A return to jpeg

pjohngren

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For the past six months with the Panasonic G1 and GF1 cameras I have been shooting RAW and processing with ACR. In spite of reading countless articles and buying at least three books, I have become disenchanted with RAW and more and more miss the old days when things looked great right out of the camera. I find myself even missing slide film, specifically Ektachrome 100.

This has lead me to reexamine what I am doing. Obviously every 'serious' photographer is shooting RAW and also shooting Adobe RGB 1998 rather than sRGB, in spite of the fact that computer monitors only accurately display sRGB. So I have gone a bit retro. I am shooting now in sRGB and am back to shooting JPEGs.

The G1 and GF1 cameras allow an incredible amount of very accessible tweaking before the camera converts its original RAW file to JPEG. You can fine tune each of the white balance presets by adjusting the exact amount of yellow/blue or green/magenta. I am using the ‘Cloudy’ preset and giving it a bit less yellow and a little more blue, and a tad more magenta, to get the color I want.

Panasonic also has 9 “film modes” – like Standard, Dynamic, Nature, Vibrant, etc. Each of these can be calibrated independently as to contrast, sharpness, saturation, and noise reduction and once you have it the way you want, the camera uses your version.

What I am doing is essentially setting up the camera so it shoots Ektachrome 100, maybe the slightly warmer version of E-100. That becomes my “film” and since it is in sRGB what comes on the screen is what I saw on the 3 inch camera display. This was never the case with RAW/Adobe RGB. It always looked anemic and unexciting until you processed it. I never got any “Wow” reaction when the images popped up on the screen initially and had to imagine which ones might have a wow lurking somewhere.

To be sure, this now means I have to get it right in the camera – especially the exposure. I can't blow out any highlights or I am toast. But the highlight indicator tells me that right after I shoot and with live view all the time, the histogram is floating over the picture as I am adjusting exposure compensation so I really can't go wrong.

The payoff is that when the pictures come into the computer, if they are good, they look good – right then – all of them. The ‘Wow!’ is back and I can readily sort through them and know what I have. And when you walk around like I did the other morning and take 100 pictures of fall colors, it is sheer joy to see them presented correctly immediately. I haven't been as happy with a camera system since my beloved FM-2 and Ektachrome 100. Life is too short for RAW processing.
 

grebeman

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Thanks for this thread pjohngren, I've read it right through to the end and not half way since like you I have both the G1 and GF1 and there's no point in throwing my hands in the air and saying I should have bought an Olympus. I've been shooting raw with both of them but based on your experience I'll be giving jpeg a try using your suggested tweaks as a starting point. In my film camera days I shot almost exclusively in black and white so I don't have any favourite colour film to provide a starting point.

Barrie
 

khollister

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Whatever works for you is obviously the thing to use.

But nostalgic for Ektachrome!!????? Kodachrome, baby (or Velvia at least).
 

BBW

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Sounds like a great plan, pjohngren - now I need to see some of these Ecktachrome 100 shots of yours.

Last night I was "developing" a photo I took of my husband, and I tried out one of the film presets in Color Efex - and loved it! I believe it may have been one of their Ecktachrome shots. Admittedly, I was using my new little Panasonic LX5 and shooting in RAW but all it took was a touch and voila!

Whatever makes us each happy is the way to go, in my photography world.
 

Mosca

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I'm a firm believer in the idea that all that matters is the final photograph. RAW or jpeg is immaterial; shoot the one that works for you, and show me the results.

That being said, there was never a time that "things looked great right out of the camera". Every photograph ever taken has had someone or something making the decisions on how it should be processed and what it should look like, be it a person in a darkroom, a machine at a bulk processing facility, or the software inside your camera.
 

Ulfric M Douglas

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I had to peek in the menu to see what you were on about : it seems I'm shooting in SRGB Jpegs too : multifilm modified Nature, Nostalgic, Dynamic.
This week, anyway.
 

Djarum

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People don't give JPEG enough credit. I shoot JPEG with my PEN and have been quite pleased. I'm also pleased as to how much can actually be done with the JPEGs if some touch up is required.

Adobe RGB seems more geared for printing, while sRGB is specific to what monitors and displays typically reproduce.
 

Spaceghost33

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Ektachrome 100

pjohngren, care to share your settings you use to get the Ektachrome 100 look? Anyone out there ever try to mimic Kodachrome with the GF1 settings?
 

feppe

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I echo others: if it works for you, go for it. I shoot RAW due to flexibility in post, and the fact that I don't have to worry about white balance on location, which is more time spent seeing the scene rather than worrying about peripheral minutiae.

