DPP, Lightroom and Photo Ninja, samples

Started Mar 29, 2013 | Discussions
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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Y Hafting
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Re: DPP, Lightroom and Photo Ninja, samples
In reply to aftab, Mar 29, 2013

aftab wrote:

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.

I agree that highlight recovery is difficult with DPP, but are you 100% sure you did this one right?

As far as i know the DPP highlight recovery is done with the slider to minimum, not max, which of course may be confusing compared to ACR/lightroom. (Pulling slider right means brighter both on highlight and shadow in DPP.)

If possible, i would like if you could post the raw files, so i can see for myself too. I do find the PN-images impressive though.

-Yngve

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aftab
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Re: DPP, Lightroom and Photo Ninja, samples
In reply to Y Hafting, Mar 29, 2013

Y Hafting wrote:

I agree that highlight recovery is difficult with DPP, but are you 100% sure you did this one right?

As far as i know the DPP highlight recovery is done with the slider to minimum, not max, which of course may be confusing compared to ACR/lightroom. (Pulling slider right means brighter both on highlight and shadow in DPP.)

If possible, i would like if you could post the raw files, so i can see for myself too. I do find the PN-images impressive though.

-Yngve

I checked again, I did it right (my phrasing was confusing).

Here is the link. Please let me know if you could better.

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Re: DPP, Lightroom and Photo Ninja, samples
In reply to Y Hafting, Mar 29, 2013

Another RAW file uploaded here

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Re: DPP, Lightroom and Photo Ninja, samples
In reply to aftab, Mar 29, 2013

aftab wrote:

Another RAW file uploaded here

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Thanks!

I am having a look at them right now.

Unfortunately i have only an old PS, that doesn't support 5D III, but in DPP i can view them both.

It seems i can confirm that i get similar results for DPP. I might post something later to see if i am able to push the boundries slightly, but in general it won't change the major differences.

One strange finding: on the 5DIII image, the thumbnail seems to have have a much better colour on the sky than the full size image. I am not sure why canon chose not to let us play with those colours inn full size, and seing the great differences i would consider this a bug in the current DPP version (3.12.52.0).

Photoshop (CS4) is not able to recover the blown highlights from the images transferred to DPP either.

Another thing that makes for an interesting comparison between raw converters is the fine detail rendered when the Digital Lens Optimizer (DLO) in DPP is used. I might post an example later tonight or tomorrow, but i don't have PN or a newer ACR, so someone else will have to do those. When using the full frame, that feature might not be interesting, but for tele-photography, where 100% crop is used, this feature may prove particularly useful.

-Yngve

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aftab
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Re: DPP, Lightroom and Photo Ninja, samples
In reply to Y Hafting, Mar 29, 2013

Y Hafting wrote:

aftab wrote:

Another RAW file uploaded here

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Thanks!

I am having a look at them right now.

Unfortunately i have only an old PS, that doesn't support 5D III, but in DPP i can view them both.

You can use the latest DNG Converter from Adobe to convert CR2 files to DNG first and then those DNG files can be opened with CS4.

It seems i can confirm that i get similar results for DPP. I might post something later to see if i am able to push the boundries slightly, but in general it won't change the major differences.

One strange finding: on the 5DIII image, the thumbnail seems to have have a much better colour on the sky than the full size image. I am not sure why canon chose not to let us play with those colours inn full size, and seing the great differences i would consider this a bug in the current DPP version (3.12.52.0).

I am using DPP after a long time. From memory it did better than these examples in the past. So, bug is possible.

Photoshop (CS4) is not able to recover the blown highlights from the images transferred to DPP either.

Another thing that makes for an interesting comparison between raw converters is the fine detail rendered when the Digital Lens Optimizer (DLO) in DPP is used. I might post an example later tonight or tomorrow, but i don't have PN or a newer ACR, so someone else will have to do those. When using the full frame, that feature might not be interesting, but for tele-photography, where 100% crop is used, this feature may prove particularly useful.

-Yngve

I have tried DLO in the past, but didn't find it very useful. I am hoping to be proven wrong.

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Re: DPP, Lightroom and Photo Ninja, samples
In reply to Y Hafting, Mar 29, 2013

I haven't tried Photo Ninja, but comparing results from DPP, Corel AftershotPro and RawTherapee, I found that Lightroom gave by far the best highlight recovery, sharpness and overall balance.

