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Thread: Raw to what format?

  1. #1

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    Raw to what format?

    I am using both Photoshop CS6 and Nikon Capture NX2. I actually prefer NX2 to CS6.
    So here is my question. I shoot in raw and then save in JPEG. Is that the best format to save in or should I use TIFF or some other format.

    Thanks in advance. The advice I receive from this forum is always spot on.

    B

  2. #2
    DanK's Avatar
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    Re: Raw to what format

    Save for what purpose?

    jpeg is a lossy format, and it is 8 bit. For that reason, I never save anything as jpeg if I expect to work on it further. However, it is the standard format for posting to the web, and it is also the standard format for many print labs.

    In my work flow, I use Photoshop only when I need to, which is for relatively few images. I do all of my basic editing in Lightroom. When LR alone is enough, I don't store the image in any format other than raw. I export whatever I need, but I don't generally store it. For some external software, raw won't work, e.g., my image stacking software. For that, I use 16-bit TIFFs, which are big but lose no information. If I have to edit in PS, I use the 'edit in' command in LR, which opens the image directly in PS, with my LR edits (you can chose that as an option in PS), without my having to save the image in another file format. When I am done working with it in PS, I save it either as PSD or TIFF, with layers if I am going to go back to it but sometimes flattened if I am confident that I won't. It is really better to save with layers, but those files are absolutely huge.

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    Re: Raw to what format

    Bernie, I work similarly to how you do. I start with Capture NX2 for tone-mapping, lens corrections supported by the package, white balance tweaks, initial straightening and cropping, etc. I then output 16-bit-per-channel TIFF for import into PaintShopPro. I love Topaz Denoise and Detail plugins, which work on 16-bit data. Many (but not all) of PSP's adjustments will work on 16-bit data, so I stay with that as long as I can. One thing that I often use that my version of PSP does not do on 16-bit data is median filtering. If I need to use that or other 8-bit only operations, I then collapse the image to 8 bits. Just before outputting as JPEG, I apply FocusMagic, which is a deconvolution sharpener that only works on 8-bit data. I save the NEF data, the original 16-bit TIFF, and the JPEG final output. FWIW.

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    Re: Raw to what format

    Bernie,

    I also use CNX2 and follow up with Photoshop Elements on no more than 1% of my photos to do things such as correcting perspective distortion and rearranging pixels, which cannot be done in CNX2.

    So, I save my RAW file that has been edited in CNX2. I save a full-size JPEG if I need to do further editing in Elements. Some argue that I should save a TIFF to do that because editing it and saving it again will not result in any loss, unlike a JPEG. However, I argue that editing and saving a JPEG once (actually many, many times) does not produce any visible loss despite that it can be scientifically detected.

    Some would also argue that I should save my edits done in Elements as a TIFF or a PSD so I can preserve the edit steps (that can't be done when saving a JPEG). I have usually one and occasionally only two steps at that very end of my workflow, so I have no practical need to return to them later. At least in years of doing this, I have never needed to return to them.

    If I want to print an image, I save a full-size JPEG from the RAW file or use the full-size JPEG that was needed for editing in Elements. That's because I outsource to a printer that produces reliably satisfactory results using a JPEG.

    When I display an image on the Internet, I save a small-size JPEG.

    So, understanding all of that, I have no need for TIFFs or PSDs.
    Last edited by Mike Buckley; 20th April 2013 at 03:16 PM.

  5. #5
    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: Raw to what format

    I find that the Nikon software has the most accurate colour reproduction; but I use ViewNX2 rather than CaptureNX2, being a full-blown Photoshop user from long before the time I had a camera that captured RAW images. I will set the colour balance in NX2 and save as a TIFF for further processing in Photoshop (using CS6 right now). I will save the PSD file in Photoshop and will usually discard the TIFF.

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    Glenn NK's Avatar
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    Re: Raw to what format

    Quote Originally Posted by DanK View Post
    Save for what purpose?

    jpeg is a lossy format, and it is 8 bit. For that reason, I never save anything as jpeg if I expect to work on it further. However, it is the standard format for posting to the web, and it is also the standard format for many print labs.

