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

Machi

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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.
This is comparison between Olympus' 50 mpix Hires Jpeg (1) and 80 mpix RAW processed in Rawtherapee and resized to 50 mpix (2). Original files are from the imaging-resource.

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PakkyT

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To me #2 seems to show more details but #1 looks sharper (and contrast is better).

Wasn't there a thread around here some months back where someone was struggling to get sharp hi-res shots and it turned out that letting the camera create the JPG was the key and trying to get the result out of the RAW didn't seem to work? Kind of like the camera had the special formula on how to manipulate the RAW specifically for a hi-res shot.
 

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Yes, I kind of remember that. But from what I'm seeing now, the RAW image looks fine in Olympus Workspace and also in Rawtherapee. So I am going to have to experiment some more. I have an earlier set of shots I took, using a test image I cribbed from DPReview, so I'm going to check those old results. At that time, I was mainly interested in jpgs and whether they were better than non hi-res jpgs (they are). But I never looked at the RAWs I got. We shall see...
 

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OK, I have looked at the earlier images I took. The RAW images definitely need work, similar to what you would normally have to do, especially sharpening. They don't seem to have all that much noise, but it is hard to tell with what I used because I remember when I was first examining the Jpgs from this test, what I thought was noise was actually the grain in the paper I had printed the test image on. To confirm this I had to use a magnifying glass and look closely at the paper. These are seriously high resolution images! The RAW images in Rawtherapee look very much like they do in Oly Workspace.

So I don't know how well any editing results from RAW source will be vs the jpgs, but at least the RAWs look normal (bland, etc). Interesting stuff...
 

RAH

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AFAIK, Raw files are not viewable! They have to be converted by whatever program you are using to view them to a viewable format.
I'm not exactly sure what you mean. If you open a RAW file with a RAW editing program, yes, it has to do SOMETHING to display the pixels onto the monitor, but I don't think it actually converts it to any other file format (even as a temp file). I might be wrong about this, of course. Perhaps it saves it as say a temp TIF or something like that and then displays it.

If you mean that you have to convert it yourself to some other format for it to be usable after you finish editing it, yes, I agree totally. But my thinking is that if you do your editing using the RAW file and then save to jpg (or save it to TIF and later edit that TIF in a regular editor), you have only gone thru jpg compression once, whereas if you start editing with the jpg file, and then save it afterward, you have done 2 compressions.
 

BosseBe

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I'm not exactly sure what you mean. If you open a RAW file with a RAW editing program, yes, it has to do SOMETHING to display the pixels onto the monitor, but I don't think it actually converts it to any other file format (even as a temp file). I might be wrong about this, of course. Perhaps it saves it as say a temp TIF or something like that and then displays it.

If you mean that you have to convert it yourself to some other format for it to be usable after you finish editing it, yes, I agree totally. But my thinking is that if you do your editing using the RAW file and then save to jpg (or save it to TIF and later edit that TIF in a regular editor), you have only gone thru jpg compression once, whereas if you start editing with the jpg file, and then save it afterward, you have done 2 compressions.
That "SOMETHING " is conversion to a viewable format!

Raw files are just raw, they have no recognizable picture for viewing, (unless there is an embedded JPG, of course, but that would be thumb size), so every program that displays a raw file has to convert it to some other format before showing. Whatever that format is, is up to the program displaying it.
To view the raw file as is, you have to use a hex editor, and that will not show you the picture, so conversion always occurs and in that lies the devil.

I am not a expert at this so if I am wrong some will surely correct me.
 

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That "SOMETHING " is conversion to a viewable format!
Well, it has to first deal with the actual structure of the specific RAW file format, which may be something well documented like DNG, or more proprietary like the various manufacturer-specific ones, but either way involves extracting the so-called "mosaiced" data produced by the bayer pattern of the sensor. With that extracted, it's then demosaiced into what we think of as a "normal" raster image, a big grid of pixels, each having a color defined by RGB values. That's the minimum extra step involved as opposed to opening a TIFF file, where the data already directly represents such a grid of color values (and at the file level may or may not be compressed in various ways).

Of course, in practice more stuff needs to be done to the "camera linear" RGB image before it has the color and tone we expect a viewable image to have, but there's nothing stopping you from sending it to a display at that point, in all its flat, greenish glory. :D
 
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Instead of using OW to process HR raw files, I recommend using Iridient's O-Transformer. It integrates better with Lightroom and, IMO, produces better results than OW.
 

Machi

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To me #2 seems to show more details but #1 looks sharper (and contrast is better).
My point was about details. One can always "turbo boost" contrast to the sky levels with RAW.

