I'm sold on RPP -- a brief review

Started Feb 11, 2010 | Discussions thread
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gollywop
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I'm sold on RPP -- a brief review
Feb 11, 2010

This post is, perphaps, a bit off-topic in this forum, but there have been a number of threads here that have argued the relative merits of different RAW processors. I have taken part in a number of them, arguing that ones RAW image processor doesn't make a lot of difference. You can do just as well using ARC/Photoshop, or Bibble, or Threapee, or Aperture, or Capture One, or DxO, or Silkypix, or some camera-proprietary software like CNX, or whatever. All you had to do is know what you're doing, and each would do wonderfully. Well, I still believe that to a great extent, except I am now convinced that Raw Photo Processor (RPP, developed by Andrey Tverdokhleb) produces results that are difficult to match -- at least if you work on a Mac.

Here is an image developed first in ACR/PS and then in RPP/PS.

The differences here are not a matter of sharpening or other processing adjustments. There is simply no way that ACR/PS can produce the added detail, definition, and clarity of texture that comes from RPP. To be sure, RPP images must typically be passed to PS or other more comprehensive image processor for final touches, but the image that is passed has simply pulled more and better definition and better color from the RAW file than is possible from ACR.

On top of that, RPP has now added a profiling facility that makes it quite easy and straightforward to produce .icc profiles for your cameras. This is a great addition by Iliah Borg using the ArgyllCMS application written by Graeme Gill. But this is not essential, because the default profiles provided by RPP for most major cameras are really quite good -- far better than you get with defaults for ACR. And the .icc profiles you develop for RPP produce better color results than the ACR profiles (using the same target) produced by the Adobe DNG Profile Editor for ACR.

It has to be mentioned that RPP is not the easiest of applications to use. The sliders, for example, do not provide immediate feedback. Each change in settings must be followed by an Apply (cmd-R) to have effect. This is the price you pay to have fully floating-point calculations that produce the better results rather than the faster and less accurate integer arithmetic employed by ACR. But you quickly learn what adjustments will be needed, and, once on top of it, you can produce an image appropriate for passing on to PS in short order, easily as quickly as in ACR. But there are things you can do in ACR that you cannot do in RPP, such as cropping, leveling, and spot healing. These are things that you will have to do in PS. To counter this, I have found that RPP does better highlight recovery than ACR, and it also has Exposure Compression built in (the ability to increase exposure without blowing highlights). This application is also, at the moment, Mac only.

I have no interest in RPP other than that of an enthusiastic user; give it a try and I think you'll become one too. Although the download is free, this is definitely an application that deserves support. You can find the download at

http://www.raw-photo-processor.com/RPP/Downloads.html

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gollywop

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