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MMA Photography UnderGround >> advantages to shooting in raw?

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1/29/09 9:24 PM
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cluster
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I understand what raw is and the things you can do with it, but it seems that for most use, it's just too much trouble for the benefits you get. If you've set your white balance properly...there's not much else to do....

Now, to be sure, most of the photos I take will end up on flickr and not in any sort of print publication, so what situations (if any) do you (or would you) use raw for?
1/30/09 5:39 PM
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cluster
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that's what i figured. I just got an xsi and played around with their junk-ass raw app. My old minolta a200 had a much better app but I could never justify all the extra time the photos took.
2/3/09 5:51 PM
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backfistmedia
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RAW just helps with white balance and lightness/darkness adjustments overall.

If you wanna get technical, you can saw that RAW gives you 4096 parts of a picture while JPG throws away 90% of those parts and only keeps 256 parts. If you're shooting anything except for very important or wedding images, use JPG. Otherwise, use RAW so you can fix your mistakes later, haha.

To my surprise Ken Rockwell says that RAW is useless. I'd rather use RAW if I'm not 100% sure that my white balance is properly set or if I think I'll make some heavy edits later on.

Here's a notable quote from the web:

"The third and, arguably, the biggest advantage of RAW is that it gives you 12 bits of brightness data to work with, both in the RAW software itself and when you save the file to a 16-bit TIFF or PSD. Those 12 bits translate to 4,096 discrete levels of brightness -- 16 times the 256 levels available in a JPEG's limited eight-bit space. This is critical if you need to alter brightness in any significant way.

The two darkest exposure zones in a 12-bit RAW file contain 384 levels of brightness; in the eight-bit JPEG, only 47 levels. If you decide to open up those shadows in a JPEG, you'll end up with abrupt jumps between the brightness levels. These appear as visible gaps in the histogram display. But an identical adjustment to the RAW file will cause no problems, because there are more than enough levels to ensure smooth transitions."

3/14/09 10:36 PM
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EstherLin
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 i always shoot raw.
3/14/09 10:52 PM
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EstherLin
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Sorry, let me expound. 
I shoot JPEG during fights sometimes if I'm concerned about it being filled with quick action and I want the speed. 

However, everything else I shoot RAW because of the exposure data, ability to change color temp by number instead of just arbitrary +1 +2.  I'm used to working with metering and color temp and prefer to work with actual figures instead of 3200K equated to zero when adjusting.

But I do so also because this is how I pay my rent and CF cards are inexpensive now and don't fill up all that quickly anymore.
9/28/09 2:18 AM
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Bunnymonster
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 There is no reason not to shoot RAW unless you have some serious worries about storage (which is ridiculously cheap these days).

Processing is far easier and RAW converters are getting better all the time. The ability to go back and re process images and claw out the last bits of shadow detail is really huge for me at least.

The computer doing the RAW-->JPEG conversion in your camera costs about $50, the one on your desktop costs about $1000, it's pretty clear which one will do a better job...
9/28/09 10:47 AM
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cluster
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I'm starting to suspect that the "learn 2 expose properly and use jpg...raw is for n00bs who wanna sound cool" people probably have slow-ass computers.

While there is something to be said for getting it right "in camera" and needing only minor post- work, the minimal amount of overhead that raw adds to the workflow is outweighed by the benefits.
9/28/09 10:25 PM
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Bunnymonster
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 Well to be fair, exposing properly and getting it "right" in camera is pretty damn important.
9/30/09 1:56 PM
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John Burrows
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backfistmedia - RAW just helps with white balance and lightness/darkness adjustments overall.

If you wanna get technical, you can saw that RAW gives you 4096 parts of a picture while JPG throws away 90% of those parts and only keeps 256 parts. If you're shooting anything except for very important or wedding images, use JPG. Otherwise, use RAW so you can fix your mistakes later, haha.

To my surprise Ken Rockwell says that RAW is useless. I'd rather use RAW if I'm not 100% sure that my white balance is properly set or if I think I'll make some heavy edits later on.



