mkellerm 2:29am, 13 November 2006
I've had my D70 for over a year now and about 2 weeks after purchasing it I started shooting in RAW format based on the postings in this group. Until now I only need to use the true power of RAW for a few pictures.

This weekend, I had lent my camera to my mother in law to take some pictures of our kids while my wife and I took them to swim lessons. Unknowingly the camera was switched to manual mode and all of the photos were taken at 1/400sec, f4. When I first looked at the JPG preview images all I saw was BLACK. Fearing that all of the photos were a bust I started to pull each of them up in Paint Shop Pro, looking for the faintest sign of an image. While 30% of the images were truly junk, I was able to salvage a large portion of them. Below is a sample. The top is the JPG basic image that the D70 produces in JPG+RAW mode. The bottom is the same image open up 2 F-Stops and the contrast enhanced. I am sure someone with more Photoshop skills could probably make it look even better.

Long store short... If it weren't for the RAW format I would have lost alot of once in a life time images

This is why I shoot in RAW format
You are a better man then I. I would never let anyone, family or not, take my $1000+ set up anywhere, letalone to a pool...where there is WATER.
resmith85 14 years ago
I agree with AJ...that's why they invented coolpix cameras
krobbie 14 years ago
I like the top image :-)
Syl_au 14 years ago
rofl, i dont let ANYONE other then me touch my camera. Not even the boyfriend who bought it for me.
mkellerm 14 years ago
That is why they make neck straps and product replacement insurance :-)
alterednate 14 years ago
canon elph + underwater housing is what you need for this kind of thing!
TheBackupVault 14 years ago
I think you may still be able to achieve that with Shadow/Highlight on a JPEG image - there might be a bit more noise but I've seen it done.

Good rescue work tho!
topupthetea Posted 14 years ago. Edited by topupthetea (member) 14 years ago
I dont think my computer can cope with RAW.. it struggles with more than one photo at a time with just JPGs!
Plus i like to see thumbnails when i'm opening the images in PSP.. but the RAW dont show up.. not sure why.. but i'm just picky!

ALSO: and i agree with atrei - i'd never let anyone else touch my camera... unless i knew that they could replace it without going bust!
nexus6 14 years ago
Jokes apart ...
this is great!!
RAW is a must

Congratulations for your recovery!!
wanderlust (Jen) 14 years ago
great save! impressive.
cjonthehudson 14 years ago
You're absolutely right, this is one of the primary reasons for using RAW. It has saved any number of photos for me. It doesn't matter that some folks have others reasons not to use it -- but it's helpful to illustrate why they may want to. In addition to weak exposures, I've found that the ability to adjust white balance on the computer is absolutely critical to my being happy with my images, and RAW is the only way to do that.
TRHolte 14 years ago
Happy that you are happy but you could have pretty much done the same thing with a Jpeg Fine and a decent software program. I believe in doing what you are comfortable with and what gets you results. I see way too many photogs that look at RAW as crutch for poor shooting skills. Don't diss me too badly, I use both but more JPEG fines that Raw.
colin j. 14 years ago
Here's a question that I have about RAW format that I've asked elsewhere but I haven't really gotten a good answer for.

Right now the benefit that I see to JPEG images is the ability for me to include in the image file itself all kinds of metadata about the photo. This isn't just things like exposure time and f-stop but also data like tags, descriptions and lat/long data as well. And if I move the jpeg file the data moves with it. I don't have to worry about a separate database or some sort of sidecar file. With tools like Beagle (Linux) and PixVue (Windows) I can even search that metadata directly from the file system and not have to use some other tool to find a photo. Word on the street is that Windows Vista will have this built in (I haven't tested it yet).

I have gone through more than a few old photos of my father as a child (and my grandmother as a child) where if someone hadn't written the names of the people and the date on the back of the photo I wouldn't know who was in them.

I want to make sure that my digital photos have this same kind of information stored with them. Can I do that with RAW formats? I want my photos to look great and I want to remember who and what they are about.
mkellerm 14 years ago

RAW is part of a process... It is by all means not a file format that you would use to send to someone, add to a slide show or even upload to print. Think of RAW as you negative, you use the RAW file in an editor like Adobe PhotoShop, Raw Shooter Esentials, or my fav Paint Shop Pro. You use the program to adjust white balance, fstops, (general exposure settings) and then you save the file to you favorite format (Usually JPEG). All of the meta data about the exposure settings and the data time the picture was take and added to the JPEG file. You can then add all of your additional meta data to the JPEG as you normally would. So IMO you get the best of both worlds with RAW.

