Oly jpeg's: Tell me I'm not crazy for using them for a client

emorgan451

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So since I started actively pursuing photography as a hobby I've been told that shooting raw was almost a must for being able to get the best out of images. With my Samsung NX10 I started with I found that to be the case and I've happily shot raw or raw +jpeg ever since, and essentially ignoring the jpeg or just using it as a quick way to show someone some shots from a trip. When I switched to my E-M5 last year I noticed that the jpegs were markedly better than any jpeg I had gotten before, but I still largely used them in the same way and kept using only raw files for "serious shots". Recently I've been taking more photos of people instead of buildings and landscapes and when comparing the jpegs to edited raw files I mostly found that I like the skin tones and the way that the jpegs handle the highlight and shadow tone curves (especially for people). So I started tweaking the jpeg files and for a photoshoot I did last weekend I actually only edited the camera jpegs and gave the final images to the client.

The client was thrilled with the way they turned out and I was pretty happy myself, so I wanted to see if any of you guys have been doing similar things so I don't feel crazy. With this post I'm not trying to say I'm always using jpeg or jpeg is superior to raw. I think I'm just finding when I do my job and get it right in camera the images I get with the Oly jpeg's are pretty good. It saves a heck ton of time too which is always a plus.

Some of the shots are below, and I would be happy to hear what you think and if you've experienced the same thing. Maybe I'm just late to the party.

All shot with EM5 and Oly 45 1.8

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Julie_9070182 by Eli.Morgan, on Flickr

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Julie_9070193 by Eli.Morgan, on Flickr

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Julie_9070252 by Eli.Morgan, on Flickr

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Julie_9070243 by Eli.Morgan, on Flickr

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Julie_9070234 by Eli.Morgan, on Flickr
 

ahinesdesign

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I shoot RAW+JPG for personal and paying gigs, if only for the insurance that RAW conversion offers if something isn't captured correctly. I can't see any reason why you wouldn't shoot RAW+JPG, as it doesn't eat up storage space that quickly with m4/3 file sizes. If the JPG is sufficient, then you've got what you need and no further work is required; if its not, you always have the RAW file to work from (this has saved my butt a few times!). I agree that Olympus JPGs are often more pleasing than what you can achieve from RAW in Lightroom, etc., but Olympus Viewer can get you very, very close if you have to match out of camera JPGs. Getting the out-of-camera image right when capturing is the ideal scenario, especially for a working photographer; less time processing images means more potential time to shoot or do something that brings in income.

If I received the images above from a photographer I paid to take my family's photos, I'd be thrilled! Very nice work!
 

davidzvi

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100% agree, RAW + JPEG.

The images you have here are fine and clients should never see the RAWs anyway.

But "what if"?

What if the WB was off?
What if the focus was just a little off and you wanted to sharpen it a little?
What if you wanted to do a B&W conversions?

While all these can be done a JPEG starting from a RAW file
 

emorgan451

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100% agree, RAW + JPEG.

The images you have here are fine and clients should never see the RAWs anyway.

But "what if"?

What if the WB was off?
What if the focus was just a little off and you wanted to sharpen it a little?
What if you wanted to do a B&W conversions?

While all these can be done a JPEG starting from a RAW file
David, thanks for the response but I think I need to clarify a little bit since it may not have been clear in my initial post. I'm not abandoning RAW + JPEG, as I said I've always shot that way and always will because of the "what if's".

The message I was trying to convey in my post is that I recently became aware of just how good the EM5 jpeg files can look, and how well they stand up to slight changes in exposure, shadows, blacks, contrast etc. And with my recent awareness I was curious, have others felt the same way? Also, if the situation presents itself (like my recent shoot) where you get it very close to right in camera, have you just done slight jpeg edits in LR and called it good?

I also found out that you can get pretty good B&W conversions in LR from the camera color jpeg. (something I never tried, but there's an example below)

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Julie_9070278 by Eli.Morgan, on Flickr
 

fransglans

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I use huelight profile for my ORF files and think it does the job very fine.

I tried out olympus jpeg alot but often find that the skin tones turnes out a little bit to red compared to huelight orf.
 

Uncle Frank

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Your sample images are proof that you didn't need RAW for this assignment. It might be a different story if you were shooting in low level mixed light, where you could untangle the light better with RAW. But in such cases, I think you'd used RAW as a matter of course. I love the jpgs straight out of my ep5, and find that those files can be manipulated to a surprising degree in Lightroom.

