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Thread: RAW vs JPG Colour shift

  1. #1

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    RAW vs JPG Colour shift

    I have seen that sometimes when using RAW+JPG settings in the camera there is a big hue shift in some colours.
    Having experimented in order to find a solution I am still at a loss. I would appreciate if anyone could help explain why this happens.
    Below you will find two photographs in both raw and jpg ( straight from the camera into ACR6 RAW ) which shows the colour differences in the blue and red colours.
    Canon 60D - lens EF-S 18-55mm

    Patrik

    RAW vs JPG Colour shift
    RAW vs JPG Colour shift

  2. #2
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: RAW vs JPG Colour shift

    Hi Patrik,

    When you view any RAW in ACR, it will apply what ever defaults that are set and this may well include the White Balance being set to something other than "As Shot" (which is what the jpg used).

    If you make White Balance "As Shot", does the difference reduce?
    (they won't dissapear for the reasons Urban says below)

    Cheers,
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 26th May 2012 at 10:43 PM.

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    Re: RAW vs JPG Colour shift

    I think you are disregarding one important thing in your reasoning. There is no such thing as an "original RAW image". RAW is not an image, it must be converted, treated in various ways, before you can see an image. What you see is not a RAW image, what you see is an image that comes out of a conversion program. If you didn't change any settings, you get the result of the default settings of the conversion program.

    If you feed the RAW file into DPP program, which you got with your camera, it should not appear much different from the image you get out of the camera, but as you use another converter, it might disregard the camera settings and the conversion quirks that Canon engineers feed into the converter in the camera firmware and the DPP program, so you get the picture with default ACR settings.

    Mostly there are tweaks to do in the RAW conversion program before the image is ready, unless the default setting is optimal. And when you use the native RAW converter, some of that work is already done if you did it in the camera. However, you should expect an image that you shoot with a white balance setting that is off, to appear in that way when you open it before you have done the necessary tweaks. And if you use another converter, as ACR, then you will have to make your own settings to make it behave as you want to have it.

    So the difference is simply that the two images are processed in different ways.

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    dje's Avatar
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    Re: RAW vs JPG Colour shift

    Quote Originally Posted by pat3pee View Post
    Having experimented in order to find a solution I am still at a loss. I would appreciate if anyone could help explain why this happens.
    Hi Patrik

    I don't think there is a "solution" - it's simply two different processing methods. With RAW, it's all in your hands, with jpeg the camera does the initial work.

    eg when I open ACR, it comes up with a default setting of Black level adjustment of 5, WB "As Shot" (which is what the camera would use for the jpeg), and the Tone curve has a default setting of medium contrast. There is also a check box under Preferences where you can select "Auto Tone adjustment" which will change some settings from their defaults when you open an image. Diffferent camera profiles will also affect the appearance of the image.

    Try not to lose any sleep over it

    Dave

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    Re: RAW vs JPG Colour shift

    Thank you ALL...Dave, Urban and Dave. Very useful and educating information.
    I could not open these shots in DPP as I had already opened as DNG format and discarded the shots in the camera. I did ,however, take similar new shots and uploading to the Canon DPP software. And as Urban pointed out, there was no difference with hues on RAW and JPG. So I'll study the ACR software better to be able to set the right parameters. Thank you again guys... and no sleep was lost this time .
    Cheers / Patrik

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: RAW vs JPG Colour shift

    One other thing that no one seems to have considered is the camera settings used to create the original jpgs. There are all kinds of controls, from colour balance to changes in contrast, saturation, etc that you can make in the camera. Even the auto colour balance will impact the jpg. All of these have a bearing on the jpg output. On the other hand, your control settings in opening an image in ACR will also change the look.

    There are simply too many variables to guarantee that the images created from the two files will ever match

  7. #7

    Re: RAW vs JPG Colour shift

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyDiver View Post
    One other thing that no one seems to have considered is the camera settings used to create the original jpgs.
    +1 to this. Not only is there no such thing as an original RAW but the same applies to JPEG. The file you get will be the result of the various different camera settings you apply. Change the settings and you will change the look of the JPEG. This includes the preview image you see on the LCD.

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    Re: RAW vs JPG Colour shift

    Manfred & Dan,

    Yes I appreciate and understand that all these control settings in the camera can affect the jpg results in PP differently.
    Seems that I stirred up a hornet's nest by calling the shots "original" ?! I only meant to say that I had not tweaked them in the ACR software.
    Thanks for more insights ( but I feel the more I know the less I know )
    Patrik

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    Re: RAW vs JPG Colour shift

    Quote Originally Posted by pat3pee View Post
    /.../ I feel the more I know the less I know )
    Patrik
    You are not alone, you're not alone ...

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    Re: RAW vs JPG Colour shift

    One solution is to not shoot JPEG, but to use RAW only. That way you'll never have to wonder "what it might have looked like".

    More seriously, by shooting RAW, one can achieve the "look" that one wants.

