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Leicaliker
03-19-2008, 13:00
Hi

Bought an M8 a couple of weeks ago and love the feel of the camera, the ability to create instantanious images and the fact that I can take an infinate number of shots without paying for film.

I have shot some jpegs and I do like the way they look on screen. There is a luminosity which I remember from my Kodachrome days but without the hassel of setting up a screen (only to watch the images then "pop" out of focus)!

HOWEVER...

I am now moving away from a state of blissful ignorance and wondering if I am missing out on something... should I be shooting RAW... should I be spending late nights in front of my PC processing stuff... do I need to spend money on a printer... but what if the colours are out on my monitor?

In the past when I shot colour it was slides and I got what I got, when I shot black and white I paid for someone to process my negs and I selected my favourites to be enlarged but rarely felt the need for any darkroom tweaks but now a whole world of digtal manipulation is just a click away...

As a starting point:

1. If I use Cap 1 but don't need to change light balance, crop or otherwise manipulate the image will the resulting stored file (jpeg?) be better than the jpeg that has come out of the camera? i.e If I am happy with what I initially see straight from the M8 see will I somehow retrieve additional detail, tonality and so on by processing myself on PC? People say that the in camera processing on the M8 is poor... is this so?

2. What is your opinnion of the in camera black and white conversion programme? My first impressions are really positive and unlike film I can dial in different speeds, contrast levels and so on prior to pressing the shutter... but am I seriously missing out by shooting in this way?

Any steer you can give this long time Leica user but digital newbie would be very much appreciated:).

Kind regards




Andrew

Digital Dude
03-19-2008, 14:49
I see you’re not getting much activity here so I personally recommend you contact Jack Flesher over at GetDPI (http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=3). He’s pretty much an ace on this sort of thing whereas I’m simply still considered a novice. Aperture-2 seems to work pretty well although I'll know a lot more once I receive my Canon 9500-pro printer.

BTW: I just arbitrarily decided to append my profile to show my age and then I realized my current post-count matched my age ~ too weird.
Regards,:D

Mike Richards
03-19-2008, 15:05
The title says it all. As you learn more about digital processing, you will find the flexibility of processing a raw image to be a distinct advantage. You can change white balance, manipulate exposure, and many other things that would destroy the quality of a jpeg. And you can always re-visit the original for different manipulations. A 2 Gb card in the M8 can store some 150 raw images, and I assume you have a reasonable amount of hard drive space available. So storage space should not be a problem. The M8 does need more time to write the raw (DNG) image, so be careful about shutting off the camera when the red light is blinking. You can take your time to learn all this, but it would be a shame to have only jpegs available in the future if you want some improved or otherwise re-processed images. I picked up a lot of good info from Photoshop User magazine; you may want to try it.

JWW
03-19-2008, 15:26
It's always a good idea to keep the RAW just like you'd not throw away film negatives. You can set up the M8 for both RAW and jpeg if you'd like. That way you can always go back to the RAW later on.

Jan

Athos6
03-19-2008, 15:56
You also bring up a good point, to go totally digital you have to get a good monitor and a color calibrator like the LaCie products. Add another level of complexity if you want the picture on the screen to match a printer. I've given up being picky on the whole thing once I found that none of the prints I got back looked like they did on the monitor. Either the color was off or they are a lot darker then they appear on the screen. I'm not willing to spend the extra money for perfect reproductions. I'm a history teacher, not a color space manager!

arnulf
03-19-2008, 16:37
Shoot RAW!! It takes just a little effort to learn how to post process, and it's totally worth it. Shooting only JPEG is like if you were shooting film, threw away the negs and kept only the prints.

kuzano
03-19-2008, 17:50
JPEG, was developed by the Joint Photographers Experts Group, at a time when reduction of file size was a more critical need than image quality.

It is a compression algorithm that compresses files by throwing away data at varying levels. However, at ANY level of compression data is thrown out in the process.

It was developed to reduce file sizes both due to old considerations of file storage space and transferring files over a largely dial-up internet.

In-camera processing, and certainly the date lost to JPEG compression, can not be recovered in any editing program, unless you are using plug-ins to up-res the image. Even then, you are interpolating new data, rather than using the data the camera, and your eye, originally looked at.

Regarding in-camera B&W conversion, why would one walk away from a color scene leaving the color data behind? The conversion in software has so much more control, but only if the original color channels are unmolested by the camera.

RAW... RAW... RAW

Go out and shoot 5,000 RAW images, sell the camera, and beef up your butt muscles for the endless hours in front of the computer.

But truthfully, if you are coming home with JPEGS you've seriously restricted your image capabilities.

And that doesn't take into consideration all the discussion about how poorly the M8 JPEG engine renders JPEGS.

Remember, JPEG is strictly a compression routine. ALL compression is based on finding similar data to throw away.

DaveB
03-20-2008, 06:49
I regret every digital photo I've taken for which I do not have a RAW original. RAW has saved my butt so many times in terms of exposure and white balance mistakes. It took me a couple years to figure that out.

The video tutorial by Michael Reichman and Jeff Schewe, From Camera to Print, available from the Luminous Landscape website is excellent. It's about 6 hours long, costs $35 USD, and contains a first-rate description of how to establish and maintain a color managed work flow. That sounds expensive, but isn't. It requires probably more of a time than money investment.

Shooting in RAW and a color managed work flow is how you can begin to move from casual snaps to a higher level of control and sophistication in your photography.

bmattock
03-20-2008, 07:00
I agree that RAW gives maximum flexibility.

