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RAW vs JPG what is the real difference?
Old 02-17-2006, 07:02 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Hi everyone

I have a Nikon D70 and since I got a new 4GB microdisk I decide to experiment with RAW images, so I toke some pictures in both formats (the same picture) and then I upload them to my computer and Photoshop. I coudn't find much difference, the RAW image was a little sharper on the small details but that was all. I print them (in small size) on my Epson 9600 and same thing they look almost the same. Now I don't think that everyone else is worng, I know it should be a big difference is just that I can't find it. Can any one explain me a little?

Thanks

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Re: RAW vs JPG what is the real difference?
Old 02-17-2006, 09:35 PM   #2 (permalink)
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RAW is uncompressed data and JPG is compressed data.
Therefore, you have less information to abstract an image from. With correct exposure yada yada JPG will do for most people. The bottom line is that the more interesting things you try to do in post production, the more information you will have to gain from. This especially matters with slightly blown highlights...you can get a little more back from RAW, unless it is completely blown. Also, makes a difference in contrast and color correction.

Brent [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]
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Re: RAW vs JPG what is the real difference?
Old 02-17-2006, 10:22 PM   #3 (permalink)
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If you crop your picture perfectly in the camera, and have perfect white balance and exposure and you don't need to do any retouching, then JPG will often look the same as RAW. But if you need to crop, correct white balance, change tonal range, adjust contrast, resize, and so forth, you will have all the info needed to do this if using RAW
Cheers,
rfs
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Re: RAW vs JPG what is the real difference?
Old 02-18-2006, 05:33 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Raw is 16 bit and jpg is 8 bit. Pull up a jpg and look at the histogram. Then do some post production (levels, healing, sharpening, cropping). Now look at the histogram. It's no longer a nice curve, but a series of teeth. Lots of data has been lost, which can mean loss of image quality. Do the same process with a raw file and you still have a nice continuous histogram. There is a lot more data in 16 bit. Kevin Ames explaines this better than me in his book "Adobe Photoshop CS: The Art of Photographing Women".

JPG uses lossy compression. everytime you make a change and save you lose data. Not so with raw.

None of this is too noticible if you are only producing web size images or small prints. The larger you print the more you need all of the detail you can get.
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Re: RAW vs JPG what is the real difference?
Old 02-18-2006, 11:55 AM   #5 (permalink)
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A study was done in a magazine article and found that a large number of us photographers did not do as good a job working the image in RAW as what the engineers at Canon and Nikon programmed for JPEG, Fine.

My models ask for web sized images and not prints any more...why use all that memory and extra processing time (my time) to end up at 72 ppi?

With digital we now know we got the shots we intended, just make sure you set your white balance for every change of location. A studio environment is a no brainer and with actions, you can fine tune what you want for the session(take a break and get a cup of coffee).

If I did lanscape photography or made very large prints I would use RAW...it just does not make sense for my photography style where I shoot at a fast pace with hundreds of shots for the model in each outfit and location.

Jim



Elizabeth [censored]- #217060



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Olli said it right...
Old 02-18-2006, 04:19 PM   #6 (permalink)
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"None of this is too noticible if you are only producing web size images or small prints. The larger you print the more you need all of the detail you can get."

Basically I would suggest knowing where you are intending the end result to be. If it's going to be printed, with a liklihood of going to poster size, go for RAW. If it's only going onto a website then JPG should do it for you. (Although if you shoot RAW you do have that 1.x meg size JPG imbedded that you could give to the subject).

Having had my own go at shooting RAW I like the convenience of going JPG instead...a lot less post production. Do you *really* want to spend most of your time on the computer instead of photographing? As long as you get things right in-camera then you should be able to get away with only a bit of sharpening of the image to get to final print/post.

