I had this idea a while ago but today I was kinda fighting the windmills with the Mavic raw files and it reminded me of this idea I had.
So it turns out that embedded previews in raw files get the same processing as the in camera jpegs just at the reduced file size. Actually as it turns out, a perfect file size. For Canon 5DmkIV that ends up being a 6729px x 4480px 2.2MB large embedded preview.
It’s a perfectly usable jpeg file, and quality wise, for 2.2MB at that resolution there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s actually perfect.
So why aren’t we using it?
I can think of a number of examples when I would have loved to have an easy access to those embedded jpegs. And I’ll list the main two here:
1.] Delivering previews to a client.
If I shoot raw and let’s say I shoot 1000 images. I have to spend the entire day doing basic adjustments to those images to make them a bit more presentable than a pure jpeg converted raw so that I can send them to a client who will then pick a few (or maybe a hundred) that he likes and those images go for further processing.
Now, with Lightroom you don’t have that problem. You imort your raw files and they look a lot like a camera JPEG but with Darktable I’m sorry to say it looks nothing like it (sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t. It’s pretty good actually but still). Now that’s not a bad thing it means I’m making the look, not the software. But it also means I have to spend at least a minute on every image before I can export it as previews for the client.
Now one might say. Just send the gray dull ones to the client to pick. And I’ve tried that, then they pick the ones where the raw accidentally has more color. They are not photographers.
Currently there are 2 options. Shoot raw + JPEG and send those JPEGs. Or shoot raw and spend time processing previews. The first one takes up storage and heats up your camera, the second one wastes your time.
It would be a great thing if we had a third option! If Darktable had an option to export the embedded previews possibly at even lower size and possibly with watermarks.
That would be epic. No going trough the raw editing pipeline. Blazing fast, already “edited” previews at low file size to sent to the client.
2.] I think since Darktable doesn’t try to replicate in Camera jpeg, at least with the scene linear workflow, it would be a good idea to have “a button” to show the embedded preview so we can compare it to the edit we are doing.
I’m sure others will have more ideas but it’s astounding to me that we have excellent 2.2MB in camera processed JPEGs taking up storage space on our machines and we do nothing with it. Just to put it in a perspective for you; I store more than 3TB of embedded previews inside my raw files. It’s crazy that we don’t do anything with that and we gotta change that.
edit: before anyone says use a script, that’s not an integrated solution.