It's all very well using "Auto" or "Default" settings, but these programs are quite complex, and with a challenging subject you often need to spend quite a lot of time fine tuning the settings.
I'd agree with you that Photo Ninja is returning some good results, but in a final image it's probably going to be difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish the results between PN and Lightroom. "You pays your money and makes your choice."

Having auditioned each version of Lightroom from v1 and been unimpressed, I finally found with v4.3 (now 4.4RC) that Adobe has produced a program that was worth purchasing.

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Re: DPP, Lightroom and Photo Ninja, samples
In reply to MisterBG, Mar 29, 2013

MisterBG wrote:

I haven't tried Photo Ninja, but comparing results from DPP, Corel AftershotPro and RawTherapee, I found that Lightroom gave by far the best highlight recovery, sharpness and overall balance.

No doubt ACR/LR is the most powerful raw converter available. I have used both of them for several years( as well as few others).

It's all very well using "Auto" or "Default" settings, but these programs are quite complex, and with a challenging subject you often need to spend quite a lot of time fine tuning the settings.
I'd agree with you that Photo Ninja is returning some good results, but in a final image it's probably going to be difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish the results between PN and Lightroom. "You pays your money and makes your choice."

Any raw converter is more than auto or default setting, PN is not any different. It has much less options for manipulating a raw file, but it has enough for most pictures and it has few tricks even ACR/LR can't match. I am saying it as a  long term user of these two programs.

Having auditioned each version of Lightroom from v1 and been unimpressed, I finally found with v4.3 (now 4.4RC) that Adobe has produced a program that was worth purchasing.

You can't go wrong with LR. In conjunction with CS it is the most powerful converter out there.

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Re: DPP, Lightroom and Photo Ninja, samples
In reply to Y Hafting, Mar 29, 2013

I agree about Photoninja. It also has superior highlight recovery compared with Aperture and DXO Optics Pro 8.

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DPP-DLO-sample
In reply to aftab, Mar 29, 2013

Below is four samples of the difference between using DPP with or without Digital Lens Optimizer (DLO)

The DLO does make the images visibly sharper. However i am afraid this image is not a good benchmark for how good this tool may be. It is visible, but only a little, and it does lower the need for sharpening somewhat- the hard part is telling whether it really is better or more desirable than a sharpened-to-taste version without DLO.

DLO adds significant processing time when converting a batch of images. I also believe there are images that would make a greater difference than this moon which is reasonably centered.

This is one shot i had recently using liveview to capture the moon at 280mm (70-200 & 1.4). All images are 100% crops, saved at maximum jpeg setting, no NR, all same processing apart from DLO and sharpening.

DPP, non-sharpened, non-DLO:

DPP, sharpened (USM 2, fineness 0), non-DLO:

DPP, sharpened (USM 2, fineness 0), DLO:

If anyone would like to try other raw converters with this image, i have made the raw file available here:

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B0_NKtfgorUuU043eGZBRWdWbU0/edit?usp=sharing

Feel free to post comments.

-Yngve

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aftab
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Re: DPP-DLO-sample
In reply to Y Hafting, Mar 30, 2013

Thanks for posting these. DLO seems to do the job. I should give it another try.

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Re: DPP, Lightroom and Photo Ninja, samples
In reply to MisterBG, Mar 30, 2013

MisterBG wrote:

I haven't tried Photo Ninja, but comparing results from DPP, Corel AftershotPro and RawTherapee, I found that Lightroom gave by far the best highlight recovery, sharpness and overall balance.

It's all very well using "Auto" or "Default" settings, but these programs are quite complex, and with a challenging subject you often need to spend quite a lot of time fine tuning the settings.
I'd agree with you that Photo Ninja is returning some good results, but in a final image it's probably going to be difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish the results between PN and Lightroom. "You pays your money and makes your choice."

Having auditioned each version of Lightroom from v1 and been unimpressed, I finally found with v4.3 (now 4.4RC) that Adobe has produced a program that was worth purchasing.

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>The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.

