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Thread: Jpeg+raw?

  1. #1
    Grouper cbope's Avatar
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    Jpeg+raw?

    Does anyone shoot JPEG+RAW? Is it worth the card space for underwater photography?

    I have a Canon G9 which supports JPEG+RAW, but I have rarely used RAW. With the volume of photos I shoot it just isn't practical in most cases, but I'd be willing to use it underwater if there is a clear advantage/benefit.

    I read an interesting editorial recently that argued against RAW in general. Don't have the link at the moment...

    "It is better to be hurt on the surface, than dead on the bottom."

  2. #2
    I just upgraded to a G11 this year and being able to do RAW was a big thing. In the past I've had a few shots that would have been really nice except the color balance was a little too far of to correct within a JPG and my old camera didn't do RAW. So to me the extra space is fine, the smallest memory card I have for this camera is 8GB, and I like to swap them out whenever I open the housing to swap batteries just in case something were to happen, I don't want to lose my entire trip worth of photos.

    The advantage is that you can correct color balance issues after the fact much more accurately. When the camera create the JPG file it uses the color balance setting you have set to factor into the conversion from RAW to JPG, but then the JPG file only has part of the original image data. So it's harder to correct an out of balance JPG file since the image data isn't there any more.

  3. #3
    LeeParrish is right on the money. The RAW image is larger because there is more data. If you just keep the JPEG image, you are assuming the camera knows how to best convert the raw data to a JPEG.

    I purchase cameras with a RAW option because I want the control of converting the RAW data to a more portable format like JPEG or PNG.

    The term JPEG is actually used generically to describe a number of different image compression techniques. I can take the RAW data and use different parameters to create a dozen different JPEG images. Have a look at JPEG - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. They have a lot of information but they also have a few sample images.

    Additionally, you can often save an additional 10 to 20 percent by just saving RAW. There are numerous free and commercial applications which will convert the RAW file to a JPEG (or PNG, TIFF, etc.). I always save everything in just RAW then use Apple Aperture to export the image as JPEG (or GIF).

    Memory cards are cheap. I usually have a half dozen 4 gig cards. You only need enough space for one dive. I can usually get around 200+ images on a 4 gig card. A good 4 gig class 4 SDHC is going to be around $10, good 8 gig class 4 SDHC is going to be around $30 or you can go nuts and get a 32 gig class 10 SDHC for around $100 (you'd really only need a class 4 or 6 for stills; the class 10 cards are good for video).
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  4. #4
    Dominus Diabolus Urinatoris ST-Forum Mod DevilDiver's Avatar
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    Arrow JPEG vs. RAW - Really?

    I know that this post will go against the accepted normal suggestions given regarding the positive aspects of shooting in the RAW format.....
    but there are some things that need to be considered when using a compact camera with a smaller sensor vs. a SLR with full size or even a cropped sensor.

    Info:

    The RAW format allows photographers maximum control over parameters such as white balance (and to a degree, exposure) after the shot has been taken, it also allows them to overcome some of the issues we see with all small sensor compacts (over enthusiastic noise reduction, tone curve and dynamic range issues).

    The only drawback is that RAW formats differ between camera manufacturers, and even between cameras, so dedicated software provided by the manufacturer has to be used. Furthermore, opening and processing RAW files is much slower than JPEG or TIFF files. To address this issue, some cameras are offering the option to shoot in RAW and JPEG at the same time. As cameras become faster and memory cards cheaper, this option has no longer performance or storage issues. It allows you to organize and edit your images in a faster way with regular software using the JPEGs. But you retain the option to process in RAW those critical images or images with problems (white balance or lost shadow and highlight detail). Another trend is that third party image editing and viewing software packages are becoming RAW compatible with most popular camera brands and models. An example is Adobe Photoshop CS. However the way Photoshop processes RAW files can be different from the way the camera manufacturer's software does it and not all settings may be recognized. In addition, many of the camera settings which were applied to the raw data can be undone when using the RAW processing software. For instance, sharpening, white balance, levels and color adjustments can be undone and have to be recalculated based on the raw data.

