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1. Raw or Jpeg from start? 2. software - any good but cheap?
Hi, I have just received my canon 450d/ xsi. The battery is now charged... but still waiting for delivery of my SD cards - aargh!! All seems good so far. Got it with the 18-55IS lens for 519. Can't wait to get started.But a few very basic questions for a digital newbie..

Should I shoot Jpeg or Raw - I know I won't be able to do anything with Raw files yet, but think in future I might get into the editing thing, so figure it'd be better to capture in RAW from start. Is this good logic?.

But am I right in thinking there will then be an issue about getting the photos printed - I'd have to use a service as I don't have a decent printer..

My camera seems to have option to shoot Raw + Best quality (assume this is jpeg??) Would this be a good option?.

What should I use to store/sort my photos? Do people just start off using My Pictures on Windows XP or should I get a software package from the start? I may eventually do the Photoshop thing, but I don't feel anywhere near that level yet, but I don't want to start off in the wrong system and make life difficult in the future. So, I suppose my question is - is there any free/very cheap software I can use in the meantime that could later be transferred to photoshop?.

My lack of knowledge and experience may mean that these questions don't make sense - but hope you'll get the general idea...

Comments (13)

Depends on what you're shooting mainly....

If I'm a guest at a wedding or some other big function, I'll be set for RAW + Jpeg in case I want to do some editing, etc...

If I'm hanging out with friends, and we're just playing with stuff, jpeg only, because I won't really want or need to edit these....

You'll change that option frequently... it all depends on the event, and what memory you have with you that day.....

Comment #1

JPEG or RAW..

Given that you are new to this I would start with jpeg and just mess around with the camera for a couple of days at least (Visit the zoo or whatever and find your way round the camera..

But do then try jpeg plus RAW for some event (A barbecue or whatever) and learn more about what each camera setting does by changing them in turn and noting the effect..

To get RAW printed you will have to save a copy as a jpeg - easy to do..

Storage/basic viewing.

I still use Windows Explorer/Picture viewer but do create a separate directory for each photoshoot and do set the cam to increment shot numbers continually (not revert to Zero each time you take out the card.).

There is a plug-in for Windows that allows you review RAW shots as well)..

Software.

I should start with what Canon provides free (I have Nikon equipment so I am not familiar with it but I know it is better than the free stuff Nikon supplies) Adobe have also just launched an online editor in beta form which you could try using (see the headlines on this site)..

Finally while waiting for that SD card read the manual at least twice (and download a copy onto your harddrive for future reference in case you mislay the paper copy.).

Enjoy your camera.

Chris Elliott.

*Nikon* D Eighty + Fifty - Other equipment in Profile.

Http://PlacidoD.Zenfolio.com/..

Comment #2

If you aren't going to do Photoshop work then I wouldn't yet bother about using RAW. It will eat up hard drive space if you aren't careful! The advantages of using that format typically only appear under severe circumstances, and you will know what those circumstances are only after you have done a lot of Photoshop processing..

I do use RAW under these conditions: when skies are overcast, making it easier to enhance detail in the clouds via Photoshop; and for interior shots, when I want an accurate color balance (that is, make tungsten or fluorescent lighting look white instead of yellow or green). I also use RAW when photographing intensely colored flowers in full daylight, so I have more detail for the colored highlights..

Every make of digital cameras has it's own method of converting the RAW image into a JPEG inside of the camera, so quality will vary. In fact, your camera's own JPEG may be superior to whatever RAW converter you have on your computer. Although some cameras have better converters than others, they can be fooled into producing inferior JPEGs under strange conditions; and those are where shooting RAW and doing Photoshop processing is appropriate...

Comment #3

Finding cheap software to process RAW may be a bit difficult..

I used Photoshop Elements for a year, and it's implementation of Adobe Camera RAW (ACR) was purposefully limited, eliminating some of the advantages of using RAW..

If you are a computer whiz you may be able to download and use free RAW software; some of it is quite good, although difficult to use. GIMP is a great, free software package, and it handled my RAWs fine, but it is rather intimidating to use. Another program "Graphic Converter" worked quite well also..

What I want in a RAW converter is one that produces a linear, 16-bit file, that usually looks awful, but has enough detail that I can do intense processing on it using Photoshop. Some software can't handle 16 bit images...

Comment #4

For organizing and some basic editing PP tryPicasa2by Google. Its free.http://www.google.com.

When it edits photos it does not change the image file, it stores the edits in a seperate database file. When and if you want to apply these edits, it's very simple to do so, and save both the original and edited version if you wish. Or just save the edited version, it's your choice..

Then you can then upload your photos to Picasa Web Albums to share with your friends and family, it's also free from Google..

Try it.....

Ed..

