Do you usually shoot in RAW, JPEG, or both?

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  • RAW

  • JPEG

  • BOTH


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ex machina

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Raw only, after I shoot a photo, I have to let it "rest" before I can figure out what I want to do with it. It isn't common, but I have let some photos 'rest' for years before, I see what needs to be done. Raw allows me the maximum amount of flexibility.
Going off-topic, but same, here. Over the pandemic I made a list of 60 or so shoots that had been left to "ripen" going back to 2013(!) and used my downtime to process a good many of them. I often suffer from a bit of sensory saturation after a shoot and need time before I can approach an editing session with a clear head, other times I'm uninspired or distracted by a newer shoot or some other shiny object. Sometimes this was a gleaning pass through an already culled session, but mostly it was entirely untouched shoots. Anyway, it's not just you!

Also, I'm certain many of those older shoots benefitted from subsequent improvements in LR.
 
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Brownie

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Storage is cheap, so why cull large numbers of photos unless they’re rubbish? Adjusting the camera for the best jpeg will minimise raw editing & the jpeg is a worthwhile reference.
Sometimes it makes sense. When I come home from a race track I already know there will be stinkers. And, I usually shoot a burst of a car coming off the line. In that case there will only be one that I want, usually the most extreme, like wheels highest off the ground, or back end breaking loose and the car at it's most sideways, etc. That typically means one shot out of a burst of 4-6. In those cases the very first thing I do is cull. It drops the number of photos to search through by a significant amount. I've come home with well over a thousand and culled down 80%.
 

PakkyT

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but is essential to also have the raw file for editing, especially when highlights need some recovery or shadows lifted etc

Back when I first got my E-M1.1 (2014) I forget the exact reason why I was waiting to update but on my Mac I didn't have the latest OS update so didn't have RAW support for the camera. We went on a family vacation and I shot only JPG (I probably was concerned about SD storage running out if I shot RAW+JPG; I should have just spend the money on a second card, anyway...). When I got home and started to process the photo (I used iPhoto back then as my editing skills for anything more advanced were (and are still) lacking), I immediately noticed the highlight and shadow adjustments were much more limited than I was accustomed. I had always wondered if I was getting anything more out of shooting RAWs for the basic editing I normally do, but that one trip proved to me even with my low tech editing skills, I was still squeezing something out the RAW files I couldn't get out of JPG files.


I use the JPEG only for quick review, they never make it to my hard drive.

Same. Since Oi.Share came out I switched to RAW+JPG but normally only download the RAWs to my computer.

However I am starting to rethink that simply for my kids someday. Storage space is cheap and plentiful now and someday when I am gone, 80+% of what I have shot will likely be of no interest to them, however for the other 20%, just in case they either don't have the ability or knowhow to open .orf files, if they are side by side with the JPGs that will increase the chances they can view or do something with those photos of our old vacations, childhood photos of them, maybe their kids someday, etc.

On that same note, I have a lot of old video tape footage from back when they were younger that I did finally get transferred onto my computer, but they are all in .DV format (the video RAW format back when digital camcorders came out. I really should export all of that footage to MP4s for the same reason.
 

Ross the fiddler

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Sometimes it makes sense. When I come home from a race track I already know there will be stinkers. And, I usually shoot a burst of a car coming off the line. In that case there will only be one that I want, usually the most extreme, like wheels highest off the ground, or back end breaking loose and the car at it's most sideways, etc. That typically means one shot out of a burst of 4-6. In those cases the very first thing I do is cull. It drops the number of photos to search through by a significant amount. I've come home with well over a thousand and culled down 80%.
Yes, I will cull in camera first before downloading & I save both the jpeg & raw in the same folder, as well as any edits & that way they are always connected. I then have a 'smalls' folder within that folder for images I have downsized for web display, e.g. FB at a maximum of 2040 pixels across. As far as storage on camera I save both the jpeg & raw on card 1 (E-M1 II) & video on card 2.
 

John King

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I shoot Jpeg + Raw ; when a picture looks good, I post-process it from raw. For social consumption, most of the time jpeg is good enough, but I still archive Raw, because who knows where the technology will be in 10 or 20 years time ? Then maybe the 12 bits depth of the Raw will be useful. Currently the screen technology is at best 8 bits in an sRGB colourspace, but Jpeg will look dreadful whenever we will achieve 12 bits colour depth in AdobeRGB space.
You are right - It does ...

I have all sorts of office monitors around, and they only display 8 bit sRGB.

