Never mind SPP - try Faststone!

Started Oct 8, 2012 | Discussions
Zone8 Forum Pro • Posts: 17,276
Never mind SPP - try Faststone!

Due advising an OP on another forum (Open) for a cheaper alternative for processing RAW files, I decided to try a comparison with SPP (latest Windoze version) on a SD14 RAW file to compare with the latest Faststone Image Viewer offering - free for personal use, athough mine is registered.  I have always paid for anything that I find useful and have been using this until now for just its excellent facility for resizing images - ideal when sorting and preparing for photo books (and I do use Blurb - superb if you follow their image preparation destructions!)

So, during this, I checked by seeing first if Faststone could actually handle RAW X3F files.  It sure does and to be honest, the standard JPEG files produced are better than those from SPP - in SPP, the initial image appears, then after a couple of seconds, it changes and often - as many have reported in this forum - the changes are not exactly welcomed in some cases.  Faststone produces the JPEG as the initial RAW file appears in SPP, before it gets processed.  The first JPEG I produced was smaller in physical size but I found that was because the default setting was for a Level 9, rather than a Level 12 JPEG, so that was soon sorted.  In fact, the ability to tailor this programme is very good indeed.  You can also use crop, clone, etc. tools before you produce the JPEG so a real bonus over SPP.

So, can I suggest that Sigmarites try Faststone - it's freeware - BUT do contribute if you continue to use, so the developers can continue to develop - they cannot live on air alone and the contribution even suggested (and you can turn the pop-up off!) is very small - but you could make it larger of course!  Whatever you contribute will be a tiny fraction of the high charges Adobe and others want for their products. Me?  I am very impressed by the latest Faststone Image Viewer and can see me starting to use this regularly in preference to SPP, PhotoShop and Lightroom.  From what I have seen with a little dip of my toes in the water it is superior.

http://www.faststone.org/FSViewerDetail.htm

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Joerg V Contributing Member • Posts: 636
Re: Never mind SPP - try Faststone!
Faststone produces the JPEG as the initial RAW file appears in SPP, before it gets processed.

Then all it does is extract the internal JPEG. That is not a big feat.

Joerg

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cinefeel Contributing Member • Posts: 860
Re: Never mind SPP - try Faststone!

I can confirm that it does NOT process the raw.

It just extracts the internal JPEG!

ChristianHass Senior Member • Posts: 2,946
Re: Never mind SPP - try Faststone!

It does indeed extract the embedded jpeg and I enjoy that feature quite a lot. Faststone is my go to tool on my netbook for holiday use, I can quickly screen all my images even though I shoot RAW only.

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OP Zone8 Forum Pro • Posts: 17,276
Be positive, not negative!

Joerg V wrote:

Faststone produces the JPEG as the initial RAW file appears in SPP, before it gets processed.

Then all it does is extract the internal JPEG. That is not a big feat.

Maybe - but have you tried it?  As far as I can see the end JPEG and ability for using some tools seems a distinct advantage.  The end image files look pretty good and - in case you have not actually bothered to try this - are better than JPEGs direct from the camera.  I think that IS an advantage worth checking out.  

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Zone8: Although I am a handsome genius, when I stand in front of a mirror, I vaguely recognise the ugly idjit standing on the other side!
LINK: For B+W with Epson 1400 (and other models) using black ink only PLUS other useful tips:
http://www.photosnowdonia.co.uk/ZPS/epson1400-B&W.htm
Cleaning DSLR Sensors, including Kodak DSLR Factory Cleaning method:
http://www.photosnowdonia.co.uk/ZPS/KodakDCS-sensorcleaning.htm
Solving back/front focus problems on Sigma and most other DSLRs
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1027&message=35565277
PDF format list of lenses you can print or download - covers Italian Flag YES/NO for DCS 14n but applies to others. http://www.photosnowdonia.co.uk/ZPS/ItiFlagLensList.pdf

D-Man67
D-Man67 Regular Member • Posts: 187
Re: Never mind SPP - try Faststone!