I do not agree that RAW is the way to go in every situation. It has real-life disadvantages that might lead you to use JPG in certain circumstances.

Not every photo you take will likely require technical perfection. When I take family photos or event photos, that sort of thing, I find that JPG serves my needs quite well in many circumstances.

If the lighting is good and the camera not confused about white balance, then JPG is often 'good enough'.

Although JPG can have artifacts such as 'jaggies', in general, JPG is quite acceptable in typical DSLR cameras (and I presume the M8 as well).

Shooting JPG is faster than shooting RAW in most cameras, and fills up the buffer less quickly. So if you're shooting fast, JPG can be an advantage.

Every RAW file must be manipulated even if you end up doing very little to it. If a JPG file is acceptable as-is, then you do not have to edit it at all.

So if I'm seeking critical quality, I will shoot RAW. If I am shooting in very iffy lighting situations, I will tend to shoot RAW. If I am shooting once-in-a-lifetime photos that I could never replicate, then yes, RAW.

But I don't find it appropriate for EVERY image I take. I try to balance how much time I'll spend processing each RAW image I take versus the benefit I'm likely to get out of it.

As an example, I recently shot a few hundred images at a St. Patrick's Parade. I'm pleased with the results, but they won't be hanging in galleries anywhere. So RAW would have been overkill, and it would have slowed me down as well. Not to mention the time it would have taken me to process a couple hundred shots of happy drunks wandering around.

If we say shoot RAW because it is ultimate quality - then we should all be shooting LF instead. Ultimate quality. In the real world, there are compromises, and most of them for very good reasons.

Ben Z
03-20-2008, 08:05
I like to travel and shoot, not sit and process files. I am very willing to give up some "control" to avoid spending time learning and doing digital processing on the computer. I shoot RAW but use DxO and Fred Miranda's sharpening and uprezzing plugins with my 20D. I also shoot DNG on my M8 but I tried Capture One LE and didn't like it, so now I do everything in CS2, including PTCorrect for the CV 12mm, and Noise Ninja where needed. I even shoot my DLux-3 in RAW, then process in CS2 and Noise Ninja. Wherever possible I use the default settings in these plugins, and very rarely find that I want to mess with changing them. I'm sure I could improve my prints incrementally if I delved deeper into post processing but I detest it so much that it's not going to happen.

I just mention this because there are a ton of very "smart" plugins that give very nice results with a minimum of user knowledge and input, so there is no reason to go to either extreme, of accepting whatever the camera spits out or else devoting thousands of hours learning and doing digital processing.

bmattock
03-20-2008, 08:23
Sounds like a reasonable compromise, Ben.

jaapv
03-20-2008, 16:43
Imo it is essential to aquire postprocessing skills when shooting digital. In chemical photography the tendency has been to take away all control over the image from the photographer. Where, in the beginning, one had to pour one's own emulsion onto a glass plate and take it from there, it ended in slide film and minlab with uncontrallable results. Only the fewest photographers processed their own colour film (pleading guilty;))and B&W had been marginalized. Now, with the advent of Photoshop, Lightroom and suchlike full control has been returned to the maker.

Take for instance this shot. Straight Jpeg conversion, equivalent to slide film or routine lab work leads to a less than average result, lready for the bin. The camera jpeg might well have been worse. Of course, it was taken fifteen minutes before sunrise, with grotty light, but it looks nothing like the scene as perceived by the photographer.


http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e32/jaapv/linked/jpeg.jpg


Now, through the full use of the facilities of CS3, I was able to recreate the scene as I saw it, since it was hidden in the DNG file, waiting to be brought out:

http://forum.getdpi.com/gallery/files/5/0/sunrise.jpg


And this is just one example. Sharpness, local control of image noise, many other aspects to get the optimal image. all of this needs the digital darkroom. Nothing has changed since Ansel Adams: the image is recorded in the camera and created in the darkroom.


And if you are " lazy" as Bill suggests, in the better sense of the word, what is there to stop you opening the image in ACR or LR or C1, hit all the auto buttons and convert. It won't take more than a few seconds per image and leave the option of working the keepers up to real quality. With the added bonus that RAW cconversion in a powerful computer is always better than the product of the limited processing power of the camera.

Just for the record, regarding Benson's "thousands of hours" learning curve. I purchased my copy of CS3 a month ago and spent about twenty hours on the first part of my learning curve.

So what did I do to this image?
I opened the DNG in ACR.
Adjusted the sky in exposure and color, leaving the foregrond a featureless blob.
I converted (in 16 bits )as a smart object to CS3
I copied the smart object and reopened it in ACR
I adjusted the foreground as far as I could, blowing out the sky completely. The color was not quite to my taste and saturating did not get the result I wanted.
I returned to CS3 and the adjusted copylayer.
There I converted to LAB colorspace (without merging the layers), applied the image and chose the "b" channel and soft light, and lowered the opacity to 60% to get just the color I wanted and applied aRGB again.
I created a layer mask, chose a soft brush, set the foreground colour to white and painted in the foreground I wanted into the image.
I flattened the layers and applied a mild sharpening in the luminosity.
The antelopes were a bit soft.
So I made a layer through copy, oversharpened that layer, made a layer mask and painted in the sharpness where needed, then lowered the opacity of that copylayer to get the effect right and flattened again.

Less than ten minutes work and all tricks I had taught myself through selfstudy in those twenty hours...
I could never have done it in a chemical darkroom or never, never, on a Jpeg image.