My three photo editing monitors are all 100% aRGB. Two have 12 bit colour lookup tables and 10 bit panels. My main one has a 14 bit colour LUT and 12 bit panel. It is very noticeably better than the other two.

My Epson R3880 printer prints most of ProPhotoRGB in 16 bits.
 

doady

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I was lucky as a teenager to have the instant feedback of a digital camera. Live view and JPEGs have been important for me to learn as a beginner to photography. I never would have been able to get into photography if it was still the film era.

But when I look back at some of my old photos, I just cringe. Even some of my later photos, even simple thing like the white balance needs readjustment. Even choosing between different variations of the same scene, I realize I chose the wrong one. That's why I say always have the RAW, never permanently delete files unless there is a blatant error. Revisiting photos is important for growing as a photographer. That's why I don't show you guys my website. It's just embarrassing right now and I need to fix all those photos.

As I said, it's not like my old C-7070 with 1GB and 512MB cards, 7 second write times for RAW, and USB 1.0 transfer speed. Those times are over. Today, there is not much to gain from ignoring RAW and there is a lot to lose. You can have both the instant results and the long-term flexibility with little cost.
 

apete

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Are you backing up both files? Or just modified jpegs? For the backup, I really try to choose only photos that are worth it ... it's quite difficult.
I have two Synology NAS servers: DS211+, that is already 10 years old, and Synology DS218+. The reason I chose Synology is that they seem to be reliable and have long support. For example, even though the DS211+ server was originally released in 2011, the latest firmware update is dated March 2021. 10 years of firmware updates, amazing!

The DS218+ has 1 * 8TB drive. It is my primary NAS that I copy RAW photos to. Not all, first I delete all photos that are unsharp, series of duplicates etc. But still, usually most files are copied there. As of today, I have some 2TB of RAWs. I am casual shooter and not a pro, so this collection is not growing that fast.
The DS211+ has 2 * 8TB drives. It is my backup machine, which is synchronized from DS218+ every Thursday night (do not ask me why I chose Thursday night, I have no idea :laugh:). For even greater security, the 2 HDDs are mirrored in DS211+.

Regarding the JPEGs, I only upload them to mu-43.com, my gallery, or share with family/friends. No JPEG backups. Did I mention I have fun postprocessing? If I loose some JPEGs, I can always re-postprocess RAWs.

The reason I am keeping most RAWs is that I expect to have even better processing software in future. To support this I have example of some of my first photos that I took in 2002 with my first digital camera Minolta S404. I have recently - for fun - processed some of these with PhotoLab and C1. The results are awesome! Obviously the dynarmic range is not there, but still the postprocessed images look as If I had 2010+ dated camera in 2002 :dance3:In 2002 we could not even dream of having this quality JPG/RAW editors.

Overall, while the setup was not cheap, my photos are my memories, and I cannot even imagine loosing them. That is why two NASes, and three copies... And still one free slot to load one more 8 TB drive to have four copies (am I paranoid?)

Now I must consider some georedundancy... :hmmm: ;)
 
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Adagosto

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Both as in 'RAW + JPEG'. Here's why....
1. The PEN-F produces amazing jpegs that have all my hard earned color love or my personalized b&w settings.

2. If I forget to change the Picture Control setting I can always revert to a different setting using the RAW file or just try others for good measure.

3. In some cases I'll get a really good shot that may benefit from RAW development or I get a really crappy shot that may benefit from RAW development.

In almost all cases, I delete the RAW files after a few days.
 

John King

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Both as in 'RAW + JPEG'. Here's why....
1. The PEN-F produces amazing jpegs that have all my hard earned color love or my personalized b&w settings.

2. If I forget to change the Picture Control setting I can always revert to a different setting using the RAW file or just try others for good measure.

3. In some cases I'll get a really good shot that may benefit from RAW development or I get a really crappy shot that may benefit from RAW development.

In almost all cases, I delete the RAW files after a few days.
Firstly, :Welcome: to this friendly forum.

Secondly, may I suggest that you never delete the RAW files?

I am currently reprocessing RAWs that I took 15+ years ago. The resulting JPEGs may as well have been taken with a different (and far better) camera!

Storage is (really, really) cheap these days ...
 

cedge

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More and more I'm trying to tailor the Pen-F to produce great mono/colour profile SOOC images. I'm not there yet in that I prefer to edit the RAW images but I'd love to be able to reduce my reliance on editing as increasingly I just don't know how to edit a photo for it to be at its best plus its time consuming.

