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RAW vs. TIFF

brian steinberger , Jul 04, 2012; 08:26 p.m.

I just received my D800 and see I can shoot in TIFF format now instead of just RAW or JPEG. I'm really enjoying shooting in TIFF. I like to open my files directly into PS and work that way. With RAW I have to open them in a Nikon software I am totally unfamiliar with, then usually just end up wanting to open them in PS to work on them but can't.

What is the real advantage of RAW files? Especially vs. TIFF. I find that on my card the TIFF files actually take up more space then RAW. This doesn't make sense to me.

Someone help educate me please!

Thanks!

Responses


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Stephen Lewis , Jul 04, 2012; 09:35 p.m.

Long story, but to cut to the quick, you can open your RAW (NEF) files in PS...you may need to download Adobe DNG converter, but it's a piece of cake. However, if you do use Nikon software to open your RAW (NEF) files, you will have slightly better control over certain features Nikon designed in their firmware, you can then save to TIFF if you want and open in PS. The advantage of RAW (NEF) files simply is that they contain all the data one can extract from the file, whereas TIFF has already made some modifications. there's a lot more, but this is just a hint...there should be more in the learning tab.

L G , Jul 04, 2012; 09:37 p.m.

The RAW files take up less space because only one color is stored per pixel. Then the RAW converter does it's Bayer demosaicing thing to create a color image. Essentially the color of a pixel needs to be determined by looking at the neighboring pixels. With TIFF or JPG files that is done in the camera and the result is stored on the card. At that point each pixel contains three color values.

The real advantage of RAW is you have much more control over how the demosaicing process. This lets you set the whitepoint and other settings after the fact. Essentially you now have control over much more of the process, and the results can be huge. You can recover slightly blown out highlights, and correct exposure errors with ease in RAW, whereas using TIFF or JPG the data gone. You also can stop worrying about setting adjustments for color and contrast in the field, which to me is a huge benefit. Shooting video with the camera shows me how much I never want to shoot TIFF or JPG again, since you need to make many setting changes to get the image just right, depending on the light.

I recommend you shoot in RAW and use Camera Raw as part of the import into Photoshop process. No need to use Nikon's software. The Camera RAW converter is very straightforward to use.

Edward Ingold , Jul 04, 2012; 10:05 p.m.

RAW images are as close to negatives as you can get with digital. When you open and adjust RAW images (or print from negatives), including exposure and color balance, the original is not changed. If you save the results, you save TIFF or JPEG files as the derivative of these changes. Each time you edit a TIFF file, you discard some information. Since TIFF files must be converted from RAW files, even if done in camera, and they are larger, the process is by necessity slower.

RAW files are smaller than TIFF because some of the information used to convert them to another format is contained in firmware, including color information according the the location of each pixel relative to the Bayer filter.

brian steinberger , Jul 04, 2012; 10:39 p.m.

Wow, this is scientific stuff! L.G where can I get Camera RAW? And do I have to use a new version on PS? I'm still running CS because it has everything I need to edit photos.
Also, would there be any advantage to shooting TIFF compared to RAW? What about the possibility of being able to open the files in the future?
Thanks

Brooks Gelfand , Jul 04, 2012; 10:58 p.m.

One big difference is that TIFF images are 8-bit per channel (24-bit) color. In RAW NEF you get the full 14-bit color the D800 is capable of (see page 84 of the English version of the D800 manual).

Does anyone know why Nikon chose to limit TIFF pictures? I believe the format is capable of storing full 16-bit per channel color values.

To answer the second question, you can use the latest free DNG converter from Adobe to convert you NEF files to DNG files; then process the DNG files in CS.

Brooks Gelfand , Jul 04, 2012; 10:58 p.m.

[Deleted duplicate]

brian steinberger , Jul 04, 2012; 11:06 p.m.

Thanks Brooks. Is there any difference in converting NEF files to DNG and editing this way rather than using the newest PS to convert?

Brooks Gelfand , Jul 05, 2012; 02:31 a.m.

The newest PS will give you considerably more functions editing the NEF files. Adobe Camera Raw is fast becoming a full fledged editing program in its own right.

Patrick Lavoie , Jul 05, 2012; 08:51 a.m.

TIFF or JPEG = a cooked chocolate cake. if you find the cake to taste too much or not enough chocolate, your only option is to add some creamy vanilla or chocolate topping. you cant make the cake itself taste something else. Same with those 2 format; you cant change what they are, and if you find the color balance to be too cold or too warm you can only add or subtract info by in both case adding a filter over it.. not the same as changing the real info. If you have a blwon out sky, good chance that the sky is gone for real with no data.

RAW = a mix of ingredient in a bowl.. a chocolate cake in making. if it taste too much or not enough, simply add some cocoa powder, add more sugar, basically change the recipe before you cooked it. no creamy topping needed. Same with the raw format; you have all the flexibility of correcting the image like color balance, temperature, and even get back details you think you have lost.

I don't see the point of shooting TIFF vs a JPEG, as it is the same cooked version of your image without the compression..

Better shoot jpeg vs tif since it take less space on your card and hard drive and its also faster to record your image on your card, and better shoot raw vs jpeg or tif to get the full potential of your expensive camera... you have a good camera, start using it correctly, and learn your way with Lightroom / Aperture or whatever you might find interesting (Lightroom is for many, me included one of the best software for that purpose)


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