Ben Z
03-21-2008, 08:50
Jaap, it would've taken me at least a hundred hours to learn those techniques, only because whenever I try to study image processing it bores me so intensely that I can't stay focused for more than a minute at a time, and forget everything I learned by the next time I sit down to do it (usually months later). I Hated (with a capital "H") wet darkroom work too, which is why I used a custom lab who I could tell him what I wanted and he gave it to me. Sadly, my photofinisher wasn't interested in learning digital either, and retired. Using plugins that automate is only a stopgap until I have re-established a good working relationship with a digital photofinisher, and I'm trying out several that have been recommended to me. I need someone local, so I can show him an uncorrected proof made with my inkjet and tell him what I want , and leave the how to him. IIRC Cartier-Bresson never did any of his own darkroom work either, so I don't suppose there's any shame in it ;) It isn't like I'm getting my prints from Walmart :D

Richard Marks
03-21-2008, 11:38
One thing that took me a while to get round to was profiling my printer. If i had started here I reckon I could have saved hours of time ink and paper. In the UK most of the paper manufacturers offer free profiling for thier own papers (and a minimal charge for any one elses). All you need to do is print a downloadable test chart and post this to them and they will e-mail a bespoke 'profile' to tweek the colour management in your system. This takes an importabt variable out of the equation. You would not belive the difference.

Incidentally I would shoot RAW from the outset and get over the minimal additional hassle. The good thing about M8 images is that they need relatively little post capture processing.
Enjoy your m8.

Richard

F456
03-21-2008, 12:32
I have spent time agonizing over the problem of enjoying digital photography without having to give up my job to find the time to process files properly (assuming I knew how in the first place!), so I sympathize.

Your practice could be influenced by how many shots you take and how you want to view them. I'm going to offer heresy here, but I don't see the point of keeping every image you take. Many will disagree for good reason, but I do a thorough edit of all my files and delete the ones that first AND second impressions say are not up to scratch, are not likely to be viewed again, etc. This way you keep your pictures more manageable. Beware of being trigger happy with the delete buttons though!

Next thing: find software that you are happy using. All the programs seem to include a lot more than you are likely to use (i.e. the opposite to the Leica idea of concentration on essentials). The interface can be appealing or off-putting to different people. For instance I like Capture One Pro but others swear by ACR. I like Photoshop but not Nikon Capture (though I do use Nikons quite a lot)...

Decide how you want to view your shots. If you are not likely to do much printing, or are happy to give most of your printing to local minilabs, don't worry so much about colour management. Even if your screen is right (and with a Mac, if you use Apple computers, you can correct the screen in moments using the inbuilt software in the operating system, Mac OS X, so you don't need calibration equipment) others who view your shots will probably have screens that are off anyway. You can stick to sRGB profile and not worry about colour management unless you want to do your own prints and worry about the colour restrictions imposed by this basic colour space.

Personally I'd recommend RAW if you keep your shooting quantity within manageable limits. One thing that is indispensable is to learn how to interpret the histogram on your M8 (and/or computer) screen. Basically avoid letting the mountain or its foothills move past the right hand side of the screen, to avoid featureless areas of tone such as plain undetailed white or red. In RAW you can adjust this effectively up to about a stop; beyond that you may decide as with a bad slide that the image isn't up to it and should be trashed. Of course certain reflections can be allowed to burn out; if you literally don't allow anything past the right hand side of the histogram screen most of the subject in a reflection filled shot will go too dark.

Sit down with an old-fashioned note book and a good pen and spend some time deciding how you want to organize your files and how you want to back-up. E.g. even if you want to stick with JPEGs, you should probably keep an unedited copy of each shot so that if you mess up in adjusting files you know you can create another working copy from the untouched master file. For quick results you can do what you alluded to: shoot raw; batch process the files to JPEG; print and move on. You have your raw files to return to for a special shot to be reworked.

Finally, a piece of advice I read somewhere: be content with second best. Otherwise I'd still be agonizing over pictures instead of going out and enjoying being part of nature, a social event, or whatever else being a photographer gives you access to. And of course my advice is subjective; ignore some, most, or all of it!

Good luck; the M8 is much more fun to use than the SLRs in my opinion, and despite all I enjoy it more than my film cameras that I am keeping. Tom

rsl
03-21-2008, 13:30
Jaap, it would've taken me at least a hundred hours to learn those techniques, only because whenever I try to study image processing it bores me so intensely that I can't stay focused for more than a minute at a time, and forget everything I learned by the next time I sit down to do it (usually months later). I Hated (with a capital "H") wet darkroom work too, which is why I used a custom lab who I could tell him what I wanted and he gave it to me. Sadly, my photofinisher wasn't interested in learning digital either, and retired. Using plugins that automate is only a stopgap until I have re-established a good working relationship with a digital photofinisher, and I'm trying out several that have been recommended to me. I need someone local, so I can show him an uncorrected proof made with my inkjet and tell him what I want , and leave the how to him. IIRC Cartier-Bresson never did any of his own darkroom work either, so I don't suppose there's any shame in it ;) It isn't like I'm getting my prints from Walmart :D

Ben, The problem is that the guy you hire to do your processing doesn't know what you saw, and no amount of description is going to tell him. Actually Cartier-Bresson did darkroom work in the very beginning but soon gave it up. On the other hand he was shooting monochrome, which doesn't require the same range of adjustments you need with color, and he settled on one guy who did all his processing through most of his career, to a very specific set of instructions.

The hairy-sounding list of steps Jaap gave above relate to what I'd call a problem negative. If you're careful and don't try too many high-wire head stands like that one, most postprocessing boils down to a rare and usually minor color adjustment with the middle gray dropper in ACR followed by a quick blast of sharpening with Smart Sharpen. It's not really rocket science.

