Sony Image Data Converter - how good is it?

Started Sep 18, 2011 | Discussions thread
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Michael Berg
Michael Berg Contributing Member • Posts: 864
Sony Image Data Converter - how good is it?

Hi all,

As a long time KM 5D owner I've been used to shooting almost entirely in RAW, because of the vastly improved image quality that was possible using conversion tools such as Capture One.

However, as a very recent A580 owner, I find myself shooting mostly JPEG for a couple of reasons:

  • Capture One doesn't appear to have a dedicated A580 profile (as of this writing)

  • JPEG shooting give you DRO, Auto HDR and MFNR

  • The images look great straight out of the camera

All good reasons right? And hey, no more long nights spent polishing up on that ever increasing backlog of RAW stockpile.

NONE THE LESS. Some foliage and low light shots look absolutely awful close-up, with horrendous smearing of detail and water coloring worthy of John Singer Sargent. So I'm probably going to use RAW with Capture One, at least for some shots.

But I was wondering if anyone had some experience with Sony's own Image Data Converter. As I understand it, it will reproduce the DRO effect correctly, right? And it will not perform the same crude noise reduction as the in-camera engine does, hopefully?

I'm guessing it won't be able to do HDR and MFNR by itself. For HDR there are some nice options available already (PhotoMatix etc), but what about MFNR? Is there something available to do RAW multiframe noise reduction using the raw files that come out of an A580?

What is the general consensus on the quality of Sony IDC's RAW conversions, compared to Adobe, Bibble, Capture One and RawTherapee? Did anyone post a comparison online perhaps?

(The workflow is going to be staggering... RAW -> MFNR/HDR software -> Capture One/Sony IDC -> JPG ... multiplied by 1000 images

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