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      05-05-2015, 05:39 PM   #1
mtecnic
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RAW vs JPG

I've read several articles explaining the benefits of RAW format for post processing vs the lossy format of JPG.

My wedding photographer and another one we used for some couples pics previously both ended with stunning photographs, shoot only JPG.

Where do you guys stand on this?

Raw only?
JPG only?
RAW and JPG and process the ones you need to fix?

I'm a little confused to say the least.
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      05-05-2015, 05:52 PM   #2
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I feel that for a paying job JPG is not doing the paying customer justice. I see no reason not to shoot raw unless the format/camera is so new that raw converters cannot process the images yet. Space as a constraint and smaller files is definitely not worth the quality loss in most cases. While JPG has gotten better, you have more room to process when shooting raw.

Any seasoned shooter or pro will process basically everything. There is almost no photo that can't be helped with processing. Color correction and getting the most detail possible (especially when extracting from shadows and highlights) can be done to make any photo better. RAW is just better for doing that.
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      05-05-2015, 05:58 PM   #3
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I shoot in RAW and postprocess in Lightroom. My really great photos need very little editing. But, there are situations when Lightroom does come in handy. I have my camera settings set very neutral (no saturation, sharpness, contrast, etc turned on other than the basics). From what I've read, it's much easier to add (color, sharpness, and so on) during postprocessing rather than trying to take it out later.
That being said, there are the "purists" out there that only shoot jpeg and think shooting RAW and postprocessing is "cheating". You can work a jpeg but it's minimal compared to RAW.
hope this makes sense..
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      05-05-2015, 06:13 PM   #4
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What they said. The only pros I know of that routinely shoot JPEG are wire-service types where speed is of the essence and they are sending shots straight out of the camera to be published instantly.

You only get one chance to shoot most of my subjects, so RAW provides a nice safety net even though I'm usually pretty close. It only takes one session shot with the wrong white balance setting to make a believer out of you
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      05-06-2015, 01:02 AM   #5
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I used to be a wedding photographer several years ago. We would shoot around 3-4k images during a wedding. Shooting jpeg made it easier. It was easier to just take another shot if we missed the exposure. We were constantly thinking of post production while shooting. We had a special multi-strobe lighting technique for shooting in dark dance floors, so we didn't need RAW for those tricky lighting situations either.
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      05-06-2015, 01:27 PM   #6
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As to the purist thing... The thing to realize, is whether or not YOU shoot in RAW, your camera only shoots in RAW. It is the digital negative.

When you set your camera to only save JPG files, what actually happens is the camera converts the RAW data via a processing engine to export a JPG file. Usually this applies some profile to the photo, unless the photographer sets things to completely neutral, in which case the result is as close as possible to the RAW data.

I would venture to guess that most photographers that shoot JPG use one of the presets which does add some basic sharpening, noise reduction, color correction, etc. So instead of having control of the result, they let their camera do it for them. I wouldn't call this purist, I would call it the easy way out. Not to say that is good or bad; it is just not "pure" in most cases, in my opinion.

One of the benefits of RAW is things like lens correction, chromatic aberration removal, and similar, which will affect the actual pixels of an image. Doing this on a RAW file will preserve quality much better.

Since I shoot fine art style photography, and am not a professional in the sense that you can't hire me and tell me what to shoot for you, I only shoot in RAW with rare exception. And the exception for me is when I don't want to process, such as a favor for some small event or gathering where I just want to offload photos and hand them off to someone right off the SD card. Because, it is easier, as others have stated.

My view as a customer is that, if I am paying for photography, I want that personal touch on my photos and would be willing to pay more to the photographer who shoots RAW and individually reviews each image... Because it is possible to apply a preset to all photos in LightRoom and just export them as JPEGs anyways. Which sort of defeats the purpose unless the lighting conditions were relatively similar across the entire shoot.
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      05-06-2015, 01:38 PM   #7
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Sports photographers will often shoot JPG, especially if they need their camera to shoot as many frames per second as possible for as long as possible. Scott Kelby shoots JPGs at football games. And when you hear the 1Dx at a gymnastics event in full machine gun mode (12-14FPS), you know they're shooting JPG because it will take 180 continuous JPG images before slowing down, whereas it will only take 38 RAW images before it slows. And sports photogs don't have days to sift through and process hundreds of RAW files. They need to get their images out there.
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      05-06-2015, 03:12 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M_Six View Post
Sports photographers will often shoot JPG, especially if they need their camera to shoot as many frames per second as possible for as long as possible. Scott Kelby shoots JPGs at football games. And when you hear the 1Dx at a gymnastics event in full machine gun mode (12-14FPS), you know they're shooting JPG because it will take 180 continuous JPG images before slowing down, whereas it will only take 38 RAW images before it slows. And sports photogs don't have days to sift through and process hundreds of RAW files. They need to get their images out there.
Agree. Different tools for different purposes.
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      05-06-2015, 05:00 PM   #9
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Simply put..... It all depends on what you trying to achieve with your image.

RAW provides you with much more information to work with than a JPEG. In a perfect world, you should always shoot RAW and then save a copy of your image to whatever image type you want (JPG, PNG, etc.). Only shooting in a compressed mode such as JPEG automatically puts you at a disadvantage.

Most decent cameras allow you to shoot RAW+JPEG.

