Confusion on Raw "conversion"

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by OrangeCuse44, Jan 26, 2010.

  1. OrangeCuse44 macrumors 65816

    OrangeCuse44

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2006
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    #1
    I just want to clear up some confusion I'm having in terms of Raw conversion. Basically, the few times I've worked with Raw files, all I did was import them to my computer via Image Capture, added them to Lightroom to adjust any levels, then exported as a JPEG. Is there a better or right way to handle Raw files? I'd like to avoid shooting in Raw only to be defeating the purpose with the handling of the files. Please let me know if my question isn't clear and thanks for any help!
     
  2. nutmac macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2004
    #2
    I would skip the 1st and 3rd steps. In other words, use Lightroom to import RAW images and don't bother with export unless you need to share the file or publish it on the website.
     
  3. Abraxsis macrumors 6502

    Abraxsis

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    Sep 23, 2003
    Location:
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    #3
    I second nutmac's comment. Although personally I prefer to convert to DNG as opposed to working with a proprietary RAW file out of camera. If you do this as well, Adobe has a stand alone (Free) DNG converter that is blazingly quick compared to the Import/Conversion process in Lightroom. Link below if you want to check it out ...

    http://www.adobe.com/support/downloads/product.jsp?platform=Macintosh&product=106
     
  4. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #4
    A RAW file is the digital analog of a negative: pretty useless by itself, it needs to be developed. If you remember film negatives, the colors needed to be inverted, shifted and corrected to make the result resemble the scene you were taking a picture of.

    RAW files are the same: they just contain the raw data from the sensor which needs to be interpreted by either your camera or some piece of software on your Mac.

    To be honest, it seems to me that you probably don't really need to shoot RAW. If you are content with the jpgs straight from your camera, then you don't really need to use RAW. Lightroom can process jpgs just like other files.

    However, if you would like to continue shooting RAW, try to change your workflow: skip Image Capture and import pictures directly into Lightroom. Just let Lightroom manage your pictures, don't delete them after processing from your library. You only need to export your pics if you want to use them outside of Lightroom.
     
  5. John.B macrumors 601

    John.B

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    #5
    I thought just the opposite. Here is a guy who has all the puzzle pieces needed to make effective use of raw vs. having his camera's JPEGs throwing away potentially useful data.
     
  6. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    Apr 14, 2001
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    Sendai, Japan
    #6
    He doesn't puzzle over how to use RAW effectively, but how to use RAW at all. To me, the OP has given no indication as to whether he actually knows what the benefits of shooting RAW are. (No offense, that's why he came here to ask.)

    And for many things, you don't need to, especially if you are satisfied with the results jpgs give you. Shooting RAW just helps you fix fine details (which may be a big deal to some, including myself).
     
  7. OrangeCuse44 thread starter macrumors 65816

    OrangeCuse44

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2006
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    #7
    Just to clear up why I ask the question. I fully understand what Raw is and the benefits. I shoot in Raw for scenic shots, I only use JPEG when I'm doing more "snapshots" of the family type shots. I just wanted to make sure that when I import the Raw files to my Mac, I am not losing or destroying data therefore rendering the Raws useless. I appreciate the responses everyone.
     
  8. HarryPot macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2009
    #8
    No, you are not degrading the RAW file.

    My suggestion: keep the RAW files, and don't convert to JPEG unless you need to share them with someone else who can't open RAW files. Right now, with the cheap hard drives, shooting RAW is simply better than shooting JPEG, even for family photos.

    The advantage of programs like Lightroom and Aperture (not iPhoto), is that they have the ability to modify RAW files without the need to create extra files or changing the RAW file, this is what is called non-destructive editing.
     
  9. John.B macrumors 601

    John.B

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    #9
    FWIW, I do all my work in Lightroom -- and maybe Ps or Elements to fix specific problems. (It used to be Aperture, I still have older stuff there as there is no reason to convert it over.)

    For the five-star "keepers", I make 300dpi JPEGs (watermarked) and import those into various collections in iPhoto, which is a perfect fit for that. Then again, I never show anyone the sausage being made, only the final product. YMMV.

    OreoGuy, great point, I think I missed that initially. Usually when people ask me if they should shoot raw I find that the impediment is that they lack Lr or Aperture or even ACR/Bridge. In the OP's case he was over the biggest hurdle. Though learning to get the Develop module to work its magic at first is no mean feat!
     
  10. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #10
    No prob at all. Using appropriate (= Pro) software is but one complication, although I prefer Aperture as my poison :D
    No, the originals are never touched. You always develop a RAW and then save the developed RAW in a format of choice (most probably jpg, but any image format will do). You never alter the actual RAW file.

    Modern pieces of software such as Aperture and Lightroom go one step further: they never actually create a second image file, just a file that contains the adjustments you make (and a preview to improve performance).
     
  11. arogge macrumors 65816

    arogge

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