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brcollette 10-12-2015 06:58 PM

Struggles with photography
 
2 Attachment(s)
Hi everyone,

For years now I have been wanting to take amazing photos of the Rockies. I work so hard for the summits but it seems like my photos never do it justice. I am trying to learn how to shoot in RAW and process in Lightroom. I have a Fuji X-T10 with very high quality Fujifilm Xf23mm F1/4. I was using a polarizer.

This weekend was a disaster picture wise. The pictures that I took just looked horrid. Take a look at the attached first picture - see what you think of it and then my processed picture in Lightroom and let me know what you might change? One thing I learned this weekend is that I had the entirely wrong light balance set on my camera which is why the first picture looks so gray - the blue that I added in post seems reasonable

What am I missing?

Brandon

https://forums.clubtread.com/attachme...1&d=1444690599

https://forums.clubtread.com/attachme...1&d=1444690689

Steventy 10-12-2015 08:13 PM

Since no one needs to pay for film anymore, I often use auto-bracketing when I am in the mountains. I'll shoot something like -1,0,+1. In post processing I can then use a technique like HDR if I want. More often than not, it just gives me more options for a starting point. In your case, I think you would have had more luck starting with an image that was shot at -1. That said, I think that your post-processed image looks great.

mclay1234 10-12-2015 08:16 PM

To be honest the processed picture doesn't look that bad to me. It does seem a bit blue though, so try boosting the color temperature. Also, unless I'm completely missing something setting the white balance won't affect RAW. I think your first photo might just be a bit overexposed.

One thing I noticed when I switched to RAW was that the photos always looked like crap before processing. They definitely need to be processed to look good (if shooting JPEG the camera does this for you). I use Lightroom too and I've found YouTube tutorials really help to get the hang of it.

solo75 10-12-2015 08:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by brcollette (Post 673554)
Hi everyone,

For years now I have been wanting to take amazing photos of the Rockies. I work so hard for the summits but it seems like my photos never do it justice.

That's the way I feel sometimes but it all depends on the lighting conditions at the time...something you can't change. This is one reason why I prefer backpacking...because I'm already on location.

Quote:

I was using a polarizer.
A polarizer works best when the scene is at right angles to the sun. Also watch out if using a wide angle lens as only part of the sky will look polarized.

Quote:

What am I missing?
It's important to know how your camera functions (white balance, depth of field etc. then study up on composition. After that, it's a lot of practice and luck. I often go back to the same area repeatedly (months to years) before ending up with a good shot. This means hiking the same trails; something which most hikers don't bother but I'm into photography more than hiking from point A to B. Everyone is different but I prefer early morning and late evening when the light is softer and also stormy weather for photography. Don't forget forest shots with the sunlight beaming through.
Don't be discouraged because I felt like that at one time. Just keep at it.

vern.dewit 10-13-2015 01:36 AM

Hey Brandon. The photo doesn't look horrible but I have to ask, why shoot RAW? Fuji has an excellent jpeg engine. One of the best around. Combined with their shadow adjustment modes, it's amazing. I would shoot RAW+jpeg with a setting of DR200 or DR400 and see what you prefer.

Also, don't overdo Lightroom. Just use the landscape "punch" mode with some shadow adjustment to start with. I've been using photoshop and Lightroom for over a decade and it's a lot of extra time and effort to process RAW photos. When I owned Fuji I stopped shooting RAW because it wasn't worth it with that camera. YMMV of course.

zeljkok 10-13-2015 02:09 AM

To add to the above:

Processed photo does not look bad to me either. But I see 2 issues:

1) Composition. Looking at original -- half of the frame is washed out sky. It makes pic boring. There are these rules of thirds, simplified: If goal of the pic is to show great sky, then use top 2/3 of the frame for that. If goal of the pic is to show lake, mountain, foreground -- that goes in bottom 2/3 of the pic. Now this has obviously been corrected with cropping in processed pic, but looking at light conditions it would have been better to originally compose frame in that way.

2) Exposure. Top half (sky) is overexposed. In general if you have underexposure information is still preserved & can be recovered in post-processing. But if pixels are burned, washed out -- info is lost. Without reverting to more complex techniques (exposure bracketing and such), I find easiest in these conditions to expose for the sky, lock exposure then re-compose the frame. Bottom will be underexposed but it can easily be fixed in post-processing.

