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NX2 - Yet another Jpeg vs Raw tread

Discussion in 'Nikon Capture and View NX' started by bradNYC, Jul 22, 2008.

  1. bradNYC


    Mar 28, 2008
    Not looking to start a debate, I only want to know what the concensus is when using NX2. The reason I'm asking is because I have a D80 and the raw files are very large and it seems to take a lot longer to process. As we all know, NX2 is not exactly the fastest program. I like NX2 because it is so much easier for me than CS3. I have done PP in jpeg and although I can't use the "exposure" slider, I can still use the "graph" and change the exposure by moving the line to my liking. Ultimately, the files have to be save to jpeg before I can get any prints so I'm thinking, why not just take pics in jpeg and PP from there. I'm not noticing any difference in picture outcome. Am I really missing something if I don't PP the Raw files? What's your preference?
  2. Because the RAW file contains all the original data of the image it is for me the preferred format. I've maybe shot about 10 JPG images with my D70 and D200 in total and recently started to use NX2 instead of Lightroom/CS3 because the resulting images are looking better to me.

    Also, all changes made to the RAW file are stored as edit steps with the RAW file (embedded) and don't have any impact on the original data. With JPG files you will loose information each time you save your files.
  3. jim hughes

    jim hughes

    Jun 12, 2008
    For me the ability to adjust the exposure by almost 2 stops and 'rescue' a photo is, by itself, enough reason to stick with RAW.

    I have a lot of JPG photos I took a few years ago before I knew anything about RAW or advanced postprocessing. Many of them could be makde to look much better, today, if they were RAW - but I'm stuck, I can only take them so far as JPG.

    Don't make the same mistake. Start shooting everything in RAW today and you'll never look back later and wish you had.
  4. bradNYC


    Mar 28, 2008

    Tom, I really appreciate your thoughts. And you're right, I'd be limited. I do like to do B/W, Overexposures etc...raw is the best way to go.

    Kees de Bruin, I didn't realize that the edit steps were saved. That in itself is a huge plus. Many times I make changes only to realize that I don't like the outcome. It is so nice to just have to "unclick" the check.

    Jim, I was making changes to the jpegs and resaving as another name. But you're right too, if I'm gonna make changes...I should be editing the raw as opposed to jpeg that already lost alot of embedded stuff.

    Thanks all for the great feedback...I think that I was giving the LCD too much credit and you're right, I'd get stuck with what JPEG left me. I've been trying to get in the habit of shooting raw only as opposed to raw+jpeg. It just seemed like a lot of duplication. Raw ONLY for me starting today!!! Thanks again.
  5. Brad,

    If you are doing your own printing, as opposed to outsourcing it, you can print directly from the NEFs. I'm not familiar with the intricacies of printing to know which type of file is truly the best to use (there is a lot of debate about that), but if you are thinking that NEFs can not be printed, they actually can.
  6. bradNYC


    Mar 28, 2008
    Mike, I didn't know that one can print off nefs...good to know.
  7. Brad, NEFs also encapsulate a basic JPG if you shoot 'RAW only'; which is what gets displayed on your LCD. There are programs that can detach and separately identify these files if you need a quick rendition with in-camera settings.

    More JPG disadvantages: 8 bit versus 16 bit file. Not half the file quality, more like one eighth. White balance, which is key to good image preparation, is hard-coded into JPGs, along with all the other attributes, including NR and sharpening, possibly the two most IQ damaging parameters when you get them wrong. You like density range? Kiss it goodbye with JPG, compared with 'Expose To The Right' with RAW. To top it all, it is a lossy format; every 'open file/close file' command set loses more of the smaller IQ of a JPG.

    Be aware also that the LCD image 'highlight clips' are reflecting only the measly basic JPG just shot, and that sharpening, contrast (tone curve), colour mode settings etc. will cause a lot of this pseudo clipping in the tiny JPG. RAW is much more forgiving - NEFS are actually quite hard to lose to over-exposure, given good technique, due to lots of headroom.

    I know people who get upset if they lose the NEF and only retain a 16 bit TIFF, which is another 'output-ready' format! JPG is a russian roulette format for in-camera shooting - get it wrong, blam. 'Do ya feel lucky, punk?'..apologies to Mr D Harry. Not much scope for fixups and enhancements in post processing with JPG, sadly.

    Having said that, I can see a role for JPG for time-stressed wedding shooters who want the files written to the card asap, who use a lot of experience and set up for a controlled shoot and who have an undiscriminating or uninformed clientele. Also for 'everyday' images...

    Perhaps the most important issue, however, is how much you value the image, now and into the future. I shoot wilderness, with fluky light and no second chances, so RAW is invaluable to me..so much so, I would still use film if all we had was JPG.

    Final thing, philosophy - for many of us, future proofing is important - who knows what profound printing and processing techniques the (near) future will bring? Ten years ago, photographers were futzing around with 8 bit files in Photoshop because that was all it and computers could manage, so even major tools like curves were 8 bit, with consequent image quality loss. I have not even mentioned colour gamut, but it's another JPG problem area.

    So, RAW delivers the absolute best the camera can produce, which is why it is the digital format par excellence. Of course, RAW converters are still in adolescence, and will only get better, given time - meaning you will be able to retro-process those dusty old NEFs shot way back in 2008!
  8. bradNYC


    Mar 28, 2008
    Philip- thanks for the feedback. I certainly don't want to go backward in terms of technology. I have forced myself to shoot raw only so there is no being lazy with jpegs. Luckily batch conversion is easy in terms saving to jpegs. Also, I am trying to learn histograms. I think I'm off to a good start. BTW - with my luck, I'm not "lucky"...hehehe
  9. Brad, I am sure you have seen this advice if you spend any time in the NX forum, but I cannot not emphasize enough how useful Jason O'Dell's NX2 ebook is. It has powerboosted my use of NX2 and I have a much better handle on the entire process with NEFs.

    Good luck and keep shooting in the RAW :biggrin:
  10. bradNYC


    Mar 28, 2008
    Oh, I didn't know. Definitely interested. But I can't seem to find on www.barnesandnoble.com, can you send me a link?
  11. bradNYC


    Mar 28, 2008
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