DPP, Lightroom and Photo Ninja, samples

Started Mar 29, 2013 | Discussions thread
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aftab
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DPP, Lightroom and Photo Ninja, samples
Mar 29, 2013

Recently there has been two threads on raw converters. I didn't want to start a separate one, but thought it was the best way to get to most forum readers.

So far ACR/LR has been my favorite raw converters. But now there is a new kid in the block and I found it quite exciting. So, I share my experience.

Usual scenes

First, a picture where exposure was not a challenge. Presets: DPP, standard, Photo Ninja, Portrait, Lightroom, none.

When 'auto tone' was applied Lightroom increased exposure value by +2 and came up with the worst looking image. It appears that in Lightroom's mind any dark area needs to be pushed. Anyways, when exposure or contrast is not extreme there isn't much difference between the converters.

Highlight recovery

LR/ACR has the best highlight recovery, better than Capture One and much better than DPP. Now, Photo Ninja beats them all.

Look at the man's nose and woman's forehead. This is a common problem when shooting outdoors or using direct flash.

In addition to taking Highlight slider to -100, I also tried lower exposure and contrast in Lightroom to match the Photo Ninja result, no luck. Photo Ninja came up with this by default. Amazing, I think.

In this example sun was behind the statue.

No hint of cloud in DPP despite using the highlight recovery slider to max. Isn't it interesting that Canon's own software is not able reveal the hidden detail captured by its own camera? This is default output from Photo Ninja, no adjustment done. Cleverly enough, Photo Ninja knows that when background is too bright and the foreground is dark, it needs to recover highlight and at the same time brighten the foreground. Lightroom's default algorithm is not that clever.

Here I goofed up the exposure. I was in a moving bus, didn't have time to adjust it.

In DPP again used the highlight recovery slider to max and lowered exposure value by -2, yet no sign of cloud or blue sky. Lightroom got the color of the sky wrong.

Another example with original JPEG. Din't try DPP here. Sun in the background (Please ignore the flare).

Again, this is default from Photo Ninja. Clever and effective, isn't it?

This example shows an often encountered situation when shooting little birds in the shadow of tree branhces. How do we retain the blue of the sky while making the subject bright?

To me default from Photo Ninja looks the best. I tried to match the result in Lightroom with different combinations of exposure, brightness and contrast, but couldn't.

Dull day

Now, another scenario. A dull and foggy day in Manhattan. Taken with Nikon D600. I am posting larger sized samples, you can look at 100%.

Original JPEG.

Photo Ninja. Preset: Scenic Enhanced. Foreground brightened in CS6.

Lightroom. Increased vibrance, saturation, clarity and sharpening (over default) in addition to exposure correction. Foreground brightened in CS6.

Again, I like the Photo Ninja much better here. Of course, people with better skill in processing can do better with both converters. But the point is that it is much easier with Photo Ninja and often the default result is more pleasing with better sharpness, clarity, contrast and color. So, you have an excellent starting point and you can do the fine adjustments in Photoshop if you want to.

Okay, I have shared my excitement.

Try it.

Please, click on all the pictures to see large.

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Nikon D600
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