    JPEG rearranges the image information into color and detail information, compressing color more than detail because our eyes are more sensitive to detail than to color, making the compression less visible to the naked eye. Secondly, it sorts the detail information into fine and coarse detail and discards the fine detail first because our eyes are more sensitive to coarse detail than to fine detail. JPEG allows you to make a trade-off between image file size and image quality.

    A distinction should be made between the number of pixels in a digital image and the number of sensor pixel measurements that were used to produce that image. In conventional sensors, each pixel has one photodiode which corresponds with one pixel in the image. Normally, each pixel in the image is based on the measurement in one pixel location. For instance, a 5 megapixel image is based on 5 million pixel measurements, give and take the use of some pixels surrounding the effective area.

    What this means:

    Depending on the manufacture, sensor and technology used for your compact camera (in this case Canon G9) AND the print size and/or amount of cropping used for the image and the time and skill used in post processing a JPEG file can be as good or better than a RAW file. If you are not skilled at post processing or are not using software that is optimized for your camera the JPEG could produce much more favorable results vs RAW.

    The point is that a compact camera with a small sensor, fixed lens and most likely too many mega pixels can only capture, process and record so much information. So, is using RAW really going to make a huge difference in the final product?

    What you intend to do with the photo is also an issue worth considering. If you intend to post to a online photo storage/share site JPEG is more than acceptable, if you are looking at printing a 4x6, 5x7 and even possibly 11x14 the JPEG file should produce more than acceptable results.

    As far as post processing JPEG vs RAW for color, exposure and texture, if you are using "Layers" the Levels and Curves tools can give you more than enough adjustment if the original image is with in the acceptable or workable range.

    At todays standards you also need to consider the write time the camera will need to process the photos. If the camera requires longer than the recycle time of your strobe to record a RAW file you will have fewer opportunities to capture your subject and risk missing that "one" photo. I use reasonably fast strobes (1.5-2 sec at full dump) if the camera has not processed the file and ready to focus and shoot by the time the strobes have recycled I would tend to get very frustrated.

    Note: If the photo is substandard to begin with, post processing will not be able to correct major errors and defects made in the basic capture of the photo and these photos should be used to learn from and then discarded.

    Reference: Canon G9 - JPEG vs RAW 1:1 crop

    Note: Comparison JPEG setting is "Super Fine", JPEGs should always be captured at Fine or Super Fine (highest setting).
    * Note: ISO settings are at 80 and 400, with compact cameras ISO should always be kept at 400 and below. The average best setting being 100 or 200 depending on your camera.
    ** Note: ACR = Adobe Camera Raw

    Studio shot comparison (JPEG vs RAW)

    ISO 80 Studio Shot Comparison

    Canon's Raw Image Task processor produces results that are - from a detail and noise point of view - identical to the out of camera JPEGs. Color is also identical (though obviously you have a lot of control over this in the raw software, so this is just the 'starting point'). The ACR result shows how much sharpening is being done by Canon (the default setting in ACR uses relatively low sharpening, though you can of course turn this up to match Canon's 'look').

    ISO 80 Out of camera JPEG, Super Fine, default settings


    Canon Raw Image Task , RAW-TIFF, default settings


    ISO 400 Studio Shot Comparison

    At ISO 400 shooting raw starts to give you more options on how you deal with the noise issues that are an inevitable result of squeezing 12 million pixels onto such a small sensor. Again the Canon converter produces results that are indistinguishable from the camera JPEG, but ACR allows you to experiment with the amount of noise reduction used (or to apply none at all if you prefer a dedicated NR application such as Noise Ninja). Note that the Adaptive Noise Reduction filter in the raw converter makes very little difference at all. The G9's ISO 400 JPEGs are actually pretty good, the RAW files are good as well but the noise reduction does remove some detail, and you can get some of this back by using ACR.

