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JPEG's okay by me ...

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by SoCalBob, Jul 14, 2007.

  1. SoCalBob


    Feb 9, 2006
    Riverside, CA
    The vast majority of frequent contributors and "family members" here in the Cafe are an extremely dedictated and talented group of amateur and professional photographers. I monitor the Cafe daily and greatly appreciate all the information and ideas I derive here. But I don't post very often.

    With my limited expertise (even though photography has been my hobby since 1957), I have little to contribute to most of the topics discussed here. And my photos, almost without exception, fall far below the standards of quality and aesthetics that I find posted here.

    But that doesn't change the fact that I am a dedicated photo hobbyist. I am much less affluent than most of the frequent contributors here appear to be in terms of buying cameras, lenses and equipment. And my work schedule severely limits my ability to go out and take pictures. When I do get a chance to get out it's a rare treat, made even better if I manage to get a decent shot.

    I apologize if this has turned into a rant, but one of the things I have always valued about the Nikon Cafe is its friendly acceptance of "newbies" and amateurs like me. Recently I've begun to sense a very subtle bit of an elitist attitude creeping into the forum, and I'd certainly like to head off any tendency in that direction.

    For me, as I said, JPEGs from my D80 work just fine. I've read all the compelling reasons for shooting in RAW. However, for the kinds of pictures I take, I simply can't justify the monster file sizes and all the additional PP hoops you have to jump through to do it when it's so easy for me to rescue/tweak a JPEG like this.

    Here's a shot of the Corona, CA police department helicopter taking off, shot in JPEG. I don't take pictures that can rival most of the contributors here simply because I don't have the time.

    As I said in the title, I shoot JPEG. Here's the full-frame shot, straight out of the camera:

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    After a bit of monkeying around with this JPEG in Paintshop Pro XI, here's what I came up, and I was quite pleased with the result:

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Again, pardon the rant, but please don't minimize the many, mostly silent, Cafe members like me who love this forum but simply don't have the time, equipment or expertise to "compete" with all the frequently-posting regulars here.
  2. Hey Bob, nice post and your image is stellar. I really like what you have done with the crop and clearing the background wires. Nice image for sure.
  3. Nice Job

    TYou did a nice job cropping and erasing the power lines. I just got my D80 about 6 weeks ago and decided to shoot in both JPG and RAW. I am storing the RAW until I have time to figure out what to do with them For me, it will be a learing experience. So far I don't have any software that will let me do anything with the RAW images. Like, you, I have found JPG just fine for all of my photos. Thanks for your post.
  4. I'm a newbie, definitely an amateur and my photos don't compare to a large percentage of the picture posters on this site. Yet, I have never felt an "elitist" attitude from this forum but for a few individuals. I actually appreciate that the talent here continues to post and continues to educate me every day. To be honest, I've never seen a forum with less of an attitude than this one. Just my .02.

    By the way, excellent capture above and the framing and crop are very nice. :smile:
  5. Bob,
    Great shot. You're much better than you give yourself credit for.... and thats just fine too! Nice job with the wires as well!
  6. Bob, I find this the friendliest site around and there are varying degrees of talent here which makes for a perfect mix. I too shoot JPG only because I don't need to shoot RAW. My camera has great dynamic range, I have no blown pixels and if I want to shoot an extreme DR shot, I just bracket. There are all sorts of folks out there who shoot horrible RAW shots, and all sorts who shoot terrific JPG shots - whatever floats their boat.

    Heck, I just found some superb shots I took with the Coolpix line which I didn't realize I had in my storage drive!
    Pretty good, and lots of DR. Don't even need a DSLR to get good shots. :biggrin:
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  7. Bob

    Thanks for your thoughts and perspectives on this site. I am a newbie here and couldn't agree more with your assesment of Nikon Cafe. Having looked at your own personal web pictures, I am not sure I agree with your assessment of your skills but I think skills by themselves aren't the issue here.

    It's about honest folks who love photography sharing information / images, their feelings and wanting to get better! There are a few posts which sometimes seem to start heading down the "wrong" path, but it looks like there are enough good souls (including administrators) willing to get them back on a "good & constuctive" track to save the day.

