E-PL2 - Really Worth Shooting RAW?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by DekHog, Jun 12, 2011.

  1. DekHog

    DekHog Mu-43 Top Veteran

    579
    May 3, 2011
    Scotland
    Does anyone with an E-PL2 (or any Pen, I suppose) find any real advantage to shooting RAW? I've been used to it in the past with my D-SLR's, but having done various tests, and being quite adept with LR & PS, I just can't get a more pleasing or better image processing the RAW files v the JPEG's.

    All the JPEG's appear to need is a slight S-curve or a touch of Nik Pro Contrast and the balance between noise/sharpness/colour appears to be as good as it gets - no matter how hard I tried I just couldn't match them with a RAW file, plus the extra work involved is pretty off-putting for no real return.

    Leaving WB out of the equation (fixable in a JPEG anyway), and knowing from previous experience that the latitude for things like highlight recovery in Olympus RAW files is extremely limited anyway, does anyone find any real advantage to shooting RAW?

    Don't you just hate it that the Internet (well, people on it) make you feel like you're doing something wrong by shooting JPEG! :rolleyes:
     
    • Like Like x 1
  2. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    Gordon
    I'm a die hard raw shooter and I mostly agree with you regarding Olympus jpegs. The only advantage I see is if you stuff up an exposure the raw is more salvageable than the jpeg. The other thing is I can get a bit more information for a single shot HDR from a raw. Other than that I can't see much benefit in real world shooting.

    Gordon
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. the.growler

    the.growler Mu-43 Regular

    My goal is to spend more of my life outside enjoying my camera and less of my life inside working on my computer, so I shoot JPEG. When I was a Canon shooter, all I shot was RAW and I never got caught up on processing my images.

    Part of my shift to M43 was to stop worrying about technical perfection and just enjoy photography - which I now do! :smile:
     
    • Like Like x 5
  4. DekHog

    DekHog Mu-43 Top Veteran

    579
    May 3, 2011
    Scotland
    You certainly picked the right camera for cracking JPEG's, and I think you've just made my mind up for me - no more RAW files (that I hate copying & processing anyway). :biggrin:
     
  5. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    OK... this is a subject that keeps coming up... and every time it revolves around the whole 'I don't want to spend time/effort doing raw processing'

    well buy a copy of Lightroom or Aperture

    1) THey will allow you to organise where your images are stored....whatever file structure/backup routine you need

    2) They will by default process your RAW files pretty close to the default JPEG engine the camera delivers without any input from you....if they don't there is a large community of users out there with profiles that can be applied automatically on import.

    3) Shoot JPEG and you have already thrown away information captured by the sensor....forever.... Shoot RAW and if there is a better RAW processor that comes along in the future then you can revisit all your old photos

    There is nothing wrong in shoot JPEG... its the result that counts.... but I continually fail to see the disadvantage in shooting in RAW.

    But thats just me....I havent shot JPEG for years...because my RAW workflow works fine, and I know that in the future as I get better and the software gets better I will be able to improve my images..... which to me are the most important part of the process

    K
     
    • Like Like x 2
  6. phigmov

    phigmov Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 4, 2010
    I guess in the old days an average user would be constrained by disk, memory and processing power. My old Core Duo Macbook would handle JPEG's fine via iPhoto but the wheel would really spin accessing RAW images.

    Nowadays most average consumer machines can handily manage RAW and JPEG with equal aplomb.

    I've noticed a huge difference since switching to an iMac - even if its just an i3 its a quantum leap over the Macbook in processing performance.

    Cheers,
    Raj.
     
  7. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    What are the advantages to JPG over RAW?
    JPG takes up way less space on the card
    JPG is far more future proof and portable
    Can upload JPG directly to FB, etc when traveling

    Also, I can just about guarantee you that if a better RAW development technology came out that I would never go back and rework old photos.

    I agree the "RAW is more work" argument doesn't hold water so long as you are batch processing ... Of course then you lose all the fine tuning ability of RAW ...

    There is a huge Internet stigma that you have to shoot RAW if you're a serious photographer, and that is absolutely not true
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium

    Unless I am going on a long trip up the Amazon without a computer the less space on a card issue is redundant... I can get 300 shots of RAW on the cards I use...4gig I think... which is usually more than enough for a photo session or a days shooting

    Of course JPEG is more portable and future proof... All my Aperture output is JPEG... and that is what i upload to facebook or Flickr.....but I still have the RAW file.... and shooting on JPEG I would still have to have uploaded the image to my computer before sending it there.... don't know of a micro 4/3 camera that allows direct upload to facebook from the camera.

