RAW vs JPEG back to back samples ?

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Russ Jerome
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RAW vs JPEG back to back samples ?

Post by Russ Jerome »

Does anybody have any saved photo's you did and uploaded in both forms for real world comparison?

Im still reading but would like to know real potential of pix "after" its uploaded and potentially compressed by hosting sites.

New lightweight Canon coming with 100 mm macro lens, hitting ground running this year. No more phone pix of baby Timbers!
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chrish
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Re: RAW vs JPEG back to back samples ?

Post by chrish »

There are many sites where you can see these (DPReview is one good one).
The problem is that most raw files are huge and in many cases can't be read by browsers so it is hard to show them.

I can upload some high resolution jpg versus a compressed jpg, but that isn't the same as a raw file.

We did a comparison study of high/low res jpgs and processing raw files on here a long time ago. I don't know if it was before or after the "crash". You should search the forum for it.
Russ Jerome
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Re: RAW vs JPEG back to back samples ?

Post by Russ Jerome »

I searched at length figuring it is a common question, no longer on this site.

I did read for hours last night. If your sole purpose is to upload for forums a skilled operator
gains little not using high quality jpeg. RAW will always have a better finished product at the
cost of slow buffer rates if your quarry is mobile. Correction of operator only truly be done raw.

Seams like for my purpose (documentation of sistrus in rare Counties) jpeg is fine.
Knowing I have time to take leisure pictures (slow Ornate) I will try raw/jpeg just to try editing.

The thought of dialing out reflections of sun in water is awesome, raw has lots going for it.
bgorum
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Re: RAW vs JPEG back to back samples ?

Post by bgorum »

What are you going to use for processing your images? If you are using a good raw converter, (like Lightroom), then working with raw files is really no more difficult than working with jpegs. Unless your plan is to just let the camera handle everything and do zero post processing, then jpeg would be better. As far as raw files filling up your buffer, I've rarely had that be a problem with herps and my camera has a disgracefully small buffer. It has been a problem with birds though and it was a problem a couple summers ago with feeding garter snakes, but generally I'm not mashing down the shutter release and shooting 6 frames/sec. with herps. If you do decide to use jpeg, just make sure to use only the highest quality setting and never work with your original. Always do your editing on a copy. Every time you edit a jpeg you lose information. The nice thing about raw is you never actually edit the original file. Your edits are stored and applied every time the picture is opened, but the original remains untouched.
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chrish
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Re: RAW vs JPEG back to back samples ?

Post by chrish »

Here's the best comparison I could make quickly.

Here is a hopelessly underexposed image of an Amethystine Python crawling off the side of the road. It was pouring rain (see the raindrops?) and I was on a blind curve on a forest road where I couldn't pull over, get out of the car or stop for too long. So I grabbed a few shots out the window. This one didn't come out, obviously.

The original was 6000x4000 pixels so this has obviously been reduced to 930 pixels wide to get it online

Image

So I took the original DNG (raw) file and made a 100% jpg copy (full sized, no editing). So now I have two identical copies of the photo, one in RAW format and the other in JPG format. This is similar to what a camera might do if you choose RAW + JPG mode.

I then cropped, lightened (+3.9 stops!) and adjusted the color a bit on the RAW file. I then copied those settings to the JPG version. Each photo has now been treated exactly the same. (I couldn't get the color to match exactly). I exported them using exactly the same criteria (930 pixels wide, 80% JPG compression) to produce a JPG of a good size for uploading. The RAW to JPG version is 470kb and the JPG to JPG version is 433kb. The reason the RAW file is slightly larger is that it contains more information (i.e. detail).

I then exported each photo using exactly the same settings and produced the following JPGs.

From the raw DNG file:
Image

From the JPG version:
Image

While this isn't a perfect comparison, there are a few things you can observe.

1. The difference is negligible at first glance and so a camera with good jpg compression algorithms might be OK for using jpgs.

2. There is a slight color difference, but that is attributable to my failure to match the color exactly between the two files.

3. The obvious difference is the amount of detail that has been lost in the shadows. Look in the dark forested areas right above where the snake is disappearing over the burm. You can see more detail in the one direct from DNG because the one from JPG has lost that detail while being compressed twice. In other words, part of the information that was captured in the original photo has been deleted.

I know a lot of people who never shoot raw photos because.......

a. They don't have (or want to bother) with a RAW capable editing program like photoshop, lightroom, the GIMP, etc.
- I don't get this argument at all. I love going into Lightroom and tweaking my photos to get the best possible image. To me, that's half the fun of the photography process! And there are good free RAW converters like the GIMP if you don't want to buy Lightroom.
Furthermore, it frees me up in the field because I don't spend my limited field time trying to get the picture perfect. I can adjust composition, lighting, etc. later. This is one of the real benefits of digital photography. I took thousands and thousands of slide shots of herps before there was digital and I often spent a LONG time trying to get the perfect shot......while my friends were out herping!

b. They are afraid it will slow down their camera's ability to shoot a photo.
- With most modern DSLR's this isn't an issue for herp photography. Most have sufficiently large/fast buffers that this wouldn't be a problem. I can take 12 RAW shots/second for 2-3 seconds before my buffer slows me down. That's 36 shots! If you can't get the shot you wanted in those 36 shots, the problem is your technique, not the buffer. And the newer cards can write a lot faster than the cards I use.

c. RAW files fill up your cards faster.
- True, but ridiculous. SD cards are so cheap now that if you watch for sales, you can buy excellent cards for as little as 75 cents a gigabyte! Get a bigger card, or better yet, get two smaller cards.

