Editing hi-res images - use the RAW file or the jpg?

RAH

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I just used hi-res mode (E-M5.3) to photograph a painting (from a museum I volunteer at). This is one of the primary reasons I wanted hi-res mode. I have already read several threads about this on this forum and elsewhere and read Wrotniak's excellent reviews of hi-res, like this:

http://www.wrotniak.net/photo/m43/em1.2-hires.html

My take-away was that there was little reason to use the 80MP raw file, because he (and most others I have seen, including Olympus) indicates there's no advantage. My own thinking was that Olympus must have had a good reason to downsize the 80MP raw to 50 in the jpg processing (no good reason not to and use more space for no payback, etc).

Also, it must be that the camera is doing something "special" to produce the 50MP jpg THAT YOU CANNOT DO. I mean, yes, you can edit the raw in Olympus Workspace and produce an 80MP jpg out of it, but is there any point to that? Folks are saying no. If you use an independent raw edited (I use Rawtherapee), there may even be less of a point.

BUT, what if you want to really EDIT the image? I mean, say the jpg out of the camera needs some post-processing. I'm now thinking that you would want to use the raw for this, for the regular reasons you can sometimes (always) get better PP results by using a raw instead of the jpg.

I had initially thought that since these hi-res jpg images are already kind of jpgs on steroids (by virtue of the hi-res mode and how it works), it would be just as good to edit the jpg as the raw. However, it's still an 8-bit compressed image and I'm now thinking that wouldn't it be better to edit the raw and get a 16-bit uncompressed TIF out of it for further editing? Seems like it would.

Then, after doing your edits, you are kind of left wondering if you could somehow duplicate what the camera does to get it down to 50MP when you finally generate your edited results as a jpg. This is what I meant when I said you cannot really do what the camera does yourself. It seems like a regular downsize (from 80 to 50) would do the usual violence to the image that downsizing does (yeah, you can boost the sharpness back up after, but I hate resorting to such stuff).

Any thoughts from our PP and hi-res experts would be appreciated. :)
 

Growltiger

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By all means edit the raw file, there may be benefits in doing that. But don't imagine you will get any more detail out of it than a 50MP file. So you can resize your 80MP raw file down to 50MP without losing anything. This is what my tests showed.

If you really need a larger file than 50MP I would suggest putting the 50MP or 80MP file into Topaz Gigapixel AI and get it to make a larger file, say 200MP - it does a great job of inventing convincing looking extra pixels and improving the detail.
 

RAH

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OK, good. But I guess it's really the idea of DOWNSIZING that bothers me. I mean, I have never seen a downsize that didn't make an image less sharp. I don't mean that you cannot then sharpen it again and get it back to where it was. But downsizing and then resharpening seems like something that should be avoided, especially when the whole point of hi-res is to get more ACTUAL detail (not manufactured). I mean a downsize throws pixels away, and then a sharpen does some crap to the pixels that remain.

Obviously, the answer is to not downsize from the 80MP to 50. That would answer my objection, but I can't get it out my head that the camera must do some special processing when it converts its raw to jpg that is different from what a person does in PP, even using Oly Workspace. And I wish that this was available. Am I making any sense?
 

Growltiger

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I see no evidence of anything special about the camera's reduction. Try some experiments yourself. No need to sharpen after the downsize.
So try what I suggest.
Have you tried Gigapixel AI? You can try the trial.
 

RAH

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No, I haven't tried Gigapixel because I don't normally want giant images. I just want the highest-res I can get out of a camera for the museum's "archive". I mean, it's not like anyone is making a billboard out of these or anything. For example, when I did this 10 years ago, I used a point and shoot that had like 5MP; then a few years later I used a 12MP, then 18, 24, and now I'm doing it with the hi-res. It just gives better and better images, I like to think.

As far as sharpening, you must be using something that does an automatic adjustment, I think. Every editor I have ever used in the 20 plus years I've been doing this stuff has always needed sharpening after a downsize (not after an upsize, by the way). Some (like IrfanView) have a checkbox that says "sharpen after downsize" for this very reason. Some may just do it, I suppose.

Anyway, it seems that I will just stick with the 80MP whenever I edit the raw. It will be fine that way. I have plenty of storage. :)
 

Growltiger

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There are various different algorithms in Photoshop for reduction and enlargement, the default option works well.
I've never even heard of needing to sharpen after downsizing, I can't see why that would be needed.
 

pake

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If you need to sharpen the photo after downsizing, then you must be doing it wrong. :D :D :D
Photoshop has many options which algorithms to use when resizing.

95% of my photos are downsized and the process itself sharpens the final photo. (It also decreases noise.)
 
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OK, good. But I guess it's really the idea of DOWNSIZING that bothers me. I mean, I have never seen a downsize that didn't make an image less sharp.
When I resize, I always use a factor of two. This minimises or eliminates confusing the 2x2 Bayer matrix interpolations. I never sharpen before resizing, only afterwards and before printing. Like Teemu (Pake), I also find that one should use the options that PS provides for resizing. Also like Teemu, I find that the downsizing that my OoC JPEGs go through in the macro I wrote makes them sharper, even before I apply a small USM to make up for the fact that my cameras tend to have sharpening turned to low or 'off'.

Am I making any sense?
Not really.

There is a huge amount that these people do not appear to be considering - bit depth, colour space spring to mind immediately. A RAW file is always more malleable than a JPG file, with less data loss and compression from manipulating or editing it. I have never seen anywhere that Olympus suggested that one should not edit the 80 MPx RAW.

