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PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 5:02 pm 
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Until now, I've had no interest in post processing aside from occasional brightening a stop and cropping. I've been shooting using the best JPG setting on my camera.

I just started playing around with RAW using the Image Data Converter that came with my A300. Honestly, I'm not sure it's worth the added time it takes to open and convert photos to JPG. I still find myself only cropping and brightening for the most part. The slides for the white balance don't seem to make a noticable difference. Neither does the sharpening tool.

Perhaps I am not using this software properly, but its editing tools seem pretty weak. Is it really pointless to shoot RAW if I'm not using a more robust program like Photoshop? Anyone have any tips for me?

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 7:31 pm 
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I once opened a RAW file in the Sony software and closed it right away. Not very convenient software, it doesn't work for me. However, I've fallen in love with Photoshop RAW processing. Allows me to get better results than with normal JPEG processing.

- Bjorn -

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 12:19 am 
Please use Adobe Lightroom 2.0. Your photos will thank you.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 4:55 am 
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Sublimity wrote:
Please use Adobe Lightroom 2.0. Your photos will thank you.

I just did a little research on that product, and it seems to be exactly what I'm looking for. Thank you very much for the advice.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 3:39 pm 
Bjorn, I thought you shot JPEG? o.O


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 5:56 pm 
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pgtips wrote:
Bjorn, I thought you shot JPEG? o.O

Just recently tried RAW, opened a file in CS4, and I fell in love. All shots I take now, are RAW+Jpeg. The ones I upload or edit, are all RAW processed. Never thought it was that much more convenient to work with, but it is...
I just wish I had started shooting RAW a little earlier.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 7:50 am 
Yes, RAW is good :)


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 1:59 pm 
I only ever use raw if A) Plan on printing super huge, or B) the scene could benefit from tiny smooth tonal graduations. Both very rarely happen. I still convert in Image data converter, very basic adjustments if anything - save as TIFF then process in photoshop. Still on CS2 so I can't open the A700 files directly into CS2.

I also add a lot of layers in my process file, then save into PSD format, in 16 bit mode - this could take several hundred megabytes, it already takes about 60-120MB for my processed JPEGs. I really think RAW is overrated as hell.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 3:16 pm 
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Well, I don't want to work with JPEGs anymore. RAW just works for me so much better. But then again, I've worked with JPEG for a loooong time and never disliked it! You have to weigh up the qualities of both formats, and choose which suits you best.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 11:43 pm 
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Bjorn van Sinttruije wrote:
Well, I don't want to work with JPEGs anymore. RAW just works for me so much better. But then again, I've worked with JPEG for a loooong time and never disliked it! You have to weigh up the qualities of both formats, and choose which suits you best.

- Bjorn -


It's amazing how there is no right answer to the RAW vs JPEG question. Publications like Popular Photography will have articles stating that RAW is definitely the way to go, but then again, I've come across photographers who never shoot in RAW and question my desire to do so.

It's my understanding that RAW is a lossless format. But now I'm seeing that some programs claim to allow lossless editing of JPEG files. I always thought that every time you saved changes to a JPEG, you were degrading the quality of the image.

I'm picky about music this way as well. To me the worst thing ever invented was the low bitrate MP3. Back in the 90's I spent thousands on a sound system so that I could reproduce music as good as I could afford. These days, people seem perfectly happy listening to their MP3 players. Sound systems have become more for home theater than music reproduction.

When it comes to photography, one of the things that drives me crazy is the amount of post-production being done on photos. I'm not wild about people looking like computer-rendered cartoons. Since I will never be able to invest the time or money into top notch lenses and lighting equipment, I'm hoping that a good editor can help compensate for a lack of these things. So far, Adobe Lightroom seems to be up to the task.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 2:16 am 
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Anbesol wrote:
I only ever use raw if A) Plan on printing super huge, or B) the scene could benefit from tiny smooth tonal graduations. Both very rarely happen. I still convert in Image data converter, very basic adjustments if anything - save as TIFF then process in photoshop. Still on CS2 so I can't open the A700 files directly into CS2.