A few points, though:

Obviously every 'serious' photographer is shooting RAW and also shooting Adobe RGB 1998 rather than sRGB, in spite of the fact that computer monitors only accurately display sRGB.
With RAW it doesn't matter what the color space is set at - it only applies to the embedded JPEG (if used). RAW doesn't have a color space by definition.

Shooting in sRGB is not advisable if you print. All modern photo printers have wider gamuts than sRGB, and any decent dedicated photo printer has much wider gamut than even ARGB.

Also, if you shoot for monitor viewing only, you might as well use a 6 megapixel camera or shoot at lower res which will allow for a lot of zooming or cropping, and you can fit thousands of pictures on a card.

To be sure, this now means I have to get it right in the camera – especially the exposure. I can't blow out any highlights or I am toast.
This is not unique to JPEGs, but to digital sensors. In fairness with RAW you can recover some blown highlight detail if only one channel is blown out (green, usually), but that amounts to software guesstimation and YMMV. With JPEG this recovery is probably futile (haven't tried).
 

feppe

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feppe,

Lol. So true. Sometimes I like what he writes, sometimes I don't.
Indeed. I'm sure he puts out his most outrageous claims just for the shock value to get hits on his website and affiliate links (nothing wrong with them, but he pushes them too much), but he does hide some good no-BS insight in his articles sometimes.
 

Brianetta

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I shoot raw+JPEG, mainly so that I can correct silly mistakes (like white balance) after I make them using the raw editor. I have the camera configured to delete raw files first, and it's rare that I'll keep a raw for post work. It does happen occasionally, but very infrequently.
 

brnmatsumoto

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You have brought up some excellent points and one thing that has been shooting more JPEG (actually JPEG plus RAW). I use the MY FILM option and shooting as B&W. There is, at least for me, a tremendous advantage in being able to see the subject in B&W and composing it in the view finder. For me, the electronic display facilitates my work since I can see how the composition works. if you save the RAW file, you do not save the B & W file--you have a color file that you have to "decolorize". If you save in RAW plus JPEG, you now have two files, the color image in the RAW and the B&W in the JPEG. You get two for one!

Brian
 

feppe

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You have brought up some excellent points and one thing that has been shooting more JPEG (actually JPEG plus RAW). I use the MY FILM option and shooting as B&W. There is, at least for me, a tremendous advantage in being able to see the subject in B&W and composing it in the view finder. For me, the electronic display facilitates my work since I can see how the composition works. if you save the RAW file, you do not save the B & W file--you have a color file that you have to "decolorize". If you save in RAW plus JPEG, you now have two files, the color image in the RAW and the B&W in the JPEG. You get two for one!
The problem with the B&W JPEG is that it's just one interpretation of colors as B&W. There are literally limitless ways to convert color images to B&W, and getting stuck with just one is a bit limiting.

For comparison, I couldn't imagine shooting just one B&W film. Then again there are many photographers who do just that - although many use filters to expand on the interprations.
 

pjohngren

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  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
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Thanks

Thanks for the comments and feedback. The pictures that are posted in my miniscule gallery were all taken in sRGB JPEG format as described. As to printing, sRGB in fact has the exact same number of colors as Adobe RGB since both are 8 bit files and all our home printers are 8 bit. In fact there is some evidence that Adobe RGB which in a way compresses the colors on recording the file then expands on play back can cause its own set of problems. It might make sense to use Adobe RGB if you are working with 16 bit files and printng 16 bit files, but not for 8 bit. The prints of the pictures I posted look terrific done on Epson 2200 and 4000 printers. All these years I thought that I had to use Adobe RGB for printing and it is simply not the case. I have tweaked my printer to duplicate what is on the screen, and that is what it does - even closer when using sRGB.

As to the film mode, I am using "Dynamic" but dialing back the contrast one notch and the noise reduction one notch and upping both the saturation and the sharpness one notch. And as I said, on the White Balance, I am using Cloudy and moving it toward blue one notch and down toward magenta two notches.

Again - thanks for the feedback.
Peter
 

photoSmart42

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Nice approach to shooting JPEG. Lots of people don't even play around with the different film modes. I shoot RAW+JPEG, but I've set up my JPEG film mode to emulate the final look of the photos I normally get after processing RAW so I can get a nice preview while I take the photo.

To be honest, it only takes me a few seconds to process my RAW photos now that I have a workflow established, and it's worth it. It would take me the same amount of time to process the JPEG, so it's not an issue.
 

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