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E-PL3 jpeg vs. RAW

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by yaderhey, Aug 24, 2012.

  1. yaderhey

    yaderhey Mu-43 Rookie

    Jul 1, 2012
    I keep reading about my camera's excellent noise reduction and color capabilities in jpeg mode, which leads me to four questions:

    1. Shouldn't I just always be shooting in RAW?
    2. If not, is it reasonable to only shoot in jpeg mode when I'm not trying to be artsy and have the camera set to P mode?
    3. Can someone explain to this novice what's so special about this jpeg in-camera processing?
    4. I could be wrong, but I thought I read that this stuff only works when not in burst mode. Is that true?

  2. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    1) Everyone ends up converting to jpeg, the question is just whether you do it in camera or later on the computer in your photo processing program. You have more flexibility on the computer and you get a finer range of adjustment to things like contrast, gradation and sharpening on the computer than the options available in camera. I think you can do better converting RAW to jpeg yourself but you have to put some work into learning how to use your processing software and some people don't want to do that.

    2) some people who are being "artsy" shoot in P mode, especially some street photographers, because it frees them up to focus on composition and lets the camera handle exposure which can change quickly if the subject is moving into and out of shadow. P mode can also be handy with fast action in changeable light situations. There's nothing wrong with P mode.

    3) I think the only thing special about in camera jpeg processing is that the camera manufacturers develop their own "house settings" in order to create their own individual looks. If you like the look of jpegs from your camera, it can take a bit of work to find out how to reproduce that result when you're processing RAW files. On the other hand there are a lot of people who prefer to get a different look than what the camera manufacturer builds into their processing.

    4) shooting RAW can impose some limitations on burst mode because the file sizes are bigger, you can fill up the buffer, and shooting will stop until the buffer clears. I've shot RAW in burst mode so it can be done, you just probably won't be able to fire off as long a burst.

    If you like you can always shoot RAW+jpeg and use the jpeg when you're happy and process the RAW file when you want something different. Some RAW shooters shoot RAW+jpeg when they're playing around with the Art Filters because RAW files don't include what gets done with the filters, that only gets processed into the jpegs.

    You've got 3 options, either RAW, jpeg, or both. Choose what suits you best, and that can even change depending on your circumstances. You don't have to shoot the same sort of files all the time.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. arch stanton

    arch stanton Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 25, 2012
    If you have the computer space and something to process them easily (Lightroom is worth the money after trying many others), shoot raw all the time. A decent processor makes it just as easy to use as jpeg, then you just click export to whatever size you need.

    The extra dynamic range is worth having, you can recover *much* more blown sky with raw. You never know when that amazing shot's going to come up and it'd be a shame to regret missing some of the detail later.
  4. betamax

    betamax Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    May 7, 2011
    Illawarra, NSW, Australia
    Yes, the E-PL3 isn't great with DR, so RAW is the way to go if you have contrasty subjects. Of course, you could use the histogram, liveview preview, but if you're sloppy like me you will want the added headroom raw offers :thumbup:
  5. RevBob

    RevBob Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2011
    NorthWestern PA
    Raw +jpeg is a great option because you can erase the raw files if you don't want/need them but they are there if you want to fix blown highlights, etc.
  6. gugarci

    gugarci Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 8, 2012
    Lyndhurst, NJ
    Lack of dynamic range is a non issue for me with Lightroom. Check out this image taken with an old Fuji 550. The original image was exposed correctly for the background. I used the local adjustment brush to enhance the shadows and the exposure in the foreground. Not bad at all for a camera I bought about 8 years ago. :smile: And for the record this image was shot as a jpg only. Although my Fuji 550 can also shoot raw.
  7. Hikari

    Hikari Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 26, 2010
    Your camera will work the fastest in RAW. The reason is you cut out the processing time to convert the RAW data into JPG. This is why manufactures give burst specs they cite the use of RAW images.

    You don't have to shoot RAW, but you are wasting most of your data. Lot of photographers are happy to shoot JPG and it suits them fine. You will have more control over your image processing with RAW. As stated above, you can also shoot RAW+JPG.

    BTW, most image processing software given with the camera will use similar RAW processing that the in-camera JPG conversion does. There is nothing special about the processing except it is the camera company's recipe.
  8. ssgreenley

    ssgreenley Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 12, 2011
    I'm going to take the opposite track from most of the others here and suggest you just go out this weekend, for an hour each on Saturday and Sunday, and take photos. Use JPEG one day and raw the next. JPEG requires no post processing (PP) (especially with those fantastic Olympus colors), while raw gives you more flexibility if you're going to post process anyway. Lots of people do it both ways. If I'm in complicated lighting I will shoot raw (as other have said, for the highlights), but most of the time I'll just shoot JPEG--my lightroom skills aren't nearly good enough to get as good color as the Olympus gives me in camera. Either way, enjoy!
  9. crsnydertx

    crsnydertx Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 31, 2010
    Houston, TX
    When I've imported RAW and JPEG pairs from Olympus cameras into Lightroom and displayed them side-by-side, the images are VERY different, more so than on other cameras I've used. I had to fiddle with the LR sliders quite a bit to achieve an approximate match between RAW and JPEG, and I don't feel I made the processed RAW any better than its counterpart.

    On the other hand, the usual RAW advantages of highlight recovery and white balance correction are factors, so I'd still lean toward RAW+JPEG as a capture mode. Then process RAW images if needed or desired.
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