Questions about RAW, preview and Lightroom?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by snerkler, Aug 3, 2013.

  1. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2012
    #1
    Hi,

    I'm just starting out on the world of photography and the world of RAW. I've noticed that there's a difference between the way Mac's inbuilt preview app and lightroom (LR) display the RAW images, and I understand this is just the way that the difference programs process the file.

    The preview image looks so much more vibrant and has more depth than the LR image and I think it looks great, however no matter how much I tweak the image in LR I can't get it to look as good (granted I'm new to LR too).

    So is there a way to get the RAW image in LR to look like the RAW image in preview? Alternatively is there a way to convert the RAW file to keep the appearance of preview? If I save it to a different format (such as uncompressed tiff) via preview it doesn't retain the same look as the RAW file.

    Any help appreciated.

    P.S. I've got a Sony Alpha A77 with 16-50mm f2.8 and 55-300mm
     
  2. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2009
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    #2
    Preview does not show you the RAW file; it shows you the embedded JPEG image. Lightroom on the other hand, will show you the RAW image.

    RAW images need to be processed to look good/the way you want. If you don't want to process, shoot jpeg instead.
     
  3. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2012
    #3
    Thanks for the reply. I have no issues with processing, but I just wish I knew how to get the RAW image in LR to look as good as the embedded jpeg?

    Also, if it's an embedded jpeg that I'm seeing, why does this look different to the actual JPEG when I shoot in RAW + JPEG? Is there any way to extrapolate (if that's the right word) the embedded jpeg?
     
  4. macrumors 68020

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    Fukuoka, Japan
    #4
    If all you want is to make the RAW file look as good as the jpg that is produced by your camera, you should just shoot jpg.
     
  5. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2012
    #5
    But as I said, the actual jpeg created is not as good as the preview of RAW (apparently the jpeg embedded in it) :confused:

    This is a screen capture of the RAW image in preview on the left, and the JPEG image opened in preview on the right. The top arrow shows more vibrancy/saturation on the stem of the RAW, the middle arrow shows more vibrancy/saturation and a possibly a bit more contrast, and the bottom arrow shows a slightly different colour to the flower head, and also the outer part of the flower head becomes noticeably lighter on the jpeg, whereas the RAW is still deeper/richer.

    I know it's very difficult to see from this and the differences look tiny here, but when you switch from one to the other in full screen the difference is instantly noticeable.

    [​IMG]

    If the RAW preview is indeed showing the embedded jpeg, why is this different to the actual jpg file from the camera (shot in RAW + JPEG mode)? :confused: Due to this I can't just shoot in jpeg if I want the image to look as good as the RAW preview as the jpeg image is different :confused:
     
  6. macrumors 68020

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    #6
    If you're unhappy with the jpg produced by the camera, you have to modify settings in the camera. I don't know which settings are used to produce the preview jpg of RAW files, among other things that depends on make and model of your camera. So you will have no choice but to tweak your jpg conversion settings in your camera. Some cameras also feature a variety of presets (e. g. my Fuji offers film simulation modes, my Nikon presets like Vivid and such).

    But i reiterate my point: I don't think it is useful for you to even worry about RAW conversions. Lightroom can also work off of jpgs. The other option is to shoot RAW only and create a suitable Lightroom preset which emulates your preferred in-camera conversion look. But RAW conversions initially look muted on purpose, it's your job to develop them (e. g. they are much less sharp since you always sharpen at the end of a longer workflow and not somewhere in the middle).
     
  7. thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 14, 2012
    #7
    To be honest I am still deciding whether to work with jpeg or RAW, and giving both a fair crack of the whip. I know RAW gives you more control, but the jpegs are very good already imo.

    But my frustration still remains. Of all the images the embedded jpeg (RAW preview) is the best of them all. If I could access and save this file I'd do very little to no editing.

    If the appearance of the jpeg is due to the camera conversion process this still doesn't explain (to me at least) why the embedded jpeg in the RAW file looks different to the actual jpeg file? Can anyone shed any light on this? Am I missing something obvious here?
     
  8. macrumors 6502a

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    #8
    Don't have all the answers for you, but raw processing doesn't take much time provided you know the program. If you are new to Lightroom, there are loads of great tutorials on youtube provided by slrlounge.com, kelbytraining.com and adobe.com. I rarely have to spend more than a minute to process a photo to the result that I want, unless I have to do some serious retouching.

    The key is definitely how well you know the software you work with, and that's something you can learn relatively easy.
     
