What am I shooting this weekend? It’s not RAW.

Over the last few weekends I’ve been experimenting with the idea of shooting jpeg in place of raw. This weekend I’m going 100% jpeg.

In my experience the jpegs I’m getting from my OMD and PEN Mini are excellent. The Olympus cameras render clean files with loads of dynamic range and they have that color only Olympus can make which I love.

Of course I remember when I had to shoot raw and the advantages I got from raw files but that was years ago. Today is a different story. Cameras have become intelligent and offer many tools to design the look you want and get the image right at the time of capture.

Built in looks such as Art Filters make shooting for the beginner easy and fun. Photos with a grainy black & white look or one that looks cross processed comes with the touch of a button. Additional options such as auto gradation, built in curves and shadow/highlight warnings gives advanced users more accurate creative control.

Probably the biggest advantage of shooting jpeg is the workflow. I can shoot and send the jpegs wirelessly to my smart phone or tablet which then, behind the scenes, backs up my files to cloud services like dropbox or Google drive and when uploading to G+ I can add more effects in the browser.

From here its easy to share with friends either through the web or with online printing services.

A workflow like the example above is one that frees the photographer from a traditional computer and purchasing expensive software (not to mention the hours learning) like Adobe Photoshop.

I guess what I’m trying to get at here is that I think the days of shooting raw could be coming to an end for me.

Sounds scary? To me, yeah a bit, but the potential benefits excite me.

What about my clients? I overcame my fears of shooting with a Micro 4/3rds camera professionally so I’m confident that I can do the same with moving to jpeg.

If you join me on Instagram and G+ you’ll be seeing regular updates of what I shoot as I shoot it since I’ll be using the workflow mentioned above.

Do you think jpeg is the way to go or am I nuts? What are you shooting and what workflow works for you?

Let me know and happy shooting!

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About Giulio Sciorio

Since 2009, Hybrid Photography pioneer Giulio Sciorio has been blending still + motion & sound with his photography. Giulio is a Lumix Luminary, commercial photographer and founder of SmallCameraBigPicture.com - the resource for everything Hybrid. A portfolio of Giulio’s hybrid work can be found at GiulioSciorio.com.

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36 Responses to What am I shooting this weekend? It’s not RAW.

  1. Reba Baskett November 3, 2012 at 3:17 pm #

    I only shoot raw on my OMD when shooting with an art filter – that way I can have the original if I really like the shot but not the effect. Other than that I have been shooting jpg because it shoots just as well as the raw.

    • Giulio Sciorio November 7, 2012 at 12:17 am #

      That’s a smart move Reba. I often have done the same but have found that that exposure priority is put on the JPEGS not the RAWs and will often throw off the exposure a bit.

      Not sure if there is a better solution then shooting RAW with Art Filters but I’m investigating

  2. Brian November 3, 2012 at 4:04 pm #

    Whenever I shoot JPG on the E-M5 I get this weird grain on the picture at higher ISO values (1600 & 3200). Initially I thought it was the NR settings but even when I turn this off I still get the grain. I don’t have this when I shoot RAW. Curious to hear what your output looks like.

    • Giulio Sciorio November 7, 2012 at 12:15 am #

      I’m also curious to see what you’re getting as well. I’ll be digging in deeper in the coming weeks so stay tuned. I’d like to see what you’re getting.

  3. Valerie November 3, 2012 at 4:40 pm #

    Not crazy. I did this for a month and all in full manual. It was nice being awaw from the computer. I can tweak my images as need be when I take them, not after.

    • Giulio Sciorio November 7, 2012 at 12:14 am #

      You’re right, it is very nice to be away from the computer. I think we’re gonna start a trend here. Thanks Valerie!

  4. Stéphane Jean November 3, 2012 at 5:04 pm #

    I considered this possibility when trying to decide whether to get the E-M5. I’ve had it for a week and a half now but haven’t really gotten around to finding good JPG settings yet. As I really don’t know where to start I’d really really like to know what setting you use Giulio.

    My previous m43 camera was a Panasonic G1 where JPG really wasn’t an option… ;-)

    Regards from Sweden

  5. Leif November 3, 2012 at 8:19 pm #

    I’ve to use the jpegs, at least for a couple of weeks I guess. So far my E-PL5 isn’t supported by Lightroom and other raw software and the Olympus Raw Editor isn’t such a joy to use. So far I really like jpeg output of Olympus – it’s way superior than what I got out of my Canon jpegs before. But I still shoot raw+jpeg and will keep the raw files for later to see if I can get much more out of it or not.

    Is the Auto-gradiation doing a good job? So far I’ve just used normal, but I’m still experimenting.

    • Locky Downing November 4, 2012 at 8:43 am #

      If you use auto gradation you get more shadow detail. If you process draws with anything but Oly software though it it can’t read that information and tends to be a stop darker.

      • Stéphane Jean November 5, 2012 at 11:57 am #

        Are you sure auto gradation actually applies to RAW? I was under the impression that it only influences JPEG’s..?

        • Locky Downing November 7, 2012 at 12:09 am #

          It applies to the raws, but that information is only readable by the Oly software due to proprietary code. I’ve been caught out by it as I use Lightroom and shots kept showing darker. I cross referenced vs OOC jpegs and using Olympus Viewer. The Oly software matched the jpeg exposure, the LR one was a stop darker.

          • Giulio Sciorio November 7, 2012 at 12:20 am #

            Same thing happened to me Locky so when I’m shooting jobs now I shoot only RAW. As I experiment though I might end up shooting a job with JPEG.

          • Locky Downing November 8, 2012 at 4:43 pm #

            Once I turned off auto gradation, even if I shoot RAW+JPEG I don’t have the issue at all. When I was shooting RAW solo with gradation on I’d get things darker than the screen showed. Completely puzzling until I found out what was going on with some help.

          • Giulio Sciorio November 10, 2012 at 5:07 pm #

            Great tip Locky, I’ll give that a try. I’ve heard that auto gradation can do weird things to video as well.

    • Giulio Sciorio November 7, 2012 at 12:21 am #

      Right on Leif, let me know what you discover. I’ll have a EPL-5 in for review this week so I’ll be posting my findings soon as well. I’m very happy with the Olympus JPEGS.

  6. Locky Downing November 4, 2012 at 8:47 am #

    I print very large art prints and metallic prints. I can print larger with a lossless print file from raw than I can jpeg.
    Also sometimes white balance is off with the in camera JPEG.

    If I’m posting to G+ I use an eye-fi card with selective transfer and convert the raw to jpeg. If the white balance is off I can change the camera setting and convert the raw again and it’ll apply the new white balance instead of the one when I shot it.

    • Giulio Sciorio November 7, 2012 at 12:23 am #

      Good points Locky. Right now I’m seeing a advantage to shooting RAW and processing in C1PRO but I’m hoping that in the future I can shoot JPEG to my mobile device which will backup to the cloud. Right now that can’t realistically be done.

      • Locky Downing November 8, 2012 at 4:46 pm #

        It’s possible with the Eye-Fi to shoot raw and have it transfer to a mobile device and then FTP transfer those raws off. But it’s really slow with the 8gb model, and is dependent on your mobile network. If I’ve got it connected to a local wifi network so long as I’m not shooting at 9fps or so it’s usually able to keep up with Studio and Landscape stuff. I’d disable the wireless for sport or the like though as it does slow down a bit too much after a little while. Buffer lag sucks.

  7. Printfiend November 4, 2012 at 6:38 pm #

    I shoot raw because I sometimes make large prints and I think that the quality of prints is better if I do the processing (especially all sharpening) instead of leaving it to the camera. JPG is fine for Facebook and the net, but raw is still superior for printing. I don’t know in advance what I’ll want to print, so I shoot everything raw.

    • Giulio Sciorio November 7, 2012 at 12:25 am #

      Agreed. Right now RAW is the superior file format and probably will be for sometime but I think for most people JPEG can deliver what they need. I started digging into the JPEG settings over the weekend and had some decent results but nothing that would make me ditch RAW’s not yet anyways.

  8. Alec Murrell November 7, 2012 at 9:37 pm #

    Might be the subjects I shoot but I find I need RAW for the dynamic range it gives over jpeg. Truth is, for a number of subjects it probably wouldn’t matter, but my workflow is pretty quick now (Aperture 3). Neither speed nor format / platform flexibility are prime concerns for me and that is a factor, too. If I were able to get out and shoot as often as I like, I’d be posting more (on the hoof) and then jpeg probably would be the answer.

  9. Lee Harris November 20, 2012 at 2:48 pm #

    I recently shot a job on jpeg by accident and not at the highest quality (http://www.flickr.com/photos/l… ); I made the mistake of forgetting to reset camera (i never use jpeg except this once for some quickly web pics) Anyway I think I did see a quality issue appear after P.P in Niks software but all in all the results are more than good enough for the print version etc. I am keen to look into tethering options, be it wifI or whatever, and will then no doubt shoot both formats. Any good tips for doing this in Aperture on a laptop?

    • Lee Harris November 20, 2012 at 3:44 pm #

      Sorry for duplication not sure what is happening today!

