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Joe Davis
06-07-2005, 05:36 AM
I was just browsing Pentax's website looking for a firmware update and noticed a Photoshop plugin for users shooting in RAW. I have Photoshop 7.0 and downloaded the plugin. Should I be shooting in RAW? I am using the uncompressed JPEG right now. I don't edit my pics a lot, sometimes, but not a lot.

I guess what I am trying to say is what are the advantages to shooing in the RAW format? I want to get the best quality from my pics.

Thanks

Rhys
06-07-2005, 08:38 AM
I was just browsing Pentax's website looking for a firmware update and noticed a Photoshop plugin for users shooting in RAW. I have Photoshop 7.0 and downloaded the plugin. Should I be shooting in RAW? I am using the uncompressed JPEG right now. I don't edit my pics a lot, sometimes, but not a lot.

I guess what I am trying to say is what are the advantages to shooing in the RAW format? I want to get the best quality from my pics.

Thanks

Many people will advocate shooting in RAW because of the ability to change aspects of the photos (all of which should be changable in a standard photo editing program anyway). Personally, I think the file sizes are horrendous and that the highest quality of JPEG should be good enough. Having said that, try it and see if you like it. Remember though that if you lose the CD for your RAW file decryption that you'll never ever be able to see those pictures again. JPEG is something that will continue forever. RAW is just a little too funky for my taste.

gstafleu
06-07-2005, 09:28 AM
I guess what I am trying to say is what are the advantages to shooing in the RAW format? I want to get the best quality from my pics.


There are two advantages when shooting RAW, and two disadvantages as well.

The advantages: 1) you can change certain settings after the fact, e.g. white balance. 2) You get a better image quality.

Disadvantages: 1) Huge file size. 2) You have to process each image with the appropriate RAW processing software.

Notes: As for the better image quality, it is doubtful if you will ever notice that, unless you go pixel-staring at a 100% crop. For normal printing (up to letter/A4) you probably won't notice it, let alone for web publishing. As for the RAW processing software, there is already a large confusion of RAW formats. Some companies whos name start and end with an "n" are now starting to encrypt their RAW files. In other words: JPEG will be around and readable for a long time, with RAW you have to wait and see.

Joe Davis
06-07-2005, 09:50 AM
Thanks for the reply.

MatH
06-08-2005, 02:45 AM
I read a a couple of reviews of Pentax *Ist DS and they all said that the camera has poor jpeg compression and recommended shooting in RAW. They put up some images to see the difference and it's very noticeable. Jpegs created by camera are blurry and oversaturated while computer processed raws are much better. If you have enough space, I'd recommend shooting raw to get the best out of camera.

gstafleu
06-08-2005, 06:18 AM
I read a a couple of reviews of Pentax *Ist DS and they all said that the camera has poor jpeg compression and recommended shooting in RAW. [...] Jpegs created by camera are blurry and oversaturated

Going by both this forum and the one on dpreview, the consensus of people who actually own a *ist DS is that the "poor jpeg" of the DS, mentioned in the dpreview review of the camera, was vastly overstated. All brands of dSLR will give better results in RAW then in jpeg, but you will only see that when staring intently at a 100% crop. The DS does not seem to be significantly better or worse than other cameras in its jpeg quality.

As for oversaturated, that is probably because people use the default "bright" mode for image tone. You should switch that to "natural". Note however that in the "picture modes" (Auto Pict, Portrait, Landscape, Tulip...) the mode is automatically switched back to Bright.

Here are some settings I have tried with success. Switch to P, Av or Tv mode. Set image tone to natural. Set contrast to +1 (this will stretch the histogram a bit so that it uses more of the available space). Set sharpening to -2 so that you can do all sharpening yourself. Alternately, set sharpening to +1 if you want the camera to sharpen. In general image editors, like PhotoShop (Elements), PhotoPaint and such, do a better job of sharpening then the camera does.

Here is an example of a pic taken with these settings, JPEG ***:
http://publish.uwo.ca/~gerard/photos/stmarysjun05/bridge2.jpg
Of course it has been downsampled, so you can't see all details, but I think you'll agree that there is no oversaturation of colors.

Joe Davis
06-08-2005, 06:57 AM
Nice pic. Where was it taken and what setting did you use?

Thanks for the info also.

-Joe

Rhys
06-08-2005, 07:43 AM
If it wasn't for the iffy white balance (and the fact that all the photo shops in Columbia refuse to stock it) the *Ist Ds would be a camera I'd consider.

gstafleu
06-08-2005, 10:26 AM
Nice pic. Where was it taken and what setting did you use?

It was taken in a little town in South Western Ontario, called St. Mary's. The settings were P mode, image tone neutral (i.e. not "bright"), contrast +1, sharpness -2 (I sharpened myself), and +0.5EV.

You can actually walk on the railroad bridge, the line being closed, and looking down you see the Amazonian rain forest, with some lakes in it:
http://publish.uwo.ca/~gerard/photos/stmarysjun05/algae.jpg
Ok, so maybe it is algae floating on the water :).

MatH
06-08-2005, 12:05 PM
I'm still considering *Ist DS, though the ballance tipped in favour of EOS350D a bit, because it's cheaper and has more support here. Perhaps I'll wait a bit...

P.S.
Too bad Jef hasn't review on it

gstafleu
06-08-2005, 12:47 PM
I'm still considering *Ist DS, though the ballance tipped in favour of EOS350D a bit, because it's cheaper and has more support here.

What really helped tipping the balance to the *ist DS in my case is the viewfinder. The DS has a pentaprism which gives you a large and bright image. The XT has penta-mirrors, which results in a smaller image in the finder. Try to find a store that carries both and then compare. For me to see as clearly as possible what I am trying to shoot is important (which explains why I would never consider a camera with an EVF).

Rhys
06-08-2005, 05:14 PM
A bigger viewfinder - that's something to consider... I'll have to check the *ist Ds when I'm in Charleston next week.

MatH
06-09-2005, 01:46 AM
Big bright viewfinder :D
Seems I'll be needing that for shooting in low light spaces like caves where I take a lot of pictures.

jeisner
06-12-2005, 03:44 AM
I shoot RAW as you can edit the images before converting to JPEG.. I am of course referring to adjusting the exposure, white balance and sharpening... Rhys mentioned this can be done on the JPEG in photoshop, but take it from someone who actually owns a DSLR and has experience in this kind of work:

Yes, it can be done in jpeg but you are trying to fix an already compressed lossy format picture.. A lot of the detail you are trying to bring out or work with is already lost... You will get MUCH better results working with the original RAW images than after the fact with JPEGs...

As for the DS having white balance issues, I don't believe this to be the case from personal experience (besides which, white balance can be easily adjusted in RAW editing if needed (or just for the hell of it!)), and I have not seen any reviews suggesting that Canon or Nikon are better in this respect...