GX200: Comparison of RAW conversion tools

Started Oct 31, 2009 | Discussions
Prognathous Veteran Member • Posts: 9,262
GX200: Comparison of RAW conversion tools

Below is a quick comparison between a few major RAW conversion tools. The compared area is marked in a red rectangle:

Next down is a 100% magnification comparison of the JPEG files produced by four of the converters, shown side-by-side in FastStone v3.9 (a great free tool for viewing pictures, minor edits and pixel-peeping comparisons). Note that I'm uploading the original files to allow others to judge the results themselves, so please be patient if a file or two fails to download. In the meanwhile, this should get you started:

(click to expand)

  • Top left corner - Capture One v5.0

; (15.8 MB)

  • Top right - Lightroom v3.0 beta

; (8.5 MB)

  • Bottom left - RawTherapee v2.4.1

; (9.2 MB)

  • Bottom right - SILKYPIX Developer Studio Pro v4.1

; (13 MB)

Not shown in the comparison above:

  • Original camera JPEG file (with sharpness and contrast set to the minimum)

; (4.2 MB)

  • Original camera RAW file

http://imapnet.com/boren/GX200/RAW-comparison/R0014874.DNG ; (17.7 MB)

  • LightZone v3.8 conversion

; (12 MB)

I saved all conversions as 100% quality JPEG's and turned on the default sharpening in converters that had it off. Other than these settings I made no changes to the defaults.

You are welcome to judge the results, but personally I'm staying with RawTherapee. It has the least amount of moire, the colors are natural and neutral, there's plenty of detail, and best of all - it's free. Granted, RT doesn't offer a Mac version, its interface leaves a lot to be desired and the default output here is a little muddy (requires upping the contrast and gamma a bit), but as a Windows user who don't mind a bit of tinkering I can happily live with these shortcomings.

Prog.

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OP Prognathous Veteran Member • Posts: 9,262
And here's one for the "Sigmites":
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Guy Parsons
Guy Parsons Forum Pro • Posts: 32,255
Thanks for that

Hi Prog, thanks for doing that. I know what a hard job it is to gather all that together.

Meanwhile, you did say you liked RawTherapee best, but of interest would be your list of each converter together with likes and dislikes comments. Things like image results matter of course but also general operational comments are of interest.

Such as I use Silkypix all the time now for RAW and jpegs because I'm used to it and seem to get results that I like more easily. But I know that the interface is weird and unfamiliar to all and the manual is an exercise in brain explosion trying to read it.

Thanks and regards........... Guy

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Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 38,065
Re: GX200: Comparison of RAW conversion tools

Thanks for the effort Prog

I have been using Capture One version 4 and 5 has just been released - I will probably upgrade.

Earlier versions of Capture One were very frustrating to use (as were most raw convertors). I bought Rawshooter which seems to have been somehow (formerly) connected to Capture One but had a much nicer interface but was nevertheless quite buggy.

I was then 'upgraded' when Rawshooter shortly thereafter sold out to Lightroom. Lightroom in contrast was a bit directed to the easy-pop end of conversion with nice graphics hiding a lesser technical content and had a quite different work flow path - I guess they just wanted to kill the opposition before it got traction and pick up a few bits of software technology on the way. In any case I did not really warm to Lightroom and I don't think I accepted their increasing cost offers to upgrade as they got a handle on things.

In any case Capture One revised their interface and it is now much more logical (after the initial shock to the (my) system). Their upgrade pricing was also attractive at the time.

So I am happy enough with Capture One and my one really bad problem (in getting it to work at all) received very good and prompt support from the firm.

Your tests are thorough and well received - much of what can happen in raw conversion relies on the eye of the operator no matter what software is used therefore the results of a single person using multiple products is something that we all appreciate.

-- hide signature --

Tom Caldwell

Silk65 Regular Member • Posts: 253
Re: GX200: Comparison of RAW conversion tools

...,

thanks for sharing your observation!
I also using Rawtherapee or Lightzone, as a Linux'ian

Good news for the future: RT is going for Opensource, next time. So the one-man-show will end and, hopefully, RT is going better and better in a shorter and shorter time
--
cheers, Silvio

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OP Prognathous Veteran Member • Posts: 9,262
Re: GX200: Comparison of RAW conversion tools

Silk65 wrote:

I also using Rawtherapee or Lightzone, as a Linux'ian

Note that I also included a Lightzone converted file for download, but not in the side-by-side converter. At least in this case it fell short of the other converters. Maybe you can achieve better result? Feel free to download the DNG and experiment with it if you have the time.

Good news for the future: RT is going for Opensource, next time. So the one-man-show will end and, hopefully, RT is going better and better in a shorter and shorter time

Good news indeed, though now that the source will be open others are likely to copy its "secret" for handling moire / ultra-fine detail. With this big advantage gone RT won't be such an obvious choice (at least for those who care about moire and tiny detail). Still, I'm sure it's going to be more successful than it is now, and if the user-interface is improved (which is very likely) then it'll be more enjoyable to use.

