Slightly OT raw converter discussion

Started Jan 25, 2013 | Discussions thread
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jonska
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Slightly OT raw converter discussion
Jan 25, 2013

This is not a Pentax-specific topic, but I thought I should post here as this is the forum I frequent, although I do not often post these days.

I read with interest the "Raw showdown" here on DPReview comparing Capture 1 Pro 7, DXO Optics Pro 8 and Lightroom 4. Here is the conclusion on "image quality" which is one of the "traits" discussed:

"... the differences among Capture One Pro 7, DxO Optics Pro 8 and Lightroom 4 are relatively small. And those that do exist, revolve around default image rendering. Where global color, contrast and saturation are involved, it's rare that you achieve a result in one converter that cannot be reasonably matched in the others."

I shoot raw (DNG) and use Lightroom (still at ver. 3.6). To be honest, I could quite well shoot jpeg and that would work 90% of the time. But for those 10% that I want to work with it is comforting to know that I have all the information that I recorded on my SD card. There are also things that simply cannot be achieved using a jpeg.

So here beginneth my story and the ensuing questions:

Sometimes when I want to upload an image quickly in an Internet discussion somewhere, I will do a quick and dirty as follows: 1. Crop/straighten if necessary in LR, 2. Export full-size jpeg from LR, 3. Open in Irfanview and hit "auto adjust colours," 4. resize, and 5. Post. This takes about 2 minutes and I find that the result is (a) better than what I could do in LR in a much longer time - even using my presets or LR's presets - and (b) better than my out-of-camera jpegs at default (bright).

Here is an example of a shot I uploaded quickly the other day in the course of a conversation on Flickr. The image is nothing special (dull, grey skies etc.) and its quality as an image has nothing to do with anything. Just a tourist shot from Brazil.

Here is the LR version:



Lightroom

Here is the Irfanview version:



Irfanview

I don't know about you, but I much prefer the Irfanview version, so just for fun, I went back to LR and tried to replicate the Irfanview version there, but with no success. I really would like to be able to upload "quick and dirties" straight from LR.

So here is my question: Are those of you who use any of these three raw converters discussed in the "showdown" (or any other converter) happy with the default results, or the results using your import defaults, if you use any?

Is there anyone who could replicate the Irfanview version using LR - I can send the raw if you want to try. Can you put your finger on the principal difference? (contrast appears to be one obvious difference, but bumping contrast in LR does not appear to do the trick. Saturation another? Clarity?).

Just to be fair, sometimes Irfanview cocks up the auto colour adjust so spectacularly that the ensuing image is useless, but that is besides the point - most of the time there is an improvement. Remember also that it is free software.

As an aside, DPreview appears to do something to both photgraphs with the result that the difference is not quite as marked as in the full-screen images on my computer, so this comparison is not as useful as I had hoped, but still ... the difference between the images is obvious.

Sorry that the post is so long.

Any thoughts?

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Shooting since '59 and still waiting for a keeper

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