    There are some good comments (made by all the above replies), but the last comment from Manfred (there are simply too many variables . . . ) seems to sum up the situation. So perhaps, one shouldn't be too concerned about the "problem". As they say, don't sweat the small stuff.

    It's quite apparent is that there is more detail on the image of the red flower processed from RAW - this could be taken as a suggestion to forget about JPEG (there are situations where JPEG is a better choice, but I won't get into those).

    I only shot JPEG once - my first digital camera was brand new, and I didn't read the manual or check the settings on the first day. It will never happen again.

    Glenn

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    Re: RAW vs JPG Colour shift

    I totally agree. From now on I will only shoot in RAW, makes life easier .

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    Re: RAW vs JPG Colour shift

    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn NK View Post
    I only shot JPEG once - my first digital camera was brand new, and I didn't read the manual or check the settings on the first day. It will never happen again.
    I'd be 100% happy if my 1Ds3 shot RAW and DNG instead or RAW and JPEG.

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: RAW vs JPG Colour shift

    Quote Originally Posted by pat3pee View Post
    I totally agree. From now on I will only shoot in RAW, makes life easier .
    I pretty well always shoot both. Your run-of-the-mill images that are "good enough" for people to see, I'm quite happy to just shoot raw. The images that are special and deserve more tender loving care are the raw image that get special treatment. This is especially true of the updates to friends and family on Facebook and other similar sites; mostly only jpgs that get resized and perhaps cropped. On the other hand, if I plan to post on an "art" site or am going to print the image, TLC it is.

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    Re: RAW vs JPG Colour shift

    So I'll study the ACR software better to be able to set the right parameters.
    Not sure what you mean by "right." There is nothing particularly "right" about the parameters that are applied by whatever picture style you used to create the in-camera JPEG. So I wouldn't worry about trying to replicate it. One of the many reasons to shoot raw is that the JPEG style you happened to use might not give you the results you want.

    I don't know if they still do, but Adobe used to post reverse-engineered profiles that mimic the Canon picture styles. I downloaded them a long time ago but haven't bothered for a long time because I found that the Adobe standard was the starting point I usually preferred.

    Re the raw-only rather than the raw+jpeg debate: it doesn't much matter. The important thing is that you have the raw image. I shot raw+jpeg for perhaps 2 or 3 weeks after I started shooting raw, years ago, and then gave it up. I almost never bother shooting jpeg anymore. You can do basic edits on a set of photos that don't have to be just-so in a fairly short amount of time. But that is all a matter of preferences. The key thing is that for images you really care about, you have the raw files.

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    Re: RAW vs JPG Colour shift

    Hi, Patrik -

    First, if you've still got a point and shoot camera that produces only .jpgs, go out and take a few pictures of flowers; blue ones, like hydrangas and Texas' bluebonnets, will come out the worst, usually. Then take pictures of the the same flowers with your snazzy camera, taking both RAW and .jpg.

    What you're seeing as you look at the pictures from the PnP camera and your .jpgs from the snazzy camera have colors that have come through, literally, a small program that your camera vendor(s) install in your CAMERA. Most people, especially those with PnP, don't want to fuss with things like we do with RAW images and are content to look at the snapshots they've taken, regardless of the way the small programs from your camera vendor(s). And, BTW, chances are pretty good that, even if your PnP camera was manufactured by the same company as your snazzy camera, the bad color will not be the same in both cameras.

    So, how do you solve this issue in a reliable way? The answer is that it's going to take some time, but you can begin getting close. How I tackled this was to try always to get my pictures to my computer the same day as I take the pictures. And, so far, even if I'm totally pooped, this habit has served me well to get my RAW images converted into images that have color fidelity that I'm quite satisfied with. When I'm taking the images, I always try to remember the colors and I'm pretty good with that. Fortunately for me, women have better color vision than men, so it's not difficult. Given your name, you might have some difficulty along those lines. But, trying to reproduce the colors accurately will get me in my personal space for a good image and I can refine it from there.

    I do NOT use Photoshop mainly because I regard it as a ripoff. If I were taking pictures with my Minolta Maxxams, I couldn't do all that stuff on my film images; and I'm still at the point where I try to get the very best images I can without any post-processing. I use dcraw to get my RAW images into the correct color neighborhood and FastStone Image Viewer to do some minor editing, such as straightening and cropping and to brighten up shadows if they're muddy.

    So, in my view, whatever the photographer thinks is a "proper" representation of the contents of the images is what I think we should go with. And, that's what I do.

    Finally, I always capture the .jpgs with my camera so I can check on how the image is framed while I am in the field and so I can see thumbnails in Windows Explorer when I first get my RAW and jpgs into my computer. After I have copies of the RAW images converted to TIFFs, I make a set of jpg thumbnails from those TIFFs because they have much better color than the the original jpgs from the field. The new jpg thumbnails replace the original jpgs.

    HTH.

    v
    Last edited by drjuice; 1st June 2012 at 04:37 AM.

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