Help Me Set Up My Camera

Val-kyrie

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Feb 13, 2005
1,921
1,195
Ok, a while ago i asked for advice on Canon and Nikon DSLRs. Well, our family took a big reduction in pay, so I did not buy a camera, but I was given a micro four-thirds Olympus PEN E-PL5 by a friend. :cool: Since I have only used a point-and-shoot prior to this, I am wondering about my initial settings.

1) Do I shoot in RAW only or RAW and JPEG?
I will be shooting for about a week and have two 32GB cards. I know RAW is better than JPEG for post-processing, though both score similarly in reviews for quality.

2) What aspect should I use for JPEG, if I shoot RAW + JPEG?

3) Olympus provides software to read the JPEGs and I have Adobe Photoshop Elements for Mac 11 to convert RAW files to JPEG. Does anyone have any experience with the quality of the RAW conversions to JPEG using PE 11?

I am learning as I go here, so any advice is appreciated.
 

MCAsan

macrumors 601
Jul 9, 2012
4,539
412
Atlanta
Been shooting my Olympus E-M1 around 2 weeks after 40 years in SLR land. The wife and I both sold off all our Canon stuff to go micro four thirds. Just as in DSLR land, I only shoot raw files to maximize the data capture. I import the raw files to Lightroom (Aperture is an alternative) for basic adjustments and organizing. With either Lightroom or Aperture you can get a world of plugins to extend your editing capabilities. But for now, consider getting Lightroom or Aperture and learn to do the file organization (you will be glad when years from now you have 50,000 photos or more).


By the way, you will like get more detailed camera help if you go to the M43 user group: http://www.mu-43.com. At M43 there are sub forums for Olympus and Panasonic bodies.

Welcome to M43 photography!
 
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Parkin Pig

macrumors 6502a
Oct 23, 2009
662
109
Yorkshire-by-Gum
I too sold off all my Canon SLR gear to go M43, opting for an Olympus PEN E-P5.

I am presuming you are relatively new to having to dig down into the settings, having only used a P&S before. For that reason I would strongly recommend that you use RAW and JPEG.

There's a lot of very experienced photographers/post-processors on this forum, many of whom seem to think that using JPEGs is a sign of weakness, but your E-PL5 will produce excellent JPEGs, which you can instantly share with people while you gain experience in processing your RAW files.

When, and ONLY when you are confident in your RAW processing skills should you consider switching to RAW only. Even then, you may just want to take some fun snaps and not be bothered having to process them afterwards.

The E-PL5 also has Olympus's excellent art filters, which you should definitely try out. If your camera is set to RAW + JPEG, you will get a JPEG processed with the art filter, plus a RAW unprocessed file to do with as you will.

As for aspect - always use the largest (i.e. 4608x3456), as you can crop the photo to any of the other sizes afterwards. Better to have a large photo to crop, rather than a small photo that you can't fit everything into.

Memory cards are cheap enough now that you don't have to worry about space.

My personal take on photography (and this is only my opinion) is that your best starting point is to concentrate on producing engaging, well composed pictures rather than worrying about how technically perfect they are when zoomed in to pixel-level. Have fun, and sweat the techy stuff as you progress.
 

Oracle1729

macrumors 6502a
Feb 4, 2009
634
0
Last Question--What do you all suggest for an aspect ratio?

Not an issue (RAW is only 4:3), unless I also shoot JPEG.

Here are my options:
Why would you ever consider shooting an aspect ratio other than the native ratio of your sensor. Using anything else is just making the camera automatically crop at predetermined points. Why do you want to just throw away the pixels?

Choose the aspect ratio in post processing.
 

Oracle1729

macrumors 6502a
Feb 4, 2009
634
0
There's a lot of very experienced photographers/post-processors on this forum, many of whom seem to think that using JPEGs is a sign of weakness, but your E-PL5 will produce excellent JPEGs, which you can instantly share with people while you gain experience in processing your RAW files.

When, and ONLY when you are confident in your RAW processing skills should you consider switching to RAW only. Even then, you may just want to take some fun snaps and not be bothered having to process them afterwards.
What do you mean by sign of weakness? You're not shooting to impress people with your tech skills, you're shooting for final result. Anyone who cares what format you shoot in has no idea what they're talking about and their opinion counts for 0.

The OP put it better, raws are a working format for editing and jpegs are a delivery format for viewing.

As for your advice, rather than shoot just jpeg, what's the harm in shooting raw+jpeg, and dumping the raws on a hard drive somewhere for later just in case he wants them later when his raw processing skills improve? He may capture an image next week that turns out to be one of his favourites 5 years from now. 32 gig cards raw+jpeg is still well over 1000 images per card, and storage is cheap.
 

themumu

macrumors 6502a
Feb 13, 2011
717
558
Sunnyvale
As for your advice, rather than shoot just jpeg, what's the harm in shooting raw+jpeg, and dumping the raws on a hard drive somewhere for later just in case he wants them later when his raw processing skills improve? He may capture an image next week that turns out to be one of his favourites 5 years from now. 32 gig cards raw+jpeg is still well over 1000 images per card, and storage is cheap.
Agree. It's very convenient to have a JPEG ready to use right after shooting if you want to share the results immediately. One may not always have the time to turn a RAW file into a well processed JPEG right away. People who only publish 1 or 2 jaw dropping images a month and nothing else probably don't care for in-camera JPEGs, but for the rest of us it's a great option to have :)
 

tcphoto

macrumors 6502a
Feb 23, 2005
758
2
Madison, GA
I shoot images for a living and view RAW like the film that I shot when I started. Like transparency film, RAW file exposure is critical but very versatile while I see JPEG like negative film. You can be off in your exposure but it can be saved with a little effort. There is simply more information in a RAW compared to JPEG but it all depends on the final application.
 

DirtySocks85

macrumors 65816
Mar 12, 2009
1,430
70
Wichita, KS
Agree. It's very convenient to have a JPEG ready to use right after shooting if you want to share the results immediately. One may not always have the time to turn a RAW file into a well processed JPEG right away. People who only publish 1 or 2 jaw dropping images a month and nothing else probably don't care for in-camera JPEGs, but for the rest of us it's a great option to have :)
I shoot RAW only and I go through and pick the best images from a shoot that I'm willing to "show the world" (usually about 10-15% of shots for me). Then I process those RAW files for jpg output. I tend to spend anywhere from 3 minutes to an hour on a RAW file (with the average probably being somewhere close to the 5-10 minute range). Worst case scenario with RAW only (unless I'm missing something) is to import into Aperture/Lightroom, let the software do a quick auto-adjust and then export.

I just don't see why someone would want to take their options away and do jpg only. Particularly when it's not like they really have to do much more to convert it to jpg after.
 

Oracle1729

macrumors 6502a
Feb 4, 2009
634
0
I shoot images for a living and view RAW like the film that I shot when I started. Like transparency film, RAW file exposure is critical but very versatile while I see JPEG like negative film. You can be off in your exposure but it can be saved with a little effort. There is simply more information in a RAW compared to JPEG but it all depends on the final application.
Interesting, considering raw files from a modern camera easily give you 2-3 stops of exposure compensation in post while jpegs require exact exposure and any post adjustment to exposure translates to a direct loss of image quality.
 

Oracle1729

macrumors 6502a
Feb 4, 2009
634
0
Aspect ratio links:

Look Here

And Here

Dale
Just read the first link. His buying tip conclusion is to buy canon or nikon only if the majority of your prints are 4x6 and if you want to want to print a lot of enlargements buy panasonic or olympus. I don't mean to insult those last two companies, but is this guy for real??

His lack of attention to detail is kind of funny, he says no enlarged sizes are 3:2 and gives 11x17 as an example. 11x17 was chosen because it's almost 3:2. 11x14 is the traditional standard.
 

