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WVHillbilly

Why shoot RAW and JPG

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I have a question regarding shooting both in RAW and JPG.  A little more than a year ago I invested in a DSLR and initially shot everything in JPG, about 6 months ago I learned about shooting RAW.  Since then I have been shooting in RAW and JPG, now I post process all the images that I want to post or print using After Shot Pro3 or Paint Shop Pro.  Everything is saved to a hard drive and the cloud.  I haven't used the JPGs and am wondering if anyone shoots only in raw and what is the benefit to keep shooting in both RAW and JPG.

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If you need to or just enjoy the extra post-processing involved in shooting RAW, just shoot RAW. The RAW + JPEG option was intended to provide a rapidly deliverable image from the field with RAW as a backup if exposure, white balance or excessive noise needed to be strongly corrected. These days, the JPEG engines in modern cameras process a well-exposed image about as well as you can in Lightroom or other RAW processors but if extreme correction is needed on an image, the RAW file may allow for recovery where a JPEG may not. 

 

I shoot RAW rarely. Usually when there is truly horrible mixed lighting or when I need ISO over 12800. The rest of the time I find that the JPEGs from a newer camera provide sufficient latitude for general image corrections and enhancements. Especially with the excellent tool available these days that provide the same controls and options for JPEG manipulation as they do for RAW.

 

Dave

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Thanks for the input, I guess I will try post processing on a jpg and raw file to determine how each looks at the end.  What I have used raw processing for is to enhance colors lighting to basically change the available light to something that I would have liked to see.  Hard to control natural lighting/time of day without post processing.

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44 minutes ago, WVHillbilly said:

Thanks for the input, I guess I will try post processing on a jpg and raw file to determine how each looks at the end.  What I have used raw processing for is to enhance colors lighting to basically change the available light to something that I would have liked to see.  Hard to control natural lighting/time of day without post processing.

 

By that I assume that you, like me, are not a profession landscape shooter who can spend days scouting a location and hours waiting for the right light. Thank God for Lightroom! Well, thank Adobe anyway. 🙂

 

Here's an example of a JPEG processed in Lightroom for moderate shadow balancing and color pop (tossed in a little vignette for fun).

 

Before:

 

Cookie-01578-2.thumb.jpg.660089f3c6f40682d7c94ffa4a9a5171.jpg

 

After:

 

Cookie-01578.thumb.jpg.edabee67397467d3993841fb3a279330.jpg

 

This is why I don't shoot RAW exclusively. It has become a processing choice rather than an absolute necessity.

 

Dave

Edited by pierces

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When I first started I would shoot RAW + JPG but would rarely need the RAW photos as the JPGs were fine and my photo editing skills were marginal.  Once we were on a train rounding a corner and I didn’t anticipate the lighting change while taking photos.  Both the RAW & JPGs were slightly over exposed.  I was unable to correct the JPG in Lightroom but I was able to correct the exposure of the RAW photo.  I’ve been shooting only RAW ever since.  For me, the only downside to RAW is file management.

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Guys, Thanks for the input, yes I am an amateur photographer and really am new to digital photography with a DSLR.  And I see where file management would be difficult with RAW files, I will just continue shooting in both modes just so I have the option.  I am using After Shot Pro 3 for post processing as I didn't like the monthly subscription that Light Room has.

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JPEG is a “lossy” format. Meaning that to get a smaller file size it throws information away. It is ideal for sending photos over the internet where size matters  this includes email and social media. 

 

RAW is everything the camera captures and can be very large. You must process it to even see it as a picture.  But wait, you can see RAW files on your device?  Yes, most devices have software to process a temporary copy to allow viewing. 

 

Years a go when digital photos and I were young, I took a once in a lifetime shot of the Effel tower advertising the Paris bid for the 2012 Olympics. The flowers in the foreground and the tower were perfectly exposed and the clouds were blown out with no way to recover the lost detail in the JPEG image. I have shot RAW ever since.  Yes you can shoot multiple exposures with a tripod. But you are alway better off starting with RAW. Convert the image in a photo app later to get JPEG. This lets YOU control what is thrown away. 

 

Memory is cheap. Shoot RAW. You won’t need both unless you need to forward a copy quickly before you have time to process it. 

 

TagalongWell

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TagalongWell said it well - JPEG is lossy and you can never get the details back.

