jpeg vs raw?

Discussions on Equipment, Locations and Tips for getting the photograps you want of Vermont scenes.Note: You must be registered in order to post. If you have trouble registering, use the contact us form on Scenes of Vermont's home page.

Moderators: bm, Andy, admin

Utah Baker
Posts: 511
Joined: Wed Sep 08, 2010 9:45 pm

jpeg vs raw?

Postby Utah Baker » Thu Dec 12, 2013 10:23 am

Can someone give me a good definition, or explanation of the difference between shooting raw vs jpeg?

My brother has loaned me an old Nikon camera of his, a D70, with several lenses, so I can practice shooting with a dslr. It's only a 6.1 megapixal, but just looking at it I'm a little overwhelmed......this could be fun!


autzig
Posts: 442
Joined: Sat Sep 17, 2005 12:01 am
Location: Bloomington, MN
Contact:

Re: jpeg vs raw?

Postby autzig » Thu Dec 12, 2013 11:34 am

RAW is not a file format per se. You must convert a Raw image to another format such as jpg or tif. Shooting in RAW means capturing every single pixel on the sensor exactly as the camera saw it.

The beauty of RAW is that you can literally adjust every pixel during your raw conversion, not that you would want to. But, in your raw conversion, you can make not destructive changes to your photo; things like exposure and white balance. Let's say your exposure is off by a stop, no problem, change the exposure. You forgot to change the white balance from sunlight to shade? Just correct it in your conversion. Not enough detail in the shadows? Lighten your blacks to reveal the detail. Whites blown out? A slider may be able to fix that. There are limitations though. Under or over expose too much in the camera and you can't fix it.

Because the changes you make during the raw conversion are non-destructive, you can always go back to your original shot and try again. Because a raw file saves every pixel, the file size is much larger than a jpeg.

Jpeg is a file format that uses compression algorithms to reduce the file size. It throws away a lot of data to do that. That data is destroyed and you can never get it back so, unlike a raw image, you can't go back and fix it. You can make adjustments to the image but you are working with much less data.

The bottom line is that shooting in raw or jpeg is all about post-processing.

My first digital camera was a Canon 10D. It was 6.1 megapixels and it produced excellent photos. I have some 12 x 18 enlargements made with that camera hanging on my wall. More megapixels don't mean better photos, only larger ones. The native size of a photo coming out of that camera will be something like 8 x 12 at 300 dpi. More megapixels means that the native size will be larger, not better.

If you want clarification on anything, just let me know.

Al

Utah Baker
Posts: 511
Joined: Wed Sep 08, 2010 9:45 pm

Re: jpeg vs raw?

Postby Utah Baker » Fri Dec 13, 2013 9:58 am

Thanks Al, very helpful and informative as always. I am sure I'll have more questions along the way, trying to find time during the busy holiday season to "focus" ( a little pun) on photography is a challenge. Would love to sit in a classroom with you as the teacher! Wishing you and yours and all here on the forum a very MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! :D

autzig
Posts: 442
Joined: Sat Sep 17, 2005 12:01 am
Location: Bloomington, MN
Contact:

Re: jpeg vs raw?

Postby autzig » Fri Dec 13, 2013 11:53 am

Janice, it appears that you and I are the only ones hanging around here these days.

I'll be happy to offer my help any time. I have some articles on my website that address shutter speed, aperture and white balance. You can see them at http://www.goldimagesphoto.com.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family too.

Oh, chocolate chip is my cookie of choice.

Al
Last edited by autzig on Thu Dec 26, 2013 4:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Utah Baker
Posts: 511
Joined: Wed Sep 08, 2010 9:45 pm

Re: jpeg vs raw?

Postby Utah Baker » Sat Dec 14, 2013 7:01 pm

:lol: :lol: :lol: I was very glad to find that someone was still alive out there! Seriously, I hope all are well. :D

Looking forward to doing some serious reading come January, will definitely check out yours and Andy's site.

Milk chocolate or dark? Nuts or no nuts? Ahh, always so many choices!

Andy
Site Admin
Posts: 1475
Joined: Sun Sep 18, 2005 12:01 am
Location: Saginaw, Michigan
Contact:

Re: jpeg vs raw?

Postby Andy » Sat Dec 14, 2013 10:26 pm

Hi Janice: I have been buried at work lately, and have been traveling back and forth to Florida. Headed back for Christmas a week from today. Finding less and less time for forum and photographic activities. However, I will add just a couple comments.

Contrary to popular opinion, "raw" is not an acronym (JPEG for instance, and and TIFF stand for phrases, like "Joint Photographic Experts Group,": and Tagged Image File Format"). I see so many people capitalizing it as "RAW" which is technically incorrect. In this case "raw" refers to the (perceived) state of the image. Each camera manufacturer has their own raw file format which is the way the camera processor converts and stores the image information from the signals captured by the sensor. Interestingly, from what I have read, all raw images are really a rudimentary form of the TIFF format.