So since I started actively pursuing photography as a hobby I've been told that shooting raw was almost a must for being able to get the best out of images. With my Samsung NX10 I started with I found that to be the case and I've happily shot raw or raw +jpeg ever since, and essentially ignoring the jpeg or just using it as a quick way to show someone some shots from a trip. When I switched to my E-M5 last year I noticed that the jpegs were markedly better than any jpeg I had gotten before, but I still largely used them in the same way and kept using only raw files for "serious shots". Recently I've been taking more photos of people instead of buildings and landscapes and when comparing the jpegs to edited raw files I mostly found that I like the skin tones and the way that the jpegs handle the highlight and shadow tone curves (especially for people). So I started tweaking the jpeg files and for a photoshoot I did last weekend I actually only edited the camera jpegs and gave the final images to the client.

The client was thrilled with the way they turned out and I was pretty happy myself, so I wanted to see if any of you guys have been doing similar things so I don't feel crazy. With this post I'm not trying to say I'm always using jpeg or jpeg is superior to raw. I think I'm just finding when I do my job and get it right in camera the images I get with the Oly jpeg's are pretty good. It saves a heck ton of time too which is always a plus.

Some of the shots are below, and I would be happy to hear what you think and if you've experienced the same thing. Maybe I'm just late to the party.

All shot with EM5 and Oly 45 1.8
 

yakky

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I too find the Oly jpegs very pleasing, in fact much better than the lighroom handling of the RAW files. There are a lot of people that are just repeating what they heard ages ago, that RAW is a must for great pictures. Back when cameras had horrible jpeg engines, shooting RAW was a great way to go.

I still shoot RAW+JPEG most of the time because space is cheap. I only import JPEG. For action, I shoot JPEG because of write times. Very rarely do I need to get the RAW files. RAW
value to me these days is in blown white balance and exposure issues. That said, Oly's do a fantastic job with white balance and exposure!
 

davidzvi

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David, thanks for the response but I think I need to clarify a little bit since it may not have been clear in my initial post. I'm not abandoning RAW + JPEG, as I said I've always shot that way and always will because of the "what if's".

The message I was trying to convey in my post is that I recently became aware of just how good the EM5 jpeg files can look, and how well they stand up to slight changes in exposure, shadows, blacks, contrast etc. And with my recent awareness I was curious, have others felt the same way? Also, if the situation presents itself (like my recent shoot) where you get it very close to right in camera, have you just done slight jpeg edits in LR and called it good?

I also found out that you can get pretty good B&W conversions in LR from the camera color jpeg. (something I never tried, but there's an example below)
I'm a fan of B&W from RAW whenever possible, but that's me.

If I were doing a small shoot I might consider using just the JPEGs. But for the events I shoot I think the workflow would be longer, looking at 400 images to say which JPEG / RAW to use. Especially when I'm adding them to the RAW files from my Nikon's (still my primary cameras).
 

dweller

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As a rank amateur I helped a friend with their wedding photos this summer.
I used an EM5 with pan 20mm and a G5 with pan 45-200.
I had tweaked some of the in camera jpeg settings and I did shoot in RAW + jpeg .
But I was happy enough with the results and the white balance to send them all their pics in jpeg
with the offer of RAWs for them to process if they wanted.
They haven't asked for the RAWs so I think that what I sent pleased them and was "good enough"
 

emorgan451

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I use huelight profile for my ORF files and think it does the job very fine.

I tried out olympus jpeg alot but often find that the skin tones turnes out a little bit to red compared to huelight orf.
I bought the profiles as well and find them much better than lightroom std. I have noticed what you mean, the jpegs do have slightly more red, sometimes good sometimes bad. It's good to have multiple good options.. Lol
 

noohoggin1

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I'm working an event this weekend and have to use jpegs to print photos on the spot for customers. My go to camera has been my EM5 for a couple years ago, although I brought along my GH4 to try it on a couple shots (basically same settings and lighting, since I'm using off-camera flash in a controlled environment) since I'm still learning that camera. No contest, the EM5's jpegs beat the GH4's out-of-camera jpegs. In fact, by comparison I was surprised how flat and dull the jpegs were. For those couple shots with the GH4, I couldn't even print them and hand to the customer without using the raw files (I always shoot Raw + jpeg) and sprucing them up first in Camera Raw to give them a little more punch. But admittedly I haven't fine-tuned any custom settings in the GH4.
 