As someone said above, pic is too blue (cold). But this is easily fixed with warming filter in post-processing; if you don't like it in all parts of the frame, just use layer masks and nice soft brush. I do flip White Balance in camera depending on conditions though, although cloudy setting (Canon) usually makes it too warm.

ClauS 10-13-2015 06:12 AM

Agree with the previous comments, the processed photo doesn't look bad!

Here are my two cents of advice:

1) Shoot Raw. No need to decide on white balance when taking the photo - all settings are available when processing the image. Raw allows also much more control over exposure: Areas that are too dark can be adjusted. But not areas that are burned out (overexposed/ too white). Therefore...
2) Expose for the sky then re-compose (as zeljkok says above) - check if your camera has an exposure lock button. Or bracket shots towards underexposure (0, -0.3, -0.6 or so).

vern.dewit 10-13-2015 10:06 AM

I've been shooting RAW for a decade but have come to realize that for a lot of folks it doesn't make sense with the modern camera - especially when dealing with Fuji cameras (I've owned the x-pro1 and x-e1 and x-e2).

Lightroom allows you to adjust jpeg's WB after the shot. Shooting RAW seems more "professional" but IMHO is a waste of time for 99% of shooters, especially with Fuji cameras which are known to produce excellent jpeg's. You gain almost nothing by shooting RAW except for a LOT of PP work which almost always looks much worse than what the camera would produce in the first place. IMHO there are only a few situations where RAW makes sense;


1. Large prints / future proofing - this is a great reason to shoot RAW+JPEG. Simply store your RAW files in a separate directory with the JPEG and you can always adjust or come back when you're ready to work with the RAW files

2. Low light - you can make custom noise adjustments

3. Extreme lighting - highlight / shadow adjustments (but Fuji has excellent DR anyway) NOTE: You also can't recover dark areas so exposing just for the sky is fine, but you could lose shadow areas... ;)

4. HDR (rarely needed with modern cameras and way more work / storage space)

5. Panoramic stitching in certain cases


Again, YMMV but simply "shooting RAW" doesn't make a great photo - it almost always makes a much worse one unless you spend hours post processing your shots and coming up with a reliable routine which will probably only echo what the camera would have done in most cases, in the first place. :eek:

That being said, if you really want to shoot RAW and you use Lightroom, search for presets such as these ones that can make your life a lot easier. They work with both RAW and JPEG files, but are best used with RAW.

guntis 10-13-2015 12:26 PM

Quote:

I find easiest in these conditions to expose for the sky, lock exposure then re-compose the frame. Bottom will be underexposed but it can easily be fixed in post-processing.
This is good advice, and something I'm just starting to do more recently. I used to expose for the whole scene and it would ruin my clouds.

It's helpful to keep perspective (no pun intended). The photography learning curve shows the levels of frustration as you get better at it...

http://www.bailwardphotography.com/w...ning-curve.jpg

zeljkok 10-13-2015 02:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by vern.dewit (Post 673634)
"shooting RAW" doesn't make a great photo - it almost always makes a much worse one unless you spend hours post processing your shots and coming up with a reliable routine which will probably only echo what the camera would have done in most cases, in the first place. :eek:

This is interesting, because one of your "10 commandments how to make a great photo" used to be -- shoot RAW >:)

But I understand what you are saying. JPG conversion is basically algorithm, and these only get better with time. I have no experience with Fuji, but if their JPGs look so great it only means their engineers have done really good job.

RAW + JPEG makes lots of sense; if you don't like conversion, "start from scratch on your own". JPGs can also be opened in Camera Raw.

Dru 10-13-2015 03:17 PM

Never mind any of the above. Try metering off the sky or the clouds if half your pic is sky. Then your original will not be so washed out.

vern.dewit 10-13-2015 04:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dru (Post 673714)
Never mind any of the above...