    Out of camera JPEG, Super Fine, default settings


    Canon Raw Image Task , RAW-TIFF, default settings


    Summary:

    Depending on what you believe to be acceptable quality for your photos, write time for RAW files, what you want to do with your photos and the amount of time post processing used it is possible that JPEG can be as good or better of an alternative to RAW. Comparing the images above it is obvious that image quality is almost exactly the same given the test parameters and settings prior to post processing of either of the files.

    The decision really comes down to how your particular camera records and processes JPEG and converts RAW files.

    If all this gives you a headache and is way more to consider than you want to mess with, you don't have to shoot RAW if it will not make a huge difference to the final outcome of your photos. It is always best to practice your skills with composition, lighting and exposure on the original photo than to spend your time in post processing trying to save your pictures.

    I have had 5 point & shoot U/W camera systems from basic to advanced and plan at this time to stay with this format. I also have 2 Nikon DSLR's + asst lenses for topside.
    Last edited by DevilDiver; 04-20-2010 at 13:29.
    DevilDiver

  5. #5
    Shark
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    yah, DD, I think you are completely off base, especially for underwater photography...

    as you probably know, there are only two ways to get accurate color underwater - one is to use a white balance slate (the slate needs to be the same distance from the camera as your subject, and white balance also needs to be re-adjusted every time you change depth, or even if a cloud passes over)

    the other way is to shoot in RAW and to post process the picture into a color correct file...

    You did post a lot of reasons that RAW can be more complicated, but, for someone wanting color accurate pictures, you have to either shoot in RAW or spend a lot of time setting white balance underwater, and hoping that you got it right...

    You mentioned that in Photoshop, you can use the levels tool to make a photo look more color correct, which is true, but it comes at the addition of noise in the picture... I actually just went and compared one picture, one version was JPEG - the way it came out of the camera and I adjusted the colors to be more accurate, the other was the RAW file, which I one click fixed white balance - the RAW photo looks better, period, and, was actually easier to adjust, at least using Canon's software...

    I have actually found (not timed empirically, but it appears at least) that my camera (S90) is actually faster to save a RAW file than it is to convert it to JPEG and then save it... That being said, I save as both, because its nice to have a quick look once I get it on the computer... My problem isn't with the JPEG file format, its with its ability to handle color changes...
    -cody / on vacation from vacation...
    PADI MSDT Instructor, US Coast Guard Captain - Master Near Coastal

  6. #6
    Dominus Diabolus Urinatoris ST-Forum Mod DevilDiver's Avatar
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    mitsuguy,

    Color correction for underwater photography is really a different subject from the above opinion post. The point above is an opinion on the quality of image from a advanced compact camera with the JPEG vs. RAW format. The advantages of RAW as a format with a full sized or cropped sensor (DSLR) do not necessarily translate to a smaller sensor compact point and shoot or advanced compact camera in regards a huge difference in recognizable to the human eye quality other than a larger file and very large prints. This of course is based on current technology and personal preferences.

    The smaller sized sensors just do not produce the same quality RAW files as found with full sized and cropped DSLR's. If (depending on the camera and sofware used) the results are simular is there really an huge quality advantage to RAW vs. JPEG with most compact users other than the ability of making drastic post processing changes?

    * Regarding your post on color correction, you have a valid point with setting the custom white balance vs. post processing. The only thing I would point out for underwater photography is, if a strobe(s) is used custom white balance readings can be drastically off due to the fact that the camera has no way to calculate or compensate for the light (and color) from the strobe(s) regaurding custom white balance.

    This of course would effect the foreground and subject primarily but since the camera can not tell the difference of the foreground and background it would skew the base calculations for the whole picture. The only real exception for custom white balance (and filters) would be natural light photos. Like you pointed out this can be corrected in post processing but if shooting in RAW the chances are that the camera or RAW converter software has already disregarded any settings like custom white balance, exposure comp and noise reduction since it is a RAW file and these options are addressed after the fact.

    So basically what I am trying to say is IMO setting custom white balance when using a strobe(s) is not needed (in most cases) for either JPEG or RAW with compact cameras.

