RAW ? Why ??

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12
Name
Paul
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#1
I've downloaded a free version of Photodirector 8 (PD8) and am enjoying 'having a play' but have a query:

I have uploaded both RAW images and jpeg, I thought the purpose of shooting in RAW meant that it enhanced the editing capabilities, but when using PD8 I can do as much with a jpeg as I can with a RAW image. Why is that ?

One more thing.................

Would I have a much better software(than PD8) if I was to buy lightroom ?

Thanks
 
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32,671
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#2
You cannot do the same with a jpeg as you can with RAW, simple fact, jpeg has less data to work with.
You may not be seeing much difference due to your processing or your processing software but the difference will be there.
I can't help with the comparison as I don't know PD8 but Lightroom is extremely popular.
 
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Ned
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#3
There seems to be a bit of a myth that jpgs are rubbish for editing, that simply isn't true as you can still do a lot of editing on a jpg.

However, raws are much better. A common thing for people to do in editing is to pull back the highlights and push the shadows and in these instances a raw file is much better as they tend to be 12/14 bit files whereas a jpg is 8 bit. These extra bits give you much more recovery of highlights and generally a much cleaner push to the shadows.

Same is true for adjusting white balance, it's better to have all the colour information to base the WB from as you can correct colours that the 8 bit jpg has thrown away yet still exist in the raw.

It's worth searching the forum and the internet as this discussion has happened a million times or more.
 

Kodiak Qc

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#4


RAW is not an image but data. Jpg IS an image… where most
of the data was lost in the conversion. NON RETRIEVABLY.

I would recommend you use RAW and publish jpg.

Lightroom is extremely popular.
Yes… and that's an understatement! But more and more people
are looking for alternatives to the Adobe subscription model (like
me!) and my solution was and is Capture One both because I own
a licence that can't be blocked and the quality is "nec plus ultra".
 
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Toni
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#5
I've used an earlier version of photodirector, and presently use Lightroom - LR seems more intuitive, less clunky & has better DAM (from memory).

Raw gives you much more data to play with than jpg, so with jpg images a blown highlight or blocked shadow is unrecoverable, while in raw there may be a lot of information there that can be brought within the dynamic range of the medium you want to display the image. Want to adjust colour balance, sharpness, noise removal, saturation, contrast, clarity etc? All these things are baked into the jpg image with the settings from the camera. There will be times when the jpg image direct from camera will be 'perfect' in all these areas, but generally a raw file gives you much more scope for making the image look the way you want it to.
 
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Kev
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#6
If you open your pictures in Nikon Capture NX-D, which is a free dowload if you do not already have it, you will notice that some things can be adjusted in the raw file which cannot be adjusted in the jpeg (the adjustment slider is still there but you cannot use it). In addition, as Nawty said, a raw file lets you do more extensive adjustments without degrading the image.
If you are interested in a bit of a deeper understanding then http://ronbigelow.com/articles/raw/raw.htm has 3 articles on the difference.
 
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#8
I have uploaded both RAW images and jpeg, I thought the purpose of shooting in RAW meant that it enhanced the editing capabilities, but when using PD8 I can do as much with a jpeg as I can with a RAW image. Why is that ?
Because the exposure and colour balance of your shot are close to what you want. The advantage of Raw is when you cannot get the exposure and colour balance you would like and need to process the image more.

I always (nearly) shoot Raw because that is how I have my cameras set up and most of the time I will use the default conversion that Lightroom offers. That means if I shot jpegs, I would get the same image for a bit less bother. However, when I am shooting inside my mediaeval churches, jpegs would be next to useless and I can spend an hour or more adjusting one image to get it as I want it - for that, Raw is essential.
 
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Chris
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#9
Jpg's are rubbish for further processing, full stop. That's no myth.
That's only the case if your JPEGs are rubbish to start with. If you're able to get most of your ex-camera JPEGS reasonably close to what you want then there will be very little if any difference between the image a minute's post processing will get your from the jpeg, and what a minute's post processing will get you from the RAW. That's why I shoot RAW plus JPEG. I'll start with editing the JPEG, and only if I need more adjustment than the JPEG can provide do I go to the RAW. I find myself going to the RAW for about 1 in 10 of the images I don't junk.