 

For me, culling is a huge part of my post-processing. I share 10% of what I shoot, at most. It's extremely rare that an unedited shot would go out the door ever, so I shoot in RAW only. On the very rare occasion that someone asks me to shoot an event and they need rapid turnaround, THEN I might shoot RAW+JPEG; if the deadline is super tight then I'll either send the unedited JPEG or do a quick edit on the JPEG and send it, otherwise I might use the JPEGs for culling to find the few I'll submit, and then import just those corresponding RAW files for edit and send.

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I shoot RAW (.NEF is you want to be technical) because storage is cheap I don't want to decide when to do one vs the other. I can occasionally be a nuisance if i want a jpg right away, but in that case, I'll probably just use my phone for a real-time "snap and share" pic.  I find that I don't have many RAW files that need much editing when I get home and the vast majority are simply allowed to process with the lightroom profile that very closely matches the profiles the camera would have used if allowed to convert itself. Every so often though I come across that one picture that's like "dang I'm glad I shoot RAW". Shooting RAW also lets me be a little lazy taking pictures (whether anybody likes it or not)

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JPEG is great if you need to get the image out fast.

 

RAW you can adjust the white balance and change so many other thing, because you have more data to work with,

 

Lightroom is nice, but you can do so much more in Photoshop.

 

Many cameras has  2 cards, so you can shoot both, and many cameras will capture both with just 1 card..

 

Not too far back we just had film, with one speed 

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You are correct. I use photoshop to do the pixel level work. Correct for perspective, do HDR.  Work with masks...but the learning curve is steep. 

 

for most photos, Lightroom is very powerful and fast. Images remain stored in raw format and no editing is “distructive”. I do convert to Adobe DNG from the Nikon NEF. My guess and fervent desire is that a decade or 2 from now the DNG format will be strongly supported. 

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15 minutes ago, TagalongWell said:

I do convert to Adobe DNG from the Nikon NEF. My guess and fervent desire is that a decade or 2 from now the DNG format will be strongly supported. 

 

"Wow. Word has obviously gotten out! Our little site has seen quite a surge as people come to let the camera manufacturers know that the professional community wants in-camera DNG support sooner rather than later.

In just a few days, hundreds have taken the time to submit their vote to our petition, and the rate of new entries is accelerating. Please continue to spread the word!

I am off to the PhotoPlus Expo later in the week where I'll be having dinner with managers from Canon Apple, Adobe, Epson and other key organizations. Count on me delivering the news that this movement is real, and the momentum is growing."

 

This is from 2005, a year after the DNG format was introduced. If the majors had moved to a universal DNG back then before they had millions invested in perfecting their preprocessing of the sensor readout to their own proprietary RAW formats, it might have had a chance. One reason was postulated in an article I read several years ago where a Nikon product representative was asked about DNG. He asked why it would matter. People invest in a camera brand and only have one RAW format to deal with, which sort of makes sense. Add to that the fact that Adobe and all the other major and minor editors handle virtually every RAW format shortly after or sometimes before a camera is released and the momentum is probably less than it was back in 2005. DNG may be the victim of Adobe's own efficiency in handling myriad RAW formats. 

 

Remember Esperanto? 🙂

 

Dave

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You want to have fun...go to DPreview and just mention Adobe (especially the monthly plan) and/or DNG and then watch the fireworks.😉

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Bridge and Raw is still free,

 

I agree $10.00 a month is a lot of money, for a program that is updated for free, as lenses and cameras change, 

 

I have at least 5k in equipment, and 50% of the picture comes out if the camera, the rest is photo burning and dodging, type magic. 

 

The real question is how secure is Adobe as a company, I have seen so many software, no longer supported,  and often support at Goodwill, like 5 inch floppies.

 

I have old LR and CS Software, 32 bit., and know the days are numbered, like Quicken 95.

 

There ain’t no free lunches in this world, and they even tell me Heaven has a wall around the Pearly Gates,  making sure everyone paid the price of admission l

 

 

 

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9 hours ago, TruckerDave said:

You want to have fun...go to DPreview and just mention Adobe (especially the monthly plan) and/or DNG and then watch the fireworks.😉

 

Yeah. That's why I spend my forum-allocated time and energy here.