T N Args

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No contest, the EM5's jpegs beat the GH4's out-of-camera jpegs. In fact, by comparison I was surprised how flat and dull the jpegs were.
Here is a pro taking a GH4 and an EM5 on an assignment, who found the GH4 jpegs were the winner. Looks like the GH4 is the best jpeg camera for µ4/3 today.

admittedly I haven't fine-tuned any custom settings in the GH4.
Obviously not necessary. But it will help increase the advantage of the GH4 over the EM5, as Tuck demonstrated in the article linked above.
 

OzRay

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T N Args

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Loved the way his GH4 was absolutely nailing the AWB though. You can't beat 'nailed the exact colour balance'.
 

OzRay

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Loved the way his GH4 was absolutely nailing the AWB though. You can't beat 'nailed the exact colour balance'.
Out of the three cameras he used, the GH4 worked best for him for stage work. He recently bought a Nikon, because the flash works best for him for outdoor assignments. He's using the E-M5 because for some his theatre work it works best. Horses for courses.
 

Ulfric M Douglas

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The difference in GH4 Jpeg experiences from this ;
No contest, the EM5's jpegs beat the GH4's out-of-camera jpegs. In fact, by comparison I was surprised how flat and dull the jpegs were. ...
... But admittedly I haven't fine-tuned any custom settings in the GH4.
to this;
... who found the GH4 jpegs were the winner..
can certainly be explained in Kirk tuck's article where he goes into some detail about how he dug into the GH4's deepest setting and by experimentation brought out good sharp Jpegs. This takes a lot of time and effort, patience and understanding.
Without that ... they just may not happen.
 

T N Args

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Out of the three cameras he used, the GH4 worked best for him for stage work. He recently bought a Nikon, because the flash works best for him for outdoor assignments. He's using the E-M5 because for some his theatre work it works best. Horses for courses.
Come off it, Ray. He said:

-the GH4 is his best overall shooting camera;
-he's sorry he bought the Nikon kit, in retrospect it was a mistake;
-he brought the EM5 on the assignment assuming its IS would be an advantage, but he was wrong, the GH4 OIS is just as good;
-the Olympus Jpegs at default are far too chunky with way too viscous shadows that pull them down and kill shadow detail (Ulfric take note, before jumping to the conclusion that it is the GH4 jpegs that need the greater amount of fine tuning).
 

OzRay

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Come off it, Ray. He said:

-the GH4 is his best overall shooting camera;
-he's sorry he bought the Nikon kit, in retrospect it was a mistake; -
-he brought the EM5 on the assignment assuming its IS would be an advantage, but he was wrong, the GH4 OIS is just as good;
-the Olympus Jpegs at default are far too chunky with way too viscous shadows that pull them down and kill shadow detail (Ulfric take note, before jumping to the conclusion that it is the GH4 jpegs that need the greater amount of fine tuning).
I decided to bring along the D7100 for all the situations in which I needed to rely on accurate and automatic flash work. I brought the GH4 for the well lit stage shots and I brought the EM-5 cameras for all the "walking around looking for cool stuff" shots that I hoped would pop up with regularity.

Now, before you go all nuts over what I spent 4,000 frames examining it's important for me to say that any of the files would be/are eminently usably by my clients. Any one of the edited files can be individually fine tuned to get close to one another. I wouldn't have bothered to shoot with any one of the three cameras if they didn't pass muster for reliable usability.

A surprise experiment yielded some fun and unexpected results when using a different flash on the Olympus EM5. The camera nearly flawlessly metered for the ambient light in dark rooms and then kicked in just enough light to fill but without casting noticeably shadows. It's an interesting look and works pretty well.

My purchasing decision is hardly fatal. The Nikon does do flash better than the other two cameras. The look, in portraits, is very nice when using the 14 bit raw files (uncompressed) in conjunction with the 85mm 1.8 G lens. But that's about it. A nice portrait system. Great for the studio. An intermediate step between the full frame depth of field aesthetic and the M4:3 look.
Are we reading the same blog post?
 

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