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E-PL2 RAW vs JPEG thoughts

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by lsteere, Apr 8, 2011.

  1. lsteere

    lsteere Mu-43 Rookie

    Apr 8, 2011
    Purchased an E-PL2 about a week ago. So far I like it - though I'm not overly impressed with the sharpness of the kit lens.

    I've never had a camera that produces RAW files so that aspect is new to me, and so far I really like working with them. In fact I've switched to RAW only mode on the camera because I don't see any need for the camera to produce JPEGS. The Olympus Viewer 2 Windows program can replicate ALL the options and settings that are in the camera including the cool ART filters and Scene modes.

    To me it doesn't make any sense to worry about white balance, filters, sharpness, noise reduction, and all the other other settings while I'm taking pictures. It seems that if I concentrate only on focus, framing, and exposure, and get those things right, then I can worry about all the other stuff later when I develop the RAW images. This greatly reduces my mental workload while taking pictures and makes it that much more enjoyable.

    Anyway, since I'm new to this, I'm just wondering if my logic is in some way flawed here? Is there a compelling reason to fiddle with all the other stuff if I'm shooting RAW?
  2. shoturtle


    Oct 15, 2010
    well the oly jpeg engine is excellent, it really does not gain much to shot raw most of the time. I would only shoot raw with the oly when exposure is really hard to nail. But for most shooting, jpeg works great. And with modern editing programs, color cast and other things can be apply as simple to jpeg as to raw. Even WB that is a little off can be correct with jpeg.

    Raw will eat up allot of memory if you take allot of photos. So that is something you might want to consider with a 16 or 32gb card if you are going to shoot raw most of the time. Raw has it's advantages and if that is what you want to do and spend the time with raw editing and stuff. It does give good results. There was a thread comparing raw vs jpeg and the results were very well match up.

  3. mauve

    mauve Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 9, 2010
    Paris, France
    It makes sense, but it depends on your intent and time.

    Jpgs are like proof print; they can come handy to share, upload instantly (or near instantly) on social sites, give away to friends, relatives and such who may rather want to have a picture now instead of waiting the next free time you will manage in your agenda.

    Plus, you can use your camera like OV2 : make several jpgs out of a single raw with the 'raw edit function' - then, it becomes a kind of modern substitute to Polaroid.

    But you're right to stick to raw if you aim at archiving the best quality of image your camera can produce, and to make a very careful post-process, you simply can't beat the flexibility of the RAW file. The raw is really like the 'negative' of film times to your image. To rephrase Ansel Adams, the Raw is the score, you make the music in Post-process.

  4. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    I only shoot RAW. I find that RAW is another tool for additional refinement/enhancement of the image. RAW gives greater latitude for correction with images which are improperly exposed and for tough white balance situations.

    Some people like RAW and others think it is a waste of time. I think it is more of a personal like/dislike/workflow thing than a right or wrong way of attaining good images.

    For me, I like having a bit of cushion for exposure/white balance control above and beyond what JPEG delivers.

    As a way to validate opinions, I do recommend to look at the photo sites of those who recommend JPEG and those who recommend RAW and let the photos do the talking.

    All the professionals I know shoot RAW (the exception being news/sports photogs, who tend to shoot JPEG because JPEG requires less manipulation than RAW, hence less time on the computer resulting in a quicker delivery time for the images.)


    PS- Welcome to µ4/3
  5. lsteere

    lsteere Mu-43 Rookie

    Apr 8, 2011
    Actually my main aim is to lower the workload while taking photos. It seems like a lot less work when shooting raw because I don't have to worry about noise reduction, art filters, scene modes, white balance, and on and on. All I need to think about is framing, exposure, and focus, knowing I can easily change all the other stuff later during development when I have more time.
  6. I've shot raw + jpeg for a couple of years now, with the raw being saved more for safety's sake. Given that I really only ever view my photos on a computer screen I find that the Olympus and Canon jpegs I have are more than sufficient for that purpose and highly editable (the Canon more so).
  7. antithetic

    antithetic Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 7, 2010
    City of Angels
    I used the same line of thought when opting for RAW captures. WB, sharpening, saturation, contrast all do affect the final image but not worrying about it up front is liberating. Since I'm not as talented nor skilled as the others here, this has let me concentrate on getting things that can't necessarily be re-done such as framing/composition.

    And since my photography is largely a personal endeavor, the time spent in post-processing to output the final image is an enjoyable process, so I feel its best to start with the most complete data from the camera as possible.
  8. WT21

    WT21 Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    I'm with antithetic on this one. Same approach.
  9. bilzmale

    bilzmale Mu-43 All-Pro

    Another vote for RAW. Recently 'lost' a set of jpgs where the white balance was wrong, would have been a no-brainer in RAW. Only shot jpg the previous day as the shots were for someone else and forgot to change back. Next time RAW + jpg.

