Old 09-10-2011, 02:16 AM   #26
Dennis A. Livesey
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Originally Posted by jnohallman View Post
One could argue that JPEGs are easier to edit only because there is so much less you can do with them. Those familiar with film will tell you that the best way to think of RAW vs. JPEG is to think of RAW as the equivalent of the film negative and JPEG as the equivalent of a print. While that's not entirely accurate, it gives you some idea of the difference. Another way to think of it might be to think of RAW as a cabinet full of all the ingredients you need to make cookies, and JPEG as the ready-made Pillsbury cookie dough that you just cut up and bake. Which one gives you more options?

Thinking of it that way helps to explain the issue of night shooting. It's not that RAW takes in the contrast and details "better" than JPEG. RAW is all of the information that was available to your camera sensor during the time that the shutter was open. The JPEG is the processed version of that information based on the in-camera settings - but it's also compressed using an algorithm that "removes" some of the information from the file when the JPEG is saved, and then when you open the JPEG later whatever program you're using has an algorithm to assume what that "missing" information is supposed to be. Thus, when you shoot JPEG only and go to edit that, you're not working with all the data that your camera recorded in the first place - just what remains after it has been processed and condensed into that JPEG file. The advantage to editing the RAW file, whether dealing with a night or day shot, is that you have more data to work with in terms of recovering blown out highlights or underexposed areas in shadow. You also have more flexibility in color correction and white balance correction with RAW than with JPEG. It's more complicated only because there is more that you can do.

Jon
That is the best, clearest explanation about this issue I have ever read. I have filed it away for future reference.

I find that newbies have a hard time with being told:
1. That lenses are more important than cameras.
2. To use Manual.
3. To use RAW instead of JPEG.
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Old 09-10-2011, 03:06 AM   #27
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After reading down through the thread, Jon and Travis pretty much said what I would have said. When you look at your LCD after a shot, what you are seeing is a JPEG that was processed by your camera. When you look at the raw files coming out of the camera, they will look like crap in comparison. Learning to edit them definitely has a learning curve and after 2 years plus, there are still times when I wish I could begin my raw edits with the JPEG adjustments that the camera would have made. Unfortunately, I've yet to find a program, including Nikon's Capture NX2, that will faithfully do it.

Raw has a HUGE advantage in terms of your latitude to adjust on things like exposure. You can be off a lot more on a raw image and still save it than you can on a JPEG.

For now, I think the advice to shoot raw and JPEG is good advice. You will need to get some practice editing raw. Until you get good at it, you'll have JPEGs you can post and those will also give you something you can compare your raw edits to.

Certainly, when you are shooting, you should avoid using the LCD image as a judge of exposure, particularly if you have messed with the LCD brightness settings. Personally, I use the LCD to be sure the image is more or less level and sharp. I use the histogram to judge the exposure. In Histogram We Trust!
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Old 09-10-2011, 03:11 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis A. Livesey View Post
That is the best, clearest explanation about this issue I have ever read. I have filed it away for future reference.

I find that newbies have a hard time with being told:
1. That lenses are more important than cameras.
2. To use Manual.
3. To use RAW instead of JPEG.
4. Turn down the brightness of the LCD screen on the camera so it doesn't fool you into thinking you have a bright and colorful picture.
5. Use the histogram and ignore the LCD.
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Old 09-10-2011, 04:08 AM   #29
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What I should have added, and I'm kind of surprised no one else has mentioned, is that you can always choose (as I usually do) to shoot RAW+JPEG. That way, if the shot comes out pretty much right or you just want to make a quick print, you've got the JPEG, and if you've got something that needs serious processing, you've got the RAW image.

Jon
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Old 09-28-2011, 12:46 AM   #30
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I know many Nikon shooters don't like Capture NX2 for RAW conversions, however, I'm a big fan of it. http://www.nikonusa.com/Nikon-Produc...ture-NX-2.html

It does the most accurate job of pulling the color out of the Nikon cameras and then you can finish off the conversion with your photo processing software of choice.

DS
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