Oh, by the way, looks as if Jaap also cropped his picture, which was an emphatic no no with Cartier-Bresson.

Keith
03-21-2008, 15:29
Like Ben I'm not a photoshop person and don't have the patience for learning how to use it. I do however have a fairly simple routine that gives me a level of consistency that I'm happy with. I use Capture One to adjust white balance and apply a little sharpening ... then convert the DNG's to TIFFS and work on them in ACDSee Pro which is a very easy program to use and while it may not posess the sophistication of photoshop etc, it does what I want it to do simply, in a way that I can follow.

Finally I convert to JPEG.

mfunnell
03-21-2008, 15:51
It's always a good idea to keep the RAW just like you'd not throw away film negatives. You can set up the M8 for both RAW and jpeg if you'd like. That way you can always go back to the RAW later on.

JanWhile I don't use an M8, I do capture both RAW and JPEG when shooting digital. If I'm going through volumes of files and just printing 6x4s I find that using the JPEGs and some basic automatic adjustments is usually sufficient to do a "good enough" job and takes little time. I process from RAW only for "problem" shots that are otherwise worth saving, or when I want a larger / better print. And I curse myself for those shots I took early in the game where I have no RAW file to go back to!

So I'd strongly recommend capturing both. Even if you don't use the RAWs now, I think you will later. SD cards are cheap, so don't risk wanting to beat on the "earlier you" in 12 months time.

...Mike

rsl
03-21-2008, 17:25
Yes, jpegs are okay for shots that are "good enough," if you're satisfied with "good enough."

bmattock
03-21-2008, 18:15
Yes, jpegs are okay for shots that are "good enough," if you're satisfied with "good enough."

You make it sound like a bad thing.

The truth is, quality is measured on a steeply-sloping curve.

The first 50% of quality is easy to obtain.

The next 10% is slightly harder, the following 10% harder still, until we get up around 90% of 'high quality'. From there on, the curve is very steep. You trade increasing amounts of time (and money for high-end kit) for decreasing amounts of improvement. Yes, 95% is better than 90%. But it nearly twice as hard to reach.

And in the real world, 90% of 'high quality' is quite enough for most of us.

This is true for many things. My car is 90% as good as the top of the line 4WD SUV, but at 1/8 of the cost. To get that last 10% is a price I am not willing to pay. My suit is 90% as good as a bespoke Super-110 wool suit, but it is 1/10 the price. That's quite acceptable to me. How many of us insist on the absolute best of everything? How many of us can afford to - in money or time, let alone effort?

I consider it the most efficient use of my time to aim for 90%, unless I am specifically intending to go all out to produce the highest possible quality and the situation calls for it.

Would you labor for hours on every image from a family picnic? I would not. Do I want 'good enough' shots? Yes, that's quite sufficient for those circumstances.

jaapv
03-22-2008, 02:16
False analogy, Bill, RAW does not cost more than Jpeg. Having said that, I agree. Good enough is good enough and everybody chooses his own level.
I disagree, however, with "labor for hours". The conversion of a shot of normal standard from the M8, RAW conversion in ACR, crop, check levels and curves, check sharpening, reset to 8 bits and save takes less than two minutes.That is without batch conversion,which I would use for a family picknick; that would bring it down to a few seconds and five minutes for the lot. As I posted earlier, a worst case scenario,fit only for shots one realy wants to enhance or print large, less than ten minutes. Lightroom is even quicker and easier for most of us, even if it has a few less possibilities.

rsl
03-22-2008, 06:31
I can agree that "good enough" is good enough for family snapshots. The really serious drawback to shooting jpeg is that if, in the course of shooting "good enough" stuff, you happen to come up with something that really should be exhibited, and you decide that "good enough" isn't good enough, your options are limited. If your exposure was dead on and your color balance was dead on, and you don't need the latitude raw gives you, then you may be okay. But very often that's not the case. If you can go back and re-shoot the picture in raw you may be all right, but that's rarely possible even with a static subject, unless the subject was in a studio under controlled lighting. But if you were in a studio under controlled lighting you probably weren't going for "good enough." You probably were going for "best of show."

And, as Jaap pointed out above, if you take a raw shoot into Photoshop or Lightroom you can do a batch conversion to "good enough" jpeg, if that's what you want, without having to do more than click a button and then have a cup of coffee while the thing runs.

bmattock
03-22-2008, 07:42
False analogy, Bill, RAW does not cost more than Jpeg. Having said that, I agree. Good enough is good enough and everybody chooses his own level.
I disagree, however, with "labor for hours". The conversion of a shot of normal standard from the M8, RAW conversion in ACR, crop, check levels and curves, check sharpening, reset to 8 bits and save takes less than two minutes.That is without batch conversion,which I would use for a family picknick; that would bring it down to a few seconds and five minutes for the lot. As I posted earlier, a worst case scenario,fit only for shots one realy wants to enhance or print large, less than ten minutes. Lightroom is even quicker and easier for most of us, even if it has a few less possibilities.

Let X represent the amount of time it takes to process and convert a RAW file to a JPG file. I think we can agree that this number is always greater than zero.

Let Y represent the amount of time it takes to process and resave a JPG file, including the cases in which no processing is done at all. I think we can agree that if no processing is done, then Y equals zero.

Therefore, the value of X can be greater than the value of Y, but it is never less. The value of Y can be greater than the value of X, but it it can be less.

It can take less time to process JPG files if they do not need to be processed than it does RAW files, no matter what the actual values of X and Y happen to be in your case or mine.

