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Category: New Questions

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Photography Question 
Betsy Labuschagne
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 6/3/2005
 

Digital Photography: Raw


I just started experimenting with Raw. I use a Canon 350D, with studio lighting. From what I understand there is no in camera processing, yet when I change my saturation, colour tone, etc. parameters on my camera, I notice a big difference. Also if I compare Adobe RGB with sRGB. I'm converting from Raw to Tiff using Digital Photo Professional that came with my camera, it looks different there too, according to the processing parameters that I'm using. Am I confused or does the set parameters influence the use of RAW?

9/13/2006 2:09:23 PM

 
Jay Kinghorn

member since: 7/12/2006
  Betsy,
You are correct on both statements. Changing the image parameters will change the look of the finished product, even though no processing occurs in-camera. Raw files work by combining the Raw information from the camera's sensor with a set of processing instructions, sometimes called the instruction set. By changing the parameters on the camera, you are changing the instruction set that Digital Photo Professional uses when it processes your Raw file.
With raw processing software like Digital Photo Pro, you are able to change the instruction set to refine white balance, adjust contrast and so forth. It's all a part of the power of using Raw.
Happy shooting.
Jay

9/13/2006 2:15:25 PM

 
Betsy Labuschagne
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 6/3/2005
  Thank you so much for your quick response Jay.

I know there's a lot of post-editing involved with RAW. When I use the same parameters that I used when shooting JPEG and do the same post-editing, I just seem to end up with a too brownish skin tone (first picture in my gallery). The funny thing is that compared to the JPEG the RAW file, once converted, actually looks better regarding skin tone, than what it looked when shooting JPEG mode. Maybe there's something else that I'm overlooking?

I was wondering if anybody would share what they have their parameters set to for studio photography.

9/13/2006 3:11:18 PM

 
Betsy Labuschagne
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 6/3/2005
  Is contrast affected by shooting in RAW? Perhaps that could be something to look at?

9/13/2006 3:15:28 PM

 
Jay Kinghorn

member since: 7/12/2006
  Betsy,

The look of a raw image is affected by a number of different things. The beauty of raw is that you can change the look of the image to suit your taste. With most raw processing software you can choose the default parameters used to process your images.

You should expect to see a difference in contrast and color between different raw processers. I'm surprised to hear that you are getting different results between a JPEG and a RAW of the same image using Canon's software. I would expect them to be identical. Are you making any changes or conversions to the image in the raw software?

9/13/2006 6:09:00 PM

 
Betsy Labuschagne
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 6/3/2005
  Jay, I checked again just to be sure. When I shoot in sRGB, there is a significant difference when viewing it in Digital Photo Professional. The jpeg's are a lot more red. When shooting in Adobe RGB, the difference is slight, the jpeg actually just seems a bit darker. When I convert the RAW image and open it along with the jpeg in PS 7, they look as they do in DPP. I am not doing any changes, only converting and saving it as a Tiff file.

I actually tried different edits on some of my initial raw shots last night and saw that if I don't add extra contrast in curves, but adjust individual colours in levels, I get a much more pleasing result. I don't know if I should be adjusting individual colours with my limited editing experience. I wish there was a fool proof way to ensure that your exposures have the correct colour balance.

I am really blown away by the difference there is in shooting RAW versus jpeg. Perhaps I should be concentrating on my post editing. I will try different parameter settings on my camera today, to see if I can get a more pleasing result to work from.

Thank you so much for your help Jay!

9/13/2006 11:10:15 PM

 
Betsy Labuschagne
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 6/3/2005
  Hi!

I've downloaded a updated version of Digital Photo Pro, and still notice the same. I will look at the manual to make sure that there's no auto corrections taking place.

I've also switched my White Balance mode from Flash to Cloudy, and like what I'm getting a lot more. I am so glad that I tried RAW, there is definately a huge quality difference.

I will look at purchasing a better converter, along with a huge hardrive and doing some post-editing courses soon :-)

Thanks again

9/14/2006 8:58:36 AM

 
Jay Kinghorn

member since: 7/12/2006
  Betsy,

Your results are very curious but don't necessarily indicate that anything is wrong with your workflow. Typically, when a camera manufacturer writes their raw processing software they use the same raw processing used on-camera to create the JPEGs. In this case, for whatever reason, it doesn't quite work the same. There is a visible difference between the two.

If you switch to another program, say Photoshop, I would expect the differences between the JPEGs and the RAW files to be greater. There really is no "right" way for a raw file to look. It all depends on what looks best to your eye.

Have fun with your post-processing. Welcome to the world of raw!

Jay

9/15/2006 7:37:16 AM

 
Slobodan Blagojevic
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/2/2006
  Betsy,

Here is my take on several issues you raised: RAW files are not affected by in-camera parametars or by RAW converter parametars. What is affected is how the RAW file is displayed on the camera display or computer monitor. Hence, if you are shooting only RAW, there is no need to adjust in-camera parametars, that can always be done later in the RAW converter.

As for your "...wish for a fool proof way to ensure your exposures have the correct color balance."... there is such a way, especially for studio photography: gray card or a combination of white, black and gray cards. You put such a card in the scene you are shooting and take the first picture with the card in it (remove it, of course, for the rest of the shoot). Later, in the RAW converter, use the white balance adjustment tool and click on the gray (or white) area on the card (the button in DPP is appropriatelly named "Click" ;-)). Similar, although less precise, results could be obtained by clicking on any white or neutral-gray area in the scene (white shirt for example). This would ensure the "correct" white balance, although not necessarily the most pleasing one (as you have already discovered by using Cloudy white balance instead of the more "correct" Flash one).

As for your JPEGs and RAWs looking different when viewed in DPP or PS, it is quite possible if the "working color space" you chose initially in the preferences for each program is set up differently. PS can actually be set to warn you of the mismatch between the PS working color space and the color space tagged to the file you are opening.

Hope this helps.

Slobodan

9/20/2006 8:16:47 AM

 
Joe Ciccone
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/7/2005
  want to check out a pretty good 'free' program for processing RAW?

Raw Shooter Essentials (do a google search)

Joeciccone@adelphia.net

9/20/2006 11:53:35 AM

 
Betsy Labuschagne
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 6/3/2005
  Thank you for your responses Slobodan and Joe.

I've been trying to get a gray card, not many people seem to stock them. I will get one from the place that I purchased my lights and let you know how it works. Till now, I've been using my black eyedropper in levels, clicking it on the black of a pupil. It seems to work quite well. With a grey card I'm sure the results will be better. Thanks again!

9/24/2006 12:16:41 PM

 

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