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Thread: After RAW - best file format for printing?

  1. #1
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    After RAW - best file format for printing?

    Hello All,

    Just joined the forum and what a great site and tutorials to.

    I was wondering if, after importing RAW files into Photoshop and doing any adjustments, what is the best final format to save them as for say printing?

    Thsnk you,

    Best wishes
    Graeme

  2. #2
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    Re: After RAW

    Hi Graeme - Welcome to CiC. This question comes up regularly in one form or another and I expect searching the site will produce some answers. However, the general procedure that I adopt is to save processed RAW files in a format that stores the greatest amount of information. Using Canon as an example, I often process using Digital Photo Professional and simply store the edit parameters e.g sharpening. I may then process the file for Web use and that would mean normally going to JPEG and uploading. If I wanted to print then I would again go to JPEG but with a higher pixel level.

    If I wanted to process in another editor (I use the Gimp) then I could not save in Raw format but would go to TIFF, 8 or 16 bit according to what I then wanted to do. From TIFF I can work "down" so to speak for other processes. Some others like DNG format and that seems fine, but I don't use it.

    Overall, use the format that keeps the most information for later use.

    Cheers

    David

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    Re: After RAW

    Hi Graeme,

    A big welcome from me too.

    Personally, I convert everything to DNG (and delete the original CR2 files) and then save the shots I decide to keep in Photoshop's native *.PSD format.

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    Re: After RAW

    Colin,

    Why would you delete the original .CR2 files?

    Gary

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    Re: After RAW

    Quote Originally Posted by didymus View Post
    Colin,

    Why would you delete the original .CR2 files?

    Gary
    Hi Gary,

    DNG is also a RAW format - so it contains the same information as the*.CR2 file, but converted to a standardised and open format.

    The only downside about working "DNG only" is for folks who want to use other "RAW" programs like DxO optics that (still) flatly refuse to accept a DNG file as an input file, but in my case I have no further need for the *.CR2 file as I'm a 100% Adobe person.

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    Re: After RAW

    Thanks Colin.

    That certainly frees up some disk space!

    Gary

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    Re: After RAW

    Quote Originally Posted by didymus View Post
    Thanks Colin.

    That certainly frees up some disk space!

    Gary
    Personally I'm not too concerned about disk space, but with DNG files being approx 30% smaller, it certainly does add up. A typical landscape shoot for me may involve anything from 50 to "several hundred" shots of which generally only 1 will ever be processed which generally means several gigabytes of "Bulk DNG" to be filed away from each shoot.

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    Re: After RAW

    Hello all,

    Wow, what amazing help, thank you so much.

    So I understand that I can use say Adobe DNG convertor to open them, edit them as I please, then save them as a JPEG to be printed?

    Do labs print RAW images?

    Thanks again,

    Best wishes,

    Graeme
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 8th October 2010 at 07:45 PM.

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    Re: After RAW

    Hi Graeme,

    You're very welcome.

    Quote Originally Posted by Graeme View Post
    So I understand that I can use say Adobe DNG convertor to open them, edit them as I please, then save them as a JPEG to be printed?
    You can - but - JPEGs are designed to be as small as possible, and one of the ways they do that is by throwing away a lot of information that's contained in the original file that can't be resolved by the human eye. If you subsequently decide that you want to do any significant editing (ie big changes to levels etc to reveal some of that hidden detail) then you'll need to start all over again with the RAW file because that's the only version you'll have that contains the "hidden information".

    I that possibility isn't a problem for you then yes, what you're suggesting is fine.

    Do labs print RAW images?
    In a word, no.

    And you probably wouldn't want them to as RAW files are like the ingredients to bake a cake; it takes a chef to decide how they want to combine those ingredients.

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