Access to RAW and JPEG viewing data

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Posted By
babalooixnay
Dec 9, 2005
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351
Replies
8
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Closed
I am seeing a visible difference in Photoshop CS2 between RAW and JPEGs. I’m using a Nikon D50 which can deliver a Raw file and a JPEG Basic file of the same image. There is a noticable difference in color and in brightness. I have the DNG 3.2 converter and plug-in which to my understanding should open the Raw with Nikon’s own settings. Why would the Raw settings be so noticeable different from the Camera’s JPEG settings?

Is there anyway to access these settings and compare them? The Camera’s JPEG settings aren’t that bad, just different. Am I wrong to assume that the DNG 3.2 was a collaboration between Nikon and Adobe? The differences are there no matter if I use Nikon’s Auto settings or do everything manually. I see the difference most noticebly in daylight photos and suspect White Balance settings but this takes me back to the assumption that these were a collaboration betwen Adobe and Nikon.

I understand one can use Nikon’s proprietary software to adjust Raw settings in the camera but I’ve not been using the Nikon software at present and would prefer to do things in PS rather than add another set of unkonwn dimensions.

Any ideas?

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drjchamberlain
Dec 10, 2005
On 12/9/05 9:55 AM, in article
,
"" wrote:

I am seeing a visible difference in Photoshop CS2 between RAW and JPEGs.

The Raw and JPEG images will always look different since they are being created with different algorithms. Camera Raw is processing your RAW photos using its own conversion engine and whatever settings you choose. The JPEG images are being processed by the camera with the algorithm that comes with it in its internal image processing chip.

I’m using a Nikon D50 which can deliver a Raw file and a JPEG Basic file of the same image. There is a noticable difference in color and in brightness.

Keep in mind also that JPEG images are 8 bit while your camera is very likely generating Raw files that are being opened in Camera Raw in 16 bit mode and in a different color space. That may be just two of the reasons your images look different.

I have the DNG 3.2 converter and plug-in which to
my understanding should open the Raw with Nikon’s own settings. Why would the Raw settings be so noticeable different from the Camera’s JPEG settings?

Is there anyway to access these settings and compare them? The Camera’s JPEG settings aren’t that bad, just different. Am I wrong to assume that the DNG 3.2 was a collaboration between Nikon and Adobe?

It is my understanding that you are. There is no cooperation between camera manufacturers and Adobe. Each manufacturer wants to create its own Raw file format and this currently represents one of the major challenges in digital photography. Adobe’s DNG is a good proposition but very few companies have adopted this open standard. I’ve read that Thomas Knoll has to use reverse engineering to decipher each manufacturer’s raw format to then create a plug-in for Camera Raw to be able to read it.

The differences are there no matter if I use Nikon’s Auto settings or do everything manually. I see the difference most noticebly in daylight photos and suspect White Balance settings but this takes me back to the assumption that these were a collaboration betwen Adobe and Nikon.

I understand one can use Nikon’s proprietary software to adjust Raw settings in the camera but I’ve not been using the Nikon software at present and would prefer to do things in PS rather than add another set of unkonwn dimensions.

Any ideas?

Why are you using JPEG images anyway ? The whole idea behind Raw is to give the freedom to "process" your images digitally instead of allowing the camera to dictate what conversion settings to use. In case you want to generate JPEG images it is better to capture then in Raw only and then use Photoshop to convert them to JPEG. Photoshop will give you a lot more options and produce better results than the ones from your camera since it comes with no more than (probably) 3 settings for JPEG conversion (usually small, medium and large).

Best regards,

Joseph



Dr. Joseph Chamberlain
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
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babalooixnay
Dec 10, 2005
I’m still shooting the RAW+JPEG out of habit, Macs weren’t able to read RAW thumbnails until just recently. I remember reading somewhere, and of course I can’t remember where although I’d like to find it, a long discourse from either Nikon or Adobe or perhaps both about the collaboration between the two on the white balance info question. Photoshop opens the RAW image initially with, from what I understand, the settings assigned by Nikon in ACR 2.4 (Camera Raw Defaults) rather than the generic 3.0. (I’ve answered my own question about the RAW default settings) . What I’m really fishing for is the possibility of finding the Nikon JPEG settings as the in camera settings seem to be a better starting point than the Camera Raw Defaults.

I guess I’m looking for a starting point since the image first opened in Photoshop always seems to be a subjective one. Seeing the pure RAW image initially instead of an image that has been adjusted, if that is possible, might also help.

I’m new to digitial. I always did my own darkroom work with film. I’m starting to understand where parallels exist and where they don’t but I’m having trouble with the fact that I can’t begin with an undoctored image at any point in digital where I could with film. I always new that with xxx film developed at xxx time with xxx developer and controlled temperatures I had a fixed starting point excluding the extremely miniscule differences in film batches. With digital the image I first see has always had a subjective(?) algorithm applied to it.

I’ve been avoiding using any of Nikon’s software as I just feel like I could be introducing more random elements into the equation but perhaps the thing to do is see about opening the raw image with Nikon’s software before going to Photoshop and comparing the RAW and JPEG image. I’m still hung up on why two versions of the same image produced by what I would expect to be similar algorithms (being produced by the same people for the same purpose) could be so different. I could expect there to be a difference perhaps in richness between an 8 bit and a 16 bit image but such noticable difference in color and exposure (luminosity?) has me thrown.