  10. Lee Harris November 20, 2012 at 2:49 pm #

    I recently shot a job on jpeg by accident and not at the highest quality ( http://www.flickr.com/photos/leeharrisx/8184882833 ); I made the mistake of forgetting to reset camera (i never use jpeg except this once for some quickly web pics) Anyway I think I did see a quality issue appear after P.P in Niks software but all in all the results are more than good enough for the print version etc. I am keen to look into tethering options, be it wifI or whatever, and will then no doubt shoot both formats. Any good tips for doing this in Aperture on a laptop?

  11. Jim Goudy January 3, 2013 at 7:58 am #

    Whatever happened to the jpg2000 standard. It was suposse to replace jpg and be lossy as well

    • Giulio Sciorio January 3, 2013 at 6:20 pm #

      Yeah good point. Since the JPEG 2000 format is more or less dead I don’t think we’ll see it in use anytime soon.

      • Yousif Al-Marri January 14, 2013 at 4:31 am #

        I seem to remember an update to the DNG format from Adobe that allowed for lossy DNG files that were still editable like regular DNG files, do you think this could take off?

        • Giulio Sciorio January 14, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

          I hope so! How nice would it be if there was a standard but I think it boils down to dollars and cents. Using DNG would ad to the cost of the camera but if I knew a camera was going to cost an extra $50 for DNG I’d be ok with that.

  12. Yousif Al-Marri January 14, 2013 at 4:48 am #

    Seeing as memory cards are so cheap, couldn’t we all just shoot in JPEG+RAW mode? You could get the best of both worlds that way. In the early days of using my NEX-5 I shot on JPEG and for the most part I was happy (Regular family photos), but there were a couple of photos I would have loved to have had the option of editing, specifically the high contrast shots.

    • Giulio Sciorio January 14, 2013 at 12:59 pm #

      “couldn’t we all just shoot in JPEG+RAW mode?” Totally. In fact that’s pretty much how I’ve been shooting most of the time lately. The issue with RAW then becomes the file storage and backups which if you’re cloud based shooting RAW gets expensive fast.

      The other option is to only keep the RAW files from your hero shots.

      I think eventually as cloud storage gets cheeper we’ll be able to store everything on the cloud and not go broke.

  13. Paul March 8, 2013 at 7:50 pm #

    I really hate shooting Raw.
    More and more camera`s are now appearing with Raw developing software built into the camera, I think this will be the future in this fast paste world, were every body wants every thing, like yesterday.

    Paul

  14. Daniel Lowe March 12, 2013 at 9:56 am #

    If you shoot at night, you’ll want the White Balance correction you can apply in RAW. Sometimes, just a few 100′s of degrees in WB makes a big difference, when you’re talking about the Milky Way, or the appearance of sodium lights.

    I don’t even shoot JPEG at all anymore. I went RAW 2 years ago, and my work jumped a whole level as a result.

    It’s okay if you’re doing this as an experiment, or just for the web, but if you shoot commercially or professionally, I think it’s mandatory to know how to process RAW’s properly. As a cinematographer, this make learning faster when my Black Magic cinema camera arrives.

    • Giulio Sciorio March 12, 2013 at 10:11 am #

      “It’s okay if you’re doing this as an experiment, or just for the web, but if you shoot commercially or professionally, I think it’s mandatory to know how to process RAW’s properly.”

      Yes and no. Most photographers are not going to even touch a video camera that shoots raw. The workflow is too time consuming for most still photographers to make it profitable let alone having to put time into learning a new skill set.

      Pros that are not targeting their images to be viewed on a screen are missing the boat. The market for print sales is shrinking by the second. If we look at how media is consumed today its on a screen not a print. Photographers that are not moving into the direction of stills/motion hybrid photography will feel the pain soon if they are not already.

      Thing is most pros don’t shoot video because its very difficult to shoot on a DSLR (manual focus, workflow, color space, getting exposure right) and few will admit it but us pros will cry about shrinking budgets and blame the economy.

      It’s totally possible to shoot JPEG for jobs. I do it for editorial clients that simply don’t have enough budget to cover post work. Also if the deadline is tight like on my last job I emailed the client my finals from Lumix Link. That was the only way I could have met deadline and it worked out great.

      The only thing that is mandatory with a working is that they conduct themselves in a professional manner. The gear, the format, the workflow will vary for everyone.

      There are literally billions of screens and each one is a potential sale. Pros not wanting to adapt will move out of the business soon. Same thing happened as we transitioned from film to digital.

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    [...] I had the idea to shoot JPEG exclusively for the weekend. I put my thoughts together in the post, What am I shooting this weekend? It’s not RAW and it seems like I’m not the only one that is a lover of JPEGS. As I stated in the article [...]

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