    I know that both of these opinions go against the comon advice that is given on the forums and these issues could fall into the same catagories as split vs. paddle fins and what style of BC is best but it is something to think about and experiment with when trying to find what works best for you.
    DevilDiver

  7. #7
    Shark
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    Quote Originally Posted by DevilDiver View Post
    mitsuguy,

    Color correction for underwater photography is really a different subject from the above opinion post. The point above is an opinion on the quality of image from a advanced compact camera with the JPEG vs. RAW format. The advantages of RAW as a format with a full sized or cropped sensor (DSLR) do not necessarily translate to a smaller sensor compact point and shoot or advanced compact camera in regards a huge difference in recognizable to the human eye quality other than a larger file and very large prints. This of course is based on current technology and personal preferences.

    The smaller sized sensors just do not produce the same quality RAW files as found with full sized and cropped DSLR's. If (depending on the camera and sofware used) the results are simular is there really an huge quality advantage to RAW vs. JPEG with most compact users other than the ability of making drastic post processing changes?

    * Regarding your post on color correction, you have a valid point with setting the custom white balance vs. post processing. The only thing I would point out for underwater photography is, if a strobe(s) is used custom white balance readings can be drastically off due to the fact that the camera has no way to calculate or compensate for the light (and color) from the strobe(s) regaurding custom white balance.

    This of course would effect the foreground and subject primarily but since the camera can not tell the difference of the foreground and background it would skew the base calculations for the whole picture. The only real exception for custom white balance (and filters) would be natural light photos. Like you pointed out this can be corrected in post processing but if shooting in RAW the chances are that the camera or RAW converter software has already disregarded any settings like custom white balance, exposure comp and noise reduction since it is a RAW file and these options are addressed after the fact.

    So basically what I am trying to say is IMO setting custom white balance when using a strobe(s) is not needed (in most cases) for either JPEG or RAW with compact cameras.

    I know that both of these opinions go against the comon advice that is given on the forums and these issues could fall into the same catagories as split vs. paddle fins and what style of BC is best but it is something to think about and experiment with when trying to find what works best for you.
    I actually completely agree with the fact that for most instances, JPEG is just as good as RAW when it comes to photo quality, except what you noted (large prints, etc)...

    You can custom white balance using a strobe as well, at least my camera supports it (S90), but I do not know that all do... I still find when using a strobe that the white balance isn't always great and I end up modifying those as well...

    Thats the reason I love love love RAW... I don't have to screw with it underwater, so I can essentially just focus on composition, exposure level, and actually enjoying the dive, then come back and fix it all on the laptop later on...

    Above water, I rarely every shoot in RAW, because there just isn't as much color correction that needs to go on...
    -cody / on vacation from vacation...
    PADI MSDT Instructor, US Coast Guard Captain - Master Near Coastal

  8. #8
    Too bad more cameras don't support PNG which is a compressed bitmap and lossless. It also supports *******ry image data storage such as the histogram and ISO settings.

  9. #9
    Shark
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    Quote Originally Posted by Straegen View Post
    Too bad more cameras don't support PNG which is a compressed bitmap and lossless. It also supports *******ry image data storage such as the histogram and ISO settings.
    You might as well shoot in RAW if you are going to use that much filespace...

    Here are some example file sizes for a reasonable picture at full quality from my S90

    All files except the RAW file were exported from Photoshop with default settings

    Canon RAW: 9.7 MB
    TIFF: 57.1 MB
    PNG 24: 13.23 MB
    Photoshop RAW: 57.1 MB
    JPG (Very High Quality): 3.39 MB
    JPG (High Quality): 1.83 MB
    the JPG that came out of the camera: 2.06 MB
    -cody / on vacation from vacation...
    PADI MSDT Instructor, US Coast Guard Captain - Master Near Coastal

  10. #10
    Guppy
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    Call me crazy but the reason I'm drawn to the *art* of photography is to get the photo right inside the camera *without* having to mess around with post-processing. Don't get me wrong, I've logged my share of PhotoShop and that's a lot of fun, too.

    Plus, if you're archiving (not to mention external back up) your precious photo-diary, plan on increasing your file storage 5x or 6x for RAW.
    Your results may vary.

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