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Thread: RAW/NEF versus TIFF - via Camera Raw

  1. #1
    Pica's Avatar
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    RAW/NEF versus TIFF - via Camera Raw

    Hello Forum Members,
    Background: I am seasoned photographer and systems engineer. We have bought a new camera with 24 MP. Thus I have begun to contemplate file and hard disk sizes more due to the larger file sizes especially when it comes to TIFF.

    Questions please:
    (i) I wonder what is the background to that when our camera delivers an average size of the file directly from the camera, raw (i.e. NEF) say between 23 and 30 MB (depending on 12-bit or 14-bit) - when taken to Photoshop via Camera Raw, the file size increases to 130 MB(!) - even if it is compressed TIFF?
    Are there any other reasons than that the TIFF is 16-bit?

    (ii) Any ideas to decrease the 130 MB - in a lossless fashion (i.e. not lossy JPEG or 8-bit)?

    Thank you for your cooperation!
    Last edited by Pica; 18th August 2017 at 03:41 AM.

  2. #2

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    Re: RAW/NEF versus TIFF - via Camera Raw

    If you search the forums a bit this has been discussed previously. If you want to process in 16bit, lossless, you're pretty much stuck with either DNG or TIFF. Neither format is going to be as small as your RAW files. The best option I've come up with is to do as much processing as possible on the RAW files. For most family photos etc. that yields adequate results to then export to jpeg for posting/printing. For images that require additional processing that can't be done in ACR/LR I export as TIFF and process in external software. That doesn't change the size of TIFFs but it does minimize how many of them I have to store.

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    Re: RAW/NEF versus TIFF - via Camera Raw

    I import using Lightroom and leave them all as NEF files. If I edit with Photoshop and want to retain layers etc I sometimes save as PSD files but usually I just close going back to Lightroom and the edits get saved as tiff.

    It will depend a lot on what software and work flow you want to use.

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    Re: RAW/NEF versus TIFF - via Camera Raw

    Hello,
    Dan thanks: Yes as I stated, I am seasoned systems engineering and photographer; meaning I have done my research in advance to find an answer. But have not found it yet.

    Dan and Paul thanks. However, this is not the fundamental scope of the OP. It is - the technical background - how come raw/NEF is much smaller in size compared to a TIFF even if it is compressed. Why do the basic sensor data from the camera grow so extraordinary in size! Please view the OP.

    All the best

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    Re: RAW/NEF versus TIFF - via Camera Raw

    Quote Originally Posted by Pica View Post
    ...how come raw/NEF is much smaller in size compared to a TIFF even if it is compressed...
    As far as I can tell it's magic

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    Re: RAW/NEF versus TIFF - via Camera Raw

    Quote Originally Posted by Pica View Post
    Hello,
    Dan thanks: Yes as I stated, I am seasoned systems engineering and photographer; meaning I have done my research in advance to find an answer. But have not found it yet.

    Dan and Paul thanks. However, this is not the fundamental scope of the OP. It is - the technical background - how come raw/NEF is much smaller in size compared to a TIFF even if it is compressed. Why do the basic sensor data from the camera grow so extraordinary in size! Please view the OP.

    All the best
    A RAW/NEF is basically saved as (depends on file type options) 12-16 bits per pixel (ignoring extra info attached to file). When it is converted/demosaic (expanded) to a RGB file of some type it will have 8 or 16 bits per RGB channel for each pixel. So basically you go from 12-16 bits per pixel to 24 or 48bits per pixel.

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    Re: RAW/NEF versus TIFF - via Camera Raw

    Yes a raw file contains only one value per pixel (one colour) and this is demosaiced into a colour image in the raw processor ie one with three values per pixel. In addition, given the typical sizes of your nef files, it's likely that they are (losslessly) compressed in camera. Depending on the model, you may not have any say in whether it is compressed or not.

    Dave

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    Re: RAW/NEF versus TIFF - via Camera Raw

    The files contain an image and additional stuff. Most part of the size is used by he image. If your camera has a resolution of 4000x6000 pixels and you shoot in 12 pixels, then your image size will be 2880000000 bit or 36MB. When shooting in 14bit that will be 42MB.
    A TIFF is a RGB raster image. Every pixel contains the R,G,B values. So in 8 bits every pixel will be 3 byte, in 16bits every pixel will be 6 byte resulting in image sizes of resp 72MB or 144MB.
    A JPEG is by definition a compressed RGB raster image.

    I just can't resist
    RAW/NEF versus TIFF - via Camera Raw
    Difference between the result between by example out off the camera and Camera Raw are from using different converters and/or settings.

    What are you looking for?

    George
    Last edited by george013; 18th August 2017 at 10:01 AM. Reason: typo

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    Re: RAW/NEF versus TIFF - via Camera Raw

    Quote Originally Posted by george013 View Post

    I just can't resist
    RAW/NEF versus TIFF - via Camera Raw
    I was waiting for it George

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    Re: RAW/NEF versus TIFF - via Camera Raw

    Quote Originally Posted by dje View Post
    I was waiting for it George
    You see, it has its value.
    Now waiting for the jokers.

