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Blackr

Handy javascript bookmarklet that shows only the image at flickr: http://blackr.net/. It's free.

BTW #1: Except for sports photographers who need the raw speed of JPEG (file writing), I have a hard time understanding why anyone would shoot JPEG over RAW when given the choice.

BTW #2: Lighting indoors can sometimes be awful. I'm constantly amazed at how good a job our eyes do of auto-white balancing things we see.

11 Responses to "Blackr"

  1. #1: because it's pretentious to think that you know your camera's sensor better than the engineers who designed your camera?

    I don't know the state of RAW processing today, but a year or so ago when I tried it with an expensive Canon body (it was a friend's, I don't have the model in mind) and the then latest Adobe Camera RAW, there was so much difference between the RAW and the JPEG that you could hardly say it was the same picture, yet it wasn't because the RAW was so much better. It was differently exposed, more noisy and had different colours.

    I don't see the point of shooting RAW if you don't get, without any manual processing whatsoever, something that's close to what the engineers who designed the camera decided is the correct way to interpret the raw data from the sensor. Fine tuning should only be necessary for special cases, not something you should have to do on every image, otherwise it takes too much time. Either that or you make a preset once that works for all your RAWs, but I doubt it's the case.

    How do you work with your RAWs?

  2. "BTW #1: Except for sports photographers who need the raw speed of JPEG (file writing), I have a hard time understanding why anyone would shoot JPEG over RAW."

    1) No cheap cameras (ie $200 or less new) support RAW--probably because at that price the quality loss for JPEG over RAW is << the optics/sensor noise/etc.

    Or maybe you were only talking to ppl with monies?

  3. Olivier said on March 10, 2008:

    #1: because it's pretentious to think that you know your camera's sensor better than the engineers who designed your camera?

    Your example doesn't make much sense. You could have gotten to the same result by post-processing and applying the same methods. You can make some pretty bad looking JPEGs, too, and the simple fact is that they're a very lossy format as opposed to RAW.

    RAW is just that - the raw sensor data. You can pretty much always produce a better JPEG from the RAW file than the in-camera JPEG.

    Olivier said on March 10, 2008:

    Fine tuning should only be necessary for special cases, not something you should have to do on every image, otherwise it takes too much time. Either that or you make a preset once that works for all your RAWs, but I doubt it's the case.

    You don't make a pre-set that works with all your RAW files. That'd be pretty pointless, don't you think? Every RAW file is different, because every image is different.

    Olivier said on March 10, 2008:

    How do you work with your RAWs?

    Uhm, in Aperture. White balance, highlight and shadow recovery, etc. JPEG = 8 bits and compressesion. RAW = more bits (varies) and no compression.

    Matt Sayler said on March 10, 2008:

    Or maybe you were only talking to ppl with monies?

    Well, I was talking just about DSLRs, yeah, or the higher-end P&S cameras. Or really any camera with a RAW option, yes.

  4. It depends on your definition of "anyone". Many people shoot in JPG mode because it is all their camera supports and it is less time consuming to get "decent" pictures.

  5. The Plaid Cow said on March 11, 2008:

    It depends on your definition of "anyone".

    Fine. "Anyone" means "anyone who has a choice to shoot RAW or JPEG."

  6. The tools (good ones) to edit RAW files are a bit limited in number (My copy of PS at home can't open my RAW files but my work copy can so I use Picasa to view RAW files at home) and the changes that one can make with RAW files aren't ones that I'd use that much. It's also harder to share RAW files - eg. I can't pop over to my dad's and copy a photo off my camera and expect to be able to view it right away.

    That said I shoot RAW when conditions are variable and I want the flexibility to fine tune the results (eg. a wedding). If I'm just shooting vacation photos or throwaway shots then I'll just shoot JPG - I'm never going to care so much about those photos to edit them much.

  7. Erik J. Barzeski said on March 10, 2008:

    You could have gotten to the same result by post-processing and applying the same methods.

    Sure, but how do I know what these methods are (and more importantly what are the parameters) and why can't the software apply them for me automatically so I have a decent starting point?

    Erik J. Barzeski said on March 10, 2008:

    You can pretty much always produce a better JPEG from the RAW file than the in-camera JPEG.

    I'm pretty sure of this, but that takes time, especially without said decent starting point. Whereas with JPEG, I go from memory card to great A3 prints without the need for any adjustment.

    Erik J. Barzeski said on March 10, 2008:

    You don't make a pre-set that works with all your RAW files. That'd be pretty pointless, don't you think?

    Exactly. So the question is: are RAW processing applications smart enough to take the shot conditions (and camera make and model) into account when applying their default processing or is it mandatory to hand-tweak every shot? If the processing is done in the camera, one can assume it is done well and with knowledge of the sensor and conditions (speaking of decent cameras here). E.g. the amount of noise reduction applied will depend on the ISO and shutter speed.

    If I shoot a RAW, there is no reason I should have to do anything to get a picture at least of the same quality as the JPEG (putting aside the less bits and the compression), i.e. the same colours, the same sharpness, the same noise reduction. The software that processes the RAW file should as a starting point process the data the same way as the camera, based of the same information. Otherwise it means that I have to tweak every RAW manually just to get a decent picture, even before I can decide if I'm gonna use it or not. No thanks. To me the point of RAW is that if I need to adjust a picture, then I have more dynamic and no compression, not that I want to spend half an hour on every shot.

  8. Olivier said on March 12, 2008:

    Sure, but how do I know what these methods are (and more importantly what are the parameters) and why can't the software apply them for me automatically so I have a decent starting point?

    Software does give you a decent starting point. Aperture, for example, comes with pre-sets for cameras, and you can tweak those settings (and apply them as the new defaults) too. So if you want to ramp up your defaults to include more saturation and sharpening, go ahead.

    Olivier said on March 12, 2008:

    I'm pretty sure of this, but that takes time, especially without said decent starting point. Whereas with JPEG, I go from memory card to great A3 prints without the need for any adjustment.

    That doesn't change the simple fact that you can get an even greater print from the RAW file than you can from the out-of-camera JPEG.

    Olivier said on March 12, 2008:

    Exactly. So the question is: are RAW processing applications smart enough to take the shot conditions (and camera make and model) into account when applying their default processing or is it mandatory to hand-tweak every shot?

    Again, Aperture can (and does) apply a basic set of adjustments based on the camera (the sensor). If you want to get the most out of your images, yeah, you have to tweak the shots.

    You could also set up a few default processing scripts that run some settings in Photoshop. They'd probably produce better JPEGs from the RAW images, too, and with minimal fuss.

    Olivier said on March 12, 2008:

    If the processing is done in the camera, one can assume it is done well and with knowledge of the sensor and conditions (speaking of decent cameras here). E.g. the amount of noise reduction applied will depend on the ISO and shutter speed.

    Unfortunately that's not how it works in practice. Great theory, but it doesn't hold up. The "tweaks" modern cameras apply to JPEGs are fairly limited. That's why your own tweaking will always result in a better image. On some shots, an incredible amount more.

    Even for a task as simple as producing a black and white image, most cameras don't have the functionality to process the RGB levels differently (as if you shot the image with a red, blue, yellow, orange, etc. filter).

    Olivier said on March 12, 2008:

    If I shoot a RAW, there is no reason I should have to do anything to get a picture at least of the same quality as the JPEG (putting aside the less bits and the compression), i.e. the same colours, the same sharpness, the same noise reduction.

    You can do this now. Canon's software applies whatever pre-set "Picture Style" you've applied (most RAW shooters leave it in "Faithful" or "Neutral" which doesn't change much). If you prefer Photoshop, you can mimic (and surpass) the built-in JPEG creation with your own action set or something. Might take 15 minutes to set up, but then you get to use it repeatedly. And you can change your mind, too - what if you accidentally put your camera on monochrome JPEGs when you wanted color? Oops.

    Olivier said on March 12, 2008:

    The software that processes the RAW file should as a starting point process the data the same way as the camera, based of the same information.

    That's both off-topic and silly. I can adjust the picture styles I produce. iPhoto even has an "Enhance" button. But beyond that, the software has no idea what styles and settings you've applied to your JPEGs.

    Olivier said on March 12, 2008:

    Otherwise it means that I have to tweak every RAW manually just to get a decent picture, even before I can decide if I'm gonna use it or not.

    Not true. You can pretty easily determine whether a picture is worth working on or not. If not, you throw it away.

    Olivier said on March 12, 2008:

    No thanks. To me the point of RAW is that if I need to adjust a picture, then I have more dynamic and no compression, not that I want to spend half an hour on every shot.

    Again, you don't need to. Hit the "Enhance" button in iPhoto or use Photoshop or set up an Aperture preset. Solved. But the point still remains that when you want to tweak a photo, it's good to have it in RAW so you can tweak it.

  9. I agree with Erik re: RAW vs. JPEG. I think the most compelling reason to use RAW is that you can. RAW is basically a tool given to you to help you produce the best pictures that you can. Why not use it?

    I took a photography workshop where the instructor talked about "chimping" (i.e. looking at your shots in the lcd right after you take them). He said that there are always the people who say you wouldn't need to chimp or even need digital at all if you just "did it right the first time." But his perspective is that since he was given this technology, why not use it? If it helps him notice that his settings are off, then that's great. It doesn't mean he doesn't know what he's doing.

    I feel the same way about RAW. Sure it would be great if I nailed the exposure/wb/etc. every time, but if I can use RAW processing to recover some shadow detail or fix my white balance to save a shot, that makes it worth it.

  10. Sha Sha said on March 12, 2008:

    He said that there are always the people who say you wouldn't need to chimp or even need digital at all if you just "did it right the first time."

    I prefer the definition of chimping that includes the "ooh ooh ah ah" sounds, as in "ooh ooh ah ah look at this shot!" Just checking out the histogram, then, isn't chimping in my book.

    Sha Sha said on March 12, 2008:

    I feel the same way about RAW. Sure it would be great if I nailed the exposure/wb/etc. every time, but if I can use RAW processing to recover some shadow detail or fix my white balance to save a shot, that makes it worth it.

    Agreed. Why get a camera capable of doing RAW if you're going to turn it into a slightly more advanced point-and-shoot? Great, so you can control your aperture and change lenses…

  11. Sorry for not replying earlier. Thanks for taking the time to answer in such detailed fashion. That sounds pretty convincing, I'll have to make some tests.


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