WeArePhotogs Blog

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Blog: RAW vs. JPEG

 

By Gary Fong
 
Figure 1
 
Is shooting RAW camera files better than JPEG files?
 
Most digital camera shoot RAW camera files and/or JPEG files.  But what’s the difference.  They both look good on screen.
 
For 95% of most needs, JPEG is great.  But RAW camera files have advantages and disadvantages that photographers should be aware of when shooting. 
 
RAW files are great for difficult light, when exposure is critical or the ambient changes so much, that it's hard to pinpoint the exposure. RAW files allow for "post processing" color correction, exposure adjustment, and format changes.  But most professionals know how to nail the exposure within a 1/4 stop latitude…therefore JPEG files are more than adequate for most publishing needs.
 
I find the easiest software for processing RAW files is Adobe Lightroom.  But Photoshop (current version), Apple Preview, or whatever will open the file for processing in the next 25 years is also good to use.  Processing RAW files provides a lot of tools to make corrections.  But if you shot it right in the first place, one doesn't have to make the corrections.
 
Over time, as one accumulates RAW vs. JPEG, one will notice the RAW files taking up huge amounts of space.  If HD disk space is not a problem, go for it.  But, the bigger question is file format viability - a growing question whether it's specific RAW versions can be opened up as time passes.  
 
Will it be possible to open up specific RAW format in 25 years? As the versions of RAW formats seem to change with each introduction of new cameras, is Adobe going to be able to keep up with software tools decode the image?  Which software group is going to support the camera any photographer is using?  These are longevity questions that will have to be answered "if" one wishes the RAW archive to be valid in 25 to 100 years. Otherwise, most of the images in the archive may not be able to open in the distant future. That's bad for history and bad for the family tree.
 
On the other hand, JPEG will probably be valid in 25 to 100 years…cause the format is pervasive in every other operating system in the world today.  It's been around for 50 years…it will be probably be around opening up JPEG photos for another 50 years.  That goes for TIFF photos too.  
 
I would recommend shooting more on JPEG files, rather than RAW files for longevity reasons.  I would also lean on RAW format for technical corrections, if needed.  But you’re a professional…and who needs technical correction???
 
 

Blog: Flashtube Malfunction, Don’t Let It Slow You Down

 

By Andy Shafer, www.PremierDesign7.com
Click photos to enlarge
 
Figure 1Figure 2
 
 
Food photograph…it’s what I do. In a recent assignment, I was at the clients location ready to fire up the soft-box and get started….with a small surprise, no flash.
 
Most people would panic. Fortunately, I try to always have a backup plan with backup equipment. I mounted a second head and began to test again.
 
Boom, no flash. Now panic?? Well, not exactly, I just ordered a backup flashtube ($224) with me for this exact reason. After a third test, I sadly discover that both heads are malfunctioning.
 
 
Panic doesn’t help.
 
It’s time to get creative. Both tungsten-modeling lights were functioning, so I decided to change the concept of the shoot by switching camera settings to tungsten white balance.
 
I set the scene for low-light drama. After the first tests, the client is pleased with the new look. It is very unusual for two heads to fail at one time, but Murphy’s Law makes life exciting.
 
Figure 3Figure 4
 
The switch to the modeling lights and a different angle enhanced the texture of the products. Depth of field is another key element to the setup, as the client needs to emphasize different portions of the products.
 
In a six-hour shoot, I fired off more than 1700 digital images in “Program mode”, adjusting the shutter speed and depth of field. Two-thirds of those frames are brackets.
 
My usual practice is to bracket 2/3s stop above and below my exposure setting. It’s never failed, because the light and darkness of the product can tricky for the meter measure properly.
 
I’ve found it a mistake not to bracket. Yes, most of the time the client and I agree on the normal exposure…but a third of the time, the bracket exposure is better.
 
It’s a good lesson for creativity and experience working together. It could have been a disaster or a shoot cancellation with equipment failure. A missed deadline is not something the client could accept. Have a good backup plan.
 
 

Blog: Lens Conversions, Easier Said Than Done

By Gary Fong
Photographer: Roy Niswanger, www.motleypixel.com
 
Figure 1
 
On a dark and stormy day, I asked Roy Niswanger what he did to his optical formula when converting a Minolta lens to a digital Canon body.  His “photographic lens over exuberance” answer follows:
 
I retrofit a Minolta MD lens to fit Canon, it’s a bit tricky and the hurdle is trying to match the registry distance of Minolta MD to Canon EOS, 43.72 and 44mm respectfully.  This being said, let’s say the Minolta magically changed to EOS bayonet on the lens, when fitted to a Canon EOS body the lens would work from minimum focus distance (MFD) to some point approaching infinity, but it would never reach infinity focus.  Even with the lens focus ring pulled all the way to infinity the critical focus point would be close, maybe 10’ away.  So with this setup you could use the lens normally between MFD and 10’.
 
So what I do is first convert the MD bayonet mount of the Minolta lens (actually call RS mount, as MD actually stood for minimum diaphragm, an enhancement Minolta introduced back around ‘78, prior versions were called MC, which I forgot what that meant).  I determined that a cheap M42 to EOS adapter might do the trick and it did.  
 
So in a nutshell, I remove the MD mount from the Minolta lens, use it for a mounting screw template, then I machine the inner M42 threads and the back seat of the M42 to EOS adapter. Then I drill holes so I can mount this machined bayonet mount to the Minolta.  I then remove the rear element group of the Minolta lens and turn off about 3mm of stock at the end (this is for mirror clearance in the Canon’s mirror box).  I explain it all here: http://vimeo.com/14891384

Here’s my favorite conversion, http://vimeo.com/19020995  Not many of these 800/8 Minolta RF’s around.  The Rokkor Files site reviewed this lens:   http://www.rokkorfiles.com/800mm.html.

I only have 4 converted Minolta lenses and want to do two more but the two left are a little pricey:  Converted:  Minolta MD Rokkor-X 50mm f/1.4, Minolta MD Rokkor-X 40mm f/2, Minolta MC PG 58mm f/1.4 and the Minolta RF 800mm f/8 Catadioptric.  I would love to get my hands on the Minolta MD Rokkor-X 50mm f/1.2 and the Minolta MD Rokkor-X 24mm f/2.8.     -Roy

 
With that said…I would think buying a Canon lens for a Canon body is a bit more my speed…which opens up a bit more time to shoot a few more pictures.  Roy, if I ever have an urge to convert a Minolta lens(es) to a Canon body…you’ll be the first person I call.