Doesn't really matter. What Al said is the most important part. Raw files are "unprocessed" images. If you shoot in JPEG or TIFF (many cameras allow that as an additional choice), you are letting the camera processor make decisions about the image for you that you cannot "undo" later in post processing software. And, particularly these days, the post processing software is so good that you really don't want to give up the opportunity to make your own conversion choices.

Sounds like you like to make cookies. Some explanations use the analogy of baking to explain this. Shooting in JPEG or TIFF is the equivalent of a "baked" image, where raw image files are kind of like cookie dough.

I actually wrote an explanation of this on my Blog a couple years back: http://lightcentric.wordpress.com/2009/08/09/why-you-should-shoot-raw-and-some-of-my-other-prejudices/.

I am excited to see you making the "plunge" to a DSLR. What these cameras do is let you start to "make" photographic images rather than take snapshots. You have a lot of control over the way the image is captured and once you begin to understand the relationships of shutter speed, aperture, focal lengths and depth of field, you can really begin to be creative. Shots like thisImage are not by accident; they are planned, with a knowledge of all of the above "controls" that a DSLR style camera gives you.

Like Al, I have a series of articles on my Blog addressing fundamentals, like shutter speed, exposure, etc. (In fact, writing a series of long, e-mail tutorials to my sister when she bought a DSLR, was the genesis of my blog). I would start here: http://lightcentric.wordpress.com/2009/03/01/how-f-stops-work/, and work through the series.

Like Al (we may be more alike that we banter about :) ), I started with a "small" megapixel camera - the Nikon D100 (which was 6.1 megapixels, just like the D70). The are capable of making great images. We are into megapixel overkill these days. My good friend and working pro, Ray Laskowitz purposely eschewed the highest megapixel new offering from Sony because it was just overkill. The sweet spot these days is probably something between 12 -16. But the real improvement from these earlier models is the noise-handling capability of these new sensors. The newer ones are incredible in low light situations, and at higher ISO settings. The D70 will do admirably with modest (100 - 400 ISO) settings and good lighting conditions.

There is one other investment I would strongly encourage that you get yourself a good quality tripod.
Andy

If it sounds too good to be true, its probably . . . .

Utah Baker
Posts: 511
Joined: Wed Sep 08, 2010 9:45 pm

Re: jpeg vs raw?

Postby Utah Baker » Mon Dec 16, 2013 9:50 am

Hi Andy, I like your baking comparison. In my job and at home, I often have to tinker with the "raw" ingredients to get the desired outcome of the finished product, especially with high altitude baking (my home sits at 5000 ft. level). Hopefully that experience will help me! Looks like I've my work cut out for me, and we ain't talkin sugar cookies! :lol:

Utah Baker
Posts: 511
Joined: Wed Sep 08, 2010 9:45 pm

Re: jpeg vs raw?

Postby Utah Baker » Mon Dec 16, 2013 10:07 am

Oh, I do have a nice Velbon tripod that I use around home and the yard, it's just a little cumbersome to take anywhere. You gave a good suggestion for a lighter travel one I' ll check into. Thanks!
-4552711027616219997.jpg
-4552711027616219997.jpg (81.73 KiB) Viewed 5785 times

144540401397082199.jpg
144540401397082199.jpg (71.71 KiB) Viewed 5785 times

From_the_NEK
Posts: 308
Joined: Wed Sep 16, 2009 9:39 am
Location: Lyndonville, VT

Re: jpeg vs raw?

Postby From_the_NEK » Thu Dec 26, 2013 4:09 pm

My awesome wife bought me a new camera for Christmas. So I have graduated from the old 8MP Sony DSC-H7 point-n-shoot to a DSLR Canon EOS 600D (EOS Rebel T3i). So far I really like it. I just need to work on understanding the capabilities.
I plan on making use of Andy and Autzig's websites (although Autzig's link isn't working for me) to help me learn more about making the most of this camera.
The camera came with 18-55 IS II and EF 75-300 f/4-5.6 III lenses. So I'm going to start there.
I also need to get a copy of Lightroom or another image post processing software before I start shooting in raw.
I'm excited. Here is one of the first shots I took with it Christmas Eve:
Image

autzig
Posts: 442
Joined: Sat Sep 17, 2005 12:01 am
Location: Bloomington, MN
Contact:

Re: jpeg vs raw?

Postby autzig » Thu Dec 26, 2013 4:56 pm

Congratulations on your new camera. I'm a Canon shooter too and Andy is/was a Nikonian. He is switching to the Sony mirrorless system though.

Thanks for telling me that my link didn't work. I fixed it so you should be able to get to my site now.

I like the photo you posted here. It is very nicely composed and it provides a good example of the advantages of shooting in raw vs jpg. Notice how you can see the detail in the orange light. Also notice how there is no detail in the white lights. In fact, given the color of the adjacent needles, it looks like they might not be white but green and blue. The orange light might actually be red. By shooting in jpg, there is nothing you can do to get that detail or color back. By shooting in raw, you can adjust the whites and highlights in your raw conversion, returning the detail and color to those two bulbs. There is a chance that those bulbs are so overexposed that you can't do anything to fix them but I don't think they are blown out that bad.