Additionally - when I am shooting a moving subject or fast action, I can take more photos using JPG than I can using RAW, due to the speed of my camera writing to the card through the memory buffer.

I still submit that JPG is a valid option, and there are times when it is superior to RAW. I use each according to when I think it is best to do so.

bmattock
03-22-2008, 07:45
The really serious drawback to shooting jpeg is that if, in the course of shooting "good enough" stuff, you happen to come up with something that really should be exhibited, and you decide that "good enough" isn't good enough, your options are limited.

I agree. I call it a compromise, and photography is chock-a-block full of compromises. I often choose to shoot available-light by pumping up my ISO or pushing my film, and the image quality suffers. If I later find a shot I really would have liked to have been less grainy - well, I'm out of luck. We pays our money and we takes our chances.

rsl
03-22-2008, 10:58
I agree with you about the f/64 group. I've never been particularly impressed by Edward Weston or Ansel Adams. I think that was a blind alley for photography though I know there are more people out there who will disagree with me than those who will agree. But I can't see how shooting raw can be a distraction. You don't have to push the shutter release twice and you don't have to put yourself into some sort of physical contortion to shoot raw. The only difference between shooting raw and shooting jpeg is that with raw you have what amounts to backup. If your photograph needs some work you often have enough information in the raw file to let you do what needs to be done. All editing is destructive. The difference between shooting raw and shooting jpeg is the difference between having a generous chunk of marble when you set out to do a sculpture and having a chunk that's barely adequate, and sometimes turns out not to be adequate. I think Jaap's example earlier in this thread illustrates exactly what I'm talking about. If he'd made that shot in jpeg he'd never have been able to come up with the result in the finished photograph.

JonR
03-22-2008, 12:17
Very interesting discussion to follow and I guess the conclusion is that there is no "right" or "wrong" answer - it is all about what makes us spend time with our cameras and PCīs and what is most interesting.

It is very clear that if you have the interest you can get much better flexibility with RAW than JPEG. I will never argue that.

But to me the fun thing is to bring my camera with me, out in the field, take lotīs of photos and enjoy printing some of them to share with family and friends. I am more into "capturing" images and moments than producing the oustandning photo to exhibit and therefore I only use JPEG.

You can argue this forever and I admire those of you that have the time and energy to post process on the PC but for me JPEG is good enough...

Jon

jwhitley
03-22-2008, 13:00
You can take your time to learn all this, but it would be a shame to have only jpegs available in the future if you want some improved or otherwise re-processed images.

I concur. I've been going this route myself, shooting RAW from early on, and it was a great decision. The flexibility to go back to the original RAW file is great, especially as I improve my digital darkroom and printmaking skills. Picking an older image and doing a substantially different rendering has been both eye opening and highly rewarding. Fun stuff!

remegius
03-22-2008, 13:28
I concur. I've been going this route myself, shooting RAW from early on, and it was a great decision. The flexibility to go back to the original RAW file is great, especially as I improve my digital darkroom and printmaking skills. Picking an older image and doing a substantially different rendering has been both eye opening and highly rewarding. Fun stuff!

Precisely. What is the difference between shooting jpg vs raw...nothing, if that's the way you want it. It takes 5 seconds to convert a raw file. But, if for some future reason you decide that you would like to spend some time with that image, sprucing it up, it will be there waiting for you, just like a negative.

Cheers...

Rem

rsl
03-22-2008, 13:55
I concur. I've been going this route myself, shooting RAW from early on, and it was a great decision. The flexibility to go back to the original RAW file is great, especially as I improve my digital darkroom and printmaking skills. Picking an older image and doing a substantially different rendering has been both eye opening and highly rewarding. Fun stuff!

In addition, the tools keep getting better. I have a couple borderline raw files from several years ago that earlier postprocessing tools couldn't quite bring around. CS3 can turn them into prints that are pretty close to "best of show." Had those files been jpegs that simply wouldn't be true.

But, of course, you might not care. Jon said:


But to me the fun thing is to bring my camera with me, out in the field, take lotīs of photos and enjoy printing some of them to share with family and friends. I am more into "capturing" images and moments than producing the oustandning photo to exhibit and therefore I only use JPEG.


Again, fair enough. But why "capture" images unless you intend to show them? Wouldn't you rather share really good photos with your family and friends than just "good enough" photos? Maybe not, and if not, that's a perfectly valid personal decision. I can't argue with it.

F456
03-22-2008, 18:22
I concur. I've been going this route myself, shooting RAW from early on, and it was a great decision. The flexibility to go back to the original RAW file is great, especially as I improve my digital darkroom and printmaking skills. Picking an older image and doing a substantially different rendering has been both eye opening and highly rewarding. Fun stuff!

Exactly so; I've just logged in after reworking some shots I wasn't happy with - the colour was too yellow. It didn't take very long with the RAW files (as with most things it gets much easier with a bit of practice) and I'm pleased I had the 'digital negs' to go back to. Even if you don't have to do that too often, it's reassuring to have the dngs, nefs, etc for those times when the pictures don't look right after the first attempt.

The main thing I suppose is to enjoy our hobby - personally I can spoil it for myself by being too obsessive over the workflow! Tom

kuzano
03-22-2008, 19:29
I think I read most of the posts, but do not recall seeing comments about the time saved (OK, not write time) in shooting RAW, insofar as learning and tweaking all the controls for in-camera processing.

RAW does not take that much more time when you consider that RAW takes less work to set up the camera in the first place for each image or set of images.

As regards streamlining the process, one of the best investments I made recently was Scott Kelby's Seven Point System for Photoshop. I know the book is getting mixed reviews for not being more explanatory on theory, but I don't give a rip for theory as long as a few certain steps get me to my goal.

