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A question about RAW shooting
Old 08-02-2005, 07:06 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I'm seeing more and more photographers who shoot RAW using the ability to process the files at various "exposures", using this to create a greater dynamic range by stacking and masking different areas of the image. Anyone on here do this to help control highlight/shadow, and is it appreciably better than simply duplicating the image in PS or other program?

This might be what drives me to start shooting RAW after all...

David
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Re: A question about RAW shooting
Old 08-02-2005, 08:59 PM   #2 (permalink)
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[ QUOTE ]
Anyone on here do this to help control highlight/shadow, and is it appreciably better than simply duplicating the image in PS or other program?

[/ QUOTE ]

Simply put... yes, and yes.

I find that, like when I was shooting transparencies oh so many years ago, a slight underexpsure ensured that the highlights weren't blown out (in digital, that means that the highlights don't get to the magic 255), and the shadows seem to be more tolerant of slight underexpsoure (in CS2 - maybe CS, I don't know.. never used it... you have the highlight/shadow control which will let you bring up the shadow detail quite well within that underexposure.

That's a hell of a run-on sentence, above, but I think you should understand what I mean.

If you aren't shooting RAW, you're missing a lot of the possibilities your camera has to offer.
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Re: A question about RAW shooting
Old 08-02-2005, 10:15 PM   #3 (permalink)
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RAW give you a fantastic amount of control. When dealing with extended tonal ranges, you can benefit from dual processed images to extend the tonal range. I often use this technique when shooting in front of a window when I want the ouside to be well exposed as well as the inside. With RAW, and with proper attention to the Histogram, you can do things you could only do with great difficulty with film. I tend to push the histogram of photos all the way to the right when doing the initial exposure. If I see parts of the scene that are just pure speculars, I'll push them past the right because they are going to be pure white anyway. This gives me more information in the shadows.

Once you get your workflow down pat, it is just about as easy to work with RAW as JPG, especially with the new features in CS2. If you also incorporate the Smart Objects of CS2 into your workflow, then you can actually imbed the RAW image as a Smart Object and all of the later processing or repeat processing will be done using the RAW data.



Cheers,
rfs
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Re: A question about RAW shooting
Old 08-02-2005, 10:34 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I only shoot raw because the control is so much greater than working with JPEG. I've heard some say shooting RAW offers no additional control, and I wondered how much truth there was to that. So, I shot a few images exactly the same in both RAW and JPEG, some with glarring flaws in exposure, color balance, etc. I gave the JPEG's to a friend of mine who is far better in PS than I, while I processed the RAWs. The raw images were far better than the JPEG's because while he had more experience with PS, he just didn't have the data or control he needed to fix them. That helped me make up my mind that RAW is the way to go, especially for anything important where an image flaw could spell disaster.

I still shoot JPEGs at times, mostly when I don't want to process the images, and the final image quality isn't the more imporant factor. Ie, where good enough is more than sufficient, or when I am shooting such a large number of iamges that post processing each one would be a daunting task. But on a shoot where the final result would be a handful of images that need to be edited, it's always raw for me.

I also stack multiple images to increase the dynamic range. Although that can easily be accomplished with bracketed images shot at the time of exposure in either JPEG or RAW. But, you can do a limited set of layered images with a single RAW image if the exposure is kept to within -2 to +2 or so.

The easiest way to describe the difference I see is that JPEG is like choosing your film type, exposing, then processing it for your final image. RAW is like shooting your images, then deciding the film type and color balance you want before final processing, then once satisfied processing the final image as you would with a JPEG. I highly recommend RAW over JPEG because it is more flexible, allows more control, and can help you easily fix mistakes that would otherwise ruin a JPEG image.
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Re: A question about RAW shooting
Old 08-03-2005, 10:17 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Besides the feed back fromt the processing in PS at least - shows exposure problems

so you can maximize the range of colors -

So special effects AFTER you have all the data

get ever pixel you can from the shot




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Re: A question about RAW shooting
Old 08-03-2005, 01:22 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Agree, agree, agree shoot in raw, much better control, you don't have to fiddle with so many lawers, only drawback is they are huge files, so get a bigger beter flash card. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]
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Re: A question about RAW shooting
Old 08-03-2005, 04:21 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Not to mention that you have the best posible "negative" for archiving
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Re: A question about RAW shooting
Old 08-03-2005, 05:17 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I don't like to archive my RAW files as my digital negative, and choose to store them as a TIFF file instead. Like .PSD's, or other proprietary formats, there is no guarantee that you will be able to read them 10-15 years down the road. As Adobe upgrades their softare, the .PSD files change and you need to convert them to the new format to use them. If you let the files sit too long, there is a good chance it will become 'stale' and not readable by newer versions of PS. Similar issues could happen with the RAW files as the industry forges ahead and Canon, Nikon, etc, update their RAW formats and the older ones eventually stop being supported by software. Granted we are talking a long time, but, it will happen as history has shown.

At least with something like a TIF file its an industry standard and its format is open, so we will all have a much better chance of finding software that will support it long into the future.

The only image I really care about is the end result. So after I finished editing my image, I create a .TIF file and archive that. The rest also get saved and written to CD, but I won't migrate those files to new media or convert to new standards in the future. If the CD's become unreadable in 15 years, oh well. The .TIF file on the other hand, will be migrated to new media, technologies, or formats as the industry shifts. The .TIF becomes my negative, all color corrected, enhanced, dodged, burned, etc.

Just an alternate viewpoint, and worth everything you just paid for it [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

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Re: A question about RAW shooting
Old 08-03-2005, 08:02 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I've been in digital prepress for over 15 years and I am not aware of any widely used format from when I first started, that I would not be able to have access to it today.
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Re: A question about RAW shooting
Old 08-03-2005, 10:30 PM   #10 (permalink)
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A problem with archiving as TIF is that you have now discarded a goodly amount of the original information. If you wanted to go back and process again for let's say extending to tonal range, or things like that, you would not be able to because you'll have thrown that info away. I tend to archive all of the RAW images and treat them as like the negative of old. I also archive the working file. For that I use PSD. Every several years, you can run an automated process to convert all of your PSDs up to the latest standard. By the way, I have lot's of old TIF files that are no longer readable because of the variety of compression formats that were used.

Cheers,
rfs
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