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Old Jan 16, 2007, 6:25 PM   #1
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I am obsessing over my next compact cammera. Mostly for snap shots but some will get blown up to 8X10. i can't seem to find any examples of photos taken RAW and JPEG to ccompare. I know with my music I notice a huge difference between the lossless and lossy formats
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Old Jan 16, 2007, 7:24 PM   #2
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excellent analogy



as i used to say in the '60s "right on, bro"
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Old Jan 16, 2007, 7:32 PM   #3
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The difference is not so much the loss from using JPEG compression... It's the way the images are being processed.

When the camera processes the image from the sensor, it's trying to do it in a split second between photos, using algorithms that are more of a "one size, fits all" approach, versus using a high powered PC with sophisticated software.

With raw, you have a lot more flexbility as to how the photos are processed (contrast, sharpening, white balance, and more). If you make a mistake with settings with raw, you have more latitude to recover from them. For example, try using an incandescent white balance setting outdoors in sunlight and see what you get shooting jpeg. ;-) With raw, you just change a white balance slider later (since you can set white balance *after* you take the photo during processing.

Mistakes aside, you may or may not get better images shooting in raw. It depends on the camera. Some cameras have better image processing compared to others.

If you do consider using a model with raw abilty, make sure to look into the performance aspect of using that mode. Steve usually goes into issues like number of photos in a burst, cycle times between photos and more in each model's review conclusion section. If you're using a camera with a small internal buffer with slow write times to media, shooting raw may not be as practical, depending on what you're shooting. So, I'd make sure to take performance into consideration when camera shopping for a model that can shoot in raw.


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Old Jan 16, 2007, 7:39 PM   #4
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JimC wrote:
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The difference is not so much the loss from using JPEG compression... It's the way the images are being processed.

When the camera processes the image from the sensor, it's trying to do it in a split second between photos, using algorithms that are more of a "one size, fits all" approach, versus using a high powered PC with sophisticated software.
Good answer. With my R1, and using RawShooter Premium to process my raw images, I can get *much* better results than the jpg image the camera generates.

As Jim said, compact models that offer raw image format are usually not very fast shot to shot. These cameras do not have a large image buffer and the electronics are usually not well suited to handle the larger raw files sizes quickly.
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Old Jan 16, 2007, 7:46 PM   #5
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amazingthailand wrot
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As Jim said, compact models that offer raw image format are usually not very fast shot to shot.
That seems like an understatment I was playing with an Olympus SP-350, only wrting to its interenal memory but I swear it took a GOOD 20 seconds to write 1 shot as RAW.
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Old Jan 16, 2007, 8:52 PM   #6
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I have found that if the camera is set up correctly, a JPEG is just as good as a RAW image. That means having the exposure exactly right, white balance spot on, contrast and saturation set for the scene at hand, ... With RAW everything but the exposure can be set after the shot, and there seems to be more latitude in adjusting the exposure in RAW than in JPEG.

Ain't real often that everyting is set just right unless I am shooting a lot in the same conditions - outdoor, clear day sporting events are one example of that. So I have my camera set to shoot in RAW+JPEG, aperature priority nearly wide open, auto white balance, and a bit of saturation/contrast boost when it is in the case. That way I can just grab and shoot and be fairly sure of getting things right enough.
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Old Jan 18, 2007, 12:54 PM   #7
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The difference between jpeg and RAW isn't mere "appearance." It's what's possible after pressing the shutter. The digital camera is not merely an exposure device, but a miniature darkroom as well. Shooting Jpeg you make your major developing decisions before pressing the shutter (some things are still possible, of course, using ordinary Photoshop or Paintshop Pro). Shooting RAW, however, you use the much more powerful resources of your desktop (or laptop) computer for developing, with more time to think about how you want to handle each element. RAW developing makes it easy to handle WB issues, as well as allowing more exposure latitude, as much as 2-3 steps in some cases. I shoot 98% RAW anymore, since I'm not in any hurry and I like to produce the best possible (from my eye at least) results from each frame. On the other hand, if you have a deadline to meet and are shooting for newsprint, then jpeg is obviously the way to go.



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Old Jan 18, 2007, 3:43 PM   #8
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OK, question for you RAW advocates:

I agree about White Balance and exposure adjustments. But I tend to think all the other adjustments are overstated a bit. So, for those that advocate RAW is noticably better most of the time - can you take a couple shots (if you've got RAW plus JPEG option this is easy) and show how the RAW shot can be better edited in conversion than the JPEG shot can be in it's post processing. Again, taking white balance and exposure out of the equation.

On the exposure front - I would also argue, if you're consistantly having exposure issues that require RAW to rescue, I would argue your in-camera workflow needs improvement. Sure there are occasional times when you need a quick shot and you can't repeat after changing the exposure in-camera. But if you need a 2 stop exposure adjustment on more than 5%-10% of your shots then I think the problem is your in-camera workflow.

Now, I do use RAW when white balance is an issue or dynamic range is an issue (when I might need to make a blended exposure) but in other tests of RAW I just don't see how it provides better results (of course maybe that's because on my camera I have in-camera contrast and sharpening reduced).

So, can you show some examples of how for the same shot the RAW converted image turns out better than a properly processed JPEG image?
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Old Jan 18, 2007, 4:09 PM   #9
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dpreview has a great example of how RAW processing can be better than JPEG processing done by the camera. Please note, this example comes from a Pentax K10D, which people have noted that JPEG processing does end up soft, and could be fixed by a firmware update.

Scroll down to the middle of the page to see the JPEG vs. RAW comparison shots: http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/pentaxk10d/page16.asp
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Old Jan 19, 2007, 7:11 AM   #10
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JohnG wrote:
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So, can you show some examples of how for the same shot the RAW converted image turns out better than a properly processed JPEG image?
Well, precisely, there's the rub. If the out-of-camera jpeg is "properly processed", then RAW may not be any advantage. The point (for me) is, I usually don't know for sure whether an image is "properly processed" by the camera's jpeg engine until I get it out of the camera, by which time it's too late. RAW means never having to say you're sorry.
RAW is like being able to take film, develop it into negatives, and then if I'm not satisfied, go back and develop it again (and again, and again. . .) as many times as necessary to get the results I want. When a new developer program comes out ten years down the way, I should be able to use it to redevelop my old RAW files for even better (possibly) results. Yes, quite a bit of pp is possible on good jpegs as well, but simply not the same degree. Different strokes. . .



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