    By the way welcome to the forum lsteere.
  10. jambaj0e

    jambaj0e Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 31, 2010
    I shoot RAW+jpeg. In non-challenging light situation, Jpeg will do. A lot of time, I try to tweak the RAW to look similar to the Jpeg, but w/ more degree of fine tuning.

    In challenging WB and exposure, RAW is super essential

    Either way, I import both Jpeg and Raw to Lightroom and compare them side-by-side. The one I don't like, I toss away
  11. Highlander

    Highlander Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Mar 17, 2011
    USA, Northeast Coast
    Richard Correale
    I too am using the E-Pl2 and I shoot raw only 100% of the time as I like to have as much control as possible over the finished image, but I do think it makes sense to try and get things right in the initial capture as much as you can, better starting point = better end result at least in my mind.
  12. mick / Lumix

    mick / Lumix Guest

    Oct 3, 2010
    Get it right in camera with a JPEG and it will be, surprise surprise, Right !

    Process a RAW and you are attempting, on a computer, to get it right. Cameras take photos, and µ4/3 to a very high standard. Computer software is an electronic attempt to correct problems that should not have occurred in the first place.

    Never forget, great photos were taken long before computers existed! and the old film cameras never had the adjustments that the modern digicams have. Most of us can name great photographers, I am not aware of a "great photo maker keyboard basher" - not really what you want on the headstone !
  13. fin azvandi

    fin azvandi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 12, 2011
    South Bend, IN
    I've been shooting RAW+Jpeg with the E-PL1, then import only the Jpeg into Aperture for a quick review. In general the Jpeg has good quality at a smaller file size. For the shots I really like or think I might want to tinker with, I import the matching RAW and set that as the master.
  14. pjohngren

    pjohngren Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 15, 2010
    When I got my GF1 then G1, I shot RAW exclusively for the first six months, then decided it wasn't for me and batch converted all my RAWs to jpegs and tossed all the RAWs - it felt terrific! With the Panasonic cameras I love the in-camera settings I can make, have set the camera up to shoot the way I like (re:WB, sharpness, contrast, saturation etc.) and only adjust the exposure using the histogram when shooting - that is all I have to think about also. The resulting in-camera processed images are excellent. But it is good you are getting a feel for the camera, for what it can do, and getting experience with RAW. It may be entirely for you - or not. Best of luck and welcome to the group.
    • Like Like x 1
  15. pjohngren

    pjohngren Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 15, 2010
    As evenyone here knows, this is my view also.
  16. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    ? What's "right"?

    Huh? Like different film development chemistry, different photo paper qualities, toners, dodging & burning with the enlarger, etc. were also just attempts to correct problems that should not have occurred in the first place?

    Image making at it's best has always relied on MUCH more than pressing a button at the moment of capture!

    Yes.... and the masters of photography from the pioneering days went to great lengths to refine and create the look with film selection, lens, lighting, exposure, and compositional decisions before exposure... and ALWAYS followed by different film development chemistries, different papers, filters in the enlarger, chemical toners, dodging, burning, yada, yada after exposure.... today's digital tools are simply modern variants of the tools that master photographers have used since the beginning. If you don't choose to use them, so be it.

    The concept of doing it "all" and getting it all "right" at the moment of capture is ludicrous.
  17. mick / Lumix

    mick / Lumix Guest

    Oct 3, 2010
    Yes, as you say Don, "Master Of Photography" I would feel honoured to be called that. "Master Of Keyboard Bashing" ? think I can live without that one !
  18. mauve

    mauve Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 9, 2010
    Paris, France
    Most great photographers worked in close tandem with a lab professional that would squeeze their negatives into pictures. It is different talent than taking picture. What would be Salgado without Dominique Granier ? What would be Doisneau or HCB without Georges Fèvres ? You don't know those names ? Why am I not surprised ? Some other great photo lab magicians you might want to research before making a fool of yourself again : Hervé Hudry, Toros Aladjijian, Philippe Salaün, Nathalie Lopparelli - the list of those technicians as well as artists that never exposed a picture of their own in galleries but devoted their craft to the work of others is endless.

  19. mick / Lumix

    mick / Lumix Guest

    Oct 3, 2010
    Why attack me ? I do know those names very well. Will admit I do get bored with endless mag articles / letters about Bresson. Being one of the first with a Leica does not mean that he made "street photography" interesting.
    What possible connection is there between these people and you ? I was making prints in my darkroom some 40 + years ago, yet you feel the need to talk down to me as if I know fxxx all, what have I ever done to you ?
  20. Highlander

    Highlander Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Mar 17, 2011
    USA, Northeast Coast
    Richard Correale
    Let's face it.....

    There's no right or wrong here it's all about an individuals preference and work flow.
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