Lol. A bit harsh, no? Even metering off the sky is only partially right. You need to have an "exposure lock" button, independent of your focus lock. You need to have a wide metering mode too, or you'll get blown shadows... :)

vern.dewit 10-13-2015 04:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by zeljkok (Post 673698)
This is interesting, because one of your "10 commandments how to make a great photo" used to be -- shoot RAW >:)

I knew someone would bring that up... :) I need to rewrite some of that. :)

With Fuji cameras RAW is trickier than most thanks to it's non-Bayer sensor design. And since they do great JPEG it's more reason to not bother too much with RAW.

Dru 10-13-2015 04:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by vern.dewit (Post 673730)
Lol. A bit harsh, no? :)

No. Simple problem does not require complex fix.
eg: American space program spent millions designing a ballpoint pen that would work in zero gravity. Russian space program used a pencil.

solo75 10-13-2015 05:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dru (Post 673714)
Never mind any of the above. Try metering off the sky or the clouds if half your pic is sky. Then your original will not be so washed out.

Metering off the sky is what I always do however, it depends on the camera's dynamic range in being able to recover shadow areas because the other half of the picture will be dark.

brcollette 10-13-2015 10:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by vern.dewit (Post 673634)
I've been shooting RAW for a decade but have come to realize that for a lot of folks it doesn't make sense with the modern camera - especially when dealing with Fuji cameras (I've owned the x-pro1 and x-e1 and x-e2).

Lightroom allows you to adjust jpeg's WB after the shot. Shooting RAW seems more "professional" but IMHO is a waste of time for 99% of shooters, especially with Fuji cameras which are known to produce excellent jpeg's. You gain almost nothing by shooting RAW except for a LOT of PP work which almost always looks much worse than what the camera would produce in the first place. IMHO there are only a few situations where RAW makes sense;




Again, YMMV but simply "shooting RAW" doesn't make a great photo - it almost always makes a much worse one unless you spend hours post processing your shots and coming up with a reliable routine which will probably only echo what the camera would have done in most cases, in the first place. :eek:

That being said, if you really want to shoot RAW and you use Lightroom, search for presets such as these ones that can make your life a lot easier. They work with both RAW and JPEG files, but are best used with RAW.

Hey Vern! I really appreciate you of all people giving some feedback. Your opinion is really valuable. I think you are 100% correct in regards to the outstanding JPEG quality that this Fuji system is producing and there is indeed a strong argument to simply keep it at that and not even bother with RAW. In response to this and your previous comment asking why I was shooing RAW at all - it basically comes down to how long I have been wanting to get into this mountain landscape photography as a hobby. My old point and shoot finally broke and I went nutso trying to figure out what system to buy into. All along I wanted to learn a new skill - that of being a "pro-sumer" hobbyist. What this came to mean to me based on researching the things other mountain photographers I liked (you included) is that I needed to start by a) shooting manually and learning how to compose and b) participating in the use of high tech photo processing software - namely Lightroom. Basically right now I am loving taking the time to learn how to shoot manually and also learning Lightroom. I am confident that maybe in 2 or 3 years when I have a lot of experience with Lightroom I might not be so wound up about it - but right now I enjoy leaning about the characteristics of light and how it can all be adjusted in LR etc. Basically this is what I have been wanting to do forever! Also I really really really want to avoid "overdoing" it in Lightroom. I want to find a balance of correcting exposure but not getting out of hand. Yesterday when I posted this up I was worried about the amount of blue saturation that I added making it look over the top. It was a hard balance because the true character of the scene had more blue in it that the RAW file, but what I posted maybe had a tad too much.

In any event I am open to any feedback - I think Zeljkok is bang on when he says I should focus on exposing the sky correctly and recovering the rest in LR. What little I know about LR falls in line with this.

Thanks everyone!

vern.dewit 10-14-2015 10:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dru (Post 673754)
No. Simple problem does not require complex fix.

True. Taking photos can be very "simple". Point your camera at a scene and press the darn shutter button.

Most good photographs aren't quite that easy though... :nerd:

vern.dewit 10-14-2015 10:11 AM

Another handy tool in LR is the ability to use the camera profiles with your RAW photos so that when you import photos, they look like the JPEG's that would have been generated but since they're RAW you can manipulate them quite a bit.

