To RAW or not to RAW, THAT is the question!

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May 5, 2005
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Somewhere in the Oklahoma woods
Okay. I’ve bought my D70. :D I’ve been learning as much as I can about the system, even thought I’m completely new to both digital photography and computers. :shock:

My background in photography goes back to 1966. Over the years the hobby grew and grew and eventually became a side business around 1980. Then by 1985 I was selling enough salon/gallery prints to label myself a professional. The majority of my images were made using either a Hasselblad or Deardorff. For those who don’t know, a Hasselblad shoots a 2 ¼” x 2 ¼ “ square negative, and the Deardorff is a folding view-camera which makes a 4” x5” negative. So, obviously, I was interested in nothing but the highest quality images. My prints were sold in sizes starting at 16” x 20”, with 24” x 30” being the most popular, and going up to the largest I ever sold…………which was a beautiful image of a small mountain tributary printed to 4 ft. x 5 ft. I always kept a 35mm camera around for snapshots and “sketches” of things I wanted to do serious work with in the future. Had mostly Nikons and Leicas for that purpose.…………..so, that is where my mindset has always been…….. the highest quality obtainable, even in “happysnaps”.

When I started looking into digital, I was still stuck in that quality mode and ended up with a D70. (the highest quality I could afford now that I can no longer write off equipment as a business expense) When I started learning about all of this new digital stuff, I decided up front that RAW was the only thing with which I’d be happy. But after shooting some (very little, I might add) and trying to put the images in NC; tweaking; going to PS7; tweaking, and then messing around with all of it, I realized how time consuming all this would be………..just to be taking snapshots of my llamas, or my girlfriend’s new grandson. I’m realizing my days of gallery prints are over. I’m just a typical guy with a camera taking snapshots. “Bottom line” is photography is no longer a profession………..and probably not even a hobby because of my limited spare time. :?

So, the big question: Do I really need to shoot in RAW, or would jpeg Fine be adequate for my present needs? The only advantage I see to RAW is some of the things NC is capable of doing…………..but if I shoot correctly exposed images in the first place, I can’t see needing it all that much.

Any comments which might help me make the BIG decision?


Chris
 
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
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Chris
Chris - you have llamas?!?!?!

Cool, my girlfriend is just getting started with a couple of alpacca, the llama's cuter cousin. ;) They hum ya know.

As for your shooting format, some people are jpeg diehards - check out Ken Rockwell and Jonathanf2 for example. But if you are going o print big, realize that even jpeg fine is compressed in a lossy way, so you will need to deal with some artifacting. And Raw gives you other 'digital darkroom' advantages. See this white paper by Adobe's Bruce Fraser for a more in depth look at it.
 
Joined
May 5, 2005
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Somewhere in the Oklahoma woods
Okay, I hear what you are both saying (see what you are showing). Who is Ron R? Maybe I need to be reading some of his scratchings to help me get a better grasp on the subject.

But, once again, I need to re-establish.......99% of my photos will never see paper........or even be viewed by anyone but myself. I no longer have time for a hobby. So.............................
 
Joined
Feb 1, 2005
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You have the D70 and if your not sure, do the best of both world. You can set the D70 to take both RAW/JPG together. Try them both and see if one format fits you better. I myself shoot RAW most all the time.
 
Joined
Jan 25, 2005
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Alabama
Chris,

I shot about 10,000 images before I started shooting RAW. Now, I wouldn't shoot anything else. OTOH, if I was just taking snaps, I might. 8)

Ron R is Ron Reznick. He is a photographic guru that teaches seminars all over the western world, and a darn nice guy. He also has an ebook out that covers processing with Capture (among other things) that many of us swear by. His web site can be found here:

http://www.digital-images.net/

Regards,
 
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Messages
34,960
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Chris
Ron R is Ron Reznick, Nikon guru and member of this Cafe. He's written a book about photography that is about half on RAW processing.

I don't find Raw processing to be much more time consuming than JPEG. In fact, with tools like Adobe's Bridge and ACR3, it's much quicker, especially if I want to tweek exposure, White Balance or the curve. Much less destructive of the image too.
 
K

Ken-L

Guest
RAW photos can be changed in the critical areas of White Balance, Exposure and Sharpness in ways that JPG simply cannot.

For me it means that I can salvage mistakes in photos that otherwise would have been discards and instead become keepers!
 
Joined
May 2, 2005
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273
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Reno, NV
I used to shoot everything in RAW and found it to be a pain in the butt. However I think this was mostly cause I left everything in auto mode so I had to completely adjust EVERY picture. I have been using JPG for months now and trying to get everything right at the time of capture. I have found that JPG does an excellent job. I have printed incredible photos at 12x18 and neither I or anyone else has noticed any problems. However as my knowledge has increased and I have been playing with white balance and other critical features I have started to wonder if perhaps I should switch back to RAW. Except NC is so SLOW!!!! Hope this helps.
 

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