Comment #5

Mark Scott Abeln wrote:.

Finding cheap software to process RAW may be a bit difficult..

I used Photoshop Elements for a year, and it's implementation of AdobeCamera RAW (ACR) was purposefully limited, eliminating some of theadvantages of using RAW..

If you are a computer whiz you may be able to download and use freeRAW software; some of it is quite good, although difficult to use.GIMP is a great, free software package, and it handled my RAWs fine,but it is rather intimidating to use. Another program "GraphicConverter" worked quite well also..

What I want in a RAW converter is one that produces a linear, 16-bitfile, that usually looks awful, but has enough detail that I can dointense processing on it using Photoshop. Some software can't handle16 bit images..

Canon gives away a perfectly good Raw processor with it's cameras..

Nothing is enough for the man to whom nothing is enough...

Comment #6

Fcal wrote:.

But a few very basic questions for a digital newbie..

Should I shoot Jpeg or Raw - I know I won't be able to do anythingwith Raw files yet, but think in future I might get into the editingthing, so figure it'd be better to capture in RAW from start. Isthis good logic?.

Speaking from my own experience. when I first went digital, I shot Jpegs. Edited them to perfection (Or what I thought, at the time) onl to realise, years later, those same jpegs looked horrible. My editing skills got much better , but the file was already ruined..

If had shot RAW, I'd have that original RAW image to work with..

Another thing, Jpeg file:if there is no data recorded(too bright or too dark) there is nothing to be done.However, with the RAW file, one can bring out detail in those too dark or too bright areas. Somethig that is not possivle with jpeg..

Yes, it's preferable to have everything be perfect, when you take the picture, so the jpeg is perfect. If you skill level is not such that you can that, each and every shutter activation, then RAW can be a terrific cushion..

Here is one the very best examples I;ve yet read on the need for always shooting in RAW..

Http://forums.dpreview.com/...forums/read.asp?forum=1035&message=15864420.

But am I right in thinking there will then be an issue about gettingthe photos printed - I'd have to use a service as I don't have adecent printer..

Your camera came with RAW converting software. I suggest you take snapshot with your camera, then open that raw image and see just how easy it is to tweak a RAW file. AND how much better the resulting jpeg looks over the one the camera creates..

My camera seems to have option to shoot Raw + Best quality (assumethis is jpeg??) Would this be a good option?.

Thats how I shot now. 99% of the time, the camera jpeg file is fine and the oen I use. However, when I want to gie the image away or have it printed for my own walls, I always convert teh RAW and adjust it..

Think about this, your camera records the data in a RAW file. which it then converts into a jpeg file. But every single picture you take, the camera takes in RAW. Even if you shoot jpeg only, the original is RAW, then converted to jpeg, then the camera throughs the RAW file away..

What should I use to store/sort my photos? Do people just startoff using My Pictures on Windows XP or should I get a softwarepackage from the start? I may eventually do the Photoshop thing, butI don't feel anywhere near that level yet, but I don't want to startoff in the wrong system and make life difficult in the future. So, Isuppose my question is - is there any free/very cheap software I canuse in the meantime that could later be transferred to photoshop?My lack of knowledge and experience may mean that these questionsdon't make sense - but hope you'll get the general idea..

Google "Digital Asset Management".

Picassa is free nd pretty handy..

Right now, I've settled on naming a folder,simply enough,"Pictures', one subfolder for all the photographers in home, by name. "Dave" Laurie" Bryce" etc..

Inside each indivdual photographers folder are two folders. One Named "Thumbnails" and another named "Year", inside that is a folder named "Month", each "Month" folder has sub-folders labeld by "Event". each "Event" folder has two folders, "RAW' and "Jpegs" with the very best Jpeg images, from each event, in the "Event" folder too..

IE: you open an Event folder, you will see a RAW folder, a JPEGs folder and the very best pics form that event..

I use a resizing program, picassa, Photoshop, or some other, and "Batch Process"re-sizing of all images to a smaller size (800 X 600).

I then batch Re-name all those newly created thumbnails to "Year_Month_Day_Event_Camera File name" I put all thos eimage into the thumbnail folder, for each individual photogragher..

When I need to find a particular image, I open the photgraghers folder, go to Thumbnails folder, and quickly sort thru them. Once I find the pic, I got the entire name, telling me which year, month, day, event to find the original..

Good Luck, let if know if this was not very lcear ot you.Dave PattersonMidwestshutterbug.com'When the light and composition are strong, nobodynotices things like resolution or pincushion distortion'Gary Friedman..

Comment #7

If you shoot raw plus jpeg to your card can are they seprate so you can take the card to get prints made from jpeg..

Comment #8

Fcal wrote:.