For example, you could import your RAW photos and apply the Fujifilm "landscape" profile by default, as you import. This gets you close to the JPEG treatment. Now you can tweak as desired.

Arnold 10-14-2015 01:28 PM

I'm not sure what do you expect from that photo given the lighting conditions? It seems fine to me for what it is. The inital one is obviously a bit overexposed, but you've fixed it in PP. Yes, it's a bit on the blue side, but that is the least of your worries.

I don't know what is so magical about Fuji, but if you're post processing your photos, then shooting in RAW is a no brainer. I can recover about a good 2 stops of light out of a RAW Canon 5DIII, without introducing any weird artifacts.

kellymcdonald78 10-14-2015 06:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dru (Post 673754)
No. Simple problem does not require complex fix.
eg: American space program spent millions designing a ballpoint pen that would work in zero gravity. Russian space program used a pencil.

Sorry, as a space history buff I need to answer this one ;)


The story is apocryphal. Fisher developed the Space Pen on their own dime and offered them to NASA (no tax payer money was spent and it didn't cost millions to develop). The Soviet's never used pencils as graphite is conductive and small flakes can contaminate switches and cause shorts. Both Soviet and early US missions used grease pencils, but NASA got rid of them after the Apollo 1 fire. Later the Russian's started buying Fisher pens as well

zeljkok 11-22-2015 11:07 PM

2 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by vern.dewit (Post 673634)

Again, YMMV but simply "shooting RAW" doesn't make a great photo - it almost always makes a much worse one unless you spend hours post processing your shots and coming up with a reliable routine which will probably only echo what the camera would have done in most cases, in the first place. :eek:.

Having great respect to Vern' photography skills, over the years I learned to trust implicitly when he says something, and use it as opportunity to learn something. But I found this statement surprising (specially as one of Vern' commandments used to be "shoot RAW"). So I thought I'd test this (I shoot exclusively RAW for years). So here are results:

https://forums.clubtread.com/attachme...hmentid=107858
[Photo 1: JPG, straight from the camera. No editing of ANY sort, except for cropping and resizing]

https://forums.clubtread.com/attachme...hmentid=107866
[Photo 2: RAW, with about 5 minutes worth of post-processing in PS - including highlights/shadows adjustment, vibrance filter, contrast enhancement, warming filter, Levels layer for the sky, Color balance filter for whole background. Smart sharpening. At the end same cropping/resizing as for photo 1]


Which photo looks better? I don't know -- I was surprised how good non-processed JPG coming out of camera looks. Lens profile correction was included (something I always have to do in Camera RAW), and color balance looked really well -- possibly better than what eye saw while shooting.

I will leave final verdict to judgement of audience, but I think shooting RAW+JPG makes most sense. So for 90% of photos from the hike, JPGs will be more than sufficient, with lots of time saved. But for these really special ones, with great light, worth investing extra time in post-processing (to produce great print perhaps) it is worth having RAW as well.

brcollette 11-23-2015 12:04 AM

Quote:

Having great respect to Vern' photography skills, over the years I learned to trust implicitly when he says something, and use it as opportunity to learn something.
Thanks a lot for this zeljkok. Truly your photos are spectacular and this one is no exception.

In this case I would have to say that for reasons I find hard to discribe I am drawn to the first, 100% JPEG photo!

But lets have some more details such as location, lens, focal length, filters, shutter speed and aperture etc ! This is indeed a amazing photo.

solo75 11-23-2015 01:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by zeljkok (Post 682954)
Which photo looks better? I will leave final verdict to judgement of audience

The RAW post processing shot looks better to me because the Jpeg has too much contrast which darkens the photo and loses detail but you can adjust contrast in-camera. 8 bit jpg has 16 million RGB colors total whereas 12 bit RAW has 68 billion total however it is hard to see any difference in these photos because of the lack of variety of colors. I have noticed that I can pull more colors out of a RAW file than jpg. I agree that jpg are sufficient if you are going to just post photos on the web.

guntis 11-23-2015 03:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by zeljkok (Post 682954)
Having great respect to Vern' photography skills, over the years I learned to trust implicitly when he says something, and use it as opportunity to learn something. But I found this statement surprising (specially as one of Vern' commandments used to be "shoot RAW"). So I thought I'd test this (I shoot exclusively RAW for years). So here are results:

