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RAW Questions.... Yes, again..... lol :)
Sorry about this, I know this subject gets tossed around here alot..

I'm a newbie to photography in general and have been reading on this site and many other websites trying to get my fill before my trip in late March..

OK.. So I'm a little confused..

When I shoot in Raw and download it to my computer, I use the stock program (Digital Photo Professional) to adjust the image. or at least try to. The reason I am cofused is that everything that I have read about a RAW image isn't what I imagined..

I thought/imagined once I dowloaded the image/data, that the RAW file would have to be adjusted alot, or I would just see a b&w image, or no image at all.. just data..

To me, a begginer, the RAW picture vs. the Jpeg image look very similar and can be adjusted very similar..

Is there a special program besides DPP for RAW... Am I missing something here??.

Sorry.. a little windy. Thanks in advance. Cheers!..

Comments (13)

When looking at a raw image, you're looking at an embedded J-Peg in the Raw file. Depending on the program used, you might be looking at that J-Peg with default conditions already applied and would look similar to a J-Peg from the camera of the same image...

Comment #1

Poop12676 wrote:.

Sorry about this, I know this subject gets tossed around here alot..

I'm a newbie to photography in general and have been reading on thissite and many other websites trying to get my fill before my trip inlate March..

OK.. So I'm a little confused..

When I shoot in Raw and download it to my computer, I use the stockprogram (Digital Photo Professional) to adjust the image. or atleast try to. The reason I am cofused is that everything that I haveread about a RAW image isn't what I imagined..

I thought/imagined once I dowloaded the image/data, that the RAW filewould have to be adjusted alot, or I would just see a b&w image, orno image at all.. just data..

To me, a begginer, the RAW picture vs. the Jpeg image look verysimilar and can be adjusted very similar..

That's because the raw developer (DPP in this case) is starting with the same settings that you chose for the jpeg in the camera. Therefore, you get very similar pictures..

In other words if you have set the white balance to tungsten and taken the picture in daylight, you're jpeg is going to look very blue and, low and behold, so will your raw file. The raw developer typically will use "as shot" as the starting settings for development of the picture..

Now comes the fun. Try and fix the color of the jpeg that was misshot and compare that to the raw file when you fix it's color and you'll see the difference..

Color isn't the only place that there are advantages, but it's the most easily observed..

Is there a special program besides DPP for RAW... Am I missingsomething here??.

There are lots of raw developers. Their differences are predominately in their user interface but everyone has a favorite that somehow produces that "special color" that they love. My favorite is Lightroom, mostly because the UI is so intuitive and the editing is non-destructive. Many like Lightroom have free trial versions, I'd suggest downloading a few and try them out..

Sorry.. a little windy. Thanks in advance. Cheers!.

Remember, you don't have to shoot in raw. I mostly shoot in jpeg mode with occasional time that I will switch to raw+jpeg when I think that I might need more flexability in adjusting the picture.A member of the rabble in good standing..

Comment #2

The differences between RAW and JPG can be vast, or imperceptibly small. Much like looking at a painting from an old master and a copy of the same, many, if not most people wouldn't be able to tell the difference. To the trained eye there is a world of difference. When anyone starts out with RAW processing, they too have an untrained eye. Most won't see the benefit of RAW over JPG, and in some cases there truly is no benefit. Only with repeated RAW shooting and practice on the PC will you truly make your RAW images shine, and in time, leave JPG's in the dust..

When your camera takes a picture, it generally has two options these days, RAW or JPG. If you go the JPG route, you take the pic, and the camera compares the pic to various data it has on exposure, sharpness, saturation, etc etc. When it finds what it considers the right settings, it applies them and saves the file as a JPG. JPG is a lossy format, meaning to compress itself it loses data, and therefore IQ as well. JPG is quite good though at compressing files, and anything up to medium compression will still look decent. When you shoot RAW though, you take the pic, and then the camera does nothing but save it in the RAW format, which is a lossless format.

For the pro photographer, or simply any photographer who wants to get the best image quality, this is the ideal situation..

If you had used JPG, sure the picture will look good, but the camera also applied a bunch of settings you may not like. The JPG picture has already been sharpened; maybe it's just right, maybe not. Maybe you wanted no sharpening for a certain affect. Same with noise reduction. Perhaps the camera was too overzealous with it's application of NR, something not easily corrected by your PC. And although you can fake a white-balance correction with JPG's, you won't get a true WB shift like you can get with RAW..

RAW shooting isn't for everyone. If the detail you get from your pics in JPG mode is fine for you, then shoot JPG. There's nothing wrong with it and you can still get excellent pics. If you look at your JPG's though and think "Hmmm, it's good, but it could be better." then RAW would be the way to go for you. And if you are truly in to RAW photography, check out other programs like Bibble, Silkypix, Lightroom, Adobe Camera RAW, and others. While all similar, each has is strengths and weaknesses, and some are harder to learn than others...