FYI, Yes VISTA has the ability to add and search on the Metadata. I've been working with the betas for months now and it is one of the new features I find difficult to do with out now.
MerlinsMan Posted 14 years ago. Edited by MerlinsMan (member) 14 years ago
@colinj: Sure - the EXIF data goes right along with RAW images as they are converted to JPEGs by Nikon Capture or Photoshop. Just avoid using "save for web" in Photoshop, which strips out the EXIF data. Use "save as" instead and all is well.

@little jimmy: not true - RAW saves a range of tones that is 16X as wide as that saved in a JPEG. It is very unlikely that you could rescue images shot several f stops off optimal from a JPEG image.
TRHolte 14 years ago
May be true but the example given could have easily been saved if shot in Jpeg, not off that much. Sometimes images aren't worth saving if exposed poorly in RAW or JPEG. Don't read me wrong, RAW is great but a little overly hyped.
M-J Milloy 14 years ago
One question: "Paint Shop Pro"???
xcygnus58 Posted 14 years ago. Edited by xcygnus58 (member) 14 years ago
I think you can only really appreciate raw when you (I) make a blunderous mistake either with WB or exposure. I mean when the review on your LCD looks so terrible that you are one impulse from deleting it, but don't and find that with post work, it actually is something worth keeping. The very first time that happened to me, i was sold on raw. That is why i shoot raw + jpg. I only have a 1 gig card, and that still allows over 150 shots. 2 gig cards are getting cheaper.....
plastic mass [deleted] 14 years ago
The first time I used a really top knotch RAW processor, in this case DxO, to process my RAW files I was sold. It not only can do some pretty amazing exposure tweaking and shadow recovery and noise reduction but it also automatically corrects for lens geometry and known chromatic aberrations (though mostly on Nikon lenses and a few third party). You can have DxO output to anything you want, jpeg, TIFF or DNG. It is basically a much more powerful engine than the in-camera processing that creates jpegs in the first place.

Come on folks. All of you who extoll the virtues of jpegs straight out of the camera are relying on the camera's fairly crude processing to generate the image. It is hardly the original. It is processed based on the algorithm you have chosen. RAW is much closer to what us old school guys used to shoot when we shot film negatives. But anyone who claims that jpeg is the "truer" form of imaging is just kidding themselves. The main virtues of jpegs are speed of access (you can email them right from the camera) and small file size. The RAW file records 16x the levels of grey that a jpeg does.

And of course with the D70 and the D200 you can shoot both RAW and jpeg--have your cake and eat it too!
physical guitar [deleted] 14 years ago
"I think you can only really appreciate raw when you (I) make a blunderous mistake either with WB or exposure."

I find it easy to fix those problems on jpg with The Gimp. With bibble you even get the tools and work flows used on raw when editing jpgs. Indeed: the easy choose your White Balance or exposure button/menu.

I went to Australia this summer and took thousands pictures. I still haven't found the time to finish selecting/editing all the jpgs. I wouldn't even start if I had shot raw.

brian807 14 years ago
raw is digital film, the rest you dont need to know!!!
brianvan 14 years ago
I shot JPEG for about a full year with the D70. All of my "properly exposed" photos needed an upward swing in brightness adjustment through a Photoshop batch process. Otherwise they were dark, unusable, and hard to work with.

I started shooting RAW about 4 months ago. VAST difference in both initial image quality, brightness, and tonal range. It was like buying a new camera.

A couple of nights ago, I shot RAW and JPEG alternating to save space on the memory card. The RAW shots needed no work except a white balance adjustment (two different light sources were casting different hues on the scene - I opted to balance more for tungsten than for flash) which was done en masse. The JPEG pictures, taken at the same time with the same settings, needed 4-5 passes of various image/contrast adjustments before they were ready for publishing, and they STILL sucked compared to the RAW output.

Do yourself a favor. Go to Best Buy or Circuit City on Black Friday morning - really early. Buy as many cheapo 1GB or 2GB CF cards that they'll let you buy at the sale price. Also, get a $50 external hard drive for long term storage/archival. Then go home, set the camera to RAW (or RAW + JPEG). Never adjust the image quality setting again.
Gary Jones Posted 14 years ago. Edited by Gary Jones (member) 14 years ago
"One question: "Paint Shop Pro"???"

