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Software - RAW conversion

Supplied software

Samsung provides a single application (Digimax Master) with the Pro815. Digimax Master offers the usual image browsing and basic editing functions, plus a 'proper' Raw conversion module that offers full control over a range of parameters. The only (!) problem is that the Raw conversion software is spectacularly useless - not only does it invariably produce results worse than the camera's JPEG output (terrible demosaicing algorithms), but the controls are incomprehensible, and the results of changing settings highly unpredictable. There is no 'default' setting for any of the options (the usual starting point for Raw converters is 'as shot', producing an image similar to the embedded JPEG), and it is - even after hours of fiddling about - impossible to get the color, contrast or detail anything like the original scene. The only saving grace is that the Pro815's Raw files are saved in Adobe's DNG format, and so can be opened easily using the latest version of Elements or Photoshop CS. My advice to Samsung would be to drop Digimax Master immediately, shoot whoever was responsible for letting it out in this state and quickly do a deal with Adobe to bundle Photoshop Elements, as the results using Adobe's own converter are superb.

Digimax Master lets you browse folders as thumbnails.
Images are edited full-screen using simple sliders, and there is a fairly comprehensive range of options on offer.

Double-clicking on a Raw image fires up the Raw conversion module, which offers a fairly comprehensive set of controls. Unfortunately none of them work as you would expect, and it is impossible to even get the white balance right.
There are three tabbed sections in the Raw converter, offering control over color temperature, exposure contrast and gamma, and sharpening and noise reduction. Moving the sliders even a tiny amount causes swinging changes to the preview image, and altering the contrast changes the color... it's very, very frustrating.

JPEG & Raw Resolution compared

As the crops below show, the Pro815 is capturing a lot more detail than the JPEG output would have you think, but you'll need a copy of Adobe Camera Raw to see it - the output from Samsung's own Raw converter is a joke.

Adobe Camera Raw
RAW -> TIFF (Default)
ACR 3.3
JPEG from camera

DigiMax Master RAW
RAW -> TIFF (Default)
Color & levels corrected

Studio shot comparison

You can do a lot with the Pro815's raw files in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR); they're cleaner and far less 'processed' looking than the out of camera JPEGs, and sharpen up very nicely. Note that in the ACR examples below the sharpening and noise reduction settings were left on the default setting, which is very low.

Adobe Camera Raw, RAW -> TIFF (manual white balance) ACR 3.3 Beta
ISO 50 studio scene 100% crops
Digimax Master, RAW -> TIFF (manual settings)
ISO 50 studio scene 100% crops
JPEG out of camera, Fine quality setting
ISO 50 studio scene 100% crops

 

Adobe Camera Raw, RAW -> TIFF (manual white balance) ACR 3.3 Beta
ISO 400 studio scene 100% crops
Digimax Master, RAW -> TIFF (manual settings)
ISO 400 studio scene 100% crops
JPEG out of camera, Fine quality setting
ISO 400 studio scene 100% crops

 

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