I have run many head-to-head comparisons of Photo Ninja and the latest version of ACR, and what I have learned is that you can work all day and all night with ACR and not be able to equal what you can get from Photo Ninja in five minutes.  First learn the presets, which give you a starting point, and then learn the adjustment tools, which are relatively few in number but are very powerful and well conceived.  I can't imagine why anyone would return to ACR/LR after becoming adept with PN, except out of force of habit or brand loyalty.  One can still use LR for file management, local adjustments  and printing, while using PN for the all important raw conversion.

Rob

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Re: DPP, Lightroom and Photo Ninja, samples
In reply to Robgo2, Mar 30, 2013

Robgo2 wrote:

 I can't imagine why anyone would return to ACR/LR after becoming adept with PN, except out of force of habit or brand loyalty.  One can still use LR for file management, local adjustments  and printing, while using PN for the all important raw conversion.

Rob

Nobody dislikes the monster that is Adobe more than I do, and LR4 is the first Adobe product I've ever purchased, so I have no 'brand loyalty'. My choice was made purely on results from the trial version, compared with what I was already using.

Maybe if I'd seen PN before I paid for LR, I may have reconsidered my choice, but after evaluating the two side by side, the differences are minimal, and on my "awkward subject" test, LR still produces a slightly better result than PN, and does not require a great deal of effort to produce that result either. I write this as someone who has about a two weeks experience with LR, and whose learning curve is simply from "pushing a few sliders to see what happens". With a bit of guidance and experience I'm sure I'm going to get even better results than I have so far.

Some of us do not have unlimited resources, and cannot afford to pay out significant sums of money every time the "next best thing" comes along, so for that reason I'm committed to LR for a while.

One thing I do like about Adobe is that they regularly and frequently update their software to accommodate new cameras and lenses, something which some other brands (AfterShotPro?) could take a lesson from.
I wonder if PhotoNinja will be as regularly updated.

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Re: DPP, Lightroom and Photo Ninja, samples
In reply to MisterBG, Mar 30, 2013

MisterBG wrote:

Robgo2 wrote:

 I can't imagine why anyone would return to ACR/LR after becoming adept with PN, except out of force of habit or brand loyalty.  One can still use LR for file management, local adjustments  and printing, while using PN for the all important raw conversion.

Rob

Nobody dislikes the monster that is Adobe more than I do, and LR4 is the first Adobe product I've ever purchased, so I have no 'brand loyalty'. My choice was made purely on results from the trial version, compared with what I was already using.

Maybe if I'd seen PN before I paid for LR, I may have reconsidered my choice, but after evaluating the two side by side, the differences are minimal, and on my "awkward subject" test, LR still produces a slightly better result than PN, and does not require a great deal of effort to produce that result either. I write this as someone who has about a two weeks experience with LR, and whose learning curve is simply from "pushing a few sliders to see what happens". With a bit of guidance and experience I'm sure I'm going to get even better results than I have so far.

Some of us do not have unlimited resources, and cannot afford to pay out significant sums of money every time the "next best thing" comes along, so for that reason I'm committed to LR for a while.

One thing I do like about Adobe is that they regularly and frequently update their software to accommodate new cameras and lenses, something which some other brands (AfterShotPro?) could take a lesson from.
I wonder if PhotoNinja will be as regularly updated.

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>The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.

As the old saying goes, YMMV.  It takes time to become proficient with any program.  I think that if you had practiced with Photo Ninja for at least one week, you would have seen much better results.  That's about how long it took me to get a feel for its structure and flow, and I am very experienced with raw convertors.  PN is quite easy to use, and there is no doubt in my mind that it dusts ACR/LR, which is not to say that the latter cannot deliver pleasing results.  It can, and I hope that it will do so in your hands.

Rob

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Re: DPP, Lightroom and Photo Ninja, samples
In reply to aftab, Apr 1, 2013

interesting results with Photo Ninja vs. LR4.  thanks for sharing the raw files.

i like the way PN processed your sample CR2 uploads with one exception -- the robots on the building picture.  you suggested the sky is wrong in the result from LR4 (agree, it is too cyan) yet the cloud result I get from PN seems worse -- the clouds are Blue!

i have fooled around with settings in PN and can't get it to do any better than blue clouds.  why is it that LR gets the clouds right (white).   are there settings in PN than can make it better or do you expect that would have to be cleaned up in photoshop?

