RAW for razor-sharp?

RAW for razor-sharp?

Postby Andover on Fri 25 May 2018, 4:50 pm

Does it go without saying that everyone here shoots in RAW mode? Is that the way to get razor sharp images? I'm using a Nikon D50 with a AF Nikkor 70-300 zoom (bought in 2006) - maybe I need a bigger/newer lens. Some shots a reasonable, most are not anywhere near as sharp as is posted on this forum.

And if I need to go RAW, can you suggest a (fairly) easy-to-use RAW software download, thanks.
I'm Supporting The People's Mosquito http://www.peoplesmosquito.org.uk
User avatar
Andover

Re: RAW for razor-sharp?

Postby trebleone on Fri 25 May 2018, 5:17 pm

Purely in terms of sharpness, AFAIK, there's no difference between RAW & jpeg, however RAW does offer several advantages to getting the best out of an image in post-processing.
Having said that, what you start out with dictates the quality of the end result, i.e. technique, lens, sensor - in that order.
To that end, assuming you have your technique nailed, the next thing to look at is your lens and from experience, I can say that the (older) Nikkor 70-300mm isn't a great lens, especially at the long (300mm) end of the zoom.
Then your camera body - the D50 is getting a bit long in the tooth now - current generation cameras are much better at controlling noise at higher ISO, thus allowing for the use of faster shutter speeds in poorer light (a noisy image tends to appear less sharp, whereas a 'clean' image has greater apparent clarity) - and with the D50 having only a 6 mp sensor, the scope for cropping is very limited - any significant amount of crop will be discarding precious pixels with a resulting loss of apparent sharpness when viewing the image at a reasonable size.
If you have funds available, I would suggest that a kit upgrade would be beneficial.
User avatar
trebleone
UKAR Supporter

Re: RAW for razor-sharp?

Postby nighthawk999 on Fri 25 May 2018, 6:18 pm

Hi I've recently bough a pre-owned Canon EOS 550D,and I'm finding that RAW is the way to go,for the amount of leeway it gives me when processing in Lightroom.But as trebleone says,even RAW won't save an unsharp image,it's all down to the quality of your kit,especially the lens.
I installed Adobe DNG converter,but discovered that Lightroom automatically converts the RAW images to the DNG(DigitalNegative) format as soon as I import them.
If you decide to upgrade your kit,I can fully recommend CameraJungle who are part of the Jessops group,I got the camera and a lens from them without hassle,everything with a 12 month warranty.They use UKMail as their courier,but despite some of the horror stories I read,they turned up both times within the one hour slots they gave.
nighthawk999

Re: RAW for razor-sharp?

Postby Brevet Cable on Fri 25 May 2018, 6:46 pm

RAW is for those who like to spend endless hours fiddling with an image to get it to look the way they want it to look.
The other formats are for those who are happy enough to let the camera do the work for them ( and even then you can customise the settings the camera uses to alter the image produced )

OK, not quite that simple.
Jpeg & the other formats are compressed to various degrees ( which again can be adjusted in the camera settings ) so there'll always be some loss of quality.
Whether or not that's noticeable is another matter.
RAW, on the other hand, is uncompressed...in fact, it's un-anything - out of the box the image will usually look poor ( and often unfocussed ) compared to .jpg hence the need to mess around with it.

Best option ( if your camera will do it ) is to take a number of images in RAW & .jpg to see if you get on with manipulating the RAW ones sufficiently to make it worthwhile.

I still recall the episode of the Gadget Show several years where they took a series of .jpg images on various D-SLRs then blew the images up to a ridiculous size ( tens of meters, to cover the sides of buildings ) to illustrate the image quality.
Brevet.. Meh !!
Not an enthusiast or a spotter
trollpikken fforwm swyddogol
User avatar
Brevet Cable

Re: RAW for razor-sharp?

Postby Pen Pusher on Fri 25 May 2018, 6:57 pm

Brevet Cable wrote:RAW, on the other hand, is uncompressed...in fact, it's un-anything


Nikon and Sony give you the option of 12/14bit compressed/uncompressed RAW.

Brian
The Future Of Photography Is Mirrorless

DUXFORDfotoGALLERY
DfG on Facebook
User avatar
Pen Pusher

Re: RAW for razor-sharp?

Postby Blackbird on Fri 25 May 2018, 7:15 pm

FWIW I have only ever shot JPEGs.

Andy :smile:
User avatar
Blackbird
UKAR Supporter

Re: RAW for razor-sharp?

Postby LN Strike Eagle on Fri 25 May 2018, 8:02 pm

I shoot JPEG also.
"You really are an oafish philistine at times!"
User avatar
LN Strike Eagle
UKAR Staff

Re: RAW for razor-sharp?

Postby Brevet Cable on Fri 25 May 2018, 8:16 pm

Pen Pusher wrote:
Brevet Cable wrote:RAW, on the other hand, is uncompressed...in fact, it's un-anything

Nikon and Sony give you the option of 12/14bit compressed/uncompressed RAW.

