RAW vs TIFF

Andrew Wood

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I am a long-time user and fan of LR, currently on v6.5.

I recently switched from Nikon to a Sony A7 and am happy with the camera except for one thing - the dull RAW files from the A7 (dull color, low tonal contrast) out of camera when loaded into LR. It's all there in the RAW, but takes more time and effort to bring out. I have experimented with camera calibration profiles in LR (including some that I imported from a link recommended on another forum) and that is better, but not great.

Long story short - I have tried a couple of other RAW editors, including Image Data Converter, Iridient and Capture One, and they all give great image rendering straight out of camera (plus good adjustability).

So my intention is to perform initial image sorting/culling and basic color and tone rendering using one of these other programs, and then transfer into LR for finishing and printing.

Iridient is my favorite, but with one concern : it only saves as TIFF, JPEG, PNG or Photoshop file formats.
I'm guessing that TIFF is the best quality image in terms of the amount of data and thus latitude for image adjustment (given that the TIFF file size is 5-6 times that of the original Sony RAW file).
Are there any downsides to using TIFF in LR? (I understand that the TIFF is 'baked' like a JPEG, but I still have the RAW original)
For creating the TIFF for use in LR, I am guessing that 16 bits is better than 8 bits?
And saving in AdobeRGB colorspace (vs sRGB or one of the other options) is best if printing is the final objective?

Any help or guidance very much appreciated.
 
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I'm quite surprised with your experience. I have a Sony A7R, and I'm very happy with the results in Lightroom. I have no troubles getting great color.

Anyway, to answer your question. It's best to use 16 bits TIFF in ProPhotoRGB. That will ensure you retain all the colors the camera can produce. If printing is the final objective, you don't want to use sRGB (unless you use one of those cheap online services that don't use color management) and even AdobeRGB will make you lose some colors that a modern inkjet printer can print. Those TIFF will be pretty large, though.
 
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takes more time and effort to bring out.

Are you finding you're having to make the same kinds of adjustments generally speaking, to get them to your taste? If so, have you considered changing the default settings? Adobe's defaults definitely aren't to everyone's taste out of the box, unlike some other raw processors, but you can change them to your own preferences.
 

Andrew Wood

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Thanks for the advice.

Seems to be mixed views on Sony RAW in LR. I see others expressing the same concerns about the files in other forums (e.g. DPReview), whilst others are happy. I can get good results out of LR, it just seems like harder work than with the Nikon files.
I don't really want to go outside of LR for my workflow, and haven't given up on finding a camera preset for LR that works as a starting basis. I would certainly like to avoid resorting to huge TIFFs.
 
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Bear in mind it doesn't need to be a single camera preset you need to find. For example, if you find you're always decreasing the Highlights slightly, increasing the Shadows, adding a little Clarity, tweaking the sharpening and so forth, you can save those settings as part of your default, along with the camera profile. Just keep an eye on what you tend to do to each photo as you're working on them, and you'll likely find a pattern.
 
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I use both the A7R and A7R mark II.
Although raw images are usually a bit dull out of camera absolutely stunning results can easily be achieved in Lightroom.
As for the issue with colour I normally find that with appropriate tonal editing the colours absolutely pop.
If anything I have to use negative vibrance on occasion to bring the colours back from being overly garish.

Might I suggest the OP post a raw image for more experienced people on the forum to develop and see what they come up with.
I am convinced the problem lies not with Lightroom here.

Tony Jay
 
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