That average ratio of 1 in 10 is very dependent on subject, lighting, etc.. Sometimes I'll process 100 images from the JPEG without a single one needing RAW. Sometimes I'll process every image shot from RAW.
 
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Fraser White
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#11
I don't think anyone would argue that a RAW file is better for editing..............but is the person doing the editing any good?

The camera manufacturers are extremely good at developing their JPEG engines; the JPEG spat out by the camera might be a better picture than the poorly edited RAW file.

I have a dual card camera and quite often write RAW to one card and JPEG to the other - I don't have patience in editing and quite often the JPEG the camera gives are better than my edited attempts!

Plus, if I plan on shooting a large quantity of frames the JPEG's usually do just fine and saves me hours.

I am what I consider an average enthusiast photographer that would never produce an absolutely stunning image that would require careful editing of a RAW file, I choose to do photography for enjoyment so will use the type of file that fulfils that enjoyment.
 
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wayne clarke
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#12
While RAW is better. If your getting it right in camera and not making big ajustments you'd probably be hard pressed to tell the difference with even a big print.
I shoot RAW and JPEG, the raw for the bulk of my work because it's insurance if I need to pull a highlight or shadow a bit, and the JPEG so I have a quick access if I need a shot in a hurry for something.
 
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1,693
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David
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#13
I've downloaded a free version of Photodirector 8 (PD8) and am enjoying 'having a play' but have a query:

I have uploaded both RAW images and jpeg, I thought the purpose of shooting in RAW meant that it enhanced the editing capabilities, but when using PD8 I can do as much with a jpeg as I can with a RAW image. Why is that ?

One more thing.................

Would I have a much better software(than PD8) if I was to buy lightroom ?

Thanks
You can perform exactly the same type of edits / actions on a jpg file and a raw file.
  • The jpg file is a camera's attempt at giving you a picture you will be happy with - it makes some decisions based on the settings in the camera (picture style settings etc) and then throws away any extra information it didn't need.
  • The raw file keeps all the data on the basis you will do this conversion step yourself later on the PC.

This means that if your jpg file is pretty close to where you want it to be from the camera, and you only want to tweak it a little - jpg is a great starting point and will save you time (and disk space).
If on the other hand you need to perform more complex changes (and by changes here we're not taking about removing a spot etc, it's more about bringing up the details in the shadows or recovering highlights in the sky etc) then raw will have more data for you to play with.

Many people shoot both at once (most cameras support this) so it's not a decision you need to make out in the field. There is no right approach - choose one or the other or both based on what works for you.

I've done them all - jpg only in early days (because there was no raw!), then raw only for many years, then jpeg and raw because I could until I got fed up managing the 'duplicates', then back to raw, then jpg only again for a while when I moved to Fuji, them back to jpg and raw. I'll change again I'm sure - just do what works for you although you will get a raft of highly polarised views on this.

Editing tools wise, it's going to depend on what you do. Having had a quick look at the website, photo director has many functions aimed at the casual photographer (I don't mean that in a negative way) - face swap. skin smoothing, beauty editing tools etc. Lightroom has none of this - it is more of a raw developer / catalogue application, although you can perform a huge amount of edits, the focus of the application is different.

Google Lightroom workflow and watch a couple of Videos to see what I mean.

Again there is no right and wrong here. If your aim as a photographer today is to get some good, sharp, bright picture of your family, fix the eyes of those who happened to be blinking at the time, cut out uncle bob and share on social media then shooting jpg and something like photodirector will do a sound job for you, and do it relatively quickly and painlessly.

If you want to delve more into the process, take back a bit more control (and spend more time!) you can look at the more in-depth tools - such as Lightroom (or Capture One, or the RAW developer that came with your camera or others...), although in this case you will also need a 'pixel editor' such as Photoshop (or Affinity, or .... again there are many).

Bit of a waffle, but hopefully you get the idea. Welcome to the forum by the way.
 
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383
Name
GC
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#14
Very minor point but I apply lens correction profiles as a user pre-set as part of my import routine, I think this only works with RAW files in LR. As I say it's minor but does save a far bit of time if importing a large batch.

GC
 
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5,065
Name
Robin
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#15


RAW is not an image but data. Jpg IS an image… where most
of the data was lost in the conversion. NON RETRIEVABLY.

I would recommend you use RAW and publish jpg.