    Being an optimist I feel that the type of participants (silent or otherwise) on Nikon Cafe will continue to see that the forum survives and thrives. Your comments definitely add to this optimism and again thank you for speaking up and providing your insights on behalf of those who don't often post.
  8. Bob, good shot and I really like the crop and cloning you did in post processing.

    As you've noted, the Cafe attracts photographers who vary widely in experience, preferred subject matter, equipment, skill and talent level, age, available time, geographical location, processing preferences, and many other ways. With few exceptions, I've found the members here to be friendly, respectful and supportive, and I've no doubt there's room for everybody.
  9. Cope


    Apr 5, 2007
    Houston, Texas

    I almost always shoot straight jpeg, but occasionally I will shoot raw+jpeg. The one time I shot straight raw, I was totally disappointed with the results, and was still not happy with my PP of them.

    I see no reason not to shoot only jpeg, just as I seenothing wrong with using program mode. If Nikon didn't think it was useful, they wouldn't put it on their cameras.

    The same goes for strobist type shots, I see nothing wrong with using the iTTL that Nikon developed, but if someone else wants to use manual mode on flash and camera, that's OK too.

    I think the elitist part comes in when someone says you should have done it their way. And yes, I see this cropping up here from time to time, but this is by far the friendliest camera forum I have found.
  10. Bob
    It is a huge continuum and we all fit in somewhere. There are differences
    in gear, ability, goals, compensation, methods, subjects, workflow,
    time available and just about anything else you can think about.
    Many shooters do their own thing and let the chips fall where they
    may because they are happy with what they are doing. I think there
    are many folks who do exactly as you are doing and that is one spot
    on the continuum. Others have their spots also.
    On one end is the happy shooter with his p&s, clicking away and getting
    prints made directly from the card. Momentos on 4x6 with no pp
    and using the smallest jpeg possible to get all the shots possible.
    For a perspective of the other end I refer myself to an article I read
    about the Sports Illustrated shooters. (google "Sports Illustrated
    Digital Workflow") Check that out; the elitists rapidly become pikers.
    Likewise, this forum and its members cover a lot of territory. I value
    the forum for that reason and maybe the elitist shading is a result
    of enthusiasm or the poor job that words sometimes do.
  11. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005
    Bob, you do great stuff. I can see your final image, printed large, hanging in the police department in celebration of their work and skills. Your ability to photograph exceeds your appreciation of your own photography.

    I have a book, Looking at Photographs by John Szarkowski. I got it out this week to read again, and noticed that none of the 100 famous photographs discussed in the book are 'technically perfect'. The quality of an image is not at the pixel level, but it is rather an overall characteristic of the photo, involving every aspect of the photo. In some cases, minute detail and even lighting is needed. In others, harsh lighting and motion blur are needed. It all depends on what the photographer wants the picture to be about.

    For photographers, photographs are special. The act of making them is as important than how it looks when it's done. For many that means honing their skills of perfect exposure, for others it means being in the right place at the right time, still others find joy in changing their photos with a computer. We are all different, and that's good, because wouldn't it be boring if everybody's photos looked the same?
  12. slappomatt


    May 13, 2006
    San Diego CA
    I shoot almost exclusivly jpg. I just dont have the time to sit and PP hundreds of files. I try to nail the WB and get the exposure right in camera and dont worry about it. If I where to shoot something really important I would probably shoot both.
  13. As long as you get the end-results you are happy with, I don't see how it matters what your files are saved as in-camera.
  14. SoCalBob


    Feb 9, 2006
    Riverside, CA
    Once again, you folks here on the Cafe have demonstrated why I am so grateful to be a member of what I've found to be the friendliest and most supportive place for photographers anywhere on the internet.

    My sincere thanks to everyone who weighed in here and replied with their thoughtful observations in response to my comments, and especially to those veteran members/moderators and others who chimed in with such gratifyingly encouraging words and praise. Based on the response here, my comments in the initial post concerning "creeping elitism" were obviously erroneous and misguided.

    In retrospect, my original post was more an outgrowth of my own transient frustration in general than a "rant" directed at my esteemed fellow Cafe members. Anyone who spends a lot of their time, professionally or otherwise, putting their thoughts on paper (or on a computer) is certainly familiar with a phenomenon known as "writer's block." I would suggest that photographers also fall victim to a similar affliction from time to time.

