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  1. #1
    DannyF1966's Avatar
    DannyF1966 is offline dPS Forum Member
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    Question Does a RAW file *have* to be processed?

    Hi,

    I'm pretty new to this photography lark and have been shooting in RAW almost since day one, since everyone says you have so much more opportunity to alter the photograph afterwards than with a jpeg.

    My question is, though, do you *have* to post-process a RAW picture? Maybe it's because I'm so new to all this that I'm not seeing the full potential of my photographs, but when I look at it on the screen I'm usually happy with the way it's turned out. Maybe I should be posting more photos to the critique section!

    Are you more often than not happy with the way your pictures look SOOC, or do you do some post-processing to each and every one of them?

    As a little aside, if I'm going to be reducing a photo to 800px for inclusion in the assignments, is it worth thinking about sharpening it at all, or is sharpening only really needed if you're going to be getting a proper print made up?

    Cheers,

    Daniel
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  2. #2
    yorkiemom's Avatar
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    Well, I'm sure someone else will come along and explain it better but a RAW file is just a file containing the unprocessed raw data captured by the sensor of the camera. The RAW file does not contain the image really; it has to be converted. Camera settings for color space, sharpness, saturation, and white balance are not in the RAW file. So yes, you have to process the RAW file parameters. I shoot in RAW and always process my images.

  3. #3
    Dirt_Bike_Ryda's Avatar
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    so what happens if one were to shoot 1300 RAW photos in one day, does each one have to be converted? or can u do them as a big bunch, and go back to the RAW file if the need arises ?
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    yorkiemom's Avatar
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    Well, I do mine one by one but they can be batch processed (not sure what program you are using) depending on the images if they are similar. I don't necessary do mine all at the same time; you can always go back and process what you need. They will always be there in their RAW state; well, unless you delete them.

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    Carl911 is offline dPS Forum Member
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    Sorry to hijack this thread but I have also recentrly been using RAW.
    I notice that when I look at the CF card afterwards there are two files of every picture.
    One is the RAW file (CR2) and the other JPG.
    I assume that the Jpeg is what Id normally get if I were in JPEG only mode.
    I have been opening up the RAW files using Photoshope CS3.
    Pretty much Like Daniel, I find in most cases I like how they come from the camera although occasionally its nice to add some extra exposure or vibrance.
    Is it normal to get both foramts or is that a setting I should turn off in the camera?

    Carl
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  6. #6
    yorkiemom's Avatar
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    Well my Canon has a setting that shoots RAW and jpeg both. Is that what yours is set for. You can change it. It's not normal to get both.

    Well, it's kind of defeating the purpose to take images in RAW and not process...because they really aren't processed. They are unprocessed in every way...no white balance, no sharpening, no nothing. They always have to be processed. You will notice if you process what a difference between the "raw" file and a processed one.

  7. #7
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    The short answer is yes. Raw files are designed to be as neutral as possible, so they aren't going to have much contrast or color; without toning they aren't going to pop. If you use something like Lightroom, it can apply baseline settings, which you can then change (or not change) as you see fit. You can create your own baseline, or use their default settings, and apply different presents on import however you like.
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    I would say the answer is Yes and No. All RAW files need to be 'developed' into image files (normally JPEG), you can do this development step either by processing all of your files individually or by converting them all at once using the default parameters. A usefull analogy would be that processing them one at a time is like having your own darkroom, batch processing is like sending your films to Walmart/Boots. With the Walmart/Boots option you still have the negatives if required. Shooting straignt to JPEG could be analogous to Polariod but that may be stretching it too far!
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirt_Bike_Ryda View Post
    so what happens if one were to shoot 1300 RAW photos in one day...
    Ryda - you'd use a lot of memory cards!

    Daniel - FYI...
    I am assuming that different makes of camera will still produce raw files of roughly the same sizes, depending on the number of mega-pixels (give or take a bit...) A 10MP image in raw format (on a Nikon D40x) uses something like 9Mb, whereas even the highest quality JPG file for a 10MP image is only about half that size. Each subsequent drop in JPG quality halves the file size again. The figures Nikon quote are 9Mb (Raw), 4.8 Mb (Fine JPG), 2.4Mb (Normal JPG), and 1.2Mb (Basic JPG) for a full 10MP image.

    If you have the camera set to produce raw & JPG together (as Carl mentioned in his post), then (mercifully) the D40x stores the JPG at the lowest resolution (on the basis, I guess, that if you want anything other than basic, you'll get it from the raw file), so the two together take about 10Mb.

    So, uhm... 1300 images @ 10Mb each = err... 13Gb? About 3 DVDs worth of data! That's a lot of photos to even LOOK AT, let alone process!! Good luck with THAT one, Ryda!!

    But Daniel, back to your original question, I'd say that if you don't have specific post-processing or publication needs that require raw format, I'd suggest setting the camera to JPG Normal or High resolution, and just using Photoshop or even GIMP for your everyday PP needs. Picasa does a damn good job for just general tidying up or cropping, with a very simple interface, if Photoshop scares you as much as it scares me.

    Good luck.

    Grumby
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  10. #10
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    Thanks for the comments guys. To clarify, I don't count opening a RAW image and just saving it again as a jpeg to be "processing" the image, to me processing means adjusting white balance, contrast, tone and so on. Even cropping isn't really post-processing in terms of what I was originally asking!

    I'll set the camera into RAW + JPG for a few weeks and compare the two files that come out. Of course there's no guarantee that the jpg that comes out of the camera is any more "correct" than the RAW, but at the moment I'm not that experienced in looking at a picture and realising that it needs more contrast, or less exposure, or "if I increase the saturation it'll really make the sky stand out" - that sort of thing.
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