The one nitpicky thing I have with your photo is whatever is covering up the bottom portion of the ornament. I don't know if it is a branch of the tree, a wire for the lights, both or something else.

One of the reasons I shoot with a tripod almost all the time is that it gives me plenty of time to see everything in the viewfinder. I pay close attention to everything in it and if there is something I don't want, I try to remove it. Often it is easy to move the object. Other times I have to change my position to eliminate the distraction. In this case you could have moved the obstruction. It is very common for photographers to see the big picture and not see the small things. I have been known to pull branches out of streams, bend back stems of weeds and pick up junk that I don't want in my photograph before making an exposure. When I do make an exposure, I look at the shot to see if there are any offending items in it. If there are, I set about getting rid of them.

Anyway, congrats again on the camera. If you have any questions about photography, I'll be happy to help. I have articles on my site on shutter speed, aperture, ISO and white balance. If you have questions about those things or anything else, just ask.

Al

From_the_NEK
Posts: 308
Joined: Wed Sep 16, 2009 9:39 am
Location: Lyndonville, VT

Re: jpeg vs raw?

Postby From_the_NEK » Fri Dec 27, 2013 12:59 pm

Thanks for the critique and for fixing your link.
The first picture was taken the first night I had the camera and I was playing with it more than anything and not really expecting to produce any "keepers" but I thought that one turned out pretty decent without doing anything special.

Unfortunately I haven't started taking pictures in raw since I don't have a way to edit them...yet :) So the lights remain blown out. I'm not quite sure why the blue and green lights get overexposed and the orange and reds don't. I'd assume be something to do with the longer wavelengths of the red and orange.

I took your advice and retook the picture. This time I moved the offending dragonfly ornaments wing out of the way and played with the aperture a bit to produce the starbursts around the lights (giving a better idea of their colors). I also wiped the fingerprints and smudges off of the clear ornament :D
Image

Utah Baker
Posts: 511
Joined: Wed Sep 08, 2010 9:45 pm

Re: jpeg vs raw?

Postby Utah Baker » Sat Dec 28, 2013 10:13 am

NEK, I'm so excited for you! For Christmas my husband downloaded a free 30 day trial of lightroom 3 for me, so I could experiment with it to make sure it is what I really want. Yesterday was the first time I had an opportunity to sit down and play with it, just using my exsisting jpeg photos, but it was alot of fun. Looking forward to trying it with some raw photos using the borrowed Nikon from my brother. Give it a try and let us know what you think, good luck! :D

P.S. loved the photo......and it looks to be a "real" tree!

autzig
Posts: 442
Joined: Sat Sep 17, 2005 12:01 am
Location: Bloomington, MN
Contact:

Re: jpeg vs raw?

Postby autzig » Sat Dec 28, 2013 12:31 pm

NEK, I think Janice's husband had a great idea. Download the trial version of Lightroom. Shoot the same photo in raw, convert it in Lightroom and compare the result with the jpg file. I think when you see the difference, you will buy Lightroom and shoot in raw.

Al

Andy
Site Admin
Posts: 1475
Joined: Sun Sep 18, 2005 12:01 am
Location: Saginaw, Michigan
Contact:

Re: jpeg vs raw?

Postby Andy » Sun Jan 05, 2014 7:51 pm

NEK: I have been MIA lately (basking in the tropical warmth of Florida, LOL). First, congratulations on the SLR purchase. I have seen many of your images here over the years I have been on this forum. You have talent. I think you will find that the DSLR format will take your photography to the proverbial "next level." Second, MUST AGREE with Al. You really cannot have such a powerful tool in your hands and not use its most powerful capability -- DO shoot in the raw format!! Like many things done well in life, it has its drawbacks. The raw file is big and unwieldy for many computers. It requires a converter (the ACR converter in Lightroom or PS, or there are others that work well). It takes some work to "cook" the image. But the results.......WORTH the effort.

I remember many years back shooting with a buddy on a trip to Vermont. He was shooting jpeg and I was shooting raw (with absolutely no in-camera adjustments). When we got back to the house and started downloading images, I was crestfallen. His images looked vibrant and snappy. Mine -- flat and lifeless ----- until I started to adjust them in PS raw converter. There is sooooooo much potential in the raw image that is "baked" in in the jpeg and cannot be changed without degradation.
Andy

If it sounds too good to be true, its probably . . . .

Utah Baker
Posts: 511
Joined: Wed Sep 08, 2010 9:45 pm

Re: jpeg vs raw?

Postby Utah Baker » Thu Jan 16, 2014 10:00 pm

I'm a believer!! Some first photos taken in RAW! Not much to take with color but house plants and the view from the front porch, but it's fun, fun, fun! Sorry I'm a little giddy :lol:

https://picasaweb.google.com/1074572829 ... directlink

This should work!

I just realized I accidentally downloaded some photos my brother took to this album. The last five are his taken in southern Utah this April. So not mine, but enjoy!
Last edited by Utah Baker on Thu Apr 17, 2014 11:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.



Return to “Vermont Photography Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest