Using Paint Shop Pro for processing ORF

Started Jul 23, 2009 | Discussions thread
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Using Paint Shop Pro for processing ORF
Jul 23, 2009

Today I spent some time experimenting with RAW (ORF) files. I chose subjects that I knew would push the .jpeg engine on my E520 to the limit.

First off, let me say that for the subjects and lighting I shot, the RAW files proved that the .jpeg engine of the E520 is one of the best out there. There was a difference in detail between many of the .orf and .jpeg images, likely due to having NF set to "Standard" instead of the "Low" setting I had been using.. However, it was really only noticeable because of the side by side comparison I was doing. Also, as many E520 RAW shooters already know, there was about a stop more headroom on shots I'd taken that had both direct sun highlights and relatively deep shadows.

First I toyed around with Olympus Master. Having never used it before, it took me a bit to get used to the interface. Suffice it to say it will only be used for converting RAW files.

I also tried out ACR through Photoshop Elements 6. Personally, I didn't notice any major difference in how the files turned out, but then I don't have a true photo grade monitor that is properly calibrated.

Then I opened up my favorite editor, Paint Shop Pro X2 Ultimate. With the "Ultimate" upgrade, it now supports .orf up through the E520. I have to say that because I could use an interface with which I was already familiar, I much preferred using PSP X2 to Oly Master. Perhaps it was my familiarity with the controls that resulted in the conversions appearing a little better.

Operationally, I found that PSP X2 could apply changes to the .orf files fastest of the 3 programs. (Though Master displays the .orf files faster, PSP X2 actually applies changes quicker.) But then, PSP X2 does most tasks a little quicker than Photoshop Elements anyway. Also, I found that just about all adjustments, effects, plug ins and scripts were available in PSP X2, while some of the third party plug ins I have installed wouldn't work on .orf in PE 6.

One thing I did notice: in the "photo lab" window which displays the thumbnails, is that PSP X2 displayed the .orf files a little darker than in Master. This could have to do with the gamma settings I have for PSP X2 vs the default for Master. In any case, the final conversions between Oly Master and PSP X2 were quite close, with a slight edge in sharpness going to the Master conversions and a slight edge in DR going to PSP X2. The PE 6 results were not noticeably different from either, except in a couple shots where it seemed the colors wanted to force ARGB gamut instead of sRGB. (Somethings most wouldn't notice except in side by side comparisons.)

So, if someone, for whatever reason, doesn't like Olympus Master, and prefers Paint Shop Pro to Photoshop Elements, then the latest version of PSP X2 is good to go.

Caveat is this: If you don't have the "Ultimate" version of PSP X2, you will probably have to upgrade to be able to open .orf files from the Ex20 or higher series cameras, as well as the E30 and E-P1, Apparently Corel doesn't want to go the Adobe route and make its RAW converter available as a free download for use in older versions of the program.

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