Yes… and that's an understatement! But more and more people
are looking for alternatives to the Adobe subscription model (like
me!) and my solution was and is Capture One both because I own
a licence that can't be blocked and the quality is "nec plus ultra".
....As Kodak says, RAW is data and not an image.

ALL cameras capture data on their sensor and it is termed RAW. That RAW data is either internally converted to JPEG format for you if you choose, or you are not given the choice other than JPEG output in average consumer cameras.

A RAW file is approximately 5x the size of a JPEG file because it retains far more data but you need software to exploit that data in post processing. JPEG is more practical for journalism for example.

You can edit JPEG images very successfully but RAW offers you much more scope - It simply depends what you want from your photography. It's Horses-for-Courses.

I use Capture One rather than Lightroom but Lightroom is good.
 
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1,693
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David
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#16
....As Kodak says, RAW is data and not an image.

ALL cameras capture data on their sensor and it is termed RAW. That RAW data is either internally converted to JPEG format for you if you choose, or you are not given the choice other than JPEG output in average consumer cameras.

A RAW file is approximately 5x the size of a JPEG file because it retains far more data but you need software to exploit that data in post processing. JPEG is more practical for journalism for example.

You can edit JPEG images very successfully but RAW offers you much more scope - It simply depends what you want from your photography. It's Horses-for-Courses.

I use Capture One rather than Lightroom but Lightroom is good.
I'm getting pedantic but this old 'adage' just isn't true.

A raw file is as much as an image as a jpg file is, as is a tiff, as is a gif. Technically they all hold image data rather than an image itself.

They are all a bunch of data that need a specific algorithm to decode and render something that you can show on a screen. For sure the algorithms are different, and some are more widely supported than others, but they are all images at the end of the day. Absolutely agree that raw files hold more data and require a manufacturer specific algorithm to decode, but it's still image data, exactly the same as a jpeg is.
 
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Kev
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#17
I'm getting pedantic but this old 'adage' just isn't true.

A raw file is as much as an image as a jpg file is, as is a tiff, as is a gif. Technically they all hold image data rather than an image itself.

They are all a bunch of data that need a specific algorithm to decode and render something that you can show on a screen. For sure the algorithms are different, and some are more widely supported than others, but they are all images at the end of the day. Absolutely agree that raw files hold more data and require a manufacturer specific algorithm to decode, but it's still image data, exactly the same as a jpeg is.
A jpeg has colour info. a raw does not.

Re: your earlier comment "You can perform exactly the same type of edits / actions on a jpeg file and a raw file", what about White Balance, to name but one.
 
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1,693
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David
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#18
A jpeg has colour info. a raw does not.
So all images produced from raw files are black and white?

Obviously not; the colour information is implicit in the location of the data within the raw file (as in the decoding algorithm knows whether the data was from under a red, green or blue filter). It's no different to the markers in a jfif file, the algorithm needs to know what hard coded tags to look for to decode the file.
 
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Robin
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#19
I'm getting pedantic but this old 'adage' just isn't true.

A raw file is as much as an image as a jpg file is, as is a tiff, as is a gif. Technically they all hold image data rather than an image itself.

They are all a bunch of data that need a specific algorithm to decode and render something that you can show on a screen. For sure the algorithms are different, and some are more widely supported than others, but they are all images at the end of the day. Absolutely agree that raw files hold more data and require a manufacturer specific algorithm to decode, but it's still image data, exactly the same as a jpeg is.
....Ah, thanks David, I didn't know that. We learn something new every day.

But am I right in still thinking that ALL cameras initially capture RAW data on their sensor while some convert to JPEG only and others offer you both JPEG and RAW files to upload?
 
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1,693
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David
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#20
....Ah, thanks David, I didn't know that. We learn something new every day.

But am I right in still thinking that ALL cameras initially capture RAW data on their sensor while some convert to JPEG only and others offer you both JPEG and RAW files to upload?
Pretty much yes - They read their data from the sensors, essentially turning a series of analogue readings into a series of numbers; this is in effect the raw data.
They all then process that data in some way to render the image you see on the back of the camera (this is where they will apply their specific conversion algorithm and any user preferences you have set in camera - eg, I want +colour etc).