The book starts every one of the 20 plus exercises with opening files in Camera RAW.

arnulf
03-22-2008, 23:31
The original post was about an M8, right? Well, I just remembered reading somewhere that the JPEGs on this camera actually get quite distorted, almost oversharpened because of the sharpness of the Leica lenses. Never tried an M8 myself, but it would be interesting to hear if anyone else has heard about this problem.

jaapv
03-23-2008, 02:50
Absolute nonsense. The Jpegs were not all that great initially, mostly because of poor AWB, but since the last firmware they are as good -or bad:D- as any camera on the market.This about the lenses and Jpegs sounds like a wiseass red herring....:rolleyes:

jaapv
03-23-2008, 03:12
Additionally - when I am shooting a moving subject or fast action, I can take more photos using JPG than I can using RAW, due to the speed of my camera writing to the card through the memory buffer.
If you are shooting like that, you'll probably will have lost focus by shot five. I would think an AF DSLR with a high fps and large buffer would be more suitable. I don't think the M8 was designed for that. But then, some of us use the M8 for the strangest kind of photographic applications ;):o


I still submit that JPG is a valid option, and there are times when it is superior to RAW. I use each according to when I think it is best to do so.
Of course, if one feels it is better in a given situation, by all means...:)
It just seems to me that spending 10.000$ plus on a Leica kit and using it routinely like a 500$ point and shoot, which is what some "no RAW" photographers seem to do, is a bit wasteful and not what one was looking for in the first place.

jarski
03-23-2008, 03:40
jpg vs raw.. so where does the film scans fit in here ? "soup" the film by yourself, scan with high end film scanner to TIFF with max resolution, convert to digital negative, open with camera raw and photoshop, and start adjusting with curves etc.. pixel peeping at its best :D

edit: finally dumb down everything, by converting results to 800x600 pixel jpg, and upload it to flickr :P

jaapv
03-23-2008, 04:11
So true - it is a bit strange to limit yourself by scanning film. Better to capture everyting either digitally, OR really do film - chemically only :)

Not that digital B&W is that bad... This is *nearly* a Jpeg shot; opened in ACR, hit "auto",convert to CS3, convert by Aliens Skin Exposure2 and hit Jack Flesher's web saving action. It only remains to plonk my copyright brush and save... Twenty seconds flat. (Sorry - forgot I also added a border by two clicks in Bordermania)

http://forum.getdpi.com/gallery/files/5/0/beach2.jpg

rsl
03-23-2008, 07:01
Actually it is just the other way around, you cannot safely archive a RAW file, they must be converted to tif or jpg or some standard file type, since you cannot count on support for your particular camera in the future. Most likely there will be support, but it is important to remember that RAW is not a file format, it is the output from your particular camera.


Adobe's DNG is an open standard that will be around at least as long as jpeg or TIFF. TIFF, for instance, designed by Aldus and bought out by Adobe, which used to be the linga franca of digital imagery, hasn't had an update since 1992. Leica and Hasselblad were smart enough to adopt DNG as their standard raw format. Eventually Canon, Nikon, and all the others will have to come around. In the meantime, you can convert virtually any raw format to DNG.

arnulf
03-23-2008, 12:48
jpg vs raw.. so where does the film scans fit in here ? "soup" the film by yourself, scan with high end film scanner to TIFF with max resolution, convert to digital negative, open with camera raw and photoshop, and start adjusting with curves etc.. pixel peeping at its best :D

Ok, this might be a little off the original topic, but: converting TIFFs to DNG? How do you do that? (In CS3, I mean)

arnulf
03-23-2008, 13:08
Fair enough. So what does jarski mean when he says "convert to digital negative"?

arnulf
03-23-2008, 13:50
rsl: Thanks. I knew about the possibility of converting other RAW files into DNG. My question was about jarski's post about converting scanned TIFFs into DNG. I have never heard about that before, and as far as I can see, the DNG converter doesn't do it. I was just wondering what that was all about..

rsl
03-23-2008, 15:14
rsl: Thanks. I knew about the possibility of converting other RAW files into DNG. My question was about jarski's post about converting scanned TIFFs into DNG. I have never heard about that before, and as far as I can see, the DNG converter doesn't do it. I was just wondering what that was all about..

Actuall,y I can't see any reason to convert a TIFF to a DNG. You can't reverse the process. In a TIFF that comes from a digital camera, all the damage already has been done. The only reason a raw file is a "negative" is that it has all the information that came from the digital camera's sensor, without the camera having made decisions on thigs like demosaicing, gamma, and color balance. A scan doesn't have anything like that kind of information.

rsl
03-23-2008, 15:18
May be, but I am not part of the "digital photography community." Do you guys have housing and studios together somewhere?


Absolutely: in our co-ed community bar we party a lot: get drunk, get naked, and run around the walls. But you can't join the group unless you shoot raw.

arnulf
03-23-2008, 15:26
Absolutely: in our co-ed community bar we party a lot: get drunk, get naked, and run around the walls. But you can't join the group unless you shoot raw.
:D:D:D:D:D:D

mfunnell
03-23-2008, 16:33
RAW is more time consuming at capture. I can't imagine a wedding photographer putting up with the write time for RAW, nor any professional photographer in an action situation.That must be an M8-specific limitation, as plenty of other digital gear (including my non-pro, not current model dSLR) are fast enough that RAW+JPEG essentially doesn't matter, even shooting sports and the like.