Paint Shop Pro does indeed have a RAW converter that supports NEF files, but it's so slow and clunky that I'm amazed that anyone can say that it's his favourite. As an image editor, Paint Shop Pro is excellent, and it's a shame it isn't taken more seriously. But it's pretty hopeless as a RAW converter.
fd 14 years ago
Hey, gang. I thought this was interesting so I did a little comparison of JPG vs. RAW exposure correction. You can read it here.
TRHolte Posted 14 years ago. Edited by TRHolte (member) 14 years ago
fd, really good test and I agree with your brief conclusion. I see way too many photographers using RAW when they should be more concerned about proper exposure, composition and finding interesting subjects to shoot. Brian - "raw is digital film, the rest you dont need to know!!! " not sure exactly what you meant by that but I worry more about subject matter, focus, exposure and composition than what shooting in RAW can do for me that JPEG fine can't do. I am not trying to be a contrarian, just want to express a valid opposing view so newbies in digital photography think there is only one answer to a many sided question.
brnpttmn Posted 14 years ago. Edited by brnpttmn (member) 14 years ago
"I see way too many photographers using RAW when they should be more concerned about proper exposure"

Let's not start this again, I have never seen a photographer shoot RAW instead of being--or with the intentions of being less--concerned about exposing correctly, it's simply a logical fallacy.

@fd: good comparison, I think you hit a good point with the recovery of highlights, I find that more important when shooting in harsh lighting.
plastic mass [deleted] 14 years ago
I recently attended a Nikon/National Geographic/Outdoor Photography sponsored seminar and one of the speakers was Bob Krist, a Nat Geo pro. He was extolling the virtues of shooting RAW along with Nikon's Matrix metering. He noted that the combination allowed him to stop bracketing most scenes and concentrate on composition, lighting, subject matter and creativity and pretty much ignore a lot of the technical issues, knowing that between the two he was going to nail the shot in the end as long as he didn't blow out the highlighs. If there is one recurring message in this thread, whether you shoot RAW or jpeg or both, it is don't blow out the highlights. You can recover a lot of shadow detail but once highlight detail is gone it is gone forever. The rest is basically a speed issue: shoot jpeg and let your camera do most of the processing or shoot RAW and do a lot more of the tweaking by hand, knowing RAW will a lot more forgiving.
TRHolte 14 years ago
Larry, well said! cosmic - you may not have, I sure have.
brnpttmn Posted 14 years ago. Edited by brnpttmn (member) 14 years ago
Awe snap...what was I thinking, I'll never shoot another RAW image again so I can be more concerned with exposure, composition, and finding interesting subjects. I guess I should a little more straight forward with my reprehension of thinly veiled attempts to prove photographic superiority via chosen image format. Anyway, the big fat red herring I was speaking of was saying that shooting raw is a crutch right after posting that you can basically do the same corrections in Jpeg, leaving the raw=crutch argument as irrelevant. Next, we'll have someone say we should quit arguing and go out and shoot...then I'll puke a little in my mouth.
TRHolte 14 years ago
cosmic, look at most of the images here on flickr, pnet, etc, etc, 95% of them don't need raw, can't tell if they were shot in raw, wouldn't improve if they were shot in raw, what don't you get? RAW is wonderful for pro's, card manufacturers, hard drive manufacturers, memory manufacturers etc., etc. Shooting in raw does not help the average guy much. I don't care if you believe me, just the way it is. I would get on your case more than I have but I see you are from Mpls so I am cutting you some slack, I grew up there and visit my rellies there often, I am actually going to post a photo just for you that I took in St. Louis Park. Remember, it's the final image that counts, not how you got there.
brnpttmn 14 years ago
Oh, now you've done it....I live in Saint Paul, not Minneapolis. Them are fightin' words ;)

Anyway, as much as I would love for you to get on my case some more, moving on to the "it's the final image that counts" rationale is just as precious. I agree that it is the image that matters, that's why I was NOT saying that one format is better and why I was NOT saying that everyone needs to shoot raw, what don't you get? What I was saying is the it is a compete fallacy to argue that shooting raw equals a crutch.