Comment #3

Thanks for the quick responses!.

Is shooting in RAW better to tweak your photo in a way you want the picture to look and not what the reality was.. or to enhance a not so desireable setting, color, light, etc.. to what it really was? or both? Does that make sense?.

I want to do panoramas... I heard RAW is the way to go. True or False?..

Comment #4

Poop12676 wrote:.

Thanks for the quick responses!.

Is shooting in RAW better to tweak your photo in a way you want thepicture to look and not what the reality was.. or to enhance a notso desireable setting, color, light, etc.. to what it really was? orboth? Does that make sense?.

I want to do panoramas... I heard RAW is the way to go. True or False?.

Both to your first question. Panoramas can be achieved with any image format, but of course, of you shoot RAW and tweak the photos, your final pano will look all the better for it...

Comment #5

Poop12676 wrote:.

Thanks for the quick responses!.

Is shooting in RAW better to tweak your photo in a way you want thepicture to look and not what the reality was.. or to enhance a notso desireable setting, color, light, etc.. to what it really was? orboth? Does that make sense?.

Raw gives you more flexability to tweak as there is more "headroom". Jpeg is an 8bit format and pretty soon you run into roundoff errors and just plain room to shift colors or luminance data. Raw is a 16bit format that allows you to use all 10bits (some cameras 12bits) of data from the sensor. Just more room to move about and fix things.Make sense?.

I want to do panoramas... I heard RAW is the way to go. True or False?.

I'd say start with jpegs. Manual WB, Manual Exposure and a pano-head on a good tripod. Once you get the hang of the overall process, there's a lot to learn there, then yes raw will in the end turn out a better pano. But save that for the end of the learning process..

A member of the rabble in good standing..

Comment #6

My next question....

I'm going on vacation too a place I'm 99.9% sure I won't be back to..

I want to do a pano of a certian area..

Not knowing alot about RAW... Should I take these pix in RAW format because down the road, when I become more educated, I can alter these pix more to create a "perfect" picture for me??.

Thanks everyone...

Comment #7

Definitely. If you camera has a RAW+JPG mode, where it records an image in both formats at once, go for that. You can get the instant gratification of the JPG images, and when you feel comfortable with RAW images you can go back and edit those for even more image fidelity...

Comment #8

Poop12676 wrote:.

Is there a special program besides DPP for RAW... Am I missingsomething here??.

- Not missing really. Of course, there are plenty of programs that convert RAW files, but I still prefer DPP after trying them. The difference is that RAW file is much more versatile, flexible, stretchable than JPEG - and using DPP you can "develop" it in a much finer way, like fine-tuning the WB, for instance - which you can't do with JPEG at all..

Http://lordofthelens.co.nz/..

Comment #9

This may help you .................

Understanding Digital RAW.

Press the Shutter Release in your camera, What Happens?.

1) Light strikes the CCD.

Light strikes the CCD when the shutter release is pressed. Raw data is produced by the CCD. (This CCD takes the place of film in the old film cameras)This RAW data from the CCD is not yet stored..

2) A RAW data file is produced:.

If the Camera if set to RAW, then a raw data file is produced and stored in the camera on the memory card. This file may contain the camera settings (ie: White Balance, Sharpening, Color Mode, Saturation, etc.) but these parameter settings have not been applied to the raw data file. They are stored in the file for reference only and called Metadata. Changing these camera settings will not affect the raw data in the file. The amount of light falling on the sensor will change the raw data and therefore the shutter speed, aperture, ISO and lens filters will effect the raw data. This raw data file is a proprietary file type which is different for different manufacturers.



Jpg file produced in camera:.

If the Camera is set to jpg, then the computer in the camera uses the camera settings, of White Balance, Sharpening, Color Mode, Saturation, etc. to produce a jpg file on the fly, from the raw data. This takes place right when the shutter release is pressed. The camera has it's own RAW data conversion program, just not as versatile as the programs discussed in the next paragraph, below. Once the jpg file is produced in the camera, changing any in camera settings will only affect new pictures taken. The conversion from RAW to jpg can not be redone, as it can with the raw conversion programs discussed below..

3) Transfer the RAW file to computer for processing:.

Once the raw data file is transferred into your computer you can perform post processing (PP) of the RAW data and then save it into another format (tiff, jpg, etc), by using Nikon Capture NX (CNX) or Adobe Camera Raw (ACR), or any other raw conversion program. The conversion parameters you use in these programs can be changed and the conversion of the raw data performed as many times as you like. The raw file is not changed. Only the processing parameters are changed and saved. The initial set of conversion parameters are called the default set, and affect your initial screen preview of the image. The RAW data must initially be converted to view on the screen.

