I 'm learning to love raw

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Scott W, May 30, 2006.

  1. Scott W

    Scott W Guest

    My wife and I have just returned from a cruise to Alaska, where we both
    took a lot of photos. On this trip we shot all raw, I found to my
    delight that it was almost impossible to over expose an image when
    shooting raw.

    Here are two photos that were saved because I was shooting raw, both
    would have been way over exposed if I was shooting jpeg.
    http://www.pbase.com/konascott/image/61045238
    http://www.pbase.com/konascott/image/61044980

    In both cases I show what the camera jpeg would have looked like next
    to what I recovered using the raw file.

    Once we got home I decided to do a test to see just how much over
    exposed a photo can be and still be saved with the raw file. For this
    test I shot in the raw+jpeg mode so I could get the jpeg exactly as the
    camera produces it. In the test I shot at the normal meter setting and
    then two stops over exposed. In this image there are three photos, the
    top one is the jpeg from the camera at normal exposure, the middle one
    is the camera jpeg two stops over exposed, the bottom is from the raw
    file that was captured at the same time, converted using Photoshop
    Elements 3. Note I adjusted the color balance as well as the jpeg
    images looked a little on the cool side to me.

    http://www.pbase.com/konascott/image/61045031

    In the past when shooting jpegs I would spend a lot of time looking at
    histograms to make sure I was not blowing out the highlights. On this
    trip I pretty much just took photos and had to worry about the
    histograms far less.

    There is a perception by some that shooting raw is more work then
    shooting jpegs. The more I shoot raw the more I realize that it is far
    easier to shoot in raw then jpeg. I simply don't have to take the
    time on every shot to see if I have blown the highlights.

    BTW here is a small sampling of the photo I took on the trip.
    http://www.pbase.com/konascott/alaska

    Scott
    Scott W, May 30, 2006
    #1
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  2. Scott W

    Eatmorepies Guest

    "Scott W" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > My wife and I have just returned from a cruise to Alaska, where we both
    > took a lot of photos. On this trip we shot all raw, I found to my
    > delight that it was almost impossible to over expose an image when
    > shooting raw.
    >


    I like RAW as well. I often shoot at 2/3 of a stop over exposed and take
    what Adobe CSII suggests in its auto correction mode - not always, RAW
    allows a lot leeway for pictures with unusual lighting content.

    Someone will soon be along to tell us to get it right in the camera. They
    are, of course, correct.

    John
    Eatmorepies, May 30, 2006
    #2
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  3. Scott W

    Beck Guest

    "Eatmorepies" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    >
    > "Scott W" <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    >> My wife and I have just returned from a cruise to Alaska, where we both
    >> took a lot of photos. On this trip we shot all raw, I found to my
    >> delight that it was almost impossible to over expose an image when
    >> shooting raw.
    >>

    >
    > I like RAW as well. I often shoot at 2/3 of a stop over exposed and take
    > what Adobe CSII suggests in its auto correction mode - not always, RAW
    > allows a lot leeway for pictures with unusual lighting content.
    >
    > Someone will soon be along to tell us to get it right in the camera. They
    > are, of course, correct.


    I have never shot raw. My camera does do them though. What are the
    benefits?
    Beck, May 30, 2006
    #3
  4. Scott W

    Scott W Guest

    Beck wrote:
    > are, of course, correct.
    >
    > I have never shot raw. My camera does do them though. What are the
    > benefits?


    In most cameras there is a lot of information thrown out when the jpeg
    is produced. The raw file has all of that data in it and so you can
    often get images from the raw files that are just not possible from the
    jpeg.

    The main two advantages that I get from it are way more exposure
    latitude and the ability to very easily adjust the color balance on a
    whole group of image at once.

    On this last trip if I had not been shooting raw I would have spend a
    lot more time adjusting my exposures and a lot less taking photographs.

    In some cases you can also get somewhat sharper images from the raw
    file then you can from the jpeg.

