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Old Aug 30, 2010, 1:13 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by pboerger View Post
I use RAW almost exclusively for low light high ISO shots where the extra controls really shine. For regular shots in good light, RAW may be overkill.
I may just be a klutz, but I often find that I blow highlights in good light, and RAW allows me to use the extended range to remap the camera's 12 bits per channel in a way that avoids blown highlights. In all honesty, I'm a lot less interested in blown highlights than many folks, and may not bother remapping if it just seems anal-retentive. But there are some times when the highlights that are blown are actually of interest in the photograph. So I find RAW useful in many contexts, and I am happy to worry about which contexts after I get back to my computer. As always, YMMV.
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Old Aug 31, 2010, 1:09 PM   #22
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...I'm a lot less interested in blown highlights than many folks... I find RAW useful in many contexts, and I am happy to worry about which contexts after I get back to my computer. As always, YMMV.
When blown highlights are obvious in chimping, I just re-shoot. What I *don't* do with the camera is set WB for every shot -- I just leave it at Auto. So no matter how the exposure went, I often need to tweak the WB in PP. With just JPGs that means fiddling with Color Cast and Temperature in the editor. I'd rather fix WB in the RAW developer, and fine-tune noise, contrast, sharpness, histogram, etc. If I worked on all those in-camera, I'd miss way too many shots! I usually do better B&W conversion with RAWs also.

NOTE: I am not a novice. I've been shooting (and darkrooming) for over 50 years. It was my job for awhile. I've been shooting (and PP'ing) digital for over a decade. This isn't a matter of not "getting it right in the camera". The camera is an imperfect tool. The eye is an imperfect organ. Reality isn't always agreeable. RAW developing gives more options, that's all.
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Old Aug 31, 2010, 3:49 PM   #23
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The great thing about Raw is that as the processing algorithms get better you can go back to old images and reprocess them. It's simply amazing how much better my pictures from 5 years ago with my Canon 20D look when run through Lightroom 3 and Topaz Denoise.

I chose to use RAW when I got my first DSLR, and never shoot JPG. Works for me.
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Old Sep 1, 2010, 4:31 AM   #24
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Thank you so much for all the feed back..... It was of much help to me and now I too will go for RAW images only....
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Old Sep 2, 2010, 5:50 PM   #25
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How advanced knowledge do you need to appreciate (or be able to use) RAW over JPG? Could a newbie like me shoot in RAW and use some application and get good results? Is it difficult to find the right settings, etc.?
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Old Sep 2, 2010, 7:16 PM   #26
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In general, when you open a RAW file using the application that came with your camera, it will have the same settings, and look identical to a JPEG file of the same image. The only time you need to delve into the inner workings of the RAW file is when you use an image edditting application other than the one that came with your camera. And even then, for most things, it's not very tough.
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Old Sep 3, 2010, 3:05 AM   #27
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If you use an application like Apple Aperture or Adobe Lightroom it's hardly any extra work at all.

But it does require a commitment to the fact that you don't just accept the images as they come straight out of your camera. You need to make creative decisions about how you want them to look.
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Old Sep 3, 2010, 7:20 AM   #28
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Camvard-

The best way to understand the RAW editing process is to first understand the JPEG process. I'm a novice at this myself, but I'll give an explanation a try and hopefully we'll get a little clarification.

The JPEG compression that occurs within a camera follows a recipe established by the camera manufacturer. The 'recipe' includes things like enhancing sharpness and contrast, color balance and saturation, and probably many more items. And all of this is done with the white balance adjustment either manually or automatically set at the time the photo was taken.

And in the process a 25mb picture is reduced to a 6mb picture.

With RAW editing, we are the ones making the decision for all of these adjustments. Intimidating? Yes, initially. When I first started trying such things I kept it simple, and it was effective: Pick the white balance from a list of options that produced the best looking colors, then 'auto contrast' and then 'auto sharpen'.

Now that I have a few pictures under my belt - wait that doesn't sound right - I am able to get good results with more advanced topics. Of course at this point the editing is no different between JPEGs and RAW save for the datail available to accomplish such.

Hope this helps a bit-

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Old Sep 3, 2010, 11:36 AM   #29
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Of course at this point the editing is no different between JPEGs and RAW save for the datail available to accomplish such.
I would want to take issue with this last statement, at least under Capture NX2 (I'm sure every editor is different in this regard.) In NX2, it is very important to know the difference between making the kinds of adjustments that can be made on any image and those that can be made only on NEF data. There is a section of the software called "Quick Fix" that has a histogram and allows you to adjust the mapping curve, etc. But this is an adjustment on the RAW data -- it is not available with JPEG images, and it works on 12-bit data instead of just the 8-bit data in the JPEG image. You can change the mapping into 8 bits by using the highlight and shadows sliders, for example. This means that you are ADDING info into the JPEG mapping, rather than SUBTRACTING info from the JPEG mapping. That is a very big deal to my mind, and goes to the heart of why you use RAW data in the first place. Getting clear on which of the operations uses the RAW data and which uses the remapped 8-bit data is very important for optimal handling of your RAW data. NX2 allows you to do what, at first glance, looks like exactly the same adjustments, but it is on remapped 8-bit data instead of 12-bit data. Stay with the RAW data for as much of your processing as possible for the best results.

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Old Sep 3, 2010, 9:22 PM   #30
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To my way of thinking, if you are going to use the default settings of your Raw developer, and batch process, you really aren't any better off than if you shoot jpeg, unless you are overexposing and need to recover some highlights - and there is only a little bit to be gained from that. This is why I recommended Raw+jpeg. If you are happy with the jpeg, use it. If it needs more work, use the Raw and take the time with it.
Of course, I don't take nearly as many exposures as a lot of others seem to, so I can take the time with them if I have to. Guess it's that I come from the old school, where getting one shot right was more important than getting a lor of them wrong.

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