Parkin Pig

macrumors 6502a
Oct 23, 2009
662
109
Yorkshire-by-Gum
Quite astonishing how you managed to flame me by making the exact same points I made as if you were contradicting me. Did you actually read my post before throwing your tampon at me?

What do you mean by sign of weakness?
From my post: There's a lot of very experienced photographers/post-processors on this forum, many of whom seem to think that using JPEGs is a sign of weakness.
I was indicating that some people on these forums are always preaching 'RAW only', and seem to look on anyone who uses JPEGs with the same disdain as anyone who uses 'fully auto' mode on a camera.

You're not shooting to impress people with your tech skills, you're shooting for final result. Anyone who cares what format you shoot in has no idea what they're talking about and their opinion counts for 0.
From my post: My personal take on photography (and this is only my opinion) is that your best starting point is to concentrate on producing engaging, well composed pictures rather than worrying about how technically perfect they are when zoomed in to pixel-level.

As for your advice, rather than shoot just jpeg, what's the harm in shooting raw+jpeg, and dumping the raws on a hard drive somewhere for later just in case he wants them later when his raw processing skills improve?
From my post: I am presuming you are relatively new to having to dig down into the settings, having only used a P&S before. For that reason I would strongly recommend that you use RAW and JPEG.
RAW and JPEG - sorry if that came across as just JPEG.

He may capture an image next week that turns out to be one of his favourites 5 years from now.
From my post: ...your E-PL5 will produce excellent JPEGs, which you can instantly share with people while you gain experience in processing your RAW files.

32 gig cards raw+jpeg is still well over 1000 images per card, and storage is cheap.
From my post: Memory cards are cheap enough now that you don't have to worry about space.

If you have trouble reading my post, hold the 'cmd' key down and press the '+' key a couple of times then try again.
 
Last edited:

egis

macrumors member
Sep 3, 2008
76
0
Bethesda, Maryland
Ok, a while ago i asked for advice on Canon and Nikon DSLRs. Well, our family took a big reduction in pay, so I did not buy a camera, but I was given a micro four-thirds Olympus PEN E-PL5 by a friend. :cool: Since I have only used a point-and-shoot prior to this, I am wondering about my initial settings.

1) Do I shoot in RAW only or RAW and JPEG?
I will be shooting for about a week and have two 32GB cards. I know RAW is better than JPEG for post-processing, though both score similarly in reviews for quality.

2) What aspect should I use for JPEG, if I shoot RAW + JPEG?

3) Olympus provides software to read the JPEGs and I have Adobe Photoshop Elements for Mac 11 to convert RAW files to JPEG. Does anyone have any experience with the quality of the RAW conversions to JPEG using PE 11?

I am learning as I go here, so any advice is appreciated.
Have we now ended the flame throwing?
Val-Kyrie

Response to Question 1. - 3 excellent articles that might help you
10 good reasons why you should shoot raw
http://photographyconcentrate.com/10-reasons-why-you-should-be-shooting-raw/

Shooting JPEG instead of raw
http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2012/03/ken-tanaka-shooting-jpeg-instead-of-raw.html

Confessions of a JPEG Shooter - Scott Kelby
http://scottkelby.com/2010/confessions-of-a-jpeg-shooter/

Response to Question 2. Do not worry - you can change any image to convenient ratios in PS E
see: http://www.texaschicksblogsandpics.com/photoshop-elements-tutorial-aspect-ratio-and-print-size/

Response to Question 3. Read articles ref in response 1. Get comfortable with your camera and software. If you are interested in shooting raw, do it along side JPEG, as there is a sharp learning curve for adequately and creatively post processing raw imagery.

Understand that PS E is built to accommodate mostly JPEG shooters. Yes there are a some basic raw capabilities as Adobe Camera Raw is part of app however PS E does not fully expose all you can do with raw.

