One for the photographers – Listen to your tutor

Sometimes you get told something and abide by it when in fact it’s just not necessary. I remember being told that the more I save a JPEG file the more it loses quality through repeated compression. They are right it does, it has to by the very nature of what a JPEG is, but I decided to shoot a photograph and save it and save it again and again and so on for fifty occasions. I printed the first and last photos to A2 size and I’ll be buggered if I could tell the difference between them. I’m sure if the photos had been splashed over something the size of a billboard the original would have been better but for all intense and purposes it’s a fact that has got blown up out of proportion to its relevence.

I always shoot in RAW format for various reasons which we wont go into now. This requires a RAW converter to get the file into a readable format. I shoot with Canon equipment and Canon has a RAW converter within the software that comes on the disc when you buy one of their cameras.

My tutor always said that Canon’s own RAW converter was the best and eliminated noise in photographs at high ISO’s better than any other RAW converter when using a Canon camera. I never liked using the Canon software to process my photos because it never offered me the flexibility that Photoshop offered me. I like Photoshop Elements it’s simple and to be honest I’m used to it, so I thought why change. I always therefore used Photoshop Elements and the ‘built in’ RAW converter.

I recently bought a new 5D Mkiii Canon body and the RAW converter within my existing copy of Photoshop Elements wouldn’t convert the RAW file. There’s no official standard for RAW files – they keep changing the format every so often for newer cameras within each Camera brand let alone between brands so I would need to upgrade my copy of Photoshop. Rather than buying the latest version of Photoshop the cheapest way of doing this was to download a free copy of Adobe DNG Converter that could handle the newer format files. This would add another process to my workflow but I can handle that, no worries.

If I was adding another process to my workflow the thought struck me I could also use the Canon Converter and then edit the photograph in Photoshop just the same as I’ve always done. So I decided to convert a few photos; some with the Adobe DNG, some with the Canon converter and compare the results just to see which were best. Just to see if my tutor was right!

The following are incredibly large crops to show the noise at its worst. Other than conversion and cropping no other processing in or outside the camera has yet taken place; so no sharpening or colour balancing. The noise would be magnified incredibly when sharpened. The images have been kept deliberately small so you can compare the two on one screen.

Me thinks I should have been listening to my tutor long ago.

200iso Canon Convertor

200iso Canon Converter

200iso Adobe Convertor

200iso Adobe Converter

4000iso Adobe Convertor

4000iso Adobe Converter

4000iso Canon Convertor

4000iso Canon Converter


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December 2012
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