Upgraded to 5D mkII - RAW to JPEG workflow?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by duncanapple, Nov 30, 2009.

  1. duncanapple macrumors 6502

    Jun 12, 2008
    So I finally went to a full frame camera - I am very (very) impressed with this camera in low light - even if I throw it in auto (such as when i first opened it, or when my wife uses it) and let the camera decide, it does a terrific job. Most times though, I like to use it in full manual and RAW.

    One question for those of you using high MP cameras... the RAW file sizes seem to be in the 20-25 mb range :eek: which I expected. I understand the value of shooting RAW to edit, but once you are happy with the adjustments, do you loose anything converting the finished file to a JPEG? Other than the ability to further manipulate the image with the same range of choice? I am somewhat of a noob in this arena, but unless I am mistaken, you dont loose any detail, resolution, color, etc by going to JPEG vs RAW right? You just cant edit as well on JPEG?

    I realize I can fairly cheaply swap out hard drives to get more storage, but 25mb file sizes will gobble up even large hard drives in a hurry. Nature of the beast I guess, but curious if I loose anything by shooting in RAW, editing, and then converting to JPEG? What are all you guys/girls doing out there?
  2. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    You can buy a 1TB drive now for $100. if each image is 25mb then the drive holds 40,000 image files. That is 1/4 of a cent per image.

    You are right, the only reason to keep the RAW files is if you want to re-edit the shot. I think JPGs are like prints and RAW like negatives.
    I always keep whatever kind of file came out of the camera. You can never know when you might want to edit it again. But if you are 100% certain you will never need to make another JPG and you realy, really need to recover that 1/4 cent of space then delete it.
  3. Edge100 macrumors 68000

    May 14, 2002
    Where am I???
    The major things you lose shooting in JPEG are headroom (you can usually extract 1EV of highlight detail from a 'clipped' RAW), bit depth (JPEGs are 8-bit, while RAWs are at the bit depth of your sensor...14-bit with the 5DmkII), and control over white balance (RAWs can be easily converted to any WB setting after capture).

    HD space is cheap; I see no reason to shoot JPEG unless you need very rapid turnaround of your images or unless you don't care about fine tuning your images (for instance, I switch to JPEG when I take my camera to a family gathering or a night out or something like that).
  4. mtbdudex macrumors 68000


    Aug 28, 2007
    SE Michigan
    +1 on shooting family gatherings (and other non-essential's) in jpeg if you want to save space.
    Mine left on RAW, I shot about 150 of our Thanksgiving gathering of 25 people, deleted the duds (camera operator and subject goofiness), still about 75. I did not want to PP majority of these, just share with family members. RAW not needed for those.

    However for the big "group shot" you might want to switch to RAW for the extra editing of that, we took 2 group shots which I will PP later this week for xmas gift to our parents. So RAW might allow me final better shot than jpeg.

    The other thing, HD video sucks up HD space also, are you gonna use your 5D for that?
    Having a 16GB card and filling that up/download to HD, you quickly eat up HD space. Both your primary and backup.
    fwiw, I'm looking forward to 100T HD's in 4-6 years, that time will be here sooner that later
  5. duncanapple thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 12, 2008
    Thanks for the replies - I agree HD space is cheap - just was curious if people were leaving them RAW if they never intended to come back to edit.

    @mtbdudex - yeah, I am def going to use the video ability (it was partially how I justified such an expensive camera to myself despite the fact that I am not making $ from it :) ) and I can see video overtaking current hard drives in a hurry too!
  6. Kronie macrumors 6502a


    Dec 4, 2008
    Dont forget about sRAW

    Family stuff, vacations, some travel I just shoot sRAW. Landscapes, art stuff, things I may want to print big, then RAW. I don't use JPEG anymore I can just convert from RAW in LR to what I need.

    90% of what I shoot is in sRAW. 21MP is nice but overkill unless your printing BIG or heavy cropping.
  7. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Jun 9, 2009
    I really never saw the point in shooting anything less than full resolution or RAW on my D80. I shot JPEG when I started out but after a couple months went into shooting RAW and never went back. The only time I will shoot JPEG now is if I'm taking a picture of something that I'm selling online or something where I really have no need to edit. Other than that though, I always tend towards the "it's easier to downsample or compress a RAW than it is to get detail out of a JPEG that turned out especially well".

    I suppose that my shooting habits work well with this philosophy and that's why I don't really have a problem. I find that I rarely use my camera for anything other than "serious" shooting (i.e. looking to create an image, not just snapshooting) and there are so many cameras at my family gatherings that I don't really need to bother with shooting more pictures. And when I do snapshoot or shoot family it's so rare that I just use RAW anyways.

  8. jbg232 macrumors 65816


    Oct 15, 2007
    If using a program like aperture you can adjust the exposure and the white balance very well (up to +/- 1EV) using the RAW images. It is more than worth the extra HD space given how cheap storage has become.

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