Old 07-31-2009, 09:00 PM   #1
Paolo Roffo
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Default New to digital shooting, sooooo.....

After more than six years of using my trusty film SLR, I finally downgraded it to "backup" status a few weeks ago and started shooting with a 30D. I had the film Rebel pretty well mastered in terms of the technical side of capturing an image, but now with this newfangled "electronic thing" (not my term) I have much to learn. Specifically, the part that comes after you capture the image, which I formerly entrusted to whomever was processing my slides.

For railfanning subjects, I shoot in RAW mode pretty much exclusively, resulting in huge files. To post them on RP.Net, I obviously have to resize them. To do so, I have been using the camera's software to convert to jpg, and resize down to 1024 pixels wide, before doing whatever horizon leveling, lightening, etc, needed to be done.

I'm now starting to think I should resize the photos, but keep them in RAW format during the editing process, then convert to jpg last. Is this a better way of doing it? And if so, should I sharpen before or after conversion to jpg?

TIA

Paolo
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Old 07-31-2009, 09:40 PM   #2
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Hi Paolo,

Welcome to digital!

My humble advice is to spend $75 and get PhotoShop Elements (PSE). I think Walmart still has it that cheap. It has pretty much everything you need to process raw files and do conversions. The learning curve isn't too bad either.

With me, the basic deal is this:

I shoot raw files and store them as my "digital negatives". I use the organizer to select the frames I want to work on, then use the PSE editor to actually edit the raw files. Everybody has their own way of doing things, but here it is in a nutshell for me:
  • Level & Crop (some folks do this later on)
  • Image Quality and Exposure Adjustments (Brightness, Contrast, Shadows, Highlights, Saturation)
  • Dust/artifact removal
  • 1st sharpening pass
  • Save as a TIFF
Yes, a TIFF file is huge, but once you have it, you can use it to produce JPEGs for all manner of uses. Start saving for a bigger hard drive. You will need one.
  • Resize as JPEG for whatever purpose (RP, printing etc)
  • 2nd sharpening pass
  • Save
Basically, sharpening is always last. I think most everyone else observes that guideline as well.

Of course, if filesize is a major issue, you can always shoot Large, Fine JPEGs instead of raw. True, the latitude to adjust on those isn't what it is with raw, but a guy who survived this long shooting film ought to be able to nail the exposure every time....right? Seriously, as much as some people pooh-pooh JPEGs, they're fine for most uses. Some of the best shooters here on RP shoot only JPEG.
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Last edited by KevinM; 07-31-2009 at 10:30 PM.
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Old 08-01-2009, 04:54 AM   #3
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Why spend when you can get for free? I'm not promoting one vs. the other as far as being better. I've never used any if the big name editors, but Gimp.org is free, and I have seen posted here that it is just as good as the big names. Like I said, I can't personally confirm that, but why not at least try the freeby first? You still need to use your Canon software to convert it from their propritary format to TIFF, but after that you have the reigns in Gimp.

And yes, do all of your editing, THEN resize, then final sharpening/JPEG conversion.
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Old 08-01-2009, 04:45 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EMTRailfan View Post

And yes, do all of your editing, THEN resize, then final sharpening/JPEG conversion.
Unless I plan on getting a photo printed, I resize first and then edit. It just slows the computer down to much if I edit with a full sized file. 95% of my pics on RP were edited after being resized. Level -> Resize -> Edit.
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Old 08-01-2009, 05:16 PM   #5
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^^^Needs more RAM.
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Old 08-04-2009, 07:17 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimThias View Post
Unless I plan on getting a photo printed, I resize first and then edit. It just slows the computer down to much if I edit with a full sized file. 95% of my pics on RP were edited after being resized. Level -> Resize -> Edit.
That blows me away. I guess by now I should know there are many different ways to get a fine finished product, but I always do my editting first and resize last. I save the RAW file, edit a same size jpeg, then start sizing down. There are times when it helps to size down incrementally if there are softness issues until I get to 1024. Other times depending on lens, I can size down from out of camera straight to 1024 without any sharpening.
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Old 09-25-2009, 08:43 AM   #7
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Thanks for your info. It is very useful.
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Old 10-28-2009, 12:51 PM   #8
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well, filesize is a major issue, you can always shoot Large.
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