Or there is the possibility that all of the discourse about collaboration is nothing but spin and we’ll all get screwed by every interest seeking to dominate the industry by sticking their noses into everyone else’s forte:’)
CJ
C J Southern
Dec 11, 2005
wrote in message

I’ve been avoiding using any of Nikon’s software as I just feel like I could be introducing more random elements into the equation but perhaps the thing to do is see about opening the raw image with Nikon’s software before going to Photoshop and comparing the RAW and JPEG image. I’m still hung up on why two versions of the same image produced by what I would expect to be similar algorithms (being produced by the same people for the same purpose) could be so different. I could expect there to be a difference perhaps in richness between an 8 bit and a 16 bit image but such noticable difference in color and exposure (luminosity?) has me thrown.

Reading through your post, I don’t think you fully understand what a RAW file is. Think of it as a ‘sensor dump’ – with no interpretation of the data. It knows nothing about white balance – saturation – sharpness etc – all of those things are for YOU to play with – to come up with what YOU want – it hasn’t been processed by the camera in any way shape or form.

The JPG on the other hand HAS been processed – the tonal range has been reduced from something like 4096 levels to 256 – the image has been sharpened – the saturation adjusted – the white balance shifted etc. Some of these parameters can be influenced by camera settings, but for the most part when you open a JPG in photoshop you start making adjustments to an image that’s already been adjusted and (for a variety of technical reasons) you’re basically "behind the 8 ball before you even start" if large adjustments are required.

Interesting case in point the other day – I often do image adjustments for a friend of mine – he normally shoots raw – and normally the images aren’t too hard to adjust to get good results. Last week he flicks me a batch that were shot in JPG (wedding photos none-the-less) – and taken with some awkward light conditions. I wasn’t able to get them looking anywhere near as good. It was so difficult I made him swear that he’d never shoot JPG again! (and he agreed).

Bottom line is a JPG and a RAW will always look different ‘out of the box’ – working in RAW has potential for better results – learning to adjust RAW isn’t anywhere nearly as hard as you might first thing. If in doubt, grab a copy of Bruce Fraser’s book on the topic.
Dec 11, 2005
That’s as clear an explanation of the RAW/JPG difference as I’ve seen. Thanks, CJ. Makes it easier to explain it to others.


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"C J Southern" wrote
Reading through your post, I don’t think you fully understand what a RAW file is. Think of it as a ‘sensor dump’ – with no interpretation of the data. It knows nothing about white balance – saturation – sharpness etc – all of those things are for YOU to play with – to come up with what YOU want – it hasn’t been processed by the camera in any way shape or form.
The JPG on the other hand HAS been processed – the tonal range has been reduced from something like 4096 levels to 256 – the image has been sharpened – the saturation adjusted – the white balance shifted etc. Some of
these parameters can be influenced by camera settings, but for the most part
when you open a JPG in photoshop you start making adjustments to an image that’s already been adjusted and (for a variety of technical reasons) you’re
basically "behind the 8 ball before you even start" if large adjustments are
required.
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babalooixnay
Dec 11, 2005
I have to disagree, unless I’m missing a screen or a step. When you open a RAW (.dng or .nec) image from Bridge to PS you must pass through the Camera Raw plug-in either directly by Double-clicking on the image in Bridge or indirectly by Shift Double-click. When in the Camera Raw plug-in adjustments are made to the image, either Auto Adjustments or Pre-sets. Is it possible to see the image somewhere with absolutely no adjustments having been made. Another way to put the question, what are the Nuetral settings for each adjustment?

Actually, went to the plug-in and think I’ve answered my own question. Leaving the WB to As Shot to accomodate Nikon’s collaboration with Adobe(?), moving the other sliders to 0 except for the brightness, set at 60 (Mac’s Gamma) I get an image that is very much what I remember from the viewfinder and seems a good nuetral starting point. That is if the brightness at 60 is really matching the Mac’s Gamma and I’m not just making it up because it feels good. Moving the Brightness to 0 always killed the whole idea of settings the sliders to 0. Don’t know why I need this starting point except that with film I’ve always worked on getting the best image out of the camera as the base. Anyway it’s bright and sunny here today so I’ll go shoot a bunch and see what it looks like.
CJ
C J Southern
Dec 12, 2005
wrote in message
I have to disagree, unless I’m missing a screen or a step. When you

I think you did manage to answer your own question there. Just for the record, there is a BIG difference between adjusting things in ACR compared to PS. The difference is that in ACR the adjustments are make whilst the gamma is still linear – if you try the same adjustments once the gamma has been converted to what us humans like, you’re likely to find that you’ve run out of tonal range if making large corrections.
CJ
C J Southern
Dec 12, 2005
"Guns/Zen4" <usenet at firstaidco dot ca> wrote in message
That’s as clear an explanation of the RAW/JPG difference as I’ve seen. Thanks, CJ. Makes it easier to explain it to others.

Thanks 🙂 – you made my day!
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rumpledickskin
Dec 13, 2005
The "neutral" settings are those designed by the camera manufacturers engineers. They are settings that reproduce an "average" picture. The settings are completely camera/company specific. What Canon says is pine green #264 may be Nikons emerald eye #485.

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