[Photo 1: JPG, straight from the camera. No editing of ANY sort, except for cropping and resizing]

[Photo 2: RAW, with about 5 minutes worth of post-processing in PS - including highlights/shadows adjustment, vibrance filter, contrast enhancement, warming filter, Levels layer for the sky, Color balance filter for whole background. Smart sharpening. At the end same cropping/resizing as for photo 1]


Which photo looks better? I don't know -- I was surprised how good non-processed JPG coming out of camera looks. Lens profile correction was included (something I always have to do in Camera RAW), and color balance looked really well -- possibly better than what eye saw while shooting.

I will leave final verdict to judgement of audience, but I think shooting RAW+JPG makes most sense. So for 90% of photos from the hike, JPGs will be more than sufficient, with lots of time saved. But for these really special ones, with great light, worth investing extra time in post-processing (to produce great print perhaps) it is worth having RAW as well.

This is really interesting. Both photos look great. I agree that the post-processed RAW photo is slightly better, but that's a lot of effort for a 5% improvement.

Granted, if you're going to print it, publish it, or use it to showcase your skills, that 5% makes a difference. Differences for me? The sparkly water reflection, the extra detail in the really dark trees, and even the size of the sun's orb itself.

Steventy 11-23-2015 06:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by guntis (Post 683090)
This is really interesting. Both photos look great. I agree that the post-processed RAW photo is slightly better, but that's a lot of effort for a 5% improvement.

Granted, if you're going to print it, publish it, or use it to showcase your skills, that 5% makes a difference. Differences for me? The sparkly water reflection, the extra detail in the really dark trees, and even the size of the sun's orb itself.

I also like the RAW one better.

I think it's also important to note that zeljkok is very skilled with a camera so his JPEG version was almost perfect. For the average person, it's much more common for there to be problems with exposure, etc. in the original shot and RAW is a lot more forgiving for making adjustments after the fact.

I used to shoot RAW+JPEG. 95% of the time, I'd just use the JPEG for posting on the web. Having the RAW was great because I could export it in a lossless format for printing and could modify it if I wished. These days, I have a faster computer and I pay for Lightroom. The workflow is so efficient that I tend to just shoot RAW.

In the context of this discussion, I think it's also important to note that I enjoy the post processing. It's not a chore for me (at least not yet.) It's another enjoyable step.

Finally, I find that the camera is less likely to get the white balance right during the most interesting shooting conditions (sunset, sunrise, etc.) and so I like the ability to tweak the white balance after the fact which is something you can do when you shoot RAW.

zeljkok 11-23-2015 10:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by guntis (Post 683090)
Differences for me? The sparkly water reflection, the extra detail in the really dark trees, and even the size of the sun's orb itself.

ah, but it is not the sun -- this is moonshine :)
I am never sure how to photograph moonlit scenes. I did F22 and 30 sec exposure,trying to get silky lake surface - but made moon have that "star" look, like when you photo sunsets. Real hint is overall color tone in entire frame - way more bluish than it would be with sunshine.

Quote:

Originally Posted by brcollette (Post 682962)
But lets have some more details such as location, lens, focal length, filters, shutter speed and aperture etc !

This does not really matter for purpose of discussion (JPG vs processed RAW), because it was single shot -- otherwise it would not be fair comparison. You set your camera to "RAW + JPG". Lens opens, sensor is exposed and in-memory 2D array (frame) of pixels is created. Firmware then looks for the setting to determine how this array should be persisted on your memory card. If it is RAW, then it simply dumps it as is. If it is JPG, then it runs internal conversion software and saves image in JPG format. If it is RAW+JPG then it saves both.

It is worth nothing that no viewer is capable of showing RAW image - what you see in viewfinder has already been converted in memory. Same for variety of software viewers (Photoshop, Picasa, Irfan View, etc). Conversion from RAW into "viewable" image (regardless of format) is just a software algorithm. Vern' main point is that over the years these algorithms have advanced so much and are capable of doing super job. This is why cameras have "Picture style" menu setting -- each one has slightly different conversion algorithm. But at the end algorithms are just lines of software code that does not have human eye or know enough about individual preferences for certain details (i.e I really wanted to enhance that moon shine on the surface of the lake -- it might be overdone, but I kinda liked it this way).