Prog.

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Adrian Harris
Adrian Harris Veteran Member • Posts: 5,285
Re: GX200: Comparison of RAW conversion tools

Very interesting comparison. I did a RAW converter test myself last year for a Minolta A2 8mp camera and Capture One won hands down against the other 6 or 7 for extracting most detail and producing least noise. My conclusion is that: I do believe that there is no single 'best' raw converter, only best ones for specific cameras.

...and I think your test here shows that quite clearly.

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Barry Fitzgerald Forum Pro • Posts: 29,888
Re: GX200: Comparison of RAW conversion tools

I like the rendering of Raw therapee too, it's more natural tonal wise..

Granted a tweak here and there can improve matters. It's got a fair bit better recently, speed has improved..GUI needs some work still, but it can deliver good quality, few bugs to iron out..

Nothing matches the workflow of LR (I'd be throwing cash at RT if it could offer something like that..), but RT is IMO a good bit of software..

Capture one is capable, but I found issues on some compressed raw files..really super over contrasty etc..as it is, I set LR to "linear" which IMO is a great improvement.

Nothing looks worse IMO than an over contrasty colour photo

Rusty2118 Regular Member • Posts: 156
Re: GX200: Comparison of RAW conversion tools

I was very happy with RT until the latest version started crashing every time I tried to load a PEF file.

After monthes of frustration I was enticed to trial Capture One 5 Pro. It is brilliant in its feature list and the quality of the conversions from my Pentax K10D.

I am about to bite the bullet and buy it.

Suggest you give it a try.

Rusty

arthurb2 Regular Member • Posts: 158
Re: GX200: Comparison of RAW conversion tools

Rusty,

if you are on windows (I'm on XP-SP2), and you got a message box saying something like 'rt has encountered an error and must close', there is a fix for that problem. See the following thread on the RT Forum re 'RT 2.4.1 crashing on Windows':

http://rawtherapee.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1593

OP Prognathous Veteran Member • Posts: 9,262
Re: GX200: Comparison of RAW conversion tools

Thanks for the pointer, Arthur. I've been having stability issues with RT 2.4.1, and this DLL solved them. Hopefully they'll release a fixed version soon.

Prog.

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Reg Ister Senior Member • Posts: 1,724
Re: GX200: Comparison of RAW conversion tools

Thanks for sharing this test. I tried rapidly some of my recent KM A1 images with raw therapy (which i ignored so far), and results seem indeed very sharp.

The program seems to do another kind of interpolation of the bayer grid than silky pix, showing a bit more details, and gives a complete different aspect of oblique lines. (not really jaggies, but still some visible saw-tooth like appearance)

It's giving a very nice sharp appearance in general.

Best

Reg

Tom Reynolds Contributing Member • Posts: 584
Re: GX200: Comparison of RAW conversion tools

arthurb2 wrote:

Rusty,

if you are on windows (I'm on XP-SP2), and you got a message box saying something like 'rt has encountered an error and must close', there is a fix for that problem. See the following thread on the RT Forum re 'RT 2.4.1 crashing on Windows':

http://rawtherapee.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1593

Yes, this worked for me. Now runs smoothly and picks up all Pentax maker notes about shot including details of lens name. AND, saves this to tiff which many programs do not do.

dovi Senior Member • Posts: 1,452
Thanks

did not know about Raw Therapee, but its pretty good.

OP Prognathous Veteran Member • Posts: 9,262
For those who are interested in RAW SW comparisons...

There's a detailed and interesting article here:

http://www.twin-pixels.com/lightroom-dxo-capture-one-bibble-5/

Unfortunately he didn't test RawTherapee.

Prog.

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Adrian Harris
Adrian Harris Veteran Member • Posts: 5,285
Other RAW SW comparison tests...

From my own testing, i have found that different RAW converters work better than others depending on which camera is in use.

We all shoot different subjects and hence have different needs

I felt what was really needed to allow everyone to evaluate RAW conversion software properly, was some sort of comparator.

I was most concerned about detail extraction and lack of noise, especially in low contrast areas such as grass.

Please click the link below to try out my Image Comparator Device (ICD?), which I feel confident will allow those interested in getting the best out of their camera, to make a more accurate judgement of image differences. The images are all stacked and whichever RAW converter you move your mouse over, that is the image which will be revealed. Capture One4 was the default image.

http://www.t1000.co.uk/camera/raw_conv_t1/raw_comparator_mk1.htm

Feedback and comments welcome.

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TMacaw Veteran Member • Posts: 4,556
Re: GX200: Other (PWP) RAW conversion tools ?

Brand new GX200 user thanks-you for the notable time and effort. I am using Picure Window Pro 4.0 and testing 5.0 (both of which provide DNG file conversion). I tried a test image conversion and subsequent PP with normal looking results.

Hopefully someone here is using PWP and can comment regarding its capailities for GX200 RAW files. RT is one I will try based on info here, but would like very much to continue with software I use regularly.

Tom B

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