Notices
Photography & Videography General discussion forum regarding all aspects of photography including 35mm SLR cameras, Digital Cameras, Video Cameras, lenses, photo techniques, darkroom/Photoshop techniques and anything related to photography or videography.

What are your reasons to shoot RAW over JPEG.

 
Old 12-21-2010, 12:05 PM
  #1  
JK Enthusiast
Thread Starter
 
woody_k's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Beaumont, Ca
Posts: 190
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default What are your reasons to shoot RAW over JPEG.

The back story is simple. I have a bunch of friends who shoot. Most shoot raw. I shoot JPEG. So I have asked them what benefits do I get to shoot raw over JPEG.

Here were some of the replies and almost all replies fit into the same responses:

Most said more adjustments and my response was which ones...

I can change exposure and not need to bracket if I don't want to. I said in Lighhtroom I can do that very thing in a jpeg.

I can change the saturation on any individual color. Again I can do the same thing in lightroom with a jpeg.

My camera will write raw and jpeg at the same time and I have done that and have edited them the same. There isn't any adjustment that can be done in raw only that photoshop and lightroom can't do for Jpeg.

Now here was a reason that has some technical validity to it. JPEG comression loses some pixels. That I know is true and every time you go back into it to adjust I have heard you lose more pixels. But I never overwrite any orignal photo anyway. So what I did is edit 2 of the same photo, posted them and asked them to tell me which one was which or did I post the same photo twice. 12 people responded and a about half got it correct but almost all said it was very difficult to tell. Studies have shown that the naked eye cannot discern the difference if any...or so I am told.

Last night I got a verifiable reason to shoot raw and not jpeg. Gradient banding. I shot a night scene in fog and got some banding along the edge of the light. I asked a person whom I respect to be a master photographer and he said it's the 8 bit compression done in camera. My Nikon I think shoots in 16 bit but since I only shoot jpeg it saves it as an 8 bit file. He said 8 bit doesn't have the tonal gradient to smooth out the banding.

I asked if I shot in raw and then saved it as a jpeg would I get banding? He said no because the compression banding problem is in camera.

Before you Canonites jump on the bandwagon and say it's a Nikon issue. This pro I asked is a Canon rep and has been since before you and I were born (I'm 52). Look in last months Shutterbug magazine....you will see an article about him. Plus all my friends who shoot Canon also say they get banding once in a while also.

So I will probably shoot raw from now on.

What are your reasons to shoot either raw, jpeg or any other format?

Ken
woody_k is offline  
Old 12-21-2010, 02:31 PM
  #2  
JK Enthusiast
 
Tails's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: near Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Posts: 150
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default

I like the question.
Before I go into detail, let me say that I often shoot in JPEG, although I have Lightroom and Photoshop and know very well how to develop a RAW image. The reason is that today's DSLR's shoot JPEGs with great color and sharpness. With many subjects, such as personal/travel shots, I don't want to edit them all and I don't need huge files - like 25 MB for one image! A JPEG is often undistinguishable from a RAW photo, much smaller, and easier to share.
In fact I bought a point and shoot (Canon S90) for when I don't have my DSLR because it could shoot in RAW. Guess how often I used that feature? Once. The camera did a better job correcting lens distortion and optimizing the image than I did with all my Photoshop knowledge.

Now why would you shoot in RAW as soon you're doing landscapes, portraits, low light/night shots or anything important really?

First of all there's no compression in RAW. JPEG is a 'lossy' compression algorithm. That's why the files are smaller. It's not so much that you lose pixels - there are just as many - but you lose some fine detail because pixels of similar color are bunched together, depending on the level of compression of course.

Second, there's no color temperature or sharpness set in the RAW file. This is a big advantage. You can change the color temperature after the fact with no loss in image quality. You can also apply noise reduction and sharpening as you see fit, not as the camera manufacturer saw fit.

Third, quality. I doubt that your Nikon or my Canon can shoot in 16 bit. Most top quality DSLRs capture in 12 or 14 bits. Let me explain. A normal JPEG is 8 bits, meaning 8 bits per pixel, or 256 gradations of tint per color channel.
Now, go ahead and edit a JPEG. Then look at the histogram. There will be gaps there, indicating that there are just no pixels left with that gradation. You have lost information. It's not just visible in the histogram. For instance, if you carefully inspect dark areas, I'm sure the edited JPEG file will have more noise or loss of detail.
Do the same with a 12 or 14 bit RAW file. You can open this in 16-bit mode in Photoshop, which is where the confusion comes from. 12 bit files have over 4,000 gradations per color channel, and 14 bit files have over 16,000. Damn, that's a lot better than 256. Then look at your histogram. It looks like a nice, black mountain range, indicating that you have lost no information.

I will not go into the banding issue much as it's a different subject. Several top cameras, including Nikon D200, Canon 5D and Leica M9 have had banding issues and I think going to RAW alone will not solve it.

To the readers of this forum, if all this makes your head hurt , just go out there and shoot ... being there is most important!
Tails is offline  
Old 12-21-2010, 02:50 PM
  #3  
JK Super Freak
 
taher2.1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 1,481
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default

I bought the camera to shoot RAW but I used it once only. I just don't find the time to work on the photos.
taher2.1 is offline  
Old 12-22-2010, 02:10 AM
  #4  
JK Newbie
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Fontana, Ca
Posts: 14
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default Basically....

Your camera always shoots RAW no matter what. RAW is just sensor data. When you tell your camera to record as JPG you are telling the camera to take the RAW data and apply compression, sharpening, white balance etc. Unfortunately this also degrades images quality. If you are unfamiliar with JPG compression it basically looks for blocks of colors that are similar and just changes them all to the same color so instead of having data for all the different colors it just has the one color to save data for resulting in a lower file size. Where this comes into play is during post processing. If you start from RAW to do your edits and print from there or convert it to a TIF file you have no compression or data loss and all edits were done to your specifications. If you go JPG you already have lost data due to the initial compression in the camera software, then when you go to post process it and save it again as JPG you undergo a second round of compression losing more data. If you take a JPG file and save it at the lowest quality over and over you can see this first hand, every save causes more and more colors to combine.

Now is that going to matter showing pics on the interweb or printing shots off at 4x6 to show some friends or put in a home photo album? Probably not, but depending on your camera's sensor quality, printing off larger than 4x6-ish it could start to show, however if you have no desire to print larger than that it probably doesn't matter a whole lot between the 2 options

for what its worth...
http://www.flickr.com/photos/tettenhorst
tetten is offline  
Old 12-22-2010, 06:16 AM
  #5  
JK Enthusiast
Thread Starter
 
woody_k's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Beaumont, Ca
Posts: 190
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default

Tails, The naked eye cannot see the comression loss. It is as you said you have to see it in the histogram. Secondly it is true that WB and Temp may not be set in Raw but even with JPG I can change all that in Lightroom. Lastly you never answered why you shoot which format! LOL!!

Tetten you never answered the original question either.

The question was WHY do you shoot the format you do.

I understand and know all the tech garbage and I may have been mistaken on a matter of 2 bits 16 vs 14 but I would really like to know why.

As far as banding goes...just select the sky and blur the holy you know what out of it...removes the banding. For me I hate editing and would rather shoot so if I can get as close to what I want in the camera then that's less time editing.
woody_k is offline  
Old 12-22-2010, 06:24 AM
  #6  
EzK
JK Super Freak
 
EzK's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: MD
Posts: 1,350
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default

I you don't want to edit then defintely shoot jpeg. 95% of the time I use jpeg and can do a lot of editing and have it turn out great. But if I know ahead of time that I may want to have some extra fun with a pic I'll use RAW to play around with more freedom.

Also, if you want to shoot a bunch of shots with a similar edited style then RAW is nice to adjust them as a group, rather than one at a time. Like stylized wedding photos or something.
EzK is offline  
Old 12-22-2010, 08:44 AM
  #7  
JK Enthusiast
 
shon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Utah
Posts: 263
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default

I shoot entirely RAW. I use CS4 for processing and like the ease and controls of getting the image I want in the RAW conversion rather than opening a jpg and doing the all the adjusting there. I typically have a different thought for many frames during a shoot and the in-camera conversion doens't always match what I'm after. In the end it's about control for me. I shoot an image as a starting point then like to process the RAW image to get most of the way there then finish it off with PS.

