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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 5:02 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2013 10:41 pm
Posts: 9
Starting to get back into photography, it’s been awhile. Last SLR I had, let my son take it to the park and he forgot to bring it home. :wink: So it’s been point n shoots for quite a while. Now he has kids of his own and I need to start shooting seriously again, so I got a Canon T4i.

But things are different these days; ISO is not determined by the film you buy, ya just turn a dial (sweet) But so much seems to be done these days in “post” and everyone keeps telling me to “shoot in raw”. I’m understanding my camera well and the technique is coming back to me, but it’s what to do with that damn card that has me confused.

Don’t think I have the time or money to learn photoshop (it’s just a hobby) Lightroom sounded cool till I read up on it, but don’t think I’m smart enough (not for the computer novice) But I wanna shoot in raw, dammit. So I tried Picassa, but I don’t know how to manipulate my raw images to look any better than the jpeg version.

So since it’s just a hobby, and I’m not a computer guy, should I make peace with jpeg? Or .. is there an easy program with a ‘quick fix’ button that will make shooting raw worth it, for a guy like me??


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 6:19 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 18, 2009 5:23 pm
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Location: Boca Raton, FL, USA
Only you can come to the final conclusion of what works for you - if you try to gather the opinions of the masses, you're going to end up feeling the pressure to be just like them - the masses will always tell you a certain brand is best, you should aspire to full frame, and you should never ever shoot in anything but RAW. They'll tell you which RAW editor is best, and what to take photos of, if you want them to!

My opinion is: have your own opinion, and do what gets you the results, what makes you happy, and what makes photography everything you need it to be. If that can be done by shooting JPG, and using a decent entry-level body, and no post-processing, then why not? In my opinion, the reason to change anything you're doing, the ONLY reason that matters, is because you're not happy with the results you're getting the way you do it now. A great reason to move to RAW shooting is because it offers much wider latitude to adjust and process your photo after you shoot, and offers a higher degree of recovery to fix errors if you make them...so if you're finding your results are not pleasing you, not meeting your needs, or just need more work to look good, then RAW is a good option to learn how to use. But if you find yourself happy with what you're getting out of your camera now, if you find your photos meet all you need them to, and you find yourself pretty good at nailing everything in the camera to where you don't feel you need much post-processing alterations, then keep shooting JPG.

Let me put it another way: I know some folks who shoot in JPG and can get vastly superior results and much better photos than some folks I know who shoot in RAW. Part of that is the skill of the photographer, part of it is knowing how to set up the JPG output of the camera and choose the right settings while shooting to nail the look you are going for, and part of it may have to do with the RAW skills of the other shooters and their skill level when shooting. But the fact remains: those JPG guys get what they need from JPG, the results are pleasing, and meet all their needs. One of them is a pro shooter...the others amateurs. Do you REALLY want to shoot RAW, or does peer pressure from all you hear and see on the boards telling you that you're inferior or will never be a pro if you don't shoot RAW cause you to think you need to do it? Wanting to shoot RAW to learn more about post-processing, take more control over the final output of your photo after you shoot it, or the need to fix or recover your photos for optimal results are all fine reasons to shoot RAW. Caving in to peer pressure when you were already happy is not a good reason to shoot RAW.

I can offer you my own personal choice, not to pressure you with what to do, but just offer perspective. I'm a semi-pro shooter, have been in SLR photography since 1977 and digital photography since 1997. I get paid for some of my work and do hired shoots, and also shoot purely for pleasure. I shoot in JPG roughly 95% of the time overall, with RAW mostly being used when I shoot hired jobs. Even then, I tend to shoot RAW+JPG, so I can use the JPGs most of the time when I nail the shot, but have the RAW there to back me up in case I flub anything, since I am no longer the only one relying on the photo - I have a client I need to please, so the RAW is insurance. When I shoot any personal photography, I shoot JPG - I enjoy photography much more that way, because I like being out in the world, taking the photos, and working as hard as I can to get everything right when I shoot - the interface between man and machine, turning dials and getting settings right, adjusting the parameters of the camera's JPG engine just-so, that's the part I enjoy. Sitting in front of a computer is something that feels more like a task or job - I don't enjoy that as much as I feel I just need to. So I try to limit the amount of time I spend there. JPG, shot correctly, avoids the need to do any post processing. Get the exposure right, tune the JPGs for just the right color output, contrast curve, saturation, and sharpness, use dynamic range optimization software in camera to control highlights and shadows, focus correctly, and compose correctly, and the shot can come out of the camera ready to hang on a wall or sell to a client, or publish in a National magazine. And of course, you can still post-process a JPG - lots of things can be fine-tuned, just not with the extreme flexibility of RAW. You need to be much closer to right than wrong with the JPG - with the RAW, you can be wildly off and still get a decent shot out of it. Some things RAW can do that JPG cannot, such as setting white balance...while white balance can be 'adjusted' with the JPG, some colors can be irreparably thrown off even after adjustment - so if you're not into setting the correct white balance when you shoot, that could be a big advantage of RAW, because you can correctly tune it later. I like setting it when I shoot, so this isn't an issue for me.