    Batch processing or individual image tuning or even just letting the image come out of the camera there is no realistic tangible difference between using RAW or JPEG... Never have found the time difference in importing 200 RAWs vs 200 JPEGS that critical


    Agree that the format you shoot doesnt define how serious you are as a photographer.... I just rail againt people who keep saying that RAW is slow/difficult or whatever... it may have been the case 5 years ago... but it isn't today

    K
     
  9. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Correct, no camera, but iPad in my case

    there is a huge time difference if you have to individually handle each RAW. If you can batch process your RAWs, then yes, it doesn't really matter time wise. I will say the slower transfer rates with the iPad camera connector kit was one of the things that turned me off to RAW+JPG
     
  10. DekHog

    DekHog Mu-43 Top Veteran

    579
    May 3, 2011
    Scotland
    I do have Lightroom, and the time taken isn't really my issue. I'm not adverse to sitting on the computer in any way, but the fact that I'm struggling to get comparable quality of output from the RAW files was really the thing.... I'm not a pro, and if I get a bit of blown sky, well so be it, but if the scene in front of me was so beautiful I'm sure I'd know it and bracket it anyway....
     
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Bill

    Bill Mu-43 Regular

    176
    Apr 15, 2009
    Brisbane, Australia
    Bill (really)
    Horses for courses

    I understand why serious photographers who are

    • taking the time to make sure that the images going in the lens are the ones they wants; and
    • don't intend to manipulate the images in the computer; and
    • wants to “print at 8 x 10 or smaller (or directly to the web)
    are happy to work with JPEGs.

    Both Olympus and Panasonic do outstanding jobs of in-camera adjustments of white balance, noise reduction, and sharpening. And, if further capture adjustments are necessary, they’re available in-camera from the menus.

    I think that JPEG users are also right to see the format as future-proofed. JPEG is going to be around longer than most of the RAW formats.

    Most of us are time poor; so, if that means having to decide between taking pictures or manipulating pictures already taken, then I see that benefit too.

    Many of the pictures that we take are of family or friends. Having your work in JPEGs means that they are immediately portable. They can go into emails, into the new live photo frames, many of the high-res digital TVs, or up on the web — with no more work to do.

    If, however, you have ambitions (and the time) to

    • print at exhibition sizes or quality;
    • work seriously in black and white;
    • rescue shots that might otherwise be lost;
    • maximise photos taken in low light; or
    • improve the aesthetic appeal of your photos —
    then you should be thinking about RAW. But RAW is not without its troubles:

    Working with RAW as a once-in-a-while thing is not fun. Working with RAW needs to be part of a regular workflow. (For this reason I found saving in RAW + JPEG, and and doing a bit of one and then a bit of the other unhelpful.)

    At first I was using Silkypix, Raw Therapee, Sagelight and Noise Ninja (all great programs), but in ad hoc sorts of ways. I had some success, but I struggled.

    There’s a learning curve with RAW – understanding what makes digital files tick. Clearly, I didn’t have a firm grasp of all the digital elements. (Your come to appreciate what the cameras seem to do so effortlessly.)

    Two things changed for me: First, I bought Lightroom. Lightroom introduced me to a real workflow. Suddenly I had a, well, flow. Then I got the Luminous Landscape Lightroom videos. That took what I knew about photography and oriented it to digital photography.

    RAW works for me, but I recognise that it doesn't suit everyone's needs.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  12. DekHog

    DekHog Mu-43 Top Veteran

    579
    May 3, 2011
    Scotland
    Bill, a good post, but I'm not sure why you think JPEG is only suitable for printing up to around 10" x 8"? I've had beautiful A2 prints from an effective 6Mp using a Fuji S5 when shooting JPEG, and can't see how I would have got better prints by using a different format - a different format that means you ultimately output to JPEG to print in any case.... print size and ppi is all down to viewing distance when it comes to prints.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Pelao

    Pelao Mu-43 Top Veteran

    959
    Feb 3, 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    A fair point, but I think incomplete.

    Editing a RAW image means that you have all the possible data available, and you can manipulate it for a specific output. Notice for example how many camera reviews will use a phrase such as "shoot RAW to reveal the most detail etc". This leads to one of the great things about modern image editing software (such as LR and Aperture): you can make multiple versions through virtual copies, taking up very little space.

    This equips you to edit specifically for print, or BW, or web etc etc, with maximum data.

    Also, note that editing RAW in order to print does NOT require you to output to jpeg first: you can print straight from the edited RAW file. However, you can output to jpeg first, but the earlier point remains true: your edited image will have been produced with print in mind, and managed accordingly.

    Certainly you can shoot and edit jpegs, and make good large prints too. I would not do so, but it's not a right and wrong thing.
     
  14. Bill

    Bill Mu-43 Regular

    176
    Apr 15, 2009
    Brisbane, Australia
    Bill (really)
    DekHog

    When printing from PCs you get stuck with 8-bit depth anyway, but (depending on the compression level) jpegs throw away data to get the size down. Every image is different, but, in general, as the size goes up, that data loss becomes more apparent.