Depending on what you want to save, the processed image is then either written as a jpg file, and the unprocessed data as a raw file (but the raw file normally also includes a small copy of the jpg file too so your computer can quickly display something as a thumbnail for example).

jpg as a format is extremely widely supported, so 99.9999% of all kit knows how to decode and display the file for you. It's an open format and you can read the specification online and write your own decoder if you want.

raw has different formats for different manufacturers, and while is pretty widely supported now, the precise algorithms used to decode the data within are not necessarily published, so you can get variance in the quality of the conversions depending on the algorithms being written. This is why most applications don't really support raw and those that do typically use one of the major companies decoding algorithms (Adobe Camera Raw, Apple's OS has it's own converter too etc).

There's no argument that a raw file, properly decoded, will contain more useful information than jpg file. jpg files are smaller because they contain less data, and they contain less data because they throw some away. They try to be clever about what they throw away, keeping more data around edges for example (which is why you sometimes see 'banding' in skies for example where there are less edges!), and for the main part they do an exceptionally good job.

EDIT - If you're interested, there a great set of lectures over at - https://sites.google.com/site/marclevoylectures/home
Not the easiest of styles, and certainly not for everyone, nor it is necessary to know any of this stuff, but he does explain the process far better.
 
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Kev
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#21
So all images produced from raw files are black and white?

Obviously not; the colour information is implicit in the location of the data within the raw file (as in the decoding algorithm knows whether the data was from under a red, green or blue filter). It's no different to the markers in a jfif file, the algorithm needs to know what hard coded tags to look for to decode the file.
You cannot produce an image from the raw data, it has to be processed first. The processing includes determining what the colour of each pixel is depending on the luminance information from it and neighbouring pixels which have different coloured filters.

A jpeg can produce an image as it has the colour information
 
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David
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#22
You cannot produce an image from the raw data, it has to be processed first. The processing includes determining what the colour of each pixel is depending on the luminance information from it and neighbouring pixels which have different coloured filters.

A jpeg can produce an image as it has the colour information
RAW
data -> algorithm -> picture

JPEG
data -> algorithm -> picture

The process is the same. Different algorithm, the raw one might include convolution, the jpeg cosine transformations, but they are still just formula applied to data. Both files contain image data.
Open up a jpg file with a hex editor and tell me what it's a picture of :)
 

Kodiak Qc

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#23



My beloved daughter came up with these analogies.
  1. Try to print a RAW and see what you get! The results will be
    more pleasurable with a jpg or any other format than RAW.
  2. A RAW file is like a Lego box. One knows what is in there
    but is doesn't exist yet. The parts will have to be processed
    by a creative brain before it could be admired and played
    with… after publishing. It can be assembled in other ways than
    the intended original but the original toy is always in there.
  3. A jpg is like a picture in a glass frame. It can not be tweaked
    much.
 
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2,080
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#25
You cannot produce an image from the raw data, it has to be processed first. The processing includes determining what the colour of each pixel is depending on the luminance information from it and neighbouring pixels which have different coloured filters.

A jpeg can produce an image as it has the colour information
You can display a Raw image on a computer screen without processing (I am not talking about the embedded jpeg) but is will be very dark (the brightest part will not make use of the top two bits of the image memory as it is usually a 14 bit number stored in 16 bits of memory) and the image will be essentially green. If you go to the dcraw website, there is a demonstration of this.

As for jpgs containing colour information, that is still only three colours per pixel - so an advance on the Raw's one colour - but needs further processing before my CMYK printer can use it.
 
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#28
Which also applies to jpegs in exactly the same way. Raw files are Tiff's with additional proprietary pages. Dcraw can ignore the additional pages and just display the underlying tiff image.
 
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6,584
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Steven
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#29
It's really more about the accuracy of the data (bit depth) rather than the format. A camera may put out as little as 6 bits of data at high ISOs or as much as 14 bits at low ISOs... whatever the camera is putting out is then either stored in a 16bit container (raw/dng/tiff) or converted and stored in an 8bit container (jpeg). 8bit resolution/detail/information is generally more than we can see/discern, and it may be more accurate than what the camera generated, so that isn't really the problem.
The problem is when you start to manipulate the data/image heavily, which is essentially a mathematical process... and when you start with less accuracy, you wind up with greater errors/inaccuracy.

The easiest way to demonstrate this is with edits/histograms.
This image is a tiff converted from a raw file, but retaining the 16bit raw file information (it could have been converted to 8bit).
I then applied a heavy levels (dynamic range/gamma) adjustment to it which requires a lot of recalculation/math. That's the lower histogram on the right.
If you look at the upper histogram (color/luminance) you will see it is complete with no gaps.