    Scott
    Scott W, May 30, 2006
    #4
  5. Scott W

    BD Guest

    >There is a perception by some that shooting raw is more work then shooting jpegs.

    I think that the misconception is more that it's tougher to work with
    after the fact than JPEG, and that there are a few variants of RAW,
    which are often specific to the manufacturer of the camera.

    But for me, I use BreezeBrowser Pro to mass-convert the RAWs to JPEGS
    for quick and easy browsing; and then use Camera Raw in Photoshop to
    adjust the images as required... Results are far better than if I'd
    shot to JPEG directly.

    BD
    BD, May 30, 2006
    #5
  6. Scott W

    Alfred Molon Guest

    In article <>, naj9daynum3
    @lineone.net says...

    > I like RAW as well. I often shoot at 2/3 of a stop over exposed and take
    > what Adobe CSII suggests in its auto correction mode - not always, RAW
    > allows a lot leeway for pictures with unusual lighting content.


    You still have to be careful when the scene contains a lot of dynamic
    range - in the case you better shoot at exposure, even with RAW.

    By the way, why does everybody write "RAW" and not "raw" ?
    --

    Alfred Molon
    ------------------------------
    Olympus 50X0, 7070, 8080, E300, E330 and E500 forum at
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MyOlympus/
    Olympus E330 resource - http://myolympus.org/E330/
    Alfred Molon, May 30, 2006
    #6
  7. Scott W

    ColinD Guest

    Scott W wrote:
    >
    > My wife and I have just returned from a cruise to Alaska, where we both
    > took a lot of photos. On this trip we shot all raw, I found to my
    > delight that it was almost impossible to over expose an image when
    > shooting raw.
    >
    > Here are two photos that were saved because I was shooting raw, both
    > would have been way over exposed if I was shooting jpeg.
    > http://www.pbase.com/konascott/image/61045238
    > http://www.pbase.com/konascott/image/61044980
    >
    > In both cases I show what the camera jpeg would have looked like next
    > to what I recovered using the raw file.
    >
    > Once we got home I decided to do a test to see just how much over
    > exposed a photo can be and still be saved with the raw file. For this
    > test I shot in the raw+jpeg mode so I could get the jpeg exactly as the
    > camera produces it. In the test I shot at the normal meter setting and
    > then two stops over exposed. In this image there are three photos, the
    > top one is the jpeg from the camera at normal exposure, the middle one
    > is the camera jpeg two stops over exposed, the bottom is from the raw
    > file that was captured at the same time, converted using Photoshop
    > Elements 3. Note I adjusted the color balance as well as the jpeg
    > images looked a little on the cool side to me.
    >
    > http://www.pbase.com/konascott/image/61045031
    >
    > In the past when shooting jpegs I would spend a lot of time looking at
    > histograms to make sure I was not blowing out the highlights. On this
    > trip I pretty much just took photos and had to worry about the
    > histograms far less.
    >
    > There is a perception by some that shooting raw is more work then
    > shooting jpegs. The more I shoot raw the more I realize that it is far
    > easier to shoot in raw then jpeg. I simply don't have to take the
    > time on every shot to see if I have blown the highlights.
    >
    > BTW here is a small sampling of the photo I took on the trip.
    > http://www.pbase.com/konascott/alaska
    >
    > Scott


    Right on there, Scott. I shoot 100% raw with my 300D, and I won't shoot
    jpeg except under exceptional circumstances - which I haven't run into
    yet!

    I use DxO Optics to convert to either jpg, tif, or dng - lately I've
    been using dng as the files are lossless but only half the size of a tif
    file. DxO also has the considerable advantage of correcting lens
    aberrations as it converts, specific to the lens and camera used,
    including barrel/pincushion, CA, PF etc. My 17-85mm IS looks like an
    'L' lens after DxO has straightened it.

    DxO corrections are automatic after you set up what you want it to do.
    After my Hong Kong trip in January I fed it with >600 raw images, which
    it converted overnight. Takes about 40 seconds per image with a 3.00GHz
    processor, about 6½ hours processing time while I slept.