    During the past couple of months my creative inspiration and motivaton to go out and take pictures has been practically nonexistent. I know I can take good pictures when I'm inspired to do so, but recently my creative juices have temporarily dried up. It's a frustrating phenemenon, but something I'd guess that every photographer has had to deal with from time to time -- the photographer's equivalent of "writer's block." No question that this will pass in a relatively short time for me, but it's sure frustrating when it strikes.

    I won't try to quote and reply to everyone who responded, but I thank you all for your very kind support and encouragement. Just a couple of specific responses, though.

    Chris said, "For photographers, photographs are special. The act of making them is as important than how it looks when it's done. For many that means honing their skills of perfect exposure, for others it means being in the right place at the right time, still others find joy in changing their photos with a computer. We are all different, and that's good, because wouldn't it be boring if everybody's photos looked the same?

    That conveys my feelings perfectly.

    Sandi - You are one of the most talented photographers here on the Cafe and your sunset shot with the P&S is a perfect example of your talent. Of course, nothing delights me more than engaging in a "dueling sunsets" contest because God usually does all the heavy lifting with these shots and we just frame them correctly and push the button. Your photo is stunning, but here's a simple test shot taken with my new 70-300VR lens the other evening (pretty much full-frame with no PP):

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Lots of new variables to get familiar with like slower AF and a bit of hunting in low light, and less precise and consistent VR stabilization at the long end than my 18-200 VR, but this new 70-300VR lens is very impressive. IQ is fantastic, distortion and CA is minimal, and the lens is light enough to carry around without having to hire a native porter or buy a wheelbarrow to carry it.

    Once again, thanks to everyone for the support.
  15. I agree Bob, Chris summed it up well above... even though this same book has gotten him way too philosophical over the meaning of a simple cute picture of a six-year old girl eating a bagel! :biggrin: By the way, nice sunset pic as well. You too Sandi.
  16. wbeem


    Feb 11, 2007
    Sanford, FL
    William Beem
    I aspire to be elitist, and I generally shoot RAW. I've found that it offers me a bit more flexibility if I need it. However, I also believe that RAW is a file format, not a religion. Use what works for you.
  17. I have tried shooting RAW, and found no real advantage for my uses. Large & Fine JPEG seems to do the job extremely well. Read the article from SI ... it was very interesting. RAW probably has it's place, but I use it extremely rarely. (I have also found that NX does a fine job editing JPEG as well.)

    Bob, your shots are excellent ... really like the last sunset!!

    For me, it's the IMAGE that captures the moment in time.

    The "format" is far less important.

    Happy JPEG-ing!!


  18. I shoot RAW exclusively for two reasons:

    1) I'm usually shooting something where I have mixed light types on the same surface. A combination of fluorescent, incandescent, *and* filtered sun light hitting the same surface isn't uncommon. So short of throwing down a white card everywhere and constantly rechoosing my white point, I do it afterwards.

    2) I tend to blow my highlights. There, I said it. I try not to, I really do, and I'm getting better about it. But occasionally I'll get that "one chance" shot, and I'm more comfortable having the extra headroom in case I blow the highlights.

    Really, what RAW does is it allows me to be a crappier photographer and get away with it! :biggrin:

    I do have to admit that for 95% of the things I shoot, I bulk convert to jpeg and never do anything else. But dangit if it's not that last 5% of my shots that I really want to rescue and actually use what RAW offers. Just too bad I can't predict that 5% ahead of time.

  19. From the first time I shot in RAW I never looked back, but that's me.
  20. gadgetguy11


    Nov 16, 2005
    Hi Bob,

    I really like your image and your post work. It is EXCELLENT. I appreciate your post and your insight. I started using RAW only a month ago. Like you, I am very comfortable taking the extra time sweating the highlights when taking the shot. I presently shoot RAW and jpeg fine / large on every image. I use 16GB cards and dump to an 80GB hard drive every night on a trip. Wife and I just returned from 11 days in San Francisco, with 68GB of images and 2hrs high def video. And she shot all jpegs.

    Despite the space hog, I rescued several "goofs" because of my NEF files. Going through 68GB images is no picnic, though!

    Thanks for your post. You may not post often, but when you do, you resemble the guy from E.F. Hutton....
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