...Mike

rsl
03-23-2008, 17:02
RAW is more time consuming at capture. I can't imagine a wedding photographer putting up with the write time for RAW, nor any professional photographer in an action situation.

That's certainly strange to hear. My Nikon D3 will do at least 9 frames per second in RAW. I don't know what it'll do in jpeg because I never shoot jpeg, but I can't imagine I'd gain much time by switching.


In fact the sacrifice in image control is offset by the fact that most of the customers for those images are not extremely discriminating on capture for large print or fine image quality. A JPEG on a quality camera that is set right before the event is suitable for most buyers of the images.


I guess if you do sub-prime weddings that's possibly true. Still, you're not taking into account the ability of Photoshop to do batch processing. It's perfectly simple to download a raw shoot from your cards to your computer and then click a button to start a batch process that converts all of them to jpeg, if that's what you want. The first advantage is that you can set up the conversion yourself instead of letting the camera manufacturer make the decisions. The second advantage is that, even if you're doing a sub-prime wedding someone might decide to spring for a 24 x 36 of one of your shots. In that case you can bring the original DNG into CS3 and do a bang-up job -- one that'll get you new clients through word of mouth.

I don't do weddings any more -- at least not unless there's one I can't avoid. But I have a friend down the hall from my office in Colorado Springs who does lots of them. At first he shied away from raw because of the post-processing burden, but about a year and a half ago he switched to straight raw for the reasons I gave in the paragraph above. He's never looked back. In more than one case his decision has paid off big time.

myoptic3
03-23-2008, 17:07
RAW will usually give you a better image, but it will require a lot more time in PS unless you set up some actions to speed things along. This gets us into the problem w/ digital. Do you remember that it was originally pitched as simplifying your photography? Or how it would speed things up? Well, we all know about that now. I guess this is why I really prefer B&W film, as it comes out of the camera nearly perfect if your meter is right. Plus I just like B&W film images. Of course I spend a lot of time scanning, but it is still faster I would venture. Try using PS's auto-level/auto-color/auto-contrast features and see if that gets you in the ball park w/ your jpeg's. Must admit that the M8 images I have seen on the web look really good for a digital camera. I wouldn't think you would want to use the in-camera B&W processing either, as you are probably losing a lot of file information. Better to do it yourself in PS. I hate to bring reality into this (everyone, including, me wants a quick fix), but there is no substitute for spending hour after hour, day after day, and week after week in front of your monitor making all the mistakes and discoveries yourself.

jaapv
03-23-2008, 17:22
RAW is more time consuming at capture.

How is that then? Most digital cameras I know including the M8 will be ready for the next shot immediately even when they are wirting previous shots. that is what the buffer is for.

rsl
03-23-2008, 17:26
This gets us into the problem w/ digital. Do you remember that it was originally pitched as simplifying your photography? Or how it would speed things up? Well, we all know about that now.


Again: ever do any darkroom work? Did you spend less time in the darkroom than you spend on your computer with digital raw? After you're finished on your computer do you have to get everything back into the bottles and wash up the whole area? Seems like a simplification to me.


Try using PS's auto-level/auto-color/auto-contrast features and see if that gets you in the ball park w/ your jpeg's.


Don't even THINK about using auto-levels, auto-color, or auto-contrast to do anything in Photoshop except seeing how bad your sensor dust looks with auto-levels.. Well, maybe auto-color in some cases if you set it up properly (see "Real World Adobe Photoshop CS3"). Using these tools is like trying to cut your fingernails with a meat cleaver.

kuzano
03-23-2008, 19:55
How is that then? Most digital cameras I know including the M8 will be ready for the next shot immediately even when they are wirting previous shots. that is what the buffer is for.

The fellow I shoot with most often has an M8. He ran a test of three shots saving to DNG and Jpeg. From the time of the 3rd shutter trip until the camera signalled ready to go took about 30 seconds. Seems a bit long for me on an action event.

Does that seem extraordinary on M8's in the group?

jaapv
03-24-2008, 04:31
The fellow I shoot with most often has an M8. He ran a test of three shots saving to DNG and Jpeg. From the time of the 3rd shutter trip until the camera signalled ready to go took about 30 seconds. Seems a bit long for me on an action event.

Does that seem extraordinary on M8's in the group?


It does, because it is simply not true. I did the same just now.

It takes ten shots in rapid succession and after that one shot per two seconds until the card is full. Or when there is some space again in the buffer because you took a pause, it goes at speed again to fill the buffer and is back at one shot/ two seconds.
You don't wait for the camera to signal ready; you switch to "C" and keep the shutter depressed., or release as needed. This camera is very responsive in this situation, many revievers have commented on that aspect.

I have no idea what your friend was doing there, but it was certainly not normal.

rsl
03-24-2008, 05:31
I am not one that believes photoshop can be learned from a book.


I'm not one who believes ANYTHING can be learned from a book, though a book can show you how the tools work.


I would have to read about the RAW experiences of others...


Not quite sure where you'd do that, and even if you could, why would that be different from reading about them in a book? The important thing always is trial and error. And you learn more from the errors than from the successes.

But back to a related subject: what I have a hard time undersrtanding is why anyone would invest in, say, ten to thirty thousand dollars worth of Leica equipment and then go out to shoot "good enough" photographs. You can always get "good enough" shots with a $500 point and shoot.

Japp made the same point earlier in this thread. It strikes me that if someone's buying an M8 and Leica lenses to get "good enough" photographs, what he's really interested in is the equipment, not the photographs. There's nothing really wrong with that, but it hasn't much to do with photography as an art or as a business.