Raw edit.jpg


Here I did exactly the same thing to a jpeg converted from the raw file, which is an 8 bit file.
If you look at the upper histogram you will see a lot of missing data/errors/jumps (vertical lines/gaps).

jpeg edit.jpg


An easy way to think of it is with simple math. An 8bit data set may have an accuracy that looks like 0,1,2,4,8 and a 14 bit data set may look like 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8. When you apply a simple calculation of +1 to each of those you get 0,1,2,3,4,5,8,9 and 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 (inclusive of the original data sets). Notice that 6 and 7 are missing from the first set of results...
 
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Dominic
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#30
Isn't it at the end of day, for pure layman's terms, raw has more data than jpeg. Allowing more leeway in processing. Isn't that all that matters? How good someone is at editing a raw file is another thing altogether.
 
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6,584
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Steven
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#32
If you are poor at editing, Raw is not for you. Having leeway is not a good thing if you do bad things with it. If you are poor at editing, let the camera do it for you.
I honestly believe that the vast majority of editing we do is just to get a raw file up to the level of an edited jpeg. But I also think that very few take the time to set the in camera jpeg settings to suit as well as it could.
 
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Chris
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#33
Very minor point but I apply lens correction profiles as a user pre-set as part of my import routine, I think this only works with RAW files in LR. As I say it's minor but does save a far bit of time if importing a large batch.

GC
Only being able to use lens correction profiles in LR from RAW sounds like yet another good reason to avoid using LR :) Some cameras rather handily have the option of applying lens correction profiles to the jpeg in the camera, but of course only for OEM lenses.
 
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Steven
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#35
Very minor point but I apply lens correction profiles as a user pre-set as part of my import routine, I think this only works with RAW files in LR. As I say it's minor but does save a far bit of time if importing a large batch.

GC
Not quite true. Lens correction profiles are possible for both raw files and jpegs. But the profiles are separate. Some lenses may only have one or the other provided. But you can create your own or convert the one provided.
 
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#36
However, raws are much better. A common thing for people to do in editing is to pull back the highlights and push the shadows and in these instances a raw file is much better as they tend to be 12/14 bit files whereas a jpg is 8 bit. These extra bits give you much more recovery of highlights and generally a much cleaner push to the shadows.

Same is true for adjusting white balance, it's better to have all the colour information to base the WB from as you can correct colours that the 8 bit jpg has thrown away yet still exist in the raw.
.
This - Raws have so much more information in them, jpegs are generally converted to 8 bit and then compressed.
Only the photographer, knowing his own requirements for that shoot, knows what is the right format for them to use at that moment
 
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GC
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#37
Not quite true. Lens correction profiles are possible for both raw files and jpegs. But the profiles are separate. Some lenses may only have one or the other provided. But you can create your own or convert the one provided.
Understand about creating lens profiles, for some reason the Nikkor 17-55mm f2.8 was only recognised from RAW, didn't even appear in the drop down when trying with jpg but my point was the time saving import pre-set only seems to work with RAW.

GC
 
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GC
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#38
Only being able to use lens correction profiles in LR from RAW sounds like yet another good reason to avoid using LR :) Some cameras rather handily have the option of applying lens correction profiles to the jpeg in the camera, but of course only for OEM lenses.
Conversely, it seems a good reason to use LR if you don't have, or choose not to use, that as an "in camera" feature......;)

GC
 
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Steven
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#39
but my point was the time saving import pre-set only seems to work with RAW.
I don't think that's true... AFAIK the only way it is available during import is if you create a user preset, which can then be selected during import (LR CC 7.2). My user presets are always available/selectable. Another option that might make more sense would be to have the auto lens correction setting as part of the default develop settings. Then you shouldn't even need to select it during import.
 
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GC
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#40
I don't think that's true... AFAIK the only way it is available during import is if you create a user preset, which can then be selected during import (LR CC 7.2). My user presets are always available/selectable. Another option that might make more sense would be to have the auto lens correction setting as part of the default develop settings. Then you shouldn't even need to select it during import.
Probably wasn't clear enough in my original post. I have set it up as a user pre-set but it only works with RAW, not jpg, imports.

GC
 
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