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Old Mar 29, 2004, 1:15 PM   #1
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Default Shooting RAW

I know I've asked about RAW , but I'd like to dredge it back up so I hope no one minds .

I've finally have a camera that is capable of shooting in RAW and I've been reading a few articles on the benefits of raw so I've about convinced myself that I should begin shooting this way.... Here's my questions:

1. Do you shoot raw or jpg? Why or why not?
2. If shoot raw, do you always do so or pick and choose. Why or why not?
3. How long does it take for you to process each picture? Can you automate most of it?
4. What raw conversion program do you use?
5. Do you find processing jpg files or raw files easier? From my limited play time ... still figuring it out, it doesn't seem too difficult to process raws
6. What do you do for archival puposes. Are you concerned that one day you'll have sereral thousand pictures and you can no longer find software to properly work with your raw shots?

I think I am most concerned that if I shoot raw I'll be spending way too much time processing raw shots. So any comments you can provide me to ease my mind and further convince me that raw is a good way to go (or not) or any additional thoughts or comments would be great!

BTW, I know I'm asking a lot so don't feel like you have to reply back with a book ... unless you just want too ... the more the better.

Thanks so much for your advice.
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Old Mar 29, 2004, 1:48 PM   #2
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Quote:
1. Do you shoot raw or jpg? Why or why not?
2. If shoot raw, do you always do so or pick and choose. Why or why not?
3. How long does it take for you to process each picture? Can you automate most of it?
4. What raw conversion program do you use?
5. Do you find processing jpg files or raw files easier? From my limited play time ... still figuring it out, it doesn't seem too difficult to process raws
6. What do you do for archival puposes. Are you concerned that one day you'll have sereral thousand pictures and you can no longer find software to properly work with your raw shots?
I always shoot in RAW mode because I want total control of my photos. I don't want the camera imposing its idea of how much contrast, color saturation, or white balance are needed. JPG compresses the image, even when you choose the largest file. Any compression is a loss of data. If you're seeking the best image that you can get, why would you want to discard data?

It takes me a few moments to download my pictures to the harddrive and then make a copy to another harddrive. After that, the processing time is minimal. I examine my pictures on the digital light box (largest thumbnails), discarding those that I don't like at all, marking the maybes, and setting aside the keepers. For the Keepers and maybes, I process them to TIFF format 16bit, adjusting the exposure and white balance. The files are then processed in Photoshop CS where I will adjust levels for the best contrast, any other retouching that I think is needed, and then sharpened. Files are saved in a Final directory as TIFF files. Printing and web photos are taken using the final TIFF files and saved separately.

I keep ALL original RAW files and save them to CD. I never alter those files as they are my negatives. Once I process the RAW files to TIFF, I delete the RAW files. I maintain a directory of TIFF files that are developed but not finished, a directory of finished TIFF files, and a directory of Web files (converted to 600X480 jpg).

Personally, I use Capture One to process my RAW files and Photoshop CS for all photo retouching. Many times, there is very little needed to be done after processing in Capture One. I couldn't tell you how much time I spend processing RAW files, but it is much less than the time I spend playing with them in Photoshop. If all of the images are taken under the same conditions, I can automate the processing from RAW to TIFF and walk away while the computer does its thing. Depends on the situation. I don't waste my time processing unacceptable photos. Marginal photos will be quickly processed and considered for use at another time.

RAW files have more latitude in processing than JPG files do...particularly exposure and white balance. Once developed, you would process them the same in Photoshop, but you can work with 16 bit (if you have the software for it). The major advantage of RAW files is the ability to tweak exposure and adjust white balance. You cannot do that as easily with jpg files.

Photoshop CS has built in RAW conversion. I wouldn't use the Canon software. I've heard Nikon is not bad. Breeze Software often gets good comments. Capture One is great. I use Capture One because that's the one I learned with and I really appreciate the workflow and capabilities over CS.
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Old Mar 29, 2004, 2:32 PM   #3
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Although it was not my question, thanks to ohenry for a detailed answer.

Eric I know you just started tinkering with RAW files so I await in anticipation for your reply.

Others that quickly come to mind or BillDrew, slipe, Lin, Alan and the guy whose avatar looks like a big game hunter. Iím sure there are many more qualified posters out there and it is a question that holds great interest for me, this thread initiator and others Iím sure.

Thanks in advance
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Old Mar 29, 2004, 2:40 PM   #4
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Iíve heard good things about breezebrowser as well, but mostly for Canon RAW conversion. Iíve heard some say that it isnít as good with Nikon. I believe they do not use the Canon SDK, but have written their own conversion routines. This can lead to different (better/worse) results, but it certainly doesnít have a few of the bugs that the Canon SDK has.