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aftab
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Re: DPP, Lightroom and Photo Ninja, samples
In reply to lee_b, Apr 1, 2013

lee_b wrote:

interesting results with Photo Ninja vs. LR4.  thanks for sharing the raw files.

i like the way PN processed your sample CR2 uploads with one exception -- the robots on the building picture.  you suggested the sky is wrong in the result from LR4 (agree, it is too cyan) yet the cloud result I get from PN seems worse -- the clouds are Blue!

i have fooled around with settings in PN and can't get it to do any better than blue clouds.  why is it that LR gets the clouds right (white).   are there settings in PN than can make it better or do you expect that would have to be cleaned up in photoshop?

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Lee

PN explains what it tries to do in highlight recovery and why you can get blue cloud.

http://www.picturecode.com/tutorials/hr.php

So, yes, you can get wrong colors and there is a easy way around it. Last few days I have extensively tried PN, processed more than 100 pics, in only two occasions it made a mistake (this example is one of them) with wrong color when recovering highlight. For this particular example use 'Absolute' as explained in this page:

http://www.picturecode.com/tutorials/exposure.php

I started this thread only after trying PN for few hours. Now, after using it for few days and going through the tutorials to know it better, I am convinced that PN is the best RAW converter around. Better or desired result in only a fraction of a time needed with other converter is its strength. It is still very young and there is room for improvement.

I will post more examples later.

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Re: DPP, Lightroom and Photo Ninja, samples
In reply to aftab, Apr 5, 2013

I am back after trying Photo Ninja on about 200 pictures. I am back because I didn't do justice to Photo Ninja in my original post. It is much more powerful and flexible than I originally thought. In my OP I talked about it's awesome highlight recovery feature. Now I want to tell you about some other features I discovered since then.

Exposure and detail:

You can select how you want a RAW file to open, you can select several presets and adjustments as default including a Neutral preset. In all cases PN recovers highlight at the time of opening a file. So, you don't need to spend time on highlight recovery. After you open a file there are some very innovative ways you can make further adjustments. They are easy to use and very powerful. In addition PN has a 'Detail' slider which increases local contrast without any halo. It is far more effective than anything I have used. Now I am discovering detail in my pictures I didn't know even existed. Few examples.

A late afternoon shot with beautiful golden light. Exposed to right to capture the detail in the dark areas under the bridge. Before I tried to process it with LR and CS, the results were okay, but didn't look like what I saw with my eyes.

RAW without any adjustment

PN in less than 30 secs. See how the trees came alive with better detail, couldn't do it with LR.

Another example. Look the buildings and how every single brick stands out.

RAW without adjustment.

Few seconds in PN. Again, with LR buildings didn't look this sharp.

I want to show you 100% crops from two other pictures to show the comparison of details and sharpness compared to LR.Unlike above two pictures here the details are finer.

Taken from a moving bus. RAW without adjustment.

PN (of course you can do different adjustments)

100% crops

See, how PN image looks sharper (and in focus), couldn't do this with LR and CS after trying all kinds of sharpening and contrast adjustments.

Another scene with PN (handheld)

100% crops

If you view large you will notice how PN brings out smallest detail and gives sharper image compared to LR.

Noise reduction and detail:

LR and ACR has one of the best NR algorithms. When minimal NR is needed all programs do well, but when heavy NR is needed PN with it's built in Noise Ninja beats LR and ACR.

RAW without adjustment. Exposed for the bright parts of the cloud.

PN after exposure adjustment and NR

100% crops. 1st crop is before NR (4 stops shadow lifted)

This is an extreme example. LR unable to remove color noise completely from the boat, PN does a much better job. PN is cleaner and maintains better detail in the rope.

PN also has several ways to adjust colors and many other excellent features, I can't discuss everything here. All I can say is that it has given new life to my pictures. No wonder Rob Galbraith says, "Photo Ninja's interpolation algorithm and sharpening filter pull the finest-possible detail from D800 and D800E NEFs...". You can read this if you have time

http://www.thistonybridge.com/2012/10/23/photo-ninja-raw-converter-review

In my use, there is one thing LR does better, CA removal. PN does a very good job, but LR is better, so occasionally I need to do it in LR after processing with PN.