Anyway, this has been discussed many times before and about the best response i've heard came from a better photographer and writer than me (hope he doesn't mind me posting it):

"Out of all the opinions commonly found on photography boards, JPEG-only snobbery is probably my least favorite. I'll take "I decided to use a Rebel because I see white lenses at the Olympics" over that one. RAW-only snobbery is generally wrong-headed, too, but the idea that shooting RAW is somehow a sign of weakness as a photographer is so incredibly wrong-headed as to be actually destructive.

It's true that most professional photographers use RAW. Top quality, batch processing, image verification, future-proofing (your old photos increase in quality as the software gets better), shooting in situations where JPEG cannot do the job (under 2000K), wanting to actually shoot instead of fiddling with their camera settings every few minutes, etc. etc. etc. etc. That doesn't make JPEG shooting wrong, but it does make your opinion wrong-headed. JPEGs save space, and they save time if you're not going too do any processing at all. That can be great for some people -- lots of wedding and sports photographer use JPEGs because they shoot thousands of frames a day -- but it's not magical purism."
Ryan Brenizer Posted 14 years ago. Edited by Ryan Brenizer (member) 14 years ago
Haha, that sounds familiar, cosmic_jc. (and thank you).

I really enjoyed the comparison, fd, but it seems to me your conclusion is based on the size of your samples -- sure you can only view the difference at four stops (or much less -- look at the disappearing parts of the basketballl) as long as you view it at 300 pixels or print it as a 2x3. Web size is extremely forgiving -- at that output, I feel pretty happy shooting well past ISO 6400, but that usually won't even make a decent 4x6.
TRHolte 14 years ago
cosmic, you must have missed the part where I said I shoot both. Let me say once again, both have their place, just that most people don't need raw, not necessary for good images. Just answer me one question: do the people that shoot 95% of the photos uploaded here on flickr need to shoot raw? I say no because they would be wasting space and time. About being from St. Paul, I think both Mpls and St. Paul are way too yuppified!
brnpttmn Posted 14 years ago. Edited by brnpttmn (member) 14 years ago
I don't care what format you shoot, but i am interested in the evolution of your reasoning. first, you say you can do pretty much do the same post-processing with jpeg as you can with raw. Then, using raw is a crutch because you don't have to have worry about exposure, composition, or interesting subjects. Finally, it's the image that matters but almost nobody "has" to shoot raw. As for the question, "do pics on Flickr need to be taken in raw?" I couldn't care less what format people use, it's not my time or space their using and if they want to shoot raw or jpeg, more power to them. the yuppified comment is just hilarious because i think Milwaukee is a urine-soaked hell-hole...whoops...I mean peepee-soaked heck hole.
So Cal T 14 years ago
misuse of camera is a tough way to sell me on always shooting RAW
TRHolte 14 years ago
cosmic, you keep misreading what I say. I said the initial image in this post could have been easily fixed if it was a jpeg, not rocket science. Images that are worse than the example would be better fixed if it was raw. I think I will move on to another topic because you are boring the heck out of me with your attitude. I have been impressed with many of the other posters however so I am glad I put in my two cents worth. There are two sides to the RAW-JPEG story and it's nice to discuss it periodically. Now, go out and take some photos, post them and let the world see what you can do.
Camlin Photography Posted 14 years ago. Edited by Camlin Photography (member) 14 years ago
@larrygerbrandt - I attended a Sony Digital Days event where they had the Photo editor from National Geographic give a great talk. He mentioned that they only accept RAW data from their photographers that shoot digital (which is I think 95%). One of the reasons is that they can be assured that the images have not been doctored. We have seen the trouble that can be caused by doctoring images, just ask the Associated Press and Reuters.