ChristianHass wrote:

It does indeed extract the embedded jpeg and I enjoy that feature quite a lot. Faststone is my go to tool on my netbook for holiday use, I can quickly screen all my images even though I shoot RAW only.

Same here. And that's whats great about the program.

But if you go to Settings > Settings> RAW, and in View RAW files select ''Actual Size (Slow)''

Things get a little interesting..

I want to think its actually (somewhat) processing the raw file. Because if you throw in a file from an SD1, it renders it a garbage (noise followed by bar pattern as most other programs do) in the preview pane  that can't recognize the newer format. So in a way, that could be proof that its trying to actually read the RAW.

But still, I'd use Faststone for only jpeg purposes.

I'm sure things could change in the near future for this program to support the newer X3f spec.

Discussion: new paint shop pro x5 handles raw x3f files

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Lin Evans
Lin Evans Forum Pro • Posts: 17,390
Re: Never mind SPP - try Faststone!

Yes, FastStone as well as Irfanview both read the embedded jpg files. I use Irfanview to preview my jpgs extracted from the RAW with my DP2 Merrill before opening the RAW in SPP.

Best regards,

Lin

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xpatUSA
xpatUSA Forum Pro • Posts: 13,320
Re: Never mind SPP - try Faststone!

Lin Evans wrote:

Yes, FastStone as well as Irfanview both read the embedded jpg files.

That was my experience also when I was seeking alternatives to SPP & ACR. But, as has been stated previously, both can be set to edit the X3F data instead.

Both were pretty good at imagery - FastStone has some very comprehensive JPEG compression options and one of them (can't remember which) can do Lanzcos re-sampling.

However, neither one embeds the color space info in the output files, IIRC. And one or both of them lacks the one-click color cast fix (so essential when you got the white balance wrong

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Best Regards,
Ted.

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OP Zone8 Forum Pro • Posts: 17,276
Re: Never mind SPP - try Faststone!

xpatUSA wrote:

However, neither one embeds the color space info in the output files, IIRC. And one or both of them lacks the one-click color cast fix (so essential when you got the white balance wrong

Ah well, Ted, there you have it.  I work mainly towards B+W high quality prints but when colour is going to be important - I always use Custom settings and therefore have no such problems! 

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Zone8: Although I am a handsome genius, when I stand in front of a mirror, I vaguely recognise the ugly idjit standing on the other side!
LINK: For B+W with Epson 1400 (and other models) using black ink only PLUS other useful tips:
http://www.photosnowdonia.co.uk/ZPS/epson1400-B&W.htm
Cleaning DSLR Sensors, including Kodak DSLR Factory Cleaning method:
http://www.photosnowdonia.co.uk/ZPS/KodakDCS-sensorcleaning.htm
Solving back/front focus problems on Sigma and most other DSLRs
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1027&message=35565277
PDF format list of lenses you can print or download - covers Italian Flag YES/NO for DCS 14n but applies to others. http://www.photosnowdonia.co.uk/ZPS/ItiFlagLensList.pdf

(unknown member) Veteran Member • Posts: 5,593
Never mind Fastone - SPP is great
2

Zone8 wrote:

Due advising an OP on another forum (Open) for a cheaper alternative for processing RAW files, I decided to try a comparison with SPP (latest Windoze version) on a SD14 RAW file to compare with the latest Faststone Image Viewer offering - free for personal use, athough mine is registered.  I have always paid for anything that I find useful and have been using this until now for just its excellent facility for resizing images - ideal when sorting and preparing for photo books (and I do use Blurb - superb if you follow their image preparation destructions!)

So, during this, I checked by seeing first if Faststone could actually handle RAW X3F files.  It sure does and to be honest, the standard JPEG files produced are better than those from SPP - in SPP, the initial image appears, then after a couple of seconds, it changes and often - as many have reported in this forum - the changes are not exactly welcomed in some cases.  Faststone produces the JPEG as the initial RAW file appears in SPP, before it gets processed.  The first JPEG I produced was smaller in physical size but I found that was because the default setting was for a Level 9, rather than a Level 12 JPEG, so that was soon sorted.  In fact, the ability to tailor this programme is very good indeed.  You can also use crop, clone, etc. tools before you produce the JPEG so a real bonus over SPP.


