JPEG question

Mar 18th, 2007, 04:21 PM
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JPEG question

Hi, Taking a new digital SLR to Africa for safari. Noticed that on JPEG normal shooting I get about 250 pics per 1gb card, but for JPEG fine I get only about 70. Is JPEG normal ok for the stuff I will be shooting there, or should I be using JPEG fine? It is just amateur type stuff, not looking to spend my time taking millions of pics, more likely will be shooting my father and law and myself and the scenery, and with a 200mm lens getting as good shots as possible of the animals. I don't imagine ever blowing anything up bigger than 8x10 or so.
jenack is offline  
Mar 18th, 2007, 05:34 PM
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If you don't want to take 'millions' of pics, shoot at the higher quality level. In your place, I wouldn't like to assume that I wouldn't be lucky enough to score an image worth making into a quality enlargement bigger than 10x8, or even getting published in a glossy. You'll lose nothing by taking the precaution but could disappoint yourself if you don't.

Have you considered a small portable storage device so you can download your images and clear your cards in a matter of a few minutes every day? There are plenty of makes and capacities available.

afrigalah is offline  
Mar 18th, 2007, 05:45 PM
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Just wondering..... Isn't that 70 for RAW and 250 for JPEG fine? Or what kind of camera do you have?!

(Another possibility is that the question should be "What kind of camera do I have?")

As a real amateur I second John's conclusion. Shoot JPEG fine just in case you regret it if you don't. You may be surprised with the shots you get.
kimburu is offline  
Mar 18th, 2007, 06:39 PM
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The camera is a nikon D80; it is my first digital camera after years of shooting on a canon rebel SLR film camera, so the compression concept is new to me, although I am going to take a short class about digital. The camera will shoot in RAW alone, or JPEG basic, normal or fine, or it can be set to take two images with each shot, one RAW and one of the JPEG choices. I only experimented with the JPEG fine and normal, not with the RAW, and came up with the number of pics I mentioned. The guidebook said the RAW settings was for using the shots on a computer, and that in most cases the JPEG normal was the best choice, but I agree with your idea of shooting in JPEG fine in case I get something special. So I think I will look into a small storage device.
jenack is offline  
Mar 18th, 2007, 09:01 PM
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FYI, if you have an iPod, you can buy a small converter that, along with the UBS cable, will allow you to download your pictures for storage. It costs $20-30. Everyone on my trip to Peru was borrowing that little thing. Of course, you have to have the photo iPod or better.

Also, take extra cards just in case something happens.
hills27 is offline  
Mar 19th, 2007, 12:43 AM
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The Nikon d80 is a 10 mp camera and the size of jpeg fine is 4,8 mg per photo.The nef(raw) file is 12.4 mg per photo.

In this case Kimburu is right,with a 1 gb card you should make around 70 photos when you shoot nef and over 200 shooting jpeg fine and that would be jour choice as others said.

Take a portable device storage like John said,so you wont be worried to run out of space.

PacoAhedo is offline  
Mar 19th, 2007, 12:55 AM
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If you are shooting jpeg always shoot at the highest quality. Especially on a trip like a safari. You may not want large prints, but highest quality means you can crop your photos without too much loss of quality (and with a 200mm lens you may find you want to crop). In low quality you can't.
And what if you take a real humdinger of a photo that you want poster size - but you shot it in low quality jpeg?
Take at least one more card with you. Don't forget to format them in the camera, and re format after downloading your photos.
hetismij is offline  
Mar 19th, 2007, 01:37 AM
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I agree with hetismij - shoot large fine jpg. You should get 200 photos per 1 gig card, not 70. You may likely want to crop you photos for better subject size. Easy to do, if you don't have a program to do it, try IrfanView. Very versatile program for image cropping and color corrections and FREE. Forget about RAW for now.
How many SD cards to take? Cards are cheap now, yesterday I bought a 2(two) gig Kingston SD card at Frys Electronics (USA) for $18. (Sale good through 3/20). $$$$ wise it is reasonable to buy several cards versus a back-up/download storage gizmo. Maybe. A storage device is another piece of kit to learn how to use, hope it is working, keep battery charged, and have problems. Remember extra battery (or two) for the D80.
regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Mar 19th, 2007, 05:06 AM
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thanks for all that great info.
jenack is offline  
Mar 19th, 2007, 05:21 AM
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Also consider only shooting RAW. All digital SLR cameras support their own RAW file format. This really does open up some additional functionality/features that are not available in JPEG, such as the ability to alter the white balance after the fact. In a JPEG, once the photo has been taken, it is already 'baked' into the image. Granted, with programs like Lightroom you can still change this, but RAW files are much more functional, at the cost of storage space.
andybiggs is offline  
Mar 19th, 2007, 05:55 AM
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As a recent RAW convert, I totally agree with Andy that RAW is far superior because it is so much easier to adjust things like white balance after the fact. In fact, I doubt I will ever shoot anything important in JPEG ever again. But to shoot RAW, you need (a) to have a good understanding about how to use whatever RAW conversion software you are going to use (b) the patience to convert all your pictures before being able to show them to someone (c) large, high speed memory cards (I use Sandisk Extreme III 4GB cards) and (d) a portable storage device with a lot of capacity (I use the Hyperdrive HD Space 100GB). If you are willing to put up with all of that, RAW will give you the best-quality images, and will also allow you to salvage marginal pictures more easily than you could have if they had been shot in JPEG. However, I think the statements made by Jenack suggest to me that large/fine JPEG is the better way to go for this particular instance. The numbers of pictures per card quoted suggests to me the difference between JPEG and RAW+JPEG, because the Nikon D80 has the same resolution as the Digital Rebel XTI, and using a 4GB card, I get about 900 large fine JPEGs, and using RAW only I get just under 400 (depending on ISO setting and other factors).
Chris_GA_Atl is offline  
Mar 19th, 2007, 07:00 AM
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Can you tell me more about 'the patience to convert all of your pictures before showing them to someone'?