I also add a lot of layers in my process file, then save into PSD format, in 16 bit mode - this could take several hundred megabytes, it already takes about 60-120MB for my processed JPEGs. I really think RAW is overrated as hell.


Image Data Converter is OK if all you're doing is converting from RAW, and even then the software isn't much fun to use.

Sounds to me like you're pretty serious about photography if you're layering to the tune of 60-120MB JPEGs. Are these typically photos for ads? I have a client who is in the custom kitchen business. When their photographer sends them photos for use in advertising, they're huge. They look fantastic, but I can't believe how large the files are. I couldn't understand how a camera would create such large files. Now I understand that it's the processing.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 2:27 am 
Anbesol wrote:
I only ever use raw if A) Plan on printing super huge, or B) the scene could benefit from tiny smooth tonal graduations. Both very rarely happen. I still convert in Image data converter, very basic adjustments if anything - save as TIFF then process in photoshop. Still on CS2 so I can't open the A700 files directly into CS2.

I also add a lot of layers in my process file, then save into PSD format, in 16 bit mode - this could take several hundred megabytes, it already takes about 60-120MB for my processed JPEGs. I really think RAW is overrated as hell.


This is why one uses Lightroom, because it saves disk space by making nondestructive and virtual edits on photographs, not affecting the photo at all. People who use Lightroom have more than enough room to spare for the relatively tiny RAW files that are in contrast to 60-120MB JPEGS.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 3:03 am 
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Some operations can be done losslessly on jpegs, but not that many, and with limitations. For repeated saving, you don't want to use it. I often shoot jpeg, and will only do one resave from there. Anything else goes back to the original to work from. The jpeg also has less info to start with compared to raw.

Lightroom is also quite limited in the edits, it is no more than a glorified front end to a raw converter. That is why you see people use it in conjunction with photoshop or other external editors for more serious edits. In that case you still need to save it, in full, in an alternate format.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 5:43 am 
Oh wow no I must have misstated what I meant. I turn jpegs into lossless PSD as I process, which is similar to a TIFF format image except photoshop proprietary. Add layers to it, and that image size multiplies, make it 8 layers and its a good 160MB. If I process a RAW the same way, its even more, but at that point the only real difference is 8 bit vs 16 bit, as they both then become lossless files. 99% of printing is done in 8 bit already, so even processing RAW, I often convert to 8 bit.

Heres another problem - processing jpegs, and re-saving them as jpegs, every time you save as jpeg, the image goes through yet another compression routine and degrades the image. Time after time after time, it can have a very negative impact on the image.

I really didn't like lightroom, I found it a mega resource hog, and the way it tried to autofetch files so often was just obnoxious for me. Image data converter is efficient but simple, it offers me all I need in raw processing. Personally all that is done in lightroom I think can be done better in Photoshop, I see lightroom as an 'Image data converter' with pointless fluff. Image data converter does all I need with raws, photoshop handles the rest. :D
Quote:
Now I understand that it's the processing.

Layers add a whole new dimension to the world of processing, ever since I've used overlay high pass filters, I havent touched smart sharpen or unsharp mask.
Quote:
People who use Lightroom have more than enough room to spare for the relatively tiny RAW files that are in contrast to 60-120MB JPEGS.

Lightroom adjustments are very cursory in comparison to layered adjustments. This isn't where lightroom has the edge.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 12:36 pm 
Anbesol wrote:
Heres another problem - processing jpegs, and re-saving them as jpegs, every time you save as jpeg, the image goes through yet another compression routine and degrades the image. Time after time after time, it can have a very negative impact on the image.


I've always found this argument against JPEGs to be fairly academic. How many people actually edit the out-of-camera JPEGs directly and then save over it? Most people would duplicate the original JPEG and edit that or if they make edits they'll save it into a lossless format like TIFF or PSD, like you are currently doing. In theory, that could happen. In practice, that never happens unless you were being particularly obtuse.

Having said all that, there's a list on these forums somewhere with new year's resolutions and mine was to shoot JPEGs this year. I'm glad to say I'm still keeping at it and it's helped my photography tremendously as I shift out of the "Oh, I'll photoshop it later" mentality to a more "Get it right in camera" mentality. That's just me though, so YMMV.


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