    Disclaimer: I have no interest in DxO Optics other than an extremely
    satisfied user.

    Colin D.

    *** Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com ***
    ColinD, May 31, 2006
    #7
  8. Scott W

    Ken Weitzel Guest

    ColinD wrote:
    >
    > Scott W wrote:
    >
    >>My wife and I have just returned from a cruise to Alaska, where we both
    >>took a lot of photos. On this trip we shot all raw, I found to my
    >>delight that it was almost impossible to over expose an image when
    >>shooting raw.
    >>
    >>Here are two photos that were saved because I was shooting raw, both
    >>would have been way over exposed if I was shooting jpeg.
    >>http://www.pbase.com/konascott/image/61045238
    >>http://www.pbase.com/konascott/image/61044980
    >>
    >>In both cases I show what the camera jpeg would have looked like next
    >>to what I recovered using the raw file.
    >>
    >>Once we got home I decided to do a test to see just how much over
    >>exposed a photo can be and still be saved with the raw file. For this
    >>test I shot in the raw+jpeg mode so I could get the jpeg exactly as the
    >>camera produces it. In the test I shot at the normal meter setting and
    >>then two stops over exposed. In this image there are three photos, the
    >>top one is the jpeg from the camera at normal exposure, the middle one
    >>is the camera jpeg two stops over exposed, the bottom is from the raw
    >>file that was captured at the same time, converted using Photoshop
    >>Elements 3. Note I adjusted the color balance as well as the jpeg
    >>images looked a little on the cool side to me.
    >>
    >>http://www.pbase.com/konascott/image/61045031
    >>
    >>In the past when shooting jpegs I would spend a lot of time looking at
    >>histograms to make sure I was not blowing out the highlights. On this
    >>trip I pretty much just took photos and had to worry about the
    >>histograms far less.
    >>
    >>There is a perception by some that shooting raw is more work then
    >>shooting jpegs. The more I shoot raw the more I realize that it is far
    >>easier to shoot in raw then jpeg. I simply don't have to take the
    >>time on every shot to see if I have blown the highlights.
    >>
    >>BTW here is a small sampling of the photo I took on the trip.
    >>http://www.pbase.com/konascott/alaska
    >>
    >>Scott

    >
    >
    > Right on there, Scott. I shoot 100% raw with my 300D, and I won't shoot
    > jpeg except under exceptional circumstances - which I haven't run into
    > yet!
    >
    > I use DxO Optics to convert to either jpg, tif, or dng - lately I've
    > been using dng as the files are lossless but only half the size of a tif
    > file. DxO also has the considerable advantage of correcting lens
    > aberrations as it converts, specific to the lens and camera used,
    > including barrel/pincushion, CA, PF etc. My 17-85mm IS looks like an
    > 'L' lens after DxO has straightened it.
    >
    > DxO corrections are automatic after you set up what you want it to do.
    > After my Hong Kong trip in January I fed it with >600 raw images, which
    > it converted overnight. Takes about 40 seconds per image with a 3.00GHz
    > processor, about 6½ hours processing time while I slept.
    >
    > Disclaimer: I have no interest in DxO Optics other than an extremely
    > satisfied user.
    >
    > Colin D.


    Hi Colin.

    Interesting. Can you point me to this DxO software?

    Take care.

    Ken
    Ken Weitzel, May 31, 2006
    #8
  9. Scott W

    BD Guest

    >By the way, why does everybody write "RAW" and not "raw" ?

    Probably because 'raw' is a little more colloquial; lots of things are
    'raw' - raw sound, raw meat... 'RAW' images certain specific
    implications as to how they are to be handled. If it was considered to
    be a truly generic term, and I said "I'm having problems converting
    from unprocessed image data to JPEG", people would ask me what the hell
    I was on about. I say I am trying to convert from RAW to JPEG, and it
    all makes sense.