To assist, I have started using the 'Art Bracket' more and more which will now apply all the mono/colour profiles (and art filters if I wish) I select to a RAW image in camera in the hope that one day I will look at the RAW, look at the JPGs and be happy with one of the latter. I've just done a YouTube video on this very topic (out tonight).

I also delete the majority of RAW files once I've finished editing them and produced a JPG that I'm happy although I keep RAW files of images that I rate 5* in LR. Storage might be cheaper these days but Id rather not clutter up the space with files I'm never going to use again.
 
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Adagosto

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Firstly, :Welcome: to this friendly forum.

Secondly, may I suggest that you never delete the RAW files?

I am currently reprocessing RAWs that I took 15+ years ago. The resulting JPEGs may as well have been taken with a different (and far better) camera!

Storage is (really, really) cheap these days ...

Hi.
Thank you.

Good point. Let me clarify the delete comment...

When I have a good photo that is something I'll keep and post, I do in fact save the RAW files. I've found with m43, I then to shoot a LOT more than I do on FF so I tend to delete a lot more of both the jpeg and the RAW file.

I think that's because shooting with the PEN-F is just a lot of fun!
 

Adagosto

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More and more I'm trying to tailor the Pen-F to produce great mono/colour profile SOOC images. I'm not there yet in that I prefer to edit the RAW images but I'd love to be able to reduce my reliance on editing as increasingly I just don't know how to edit a photo for it to be at its best plus its time consuming.

To assist, I have started using the 'Art Bracket' more and more which will now apply all the mono/colour profiles (and art filters if I wish) I select to a RAW image in camera in the hope that one day I will look at the RAW, look at the JPGs and be happy with one of the latter. I've just done a YouTube video on this very topic (out tonight).

I also delete the majority of RAW files once I've finished editing them and produced a JPG that I'm happy although I keep RAW files of images that I rate 5* in LR. Storage might be cheaper these days but Id rather not clutter up the space with files I'm never going to use again.

I totally agree. I'm finding more and more that my three Color Profile settings plus the mono settings are pretty much done. In fact, after bringing them into LR and using the "auto" feature for image adjustment actually makes the image worse. So even LR is not helping. This is why the PEN-F has become my 90% primary image capture tool. The Nikon D810 sits.

Now, the D810 still produces a better overall image than the PEN-F, I can only know that by pixel peeping and looking at them side-by-side. This is not reality. Reality is, both cameras produce fantastic results that are print worthy straight out of the camera.

The RAW files nowadays really only give me the ability to apply different color profiles to them.

BUT to John King's point....save the RAW file because you never know how technology will change and new bits of detail might be pulled out of these images down the line. It's a good idea.
 

Paul C

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Paul, I'm reprocessing some of my 2005-6 Nikon Coolpix E5000 RAWs. The difference between CS2 (?) and CC 2020 is stark. The original JPEGs were rubbish.

Just a reminder - that for users of older cameras there are now some 3rd party updates to old cameras that enable such things as RAW shooting, Autobrackets for HDR etc that were unavailable before.

For old Canon users - check out the CHDK software that you can upload through the SD cards. The CHDK (Canon Hacker Development Kit) software makes the extra settings of a DSLR available on Canon's point-and-shoot cameras.
 

ata3001

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I shoot both for the same reasons as frankmulder. I also want the RAW format because the final output is far better as well as the fact that I love the process of editing the RAW image & getting that final output image.
 

GBarrington

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Going off-topic, but same, here. Over the pandemic I made a list of 60 or so shoots that had been left to "ripen" going back to 2013(!) and used my downtime to process a good many of them. I often suffer from a bit of sensory saturation after a shoot and need time before I can approach an editing session with a clear head, other times I'm uninspired or distracted by a newer shoot or some other shiny object. Sometimes this was a gleaning pass through an already culled session, but mostly it was entirely untouched shoots. Anyway, it's not just you!

Also, I'm certain many of those older shoots benefitted from subsequent improvements in LR.
Not just in LR, but in you, as well! I suspect you have grown in taste and judgement. I think I have grown in those ways. I am better able to see the value in photos, I think.
 

scb

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Unless I have a reason not to (i.e. ebay photos, photos for sharing very quickly), I set my camera for only raw images. The raw images, if not deleted due to being crap, are kept in the appropriate folder. If I process an image, I save it as a JPEG file, and multiple JPEG files of the same raw file will have necessary identification in the file name.

It try to take time to delete any files that are just not going to be worth keeping. As others have said, storage is cheap now, so that isn't an issue. And, I prefer the post processing work flow with raw images i.e. using a raw developer.
 
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