As a Mechanical Draftsman with years of experience doing drawings by-hand and by-computer I know that doing work digitally does allow for many iterations and 'playing around'...but it takes time out of my billable hours. My by-hand training taught me to never commit a line to paper that I didn't want to have or to later redraw. The same should be the case with digital cameras...get it right the first time around and you'll have more time to get other things done. Think of the digital sensor as slide film...no room for mistakes. You'll start limiting the amount of images you take with a confidence that you've got the image correctly.
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Re: Olli said it right...
Old 02-18-2006, 06:50 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I shoot with the intension of being able to make 16 x 20 or larger prints. I shoot RAW except when I need high frame rate, as in motorcycle jumping. I have several automations to create web jpgs, large jpgs, and proofs. For final post processing I work step by step, but for proofs and such I select all files in the folder, start my action, turn up the turbo cooling fan, and go do something else. 900 RAW D70 files takes about 20 or so minutes to make 50k proofs.

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Re: RAW vs JPG what is the real difference?
Old 02-19-2006, 01:32 AM   #8 (permalink)
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First of all, while the statement that RAW is losslessly compressed while JPEG is lossy compressed is in general true, it is, in the case of the D70, false. The D70 actually uses a lossy compression on the RAW files.

Secondly, I constantly hear that working with the RAW files makes for a slower workflow than working with JPEG. While I have seen this to be true for some people, for me, it's very much the other way around. The majority of my time is spent ranking, sorting, and selecting. Once I have culled out just the selects, there's very little time spent correcting images. However, I find that in general, I can make good looking corrections faster to a RAW file in ACR than I can to a JPEG in PS.

Of great importance to those of you shooting for catalog work, accurate color can also be had more easily from RAW. ACR allows for saved Calibration settings for each camera you own. I have found that all of the cameras I've owned have differed at least somewhat from accurate. Using a ColorChecker chart, I can make all my cameras 1) match each other and 2) match reality allowing me to deliver perfectly matched color from every camera I own without having to add multiple Adjustment Layers in PS.

Finally, I shoot RAW because it allows me to change my mind later. The people who know exactly what they want, exactly how to get it, never make a bad judgemt call, never get fumble-fingers, and always make perfect images amaze me. I am not one of them. I often want a 1/4 stop different exposure, 50K differnt color temperature, or different sharpening after I arrive home. I find that RAW facillitates this MUCH better than JPEG. With JPEG, I feel I am much more locked into the image as shot if I want to deliver a final file with the highest possible quality.

A typical shoot for me is somewhere around 500 images. If I have the time to sit down and do it in one shot, 60 to 90 minutes are sufficient to sort, rank, apply metadata (copyright, location, description, keywords), correct, resize, and create a web gallery of the shoot. Of that time somewhere around 10-15% of that time is spent on the corrections. The I spend the OVERWHELMING amount of time sorting and selecting. Mayebe I just can't make up my mind. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img] It just doesn't slow me down at all to use RAW and once in a while it'll speed things up because the corrections are easier.
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Let\'s give this some real world examples.
Old 02-19-2006, 09:13 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Let's say I came to your studio. Took your film negatives and trashed them.
You get upset. I- oh so calmly say- "hey-- just scan your 5x7 prints and you
will be fine." Then I walk out. Will you feel better? I don't think so.

RAW files are like negatives, they contain info JPEGs will not store ( at least
at this time.) Listen to me now, believe me later.

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Re: RAW vs JPG what is the real difference?
Old 02-26-2006, 01:16 AM   #10 (permalink)
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For studio portraiture, I use JPG because I know my exposure is dead-on and I control my contrast, white balance, etc. I often print 30x40 from JPG Fine with stunning detail. (Yes, I do convert to TIF prior to doing a lot of retouching - but the original image always comes from that in-camera JPG.) When I shoot on location, particularly when dealing with varying lighting, I shoot RAW. Although I may be able to manually set my white bal, it does change. RAW gives me more ability to correct the image.

I've seen definite differences in some images - particularly those with gradual transitions from light to dark. (i.e., a figure study lit with one softbox, where there is a long/wide shadow edge transfer.) In those situations, RAW blows away JPGs because the low end can hold so much more data. A JPG has never given (me) a great print with that kind of smoothness.

FWIW, your example image looked blown out in the highlights and also appeared to have no detail in the shadows - but that may have been a web/monitor issue. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/confused.gif[/img]

Wm
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