That's because Ken Rockwell is an idiot.
10/11/09 10:54 AM
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greenknght
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I resisted RAW for a long time, partially on Ken Rockwell's advice. It seemed like more time in front of the computer when all I had to do was set up properly on site.
That said, I find it very useful. It's easy to say, "Just expose properly and you don't need it," but life isn't like that. You get about 2 stops of exposure to play with in each direction, which is huge.
The ability to quickly change white balance manually after the fact is huge. "Correct" balance is not always the most aesthetic, and it's nice to be able to walk through them afterward. Don't believe me? Check out Rockwell on white balance: http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/whitebalance.htm
The only downsides are the huge file sizes, and the effect they can have on frames per second shooting rate if the buffer fills up. When shooting competitions, I usually shoot jpeg, but next time I'm thinking of going RAW and seeing how it works out.
10/12/09 8:21 PM
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Bunnymonster
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I've said it before I'll say it again:

Ken Rockwell is to photography as Ken Pavia is to management.

Shoot RAW, buy faster cards or better cameras if you can't get the frame rate you want. Move to an efficient workflow if you can't process the files quickly enough.

Storage is cheap...
12/8/09 9:58 AM
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ultravista
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I never shoot jpg anymore, regardless of what I'm shooting. RAW is the only way to go. Buy an extra card if you're concerned about space.
12/8/09 6:48 PM
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naturalbornleadr
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i had issues with my pc/CS3 recognizing the raw file so i got adobe dng converter and just used the dng file in post

here is a link for the free download

windows

http://www.adobe.com/support/downloads/detail.jsp?ftpID=4576

Mac

http://www.adobe.com/support/downloads/detail.jsp?ftpID=4575
2/4/10 3:02 AM
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Mullet @ Heart
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I had the opposite experience of most people here...

I shot in RAW forever, and recently switched back to JPG for most of my stuff.

RAW gives you greater color depth. I'm perfectly happy with the color depth I get from JPG.

IMO, the biggest advantage you get from shooting in RAW is the ability to virtually turn back time and adjust some things as if you had shot them correctly from the get-to. It seems to me that you can get the same adjustments elsewhere in your post software.

"Storage is cheap" if you have plenty of cash, or all you do is shoot pictures. I have a massive iTunes library and shoot a lot of HD video. I already have 3 external drives. A 4th is expensive, and it leads to a5th.

I'm not suggesting you don't shoot in RAW. I'm just saying that most good photographers and processors can do just fine without it.
2/11/10 4:06 PM
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EstherLin
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Yeah I do fine shooting JPG. I just like RAW because oddly enough, I do find myself making poster sized and even billboard sized prints on occasion.
3/1/10 8:57 AM
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bigdady
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Raw Gives you the Best Quality hands down. Shooting Jpg is the same as getting film processed and then throwing your negatives away. Photojournalist with file size concerns are about the only pros that can justify shooting jpg. With good D.A.M Raw workflow is a breeze.

Zippe
www.ezippe.com
3/7/10 7:10 PM
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SnapLocally
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Here's my take:

If you need RAW to fix your shot, there's a good chance it isn't very good.

If you've taken a great shot in JPEG, no one will be able to tell the difference.

If there's a chance that one is going to miss opportunities because their card is camera is buffering or cards are being swapped out, I'll take the slightly lesser quality image over the one missed altogether.
3/25/10 9:21 AM
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cluster
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I guess I'm not a good photographer. :(

I went out and tried a day of shooting with jpg, Av, all points focusing, evaluative metering and auto ISO. I usually shoot RAW, manual, centerpoint focus, spot metering and the lowest ISO I can get away with.

I got some great shots, although the camera made some odd choices about what settings to use which ruined a lot of other potentially nice shots. Then there were a couple I gnarfed or at least didn't turn out as well as they could have since I somehow switched WB to flash....

Usually when I shoot RAW I end up not doing much processing besides moderate contrast adjustments. So, I suppose in most cases there's no real reason to use it. The one thing that does get me and it's my color management setup is that I routinely have to add 1/3 of a stop exposure for any prints I have made - which I prefer to do on RAW files and reconvert them rather than making a jpg for web display and then adjusting that.


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