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MARINERMAGNUM

Does RAW rule?

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After following/admiring his work for many years I sent "Canon Explorer of Light" Rick Sammon my site addy via twitter. I was suprised one night to receive an email from him about one of my images,and we have carried on a loose email exchange ever since. He is a very personable,down to earth fellow.

Rick is a firm believer in shooting RAW only-no jpegs.

I'm personally starting to shy away from RAW more and more as it doubles the time in PP and really sucks the horsepower out of the computer. Watching that RAW converter in ACR go thru a card is like watching snails drag race.

A simple test I did recently to settle it once and for all was this: I set my camera to shoot RAW+Ljpeg,composed,and took the shot. I took the RAW image thru it's paces in PP until I was satisfied with the final product. Three days later [so my memory was sufficiently blank grin] I worked on the identical jpeg. When I was done,I compared the two finished products and actually preferred the image that was originally shot in jpeg.

Now,except for specialized portraits,I just shoot jpeg.

What is everyone else shooting? Is RAW dying?

I appreciate any input. smile

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I personally shoot only RAW because I actually enjoy the process of taking the raw image through Photoshop into the final image. That is probably because I spent so many years previously in a darkroom processing film and prints that part of the whole picture-making experience is taking the raw (negative) and making it better. In your case you have your camera tweeked well and the post production is done as you shoot, which is a real time saver. I agree the process of copying RAW, converting, etc is a pain, particularly on my 8-year old Mac and older software. I'm sure most will agree that it is a matter of personal taste and also how much time one has to devote to the task. I certainly wouldn't feel compelled to use RAW and spend the extra time simply because others do or because they think it's best ... we all get formulate our opinions.

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MM, you didn't say whether you made prints of the image, or if they were large prints. With standard 8x10 prints at 300 ppi, I've not been able to tell the difference between RAW and jpeg captures.

To bring your test to full fruition (pixel peeping doesn't tell a useful story in the real world), interpolate a segment of each image and print them. You could interpolate them both to, say 30x45 and print the whole image, but that's very expensive and unnecessary. What I do is interpolate the image to that size at 300ppi, and then crop out an 8x10 of the same key portion of each, keeping it at 300ppi, and just print those.

Even that test isn't quite definitive, because if you were really going to have a 30x45 made, you'd probably want to get the original file to the print lab and let them run it through the regiment they've got set up that's specific to their software/printing devices.

A White House Custom Color won't let you do that (at least the last time I talked to them about it), but a West Coast Imaging will.

Anyway, the tests I've done this way on my own Epson R300 and a couple other local Epson/Agfa inkjets of larger design show very small differences in print quality between 8 Mp RAW and jpeg captures interpolated to 20x30 and 30x34 at 300 ppi.

These differences are small, and with a print that size you don't stand right up to it with a magnifying glass; you stand back farther to appreciate it, the larger the print the farther back you stand. So I rarely shoot RAW anymore, for the reasons you mentioned. And since upgrading to CS3, I can open a jpeg with the RAW preview screen and do everything I could only do with a RAW image in CS2 (including recovery of blown highlights). Upgrading from CS2 to CS3 cost me about $60 (Evilbay), and is worth every single penny in time saved. In photography terms, a $60 software purchase is peanuts.

Shooting jpeg vs RAW means a lot of time saved at the computer. It might not matter to me as much if I had the latest computer with monster RAM and processor, but I don't, and time saved is a very big deal for me. I prefer to be out there in nature shooting the birds, beasts and flowers, or out there with wedding, portrait or other clients to watching computer software work on my images.

Almost exclusively jpeg for me now. Only exception is when a client asks for RAW capture (rare.) So for me RAW may not be dead, but it's a book gathering dust on my bookshelf that I rarely page through anymore. smilesmile

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I shoot almost all Raw but I have been shooting more jpegs lately. I always shoot Raw for clients or for really special events. I don't want to take any chances if I don't get exposure nailed. I do all of my levels and color adjustments in raw to the only thing I really need to do in CS4 is any creative processing, sharpening or noise reduction. I have a good workflow going now so it isn't a big deal. I have been trying the trial of Lightroom and I've been having a hard time fitting that into my workflow instead of ACR. I can see the benefits though.

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Appreciate the input!

Steve,that's pretty much how I did it-cropped out a chunk and sent it thru the lab. You may see a tiny benefit present,but in the real world-when you pull back enough to see the entire image-there is no difference.

Shooting jpeg with the 50D also lets the in camera NR do it's thing-in RAW you have to figure it out in DPP or NN. This aspect also removes some PP time.

Since they closed up the gaps on the micro lenses on the 50's sensor,the jpegs show a little more detail too.

I fully understand what yoppdk is saying-after the darkroom,messing with a RAW on the puter seems like a walk in the park! smile

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The reason I like to open in RAW is because it shows me immediately blown highlights marked in red and closed shadows marked in dark blue. I can fine tune the exposure there before opening in Photoshop. Other than cropping, that's all I do with the RAW image. In that respect, it takes me only a few more seconds.

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Exlusivly RAW for me. the only time I don't shoot in Raw is when someone else is shooting my camera that dosen't understand the manual modes. I have 4 gigs of Ram and a quad core 2.66 gig proccessor with 2 terabytes of internal storage. I HATE JPG, jpg is a lossy format, and everytime you open and reopen a jpg, you loose small portions of quality everytime. After post processing I usaully leave them is psd format unless printing them or adding them to my digital frames. I do store photos as TIFF also if I want them readily available to view them.

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I HATE JPG, jpg is a lossy format, and everytime you open and reopen a jpg, you loose small portions of quality everytime.

Just to be clear, I centered my reply around the comparison between RAW and jpeg at capture, not as a post-processing document. No pro I know who uses jpeg capture continues saving and re-saving the image in jpeg format because as you accurately pointed out you lose a tiny bit of data with repeated savings/resavings in that mode.

When I open a jpeg capture, I immediately convert to a tiff or psd file, so there is no saving and re-saving/re-opening of a jpeg. While it is more "lossy" than RAW upon capture, once converted to tiff or another lossless format, the loss is over and, as pointed out, it takes a magnifying glass to see the difference in print between a RAW and jpeg capture.

Anyway, don't mean to make it a debate, because there's nothing new in the tired old debate. What works, works, and it's an individual decision based on style, preference and, to some degree, which software is being used. And as always, photographic art is more about the mind, the eye and the heart than the capture mode. smilesmile

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