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Thread: Save photos in RAW+JPEG using low/high quality or in sRAW?

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    Adrian's Avatar
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    Save photos in RAW+JPEG using low/high quality or in sRAW?

    At the moment I shoot the highest quality JPEG. However, if I shoot RAW and JPEG is there any point wasting space on the compact flash with the highest quality JPEG images if I can extract everything from the RAW image anyway on those "special" shots that emerge? In other words, is there any point in having anything but a fairly basic JPEG along with the RAW file?

    Do you have any views on sRAW, which is about a quarter the size of a RAW file?

    Thanks

    Adrian

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    Re: Save photos in RAW+JPEG using low/high quality or in sRAW?

    RAW+JPEG in low quality is an option, but I think you should also look at how much space you'd actually be saving. With a Canon 5D at ISO100, for example, a typical RAW+JPEG in high quality (superfine) mode is 12MB+3.6MB=15.6MB in total. By contrast, for the same subject matter at ISO100, the RAW+JPEG in low quality (fine) mode is 12MB+1.8MB=13.8MB. While you clearly save 50% space for the JPEG portion, overall you are only saving ~12% space in exchange for a much less detailed JPEG. (At higher ISO this space savings can increase, but even at ISO1600 it is typically no more than 15%.)

    Further, this greater differential in quality between the RAW and JPEG just might cause more of the situation you wanted to avoid: having to use the RAW files.

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian
    Do you have any views on sRAW, which is about a quarter the size of a RAW file?
    sRAW is for situations where you need the features of RAW, such as dynamic range and better white balance control, but do not need the full resolution. It can also be useful for decreasing the time to write images to your flash card when you need to do rapid bursts of photos, since sRAW is about a quarter the size of the RAW file. If you have the space and don't need the rapid bursts, I would just stick with the full resolution RAW files.

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    Re: Save photos in RAW+JPEG using low/high quality or in sRAW?

    McQ - thanks for your reply. Astute of you to shift this to a new thread.

    I must confess I had assumed that adding a smooth curve high resolution JPEG to RAW would double the file size, as RAW and hr JPEG are similar file sizes. I see that, as usual, my assumption was wrong. Having consulted the manual, I see that as you have said, it makes almost no difference in real terms.

    I shall be in Siclly in a few weeks and we plan to do quite a lot of portraiture and landscape shots, so I will experiment more with shooting RAW plus JPEG then.

    As I very rarely these days take many action shots, it seems that sRAW will be of little benefit to me.

    With compact flash memory so cheap these days, I do wonder why photographers would bother with the lower resolution images that our cameras can take.

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    Re: Save photos in RAW+JPEG using low/high quality or in sRAW?

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian View Post
    At the moment I shoot the highest quality JPEG. However, if I shoot RAW and JPEG is there any point wasting space on the compact flash with the highest quality JPEG images if I can extract everything from the RAW image anyway on those "special" shots that emerge? In other words, is there any point in having anything but a fairly basic JPEG along with the RAW file?

    Do you have any views on sRAW, which is about a quarter the size of a RAW file?

    Thanks

    Adrian
    Hi Adrian.
    There is absolutely no point in using both formats if you have the facility to manipulate RAW files. Just make a copy of your Raw file and save it as a jpeg as and when. Jim Bell

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    Re: Save photos in RAW+JPEG using low/high quality or in sRAW?

    Jim,

    So now I am confused again. I thought that the JPEG file would produce whatever "process" settings I choose on the camera. If I get those right, then end fo story, I do not need to fiddle about with the RAW image in Aperture (which is my editing and organizational software of choice as I am a long time MAC user).

    However I thought that if I shoot only RAW then I am going to spend time post processing come what may. Have I misunderstood?

    If I have indeed misunderstood, then what is the point of Canon providing the ability to shoot RAW and JPEG simultaneously, as they also provide free of extra charge the software that will convert RAW to JPEG or TIFF?

    Please bear in mind that I am a very recent film to DSLR convert, so I am still getting to grips with the technology. Hence an inevitable degree of ignorance.

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    Re: Save photos in RAW+JPEG using low/high quality or in sRAW?

    Jim: Adrian's main concern from this thread is that right now he does not have the time to learn nor process RAW files. Shooting RAW+JPEG was a compromised solution which allowed him to keep shooting as normal, but to also have RAW files available for when he gets more up to speed on using them in the future, or for those select shots where he finds the JPEG insufficient.

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    Re: Save photos in RAW+JPEG using low/high quality or in sRAW?

    Adrian: no worries, you are right that the JPEG file will produce whatever "process" settings you choose in the camera. You will spend time processing if you shoot only RAW, but this can be automated if you find a setting and stick with it (see below).

    As mentioned, an alternative to RAW+JPEG is to shoot in RAW only and have these all batch processed in Canon's DPP using the custom settings you would have otherwise set within the camera for the JPEG. While this would not give you the full advantage of customized RAW processing, it would certainly be much less time-consuming and save a tad more space (if that's important). Just find your favorite custom settings in DPP and "set it and forget it". At a later date you could always go back and change these settings for select photos as you get more comfortable with the process, or have more time.