  9. thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    Thanks. I am going to use this as a training exercise. Obviously it is possible to get the image to look like the RAW preview it's just a matter of knowing how. If I can get it to look like the RAW image I think I'll have a greater understanding of LR. I will definitely check the videos out at the moment.

    TBH I think I'm trying to tackle too much in one go. I'm only just learning how to take photos properly, and am reading Understating Exposure by Bryan Peterson at present, let alone trying to learn a new bit of software at the same time :eek:;)
     
  10. macrumors 6502

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    #10
    I think your best bet in learning LR is to watch some videos from Terry White or Matt Kalslowski
     
  11. macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    Kloskowski ;)

    He's good. He's one of the instructors @ Kelbytraining.com. And NAPP.
     
  12. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2012
    #12
    This is what happens in my D700 - see if it's the same for you:
    - set your camera to RAW+jpg
    - set your jpegs to monochrome

    When you shoot a photo, the jpeg will be monochrome, but the embedded jpeg in the RAW file will be color. Evidently the camera settings do not affect the extracted RAW/jpeg.

    Also, the extracted jpg will be large size, regardless of in-camera settings, and will be NL - not Std, Mono, or Vivid.

    FWIW, I use IJFR to extract the jpg.
     
  13. macrumors 68040

    acearchie

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2006
    #13
    Not sure if you have tried this but in LR you can go down to camera settings in the develop module and emulate the settings which you used to shoot the image (portrait, standard, netural, etc.) another option is edit the photo to how you seem to like it (mostly seems to be an increase in vibrance, contrast and a slight push of exposure) and save it as a preset that can then be applied to every photo automatically on import.
     
  14. thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #14
    UNfortunately there are no presets in LR for the A77, although I have downloaded them. None look like the embedded jpeg. I will continue my learning with LR and see if I can emulate the same look :)

    ----------

    I have just downloaded the IJFR from michael tapes design but it won't let me install it as it's from an "unknown developer". Is it safe to change my security settings to install it?
     
  15. macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    Hold down cmd while you right click and choose open.
     
  16. thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    Yeah, just wondered if it was safe. Tried it and the embedded jpeg's aren't as rich as the RAW preview so unfortunately of no use to me :(
     
  17. macrumors 68020

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    #17
    Then you have to create your own.
     
  18. macrumors G4

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    Redondo Beach, California
    #18
    Are you SURE? I have many Nikon NEF type raw image files and none of them have embedded JPG images except for the tiny thumbnail.
    Try setting your camera to record raw only, no jpg and see for yourself.

    I think the best answer is the Preview will use the embedded JPG image if one is available, otherwise it processes the raw file. RAW processing is built-into Core Image on the Mac.

    The reason the files look different is exactly what the OP thought, it's just Adobe's vs. Apple's idea of what needs to be done.
     
  19. ocabj, Aug 11, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2013

    macrumors 6502

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    #19
    RAW is simply a file with all the data from the image sensor at the time the photo was taken.

    If you have your camera to record to JPEG, it's essentially taking the RAW data and based on the settings you have in camera, is doing the RAW to JPEG translation on the fly, processing it, and recording the JPEG to the memory card.

    If you're working with RAW, you're basically going to 'develop' the JPEG. Most of the time, you're going to adjust the white balance, do lens correction (using LR built-in profiles), tweak your curves if you want to pull or push highlights and shadows, and do sharpening.

    In the case where you're looking at the JPEG preview file embedded in the RAW as being better than the JPEG you're developing in LR, you say that the colors look deeper and richer in the RAW-JPEG preview. Well it sounds like you know what you want out of your JPEG: more saturated and vibrant colors. LR has basic sliders to handle this for you. Adjust the saturation and vibrancy sliders until you get the effect you want.

    Yes, if you're unhappy with your ability to develop RAW on your own in post, then by all means you can shoot JPEG.

    But remember this: When you shoot JPEG on camera, you pretty much lock yourself into the photo as it was shot. You can do some stuff in photoshop to change it up as far as exposure and curves, but you lose a lot of editing capabilities without maximum image quality simply because you're working on an already (lossy) compressed image file (JPEG). If the JPEG is already good, why should you care? Well, you should because what happens if you're tastes change on a given image and you decide you want less saturation, or you realize you need to recover highlights or shadow detail?

    What happens if you have a photo that you took that you really wanted, but for some reason under or over exposed to the point where it was useless? If you shot in JPEG, you're pretty much screwed. But with RAW, you can use the more advanced features of RAW processing engines in Lightroom, Photoshop, or other software to try and recover that photo. And down the line, there's the highly likely possibility that RAW processing software improves in the future and something you shot today in RAW could be even more improved upon years down the line.
     

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