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Software

The DSC-F828 is provided with two CD-ROM's. The first is Sony's standard disc with the USB Driver, Image Transfer and Pixela ImageMixer 1.5 (Windows / Mac). The second disc contains the new Image Data Converter (Windows only) for manipulating and converting Sony's .SRF RAW files.

Image Transfer

Image Transfer is a simple application which once installed sits in your tray notification area waiting for camera connections. Upon connection the application will pop-up and prompt to transfer images from the camera to a predefined destination on the computer's hard disk.

Pixela ImageMixer 1.5

Pixela ImageMixer provides basic browsing, album and Video CD creation.

ImageMixer introductory page, Capture, Album, Movie Edit, Layout, Video CD
Capture Environment
Video CD creation Environment

Image Data Converter

Image Data Converter provides RAW manipulation and conversion capability for Sony's .SRF RAW files. The application starts in a browser view mode, it only shows .SRF files. Double click on an RAW file to switch to 'View Image' mode where you can carry out adjustments of White Balance, Tone Curve, EV, Saturation, Contrast, Hue and Sharpness before outputting the image as JPEG, TIFF or RAW (.SRF). My major complaint about Image Data Convert is its speed, or rather lack of, see the performance table below.

Image Data Converter browsing page
Initial image view (uses embedded JPEG, low resolution and a bit fuzzy)
Magnified and enabled 'Normal Preview' which slows down usage considerably

RAW adjustments

White balance: A full range of camera presets as well as Kelvin color temperature, gray point and fine tuning Tone curve / level: Adjust levels or shape of tone curve
EV, Saturation, Contrast, Hue: Adjust EV +/-2.0 EV (0.01 EV steps) other settings 0 to 255 Sharpness: Adjust 0 to 255

Performance

The test machine used was a desktop PC with a 3.06 GHz Pentium 4 CPU (HT enabled), 1 GB of RAM running Windows XP Professional. Software used was Image Data Converter 1.0 (IDC). IDC has two view modes, Simple and Normal. In Simple mode it uses a low resolution JPEG embedded in the RAW file, in Normal mode the RAW file is converted for display and each time an image adjustment is made. I was very disappointed by the performance of IDC, especially considering our test PC is no slouch.

Action

Preview
mode

Time taken
Change from Simple to Normal Preview - 29.2 sec
Change White Balance Simple 2.9 sec
Change White Balance Normal 29.2 sec
Save as TIFF Simple 29.2 sec
Save as TIFF Normal 2.2 sec
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