Most of your camera's settings are so the CPU in the camera knows what do with the raw images the sensor captures and produce the JPEG image. So, it would seem important to learn how your camera works and what each setting means. If you simply shot raw, most (but not all) of the camera settings are irrelevant, as you will rely on your software to produce an image to your liking. Going this route exceeds what an app like PS E provides.
BTW - raw is not a format, and should not be capitalized.
 
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NukeIT

macrumors regular
Mar 20, 2013
233
0
I too use to be worried about shooting raw+JPEG but found in the end the JPEG files just sat on my NAS never to be looked at again.

I think some novices are afraid to venture into raw because it seems scary and foreign. But it is rather easy to work with and your results typically will be better and more forgiving.

Depending on the type of shooter you are, and the subject shooting raw+JPEG will fill your buffer up quicker and shut down your rapid fire sequences. Nothing to worry about if your shooting landscapes but at the races or your kids soccer game is a different story. (Of course this also depends on the quality of your SD card and your camera bodies rate of fire.)
 

Designer Dale

macrumors 68040
Mar 25, 2009
3,986
99
Folding space
Just read the first link. His buying tip conclusion is to buy canon or nikon only if the majority of your prints are 4x6 and if you want to want to print a lot of enlargements buy panasonic or olympus. I don't mean to insult those last two companies, but is this guy for real??

His lack of attention to detail is kind of funny, he says no enlarged sizes are 3:2 and gives 11x17 as an example. 11x17 was chosen because it's almost 3:2. 11x14 is the traditional standard.
The purpose of the links are to give the OP (not you) references regarding aspect ratios and hard copy sizes.

Do something constructive. It might be hard, but I know you can do it.

Dale
 

Team Timm

macrumors regular
May 17, 2012
190
5
FL
If you don't mind processing the RAW file, shoot RAW only. If it's a time sensitive event (family get together) and you want to share quickly after, shoot RAW & JPEG and upload the JPEGs and you have the RAW files in case you have that perfect photo you want to fix up later on.

Keep shooting and just enjoy it! Cheers!
 

paolo-

macrumors 6502a
Aug 24, 2008
831
1
If you're just getting started in photography, I'd advise raw+jpg.

Learning how to capture good images on top of learning the specifics of your camera can already be overwhelming. Throwing post processing in the mix right now is probably not the best idea. Concentrate on getting good jpg out of the camera for now and keep the raw files around for when you step into post processing.
 

ChrisA

macrumors G4
Jan 5, 2006
11,641
406
Redondo Beach, California
Last Question--What do you all suggest for an aspect ratio?

Not an issue (RAW is only 4:3), unless I also shoot JPEG.

Here are my options:
One of them is a "native" aspect ratio. That means the sensor can be only one aspect. the others are "crops". Shoot in the nati=ve mode and do the crops later in post processing. 4:3 seem to be the native aspect ratio.

It has been several days so I hope by now you have a hundred or some frames shot and yo've tried processing some RAW images.

The biggest mistake beginners make is to wait for special events to take pictures. You best work is NEVER done on these special cases events because you are busy doing some non-photo related stuff. The best work is when you have time to choose the time ove day that will have the best light, w=or to re-shoot if the weather is more interesting. Or when your modle has time to change outfits. Vaction shots are just "shot what's there.

So if you have a new camera and some special event is coming make a gaol to shoot 1,000 frames between now nd then. Make yourself an assignment. Shott 50 frames for theta assignment. process those frames and keep the 2 or 3 best. Judge them. Then do another assignment, keeping the best 2% or 4%. Do this 20 times. or once per day.

For the assignment look at the work of professionals you like and try to emulates the ones you like. Be critical and reju=ect 90% of you work, at least.

I hate to say it but posting aquatints about "settings" is a sure sign you are not shooting images. The way to learn it to shot images. Place the camera on FULL AUTOMATIC unless you have one reason not to. Very soon your will find reasons to take it off auto.
Try and shoot 1,000 images all within 1 miles of your home. Don't waste any more time traveling when you could be shooting.