Old 09-11-2005, 10:53 PM   #1
Slopes09
Senior Member
 
Slopes09's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Here.
Posts: 837
Send a message via AIM to Slopes09
Default RAW Format

In your opinions, how valuable is shooting in RAW? I finally have to get a digital camera for newspaper and this could influence my final decision. Theres several good cameras out there but only one of them shoots in RAW (Finepix S5100, 4.1 megapixels)(I'm leaning toward this one). The other shoots in JPEG(Dimage Z20, 4.9 megapixels).
Edit: Alright, maybe I should have rephrased the question, as I realized that I completely left out the question I wanted to ask. Which is: What are the advantages of shooting in RAW vs. JPEG and vice versa?

Last edited by Slopes09; 09-12-2005 at 02:31 AM.
Slopes09 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2005, 08:39 PM   #2
jb17kx
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 27
Default

The advantage of jpeg is not having to convert it. And sometimes conversion is worse than the format you save it to!
jb17kx is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2005, 09:07 PM   #3
hoydie17
We Own The Night...
 
hoydie17's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Centreville, VA
Posts: 799
Send a message via AIM to hoydie17 Send a message via Yahoo to hoydie17
Default

I'm by no means an expert, as I started shooting in the RAW format about 3 months ago.

The advantages RAW can give you is the ability to see exactly that, a RAW image. Regardless of what settings you have the camera set for, it does not save any of the changes to the picture. Therefore if you adjust your ISO and White Balance, it will save the changes within the metadata, but not to the photo itself. In a few words, you see what the camera sees.

RAW images can also give you much better color depth than a traditional .jpg format. The numbers escape me now, but I believe it's 12 bit color depth for RAW as opposed to 6 or 8 for a .jpg.

I've noticed also that you can underexpose your shots about half a step (stop) or maybe even over-expose half a stop, sometimes more or less. And with the proper type of software, you can compensate for underexposed/overexposed photos. I use a program called Picasa 2.0 and it has been outstanding for many of my pictures. Picasa 2.0 is freeware, just GOOGLE it.

Some of the photos I have here on RP.net were shot as RAW images, and in more than a few, the exposures were off the mark, usually underexposed. But by using RAW format, and Picasa, I was able to "artificially" add the light to enhance the exposure. A normal .jpg would have made that nearly, if not completely impossible without sacrificing image quality.

Biggest disadvantage I've noticed so far, is the file size, an average RAW image is probably between 2.5 and 3.5 MB, mostly they're larger though. Largest I've come out with was a 6.3MB file. I can get between 50 and 70 photos on a 512MB card flash.

As was mentioned previously, the conversion from .RAW/.NEF can be disastrous when moving over to .jpg. Some photos may turn out somewhat grainy, but generally, they turn out as good, or even better than a straight .jpg image. It can be quite time-consuming to make the proper adjustments, so don't shoot RAW if you're one of those types that wants to shoot, download, and post immediately.

Hope that gives you some better info. I'm sure there are many others here with more experience that can give you better insight. But until they respond, here's my 2 cents.

Overall, I'm very pleased with shooting RAW vs .jpg, and now that I've learned a little more about it, not sure I'll ever go back to .jpg.

To get a solid example of some guys here on RP.net who use RAW, check out Peter Furnee, or J. Alex Lang's selection of photos. They shoot, process, and edit almost exclusively in .RAW/.NEF format. Only changing over to .jpg format prior to posting on the internet.

Sean
__________________
See my work on FLICKR: Night Stalker Photo Works on FLICKR

Or if you want to see my work here at RP.net? Click here.

"It's just a damn train son!"

Last edited by hoydie17; 09-12-2005 at 09:11 PM.
hoydie17 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-2005, 12:42 AM   #4
busyEMT
Senior Member
 
busyEMT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Minneapolis
Posts: 902
Default

I too am not an expert (but I will waste time any how). I have, however, done some reading about this.

I think you can look at this like slide vs. print film. There are a great deal of difference in quality; the slide (RAW) format is viewed as more of professional, and print (.jpg) not.

Speaking to the loss of quality during conversion, this can happen in the camera or on the computer. It is best to use the software bundled with the camera. RAW or .jpg, the best quality comes with a good shot from the click of the shutter. If you are interested in submitting to magazines (or say, the TRAINS annual contests), they typically want RAW files submitted with a print.

The downside to RAW is speed and size. Both with my Fuji S5000 and Canon 10D, rapid shooting makes processing slower. If you have a 256 or 512mb card, you get less pictures when out.

If you can afford it, I would recommend buying a camera that can do both. I take photos in RAW but landmarks and street signs for documentation in .jpg.
__________________
Aaron Florin- Click Here to view my photos at RailPictures.Net!
Visit Twin Cities Railfan.com
Visit the Twin Cities Railfan forums.

Don't do anything you wouldn't want to explain to the paramedics!
busyEMT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-2005, 01:20 AM   #5
Slopes09
Senior Member
 
Slopes09's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Here.
Posts: 837
Send a message via AIM to Slopes09
Default

Alright thanks alot. I was leaning toward the S5100 anyway becuase it was more inexpensive anyway. If RAW doesn't work out, then I can always just shoot JPEG. But RAW sounds like more of challenge, and it'll add something to shooting that I wouldn't get with JPEG. Anyways, I'm done babbling, thanks again.
Slopes09 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-2005, 02:23 AM   #6
hoydie17
We Own The Night...
 
hoydie17's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Centreville, VA
Posts: 799
Send a message via AIM to hoydie17 Send a message via Yahoo to hoydie17
Default

The beauty of having a camera that can shoot both is that the menus are pretty intuitive and easy to navigate. My D70 for example, takes about 3 moves on the keypad to move from RAW/NEF to .JPG (Fine or Normal).

So depending on the speed of the train you're dealing with, you can select different formats relatively quickly.

My technique has always been to "bracket" my shots. In other words, test out the optimum exposure for your subject prior to it's arrival. Using the histogram/highlights meter to determine if any settings need to be adjusted.

When the train arrives, shoot one or two exposures at your predetermined settings, and then take your f-stop up a notch, shoot again, down two notches shoot again.

This will allow you to see a couple of different exposure levels and have a better chance at getting the photo you want.

Sean
__________________
See my work on FLICKR: Night Stalker Photo Works on FLICKR

Or if you want to see my work here at RP.net? Click here.

"It's just a damn train son!"
hoydie17 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 05:14 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.1
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.