 

I honestly don't see the drama over subscription costs of programs like Adobe's Photographers Plan. Photographers regularly plunk thousands of dollars on equipment and travel without even a whimper but their hair catches fire at $10/month for a pair of state of the art photo applications with regular updates and technical support. Applications that together cost north of $500 for a semi-annual release in previous incarnations. I have used Lightroom since v4 and used PS Elements forever since I could never bring myself to part with $495 for a legal copy of Photoshop. With the subscription, I get Lightroom and Photoshop plus support and constant updates for the monthly cost of four cups of restaurant coffee. Half the cost of a dozen decent golf balls. A 22oz bottle of good craft ale. Etc.. My $10/mo. Office 365 subscription gives me desktop and mobile access to up-to-date versions of the software that I have been using and teaching since the '90s and a terabyte of online storage that I can sync automatically with my phone and desktop. Both, a deal!

 

Additionally, the subscription model allows for a less volatile cash flow for the companies to support more granular R&D (releasing a single feature or update is easier than dropping a huge version package) and a quicker, more manageable release schedule. Companies license enterprise software instead of buying it because the value of continuous feature updates and support has proven itself over time. 

 

Anybody who doesn't see the value of Software As a Service, well that's up to you since I'm not King of the World and its value is sort of subjective. It makes sense to me but may not to others. 

 

Dave

 

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I shoot both so I can show or give out files on the go, then process later if I wish to.

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A real Sports Pro shoots both, they have deadlines,

 

I review old shot, to bring back memories of days gone by, and to improve my future shots.

 

No fun getting old, it is not fair..,but photo memories is one of the best thing as reality sets in.

 

We have all came along way, since the old Kodak film days, and filed them in the shoeboxes. 

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It's funny how no matter which forum you're in, any mention of RAW or JPG, even if not about comparing the two, ends up becoming that type of thread.  The OP wonders whether there's any reason he should consider continuing to use RAW + JPG, and already sees the advantages of shooting RAW for his own photography, yet somehow the thread turns to RAW is better than JPG and everyone should shoot RAW.  I'm of the opinion personally that everyone should shoot whatever they WANT to shoot, and whatever gets them the results they're happy with.  There's not a wrong way to shoot unless you're getting bad results and are unhappy.

I"ve shot all kinds of film for decades, then in digital I've shot JPG, TIFF, and RAW (yes, some cameras actually shoot in TIFF).  I've done all kinds of post processing with all kinds of third-party software.  And after over 2 decades of shooting digital, I've come to enjoy shooting JPG a vast majority of the time...not because I need to save space, or have a deadline, or am lazy or don't understand what I'm missing - but because I get exactly what I want and need and enjoy photography more...simple as that.  I sometimes find using RAW useful, as a 'just in case' backup if I'm shooting something that I absolutely MUST get a good image of, especially if I'm shooting for someone else...I will likely end up 99% of the time using the JPGs, but knowing I have the RAW with maximum latitude to correct a flubbed shot is good insurance if the photos are for more than just my own personal pleasure.

I think, in answer to the OP, that you really may not need to continue with RAW + JPG...if you find yourself always using the RAW anyway, enjoy the post-processing, and get better results with the RAW, then the JPGs don't really seem to be necessary.  So you can likely save the space on the card and just go to RAW only.  The JPGs don't appear to be serving you in any way at all, if you're never using them anyway!

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Since this topic pops up about every 2-4 months, I wrote an article a while ago with an (pretty much) objective presentation of the facts involved in what has become a minor religion.

 

RAW vs. JPEG at PPTPhoto.com

 

Dave

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When I got my Canon 7D all those years ago, I shot in raw (CR2) and did so when I got my 5D MARK III.  However, now I shoot RAW+JPEG.  The 5D has two slots.

 

The reason I do this is because after using Lightroom since about version 3, I could never get my raw images to look like they did on the back of the camera.  When browsing in Lightroom catalogues, the images would look fine as Lightroom pulls the JPEG preview from the raw image but then when I go to the Develop module, the image would revert to the poorly-processed raw version resulting in a flat, dull, lifeless image.  So then I'd have to spend an inordinate amount of time messing with sharpening, contrast, vibrancy/saturation, etc.  Lightroom's gotten better with its default processing but I've been trying other raw processors such as On1 Photo RAW, DXO PhotoLab and Alienskin Exposure X4.  All of them just don't render the CR2 the way the camera processes the JPEG.  This always frustrated me so I now use the JPEG to remind me how the image looked when I captured it.  The JPEGs don't necessarily remain on my HDD.

 

I have found DXO PhotoLab 2.1 and Lightroom Classic render the raw images best by default.