    There's no question about it, JPEGs can often shine through; but if A2s are your goal, then you might think about shooting RAW.

    Bill
     
  15. Howi

    Howi Mu-43 Veteran

    208
    Feb 23, 2011
    Sheffield
    Howard
    Well! here it is again -raw V jpeg.
    I have been on endless forums, all of which have had endless debates about shooting raw v jpeg.
    ALL without question, end up in slanging matches that invariably turn nasty/personal.

    Rule 1 - there is nothing right or wrong with shooting either raw or jpeg.
    Rule 2 - it's your kit, shoot how you like - disregard those who tell you otherwise.
    Rule 3 - there are advantages and disadvantages to both formats.
    Rule 4 - there is NO best option, only what is best for YOU.

    I could give you loads of reasons why I shoot only raw, but I won't as it matters not a jot. It's what I choose to do.
    Memory space is not a problem either in camera or PC, it is so cheap these days the argument is fatuous.
    Time (for me) is not an issue, and I actually enjoy the post processing.
    Whether jpeg will outlive raw formats is an unproven argument - I couldn't care less as I can still convert them to a different format if I needed to.

    There are some pro's who advocate jpeg only, that the jpegers latch onto and blindly ignore the raw only pro advocates because it doesn't suit their argument (and vice versa I might add!!!)
    Some jpegers treat ooc jpeg as a religion, and that all else is not REAL photography (with NO evidence to back it up).
    Most raw advocates, do so to enlighten begginers that there are other options available to them with (we think) positive advantages.

    This is a nice friendly forum, I would not wish it to stoop to the the level of other (bigger) forums over this issue.
    Just remember the rules above - Jpegers and raw advocates are only trying to put their point of view across to balance the argument NOT get into an argument.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  16. Alanroseman

    Alanroseman Super Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 21, 2010
    New England
    Hi Howie,

    Thanks for the friendly reminder. As you pointed out, you can read about it on every board around, and it can get personal..

    With that in mind, we created this thread several months ago so that the RAW vs. Jpeg debate would have a home of it's own. Folks who enjoy the hot topic debate can climb right in and opine to their hearts content.

    Those who enjoy reading it can, and for them who just don't have a firm opinion, and get board of the debate.... it's all in one room.. Thus easy to avoid.

    So, while you've seen some acrimony on other sites, we think it'll stay friendly and nicely compacted in this thread.

    Cheers, Alan
     
    • Like Like x 1
  17. Howi

    Howi Mu-43 Veteran

    208
    Feb 23, 2011
    Sheffield
    Howard
    super!

    Only reason I commented was because some comments were being made that could lead into some acrimony, I was trying to get it back on track.
    Don't mind a good argument now and again, its surprising what you can learn sometimes.

    raw is a bit like Marmite - you either love it or hate it.


    Black and white do NOT exist, only shades of grey.....:smile:
     
  18. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Jason
    I've been shooting more RAW as of late. Actually, RAW+JPEG. More of an exercise of seeing any significant differences. Just a few things:

    1. I can get WB easier to adjust in RAW than JPEG. Problem is, I rarely find the JPEG WB off that often.

    2. I can finely adjust the noise reduction in RAW. For the most part, I've found this more handy in underexposed or low light shots. On average, I find the JPEG noise reduction just fine though.

    3. Color/contrast/saturation/sharpness/dynamic range - RAW is the winner, and this is why I have been shooting more RAW as of late. I find that I can get slightly to much better results, depending on the shot by using RAW.

    So, I've been shooting RAW for really reason number 3. Basically, I go through the shots that I really like in JPEG, and I go and see if I can make them look better in RAW. In some cases, I can make them much better, in other cases, the JPEG ends up the winner.
     
  19. pjohngren

    pjohngren Mu-43 Top Veteran

    560
    Oct 15, 2010
    I agree with the above and would only add that a properly setup Panasonic G camera can do all this as well, leaving jpegs a solid option for those who like to get it right the first time, in the camera.
     
  20. pjohngren

    pjohngren Mu-43 Top Veteran

    560
    Oct 15, 2010
    Precisely!!!

    It was fun to read all these Amin-collected comments, as I have taken a break from the fray for a while. But it is refreshing to see that a few others recognise what a cosmic waste of time RAW is. I am continuing to have a great time shooting jpegs, have entered them in two recent exhibits, and absolutely no one could tell they were good old jpegs using sRGB color space and shot with my wonderful G1.

    While this will be off-topic even for this thread, I have also discovered that HDR is totally unnecessary if you use layer masking in at least Photoshop 7. You can litterally paint in the correct exposure wherever you choose, and avoid that fake HDR look, where it looks like you used a nuclear fill flash.

    jpegs rule, in-camera processing is wonderful. Cheers!