Many people do not appear to be able to edit any RAW to get a better result than the OoC JPEG provides. Equally, I have seen many who suggest that this might be because of lack of the necessary skills to achieve this. I am in this latter group.
 

RAH

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When I resize, I always use a factor of two. This minimises or eliminates confusing the 2x2 Bayer matrix interpolations. I never sharpen before resizing, only afterwards and before printing. Like Teemu (Pake),
I think that maybe my thoughts about downsizing have been incorrectly influenced because I do a lot of website work, so often I am downsizing things to VERY low sizes, from say 4000 x 3000 (or whatever) down to 400 x 300. That kind of operation may look differently on the screen than downsizing from say 80MP to 50MP, or any large image to one somewhat smaller.

Also, of course, it doesn't lend itself to downsizing using a formula like a factor of 2. I mean, when you want to put something on a webpage at a particular spot, you usually make it a specific dimension for that position (keeping aspect ratio, of course), so the browser doesn't need to do any manipulation of it (just for speed). But thanks for the suggestion for use with other things. :)

In fact, when I think about it, I essentially never downsize a "photography" image (I mean as an "enthusiast" photographer, as opposed to a web developer). So it's just these small internet images that I'm thinking need resharpening (and especially on web pages, you often want images to look crisp).

There is a huge amount that these people do not appear to be considering - bit depth, colour space spring to mind immediately. A RAW file is always more malleable than a JPG file, with less data loss and compression from manipulating or editing it. I have never seen anywhere that Olympus suggested that one should not edit the 80 MPx RAW.
Yes, that's exactly what I meant when I said in my initial post that I thought it would be better to edit hi-res images in RAWs. Actually, truth to tell, for regular images, I usually DO in fact just use my jpgs when not dealing with hi-res stuff. I shoot RAW+jpg just to have the raws for use with images that need help (blown out areas, etc). But normally I just edit the jpgs (laaaaazy!). But for these hi-res images, it seems like you should start with the RAWs, even for images that don't need drastic help (just say contrast boost, etc). :)
 
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@RAH When I say 'a factor of two', I also include multiples of two. So 2x, 4x, 8x, etc. Oddly enough, this appears to be how Olympus organizes reduction (compression) in their JPEG sizes.

Avoid things like arbitrary resizes. Either up or down.

A lot of what I know I have discovered through trial and error. If my experience can help anyone else, then that's a good thing.
 

RAH

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@RAH When I say 'a factor of two', I also include multiples of two. So 2x, 4x, 8x, etc. Oddly enough, this appears to be how Olympus organizes reduction (compression) in their JPEG sizes.

Avoid things like arbitrary resizes. Either up or down.

A lot of what I know I have discovered through trial and error. If my experience can help anyone else, then that's a good thing.
Yes, I realized you meant multiples, although it is good to state it specifically. It seems that one of the operations in this discussion unfortunately doesn't lend itself to this - downsizing from 80MP to 50MP. Oh no! ;) But I've pretty much decided, as I said, to just stay with the 80MP on any RAW that I do any real editing on.

But just for arguments sake, do you think that using Oly Workspace for any work at the RAW level (before generating a TIF) is better than using say RawTherapee or any other RAW editor? I don't mean about editing capabilities, I mean whether Workspace has some extra knowhow related to these hi-res RAWs. For example, downsizing to 50MP - maybe it knows how to do this better? I'm just thinking out loud here...

Obviously, arbitrary resizes is the very thing I've been doing (and have to do) on webpage images, so that definitely explains my negative feelings about downsizing.
 

Hendrik

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Since in this case you will value fidelity of reproduction spatially, one advantage the jpg will have is that the lens corrections will be already baked into the image. Not all raw converters will do so automatically. That will be an advantage of using Workspace to generate a tiff. Adobe also honors the lens profile.
 

kbouk

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My advice is - If you insist to edit RAW hires files - use OW software , that’s the conclusion I have when I saw comparisons with other Raw converters. The best hires algorithm for Raw to Jpeg conversions are made by camera and Olympus Workspace.

But I think whatever advantages there are with DR, noise reduction or resolution with hires RAW is by far already inside cameras hires jpeg because the most important factor is the combination from 8 shots and not cameras conversion from RAW to Jpeg.
 

RAH

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But I think whatever advantages there are with DR, noise reduction or resolution with hires RAW is by far already inside cameras hires jpeg because the most important factor is the combination from 8 shots and not cameras conversion from RAW to Jpeg.
Well yes, that is a good question, I think. I was thinking that myself, which is why I referred to them as "jpgs on steroids." But you're still ultimately dealing with COMPRESSED jpgs (artifacts and all), so just doing an edit and a save on one and getting a second generation recompressed jpg gives me pause, considering why one would even bother with hi-res (to get the best IQ). But I agree that this is a decisive factor. :)
 

D7k1

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I've found with the g9, that landscapes are much better if you process the raw image for printing. Also the Type 2 (Which is like "remove ghosts" in PS) is very good.
 

RAH

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I have a stupid question about Olympus Workshop. When I open a RAW file, is it showing it to me looking like a matching jpg, or is it completely raw? I'm asking because these hi-res RAW images I'm seeing are pretty clean and sharp right off the bat in Workspace. I know from using Rawtherapee, usually raw images look as bland as dishwater and pretty noisy, even when with ISO 200. (But I've never done a hi-res with it).

Edit: I'll answer my own question, i guess - I just opened one of these hi-res raws in Rawtherapee and it looks the same as it does in Workspace. So, hmmm, it looks lie the camera cleans up the noise and boosts contrast while making the hi-res image itself. I guess. Hard to tell, but it hardly needs any work...
 
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