On to your list:
1. I shoot 99.9% jpg. The only reason is because the 10D doesnít write RAW as fast as I need. I shoot birds mostly and I need shoot bursts of shots (3 frames per second) and I need many pictures in a row (9 is what I get now.) Well, the problem is the intersection of two things. A RAW file is much larger than the jpg. The 10D writes data slowly to the CF card. This combination means that if I shoot a burst of shots I can fill the buffer and the camera will stop working while it writes the data. I have missed shots because of this. Unacceptable. If it werenít for this reason, Iíd use RAW in a heartbeat.
2. I basically never do.
3. The few times Iíve done it, it took a while longer, but not a lot. The white balance adjustment is to die for. You get so much better results with it than jpg and the eye-droppers. Drives me nuts.
4. I use the one built into PhotoShop CS.
5. I find it harder, but I havenít done it much. Iím sure it gets easier when you learn more about it. It isnít that it's much harder, per-say. Itís more that there is more you can do and therefore more to think about.
6. I have a separate USB/FireWire hard disk that I only turn on to back up my pictures. I do it about once a week or so. I found that burning to CD was too time consuming and that I just didnít do it. I should (because then I could send them off-site) but I donít. So I had to find a backup scheme that I actually did, as opposed to buying the pile of CDs and then not using them.

I already have several thousand shots (over 8,000.) Yes, you should worry about having RAW files in 10 years that you canít use because you canít read them any more. This doesnít happen with slides or negatives. This is why you do your best conversion you can and save that to TIFF. TIFF is an open standard and is readable by loads of programs. That should be safeÖ so backup both the TIFF and RAW.

Eric
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Old Mar 29, 2004, 3:37 PM   #5
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Default "ditto"

Just about ditto as ohenry...

ALWAYS RAW: It's pure
Never automate editing. If it's not worth my time to edit, I don't do it. (aside from TIFF to JPG conversions which I batch)
JPG degrades with every save... TIFF & RAW do not.

The only things I'd add:

The Raw of anything I like (or could like with future cropping) I save to disk. The post produced files I save as TIFF 16 bit files, but I do not flatten the image. Meaning I can go back anytime & adjust any facet, from touch ups to lighting etc... Those files are saved much as you would any negative.

I save all RAW & Final TIFFS to DVD, not a back-up but plain write to disk so I can work form the DVDs in the future if needed.

Here's my workflow:
Covnert to 16 bit TIFF Via Photoshop CS (I have Fuji s7000) Try and deal with any color, temp, contrast etc... issues HERE!
Create Layer copy - apply basic fixes (whiten eyes, blemish & surrounding edits etc...)
Layer copy: use magnetic lasso for skin, glaussian blur, adjust opacity
Layer copy: Sharpen (using unshark mask, hide layer & paint with sharpening to adjust sharpening to my taste)
Any other layer adjustment if needed (for bright/contracts, etc...)

DONE

Occasionally I will use a plugin for noise reduction or color adjustments if I'm having trouble, but for the majority I don't.

Then for prints I flatten the image (remove layers) and save to 8x10 and 5x7 print sizes converting to JPG if I have to (for printer requirements) For the internet or to give to models, I also scale down the images to 800 & 640 pixel internet files and save as JPG.

I usually delete everything but the RAW, and final TIFF... as the resizing & converting takes only a second.

Each images, all versions 10 mintes +/-

Hope that helps...
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Old Mar 29, 2004, 3:38 PM   #6
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Thanks so far ohenry, eric s, and MrDagger for your quick repies. It gives me a lot to think about and it's much appreciated. Eric, wow, over 8,000 shot .... that's a lot of pictures.
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Old Mar 29, 2004, 4:33 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdparker
Eric, wow, over 8,000 shot .... that's a lot of pictures.
Now you understand why the burst rate limitations irritate him.... :lol: :lol:
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Old Mar 29, 2004, 7:54 PM   #8
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In My situation jpg. Raw simply has to long of a workflow for me, and what I shoot . At a show I can easily have 1000 pics to get ready for proofs... I try to do the least amount of post processing I have to.. Try to get my pics "As out of camera" as I can to save time...Plus I am no Pro like Henry and others are at post processing... Nothing At all wrong with Raw Or Tiff.. If you have the time and space to play with them.. But on a side note I am gong to have to upgrade(Faster cards, Computer, Etc.) because some of the publications I work with are wanting Photograpers to go to Tiff & Raw only... God when will the madness end :lol:
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Old Mar 29, 2004, 8:01 PM   #9
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No comments from me - my 4 year old digicam doesn't do RAW. That is a must-have feature on my next camera, but am spending my time & money getting settled into retirement in the country with a new set of toys like this one:

The only RAW thing about the 60 year old tractor is my bottom on a metal seat when the temperature is below freezing.
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Old Mar 30, 2004, 11:16 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohenry
I keep ALL original RAW files and save them to CD. I never alter those files as they are my negatives.
Be careful. Recent tests have shown CDs not to be as long lasting as originally thought.

I don't know everything there is to know about it yet, but expensive CDs are supposed to work better than cheap ones (there's a shocker). Also DVDs are supposed to work better than CDs.

I always thought all CDs had a long life time. It turns out that the pressed CDs do, but the burn-your-own-at-home CD-Rs do not.

-jb
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