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The RAW debate - a step too far?
Old 04-14-2011   #1
Robin Harrison
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The RAW debate - a step too far?

Was looking at the 'Black + White Photographer of the Year' entry requirements here:
http://www.bpoty.com/#/entry-requirements/4549023936

And they state: "IF WORKING DIGITALLY YOU MUST SHOOT RAW FILES AS
THE WINNING ENTRIES WILL BE PRINTED LARGE SCALE."

Now...I shoot raw over jpeg in every camera where I have that option. The benefits of raw files are well documented, especially with regards to dynamic range and exposure recovery. But there is no reason a well exposed jpeg of high quality should automatically be considered inferior to a raw exposure when viewing large prints.

How do they plan to enforce this? They ask for jpeg (first round) and tiff (shortlist) submissions.

I've heard of documentary/press awards requiring raw files in order to eliminate the possibility of excessive manipulation, but in what is essentially a fine art competition, this requirement is very strange. The requirement should be 'images of a high quality capable of being reproduced to a moderate size'. If any image fails to meet that requirement (based on visual, subjective judgement), then by all means exclude it.

Ever seen a competition stating:
IF WORKING WITH FILM YOU MUST SHOOT LOW SPEED LARGE FORMAT, AS THE WINNING ENTRIES WILL BE PRINTED LARGE SCALE
???
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Old 04-14-2011   #2
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It simply shows that whoever made this requirement is an idiot.
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Old 04-14-2011   #3
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That magazine contains more and more errors and weird sentences with each passing month. I've cancelled my subscription, a shame as I used to look forward to each issue and some articles are still very good.
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Old 04-14-2011   #4
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I'm an idiot. Even if I set a camera (Canon) to shoot monochrome, when I bring up the image in my Adobe raw converter, it comes up as a color image.

Is there a way to shoot in B&W (digital) and only get B&W?

(I'm usually one of those that shoots digital for color and only occasionally uses it for B&W, so I'm probably missing something...like a better understanding of digital B&W).
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Old 04-14-2011   #5
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Thanks...I admit the contest rules confused me.


When I want B&W (digital) I usually shoot Raw + Jpeg. I see can't see why the contest would require Raw files when, in my case, they would be color, not B&W.
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Old 04-14-2011   #6
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Isn't every digital capture actually B&W that is then converted by the camera to a color image?
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Old 04-14-2011   #7
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It wouldn't be the raw file that gets printed, nor would it be of much use to them - it's a B&W photography magazine.
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Old 04-14-2011   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Double Negative View Post
Sort of... It's made up of three channels (R, G and B) of monochrome images that when combined - appears as color.
I'd say thats just as much true for colour films too... They are just called layers instead of channels.

So... Everythings colour exept B&W film and some rare digital bodies (didn't fuji make some at some point?). Oh... Some surveillance video cameras might be really B&W too.
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Old 04-14-2011   #9
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What if your P&S only outputs jpegs. Does that mean you can only enter if you have an expensive camera?
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Old 04-14-2011   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kully View Post
That magazine contains more and more errors and weird sentences with each passing month. I've cancelled my subscription, a shame as I used to look forward to each issue and some articles are still very good.
I'm beginning to feel the same, Kully. I used to savour my B&W mags. I'd take them to coffee shops at the weekend and spend hours reading them. And I'd rush through them, but had a quirk whereby I'd always leave one article unread until the next month's copy arrive, so there was always a bit of unread B&W!

Nowadays, I have four, five months of magazines waiting to be read, and I didn't even phone to complain when one copy didn't arrive. I agree the standards are slipping. Some articles have left me completely clueless as to what they were attempting to communicate. Add to that the barrage of 90+% reviews of any old digicam and you're left with a very average magazine.
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Old 04-14-2011   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tlitody View Post
What if your P&S only outputs jpegs. Does that mean you can only enter if you have an expensive camera?
I hadn't though of that, tiltody. Those photographers just starting out - looking to discover their craft, only able or willing to buy an entry level camera - are just the sort of entrant they should be trying to inspire to apply for these competitions.
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Old 04-14-2011   #12
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Greasy joke!

You can output anything in Photoshop as DNG ...

Hahaha...



Photog = 1

Stupid Mag = 0
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Old 04-16-2011   #13
kully
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Harrison View Post
I'm beginning to feel the same, Kully. I used to savour my B&W mags. I'd take them to coffee shops at the weekend and spend hours reading them. And I'd rush through them, but had a quirk whereby I'd always leave one article unread until the next month's copy arrive, so there was always a bit of unread B&W!
Bloody hell, I used to do exactly the same thing!
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Old 04-16-2011   #14
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Yes, well...

Frances used to write for B+W, but lately, they have not been keen on anything she proposed (she shoots only film in B+W, and wet prints it). In a conversation with the editor a few days ago, she was told, "The magazine is doing better than it has ever done. Our readers want digital, and we have to follow our readership."