Ben Z
03-24-2008, 08:12
Ben, The problem is that the guy you hire to do your processing doesn't know what you saw, and no amount of description is going to tell him.

Actually, it has been proven in tests that our color-memory lasts something like ten minutes, so I am not going to exactly remember what I saw either. But I do remember what I think I saw, and I know what I want to see. I never had any problem getting exactly what I wanted from my printer guy with film, and that was a lot more difficult than digital where changes are click-click-click instead of having to go back to the enlarger and make another print. While he sits in front of his computer and does what he enjoys, I get to do something else I enjoy doing. If photography meant I have to sit and process my own images I would take up a different hobby. I just don't like image processing, and I didn't like darkroom work either. And I never will. Consequently, my own efforts would be substandard to his, because I'd be bored and aggravated all the time I was doing it, and shut the computer off long before the end result was as good as his.

jarski
03-24-2008, 08:29
My question was about jarski's post about converting scanned TIFFs into DNG. I have never heard about that before, and as far as I can see, the DNG converter doesn't do it.

sorry I had to leave from computer.. why I convert also TIFF's is that I can do that as batch job, so its easy. second reason is that I have also all my NEF's and CR2's converted to DNG. yes, conversion does not bring anything additional to image content, but I believe it as longer term solution, DNG as format does not disappear... its just me.

edit: least the version of Vuescan I have, does not have scan option for DNG. perhaps later.. havent checked for months, to be honest :)

rsl
03-24-2008, 09:06
Actually, it has been proven in tests that our color-memory lasts something like ten minutes, so I am not going to exactly remember what I saw either. But I do remember what I think I saw, and I know what I want to see. I never had any problem getting exactly what I wanted from my printer guy with film, and that was a lot more difficult than digital where changes are click-click-click instead of having to go back to the enlarger and make another print. While he sits in front of his computer and does what he enjoys, I get to do something else I enjoy doing. If photography meant I have to sit and process my own images I would take up a different hobby. I just don't like image processing, and I didn't like darkroom work either. And I never will. Consequently, my own efforts would be substandard to his, because I'd be bored and aggravated all the time I was doing it, and shut the computer off long before the end result was as good as his.

Okay. I can buy that. I used to hand off my darkroom color work too, though I'd never let anyone else touch my grayscale. I simply didn't have the space to build a complete color darkroom as, evidently, Jaap did. But when digital actually became usable I could take the same approach to color I used to take to black and white.

My pro friend down the hall in Colorado Springs who does many weddings takes a middle approach. He does the computer post-processing but hands the printing off to a lab he's come to trust. For him it works very well. In fact, it's the only cost-effective approach he can take with the volume of work he does.

I'm not terribly excited about sitting in front of a computer doing post processing either -- any more than I was excited about all the setup and cleanup associated with darkroom work. But it's the only way I can end up with exactly what I want.

Ben Z
03-24-2008, 09:51
I'm not terribly excited about sitting in front of a computer doing post processing either -- any more than I was excited about all the setup and cleanup associated with darkroom work. But it's the only way I can end up with exactly what I want.

I agree. However in my case, I can get much closer to the result I want by letting someone else do it to my specification. If I don't like doing something there isn't any way I can force myself to do it well.

BTW it isn't like I don't know zip about image processing, I started with PS 5.0 and in the beginning I got into it but after a few years and by CS2 I had enough. I still run my 20D RAW files through DxO and Miranda's plugins myself because I get what I want and don't have to pay someone else for it, and sometimes I do a few things myself. For example if you look in my gallery, the shot of the young lovers on a bench in Paris, in the original the guy was wearing a brown t-shirt, I thought it'd look better if he was wearing black like her. I used the Magic Lasso to select just his shirt, and desaturated it. (I learned that technique originally to get rid of magenta blacks with my R-D1 before I knew about IR-cut filters). OTOH for the print, my pro guy was able to recover the blown highlights on his hand and her face, which I tried and gave up on.

rsl
03-24-2008, 11:37
I agree. However in my case, I can get much closer to the result I want by letting someone else do it to my specification. If I don't like doing something there isn't any way I can force myself to do it well.

BTW it isn't like I don't know zip about image processing, I started with PS 5.0 and in the beginning I got into it but after a few years and by CS2 I had enough. I still run my 20D RAW files through DxO and Miranda's plugins myself because I get what I want and don't have to pay someone else for it, and sometimes I do a few things myself. For example if you look in my gallery, the shot of the young lovers on a bench in Paris, in the original the guy was wearing a brown t-shirt, I thought it'd look better if he was wearing black like her. I used the Magic Lasso to select just his shirt, and desaturated it. (I learned that technique originally to get rid of magenta blacks with my R-D1 before I knew about IR-cut filters). OTOH for the print, my pro guy was able to recover the blown highlights on his hand and her face, which I tried and gave up on.

Well, it's a good shot, and it illustrates one of the things I've been saying: I don't know whether or not your processor was working with CS3, but recovering the blown out face and hand is something ACR 4 usually can do almost immediately with the Recovery slider. Between PS 5 and CS2 it would have been very difficult to get the hand and face back, possibly even requiring plastic surgery, but with ACR 4 you can grab an older DNG and do things with it you couldn't do when it was new. In jpeg you're pretty much out of luck.

Very nice. Young lovers. I can remember when I wouldn't have called them "young."

rsl
03-24-2008, 16:39
Leaving them RAW certainly could orphan some files.


Yes, as I said earlier, unless they're DNGs.

jaapv
03-25-2008, 03:15
What is there to stop you converting those files to something like Tiff or BMP on a computer that still runs the format?