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Photography Question 
Manny Valencia
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 2/27/2005
 

Raw to JPEG vs. Shooting in JPEG


I know that when you shoot in Raw, you have more data than shooting in JPEG format. My question is when you process a Raw file on the computer and then save it as JPEG, does it revert to a same (or similar) quality file as if you had originally processed it in the camera? What is the best way to save it, TIFF? I am more concerned with enlargements as big as 20x30/poster size or larger. I'm shooting with a 40D.

7/5/2009 6:06:17 PM

 
Jeffrey R. Whitmoyer

member since: 1/7/2009
  I do my Raw conversion, open in Photoshop CS3 and immediately save the file as a PSD. I'll then do my additional edits, and re-save as a PSD adding layers to my title if I have edited in layers. I'll then flatten the image and save as a JPEG, which is the file that goes to the lab. Yes, I end up with a number of files, but I can also go back and rework them from different points.
Jeff

7/6/2009 9:37:08 AM

 
R K Stephenson
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member since: 10/5/2007
  Re: "My question is when you process a RAW file on the computer and then save it as JPEG, does it revert to a same (or similar) quality file as if you had originally processed it in the camera?"
This is one of those "depends" questions, but the short answer is the images do not "revert".
When you process a Raw image and save it as a JPEG, whatever modifications you made to the image (e.g., contrast, saturation, etc.) are a permanent part of the JPEG image. Your processing may or may not match what the camera does, so the quality depends on additional factors.
If you're shooting JPEG images, quality depends on the camera settings (e.g., profile, filters, etc). The relative quality of in-camera processing compared to what you can do with Photoshop depends on how handy you are with Photoshop on Raw images. Another factor is whether or not your camera settings are appropriate for conditions when shooting JPEG.

7/6/2009 10:15:42 AM

 
Susan J. Allen
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member since: 8/20/2005
  Jeffrey, was just wondering if there is a reason for immediately saving in psd before doing edits. I usually keep the original RAW file and when I'm finished editing, I'll save a cropped and uncropped psd version. Is the reason to save space on the computer to get rid of the huge RAW files? Hmmm...just noticed something else in your comment--you flatten before saving as JPEG---arggg, I never do that, assuming that just saving it as such will automatically flatten it. Is it a mistake not to flatten first?

7/7/2009 7:26:10 PM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  Actually, a raw file isn't that big if you compare it to a converted raw file. Or psd, which should be bigger than a converted raw file.
It might be his personal preference. Saving as a psd without any edits can allow you to keep your image as it first started out if there's any worry about accidentally saving over it.
If your version of photoshop allows you to delete the history of edits, and not just the last edit, then an immediate save to a psd should let you do something to an image and always go back to where you started.
If you don't flatten, it gets saved as a psd. No point in keeping such a large sized file if you're through editing.

7/8/2009 10:15:09 AM

 
Manny Valencia
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 2/27/2005
  Thanks for all the answers. I guess my issue was that I wasn't doing a whole lot of editing with Elements other than fixing some exposure or cropping and I wasn't sure if it was worth it to shoot in RAW if in the end I was going to get the same result as if I originally shot in JPEG.

I was also wondering if I would get a better quality enlargement if I start off with a RAW file and say I crop it, than if I started of with a JPEG file.

Thanks again for all your answers.

7/8/2009 3:09:55 PM

 
Jeffrey R. Whitmoyer

member since: 1/7/2009
  I may not have interpreted your initial question correctly, but based on your last post would say that you will generally do better shooting in raw and converting to what you visualized instead of a mathematical interpretation of what is optimum. The big thing is that Raw puts the control back in your hands and from that standpoint you will have a better image to enlarge.
Jeff

7/8/2009 5:11:06 PM

 
Susan J. Allen
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member since: 8/20/2005
  The reason I shoot in RAW is because, when the RAW box pops up, it often allows me more latitude in "fixing" many things I may have not done well in the shooting and as I particularly love the PS end of photography, it allows me more editing options.
Gregory, I had no idea that a psd file was bigger than a converted raw file! And, arggg, I also didn't know that there was a way to save history in psd images--my CS3 and other versions always seemed to be set to preserve only layers. I'll have to check that out. And the reason I save psd files is because I'm thinking one day to start trying to sell and I understood that only psd or TIFF files were accepted. Sharon D has told me a hundred times, I should at least try to sell some stock, so that I know what it's all about--guess she was right!

7/8/2009 10:32:29 PM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  I think a complete version a photoshop keeps the history in a psd file. Maybe not.
Keeping all that information for the layers is what makes a psd file so big. But if you do your edits to a layer and not the original background, you can always start over.
Once you sell it, or hand it over to somebody's graphics dept. or a stock agency, they want to be able to make their own adjustments to it for text, or whatever. But I don't know if only psd or tiff get accepted.
An interview of Lionel Deluy in Digital Photo Pro mag, he said he never shoots raw because he hasn't seen any difference. It depends on what you feel your requirements or who you're shooting for are.

7/9/2009 3:11:17 AM

 
Carlton Ward
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member since: 12/13/2005
  Hi Manny,
I shoot only raw and then after doing my edits I save my files as .TIF as these are better for printing. They are much larger than the raw files (my 1Ds raw files are 12MB but the saved .TIF files are almost 60MB). Of course there are also sizing & compression that can be used to make the files smaller but now that 1TB hard drives are $100, I dont worry too much about space. The ONLY time I save an image as .jpg is for posting on the web. Jpegs are a lossy format - every time you edit,save a jpg there can be image degradation and information lost.
my .02
Carlton

7/9/2009 12:55:11 PM

 
Manny Valencia
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 2/27/2005
  I shoot with a Canon 40D. I don't think my TIFF files would be as big, but, they would certainly be a large size also.

Thanks for the information.

7/9/2009 2:51:41 PM

 

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