These programs instead, offer many more complex parameter changes and adjustments that are not available in the camera. The repeated processing ability and extensive parameter changes are only two of the advantages of these raw conversion programs like CNX and ACR..

Transfer jpg file to computer for editing and processing..

If you selected a jpg file in camera, then you will transfer this jpg file to your computer for editing, not for RAW data processing which has already been done in the camera. You will use editing/organizational programs such as Photoshop (PS) , Lightroom (LR), Bridge, (Capture NX also has some editing ability), etc. Each of these programs offers a different set of features and objectives. Some are more editing oriented, others more organizational, and some overlap in features. Some of these programs also accept files directly from the raw conversion programs. But these programs are not to be confused with the raw conversion programs themselves.



(Note: as stated some programs like Capture NX may do both RAW conversion and some other editing features.).

Some advantages in using raw data files.

1) RAW data is normally in 10 or 12 bit depth, where the converted jpeg file in the camera is 8bit..

2) Raw conversion programs offer many more and more detailed complex adjustments, than available in the camera RAW conversion programs..

3) Conversions which can be applied to RAW data, can not be applied as successfully to RGB data files such as Tiff, jpeg, etc. You have more control over raw data resulting in better processing results..

4) Raw data conversion parameters can be changed and then applied again to the same raw data. If we are not satisfied with our results, we can just tweak the parameters and convert once again..

5) The raw data in RAW data files is not altered. The conversion parameters are being changed and stored with the file (or in an associated file), but the raw data is left unchanged..

Some disadvantages in using raw data files.

1) Raw data files are 2-6 times larger than the corresponding jpeg files..

2) Post processing takes some extra time. How much really depends on your demands and criteria. Most raw conversion programs offer batch processing to speed things up when applying the same conversion parameters to multiple images..

SeeThom's Quick & Dirty Guide to RAWhttp://www.bythom.com/qadraw.htm.

See alsoThe Advantages and Disadvantages Explained.

Http://www.popphoto.com/...aw-the-advantages-and-disadvantages-explained.html.

SeeUnderstanding Digital RAW)..

Comment #10

Wow... Great information from everyone! Thanks..

My last question. I promise. .

If I shoot in RAW and try to edit it, (this sounds stupid) how do I know that I edited it properly? Is it good, because I think it looks good?.

I have used my computer sowtware (hp Image Zone Plus) in the past for jpegs and it has an automatic "make better" buton. I almost always think that it has improved the photo..

I don't see a function like this in DPP, with probably a good reason I suppose..

Are there "automatic" buttons for RAW, or does that defeat the purpose??..

Comment #11

You'll find that different photographers do it in a different way. My way is 2 stages - first basic development in DPP, then final enhancement in CS3. And yes you do it manually, because you are smarter than the computer. You ought to have a decent properly calibrated monitor and set the DPP preferences for working color space and best quality. Then you adjust everything to your liking (if needed). What I do afterwards is I convert the RAW (keeping the original of course) into 16-bit TIFF, PP it in the CS3 and save the final result as I need it.



Http://lordofthelens.co.nz/.

Poop12676 wrote:.

Wow... Great information from everyone! Thanks..

My last question. I promise. .

If I shoot in RAW and try to edit it, (this sounds stupid) how do Iknow that I edited it properly? Is it good, because I think it looksgood?.

I have used my computer sowtware (hp Image Zone Plus) in the past forjpegs and it has an automatic "make better" buton. I almost alwaysthink that it has improved the photo..

I don't see a function like this in DPP, with probably a good reasonI suppose..

Are there "automatic" buttons for RAW, or does that defeat thepurpose??..

Comment #12

There's no "right way" when it comes to photos. Sure, most people tend to like sharp, vibrant photos of clear subjects, but a picture can be developed in any way you like. Some of the worlds most famous photographers don't even approach sharp and vibrant photography, instead going for sombre pictures with muted tones. Others go for highly noisy black and white images. The first thing to remember is that you should enjoy your photos. Develop them the way you like them, and if they make you happy, then you've succeeded.



As far "instant" RAW processing, most packages do have some sort of single button approach, but most are lacking and you'd probably get better quality with just a JPG. The one I'm most familiar with is Bibble, and they have an option called called Perfectly Clear which you click and supposedly makes your images much better. In practice, I can't stand it, as it makes everything too soft and smeary..

Really though, RAW processing isn't an insanely hard process with any of the packages. Sure, all have loads of advanced options (many of which I'm not yet familiar with yet) that you can tweak to your hearts delight, but in essence most rely on only a handful of options to get the job done. I'm sure if you put your mind to it you'll be able to get a handle on RAW processing. Just dive right in and get your hands dirty...

Comment #13

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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