RAW or JPEG?

trolleytrolley Posts: 86Member
edited February 5 in D6x0/D7x0/D8x0
So, mostly photographing small birds using the D800 & 200-500 f5.6. I usually shoot 12-bit lossless compressed RAW so that I can tweak the exposure if necessary & crop to make the image a reasonable size :) 4 fps continuous AF.
But I've noticed that, especially with birds flying towards me, the autofocus doesn't always lock on.
Example: Yesterday a great egret took off about 90-100ft in front of me and headed my way. But all of the images were out of focus. And don't start me on the marsh harrier!
Partly it's technique, I'm sure. The light was good; using about 1/1250s & upwards and f8
But would it be any faster tracking if I was pushing JPEGS through?
*edit* And I should mention that the camera has just been repaired by Nikon & the lens focus tuned on camera
Post edited by trolley on

Comments

  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 5,404Moderator
    What autofocus settings are you using?
    Always learning.
  • PistnbrokePistnbroke Posts: 1,291Member
    If Nikon did the fine focus adjust then check it yourself ..don't see how jpeg or raw can affect the focus.
  • trolleytrolley Posts: 86Member
    Spraynpray:
    Single point, C-AF & 4fps. Back-focus button
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 3,606Member
    Objects moving quickly towards the camera are the hardest on phase detect auto focus, so the fact that it is missing more than objects moving across is no surprise.
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • decentristdecentrist Posts: 23Member
    You are using the wrong camera for the intended purpose. D500/D7500 would be the best option per dollar spent.
  • mhedgesmhedges Posts: 11Member
    I don't see how RAW gives any benefit over JPEG when it comes to cropping.
  • DaveyJDaveyJ Posts: 853Member
    edited February 13
    I agree with decentrist. I have used all of these cameras in speed settings like the WinterGames going on right now. Which I,had too many business responsibilities to go take photos. Besides our family is hosting a big event this coming September on our own property which will be aired on NBC for four hours. The camera I would prefer would be the D7500 or second choice, D500.secondly using RAW is an absolute waste of time, editing, etc., and we often use video. We are also using a RED camera, with outstanding image quality, almost often shot in video for the RED. On the other hand, the lens you are using, the Nikkor 200-500 5.6 could be the single best lens I have ever used for distant BIF photography. I just would for that use JPEG, the use of RAW slows down everything and adds......NOTHING! But do not think your lock on problems will just go,away. We find the RED will in video handle BIF pretty well once you get a smooth focused path. Usually on the Nikon D7500 I would shoot barn and cliff swallows, which are fabulous barrel rollers and delight in zipping by you at very fast speeds.

    Compared to wild birds in flight, luge, skiers, skateboarders, biathalon are a cinch. The birds I photograph don’t have a track they have to stay on. Another bird that delights in fast flybys is the Hummingbird but again I almost would prefer a 16-80 lens there if the flights were closer or to show dramatic scenery as well. Last September I videoed swallows in flight by the Thunderer in Lamar Valley area in YNP, the scene was magestic on wider lens, The 200-500 I often find is too long when the birds decide to swoop close. But I have some D7500 stills and video with the 200-500 there of other winged wildlife that are show stoppers! But RAW? What a drag! I do use ISO of 800 minimum for this work. RAW is Slower, of no value if you’re that off far off you’re out of luck. , 800 ISO minimum and JPEG fine, large, and often am happy with 1600 ISO. I want depth of field and as close to perfect exposure, and if the subject is not wiresharp, you need to call for another fly by! Good luck with that, as they are called wildlife for obvious reasons.
    Post edited by DaveyJ on
  • trolleytrolley Posts: 86Member

    You are using the wrong camera for the intended purpose. D500/D7500 would be the best option per dollar spent.

    It possibly would, but I prefer full frame, and I own a D800. An expensive D800 since I've had repairs done! So I need to get my money's worth

  • DaveyJDaveyJ Posts: 853Member
    edited February 13
    I certainly see your point trolley! I personally do NOT own a D800, but have used one a fair amount and it is a great camera. I would like to own a new D850 but the price of the new D850 in my later cash tight era prevents that. I would though actually just get another D7500 as a backup. So full frame doesn’t lure me that much. In terms of personal strategy though I would like to own a D3400 that had some more of the attributes of the D7500 but those TINY focus grids makes the D3400 very tough to use. What then is the attraction of the D3400? Only one, smaller is better, lower cost is better in high risk situations! Like out on a salt flats, with a fly rod casting for Permit, or midstream in YNP wading and casting for trout where in either case one wrong step could get a drowned camera. I own a Nikon 1 AW 1 but that got commandeered by my son years ago! Now he uses his Apple iPhone! But JPEG versus RAW??

    My verdict was in after a number of test cases. I can get very close with JPEG. Having shot with huge cameras (large and medium format in the megabucks category) for years, I got very good at getting close. The answer was NOT spot meters, it was average metering and the phenomenal advent of LCD screen aftershot viewing when I switched to digital! Also known as chimping. With that advent and quick field fine tuning, RAW became absolutely worthless! Unless of course one wanted to use up memory of computers, capture cards, etc, and use your valuable time achieving nothing that couldn’t be achieved with better technique. The use of RAW takes a valuable fraction of a second that maybe it takes someone who competed in QuickDraw events years ago to conclude that time and maybe your life was being wasted by use of RAW. Then though is one more fly in the ointment. If Nikon engineers did not have to continuously improve RAW and could concentrate on JPEG improvements the actual cameras we could buy would be electronically refined further to improve final photo quality rather than having to paint with such a wide brush!
    Post edited by DaveyJ on
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