    Or maybe people just want it to sound like an acronym so it sounds more
    important... ;)
    BD, May 31, 2006
    #9
  10. Scott W

    Beck Guest

    "Scott W" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Beck wrote:
    >> are, of course, correct.
    >>
    >> I have never shot raw. My camera does do them though. What are the
    >> benefits?

    >
    > In most cameras there is a lot of information thrown out when the jpeg
    > is produced. The raw file has all of that data in it and so you can
    > often get images from the raw files that are just not possible from the
    > jpeg.
    >
    > The main two advantages that I get from it are way more exposure
    > latitude and the ability to very easily adjust the color balance on a
    > whole group of image at once.
    >
    > On this last trip if I had not been shooting raw I would have spend a
    > lot more time adjusting my exposures and a lot less taking photographs.
    >
    > In some cases you can also get somewhat sharper images from the raw
    > file then you can from the jpeg.


    So how do you do the conversion to jpg? Do you set the exposure yourself
    during the conversion?
    Beck, May 31, 2006
    #10
  11. Scott W

    Ken Weitzel Guest

    BD wrote:

    >>By the way, why does everybody write "RAW" and not "raw" ?

    >
    >
    > Probably because 'raw' is a little more colloquial; lots of things are
    > 'raw' - raw sound, raw meat... 'RAW' images certain specific
    > implications as to how they are to be handled. If it was considered to
    > be a truly generic term, and I said "I'm having problems converting
    > from unprocessed image data to JPEG", people would ask me what the hell
    > I was on about. I say I am trying to convert from RAW to JPEG, and it
    > all makes sense.
    >
    > Or maybe people just want it to sound like an acronym so it sounds more
    > important... ;)


    Hi...

    It might also help to differentiate between raw as we're using now,
    as opposed to the antique .RAW format.

    Take care.

    Ken
    Ken Weitzel, May 31, 2006
    #11
  12. Scott W

    Scott W Guest

    Beck wrote:

    > So how do you do the conversion to jpg? Do you set the exposure yourself
    > during the conversion?


    There are a number of raw converters, the best that I have found for
    recovery of over exposed images is Adobe's raw converter, which is a
    plugin for Photoshop or Photoshop Elements 3 or 4. When using this
    plugin you just open the raw file like any other image file and
    Photoshop brings up the converter dialog box. The raw file can be
    loaded directly into Photoshop as a 16 bit/color or 8 bit/color.

    Other converters seem to do other things better and are very good at
    batch converting large number of files.

    All raw converters have an expsure adjustment which works better in
    some then in others.

    Scott
    Scott W, May 31, 2006
    #12
  13. Scott W

    Annika1980 Guest

    When I first saw your "eagle on ice" pic I thought, "Now THERE is a
    tough exposure!" Once again, RAW saves the day.

    Now the naysayers from down under will tell you that you could've
    adjusted the JPG file after the fact as well, but you'll never get the
    quality or flexibility from JPG that RAW offers.
    Annika1980, May 31, 2006
    #13
  14. Scott W

    Scott W Guest

    Annika1980 wrote:
    > When I first saw your "eagle on ice" pic I thought, "Now THERE is a
    > tough exposure!" Once again, RAW saves the day.
    >
    > Now the naysayers from down under will tell you that you could've
    > adjusted the JPG file after the fact as well, but you'll never get the
    > quality or flexibility from JPG that RAW offers.


    Yup. No matter how much advantage raw files gives or how easy it
    becomes to use there will always be some people who just don't like the
    idea of raw.

    We were on a cruise ship going at a pretty good clip when we passed
    that eagle, not much time to check histograms and carefully set the
    exposure. But since I had the camera in raw mode this was not a
    problem, I just shot and brought in the blown ice without problems.

    There would be no way to save the image from the jpeg, unless I painted
    in the ice by hand.

    Why there is any resistance to shooting raw at this point in time is
    beyond me.

