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Software: DCS Photo Desk v3.0 (contd.)

Saving (converting)

Once you have finished adjusting your RAW image you will probably want to output it into a standard image format. DCS Photo Desk supports TIFF and JPEG with (or without) embedded color profiles. TIFF can be output as 8 or 16 bit (12 bit in reality) as linear or the selected RGB color space, JPEG can be output as 100%, 67% or 50% size at three different quality levels. These options are only available from the preferences dialog. Below you can see the two different 'Save' dialogs, the first when saving a single image, the second saving a selection of multiple images.

Saving a single image
Saving multiple images

Printing

Photo Desk will print the 'current view', so a contact sheet of images if in contact sheet mode or a single image in single image view mode.

Output Preferences

The output preferences dialog controls the working color space and the format of TIFF and JPEG images output from Photo Desk.

RAW Conversion Performance

To test the performance of DCS Photo Desk a group five of RAW images were selected and then the 'Save Selected As' 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: Kodak Pro DCS Photo Desk 3.0.0.24
Conversion Notes Time taken per image Time for 5 images
RAW -> JPEG (III, 100% size) Normal, Default adjustments 22.0 sec 110.1 sec
RAW -> JPEG (III, 50% size) Normal, Default adjustments 21.4 sec 107.0 sec
RAW -> TIFF 8-bit Normal, Default adjustments 21.8 sec 109.0 sec
RAW -> TIFF 16-bit Normal, Default adjustments 27.2 sec 136.0 sec

It's worth considering just how much data Photo Desk is having to process, a fourteen megapixel image will always require a fair amount of CPU power. 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.

RAW Latitude

One of the major advantages of digital camera RAW files is that they can maintain more 'latitude' above the exposed white point allowing us to apply digital exposure compensation and recover some highlight detail. The amount of latitude available above the exposed white point is dependent on the exposure and the camera. In my experience over exposed DCS-14n RAW images maintained up to 1.5 EV of additional information (more than most other digital SLR's). The example below is typical of this. Images saved as 50% JPEG III.

Settings: ISO 80, Nikkor 28-70 mm F2.8D, Low SHP, Normal NR, Product Look, 13.5 MP

Digital exposure compensation: 0.0 EV Digital exposure compensation: -1.0 EV

Noise Reduction

When shooting JPEG in-camera you only have two noise reduction options, these are Normal and Strong. DCS Photo Desk provides a much wider range of noise reduction options, you can choose from Advanced or Advanced with Moiré Reduction, each of these has four presets (At Capture, Low, Medium and High) as well as full slider adjustment for noise reduction parameters. As you can see from the samples below Photo Desk's noise reduction is far better than the camera can manage, that said it's still not as clean as we would expect of a digital SLR.

Settings: ISO 400, Nikkor 28-70 mm F2.8D, Low SHP, Product Look, 13.5 MP, (Exp: 1/6 sec, F11)

JPEG (noise reduction in-camera)

Normal (JPEG in-camera) Strong (JPEG in-camera)

RAW (converted by DCS Photo Desk)

Advanced, Low Advanced, High
   
Advanced with Moiré reduction, Low Advanced with Moiré reduction, High
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