    George

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    Re: RAW/NEF versus TIFF - via Camera Raw

    This time, it really helps make the point, although the text of your answer was very clear even without it.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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    Re: RAW/NEF versus TIFF - via Camera Raw

    With the cost of storage falling continuously, I don't worry about file size at all; I just put a larger hard drive into my computer and backup storage drives.

    From a systems standpoint, the TIFF spec is fairly complex and flexible image format that was essentially designed for the days where most content ended up being printed on an offset press (as did much of the photo editing software). One thing I remember from my systems days was that flexibility tended to imply larger and more complex data structures.

    When we are dealing with offset printing rather than just the additive RGB (three colour channel) colours we usually use today, the CMYK (four colour channel) colour model + spot colours were built into the standard. TIFF was also designed to handle huge file sizes; up to 4 GB; which means a native 32-bit bit support. Taking a 12-bit or 14-bit piece of data and storing it as something a computer wants to see (8 / 16 / 32 / 64 bit length data) means either throwing away data (8-bit) or packing leading zeros to the data for the other bit-length storage.

    TIFF also saves layer information that software like Photoshop produce.

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    Re: RAW/NEF versus TIFF - via Camera Raw

    Hello George, Dave, Paul, Manfred, Dan, Everyone,
    Bull's-eye, spot-on.

    This is exactly the information which supports me on my technical quest in this field.

    To mention some items:
    - The implementation of one to three was especially interesting
    - the TIFF spec's complexity
    - George, I follow your train of thought and I am also a friend of creating models and figures. Creating object-oriented models, data flows, etc are a great passion of mine. So, you have a friend in me concerning this area!

    Thank you for your cooperation everyone!

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    Re: RAW/NEF versus TIFF - via Camera Raw

    Quote Originally Posted by Pica View Post
    Hello George, Dave, Paul, Manfred, Dan, Everyone,
    Bull's-eye, spot-on.

    This is exactly the information which supports me on my technical quest in this field.

    To mention some items:
    - The implementation of one to three was especially interesting
    - the TIFF spec's complexity
    - George, I follow your train of thought and I am also a friend of creating models and figures. Creating object-oriented models, data flows, etc are a great passion of mine. So, you have a friend in me concerning this area!

    Thank you for your cooperation everyone!
    Well, you're the first one

    George

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    Re: RAW/NEF versus TIFF - via Camera Raw

    Quote Originally Posted by george013 View Post
    Well, you're the first one

    George
    You should keep a link to that post.....

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    Re: RAW/NEF versus TIFF - via Camera Raw

    Quote Originally Posted by dje View Post
    In addition, given the typical sizes of your nef files, it's likely that they are (losslessly) compressed in camera. Depending on the model, you may not have any say in whether it is compressed or not.
    Unfortunately, Nikon D3xxx and D5xxx cameras actually lossy compress all raw data. You have no option for lossless compression at all. With D7xxx and above, you can choose either lossy or lossless data in your NEF files. FWIW

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    Re: RAW/NEF versus TIFF - via Camera Raw

    Wandering a bit off topic: does anyone one know whether Canon RAW data is lossy compressed in camera?

    Quote Originally Posted by tclune View Post
    Unfortunately, Nikon D3xxx and D5xxx cameras actually lossy compress all raw data. You have no option for lossless compression at all. With D7xxx and above, you can choose either lossy or lossless data in your NEF files. FWIW

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    Re: RAW/NEF versus TIFF - via Camera Raw

    Quote Originally Posted by Cantab View Post
    Wandering a bit off topic: does anyone one know whether Canon RAW data is lossy compressed in camera?
    AFAIK, no, it is not lossy compressed (at least the full-size raw; I have never used or looked into the medium and small format raw files.


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    Re: RAW/NEF versus TIFF - via Camera Raw

    Quote Originally Posted by tclune View Post
    Unfortunately, Nikon D3xxx and D5xxx cameras actually lossy compress all raw data. You have no option for lossless compression at all. With D7xxx and above, you can choose either lossy or lossless data in your NEF files. FWIW
    Thanks Tom. Just to complete the picture, the higher end cameras are as follows

    D500, D5 and D810 : lossless or lossy compression, or uncompressed.
    D610, D750 : lossless or lossy compression

    I don't know why Nikon differentiates between models in this way. It can't be related to implementation cost surely?

    Dave
    Last edited by dje; 21st August 2017 at 05:08 AM.

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    Re: RAW/NEF versus TIFF - via Camera Raw

    Quote Originally Posted by DanK View Post
    AFAIK, no, it is not lossy compressed (at least the full-size raw; I have never used or looked into the medium and small format raw files.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    Yes from what I've read, Canon uses lossless jpeg compression for it's raw files, including the smaller sizes I think.

    Dave

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