Most situations work fine shooting in JPEG, but RAW gives you more control.
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      05-06-2015, 10:41 PM   #10
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I shoot raw because i'm not good enough to always get it right in the camera. Being able to make adjustments at the end of the day helps me do two things. I can use it to make poor photo of an interesting subject reasonable enough to keep. And i can also use the adjustments to create as close of a replica that i saw with my eyes that day. It does take some time, but i think it's worth it.
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      05-06-2015, 11:10 PM   #11
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I shoot in Raw because it allows for better editing. When you shoot in JPG everything is compressed and it makes editing difficult sometimes.
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      05-07-2015, 12:08 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Tonka View Post
I shoot raw because i'm not good enough to always get it right in the camera.
Right there with you, Mr. T.
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      05-07-2015, 08:37 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M_Six View Post
Right there with you, Mr. T.
Yeah, me too (or should I say three).

I used to take JPG and RAW - my daughter said I was just filling up my card faster. Now it's just RAW.

I don't think I've ever had a picture I didn't need to process. My worst habit, I apparently hold the camera 1.2 degrees off center. I always need to adjust that...
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      05-07-2015, 09:35 AM   #14
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I shoot in both JPEG and RAW. I have a 32GB card, so I can take quite a few photos before the card is full. I keep the RAW files as a backup, but when I'm sending pics to family etc., they will get the JPEG version. If they would like a certain photo blown up as a print, I would use the RAW file to do that.

Also, Lightroom gives me a bit more flexibility when it comes to RAW files.
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      05-07-2015, 09:45 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShopVac View Post

I don't think I've ever had a picture I didn't need to process. My worst habit, I apparently hold the camera 1.2 degrees off center. I always need to adjust that...
Right there with you on that. I guess my head is crooked

My new XT1 has helped me with that with the EVF with a horizon line that turns green when level, but with my canons I am usually in action mode and don't have time to stop and think.

Anyway, it's kind of relaxing for me to fire up Lightroom with a glass of wine or bourbon, and edit my photos. As the others have said, I'm not good enough to use JPEG on those once in a life shots.
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      05-07-2015, 10:30 AM   #16
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I love the Straighten-and-Level correction in ACR. I use it on almost every shot. It corrects most images perfectly. Once in a while if there is a prominent diagonal running through the image, it'll mess up the correction. But mostly it works like a charm.
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      05-07-2015, 12:05 PM   #17
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I use my camera's built-in level, and a bubble level for the hot-shoe.
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      05-07-2015, 01:40 PM   #18
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I used to shoot both, but now only do RAW. As mentioned, if you get a shot that's perfectly composed, metered and subsequently exposed, there's not a lot you need to do. But in my case, I play around with everything all the time. From lens corrections, to adding some color vibrancy, and sometimes, a little HDR, but with my current tools, I don't really even do so many HDR compositions anymore.

I'll process, convert to jpg and fire up on the site as required. You can't really do a thing with a jpg that's worth it, so I don't even bother anymore.

Plus, only shooting one over the other saves storage space in the long run.
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      05-07-2015, 01:51 PM   #19
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The only lens I have that does not have a correction profile (because she's purrfect) is the Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L ... every other lens needs correction. Oh and my fish-eye, but that's kind of its entire purpose, not having straight lines and all
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      05-10-2015, 09:26 PM   #20
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to echo everyone... i hate missing a nice photo when my "capture"/timing was spot on, but the lighting was way off and it looks like crap. i've made photos that should have been useless into quite acceptable, and photos that were acceptable into very decent. shooting JPG and RAW made it a headache to sort through them so i'm RAW only now. Unless i'm using the camera as a point & shoot then i put it in a JPEG only and put the camera in auto... hope for the best
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      05-10-2015, 10:43 PM   #21
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If I shot for money I would shoot raw+jpg that way I could just spend time further editing some of the Raws I liked in depth.

Because I just shoot for a hobby I always only shoot raw. One easy reason, for me if I come away with a great photo, I sure as heck want it to be raw so I have the most headroom with processing possible.

Using a Nikon d800e the raw files are truly impressive the amount of shadows that can be pulled with little noise. Being an amature wildlife photographer that submits stock photography and ocasionally submitting for magazines, i find that raw gives me the ability to really push the files even when lighting situations are not ideal
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      Yesterday, 10:29 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ddk632 View Post
The only lens I have that does not have a correction profile (because she's purrfect) is the Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L ... every other lens needs correction. Oh and my fish-eye, but that's kind of its entire purpose, not having straight lines and all
I've got the 15mm f/2.8 diagonal fish-eye and use my RAW conversion software (DxO Optics Pro) to de-fish most of the shots and make them rectilinear.

Many of the higher end Canon bodies now include Digital Lens Optimization in their in-camera JPEG, but I still prefer to shoot in RAW and convert with an external converter. I use "Optimal Exposure" also known as "Expose To The Right" ("ETTR") which usually results in a RAW file that's over exposed when viewed without correction.

Understanding Optimal Exposure (ETTR) gives you 1 to 2-stops of additional dynamic range over what you'd get if you exposed as if you were using Kodachrome or Fujichrome and needed to get the exposure correct in-camera. ETTR will add several megabites of data for you to work with in RAW conversion. It really shows up in dynamic range. Your ability to pull up shadows and pull down highlights yields DR approaching what the eye sees.

Shoot RAW and use Optimal Exposure and your images will take a major step forward, once you understand how to do it well.

Dave
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