Neither method is wrong or right, so don't let people sway you on that argument. Just decide what it is you want from photography, what parts of the process you enjoy the most, decide whether you are happy with the output you're getting now, whether you could improve your JPG results to the point where you can be happy, or whether RAW is the better choice for maximum flexibility, enjoyment, or optimal final results. Then choose for yourself, and care not what others opine.

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Sony A6000 / 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 / 55-210mm F4-6.3 / 10-18mm F4 / 35mm F1.8 / 16mm F2.8 / via manual adapter, lots of Pentax K mount, Konica K/AR mount, and Leica M mount manual lenses

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 7:52 pm 
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Justin, that's probably about the best explanation & reasoning i've read on this topic/argument. Thank you 8)


Chris, i've only been shooting with a Dslr for a couple of years, apart from a P&S, after quite a few years away from film & like you found (& still do to a large extent) the manipulation/post processing of my images a burden, which I didn't enjoy. Mostly because i'm the least techie person on the planet :? , but after using picassa for some time & starting to get to grips with the very basics, I bought PSE10. I still don't know what all the functions do :lol: but for those pics that I really like, I actually don't mind spending a bit of time pp'ing them now. (useful on the many rainy days/weeks when I can't get out to shoot)

When I started, my mates told me "Oh ya gotta shoot RAW.... jpegs aren't good enough ....blah blah blah..."
I did start with RAW+jpeg but my old computer was filling up too fast, so mainly just shoot jpeg now. As Justin said though, if there is what I think might be a fantastic image opportunity, or a shot i'm not sure about, i'll shoot RAW+jpeg.

Someone once told me he wasn't good enough to shoot in jpeg!!!!

Just enjoy taking photo's, learn about your camera & settings, then in a while you might want to try your hand @ pp'ing.....or not. 8) Either way, it's about having fun. :wink:

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:04 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2013 10:41 pm
Posts: 9
Whoa, thx for all the advise! And makes total sense; rather than get even more overwhelmed trying to figure out a whole new program to deal w raw photos .. should probly just focus on mastering my camera. Least for now..


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:18 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 12, 2009 2:03 am
Posts: 1460
Location: Gold Coast Australia
oldCarlos wrote:
Justin, that's probably about the best explanation & reasoning i've read on this topic/argument. Thank you 8)

I have to agree with Carlos, although computer literate, I do not like to spend much time in PP. and try to get my shots right when shooting in camera with jpg. Most of my PP. is usually adjustment to shadows/shadows and crop of course in PSE8.


Cheers

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 4:38 am 
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Joined: Sat Dec 29, 2012 1:40 am
Posts: 19
Location: Georgia, USA
I agree with what was said about the JPG comments and the RAW comments. PEG does have it's merits and the same holds true for the opposition, in the end it comes down to you. Personally, I am new to all of this and as such I find my shots are off quite frequently either through experimentation to see what happens or just purely a mistake. For me, I feel pretty comfortable behind the computer so post processing works for me allowing some extra forgiveness. Still though as pointed out above you can still edit a JPEG just not as extreme as the RAW. So if you are shooting well JPEG maybe your answer even if you still want to just tweak it slightly to make it shine you still can. So on that note since the others did such a well job on the above relating to the JPEG/RAW aspect of your post, I figured I would touch more on your post processing comment.

viciouschris wrote:
Lightroom sounded cool till I read up on it, but don’t think I’m smart enough (not for the computer novice)