Wasn't there a thread around here some months back where someone was struggling to get sharp hi-res shots and it turned out that letting the camera create the JPG was the key and trying to get the result out of the RAW didn't seem to work? Kind of like the camera had the special formula on how to manipulate the RAW specifically for a hi-res shot.
Yes, there is such thread and problem was that someone used hires at wrong circumstances, where it doesn't work, or under right circumstances, where it works, but he did not want to learn how to process RAWs so he was in the end satisfied by the jpegs.

AFAIK, Raw files are not viewable! They have to be converted by whatever program you are using to view them to a viewable format.
RAWs are viewable as anything else. Only difference is that jpeg is standardized format with well defined output.
With RAW one often needs manufacturer's software to "properly" displaying them, where properly means manufacturer's idea how given image should look under given circumstances.
 
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RAH

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RAWs are viewable as anything else. Only difference is that jpeg is standardized format with well defined output.
With RAW one often needs manufacturer's software to "properly" displaying them, where properly means manufacturer's idea how given image should look under given circumstances.
Yes, I agree. I mean, you need software to view a RAW file, but you need software to view a TIF file, you need software to view a jpg file, etc, etc. Last time I took the lens off my camera and looked at the sensor, I couldn't see any images on it, even though I had just taken a few!! ;)

How digital images start out in bytes and how software deals with it is kind of interesting, but in the end you are viewing an image on the screen, displayed by the software. Some file formats are more standard and can be viewed by more varieties of software (for example, jpgs can be displayed by web browsers, while TIFs cannot (I think)).

I agree that RAW format files are more proprietary than others and cannot be SAVED in the same format (except probably with some hack), but this seems to me to be kind of beside the point of this thread I started - how one should deal with hi-res results, especially where you want to EDIT the output from the camera.

I have decided for myself that I will treat hi-res images pretty much the way I have been treating all my images - I shoot in RAW+jpg, and if I need to do any drastic fix-up on an image (blown highlights especially), I'll use the RAW, but otherwise I'll probably be lazy and use the jpg as is or do some minor adjustment to the jpg.

Only wrinkle is that if an image is especially important, I'll probably use the RAW anyway for any manipulation, starting with Oly Workspace, then saving to 16-bit TIF, and editing in a regular editor, finally saving to jpg for use.

I will NOT downsize the results from 80MP to 50MP. I'm not saying that downsizing hurts images the way I was at the start of this thread (yes, you can teach this old dog new tricks!), but I am saying that there's no point to downsizing your edited RAW from 80MP to 50MP. Why not just leave it as it is? Just because the camera does it is kind of beside the point, I think.

In the case of the painting that I photographed, I did have to crop it some (it wasn't an exact fit for the 4/3 aspect ratio, and there's no reason to shoot it so tight anyway), so after I was finished cropping, I figured just leave it the hell alone! My final result is a 9283 x 6700 jpg. Too small!! ;)

So, this is all very interesting and I haven't really seen much discussion about EDITING hi-res results.
 
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RAH

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@RAH Rich, the first thing is that Hi-Res RAW files from Olympus both need and take a lot more sharpening than normal RAW files.
Interesting distinction, John (vs regular RAWs). The only 2 times I've experimented with hi-res was my initial test with a printed crib from DPReview test pattern. That did indeed show a good example of the RAW needing sharpening vs the jpg, although I wouldn't have guessed that it needs more than a normal RAW, so thanks for that tip.

Noise is kind of a question for me now. Naturally, I've been using ISO 200 on these hi-res shots, so they are pretty clean anyway. And, as I mentioned above, on the DPReview image test, I made the mistake of printing on matte paper, so the grain of the paper looks like noise. Jeeez. And on the painting, well, it's a painting, so noise is pretty well masked because again you see the grain of the canvas and I think it would be hard to see noise even if I used 6400.

Do you have any noise reduction advice on hi-res RAWS. From what I've seen, they look pretty clean, but I know with regular 20MP shots I sometimes need noise reduction on the RAWs even at 200.
 

RAH

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Instead of using OW to process HR raw files, I recommend using Iridient's O-Transformer. It integrates better with Lightroom and, IMO, produces better results than OW.
Thanks for the tip. The price seems right.

I think the main idea behind using OW is that it may handle these odd hi-res RAWs better than other programs. That is a pretty nebulous theory, I suppose, but that is why I have been thinking I'd use OW for just that (I have never used it before till I got the E-M5III with hi-res). I mean, I usually use RawTherapee for RAWs, but decided maybe I'd better use OW for hi-res. Hmmm. Well, I can try out various software and see which one looks best. Since I don't use Lightroom, the integration doesn't matter.