OK then.....generally RAW is uncompressed :lol:

Can't remember whether or not my old K-5 has that option, or if it came in with the later sensors on the K-5 II / K-3 series.
Brevet.. Meh !!
Not an enthusiast or a spotter
trollpikken fforwm swyddogol
User avatar
Brevet Cable

Re: RAW for razor-sharp?

Postby MUSTANG on Fri 25 May 2018, 8:21 pm

Also a JPEG shooter...
User avatar
MUSTANG

Re: RAW for razor-sharp?

Postby Tommy on Fri 25 May 2018, 10:10 pm

I'm JPEG, too.

Tried RAW for a time, and though more flexible in editing, I found it wasn't really worth the hassle of a lower buffer, and considerably increased data usage.
User avatar
Tommy
UKAR Staff

Re: RAW for razor-sharp?

Postby boff180 on Sat 26 May 2018, 2:43 am

RAW shooter here :-) using lossless compression.

I find it far more flexible in post processing to get the image right.

Particularly on the D7200 as a) it is very easy to catch the white balance shortcut with your nose without realising and b) there is a slight blue cast on sun and c) it’s easy to apply lens adjustment profiles.

It also means via software such as Lightroom and Photoshop any adjustments made to the original image are non-destructive and stored in a side-car file. Providing multiple processing options that will not degrade the image/can be removed at the click of a button.

In contrast, every saved change to a JPEG is permanent and every time you save it, the image is slightly degraded through lossy compression.

One thing to not in RAW though is that the initial image will appear slightly soft and noisy compared to a JPEG - the use applies all the adjustments in this aspect themselves.

Andy
User avatar
boff180
UKAR Staff

Re: RAW for razor-sharp?

Postby Wrexham Mackem on Sat 26 May 2018, 9:29 am

jpg for me.

RAW without a doubt gives you an extra level of adjustability, but for me personally I don't particularly enjoy processing, and prefer to spend less time in front of a computer. If I get the exposure right on my camera there's no perceptible difference in the end product, just a load of extra faff spent in getting there.
its time to kick the tyres and light the fires

https://www.flickr.com/photos/151934326@N08/albums
User avatar
Wrexham Mackem
UKAR Staff

Re: RAW for razor-sharp?

Postby BrawlerO on Sat 26 May 2018, 2:55 pm

boff180 wrote:RAW shooter here :-) using lossless compression.

It also means via software such as Lightroom and Photoshop any adjustments made to the original image are non-destructive and stored in a side-car file. Providing multiple processing options that will not degrade the image/can be removed at the click of a button.

In contrast, every saved change to a JPEG is permanent and every time you save it, the image is slightly degraded through lossy compression
Andy


Hi Andy, me too, lossless RAW all the way- I need all the latitude I can get :tongue:

Re JPEG degradation, if someone is using JPEG files in LR then the edits will still be non-destructive, no?

Cheers, Rob
User avatar
BrawlerO

Re: RAW for razor-sharp?

Postby Andover on Sat 26 May 2018, 3:12 pm

Thanks guys. I'm also not bothered in post processing; in my opinion, with auto settings, what the camera sees is satisfactory. So I'll look at getting new kit for next year.
I'm Supporting The People's Mosquito http://www.peoplesmosquito.org.uk
User avatar
Andover

Re: RAW for razor-sharp?

Postby reheat module on Sun 27 May 2018, 12:53 pm

I shoot both.
Firstly as a safety feature with dual card option.
Secondly, I can quickly see the option for keepers, and those to maximise from raw to get the image I envisaged.
Why put raw in capitals?
Canon systems
reheat module

Re: RAW for razor-sharp?

Postby Tommy on Sun 27 May 2018, 4:33 pm

reheat module wrote:Why put raw in capitals?


A very good question I'm not sure I know the answer to. Convention, I presume.
User avatar
Tommy
UKAR Staff

Re: RAW for razor-sharp?

Postby boff180 on Sun 27 May 2018, 8:13 pm

Two schools of though as far as I am aware.

Traditionally, in the DOS days, file extensions were always referred to in capitals eg: JPG, PDF, DOC.etc - originally RAW was written like this to identify that it was a file type (even though each manufacturer uses its own extension).

Alternatively, as virtually all graphics file types are acronyms - GIF, JPEG, TIFF.etc, it identifies that RAW is a type of graphical file.

Both raw and RAW are accepted in journalistic circles. although raw has been declared to be preferable and most manufacturers still use RAW.

Andy
User avatar
boff180
UKAR Staff

Re: RAW for razor-sharp?

Postby trebleone on Sun 27 May 2018, 10:08 pm

I believed that the reason for capitalising RAW is to indicate that it refers to a format, be that cr2, nef, or whatever, whereas 'raw' in lowercase is simply a descriptive adjective, as in "the raw data", but I rather doubt that there is a definitive answer to the question.
User avatar
trebleone
UKAR Supporter

Re: RAW for razor-sharp?

Postby Dan O'Hagan on Mon 28 May 2018, 8:48 am

Know your camera and its settings, apply them to the conditions in hand and there's absolutely no need to shoot RAW. Never had an issue with JPEG, perfectly adequate for shooting an airshow.
Dan O'Hagan

Re: RAW for razor-sharp?

Postby Harvo266 on Mon 28 May 2018, 9:22 am

Dan O'Hagan wrote:Know your camera and its settings, apply them to the conditions in hand and there's absolutely no need to shoot RAW. Never had an issue with JPEG, perfectly adequate for shooting an airshow.

Very good point, one of the biggest tips I give to any new photographer is to just work with what you have got. RAW just enables you to bring more out of an image, but with JPEG you can still do most of the things in post that you can with RAW.
Shuttleworth SP
Torbay
Cosford
Weston
Yeovilton
RIAT
FIA
Eastbourne - Weather :(
Bournemouth
Duxford
Nikon D500
User avatar
Harvo266

Re: RAW for razor-sharp?

Postby Mooshie1956 on Mon 28 May 2018, 9:51 am

When this subject reappeared I decided to run a test again RAW Vs JPG. Now I know I'm not the best or anywhere near it and I use a Panasonic rather than a DSLR, but I thought I would post my thoughts.
Looking at both pictures side by side using a programme called faststone and straight out of the can so to speak. I honestly couldn't see much difference between the two, I also used camera standard for colour saturation etc. If anything the RAW shot looked that little bit better,with more detail in the subject and colours looked about the same. I know that the RAW file was larger than the JPG so it will carry more detail to edit with. Editing both needed the same time spent on them to edit, using lightroom only. The end result was that the RAW shot look better as the finished article. One other thing I noticed was RAW gave me better results in grey days and poor light, a sunny day then JPG would be just fine.We all know that M43 systems are nowhere near as good as a DSLR in poor light.
Which is better to shoot in, I would say it all depends on the user. As DanO says if you know your camera then JPG should be just fine for most people that want photos that are basically just for themselves. I personally use RAW, because for me, I feel it just has the edge overall on the M43 system but it might not be the case for other users. I have also found out and only recently that I have been trying to over edit my photos using both LR and PS, since the swap to LR only I feel my photos are looking a lot better. The test will come either at OW next Sunday or Cosford in two weeks.
My Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/mooshie1956/
Panny G80 12-60 Lens
Panny 100-400 Lens
Olympus 60 Macro Lens
User avatar
Mooshie1956

Re: RAW for razor-sharp?

Postby hmeasures on Mon 28 May 2018, 5:32 pm

'Sharpness' will be more a result of the quality of lens you have. RAW will not make shots taken through a beer bottle sharp nor will JPEG ruin the quality from the finest lens. RAW just gives you more leeway in processing - exposure corrections and colour temperature for example. I always use RAW - I would probably make some minor adjustments in Lightroom even if I shot JPEG, so other than the larger memory requirements I don't see why you wouldn't want to shoot RAW.
hmeasures

Re: RAW for razor-sharp?

Postby trebleone on Mon 28 May 2018, 7:55 pm

Mooshie1956 wrote:Looking at both pictures side by side using a programme called faststone and straight out of the can so to speak. I honestly couldn't see much difference between the two ....


RAW images are not viewable in their native format; hence every RAW file has a (high compression) jpeg 'preview' embedded within it - this is what is displayed on the camera's rear screen when reviewing shots and what image viewers such as FastStone use to display the image from a RAW file.

For the reason above, your side-by-side comparison is not giving any indication of the difference between raw & jpeg, as it is only comparing a jpeg at your selected resolution and quality against the highly compressed jpeg embedded in the RAW file.

The only fair way to compare is to process the RAW file and export it to a jpeg, but then the final quality of the exported image is dependent on the amount and skill of the processing.
User avatar
trebleone
UKAR Supporter

Re: RAW for razor-sharp?

Postby boff180 on Mon 28 May 2018, 8:26 pm

A quick (poor) comparison.

This is the same photo, shot in RAW+JPEG(Fine) mode last week.

I've not edited either photo in any way, RAW is on the left, JPEG is on the right. As you can see initially the JPEG looks better however once I've processed the RAW I expect it to come out better, particularly in noise, colour rendition and sharpness.

Andy


Image
User avatar
boff180
UKAR Staff

Re: RAW for razor-sharp?

Postby jalfrezi on Tue 29 May 2018, 9:18 am

I too shoot RAW, mainly because of the increased flexibility it offers in post processing. With JPEG, information in very bright or dark areas is often lost during the compression process, making mistakes harder to correct.

Of course, the argument that a good photographer doesn't make mistakes is also valid, but we're all human!
User avatar
jalfrezi
UKAR Staff

Next

Return to Photography Hints, Tips & Questions

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests