Slightly OT raw converter discussion

Started Jan 25, 2013 | Discussions
xpatUSA
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Re: Slightly OT raw converter discussion
In reply to jonska, Jan 27, 2013

My post over on the Sigma forum may be of interest. It makes a technical comparison of sharpness (the grail for many folks), micro-contrast and CA between a few RAW converters.

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3374926#forum-post-50746531

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Robgo2
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Re: Slightly OT raw converter discussion
In reply to jonska, Jan 27, 2013

Here is an OT suggestion in this OT raw convertor discussion.  Get Photo Ninja, and stop worrying about LR/ACR, Irfanview, Capture One and all the rest.

Rob

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audiobomber
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Re: Slightly OT raw converter discussion
In reply to jonska, Jan 27, 2013

jonska wrote:

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?).

Some posters have put quite a lot of effort into processing the photo. In keeping with your original post, I did a few quick and dirty versions, ccropped to the same FOV, resized and uploaded to Picasa

Here's your original LR3 version, resized and uploaded to Picasa:

LR3 original post

Direct conversion in LR4 appeared to be identical to the above, so no point in posting it. I hit Auto Tone on the Librabry screen and converted with just that one-button change. I think this may be what you are looking for. I don't have a lot of experience with it, but it has worked well when I have tried it.

LR4, Auto Tone conversion

Next up is Pentax Digital Camera Utility 4. As I stated a few posts ago, I changed the setting from the camera default Bright, to Reversal Film. I found it a little dark, so I added +0.3Ev. This exercise gave me a more confidence in LR4, because it is very very close to DCU4, and this is not what I experienced in the past. I'll have to retry with a photo showing a better selection of colours, especially red and yellow tones, which are tougher to nail.

Pentax DCU4, Reversal Film image tone, +0.3Ev

Lastly was just playing around quickly in DCU4. I added .3Ev again, but changed WB to Cloudy. I like it better than the cool blue K-5 presentation. I find all Pentax cameras after the K-7 too cool in daylight when using AWB.

I am very disappointed at the sharpness shown here, but I pretty much expected this. I didn't add sharpening, because it would have added another variable (LR4 vs DCU4 sharpening). The Picasa version is noticeably softer than the same photos in my hard drive.

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Robgo2
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Re: Slightly OT raw converter discussion
In reply to audiobomber, Jan 27, 2013

Here's Photo Ninja. Easy peasy. Recommend viewing Original.

Rob

Photo Ninja

100% crop

Photo Ninja 100% crop

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T Evergreen
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Re: Slightly OT raw converter discussion
In reply to Robgo2, Jan 27, 2013

Also in keeping with the original post, here are a couple of one-click fixes using Corel After Shot Pro.

Original photo.

Auto Level adjustment.

Perfectly Clear adjustment.

Auto Level plus Perfectly Clear adjustments.

Each of these photos has a bit of sharpening and raw noise reduction added.

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jonska
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Re: New version
In reply to Ilkka Valkila, Jan 27, 2013

Ilkka Valkila wrote:

jonska wrote:

I only see ACR in action on import into Lightroom and on the very rare occasions that I actually open a raw shot using Photoshop (I normally edit in photoshop straight out of Lightroom so that Lightroom will know where everything is).

Actually you see it in action in LR Develop module.

Very true, but disguised, as you say, as "LR Develop module" which had me fooled. I have always assumed that ACR was only the converter and separate from the Developer. I suppose the catalogue function of Lightroom is also known as "Bridge"? Hopelessly confusing for dabblers like me.

If you open a file you've worked on before it comes up with your last settings, which would be 2010. Click the icon at bottom right of the image and it converts to 2012 and alters the sliders to the new style. With your posted shot there's an immediate increase in punch with ACR7.

I tried that last night (just an idle poke at the "i" icon to see what it did), and I could see a difference. Not much difference as I had already done some basic processing work on the shots on import. I understand from my limited reading about LR4 so far that there is no way to make this change universally and simultaneously to all the shots in my catalogue? I understood from one article that people might not want to do this if they are happy with their already-processed LR3 shots. That would not bother me. All my processed shots are color coded, so I could easily go through them afterward (red: total failure but keep for sentimental reasons; yellow: might be worth a second look someday; green: safe to show without embarrassment; no color: unprocessed).

Actually there is a way to do it to a large group of images at once, even all images in the catalog minus one. Do it to one image, select the image in Library module in grid view, right-click on it, select Develop Settings -> Copy Settings, in the dialog box click Check None, click on Process Version to select it and click Copy. Then select all the images you want to update to the new version, right-click and select Develop Settings -> Paste Settings. But I would not recommend doing it on everything at once.

Good tip and good advice. What I could do is start by selecting all my unprocessed images (the ones with no colour code) and update those to the 2012 conversion to see what happens. No harm done, then, as it would simply be as if I had imported them all into Adobe 4 the first time. I have to think about it before I take the plunge, but thanks for the tip and advice.

My processed images I could do one by one, or perhaps collection by collection, to see the effects (assuming that "undo" is possible).

Something to think aabout over the coming days as I get used to LR 4.

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jonska
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Re: Slightly OT raw converter discussion
In reply to Robgo2, Jan 27, 2013

Robgo2 wrote:

Here is an OT suggestion in this OT raw convertor discussion. Get Photo Ninja, and stop worrying about LR/ACR, Irfanview, Capture One and all the rest.

Rob

Good advice, no doubt, but I'm not sure you will have many takers. I looked at some of the user reviews and all is not unmixed bliss in the world of Photo Ninja, although most people seem to be very happy.

I have tried Noise Ninja, though, and it is superb.

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jonska
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Re: Slightly OT raw converter discussion
In reply to Robgo2, Jan 27, 2013

Robgo2 wrote:

Here's Photo Ninja. Easy peasy. Recommend viewing Original.

Rob

Very good. That's up there. How many steps?

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jonska
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Summing up
In reply to jonska, Jan 27, 2013

This has been an extremely interesting and enlightening discussion for me. I thank everyone who responded and hope that you did not find it a waste of your time.

I need to go through all the responses once more (having been at work all day) and look at all the processed shots more carefully to get things clear in my  mind.

I hope no one will mind if I resurrect this thread in a day or two to present some conclusions that I found interesting in the hope that some of you will find them interesting too.

Remember what I said earlier, that those of you who contributed will receive a warm welcome and all the help I can give (and a couple of fingers of good malt whiskey) if you wander up here to Iceland for a shoot one day.

Cheers, all, and thanks again for all the information, suggestions and clarifications.

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Robgo2
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Re: Slightly OT raw converter discussion
In reply to jonska, Jan 27, 2013

jonska wrote:

Robgo2 wrote:

Here's Photo Ninja. Easy peasy. Recommend viewing Original.

Rob

Very good. That's up there. How many steps?

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How many steps?  Not many.  I used the Scenic preset and then adjusted white balance, illumination (brightness), Contrast and Detail.  It took under 60 seconds.  Photo Ninja is very easy to use, once you have gained an understanding of how its presets and adjustment tools work.

One thing that I want to point out in my version is the rich, but detailed shadows.  With PN, it is not necessary to lighten shadows inordinately to show detail.  Compare that to all the other versions in which the shadows are lifted to the point that global contrast suffers.

Rob


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Gerry Winterbourne
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Re: New version
In reply to jonska, Jan 27, 2013

jonska wrote:

Ilkka Valkila wrote:

Actually there is a way to do it to a large group of images at once, even all images in the catalog minus one. Do it to one image, select the image in Library module in grid view, right-click on it, select Develop Settings -> Copy Settings, in the dialog box click Check None, click on Process Version to select it and click Copy. Then select all the images you want to update to the new version, right-click and select Develop Settings -> Paste Settings. But I would not recommend doing it on everything at once.

Good tip and good advice. What I could do is start by selecting all my unprocessed images (the ones with no colour code) and update those to the 2012 conversion to see what happens. No harm done, then, as it would simply be as if I had imported them all into Adobe 4 the first time. I have to think about it before I take the plunge, but thanks for the tip and advice.

If you haven't processed them at all they'll open with the new process anyway.  It's only after you've touched them that your work is set at the point you did it.

My processed images I could do one by one, or perhaps collection by collection, to see the effects (assuming that "undo" is possible).

It's easy to do that.  Open the image in LR4; click the icon at bottom right and you get the new process (with your old settings translated to the new but not altered functionally).  If you like it click "Done" or carry on working; if you don't like it click "Cancel" and it closes with the old settings.  [These clicks are how ACR works in CS; if LR isn't exactly the same there must be an equivalent process]

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Robgo2
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Re: Slightly OT raw converter discussion
In reply to jonska, Jan 27, 2013

jonska wrote:

Robgo2 wrote:

Here is an OT suggestion in this OT raw convertor discussion. Get Photo Ninja, and stop worrying about LR/ACR, Irfanview, Capture One and all the rest.

Rob

Good advice, no doubt, but I'm not sure you will have many takers. I looked at some of the user reviews and all is not unmixed bliss in the world of Photo Ninja, although most people seem to be very happy.