    In my work flow, I use Photoshop only when I need to, which is for relatively few images. I do all of my basic editing in Lightroom. When LR alone is enough, I don't store the image in any format other than raw. I export whatever I need, but I don't generally store it. For some external software, raw won't work, e.g., my image stacking software. For that, I use 16-bit TIFFs, which are big but lose no information. If I have to edit in PS, I use the 'edit in' command in LR, which opens the image directly in PS, with my LR edits (you can chose that as an option in PS), without my having to save the image in another file format. When I am done working with it in PS, I save it either as PSD or TIFF, with layers if I am going to go back to it but sometimes flattened if I am confident that I won't. It is really better to save with layers, but those files are absolutely huge.
    Yes - save for what purpose?

    I also do most of my PP in Lightoom (don't use any version of Photoshop), the remainder is focus stacking using (Zerene).

    I purchased the NIK package, but haven't gotten around to actually using it. One reason for not using is that it requires a TIFF to work on - another nuisance file that takes up space and slows things down.

    TIFFs are generated for focus stacking and are erased when the stacking is complete.

    JPEGs are only used for web display or printing.

    Never mind that storage space is cheap - you have to be able to keep track of all the images and find them (and also remember what you have). Creating a duplicate of every RAW file would compound these problems.

    Glenn

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    Re: Raw to what format

    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn NK View Post

    I also do most of my PP in Lightoom (don't use any version of Photoshop),
    I've got some bad news Glenn - it's official title is Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.

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    Re: Raw to what format

    It is worth noting that jpg while a lossy sytem it can be organised so that the losses are minimal if your editor is capable of doing this ... years ago I remember a writer saying he had saved something twenty times and the end result was no different to the original .... that is not 20 copies but open and save done twenty times I imagine in those days he was working with PS7 or earlier.

    What a dreadful shock to Glenn ... to find he is using an Adobe product

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    Re: Raw to what format

    Quote Originally Posted by jcuknz View Post
    It is worth noting that jpg while a lossy sytem it can be organised so that the losses are minimal if your editor is capable of doing this ... years ago I remember a writer saying he had saved something twenty times and the end result was no different to the original
    When an image is saved as a JPEG it goes through an optimisation process -- if there's no changes to the file between the opening-saving process then the results of the optimisation are the same each time and thus no loss.

    It's in the very first save that most of the headroom is discarded. So you can open & re-save a JPEG until the cows come home -- so long as no changes are made; you can open/save a jpeg without fear if you simply open it to - say - edit out a piece of litter or a stray hair etc - no problem. What you can't do is save a jpeg - open it - and keep making big changes to levels.

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    Glenn NK's Avatar
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    Re: Raw to what format

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    I've got some bad news Glenn - it's official title is Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.
    Yes I know, but I'm not keen on official titles (officious?). Nobody except Adobe calls it anything but Lightroom, and most of us call it LR (or LR4.4 or LR3.6 or LR5b for beta).

    There's an interesting M43 camera that most of us refer to as the E-M5. Officially it's "Olympus OM D E-M5". And I know the reason, but really now.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olympus_OM_system


    Glenn

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    Re: Raw to what format

    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn NK View Post
    Yes I know, but I'm not keen on official titles (officious?). Nobody except Adobe calls it anything but Lightroom, and most of us call it LR (or LR4.4 or LR3.6 or LR5b for beta).
    In a world of Windows 8, iPads and gestures, I have my very own gesture for LR:


  12. #12

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    Re: Raw to what format

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    What you can't do is save a jpeg - open it - and keep making big changes to levels.
    Why would you want to do that and use one aspect to condemn working with jpg as your camera option? You didn't but many do. If you are doing serious editing you are not working with jpg but a lossless storage system once it is in the editor. All photography is a compromise and we each choose the path we want to go.

  13. #13

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    Re: Raw to what format

    Quote Originally Posted by jcuknz View Post
    Why would you want to do that and use one aspect to condemn working with jpg as your camera option? You didn't but many do. If you are doing serious editing you are not working with jpg but a lossless storage system once it is in the editor. All photography is a compromise and we each choose the path we want to go.
    Not sure what you're meaning here to be honest. Folks are of course free to shoot in whatever format they choose -- all I'm saying is that JPEGs are optimised for small size - and one of the ways that they achieve that is by discarding a LOT of information that doesn't contribute to what can be seen in the image, and keeping in mind that the format itself has no knowledge of whether the shot is over or under exposed, so if you shoot jpegs or at any time you save an image as a jpeg, 90% of your safety margin has been eliminated. If you discover later on that you need that safety margin back, you're SOL.

    In other words, JPEGs are great as an output format once all of your major levels adjustments have been done. If you choose to shoot JPEG in the first place then that's fine, but you'd better have your ducks in a row.

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