I apologise in advance if this is long winded. Look away now if you are time challenged.
It may be worth remembering some of the other factors that influence the quality of a digital image. Different camera manufacturers use different Jpg encoding/decoding algorithms which can affect the quality of the produced Jpg file. The in-camera Jpg compression settings can also have a great affect on image quality. A Jpg file is only an 8 bit image and if one is only going to post the file on the web, or view it on a PC or TV screen the recommended colour space is sRGB, which cannot accommodate the full colour gamut of the original scene. (Poor rendering is not limited to Jpg engines. There are some pretty serious issues regarding Adobe Lightroom’s ability to properly render RAW files from both Fuji cameras and Canon Eos 5DS/DSr cameras and the Nikon D810.) http://https://photographylife.com/adobe...ore-119890
If, however, your intention is to produce an exhibition quality print, the colour space of choice would usually be AdobeRGB. This colour space can accommodate a wider gamut of colours than the sRGB profile, as can a modern inkjet print, therefore it would be beneficial to set the camera to the AdobeRGB colour space if the JPG files produced by the camera are going to be used to produce the print.
Shooting RAW with a 16 or greater bit depth would be an advantage, as the full 16 bit colour depth would be present in the RAW image. Once processed, this colour depth can be preserved by converting the result to a Tiff file with the AdobeRGB or ProFoto RGB colour space profile. This file should be used to generate the final print, as converting it to a Jpg file will sacrifice some of the colour gamut even if the Jpg is low compression and AdobeRGB colour space.
There is no advantage in setting the camera to sRGB colour space for Jpg output and then converting the files to AdobeRGB afterwards for printing. The original sRGB files will not contain the full colour gamut possible with AdobeRGB anyway. Regardless, colour management is a whole other subject. This may be of interest: http://https://helpx.adobe.com/lightroom...ement.html
Opening a Jpg file in Adobe Camera Raw for editing does not convert the file into a RAW image. This is not possible. It simply allows one to use the editing controls of ACR on the Jpg file. ACR does not have a particularly good Jpg engine and Jpg files edited in ACR can have unpleasant artefacts, depending on which make and model of camera produced them. Far better results can be had by opening the original camera Jpg file directly in Lightroom or Photoshop or PSP for editing. If using Photoshop, make sure that the working colour space matches that of the image file. i.e: If the camera is set to sRGB, set the working space to sRGB and if the camera is set to AdobeRGB, set the working space to Adobe RGB. Setting the camera to sRGB and the editing software colour space to AdobeRGB and then converting the file to AdobeRGB for editing is a negative exercise.
If you use Adobe Lightroom to edit your RAW files, Lightroom will automatically display the image in the library module as sRGB. If you open the image in the “develop”module, it will be displayed as Pro-FotoRGB, which is an even wider colour gamut than AdobeRGB. If you then export the image from LR, you are offered the opportunity to set the colour space of the exported file to any profile you choose.
My workflow is as follows (this is just the way I work - you may prefer a different workflow and your mileage may vary):
For family shots and snapshots:
Nikon D7100 (or Fujifilm X-T10)
Camera set to sRGB - Jpg normal - Optimal quality - size Medium, picture control Vibrant, sharpening +6, contrast auto, D lighting auto.
Files are copied from memory card to a folder on HDD and the folder is duplicated on a backup HDD. I don’t use Lightroom to copy the files from the memory card to the HDD as the process is too slow.
Files are imported into Lightroom catalogue “at present location” using a preset that bumps the clarity and the vibrance up slightly and adjusts the tone curve to increase mid-range contrast slightly.
Files are reviewed in LR’s Library module and the rubbish is marked as “Rejected” (X)
Rejected files are deleted from the LR catalogue as well as from the HDD.
Files are then reviewed again using the loupe view at 100% and are again marked as either rejected (X) or “Pick” (P). The files marked as “Pick” are opened in the develop module and edited for shadow / highlight detail, white point and black point, IF NECESSARY. Most times, the files do not require any adjustment.
Back in the library module, the files marked “Pick” are exported as Jpg fine files with sRGB colour space, full size, with the suffix “master” added to the file name, to a folder named “Master Negs - Family” The same files are then exported again as Jpg’s to a folder named “Family pics Web”, and a subfolder showing the location and date, downsized to 1280 x 853 pixels, compression 60%, sRGB, sharpened for screen display. These are the files that I distribute to family members or post on the family website.
For competition, commercial or exhibition prints:
Camera set to RAW + Jpg large fine. AdobeRGB, Picture control Normal, Saturation 6, Sharpening 5, Contrast auto active D lighting normal. (All these settings only affect the Jpg files, remember)
All images are copied to a temporary folder on the HDD and the RAW (NEF) files are converted to DNG using Adobe DNG converter. (I don’t use Lightroom to copy and convert the files as this is really too slow. There is now some opinion that with the new generation of high resolution cameras converting to DNG does not save significant disc space if one uses the lossless compressed RAW setting)
All files are copied to a folder on the HDD named for the camera type and to a subfolder named for the file number range and a brief description i.e: Nikon D610_xxxx-xxxx_Smith portrait and the folder is duplicated to the backup HDD and to the second backup HDD.
Files are imported into LR catalogue “At present location.” RAW and Jpg files are displayed as separate files.
Files are reviewed in LR’s Library module and the rubbish is marked as “Rejected.”
Rejected files are removed from the LR catalogue and deleted from the HDD. (Not the backup files.)
The RAW files are viewed again using the loupe at 100% and checked for sharpness, and again the rejects are deleted. (Both RAW and Jpg but not the backup files)
The files selected for use are marked “Pick” (P). The RAW files thus selected are opened in the “develop” module, which is similar to ACR, and corrected for exposure, contrast, clarity, vibrance, sharpening, white point, black point, and luminance and saturation of the individual colour channels. If necessary they are opened in Photoshop (from within LR) and a copy with LR adjustments is edited. I do this where I need to use layers etc. The result is automatically saved in the same location as the original as a Tiff file.
The edited files are exported as Tiff files with the suffix “Master” appended to the file name, at original size, to a folder named “Master Negs” with the file numbers and a brief description as the folder name.
The same files are then re-exported as Jpg files downsized to 1920 X 1080 px 60% compression sRGB colour space for sending to the client/subject/customer electronically or burning to a CD.
The files selected for printing are again opened in the develop module and checked for colour and contrast in Photoshop and re-sized according to the size of the print at 300ppi before being exported as Adobe RGB Tiff files to a folder with “Print” appended to the file name.
The Jpg files are merely used as a reference when reviewing the files initially and are not used for anything further.
Only once all this is done are the memory cards formatted in camera.
So to summarise, on the HDD there are four versions of each image.
The original ex-camera file (RAW or Jpg or both)
A “Master Neg” full size Tiff file in AdobeRGB colour profile.
A “Print” Tiff file resized to the print size at 300 ppi in AdobeRGB colour profile.
A “Web” Jpg file downsized, compressed and sRGB colour profile.
It is not necessary to backup these files on the second HDD as the LR catalogue is backed up on both HDDs as well as the backup HDD. As LR is non-destructive, any file can be re-created from the catalogue data as long as the original file is available.
Having said all that, most people will never tell the difference between an image produced ex-camera as a Jpg low compression sRGB or as AdobeRGB colour space, or between a Jpg Fine and a Jpg Normal (especially with a Nikon set to “Optimal Quality” in the setup menu.) To make very good prints up to 16X20 you don’t need more than 10mpx and some say even less, depending on the print resolution chosen. 300ppi is only necessary for prints viewed at arms length. Exhibition prints are commonly viewed at much greater distances and therefore the resolution in ppi can be much lower without affecting the apparent quality of the image. An advertising billboard is printed at 10ppi. If pixel peeping floats your boat, by all means print your murals at 300 ppi, but you will waste a lot of computer storage space and you will need a powerful PC! The main advantage in having a high resolution camera is the ability to crop the image without having to re-size the result.
Most of the latest generation digital cameras, even the inexpensive point-and-shoot models, will produce images straight from the camera of sufficient quality to be usable without further processing. Press the shutter release, take the memory card to a good high street photo lab, have a poster sized print made, hang it on the wall and go “Wow!” every time you walk past. It can be that simple.
Finally, the old adage: While the equipment helps, it’s the brain behind the camera that creates the photograph. Go take pictures. Enjoy!