Cheers,

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Old 04-16-2011   #15
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Sounds like a pretty lame set of rules, but after picking up my first copy (bruce gilden, feb 11) not too long ago - those rules seem on par with the content.
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Old 04-16-2011   #16
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This is an illogical and photographic "elitist" requirement (typical of many/most/all "artistic" contests) to make shooting black and white digitally harder than it need be because, ya know, only "real" or "serious" photographers shoot RAW. Only amateur putzes shoot jpeg. Real/serious photographic "artists" shoot RAW and spend hours/days makong pixel-level adjustments to perfect their "vision". The reality is that these RAW putzers make adjustments/improvements to perfect their "vision" that by and large only they - in their obsessive compulsive disorder delusions, see...


...and the amatuer putzer's image shooting jpeg with the camera's built-in B&W mode is technically just as good - perhaps better, than the OCD/RAW "serious amateur" or "professional"'s "vision"...

It's this embarrassing and laughable elitism and snobbery that's oh so common in "photographic art" circles (exposed and lampooned very well in John Water's film "Pecker"...) and this form of inclusion/exclusion has naturally bled into the digital age as evident in this ridiculous "RAW" requirement. We have gear snobbery, now we have something even more ludicrous - file format snobbery!

Last edited by NickTrop : 04-16-2011 at 06:15.
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Old 04-16-2011   #17
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But logically, only a "serious" photographer with "serious" gear would be positioned to win a prestigious award such as "Black and White Photographer of the Year".
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Old 04-16-2011   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Harrison View Post
Ever seen a competition stating:
IF WORKING WITH FILM YOU MUST SHOOT LOW SPEED LARGE FORMAT, AS THE WINNING ENTRIES WILL BE PRINTED LARGE SCALE
???
Yes. Arizona Highways submission guidelines include the wording:

Quote:
In order to achieve the high-quality reproductions in our publications, we prefer large format (4x5) transparencies, especially for the large scenic landscapes for Arizona Highways is famous. We will use medium format and 35mm transparencies that display exceptional quality and content. Digital files must be prepared according to our Digital Photography Guidelines (see our Web site to download a copy) and burned to a disk. Some subjects such as wildlife and people are best suited to smaller formats and digital SLRs, but in order to achieve high-quality reproductions they must be shot on fine-grained color slide film (100 ISO or slower) or digitally captured at low ISOs in RAW.
They appear to have relaxed the requirements, because I recall 4x5 being their minimum. Not saying that a .jpeg isn't capable of producing a large-sized, quality print--I know they can.

Last edited by Trooper : 04-16-2011 at 06:37.
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Old 04-16-2011   #19
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lol. lightroom will copy JPG as DNG.
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Old 04-16-2011   #20
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Thats only one of the many reasons I have given up on BLACK + WHITE photography magazine. I really used to look forward to it here, it was about 2 months late in OZ and was $12.50. It truly was a great publication. Its now like all the other photog mags, gear advotorials, grain the size of golf balls contrast like posters in the name of "art". Must admit tho the last copy I got from the newsstand Jan 2011 had some really good images, so maybe I'll relent.
How can they insist on raw ?. Its like asking for the neg of a print . I try always to use raw for my serious work, like a neg can always pull a different print from it. Guess I'm just too old as I believe a photograph only exists as a print on paper.

ron
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Old 04-17-2011   #21
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Quote:
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Guess I'm just too old as I believe a photograph only exists as a print on paper.

ron
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Old 04-17-2011   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwc57 View Post
I'm an idiot. Even if I set a camera (Canon) to shoot monochrome, when I bring up the image in my Adobe raw converter, it comes up as a color image.

Is there a way to shoot in B&W (digital) and only get B&W?

(I'm usually one of those that shoots digital for color and only occasionally uses it for B&W, so I'm probably missing something...like a better understanding of digital B&W).
This is an advantage, believe it or not. RAW is RAW, it contains all information, including RGB information. shooting B+W will give you a preview on camera of what it may look like, and a JPEG which may be bettered by converting the RAW file instead. Processing the RAW files you have absolute creative control. When using a RAW processor, don't just desaturate, that will admittedly get you a monochrome image, but you can do better by using a monochrome conversion technique involving the colour channels. By doing this you can simulate green, yellow, orange, blue and red filters and any custom setting in between. Try it out, it can really do wonders.
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Old 04-17-2011   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
Yes, well...

Frances used to write for B+W, but lately, they have not been keen on anything she proposed (she shoots only film in B+W, and wet prints it). In a conversation with the editor a few days ago, she was told, "The magazine is doing better than it has ever done. Our readers want digital, and we have to follow our readership."

Cheers,

R.

I'm afraid that's been obvious for a few months, or maybe just over a year, now. B&W has moved from discussion of black and white photography to reviewing digital cameras, how to make digital capture look like process x and nudes - plus the obligatory 'how to take better (your subject here) pictures'.

I'm sure it's doing better financially, but I no longer have any interest in it. To be fair, there's nothing else on the newstands either, apart from the occasional emergence of an interesting issue BJP in WH Smiths.
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