I just got the Panasonic FZ50, and Jim (husband) has mentioned that I should shoot in RAW for most of the same reasons that you and Andy mentioned, but that statement of yours caught my attention. And, if I ask him, I know I will get a very technical answer that I won't quite get...

Will I have to do something to the RAW images beore I can print them out and put them in an album? Do they not look quite as good before you do something else to them? And if so, what is that something else?

I have lots of patience, but no time!
LyndaS is offline  
Mar 19th, 2007, 07:21 AM
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A RAW image cannot be viewed except with software that will interpret the file format used by your particular camera. But if you have the right software, you can view them just as you would a JPEG, and some software products might permit you to print them directly from RAW. I know mine does not, so what I end up having to do is pull up the RAW image and look at it, make any adjustments to brightness, white balance, saturation, sharpness, etc. and crop it as needed, and then save the changes. The pictures generally look fine without any of this adjustment, but pretty much any picture can be improved, so I at least "tweak" almost every one.

When I finish with a folder of pictures, I then select all the ones I want to print, or display on the interet, and the software batch-processes all of them at once and converts them into JPEGs. If you want a lossless format for printing or for further editing in another program, you can also convert them to TIFF format in the exact same way.

So, the short answer to your questions is that the pictures look fine in RAW format (just the same as a JPEG would have), but to get them into a format for printing (at least for me) requires the extra conversin step. But that conversion can be done on whole batches of pictures at once, so it is actually quite fast and easy.

If you are the kind of person who looks at each picture, tweaks it to make it look better, and then prints, then this extra step won't be a big deal for you. But the tone of the original poster's message did not suggest an interest in doing that kind of work with the images, so the RAW conversion would have been a wholly new step. Also, obviously it depends on how many pictures you take as well.

From my standpoint, I think that the greater flexibility of RAW means that I can process RAW images far more quickly than JPEG. Particularly when I have a picture with difficult lighting (i.e., dark shadows obscuring details, etc.), I find the ability to adjust curves much more flexible in RAW than JPEG. So I end up spending less processing time with RAW than I did with JPEG.

I hope I answered your question -- let me know if I can tell you anything more about the process. It is different with different software products, and the two products I use for RAW conversion are Digital Photo Professional (which came with my Canon camera) and CaptureONE LE, so your software may be very different, or you may choose to use Adobe's RAW conversion, or DxO or some other product.

Chris_GA_Atl is offline  
Mar 19th, 2007, 08:32 AM
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I use raw most of the time ,but i think raw is not for everybody and not for every situation.

Here is a long, but very nice article (there are many) where you can see the advantages and disadvantages of shooting raw against jpeg.

If you donīt have the patience to read the complete article ,just go to the end of part III and read the:

DO YOU NEED RAW ? conclusion, i hope you dont get more confused.

If you do get confused ,then read Ken Rockwell reasons and..... you will never use RAW.

PacoAhedo is offline  
Mar 19th, 2007, 11:35 AM
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paco - thanks for the references to two great articles on the subject. I like Ken's answer to "Which should you shoot?" - "If you have to ask then just shoot JPG."
regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Mar 19th, 2007, 11:55 PM
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I'm afraid Ken Rockwell is not as much of an expert as he would like to think he is. Here's the real guide to who should use RAW...

If you get every single exposure spot-on in the camera then you should use jpeg. If you sometimes make a mistake with the exposure then you should seriously think about moving over to raw.