    Honesty though, I still see a use for the RAW+JPEG initially because the JPEG file gives you a benchmark with which to compare your processed RAW file. This is great for learning how your RAW processing settings influence the photo... I am sure this is up for debate though.

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    Re: Save photos in RAW+JPEG using low/high quality or in sRAW?

    I've seen some advanced photographers shoot RAW + JPG (max).

    I've been shooting RAW since I got a camera that allows me to. Just RAW by itself. The software that comes with Canon is a decent and very easy to use software for anyone that is not familiar with RAW files. However, I see that Adrian is accustomed to Aperture which should do a great job with the RAW conversion as well. I personally use Lightroom.

    While this is not a RAW vs JPG thread, I see no apparent reason for me to shoot JPG and rely on the in-camera processing/rendering. RAW offers me so much flexibility like white balance changes, wide (relative) exposure adjustment and dynamic range expansion to name a few.

    I still do not understand why those aformentioned photographers shoot RAW + JPG. Anyone knows?

    Elie

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    Re: Save photos in RAW+JPEG using low/high quality or in sRAW?

    I personally shoot in both because when I get home, I like to quickly see what I have caught, and quickly share them via web/email. Then, from examining the JPGs, I can filter out the best pics and compositions to the ones I will work on in RAW. I do not have time to mess with RAW to try to optimize every photo, but I suppose as mentioned above, I could use a setting that automatically processes the shots...

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    Re: Save photos in RAW+JPEG using low/high quality or in sRAW?

    Yeah, ultimately I think we all agree that in the long run, spending the time to learn and use RAW is definitely the way to go.

    As far as RAW+JPEG, I think for many it comes down to a matter of convenience and compatibility. People needing to pass photos onto others directly (who are not so RAW saavy or who do not have the appropriate software) might opt for RAW+JPEG to enable immediate use by these other individuals. The photographer then still has the ability to go back and process select files on their own if need be. I've heard of situations like this with large batches of high school portraits or similar arrangements where many people are interacting with a central set of photos.

    Alternatively, I've used RAW+JPEG on occasion if I know I will be using a portable photo viewing device in the field that does not have full RAW support, but yet still need to be able to see the full image resolution upon zooming.

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    Re: Save photos in RAW+JPEG using low/high quality or in sRAW?

    For me, having the JPEG's available is very useful. A lot of the time, my photography involves either my girlfriend as model, or my son as subject, or places that we are visiting. They like to see the photos downloaded straight away when we get home. Aperture or iPhoto quickly enables these to be organized as a full screen slide show. Tweaking is quick - where necessary - in Aperture, as it allows JPEG's to be edited extensively if one wishes.

    Projects are then often put straight on the web as my son's mother lives in Holland and my girlfriends' parents live in Germany. We live in England. So, rapid web sharing is something we use a lot. I need JPEG's for this.

    Then there are the occasional special shots that I wish to print. These may well be edited quite extensively. I can see that having the RAW file would often be an advantage for these.

    I know that some photographers wonder why others shoot JPEG's. Indeed that question has been asked above. I have (elsewhere) been ridiculed for being so amateurish as not to embrace RAW fully. Such is life when egos get involved. May I suggest that apart from the convenience factor that I have outlined above, there are other schools of thought.

    For example, take a look at Ken Rockwell's web site. He has produced some good work. And he is firmly of the view that life is too short to process RAW and then spend time in front of a computer with one's back to the world. He shoots JPEG's.

    I friend of mine shoots professionally, full time day in day out, and he concentrates on sporting events such as horse trials and football. He shoots JPEG's. He needs his prints up on the walls of the sales tent a few minutes after the horse has finished each round. And he needs his magazine newspaper / web site shots zapped off down the wires straight away. He says that he does not have time to process RAW. Also action shots process much more quickly in the camera, according to him, and this is critical when shooting a horse jumping a big fence, when high FPS rates are essential.

    And I wonder how many people have explored just how much editing can be done on JPEG files within such programmes as Aperture 2. I know that it is less flexible than RAW - but most of the things that can be done to RAW files can be done to high quality JPEG files as well. Certainly enough for a lot of amateur photographers.

    Finally, this may be a naive concluding view. However, I would imagine that camera makers such as canon, Nikon and Olympus have learned something by now about the optimal settings for their software that they include in their cameras. Lone photographers may well feel that they can do a better job than the manufacturer in making these decisions, and hence prefer to override the camera settings. They may - or may not - be right. Certainly they will invest a lot of time and who knows whether their results are better or not?

    I tend to take the view that very careful consideration given to getting the shot right in the first place, will save a lot of time later in post processing. I am more interested in standing behind the camera than sitting at the computer. of course I do see that some artistic elements can only be achieved in post processing.

    In conclusion I have a musical analogy. I play various instruments. When recording, we can correct almost any error. We can change notes, tuning pitches, voice irregularities (including being completely off key) and so on - but all musicians agree that it is better to get it right when you play it in the first place.

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