If you are trying it, you need to spend some time to know it well and to get the best out of it. If you do, you will be hooked.

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salamander1
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Re: DPP, Lightroom and Photo Ninja, samples
In reply to aftab, Apr 5, 2013

aftab wrote:

I am back after trying Photo Ninja on about 200 pictures. I am back because I didn't do justice to Photo Ninja in my original post. It is much more powerful and flexible than I originally thought. In my OP I talked about it's awesome highlight recovery feature. Now I want to tell you about some other features I discovered since then.

Exposure and detail:

You can select how you want a RAW file to open, you can select several presets and adjustments as default including a Neutral preset. In all cases PN recovers highlight at the time of opening a file. So, you don't need to spend time on highlight recovery. After you open a file there are some very innovative ways you can make further adjustments. They are easy to use and very powerful. In addition PN has a 'Detail' slider which increases local contrast without any halo. It is far more effective than anything I have used. Now I am discovering detail in my pictures I didn't know even existed. Few examples.

A late afternoon shot with beautiful golden light. Exposed to right to capture the detail in the dark areas under the bridge. Before I tried to process it with LR and CS, the results were okay, but didn't look like what I saw with my eyes.

RAW without any adjustment

PN in less than 30 secs. See how the trees came alive with better detail, couldn't do it with LR.

Another example. Look the buildings and how every single brick stands out.

RAW without adjustment.

Few seconds in PN. Again, with LR buildings didn't look this sharp.

I want to show you 100% crops from two other pictures to show the comparison of details and sharpness compared to LR.Unlike above two pictures here the details are finer.

Taken from a moving bus. RAW without adjustment.

PN (of course you can do different adjustments)

100% crops

See, how PN image looks sharper (and in focus), couldn't do this with LR and CS after trying all kinds of sharpening and contrast adjustments.

Another scene with PN (handheld)

100% crops

If you view large you will notice how PN brings out smallest detail and gives sharper image compared to LR.

Noise reduction and detail:

LR and ACR has one of the best NR algorithms. When minimal NR is needed all programs do well, but when heavy NR is needed PN with it's built in Noise Ninja beats LR and ACR.

RAW without adjustment. Exposed for the bright parts of the cloud.

PN after exposure adjustment and NR

100% crops. 1st crop is before NR (4 stops shadow lifted)

This is an extreme example. LR unable to remove color noise completely from the boat, PN does a much better job. PN is cleaner and maintains better detail in the rope.

PN also has several ways to adjust colors and many other excellent features, I can't discuss everything here. All I can say is that it has given new life to my pictures. No wonder Rob Galbraith says, "Photo Ninja's interpolation algorithm and sharpening filter pull the finest-possible detail from D800 and D800E NEFs...". You can read this if you have time

http://www.thistonybridge.com/2012/10/23/photo-ninja-raw-converter-review

In my use, there is one thing LR does better, CA removal. PN does a very good job, but LR is better, so occasionally I need to do it in LR after processing with PN.

If you are trying it, you need to spend some time to know it well and to get the best out of it. If you do, you will be hooked.

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hi! nice pictures.

could you send me a raw file of your bridge picture? (the first in the series)

since such is the nature of this thread i'd like to see what i can do with it too in lightroom.

only if you wish, of course, and whenever you can, if you feel comfortable about it.  don't feel obligated. thank you.

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aftab
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Re: DPP, Lightroom and Photo Ninja, samples
In reply to salamander1, Apr 5, 2013

salamander1 wrote:

could you send me a raw file of your bridge picture? (the first in the series)

since such is the nature of this thread i'd like to see what i can do with it too in lightroom.

only if you wish, of course, and whenever you can, if you feel comfortable about it.  don't feel obligated. thank you.

No problem, hereit is. Please let us know how you went.

Please, note that the picture can be processed further. For example blue in the sky can be enhanced or other color adjustments can be made. I just wanted to show what you can achieve in few seconds with PN. I would be really interested to see if you can get that 3D look in the trees with LR.

Thanks.

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ASR45
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Re: DPP, Lightroom and Photo Ninja, samples
In reply to aftab, Apr 5, 2013

Interesting stuff.

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