The whole point of a raw converter/developer is to create a final image so the concept of a default image being a concern doesn't really make much sense. Besides, adjustment mode settings can be saved in SPP.

I would also prefer to see Sigma keep SPP's focus on developing the highest quality raw photos and not getting distracted by tools one should be using in a dedicated photo editing program such as Photoshop or PaintShop Pro. I don't want SPP turning into the bloated mess that Lightroom and Aperture have turned into.

MOD rick decker Forum Pro • Posts: 15,532
Re: Be positive, not negative!

That is not the issue.  The issue here is "mis-information"   which in this case, as with many others,  is done with good intentions.

I am a big FastStone supporter and use it regularly - mostly as a browser. I recommend it for people that want a freeware editor.

FastStone does not edit Sigma RAW.  It does not even list  the word "Sigma" in the manual.  Nor does it list "X3F" in the RAW file list.

It does not to my knowledge list "level 9" fir JPEGS anywhere that I can find.  It does have a JPEG slider that goes from 0 to 100 percent. Now I know that I am nitpicking on this one.

R

(unknown member) Veteran Member • Posts: 5,593
Re: Be positive, not negative!

Zone8 wrote:

Joerg V wrote:

Faststone produces the JPEG as the initial RAW file appears in SPP, before it gets processed.

Then all it does is extract the internal JPEG. That is not a big feat.

Maybe - but have you tried it?  As far as I can see the end JPEG and ability for using some tools seems a distinct advantage.  The end image files look pretty good and - in case you have not actually bothered to try this - are better than JPEGs direct from the camera.  I think that IS an advantage worth checking out.  

He is not being negative if he is telling the truth.

And why would anyone in their right mind buy a Sigma camera just to output jpgs?

ArvoJ Senior Member • Posts: 1,371
Re: Never mind SPP - try Faststone!
1

xpatUSA wrote:

Lin Evans wrote:

Yes, FastStone as well as Irfanview both read the embedded jpg files.

That was my experience also when I was seeking alternatives to SPP & ACR. But, as has been stated previously, both can be set to edit the X3F data instead.

I composed one strange file (a bit corrupted, but opens in SPP and Silkypix), having quite different preview and raw parts. Can someone check, what does faststone view - duck or branch or both? Irfanview sees branch (jpg) or decode error (raw).

combinedSD14.x3f

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xpatUSA
xpatUSA Forum Pro • Posts: 13,320
Re: Never mind SPP - try Faststone!

ArvoJ wrote:

I composed one strange file (a bit corrupted, but opens in SPP and Silkypix), having quite different preview and raw parts. Can someone check, what does faststone view - duck or branch or both? Irfanview sees branch (jpg) or decode error (raw).

combinedSD14.x3f

I'm on it, Arvo. Big file for my satellite link! 18 minutes to go. Will report later

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Best Regards,
Ted.

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xpatUSA
xpatUSA Forum Pro • Posts: 13,320
Re: Never mind SPP - try Faststone!

xpatUSA wrote:

ArvoJ wrote:

I composed one strange file (a bit corrupted, but opens in SPP and Silkypix), having quite different preview and raw parts. Can someone check, what does faststone view - duck or branch or both? Irfanview sees branch (jpg) or decode error (raw).

combinedSD14.x3f

I'm on it, Arvo. Big file for my satellite link! 18 minutes to go. Will report later

FastStone Viewer (FSV) has settings - press F12:

In the selection above (embedded preview image) it showed a tree branch. Then I changed it to half-size and it showed a duck as stated below.

The thumbnail came up as a shot of a tree branch

The editable preview came up as a duck.

I saved it as a JPEG:

In the JPEG there was no meta data for color space (unknown).


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Best Regards,
Ted.

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xpatUSA
xpatUSA Forum Pro • Posts: 13,320
Re: Never mind SPP - try Faststone!

I also found out that FSV can edit the embedded JPEG and save it separately from the RAW. So it can edit either the embedded JPEG or the X3F image data, your choice! That is quite impressive, IMHO.

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Best Regards,
Ted.

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Charles2 Veteran Member • Posts: 5,373
Re: Never mind SPP - try Faststone!

The branch-duck file might be wrapped in an X3F shell, but neither part (tree branch nor duck) is camera raw data. At least not until shown to be. Whether the file is an intentional joke or not, opening it in Fast Stone and invoking the FS raw processing (hit the A key) establishes nothing.

You can open any genuine X3F file in Fast Stone. You will have the camera JPG at your disposal, nothing more - useful for rapid preview of your shots. But invoke FS raw processing (hit the A key), and you will get a screen of visual noise.

ArvoJ Senior Member • Posts: 1,371
Re: Never mind SPP - try Faststone!

Charles2 wrote:

The branch-duck file might be wrapped in an X3F shell, but neither part (tree branch nor duck) is camera raw data. At least not until shown to be. Whether the file is an intentional joke or not, opening it in Fast Stone and invoking the FS raw processing (hit the A key) establishes nothing.

Sorry? Do you doubt in my ability to take two files from my SD14, strip jpeg part from one of it and add jpeg from another? You may decompose linked file with any open x3f tools - you find duck image being raw data and tree image in jpeg part. You may find some slack (my recovery utility tends to just padd unknown length section with a bit more junk than needed), but I can assure you that raw data is real.

Oh, and take a look of x3f file structure. It is not shell for arbitrary format images, but contains well specified sections. If presented my file would not be proper raw, then SPP and Silkypix would not open it. Even if I had to create and compress raw data myself (what I didn't do and actually can't do either - haven't had any need so far implement this encoding scheme), then if both SPP and Silkypix could recognize it, then certainly it would be properly encoded anyway.

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Charles2 Veteran Member • Posts: 5,373
The spurious claim that FastStone can process X3F raw

The question here is the spurious claim that FastStone can process the raw image in X3F files. For every such file uploaded directly out of a Foveon camera, FS shows the JPG but when you give it the FS raw command (tap the 'A' key), you get visual noise.

So whatever you did to construct the amusing tree branch-duck X3F file, it proves nothing about the question at hand.

Thanks for the link to your information page which in turn links to a document describing the file structure of X3F files. One can obviously play games within the file structure.
http://www.photofo.com/downloads/x3f-raw-format.pdf

xpatUSA
xpatUSA Forum Pro • Posts: 13,320
Re: The fact that FastStone can process X3F raw

Charles2 wrote:

The question here is the spurious claim that FastStone can process the raw image in X3F files. For every such file uploaded directly out of a Foveon camera, FS shows the JPG but when you give it the FS raw command (tap the 'A' key), you get visual noise.

So whatever you did to construct the amusing tree branch-duck X3F file, it proves nothing about the question at hand.

Thanks for the link to your information page which in turn links to a document describing the file structure of X3F files. One can obviously play games within the file structure.
http://www.photofo.com/downloads/x3f-raw-format.pdf

ArvoJ may not have the best command of English, since he is Estonian. I, however, labor under no such handicap. As a correspondent of ArvoJ, I can assure this forum that if he says the duck is raw data and the branch is jpeg data, then it is so.

No amount of supercilious comment and snide references to "games" by Charles2 will change that fact.

I want members to understand that what ArvoJ did was quite simple and easy to understand. In the metadata which is like EXIF data but Sigma's own, there are two "tags". One tag says where the JPEG data starts. The other tag says how long that data is. This is enough to enable any programmer (except Charles2) to replace one embedded JPEG with another. There are probably similar tags for the RAW data, so it could be done either way.

Perhaps Charles2 would enlighten us as to his own programming skills and provide us with an X3F file of his own making in order to support his false conjecture? Of course, that would be most unlikely from one who utters meaningless generalities like "One can obviously play games within the file structure."

Best Regards,
Ted.

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