I shoot RAW 90% of the time. I don't think of it as a crutch at all. It brings back the old days of tinkering in the darkroom, and I love to tinker. I would probably feel differently if I shot thousands of pictures and had to process them all.
nicoatridge 14 years ago
Maybe I should start using RAW. Which versions of Paintshop Pro can handle them? I've got v9.
mkellerm 14 years ago
V9 can handle them, infact don't upgrade to 10 or 11 the RAW support has gotten worse in the newer version.
brnpttmn 14 years ago
@nicoatridge: if your interested in shooting raw, I recommend Rawshooters Essentials. It's a dream with the D70. However, I don't know about availability--since Adobe acquired it--but it's worth checking out (just checked the site and it looks like it's still available for download). Oh yeah, did I mention that Essentials is FREE. Anyway, check it out here:

Just make sure you absolutely have to shoot raw..oh wait... I mean go for it!
brian807 14 years ago
Ah lads lets stop all this, us irish never like to argue!!! LOL Why dont the people who want to shoot raw do so! and the people who want to shoot jpeg do so! then everyone can move forth and be happy!
TRHolte 14 years ago
brian, one heck of an idea! wcamlin, I wonder how many posters here on flickr submit photos to National Geographic?
brnpttmn 14 years ago
"I wonder how many posters here on flickr submit photos to National Geographic?"

Who cares...that wasn't his point. Man, you just don't get it.
xcygnus58 14 years ago
So much has been said about exposure.
I would like to see a link that shows how you can correct serious WB mistakes with JPEGs.
My point is I am NOT in the least pro, and screw up often enough that I shoot both in case of pilot error.
It just has to happen once, for a person to be sold on the results.
You can't know what you're missing unless you try.
Challenge -
Go ahead, purposely screw up a shot re:WB, shooting both formats, and see what your results are.
This surely sounds argumentive, but I wasn't a believer until it happened to me at a relative's wedding.
brian807 14 years ago
I have no idea how many do, and to be really honest i am not sure i care. Now if your using the argument of submitting photos to nat geo, then one assumes you do and i say fair play to you! well done. But the broad point i was trying to get across is that "whatever" works for the individual behind the camera! I know some people who never use manual, where as i always use manual.

Im not going to waste my time trying to convince them to use manual because honestly i have better things to do, and who am i to impose my traits onto them? now i think that got the point across
TRHolte 14 years ago
cosmic, I finally figured it out and am sorry it took me so long. You keep shooting in raw and I will keep shooting in mostly jpeg fine and some raw and we will both be happy. Brian, I don't submit any photos to National Geographic but I am happy that you think I may have. One of my fellow Milwaukeean's, James Stansfield , has more NG cover shots (64) than anyone in the history of the magazine.
nicoatridge 14 years ago
Thanks mkellerm and cosmic_jc. I'll stick to my Paintshop Pro v9 as advised - I think the product is just starting to get a little clunky and suspect Corel will introduce more bugs in future versions than they take out. as for Rawshooters essentials, I've just downloaded it and will give it a go - it looks like Adobe will leave it around for a while but not indefinitely.

So, I'm ready to start shooting RAW! Having read the arguments for and against, I'm sure it's all down to what type of photography you like and how you work, but the fact that more information is stored in RAW swings it for me. I may not need that info now, but in 10 years time, who knows.
brnpttmn 14 years ago
Good luck nicoatridge, I think you'll enjoy raw and Rawshooters Essentials. It's the most intuitive, fastest, and simplest raw tool I have used.
CrazyUncleJoe 14 years ago
"FYI, Yes VISTA has the ability to add and search on the Metadata. I've been working with the betas for months now and it is one of the new features I find difficult to do with out now."

Wow! This is the first compelling pro-vista comment I've seen. Now suddenly I'm interested. Now if only I could get a computer that will handle it...

As for the RAW/JPG discussion... uh... wow. mkellerm - that's a great picture. I know that I lost a lot of great baby shots to low light - an issue that in my case was solved by moving to a camera with a higher ISO rating rather than RAW. Where RAW came in for me in terms of ... documentary (family) photography was really the toddler years, when you end up doing a lot more drawing from the hip style shooting, as well as chasing them in and out of different light situations. Having increased data range really has helped with that a lot. It's also allowed me to do some very nice compositing work in Photoshop - giving me the ability to overlay different exposures of the same shot onto a final finished product - so I can get deep shadow details in one area of the frame, without losing highlights in another. The processing is certainly an onerous time investment in many situations, but for that one picture where I would have lost something otherwise, it's worth it. Hard drives are pretty cheap, and flash memory is coming down - so for me those aren't serious obstacles.

Heather Champ is constantly great shots from pinhole cameras and polaroids, and my favorite picture is one I took with my old olympus D-2000Z - which was not high rez, dslr, or RAW-capable - so I would never argue that it's a requirement for great photos. (I'm just using the RAW workflow in Photoshop CS2, currently.)
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