d. I don't have time to do all that RAW processing.
- It takes exactly the same amount of time to process, crop, adjust, etc. a RAW file than it does to do the same to a JPG. If you need to pull that card out of your camera and put it straight into the printer and press print, then yes RAW processing takes longer. But I don't know anyone who does that very often. Most people I know tweak their photos (or post lousy photos :lol: ).
And even if you did want to take it straight off the card and upload it online, the photo host is going to compress it if you don't do it yourself first. This is where most people are unhappy with what happens to their photos when they upload them to facebook, flickr, etc. I compress mine first to my specifications, then upload them.

e. For most shots there is no benefit to taking a RAW file to make a JPG later since all I wanted was a JPG and I can capture that directly.
The comparison shown above uses Adobe Lightroom's jpg compression algorithm which is pretty conservative. Your camera may not use such a conservative compression algorithm. Some cameras are famous for making noisy or muddy JPGs from their files.


______________________________________________

So I guess my question to leave you with would be:

Why would you shoot JPG when you can shoot RAW?
Why would you compress your photos twice, losing detail each time, when their is no advantage to most people most of the time?

As for RAW + JPG mode, I can't see an advantage? It just fills up more card space.

** As an added free tip ;) , I have learned if you shoot RAW files have Photoshop/Lightroom convert them to DNG files as they are imported. You lose no detail and the final file sizes are smaller than most camera RAW files thereby taking up less hard disk space.
Russ Jerome
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Re: RAW vs JPEG back to back samples ?

Post by Russ Jerome »

Great replies all, the example above is outstanding and almost favors jpeg but your follow up has me set
on trying raw "first" as Ive read many never switch due to habit (starting with jpeg).

My brain is quickly filling up, will start slow practicing this weekend and trying different editing software.
MonarchzMan
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Re: RAW vs JPEG back to back samples ?

Post by MonarchzMan »

If you have Lightroom, there's no reason not to shoot in RAW. It is a lot more memory used, but there is so much more information incorporated into the photo than JPEG. Five or ten years ago, I could see the issue with RAW taking up too much space, but now you can get 32GB or 64GB memory cards relatively cheaply, and you can get 1+ terabyte external hard drives pretty cheaply as well.

I think it also encourages you to be more selective about your photos. If you don't plan on being selective and just saving every photo you take, then, yea, maybe JPEG is better for you.

I attended a professional lecture about using Lightroom, which in part went into JPEG vs. RAW and here were the take aways:

For RAW:

Only have to set ISO, shutter, and aperture
12-14 bit depth
Can choose the color space in Adobe Camera Raw (Lightroom)
Can set to auto white balance and fine tune in Adobe Camera Raw
Can overexpose greatly

For JPEG:

Must have everything set in camera (white balance, curves, color space, etc).
Only 8 bit depth (throws 1/3 of the data away)
Choose color space in camera, limited to sRGB or Adobe RGB
Must set white balance in camera, very destructive to fix later
Exposure must be very close
Russ Jerome
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Re: RAW vs JPEG back to back samples ?

Post by Russ Jerome »

I did it! Using simple free Canon digital pro software with new SL1 I took a few pics in house, saving both high jpg and raw. WOW!

I purposely took some shots in shaded area's and bright spots. The jpeg and honestly the untouched raw did not look horrible side by side but WOW after playing with in I had GREAT shots in about a minute each. After editing there is a HUGE difference between them.

Now I can see why some photo's I see online look "too good", you can go a little crazy.
I expect I will shoot in both so I can compare so not to over correct, Im sold on RAW!
Oh and the wifes old 40D is going on CL, this new little sl1 smokes it even with kit lens.

Bad news is I now have to retrace all my herp trips, recording all specimens ...woohoo!
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Stohlgren
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Re: RAW vs JPEG back to back samples ?

Post by Stohlgren »

Russ Jerome wrote:I expect I will shoot in both so I can compare so not to over correct, Im sold on RAW!
I shot in RAW+jpeg for a while for exactly this reason. I struggled with how to get the best out of my RAW images and they often looked worse than the out-of-camera jpegs. It was good to have something to compare to (as well as an image I could share) as I was learning how to use curves to adjust contrast, how to adjust saturation in a way that looked natural, and how to properly sharpen an image. As others have mentioned, disk space is cheap and getting cheaper, and you can always go back and delete the jpegs later. When I finally got comfortable with my processing work flow and can get better looking final images out of the RAW files, there was no need to waste the space with the jpegs and I switched to shooting only RAW.
Russ Jerome
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Re: RAW vs JPEG back to back samples ?

Post by Russ Jerome »

Much like Chris' under exposed picture the jpeg counterpart to this one was difficult to see squirrel in flight with dark background, I like the action so I quickly made it usable today in raw. Compressed facebook image today:

Image

Very impressed thanks again for the help!

Overcast, under bridge in shade, off hand and auto mode, in raw:
Image

Purposely over tweeked it but happy since I have no clue what Im doing! Now to play with manual settings.
baiguang
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Re: RAW vs JPEG back to back samples ?

Post by baiguang »

Shooting in RAW format gives you much more exposure latitude and color gamut than a jpeg file.

Raw has to be converted to another format, like JPEG, to be viewed on social media.

Jpeg files are far smaller than RAW files, because they throws out a lot of image data and compresses color values.

If you need a RAW Photo editor: https://pctechtest.com/best-raw-photo-editors
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