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RAW vs JPEG
Old 03-26-2005, 10:49 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I have read the posts here many times on RAW vs JPEG. This weekend, I shot a few images in RAW with my Digi Rebel for the first time.

I have a few questions if any one can help:

I saved the files from camera to hard drive with the Canon File Viewer. They saved in a CRW format. When I opended them in PS and viewed at full size, they are extremely grainy...Is there an action in the download process that I should perform before BEFORE post processing??...OR is the download process the same as a JPEG??

The images below are are from the shoot. It was extremely overcast and hazy. I metered to:
ISO 400
f 9.0
1/400
I set the WB to Cloudy (6500)

Could the above settings cause the grain in the images?? Here are the images:





I also noticed that there is CONSIDERABLE color difference between what is saved on my hard drive vs what is shown here in these images. These are extremely BLAND looking...on my hard drive they are vibrant...

My confusion is that when I resized for the web, they seem to look like the images I normally shoot in JPEG...with no grain and EXCEPTIONAL color...

What am I missing with RAW??


Signed,

Jilted RAW user... [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/confused.gif[/img]
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Re: RAW vs JPEG
Old 03-26-2005, 10:54 PM   #2 (permalink)
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My guess is that the grain you see is due to the iso 400, but it could also be that you are over-sharpening in the raw dialog.

When you open the raw file in PS, you set all of your settings, including the colorspace. Usually, you should work in AdobeRGB (which was probably set by default) but then before you save for the web, you need to change the colorspace to sRGB...otherwise, when you view images with a web-browser it they will look washed out color wise due to the fact that browsers don't support the AdobeRGB colorspace, and assume that the image is sRgb. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

Hope that helps a little.
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Re: RAW vs JPEG
Old 03-26-2005, 11:24 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks Jason, I think you are correct about the over sharpening. I forgot that my Rebel was set to Parameter 1 which adds sharpening in the camera. I also sharpened in PS....way too much. I will go back and work with the original with no post sharpening...hopefully that will reduce the grain. As for the sRGB... I went to EDIT/Color Settings and the RGB setting defaulted to: sRGB IEC61966-2.1...Is this the area to save to sRGB...or am I missing a step??
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Re: RAW vs JPEG
Old 03-26-2005, 11:52 PM   #4 (permalink)
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This is one of the images with the color settings changed...



Did this make a difference??

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Re: RAW vs JPEG
Old 03-27-2005, 12:57 AM   #5 (permalink)
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The colors are definitely better.

Check the advanced settings on the adobe camera raw. You may have too much sharpening going on there. Also, what size are you resizing to for posting here?

My RAW workflow is to save the RAW files to my hard drive, open and convert in PSCS (including a little sharpening, usually a slight boost in saturation and any exposure correction needed, 16 bit Adobe RGB.) Then I do any editting I need, touchup, cropping, etc. Then I save this file. Now, I resize and sharpen slightly, convert to sRGB and save for web.

Dan
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Re: RAW vs JPEG
Old 03-27-2005, 09:49 AM   #6 (permalink)
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RAW images are not sharpened in the camera.
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Re: RAW vs JPEG
Old 03-27-2005, 10:45 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I'm not a Canon guy but your RAW files shouldm't have grain at any ISO. Noise is more likely to appear as the ISO goes up but it will mostly be in the shadow areas.
If you sharpen as you convert the RAW file you will get artifacts that may look like noise in any area that has edgy features, even tiny ones like sand or skin pores. Canons digitals are notoriosly sharp. You may try keeping sharpening to a minimum until you are ready to output the file... that's not a rule, just a known good approach.

My guess is you are seeing JPEG artifacts either in the RAW preview or the JPEG output file. Try outputting to TIF and see if it clears up.

I generally only save a file as JPEG when I'm done working on it and want it to go on the web only. It works well to output a full rez TIF from your RAW file and then use that for everything except web and email; you can save as JPEG in PS for that.

I'm not sure why you're seeing more vibrant color in the JPEGs but it probably has to do with whether the image you happen to be looking at is color managed or not. This is a truly deep subject that attracts all sorts of religious and political zealotry kind of like the film vs. digital contoversy so I'm gonna just point you in a direction and leave the research to you... best way to learn it anyway.

Your JPEGs are probably using the sRGB color space which is designed to work with the average, uncalibrated Windows monitor... bottom line, it's the ideal colorspace for web use.

It's possible that when you display the files before they are saved as JPEGs they (1) have no color space assigned; (2) are displaying without colorspace being used; (3) are displaying using the wrong colorspace; (4) are displaying the full contrast ratio available in the RAW image which is compressed (contrastier) in the JPEG (5) something else that I don't have a clue about.

Colorspaces are just definitions of color values arranged in a standard way so they can be used to intrepret and translate between different devices like monitors, printers, scanners, etc. There are lots of colorspaces, they all have strengths and limitations based on how they are used but you can generally get by nicely with one or two. Take your time figuring it out and stick with sRGB until you have a reason to change... and use Adobe gamma to keep your monitor adjusted to a constant state; use it every day and every time the lighting conditions around your monitor change; takes 10 seconds.

The trick with color management is to develop a methodical workflow using only the color management features you need and stick with it. It's gonna be frustrating at times because color management is not even close to intuitive... it is useful though because it can save you tons of time, paper and ink.

Remember to archive your RAW files to CD or DVD, they are your digital negatives and have all the information the camera is capable of recording. You can output from them in a variety of ways as many times as you want without ever disturbing the original image data.

RAW is the way to go but you need a conversion(output) program you're comfortable with to handle the files. Preferrably it should be able to convert batches of files. I use CaptureOne by PhaseOne but it's pricey and I think I'm gonna ditch it for Photodhop CS. Ever heard of BreezeBrowser by Breeze Systems? I think it does RAW output for Canon RAW files.

Keep working with it. Once you've got it in your pocket you may never shoot another JPEG again.

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Re: RAW vs JPEG
Old 03-27-2005, 12:19 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Thank you all for your input. I think I have corrected the problem as far as Adobe RGB and sRGB is concerned. I am taking a few pics down to a quickie lab for proofs to be printed. My hope is the color will be correct on print. The sRGB conversion for the web did indeed work.
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