You mentioned Lightroom, quoted above. I'm not sure which part your read up on that changed your mind but I will give you that some aspects can be intimidating and/or confusing but only if you let them become so - meaning just like the comment of the masses, don't try to take it all in at once (unless you're comfortable with that method). The reason I'm homing in on lightroom as example is for a couple of reasons. #1 I like it, I've come to really appreciate it for its Keywording of photos, its automated import methods for making folders and filing things away in a consistent manner but even those aside at its very base my #2 reason (in my humble opinion) the actual photo editing is very simple with slider bars for exposure, adjusting blues on a cloudy day etc. with instant feedback of the results #3 it makes a virtual copy of the image so you can monkey with them all you want and it never modify your original (commonly referred to as a non-destructive environment), you just publish/export a edit copy when you like the result #4 this one is great for people undecided, there is a free trial download! So why not play around with some sample photos, meaning go shoot some stuff in RAW+JPG, shoot some good ones as well as some blown out of whack deliberately and then see how far you can bring them back in line seeing the differences for yourself with the file types. Also aside from that while using the trial you may quickly find you like the tinkering aspects or on the flip side confirm you just really don't want to mess with it and want to focus on shooting, either way its free and win-win specific to what you like!

good luck!

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 8:19 pm 
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Posts: 2177
Location: The Netherlands
Excuse me for not reading everything, but there are free RAW converters! Canon's own software which came with your camera is quite decent to be fair! Dont underestimate it. Have a try!
Also, there's Gimp. Basically Photoshop, but then free (from the makers of Ubuntu operating system). Worth a try too.

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Ruben

Panasonic DMC-FZ18, Panasonic DMC-FZ28, Canon G5, Canon 350D, Canon 50D + BG-E2N
Tamron 17-50 2.8, Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM,
Canon 18-55 II plus lots of Minolta MD/M42 lenses and bodies


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 1:02 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2010 11:55 pm
Posts: 900
Location: SE Texas
Welcome to the forum! :)

There is nothing inherently wrong with shooting good JPEGs. Some professionals shoot JPEGs, such as sports photographers and some other journalsts, so they can transmit their images wirelessly immediately after the shots are taken. I and my wife both work for government entities, and our evidentiary images must not be processed in anyway after leaving the camera. She submits medium JPEGs from Nikons, per her agency's policy. I submit Large Fine JPEGs from any camera I choose to use, usually my working pair of 7D cameras. (I can still submit film into evidence, but it slows the process, and I feel better knowing I have real images; there are no re-shoots at crime scenes.) Not that I consider myself a professional photographer, of course, but I do shoot photos at a paying job, and use Manual and Aperture Value modes. :) Someday, I will progress beyond the guy who presses the little black button. :wink:

On the hobbyist/enthusiast/art side, well, I am not much of a computer person, either. I will record some images as RAW + JPEG, in order to have the RAW file saved for later processing. Our computers are old, except for a tiny mini-netbook that is quite slow, and I plan to wait until late 2013, at the soonest, to acquire a really good computer system, so I do not yet process images. I do plan to learn about post-processing in the future.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 4:00 am 
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I shoot both jpg and raw and find that most of the time I use the jpg. The raw is something I fall back on when the shot wasn`t that great in the first place, ie the lighting isn`t in the right spot.

Ultimately it comes down what you want to do to the photo, if all you are doing is resizing it and posting it on flickr, you can hide a lot of faults in jpg and a lot more with a raw file.

Canon`s dpp is a very good free program, does a great job, then programs like photoscape allow you to edit jpg`s nicely.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 11:56 am 
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Posts: 58
Location: Auckland, NZ
hi,

I'm not the greatest with the computer, but I learnt to use Adobe Lightroom pretty easily, well the basic functions anyway! It's like a simple version of Adobe. I have Photoshop but yes I agree it's quite daunting.

I found youtube videos were the best way to learn, they show certain editing tools or a 'all of the basics' in just one video.

RAW is pretty great, but perhaps shoot JPEG + RAW and see what you prefer. It really depends on how much time you have and how much you would like to devote to it. It's pretty easy to get caught up in it all and time flies!

I hope that helps, have fun!

Cheers,
Richie

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photography by [ fresh ]
beach, travel & street photography
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