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Re: Raw File Format
Old 03-22-2007, 08:31 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I,ve been saving my raw files to cd and working with large jpeg out of the camera D/L into Canons digital photo pro. I then save to a job file and pick the images I want to work with in CS. I usally print from CS in srgb with no extras . I've been printing on an Epson 1280 and what you see is what you get. I feel very comfortable with this process. I've not had any complaints but I know it could be a little better. Most of my clients rave about my work so its hard to push on. I would love to learn to work with raw but just cant seem to get what i'm looking for. I know thats bad but I only have so much time. Maybe one of these days.
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Re: Raw File Format
Old 03-23-2007, 10:02 AM   #6 (permalink)
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What should those of us who still have to send the image to a lab do?
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Re: Raw File Format
Old 03-23-2007, 12:27 PM   #7 (permalink)
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What should those of us who still have to send the image to a lab do?
Then you save out a final output copy in the format and color space that your lab prefers. But this is just a final step of your workflow after you've saved the RAW files to disk and backup them up properly.
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Re: Raw File Format
Old 03-23-2007, 01:28 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by R_Fredrick_Smith View Post
Then you save out a final output copy in the format and color space that your lab prefers. But this is just a final step of your workflow after you've saved the RAW files to disk and backup them up properly.
Cheers,
rfs
This may be part of the whole question or it may be a separate question... From my camera (Canon 1ds) the raw image is just over 9 m, but if I convert the file, the file size jumps to over 73 m ?!?!? Why is there such a size difference??? Does this size difference matter when I am wanting to enlarge to wall size portraits???

Also thank you too everyone for your time explaining this and other topics that some may not understand... Sharing of your knowledge is very much appreciated...
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Re: Raw File Format
Old 03-23-2007, 01:57 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by I_B_Don View Post
This may be part of the whole question or it may be a separate question... From my camera (Canon 1ds) the raw image is just over 9 m, but if I convert the file, the file size jumps to over 73 m ?!?!? Why is there such a size difference??? Does this size difference matter when I am wanting to enlarge to wall size portraits???

Also thank you too everyone for your time explaining this and other topics that some may not understand... Sharing of your knowledge is very much appreciated...
The RAW file is compressed. When the sensor writes the info to the CF card, it compresses it using a number of techniques (it is non-lossy unlike JPG). Many file formats are non-compressed and thus take up a huge amount of space. TIF is a format that can end up very large. You can do compression of your TIFs but it makes them less portable as not every program can read every compression method that some other program uses for TIFS.

If you have more data, then you will get better wall size portraits. But you could just save off the RAW file, and then load it directly to PS (going through ACR of course) and then there would be no intermediate file being saved.

Cheers,
rfs
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