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6 hours ago, plettza said:

The reason I do this is because after using Lightroom since about version 3, I could never get my raw images to look like they did on the back of the camera.  When browsing in Lightroom catalogues, the images would look fine as Lightroom pulls the JPEG preview from the raw image but then when I go to the Develop module, the image would revert to the poorly-processed raw version resulting in a flat, dull, lifeless image.  So then I'd have to spend an inordinate amount of time messing with sharpening, contrast, vibrancy/saturation, etc.  Lightroom's gotten better with its default processing but I've been trying other raw processors such as On1 Photo RAW, DXO PhotoLab and Alienskin Exposure X4.  All of them just don't render the CR2 the way the camera processes the JPEG.  This always frustrated me so I now use the JPEG to remind me how the image looked when I captured it.  The JPEGs don't necessarily remain on my HDD.
 

The reasoning here is actually relatively simple, and it should help you close the gap. For almost all brands, a "RAW" file includes an embedded small JPEG within the confines of that RAW file. The camera creates this JPEG using all of the things that would feed into any other JPEG it creates: White Balance, Picture Style (contrast, saturation, etc.), and who knows what else. Meanwhile, the RAW is raw sensor data (in some cases, losslessly compressed) without any of those factors. When you pull the RAW into LR, you actually see the small JPEG initially, until LR has time to render the RAW data the way it chooses to do so. If you were to pull up your camera, see what settings you have in the Picture Styles and such, and replicate those into LR, I bet you'd get real close. You could then capture those settings and store them in such a way that they're automatically applied on import, helping to get your RAW files to what you seek quicker. (I'd also recommend loading the RAW files, selecting them, and then telling LR to generate Standard Previews so that at least the initial rendering is now done.)

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7 hours ago, plettza said:

When I got my Canon 7D all those years ago, I shot in raw (CR2) and did so when I got my 5D MARK III.  However, now I shoot RAW+JPEG.  The 5D has two slots.

 

The reason I do this is because after using Lightroom since about version 3, I could never get my raw images to look like they did on the back of the camera.  When browsing in Lightroom catalogues, the images would look fine as Lightroom pulls the JPEG preview from the raw image but then when I go to the Develop module, the image would revert to the poorly-processed raw version resulting in a flat, dull, lifeless image.  So then I'd have to spend an inordinate amount of time messing with sharpening, contrast, vibrancy/saturation, etc.  Lightroom's gotten better with its default processing but I've been trying other raw processors such as On1 Photo RAW, DXO PhotoLab and Alienskin Exposure X4.  All of them just don't render the CR2 the way the camera processes the JPEG.  This always frustrated me so I now use the JPEG to remind me how the image looked when I captured it.  The JPEGs don't necessarily remain on my HDD.

 

I have found DXO PhotoLab 2.1 and Lightroom Classic render the raw images best by default.

 

That seems odd. My RAW files render exactly the same as the JPEGs in Lightroom Classic. Even in the rare times I shoot RAW + JPEG, the two files look exactly the same as I flip between them. I have the Basic tab profile set to Adobe Color and Enable Profile Corrections in the Lens corrections tab but nothing else is "fancy".

 

Dave

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Over the course of the past decade plus I have shot RAW only, jpg only and both.  Both is my default setting, the simple reason being that memory is relatively cheap, reusable and it gives me the most options.   If I need to really power shoot and not overrun the buffer on the d500 I might go jpg only (for example shooting high speed sports or trying to get a hummingbird in flight but those tend to be well lit scenarios).   If I am doing a very long trip where I might be taking 10,000 images which will max my 7 XQD cards shooting both I might go raw only on the Nikon and use my sony for quick jpgs to share.  But generally I shoot both.  

 

That said, one requirement for every camera I buy, even point and shoots, is the ability to shoot RAW even if I won't use it all the time.  I want that base data for the few times I really really need it for that rare shot I need to clean up.      In 10 years maybe there were 40 images that fit that bill, but if I had not been able to recover any of those 40 I would have been crushed.

 

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I am not a professional photographer by any stretch of the imagination, but I do enjoy great photos.  When I was scuba diving, I shot photos in RAW and I liked what I could do with that format.  This was several years ago, since I was using a 5MP Olympus camera.

 

Now I've gotten older and no longer dive but still have a desire to shoot photos in RAW.  We made three trips to Africa and the animal photos were shot in RAW and JPEG using a Nikon camera.

 

I started to process these photos in Photoshop 5 but found that I needed a plug-in in order for Photoshop to work.  To date I have downloaded 3 different plug-ins and none has worked.  I've become so frustrated that I no longer shoot in RAW, but still have a strong desire to do so.

 

Any suggestions?

 

Denny

Edited by isosika

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