    Scott
    Scott W, May 31, 2006
    #14
  15. "BD" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > >By the way, why does everybody write "RAW" and not "raw" ?

    SNIP
    > Or maybe people just want it to sound like an acronym so it
    > sounds more important... ;)


    As far as I know (not being of English speaking origin, I'm a native
    Dutch speaker), RAW would indicate an acronym, where as 'raw' could
    signify a common word like in 'raw meat'. To me, 'Raw' (with or
    without the single quotes) seems (to me) to be the correct way of
    spelling.

    Bart
    Bart van der Wolf, May 31, 2006
    #15
  16. "Scott W" <> wrote:
    >
    > We were on a cruise ship going at a pretty good clip when we passed
    > that eagle, not much time to check histograms and carefully set the
    > exposure.


    Manual mode, spot meter. Meter the ice to be +1 2/3 stops. With a spot
    meter, most of the time I only need one reading since there'll be something
    obvious in the scene that needs to be placed correctly, so it's only
    slightly slower than Av mode. Once you have the exposure set, all your shots
    will be at the same exposure, whereas the various "smart" metering modes
    will give you exposures all over the place as the composition changes.

    But, oops. You don't have a spot meter. Back to raw<g>.

    > But since I had the camera in raw mode this was not a
    > problem, I just shot and brought in the blown ice without problems.


    One problem I've noticed is that the 5D _way_ overexposes with my cheap
    consumer zoom (55-200 Canon). I think what's happening is this POC has gross
    vignetting wide open, and since the camera meters wide open, it just doesn't
    realize how much light there is at the periphery and doesn't compensate as
    well as it could.

    > There would be no way to save the image from the jpeg, unless I painted
    > in the ice by hand.
    >
    > Why there is any resistance to shooting raw at this point in time is
    > beyond me.


    Yep. (Although I think that you've overdone the correction on both of those;
    you've lost too much detail in the foliage on the first (although this one's
    hard: you probably need to convert to 16 bits and mask the separate areas
    and adjust the curves individually, or even do multiple conversions), and
    the ice is a tad too dark on the second (IMHO, and all that). But that
    quibbling doesn't negate your point, which is spot on.)

    By the way, you might want to try RawShooter Essentials if you haven't; I
    find that it's "Fill light" function also reduces the contrast, so in
    combination with exposure compensation I have adequate control over the
    contrast and exposure. Presumably some of the other raw converters do that
    as well.

    David J. Littleboy
    Tokyo, Japan
    David J. Littleboy, May 31, 2006
    #16
  17. "Ken Weitzel" <> wrote in message
    news:Wx4fg.214940$WI1.63863@pd7tw2no...
    >

    SNIP
    > Can you point me to this DxO software?


    <http://www.dxo.com/en/photo/home/default.php>

    My major gripe with it is that it supports too few (of my Canon 1Ds
    Mark II mounted) fixed focus lenses.

    Bart
    Bart van der Wolf, May 31, 2006
    #17
  18. Scott W

    Ken Weitzel Guest

    Bart van der Wolf wrote:
    >
    > "Ken Weitzel" <> wrote in message
    > news:Wx4fg.214940$WI1.63863@pd7tw2no...
    >
    >>

    > SNIP
    >
    >> Can you point me to this DxO software?

    >
    >
    > <http://www.dxo.com/en/photo/home/default.php>
    >
    > My major gripe with it is that it supports too few (of my Canon 1Ds Mark
    > II mounted) fixed focus lenses.
    >
    > Bart


    Hi Bart...

    Arghhh. You have my sympathies if I may have yours :)

    Doesn't support my Oly sp-350 either.

    Take care.

    Ken
    Ken Weitzel, May 31, 2006
    #18
  19. Scott W

    Mark² Guest

    Annika1980 wrote:
    > When I first saw your "eagle on ice" pic I thought, "Now THERE is a
    > tough exposure!" Once again, RAW saves the day.
    >
    > Now the naysayers from down under will tell you that you could've
    > adjusted the JPG file after the fact as well, but you'll never get the
    > quality or flexibility from JPG that RAW offers.


