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#1 Giles

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Posted 29 January 2006 - 11:14 AM

I know the benefits of RAW are that you can less obtrusively correct exposure or white balance mistakes after the shot is taken .. however you can also retake the shot in jpg over and over and compare it in camera whilst diving .. (and yes i know if that 6 gill shark comes by you only get one chance) but in all honestity I rarely have to adjust settings in my camera whilst on a dive .. unless I am drasticaly altering my very upward angle that I normally shoot (wide angle)

So I have been getting used to my fisheye lense a bit better .. and am very happy with my results ... my onlycontinuing error is that I keep getting strobe rays hitting the dome .. and get star bursts. This is because I use one strobe ony and so have to adjust the angle quite often to hit the main subject depending on shot orientation and subject composition, that helps me avoid hot spots also.

But I am still dissappointed in RAW .. i don't know if it is th D60 format of RAW .. or my converstion method .. (PS CS2with it's inbuilt RAW converter) I dab the white balance .. I gently slide the shadow / contrast and saturation. ... The images look very drab .. flat and un punchy ... I can really push the image to get it looking punchy .. but why would I want to do this .. when it takes so much time.

out of camera converted
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normal conversion
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punchier look
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and just for kicks ... heres one i just really like
Posted Image
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#2 Photobeat

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Posted 30 January 2006 - 02:54 PM

You make the point about taking the picture over and over again, and a lot of people say that about digital in general. If you have a great fish that is hanging around all the time or a plain reef scene sure you can shoot all day but I am a big believer in knowing how to get a picture fast and correct the 1st time. If I am a little off RAW can really save it. If I am watching a shark approach I want the nose where I want it in the frame at the right distance , the rear fin in a specific position etc, same with a diver comming through the scene. If you have a model fine you can shoot all day but I think some of my favorite pics were one time deals, no second chances. I don't get dozens of great pics on a card just a few to work with and RAW is great and worth the time to fine tune the very best pics.

If time is killing you with RAW what I do is use Nikon View to examine the entire card fast. If you are bringing up one pic at a time in PS it will take you all day to look at them and convert etc. and I can understand your fustration. Maybe Canon has a similar program. Nikon View (free program) quickly pulls up a large low res version of everything on the card. I immediately delete all bad composition or poor exposure/focus shots, then I write down the numbers I really like. The rest I look at an hour later or the next day and delete more again. I then open PS and go through the white balance on the best shots.

I am not so sure the RAW is making the images drab and less punchy, it just might be they were taken drab and less punchy. Unless you can show me a jpg frame to compare to the RAW frame. The one you like is because you were much closer, had a smaller f stop with the depth of field giving a sharper and saturated look, just need to light it a little more evenly, get even closer or find more coral to fill the bottom of the frame. You might have to get another strobe with that lens, If you shot from a lower closer position that would take more of the darker part of the reef in the background out of the view also.
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#3 CeeDave

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Posted 30 January 2006 - 03:08 PM

If time is killing you with RAW what I do is use Nikon View to examine the entire card fast.


I'm not as experienced a photog as Photobeat, but my workflow is similar; I just use Bridge in CS2 on the Mac to do the same sort of thing (not happy with the Nikon programs for the Mac, so far). I might take 70-100 images on a dive, but I usually throw around half of these out without having to think about it much. And there are usually no more than 6 that I really want to look at in detail. I can look at them pretty large in Bridge (part of CS2), and might just pull 3 over to PS. So, for me, the flexibility is worth the small additional time.

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#4 Detonate

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Posted 30 January 2006 - 04:06 PM

One of the benefits I find in using ACR in paticular, is it's ability to calibrate it to your camera.

Link to Calibration Script

Every sensor that comes from the factory, even on same model cameras, are going to react to light slightly different.

The script gives you the ability to compensate for that in ACR.

For perspective, the adjust on my D2x required:
Shadow Tint: -2
Red Hue: -22
Red Saturation: +30
Green Hue: -11
Green Saturation: -9
Blue Hue: +8
Blue Saturation: +4


The red is an excellent example of how drastic a difference this can make. Not only did the Hue of my red have to be adjust dramatically, look at the saturation.

Makes a huge difference in the output.

Also realize that the JPEG is always going to have a bit of a saturation push. If you like it, just incorporate it into the master saturation on the first tab, or push the numbers in the calibration tab for whichever channel you like.

I happen to like a +10 to main saturation on just about every image. So I have that saved as my default. But if I decide it's too much on a photo, it's very easy to dial down.

The other thing you can do, is save extra calbrations for specifc instances. Like add +10 to Greens and Blues on the calbration tab and save the setting as "Landscapes". Bump up the Reds and subtract a hair from the blues and save one called "Underwater".

The options are limitless, and as new technology becomes available, you'll sleep great knowing that you have the RAW files to fall back on when the next best thing hits the market!

So my recommedation is to spend a good deal of time playing with the calibration tab, save some different settings you like, and then notice how you apply those setting in Adobe Bridge just by right clicking a raw file. Very easy!!!

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#5 Detonate

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Posted 30 January 2006 - 04:08 PM

Oh yeah, and as far as workflow time goes. If you get an accurate calibration from the linked script and save it as your default, it will automatically apply to all images as you browse through them in bridge.

After calibrating my bridge, I can still tell the difference from my RAW files and my JPEG files easy enough. My RAW files look much better! :D

#6 Giles

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Posted 30 January 2006 - 07:04 PM

thanks guys ... i'll check out that script ... sounds usefull ..
and for the record ..

I use PS CS2 .. isit ACR thath it uses ? I pull all RAW files I feel are worth looking at closer into it from ACDSee .. easy drag and drop ...

I then edit each one individually ... depth and lighting is always very different in each of my photos.

It doesn't take WAY to long .. just a lot longer than a JPEG .. andas per photobeat I too also like to get the photo right in one shot .. which is why i love jpeg .. i foten do get it right .. and love the instant result ... if i getit right in RAW i still have some work to do after ... I still am not seeing anything but added extra workflow from RAW and extra hard drive space being used .. and no direct link between my RAW and jpeg files makes having two files pointless to me ... if the converted jpeg and RAW file were linked somehow then I could see more of a point.
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#7 MikeVeitch

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Posted 30 January 2006 - 09:07 PM

Giles, try the shadow slider in the RAW conversion, helps the contrast a bit

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#8 Photobeat

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Posted 30 January 2006 - 09:54 PM

I can see situations where it might be smarter to use jpg for like bulk pictures, school pics, Cruise photos, anything high volume, but not U.W. We tend to think everyone does what we do, I delete 90% or more of my pics being very critcal. If you save most of your stuff that can drain your time especially being in Grand Cayman you may shoot a ton. For me I am lucky if I get a couple winners to work on and I enjoy seeing the effects of differnt WB on a pic. IF you fix one you can macro the steps and batch process the others as conditions may be similar.

Sounds like your not printing much, It is the Options that RAW gives you adjustibility in everything before you edit, protecting the quality. RAW also gives you a 16 bit image which you can save to Tiff for high quality printing or cropping. I guess it depends on what you do with most of your pics, but other than putting all photos 100% of the time on the web or needing a lot more space on a memory card, I don't think you can possibly win an argument using why jpg is better than RAW.
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