I have tried Noise Ninja, though, and it is superb.

Actually, Photo Ninja has a growing number of users, many of whom are ecstatic both with the results and the ease of use.  Rest assured that it raises the bar considerably for raw convertors, and the competition will have to work overtime just to catch up.  I have participated in some of the PN discussions on DPR, and many of the negative comments hinged on unfamiliarity with the UI, which was not always the user's fault.  It is a new program, and most of us early adopters are still figuring it out, but the more I use it, the more I am convinced that it is the best raw convertor by far.  Download a trial version and judge for yourself.  Just take time to understand the presets and adjustment tools.  There aren't many, but they are powerful.

Rob

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rogerstpierre
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Re: Slightly OT raw converter discussion
In reply to jonska, Jan 27, 2013

jonska wrote:

audiobomber wrote:

I don't think this is off topic at all. ...

Glad to hear it. I don't post much here but I visit this forum daily and sometimes I see OPs being told "Go and post in the X forum". I don't like to post in forums where I don't know anyone. Having frequented this forum for years I know who is who.

I was disappointed that Silkypix wasnt included in DPR's test; it meets their criteria, and from anything I've seen is the best at translating Pentax IQ. Have you tried Pentax DCU4 conversion on your raw file? I expect that Reversal Film image tone would be a good match for this photo. Landscape would be good too, but more subtle.

Strangely, any edits made in Silkypix disappear when the image is returned to LR unless I save the image and then import it into Lightroom as a jpeg. ..

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Nothing strange about that, LR is not able to read Silkypix development parameters, which are stored in a proprietary file format.  When you process a RAW, you are not modifying the actual file, the software writes to a file the parameters that you apply, and "reapplies" them when you open up the file, hence nothing is actually saved in the RAW file itself.

I do like Silkypix DS Pro 5 very much.  As a result of DPR review, I am trying DxO, but so far I am not impressed, DSP 5 is so much better IMO, but that's me.  While it does not have DxO camera/lens specific corrections, it's easy enough to create your own, and share them with others if you wish to.

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jonska
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Re: Slightly OT raw converter discussion
In reply to rogerstpierre, Jan 28, 2013

jonska wrote:

Strangely, any edits made in Silkypix disappear when the image is returned to LR unless I save the image and then import it into Lightroom as a jpeg. ..

Nothing strange about that, LR is not able to read Silkypix development parameters, which are stored in a proprietary file format. When you process a RAW, you are not modifying the actual file, the software writes to a file the parameters that you apply, and "reapplies" them when you open up the file, hence nothing is actually saved in the RAW file itself.

Glad that is cleared up. but it seems to me that since Lightroom permits "edit in other applications" and permits Silkypix as such an application, it should recognise the development parameters - but that's just me talking as a consumer who demands unreasonable things.

But - it is not really a problem as I just export from Silkypix and then re-import into Lightroom. Problem solved (with two extra steps).

I do like Silkypix DS Pro 5 very much. As a result of DPR review, I am trying DxO, but so far I am not impressed, DSP 5 is so much better IMO, but that's me. While it does not have DxO camera/lens specific corrections, it's easy enough to create your own, and share them with others if you wish to.

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Roger

I like SilkyPix too, especially for the colour rendering of Pentax raw shots. It is just too limited in other respects.

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jonska
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Re: New version
In reply to Gerry Winterbourne, Jan 28, 2013

Gerry Winterbourne wrote:

jonska wrote:

Good tip and good advice. What I could do is start by selecting all my unprocessed images (the ones with no colour code) and update those to the 2012 conversion to see what happens. No harm done, then, as it would simply be as if I had imported them all into Adobe 4 the first time. I have to think about it before I take the plunge, but thanks for the tip and advice.

If you haven't processed them at all they'll open with the new process anyway. It's only after you've touched them that your work is set at the point you did it.

That I didn't know. You saved me a few hours of work right there.

My processed images I could do one by one, or perhaps collection by collection, to see the effects (assuming that "undo" is possible).

It's easy to do that. Open the image in LR4; click the icon at bottom right and you get the new process (with your old settings translated to the new but not altered functionally). If you like it click "Done" or carry on working; if you don't like it click "Cancel" and it closes with the old settings. [These clicks are how ACR works in CS; if LR isn't exactly the same there must be an equivalent process.

Another few hours saved. This thread is paying dividends (for me, anyway).

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Re: Slightly OT raw converter discussion
In reply to Robgo2, Jan 28, 2013

Robgo2 wrote:


Actually, Photo Ninja has a growing number of users, many of whom are ecstatic both with the results and the ease of use. Rest assured that it raises the bar considerably for raw convertors, and the competition will have to work overtime just to catch up. I have participated in some of the PN discussions on DPR, and many of the negative comments hinged on unfamiliarity with the UI, which was not always the user's fault. It is a new program, and most of us early adopters are still figuring it out, but the more I use it, the more I am convinced that it is the best raw convertor by far. Download a trial version and judge for yourself. Just take time to understand the presets and adjustment tools. There aren't many, but they are powerful.

Rob

I will try it, even if it is just for fun. After all, I have tried CS5, Silkypix, Elements and several free programmes. As far as I am concerned, every minute saved in pp is a minute gained in shooting time (assuming, of course, that the results are as good or better). Noise Ninja, in any case, will only be pried from me from underneath my bleeding fingernails.

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rogerstpierre
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Re: Slightly OT raw converter discussion
In reply to jonska, Jan 28, 2013

jonska wrote: I like SilkyPix too, especially for the colour rendering of Pentax raw shots. It is just too limited in other respects.

Which aspect of Silkypix do you find deficient ?  Are you talking about Silkypix DS Pro 5 of the free v 3 ?

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paulkienitz
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Re: Slightly OT raw converter discussion
In reply to jonska, Jan 28, 2013

jonska wrote:

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?

I use DxO 8... though unfortunately it doesn't support the Q, so for that I'm stuck with the stock Silkypix thing for now.  I can usually get results I'm fairly happy with from DxO defaults (my own defaults, not the ones it came with), if I take a moment to adjust a few sliders -- the two most common being the amount of fill light and the color temperature.  Sometimes I also have to use exposure compensation and bump the saturation.

Most of the time I get more involved than that, because I almost always crop first, and maybe have to level the horizon, and sometimes with the K10D it takes significant fiddling with the hue adjustments.  And then I usually switch to PaintShop Pro X4 for a secondary tweaking of gamma and saturation, as well as doing my downsizing and final sharpening there.  But those steps I mentioned above are the basics, and with just them I can do several pictures per minute if I'm just going for acceptable instead of perfect.

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Robgo2
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Re: Slightly OT raw converter discussion
In reply to jonska, Jan 28, 2013

jonska wrote:

Robgo2 wrote:


Actually, Photo Ninja has a growing number of users, many of whom are ecstatic both with the results and the ease of use. Rest assured that it raises the bar considerably for raw convertors, and the competition will have to work overtime just to catch up. I have participated in some of the PN discussions on DPR, and many of the negative comments hinged on unfamiliarity with the UI, which was not always the user's fault. It is a new program, and most of us early adopters are still figuring it out, but the more I use it, the more I am convinced that it is the best raw convertor by far. Download a trial version and judge for yourself. Just take time to understand the presets and adjustment tools. There aren't many, but they are powerful.

Rob

I will try it, even if it is just for fun. After all, I have tried CS5, Silkypix, Elements and several free programmes. As far as I am concerned, every minute saved in pp is a minute gained in shooting time (assuming, of course, that the results are as good or better). Noise Ninja, in any case, will only be pried from me from underneath my bleeding fingernails.

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Well, then you might be interested to learn that the latest version of Noise Ninja is only available as part of Photo Ninja.  It cannot be purchased separately.  It's good that you are open to something new, but as you will see, PN is a serious piece of software.  It is lots of fun to use, but it's not just for fun.

BTW, even if you ultimately choose Photo Ninja, I still think that it is essential to have a pixel level editing program, at least for local adjustments.  If you already own CS5 or Elements, then you have that covered.

Rob

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Ilkka Valkila
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Re: New version
In reply to jonska, Jan 28, 2013

jonska wrote:

Ilkka Valkila wrote:

jonska wrote:

I only see ACR in action on import into Lightroom and on the very rare occasions that I actually open a raw shot using Photoshop (I normally edit in photoshop straight out of Lightroom so that Lightroom will know where everything is).

Actually you see it in action in LR Develop module.

Very true, but disguised, as you say, as "LR Develop module" which had me fooled. I have always assumed that ACR was only the converter and separate from the Developer. I suppose the catalogue function of Lightroom is also known as "Bridge"? Hopelessly confusing for dabblers like me.

No, there are major differences (as far as I know since I don't have CS and hence no Bridge). LR catalog is a database, Bridge, as I understand it, is more like file browser, though they have many similarities. Scott Kelby and Matt Kloskowski claim that there are at least 100 differences . But ACR is the converter and Develop module is where you make the settings to convert the raw file just like you do in the ACR module of Photoshop.

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