    Yep...along with claims that fantastic 30"x40" blow-ups from 4x6 prints are
    no problem.
    :)
    --You can do a lot about ignorance...but what can you do with stupidity??


    --
    Images (Plus Snaps & Grabs) by Mark² at:
    www.pbase.com/markuson
    Mark², May 31, 2006
    #19
  20. "Scott W" <> wrote

    > There is a perception by some that shooting raw is more work then
    > shooting jpegs. The more I shoot raw the more I realize that it is far
    > easier to shoot in raw then jpeg. I simply don't have to take the
    > time on every shot to see if I have blown the highlights.


    It's not just about rescuing highlights, it's also extremely useful for
    brightening shadows.

    "Alfred Molon" <> wrote

    > You still have to be careful when the scene contains a lot of dynamic
    > range - in the case you better shoot at exposure, even with RAW.


    Good point, but rather than "shooting at exposure", it's a question of
    matching the contrast range of the scene with the dynamic range of the
    camera. The histogram is extremely useful for this. I do a lot of high
    contrast photography and I find it best to expose for the highlights, i.e.
    to make the highlights touch the right hand edge of the histogram. This
    gives the best quality when brightening the shadows later (although if it's
    an extremely high contrast shot it's better to take multiple exposures and
    use layer masking or Merge to HDR, but that's another discussion...). Even
    if the shadows look completely black, you may be amazed at how much detail
    is actually in there. Admittedly it's not very high quality detail, but it
    is there.

    A few years ago I did a dynamic range test with my Canon G3, choosing an
    extremely high contrast scene - shooting directly toward the sun (just above
    the picture) with a dark shadow in the immediate foreground. I used a hand
    held spot meter to try to determine the stop range from the brightest part
    of the sky (just below the sun) to the darkest part of the shadow. My
    estimate was 10-11 stops. Another photographer who was there made the same
    estimate independently with his hand held meter. We didn't include the
    sunlight reflecting off the sea, we knew that would overexpose.

    I took a jpeg and a raw. Here are the photos:

    This is the unprocessed jpeg. The sky is overexposed.
    http://www.pvs1.f2s.com/dr1jpeg.jpg

    This is a straight RAW conversion with no processing. The sky is not
    overexposed.
    http://www.pvs1.f2s.com/dr1crw.jpg

    This is the jpeg with extreme brightening applied. There is plenty of
    detail in the shadows, but no colour!
    http://www.pvs1.f2s.com/dr2jpeg.jpg

    This is the RAW file with the same amount of brightening applied. Not only
    is there detail in the shadows, but the colour has been retained, as the
    green grass and yellow lichens show.
    http://www.pvs1.f2s.com/dr2crw.jpg

    Obviously this is not a great photo, and it suffers from flare, but it
    demonstrates the dynamic range and colour that can be captured in a RAW
    image. This shadow detail is not high quality, it suffers from
    posterisation, but it is there. Normally it wouldn't be brightened this
    much, this was just to prove the point. If you lighten the shadows but keep
    them realistically dark, the posterisation will be less noticeable to the
    eye.

    For a better example of how this dynamic range can be used in practice, take
    a look at this before and after photo (it's actually a stitched panorama of
    around half a dozen vertical shots)
    http://www.pvs1.f2s.com/before_after.jpg

    The original image (top) was exposed to ensure that the bright water didn't
    overexpose, a common problem with waterfalls. but as you can see, the land
    has come out rather dark as a result.

    In the processed image (bottom) I've brightened the land, but without
    brightening the water. This gives a nice balanced scene which corresponds
    better with what I actually saw with my eyes. I think I used contrast
    masking to achieve this effect, but it would be simpler to use the
    shadow/highlight control in CS2 these days.

    Paul
    Paul Saunders, May 31, 2006
    #20
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