Location is lake Minnewanka (vicinity of Banff townsite). Camera is Canon; I mention this since Vern was saying how Fuji is known with superior JPG conversion alghorithms.

Dru 11-24-2015 01:07 PM

This seems like a fake comparison.

1) JPG with no editing vs. RAW with 5 minutes of editing.

Any good photo editing program like GIMP should be able to improve a couple simple things in Photo #1 to make it indistinguishable from #2 at scale/resolution/size posted here, and still take less than 5 minutes.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steventy
I like the ability to tweak the white balance after the fact which is something you can do when you shoot RAW.

You can essentially do that in JPG too.

vern.dewit 11-24-2015 02:26 PM

Why is this a fake comparison?

The whole point being made (by me anyway...) is that for the average person who doesn't want to spend hundreds of dollars on image processing software, and / or hundreds of hours behind a computer squeezing out every last detail and nuance of RAW photographs, the JPEG SOOC (straight out of camera) will usually be "good enough".

For the rest of us who really enjoy reliving the moments in the photograph and bringing them out in crystal clear HD, we can shoot and process RAW's all day with pleasure. :)

I usually shoot between 200 and 1000 photos on each trip. I try to filter that down to around 100 which I'll spend time post processing. At 5 minutes per photo this is 500 minutes or 8 hours. I would guess that the VAST majority of photographers / hikers / climbers don't want to spend nearly that much time processing photos each time they go out on an adventure!

Remember that if you're investing so much time and money on photographs, you should also be concerned with backup - both physical and cloud. You should also be spending time producing prints, both for your walls and in photo books. This is even MORE time spent behind a computer staring at pixels and color balancing photos.

I reckon there's a very large crowd who simply wants to point a lens at a scene, snap a photo that approximates it "good enough", automatically uploads it to the cloud when they get near a good WIFI hot spot, and then select all their photos at the end of the year and auto-generate a photobook for Christmas.

Even that sounds like a lot of work... LOL. :D

Dru 11-24-2015 02:35 PM

It's a fake comparison because it's an apple (JPG "straight out of the camera") vs. an orange (processed RAW)

A true comparison would, in my mind, be a photo-editor processed JPG vs the same photo-editor processed RAW.

A digital camera and a computer are not two separate things. A digital file is a digital file. There's no need to pretend that either JPG or unprocessed RAW are a photographic negative.

A better question to ask is where the processing occurs - in the camera or on your computer - and how much control you have over each of those processes.

vern.dewit 11-24-2015 02:37 PM

I should point out that for those of us who have spent $$$ and time on PP tools, we can have a pretty efficient workflow to make PP'ing RAW quite efficient.

For example, I have presets in Lightroom that apply manufacturer color profiles to my RAW's, just like the in-camera processing would do. This means that by default my RAW photos pretty much look exactly like they would have as JPEG's.

Now all I have to do, is make them better. :)

zeljkok 11-24-2015 04:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dru (Post 683370)
A better question to ask is where the processing occurs - in the camera or on your computer - and how much control you have over each of those processes.

This is well beyond the point of discussion, but if you want to go this way then question is not where, but who. Machine (automated processing via in-camera software which you can customize only to a certain degree) against Human (via image editing applications, over which you have full control). App type is ultimately secondary -- Picasa, Gimp, PS, Irfan -- except for pros, common tasks that most amateurs need can be done in all of them.

Even more philosophically, in wider term, it becomes question of AI versus Human brain. Smart self-driving cars, automated voice-recognition telephone menus (is there anything more annoying than this?), or -- image editing. Machine will always lack human intuition and be limited to what/how it can learn by its programming, but it can only get better with time.

I like steventy comment about having fun with post-processing though. It's a huge factor because there is level of pride in it ("look what I've done" - compared to "look what dumb machine did").

Arnold 11-25-2015 03:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by zeljkok (Post 682954)
Which photo looks better? I don't know -- I was surprised how good non-processed JPG coming out of camera looks.