Should I shoot Jpeg or Raw - I know I won't be able to do anythingwith Raw files yet, but think in future I might get into the editingthing, so figure it'd be better to capture in RAW from start. Isthis good logic?.

YES. This is exactly what I did. RAW is easy. You don't need to go crazy with it, unless you set out to post process your pictures into masterpieces..

But am I right in thinking there will then be an issue about gettingthe photos printed - I'd have to use a service as I don't have adecent printer.My camera seems to have option to shoot Raw + Best quality (assumethis is jpeg??) Would this be a good option?.

Actually if you develop JPEGs from RAW you might get better results - my filesizes for converted files are 2x bigger, so they must contain more information. Also, you can work with color spaces and save TIFFs from RAW files, giving you a lot more data to work with - 16bit, AdobeRGB color space, no compression if you ever want to print yourself..

What should I use to store/sort my photos? Do people just startoff using My Pictures on Windows XP or should I get a softwarepackage from the start? I may eventually do the Photoshop thing, butI don't feel anywhere near that level yet, but I don't want to startoff in the wrong system and make life difficult in the future. So, Isuppose my question is - is there any free/very cheap software I canuse in the meantime that could later be transferred to photoshop?My lack of knowledge and experience may mean that these questionsdon't make sense - but hope you'll get the general idea..

I actually love Bridge to sort photos, but you don't have that option yet. I NEVER use My Pictures. Actually I never use any of the "My" things built into Windows. They seem like a gimmick. Just create a directory somewhere and go. If you're working with mainly JPEGs, really just explorer will work, or you can work in DPP to see RAW thumbnails..

For FREE Photoshop alternatives, there's the GIMP or Paint.NET. Either one should have enough for you. In the beginning, you don't really need to know much, just aim to learn some of the following to enhance your pictures: reading histograms/levels/curves/layers/layer masks. If you want to spend, there's always Paint Shop Pro X2. It has A LOT of the features of the full Photoshop, but is the same price of Photoshop Elements, so it's probably the best value..

For RAW, I don't even know what to do. I would recommend Lightroom/ACR, but the color is HORRIBLE currently. It butchers the red channel, and still doesn't have a levels control. It is the easiest to control though, and doesn't overload you with tools. DxO v5 is horribly slow and makes my pictures look too vivid with default settings, and has a kind of sloppy GUI. Capture One seemed TOTALLY overrated, and for some reason I just couldn't get my pictures to have enough contrast. So for the moment I'm using DPP since it gets the most accurate color, although it is really limited (forced to use picture styles, akward tools)...

Comment #9

... download a copy of Rawtherapee.http://www.rawtherapee.com/This is free software although the creator does appreciate a donation..

It will also allow you to process RAW,TIFF and JPGs so you can see the results of shooting RAW as opposed to JPG when it comes to processing the images..

Don't forget, having uploaded the images to your computer, you can always throw them away..

And a word of advice. Take a copy of the original and process that. Always keep the original intact.And another word of advice. You'll soon find out that you want to shoot RAW!!..

Comment #10

Picasa2 should win the award for "Idiots choice of editing software;" you can learn it very quickly, it's intuitive and you will be able to more with it than what most film photographers had to contend with in their day..

Picasa will process your RAW images, forget RAW plus JPEG as an option, you won't need it.Rationally I have no hope, irrationally I believe in miracles.Joni Mitchell..

Comment #11

It all depends on what you will use the images for and how good you are at post processing..

The XSI is a great camera that does not mess up the images when you shoot Jpeg. So if you are not trying to nit pick the last little pixel on a fly's left rear foot I'd just be shooting Jpegs.It's not what you spend, it's what you buy!..

Comment #12

Fcal wrote:.

Hi, I have just received my canon 450d/ xsi. The battery is nowcharged... but still waiting for delivery of my SD cards - aargh!!All seems good so far. Got it with the 18-55IS lens for 519. Can'twait to get started.But a few very basic questions for a digital newbie..

Should I shoot Jpeg or Raw - I know I won't be able to do anythingwith Raw files yet, but think in future I might get into the editingthing, so figure it'd be better to capture in RAW from start. Isthis good logic?But am I right in thinking there will then be an issue about gettingthe photos printed - I'd have to use a service as I don't have adecent printer.My camera seems to have option to shoot Raw + Best quality (assumethis is jpeg??) Would this be a good option?.

I have a different system and I shoot RAW + Fine (JPEG) which is probably the same as "RAW + best quality" on your Canon. I think your choice depends on where you are in the learning process. My opinion is that it doesn't make sense to shoot in RAW unless the quality is really top of the drawer and that's "pre processing" so in a nutshell: Refine your shooting in JPEG and then when the quality of the images is limited by what you've accomplished "in camera" then move to RAW..

Allen..

Comment #13

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