With the right software there's hardly any extra work to do with your images. The software can automatically process the raw images using the settings on the camera when the image was taken. It can then save all those images as jpegs. All automatically. So, with a small amount of extra work you've got exactly the same results as if you'd shot in jpeg.

Now you can look through your images. There's the one of the two cheetahs being chased off a kill by a male lion. Would have been fantastic if you hadn't forgotten to change the camera's exposure settings. If you've shot in jpeg then the amount of rescuing you can do is minimal. However, if you've shot in raw...

You camera acquires a lot more information than can be stored in a jpeg image. When you shoot jpeg then the camera decides what information should be thrown away and what should be kept. When you shoot raw you can let the camera decide - or, if the camera gets it wrong, you can decide. When you've got the exposure settings wrong the camera will throw away potentially useful data (because that's what you've told it to do). Shooting in jpeg means that data is gone forever. Shooting in raw means that you can make use of it to rescue an image.

So - jpeg is great for those people who get the setting right every time and/or are happy with the idea that their camera is cleverer than they are. Raw is for people who make mistakes sometimes and think they are sometimes more intelligent than their camera.
fbirder is offline  
Mar 20th, 2007, 01:04 AM
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True, Ken Rockwell has a reputation of hyperbole.

You say, "If you sometimes make a mistake with the exposure then you should seriously think about moving over to raw." Man oh man, I wish that exposure were the only thing keeping me from getting the photos I want !!!!

You make it sound as if RAW can save/fix anything. It can't, it just gives you a bit more latitude for exposure correction, like you said. Does it fix an exposure that is off by 3 f stops? Does it fix a photo that is out of focus? Does it fix a photo with blurred subject motion? Does it fix a photo that should have used a longer focal length lens? Does it fix a photo where the horizon is not flat? Does it fix a photo where the lions eyes are closed? Does it fix a photo where tree limb blocks the bird's legs and feet?

Most all (98%) of the photographers here are going to have these type of problems. Much bigger problems than can be corrected by RAW versus JPG output. Most of the photographers will not even crop a picture for better composition.

Nothing wrong with RAW, but it is for the photographer nerds, professionals, and hobbists. Like me (nerd), like you(?) . I still think Rockwell got it right - if you have to ask, then don't use it.
regards - tom
ps - and yes, the camera is cleverer than most users.
cary999 is offline  
Mar 20th, 2007, 03:58 AM
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Hey Guys,
I think by now you have really confused the original poster or scared them into charcoal and watercolors. When you create an image with your digital camera all of the information is captured in the same way weather in raw or jpeg, however, when you select jpeg, the cameras internal (on-board) software converts that data to a jpeg file. You determine the size of the file (i.e., the quality of the jpeg image). The remainder of the data is discarded. You can on most better digital cameras and on all SLR's select not only the quality of the jpeg but also the degree to which you want certain parameters altered (i.e., sharpness, color, and contrast). In my opinion raw gives the opportunity to save your mistakes and everyone makes those mistakes. For large crops and subtle lighting adjustments you can't beat raw. However, for somone new to digital it is an overwhelming addition, particularly when one has to fine tune the skill under safari conditions. This is a fantastic thread and I hope it will remain active, I have learned good stuff and enjoyed it.
safarichuck is offline  
Mar 20th, 2007, 05:25 AM
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I'm the original poster, and I'm having a great time with this thread, and learning an incredible amount by just keeping my mouth shut!! Glad to find a thread that wakes people up. Now I have a question, my camera can be set to take a RAW and a JPEG fine image at the same time and hold both...why would or wouldn't I do that? Except for the obvious reason that it must take up an incredible amount of space.
jenack is offline  
Mar 20th, 2007, 06:23 AM
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The only reason I can think of to take both a RAW and large fine JPEG would be if you have some need to immediately view the JPEG (like on a portable storage device live an Epson P5000) or to send them JPEG via e-mail and you don't have your computer to do a conversion of the RAW file. So, imagine you are on safari and you don't have a laptop, but you do have a PSD. If your PSD won't display RAW files (which most of them will not), you can do a slideshow on the PSD or on a TV for your traveling companions using the JPEGs and still have the RAW files for later processing. Or you can hook your PSD to a computer in an internet cafe and e-mail a great picture home to your family.
Having said that, I think the penalty you pay in both storage space and in the time it takes to write both files to the card is absolutely not worth it, so I do not use my camera's RAW+JPEG mode. With a 10megapixel camera like a Nikon D80 or Rebel XTI, you would be writing 15-20MB to the card for every frame you take! Try doing a continuous-shooting burst and you would see just how fast the buffer would fill up and stop taking pictures, even if you are using a really fast memory card. So I would not recommend doing that.
Chris_GA_Atl is offline  

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