I think the JPG version looks better, the RAW is too washed out to my liking.

But point is not which looks better, but which lets you recover more detail. If there is no need to recover and the shot is exposed perfectly, with proper in camera PP, then simple adjustments in PP on the computer won't improve the image much, if at all.

Not all shots are going to be perfectly exposed (or have the correct white balance), and not all will have proper in camera PP. And the camera will never be able to (at least today) make any advanced adjustments, by using selective masking, and bringing out razor sharp detail with advanced methods.

It doesn't take much time at all to batch modify RAW images with a single preset, similar to what the camera does, but with richer types of adjustments + you get the flexibility to apply different presets to different groups of photos. For example, a shaded shot will need different adjustments from a sunny shot. And it's easy to go back in case it doesn't look right.

vern.dewit 11-25-2015 10:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dru (Post 683370)
It's a fake comparison because it's an apple (JPG "straight out of the camera") vs. an orange (processed RAW)

A true comparison would, in my mind, be a photo-editor processed JPG vs the same photo-editor processed RAW.

I see your point but I guess mine is that the jpeg is, of course, a processed RAW as well. It was simply processed for you, in the camera rather than by you, in an editor.

The other challenge is that *both* result in a jpeg eventually - there's no other way to display the damn thing. :)

vern.dewit 11-25-2015 10:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Arnold (Post 683610)
I think the JPG version looks better, the RAW is too washed out to my liking.

One thing I've noticed that I do when processing RAW photos is that I try to make the histogram completely "fit". What I mean by that, is that I bring up the shadows until there's no clipping and I bring down the highlights until they're not clipped. This can result in a washed out look if I'm not super careful about contrast and clarity (micro contrast).

Sometimes I think I ruin some shots by doing too much to the original photo - sometimes shadows should just be black and sometimes highlights look better if they're a bit nuclear. Nature doesn't care about histograms!! :nerd:

5thhorseman 11-25-2015 11:40 AM

I prefer the JPEG as well. In the RAW the reflection and moon itself are great improvements, but my eye is drawn to the mountain itself. In reality you would never see that much detail, and as a result it looks fake to me. But that's probably just a personal preference. I also like the overall blue tone of the JPEG; you can feel the coldness of the scene.

muskeeto 11-25-2015 12:15 PM

I prefer the Raw file, the island is totally lost in the Jpeg and the snow is purple-ish. the moon light on the water looks much better in the Raw file.If you were hanging one of there on your wall, i think you'd go for the Raw version.

zeljkok 11-25-2015 12:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by vern.dewit (Post 683650)
Sometimes I think I ruin some shots by doing too much to the original photo - sometimes shadows should just be black and sometimes highlights look better if they're a bit nuclear. Nature doesn't care about histograms!! :nerd:

Totally agreed here; I "catch" myself doing the same, almost like the mind (habit)? thinks photo will look better the more time you invest processing it.

It is also interesting to note how more seem to prefer processed, but not by dominant majority -- which again speaks a lot about original subject, i.e. how good in-camera processing software has become.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Arnold
But point is not which looks better, but which lets you recover more detail. If there is no need to recover and the shot is exposed perfectly, with proper in camera PP, then simple adjustments in PP on the computer won't improve the image much, if at all.

Excellent point!

pointbob 01-05-2016 03:49 PM

Always shoot RAW. There's a reason RAW files are 50% or more larger then JPG. It gives you the headroom to save photos and make average ones better.

I've been shooting 40 years so don't listen to me if you like (yes, pre_RAW). But those advocating shooting jpg only are giving bad advice. You need to learn a little more about post processing sure; but once you process a single photo - more often then not you can re-apply those settings on to following RAW images in the same set.

zeljkok 01-05-2016 09:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pointbob (Post 690265)
But those advocating shooting jpg only are giving bad advice.

I would not call Vern' expertise 'bad advice'

vern.dewit 01-11-2016 12:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by zeljkok (Post 690417)
I would not call Vern' expertise 'bad advice'

Lol, thanks! For professionals of course, not shooting RAW is anathema.

The most popular camera on Flickr is now the iPhone. Most of the pics are jpeg. That's simply the reality, like it or not!


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