As said before, when shooting bulk like portraits or weddings, RAW is the only way to go. Shooting jpg and trying to get them all to match a particular style is a complete waste of time. Process one, copy the style to the others and batch the set is the way to go.
shon is offline  
Old 12-22-2010, 10:42 AM
  #8  
JK Enthusiast
Thread Starter
 
woody_k's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Beaumont, Ca
Posts: 190
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default

Originally Posted by EzK View Post
I you don't want to edit then defintely shoot jpeg. 95% of the time I use jpeg and can do a lot of editing and have it turn out great. But if I know ahead of time that I may want to have some extra fun with a pic I'll use RAW to play around with more freedom.

Also, if you want to shoot a bunch of shots with a similar edited style then RAW is nice to adjust them as a group, rather than one at a time. Like stylized wedding photos or something.
Yes I know and it can be done with JPG as well. I've done it just the other day on shots my Wife had taken for her work.

So far nobody has told me a clear cut advantage of raw over JPG.
woody_k is offline  
Old 12-22-2010, 10:48 AM
  #9  
JK Enthusiast
Thread Starter
 
woody_k's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Beaumont, Ca
Posts: 190
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default

Originally Posted by shon View Post
I shoot entirely RAW. I use CS4 for processing and like the ease and controls of getting the image I want in the RAW conversion rather than opening a jpg and doing the all the adjusting there. I typically have a different thought for many frames during a shoot and the in-camera conversion doens't always match what I'm after. In the end it's about control for me. I shoot an image as a starting point then like to process the RAW image to get most of the way there then finish it off with PS.

As said before, when shooting bulk like portraits or weddings, RAW is the only way to go. Shooting jpg and trying to get them all to match a particular style is a complete waste of time. Process one, copy the style to the others and batch the set is the way to go.
In the end it's about control for me.

This is a common theme for shooting Raw but what control can you get with a RAW file that Lightroom and Photoshop can't give you?

As far as bulk processing....I prefer not to do that because the light on one photo is probably not the same on another and if you bulkm process them you have to ga back and re-edit those that were not the same. For example you adjust the batch at a +12 in brightness and some come out too bright for the photo....you have to start over. The only way to do that is to batch them for an area and time. The bride getting ready won't be the same light as the bride during or after the ceremony.
woody_k is offline  
Old 12-22-2010, 11:44 AM
  #10  
JK Enthusiast
Thread Starter
 
woody_k's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Beaumont, Ca
Posts: 190
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default

O.K. Guys I am not trying to be a butthead or anything. I have been shooting film since my Jr high school days and 3+ years ago bought my first DSLR. I'm 52 now. Many of the replies are rehashing what I stated. We all know that tech stuff. But that tech stuff dosn't tell me the advantage of RAW especially with the advent of Lightroom. BTW I'm not a huge fan of Lightroom anyway but it does have it's uses.

During these 3 + years I have heard over and over again how much better RAW is than JPEG. The only reason to I have so far come up with is the clumping/loss of pixels during the in camera compression, which is the gradient banding issue I mention in the original post.

But I challenge any of you (friendly Challenge) to look at my Flickr Photos and tell me which ones are the RAW photos. In a properly exposed photo I don't believe anyone can tell the difference.

Let me say once again that there are no processing controls, that I have found, that RAW has over a JPG with CS5, Elements and using Lightroom. It's a given that I do have to use 2 porgrams to achieve what the RAW editor has in CS5 and Elements does.

Personally it doesn't matter to me if you chose to shoot RAW or JPEG...I am not trying to convert anyone and I am not trying to rehash any debate like the Nikon VS Canon garbage that is all over any photography boards. Shooting a Nikon or Canon or RAW or JPEG is a matter of preference. I mean nobody is going to convert me from liking Blondes or big boobs or both and nobody is going to change me from a Nikon or my 2nd Admendment beliefs.

I just want to know why you shoot what you do and if your reason is like control...what controls. Tell me you may convert me.

Ken
woody_k is offline  

Quick Reply: What are your reasons to shoot RAW over JPEG.


Contact Us - About Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

© 2019 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands

 
  • Ask a Question
    Get answers from community experts
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: