Mike Chaney (a regular contributor on our forums) yesterday released QImage Pro 8.54. This multitalented image printing / viewer / editor application has a unique colour profiling feature, designed to correct colours directly out of the digital camera. Their are plugins currently available for the Nikon D1, Coolpix 950 and Coolpix 990, Canon's S100 Digital ELPH/IXUS and the Olympus D-600L. We decided to take a closer look at the results of using it for colour correction...

QImage does its colour correction by mapping output colours from the specific digital camera to it's correct colour, that means that when fixing one colour QImage doesn't affect other colours in the image. QImage Pro has MANY more features than we will be touching on in this quick look, we're concentrating mostly on it's ability to correct colour in digital camera images.

QImage Pro 8.54 Interface

This is the main working screen for QImage Pro, with a folder and thumbnail browser side by side simply double-click on an image to add it to the queue, if you're working on a print job (the original intention for Qimage) you'll see an arrangement of the images as they will be laid out on paper (right side). In our case we're examining the colour correction capabilities and to do this we enter filter mode through the "Batch Filter" button.

Here we can examine our images in more detail and apply a variety of corrections and filters, simply clicking on Filter or Original you can immediately (well almost) see the affect of each filter. In this shot you can see the list of available plugin filters (depending on which ones you've bought).

All we need do now is apply the filter, this can be done in one of three ways either as an association: filter parameters are stored in the same directory as the image without directly altering the original image, however whenever the image is viewed / printed through QImage Pro it will use the applied filter settings. Create new images: Allows the creation of new filtered images, these can be in the same or a new directory and/or prefixed with {Q}. Global Filter: the current filter settings are recorded and applied to all images. Any of the above three application modes can be applied to the current image or all images in the queue.

QImage also supports EXIF header information outputting such data as exposure information, data and time image taken, flash mode etc.

There's even a move/copy from flash card utility built into QImage Pro for moving and renaming images directly from a card reader / USB mounted camera onto your local hard disk.

Other useful QImage Pro features

  • Lossless JPEG transformation: 90, 180 degrees (clockwise or anti-clockwise), flip (horizontal and vertical)
  • Decoding of Nikon D1 NEF raw format
  • NEF Decode Colour space support (D1 Native, Adobe RGB, sRGB, NTSC (1953), Bruce RGB, Qimage Pro)
  • Fixes D1 "magenta skin" problem
  • Seven interpolation modes: Pixel Resize, Lancoz, Hermite, Triangle, Mitchell, Bell, Bicubic
  • Correction for: Exposure, Dark Current Noise, Shadow Noise, Blemishes, Red-Eye, High ISO, Special Nikon D1 High ISO filter
  • Image filtering and component adjustment (Brightness, Contrast, R, G, B & C, M, Y)
  • Slideshow mode
  • Side-by-Side Image comparator
  • Automatic print layout (make the best use of paper for multiple images on a page)

QImage Pro 8.54 Results

Nikon Coolpix 990

Original Image After QImage Pro 8.54 990 plugin
Original Image After QImage Pro 8.54 990 plugin
Original Image After QImage Pro 8.54 990 plugin

Quite impressive results, obviously the 990 is mostly weak in the Blue Channel and the QImage Pro Nikon Coolpix 990 plugin does a good job at correcting that without effecting resolution, the plugin also seems to strengthen red and yellow slightly. Overall the images are much more pleasing and definitely more accurate to the original colours. The only problem image I could see was the "over blue" of the BMW paintwork.

Nikon D1

Unfortunately I didn't have a whole lot of D1 samples at hand, I know that QImage Pro also has some impressive NEF decoding capabilities and that many users are now using QImage Pro in preference to the much more expensive Nikon equivalent, for more detailed discussion on that I'd recommend visiting our Pro Digital Talk forum.

Original Image After QImage Pro 8.54 D1 JPEG plugin

Canon PowerShot S100 ELPH (Digital IXUS / IXY)

I wasn't as impressed with this plugin as the Nikon Coolpix 990, on the images I tried I saw no improvement and indeed some degradation of colours (especially red).. I wouldn't honestly say that S100 images need a whole lot of colour correction as they're pretty accurate to begin with.

Original Image After QImage Pro 8.54 S100 plugin

Conclusion

Hardly a thorough review (rather a first look) but if you're shooting with a Nikon D1, Coolpix 950 or 990 then QImage Pro 8.54 is almost certainly going to enhance the colour in your images, the results with the 990 are (at times) startling. If you're looking for a solid printing package with lots of othe neat features then QImage is certainly worth a download, if you like it BUY IT! We look forward to future plugins for other digital cameras and hope for the same impressive results.

QImage Pro Homepage