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Software contd. (Canon File Viewer Utility)

RAW file manipulation

You can manipulate one image or a multiple selection of images, RAW images can have their white balance, color space, contrast, tone, sharpening and even 'digital exposure compensation' set before the image is either acquired or saved. Below is a composite image showing RAW specific adjustments (lines and text in red added by us for clarity).

RAW specific adjustments

RAW adjustments are:

  • Digital Exposure Compensation: +/-2.0 EV in 0.1 EV steps
  • White balance: Shot, Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Flash, Color temp, Eye dropper (manual preset)
  • Contrast: Shot, Low, Mid Low, Standard, Mid High, High
  • Color Saturation: Shot, Low, Mid Low, Standard, Mid High, High
  • Color Tone: Shot, -2, -1, 0, +1, +2
  • Sharpness: Shot, Low, Mid Low, Standard, Mid High, High
  • Color space: sRGB, Adobe RGB

Interestingly because Color space is now a separate option it is possible to output an image with high sharpness, high saturation in the Adobe RGB color space. This is something you can't do in-camera. One major problem with the File Viewer Utility is that it does not memorize the RAW adjustments after you close the application, thus if you come back to an image later it will have defaulted back to the 'as shot' settings.

Save File (convert RAW)

With one or more image (RAW in the example below) selected you can save them to RAW, JPEG, TIFF 8 bit or TIFF 16 bit. You can choose to name images with a sequential numbering scheme or simply maintain the same filename as the RAW file (with a _RJ suffix for JPEG's or _RT8 / _RT16 for TIFF files).

Extract and save JPEGs

The EOS-10D allows you to define the size of the preview JPEG which is embedded in all RAW files. By changing custom function 8 you can choose from Small (1536 x 1024), Medium (2048 x 1360) or Large (3072 x 2048) at either Fine or Normal quality.

Camera Settings

As noted above with the camera connected to the computer you can change the owners name (written into each image saved), date and time as well as formatting the CF card. Note that there is no longer any requirement to modify parameters using the File Viewer Utility as these can be changed in-camera.

Preferences

The preferences dialog is spread across two tabs (as shown below). It allows you to set various conversion settings:transfer bit depth (8 / 16), transfer linear (no gamma correction / tone curve), enable / disable false color filter (moiré filter) and choose to always use the 16% the reduced image for preview.

Image file information (from file header)

The text below is an example of the information available in the bottom right hand pane of the main window. As you can see it covers a wide range of exposure and camera setting information as well as a complete set of the custom function settings.

File Name
CRW_8340.CRW
Camera Model Name
Canon EOS 10D
Shooting Date/Time
16/03/2003 11:23:12
Shooting Mode
Program AE
Tv( Shutter Speed )
1/50
Av( Aperture Value )
3.5
Metering Mode
Evaluative
Exposure Compensation
0
ISO Speed
400
Lens
28.0 - 70.0 mm
Focal Length
28.0 mm
Image Size
3072x2048
Image Quality
RAW
Flash
Off
White Balance
Auto
AF Mode
One-Shot AF
Parameters
Contrast Normal
Sharpness Normal
Color saturation Normal
Color tone Normal
Color Space
sRGB
File Size
5981KB
Custom Function
C.Fn:01-1
C.Fn:02-1
C.Fn:03-0
C.Fn:04-0
C.Fn:05-0
C.Fn:06-1
C.Fn:07-0
C.Fn:08-0
C.Fn:09-2
C.Fn:10-0
C.Fn:11-1
C.Fn:12-0
C.Fn:13-1
C.Fn:14-0
C.Fn:15-0
C.Fn:16-0
C.Fn:17-0
Drive Mode
Single-frame shooting
Owner's Name
dpreview.com review camera
Camera Body No.
0230104848

RAW Conversion Performance

To test the performance of Canon's File Viewer Utility we took a group five of RAW images were selected and then the 'Save File' option was used to convert images directly to the destination format. The conversion process was timed and divided by the number of images converted.

  • Test machine: Pentium 4 3.06 Ghz (HT enabled), 1 GB RAM, Windows XP Professional
  • Software: Canon File Viewer Utility 1.2.1.16
Conversion Notes Time taken per image Time for 5 images
RAW -> JPEG (4) Normal, False Color Filter, No Rotate 9.6 sec 48.0 sec
RAW -> JPEG (4) Normal, False Color Filter, Rotate 90° 10.4 sec 52.0 sec
RAW -> TIFF Normal, False Color Filter, No Rotate 8.8 sec 44.0 sec
RAW -> TIFF 16-bit Normal, False Color Filter, No Rotate 9.8 sec 49.0 sec
Extract JPEG Extracted embedded JPEG from RAW 0.2 sec 1.2 sec

Although these timings are quicker than my EOS-D60 test the majority of that gain has come about from the upgrading of my workstation. Intel's Pentium 4 3.06 Ghz processor is pretty much cutting edge at the moment and so the conversion times you see above are about the best you can expect. Canon still have a lot of work to do on their File Viewer Utility, especially image preview and RAW conversion.

RAW vs. JPEG resolution

Below are two 100% crops taken from images shot within seconds of each other. The first crop is from a Large/FINE JPEG, the second from a TIFF created from a RAW (.CRW) file using Canon File Viewer Utility 1.2. You can click on either image or the links below the image to download a TIFF version of the crops. As you can see there is no resolution gain between JPEG and RAW using Canon's standard software.

JPEG RAW
Click here for TIFF copy of crop Click here for TIFF copy of crop

RAW latitude (digital exposure compensation)

We had previously observed that shooting RAW provides you with approximately one stop (1 EV) of additional latitude above the clipping point (pure white - 255,255,255) of the original exposure. In the example below you can see that a large portion of the image was over exposed, applying a -1 EV digital exposure compensation to the RAW image retrieves some of this detail.

RAW RAW -1.0 EV
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Barney Britton
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