But thanks again for the tip, especially since I never heard of that program and it is good to know about it.
 
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That depends on the demosaicing engine. What software do you use?
Mostly Photoshop CC, CS6 or CS5, but also OWS and FastStone Viewer.

Only CC for processing RAWs, as distinct from looking at them.

I do not use OWS for PP for several reasons:

1) it bakes in many of the camera settings, including sharpening (oversharpens, and uses suspect algorithms);

2) it does not allow the use of really wide gamut colour spaces. I use ProPhotoRGB 16 bit for all RAW PP.

3) it's slow as a dog! Takes about 10x the time to process changes to the RAW compared with ACR.
 

Mack

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Honestly, I've never seen much improvement in image sharpness between an ORF and ORI file using the Hi-Rez on a tripod. Colors appear the same, but the pixel shift always seems a bit soft even with the image being larger in physical size. There is some improvement in noise of the larger file though. Even pushing it through Topaz Sharpen AI didn't help much.

The Olympus camera JPG engine is pretty good though and seems to punch up the colors a bit, especially the reds. Workspace seems to do a bit of distortion correction to one of the two RAW files too. Better colors, mainly blues, seem to be done by using some sort of DCP color profile and some color card like Passport or an x-rite ColorChecker Digital SG card.

Some of it may be due to me using a longer tele lens that may affect the sharpness. Something less than 50mm may be better suited.

Aside, I never heard of the Olympus RAW to DNG Converter mentioned above, the Iridient O-Transformer. I had a play with the trial version and found it pretty bad verses the stock Workspace RAW output image to TIF or JPG. Don't know if it is a limitation of the trial, but given what I saw I ain't buying it for $36 and will stick with the Adobe DNG Converter.

There's four images below. Two are from Workspace, a large ORF 60MB image to a TIF and a cameera JPG (Which appears sharpest too.). Two to others with the pink watermark were from Iridient O-Transformer: One set to default setting and it looked awful, and the upper left one with its settings set to Sharpest for detail but it became blocky and noisy. Not too good, imho.

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RAH

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I do not use OWS for PP for several reasons:

1) it bakes in many of the camera settings, including sharpening (oversharpens, and uses suspect algorithms);

2) it does not allow the use of really wide gamut colour spaces. I use ProPhotoRGB 16 bit for all RAW PP.

3) it's slow as a dog! Takes about 10x the time to process changes to the RAW compared with ACR.
Well, shoot! I was pretty much convinced that just for these hi-res RAWs I would use OW because it might be better just for that. Now I'm not so sure. I have NEVER used it for normal processing of anything, so it's not like I want to use it.

I asked a question earlier in this thread about whether when you view a RAW file in OW if it defaulted to changing it to look like the jpg, or if it opened it and showed it unmodified. Nobody responded, but from this I get the impression that it sets it to the jpg settings. I don't like this approach.

I usually use RawTherapee and like it fine (more than fine). It DOES set some default settings, and some of its "helpful" tools are markedly unhelpful (e.g. Auto Levels), but it seems to work very well otherwise.

I am going to have to experiment some more here, i think. I am uncertain about noise. I know from using regular (non hi-res) RAW files, that they can be pretty noisy and that sometimes if you just produce a 16-bit TIF using the RAW program and get out and then use a regular editor, you cannot get rid of the noise. Sometimes.

In other words, it seems that you have to get the noise out of the RAW FIRST or it will kind of stick there. If you wait till you have a 16-bit TIF and then use a regular editor, you get worse results, even using Topaz Denoise or Topaz DenoiseAI (which is dynamite, I think).
 
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Mostly Photoshop CC, CS6 or CS5, but also OWS and FastStone Viewer.

Only CC for processing RAWs, as distinct from looking at them.

I do not use OWS for PP for several reasons:

1) it bakes in many of the camera settings, including sharpening (oversharpens, and uses suspect algorithms);

2) it does not allow the use of really wide gamut colour spaces. I use ProPhotoRGB 16 bit for all RAW PP.

3) it's slow as a dog! Takes about 10x the time to process changes to the RAW compared with ACR.
Yes, using Adobe's software requires considerable sharpening of the HR files. I am never happy how Adobe handles Olympus HR files. Instead, I always convert HR files with Iridient's O-Transformer, either as part of LR or before reading it into Photoshop. I think there is a trial available.
 

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