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Aperture 3 RAW processing looks horrible...

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by MQDuclos, May 25, 2012.

  1. MQDuclos

    MQDuclos Mu-43 Regular

    So FINALLY Apple released an update for Aperture to include RAW support for my OM-D E-M5 and I couldn't wait to finally process all my RAW photos through Aperture. I had been running everything that was shot RAW through Olympus Viewer 2 (OV2) to process and convert to TIFFs. I have to say that I'm extremely disappointed with the results from Aperture. I've been using Aperture for my Nikon NEF RAW files for years and had very good results but these .ORF files that I'm putting through Aperture are simply crushing. Here's a good example. The ORF file has so much latitude in the shadows that I can easily see details in OV2 and even still after exporting to a Tiff. But in Aperture those details simply disappear. No adjustments have been applied at all through Aperture or OV2. Am I missing something here or is Aperture just that bad at processing ORF files?

  2. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 14, 2012
    New Mexico
    Hard to say. Viewer2 is probably applying the in camera jpeg settings; that's usually what it does until you change them and the contrast settings in the E-M5, if you haven't changed them, are a bit soft on 0 by default. The Aperture may be applying a medium contrast curve, raising contrast, which is what Lightroom did until I changed the setting.

    But you should change settings and "process" the raw file before you decide that Aperture won't do .ORF. You may want to come up with your own presets.
  3. MQDuclos

    MQDuclos Mu-43 Regular


    Thanks for the tip. If by changing the raw "process" settings you mean the sliders on the left side of the Adjustments Panel, then yes. I've tried all sorts of different settings. Is there something I'm missing?
  4. mzd

    mzd Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 30, 2010
    just to be sure, are you positive you brought the original .ORF file into Aperture and not the .TIFF? even though the TIFF isn't compressed like a JPEG, it won't have all the data that a RAW file has and would result in the problem you are describing.
    that is my only guess. i don't use an OM-D or Aperture for that matter.
    you could post the RAW file and let someone else who uses Aperture take a shot at it?
  5. copiancestral

    copiancestral New to Mu-43

    Jun 3, 2012
    Is Aperture 3 really worth it?

    I have an Olympus epl1 and have <em>sort of</em> managed to work with Olympus Viewer2, but have been looking at Apple Aperture for quite a while. I think Lawrence is right in that Viewer2 applies the in-camera settings to develop and preview RAW. Does Aperture provide any type of auto develop feature? or is it relatively easy to produce JPEGs of similar quality as the ones from Viewer2? One of the things I don't like of Viewer2 is that it's slow and it doesn't have the feeling of a native Mac App.

    On the other hand, I like several features of iPhoto, but it doesn't provide any RAW editing features, and I don't like how it organizes your photo library. I've always imported my photos using the viewer2, with my own file naming rules and folder organization. And when I wanted to view my photos in a cool way like the predefined slideshows or produce the printed books I'd import (while keeping the originals in the same folder) to iPhoto. I've read that Aperture enables one to do customize the importing photos step, while having the possibility to "consolidate", "reference" your photos and whole bunch of other organization features that I think are quite nice. So, is it worth it? Have you managed to do something with the default settings when importing ORF files?
  6. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    Aperture allows you to save a group of RAW settings as a preset and you can then set that preset as your default for a particular camera. That's an "auto develop" approach that's available.
  7. Panut

    Panut Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 25, 2011
    Aperture takes high extra bits, Olympus viewer takes the lower ones

    Thanks for posting this, Matthews!

    I made a remark of this post of yours some time ago and thought this cannot be true. So I run some tests.

    Unfortunately, you're correct. This really amazes me!
    But what I found out, is that with high value pixels, it's the other way round: Olympus Viewer output looks horrible!

    It seems that:
    - Aperture is losing the lower end of the range
    - Olympus Viewer is losing the higher end of the range

    Could it be that my operating system or something (iMac, OS X 10.7.4), is lacking bit depth to handle all the dynamic range in the RAW file?
    Does anyone know why this might be happening?
    This is really depressing!

    Thanks in advance if anyone has ideas,


    Here my test results:

    UNDEREXPOSED, lifted up:

    Aperture +2EV:

    Aperture +10EV: (and still no dark details coming up!)

    Olympus Viewer +2EV (the result is just fine):

    OVEREXPOSED, exposure compensation decreased:

    Aperture -2EV:

    Aperture -4EV:

    Olympus Viewer: -2EV:
  8. Panut

    Panut Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 25, 2011
    I just installed Lightroom 4.1 trial version and had a shot with it:
    It can handle both cases correctly.

    So it's not a problem with the OS, but with Aperture and the Viewer.
    I'll report a bug to Apple about Aperture, I hope they'll get on this.
  9. Panut

    Panut Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 25, 2011
    I just installed Lightroom 4.1 trial version and had a shot with it:
    It can handle both cases correctly.

    So it's not a problem with the OS, but with Aperture and the Viewer.
    I'll report a bug to Apple about Aperture, I hope they'll get on this.
  10. Maczero

    Maczero Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 13, 2010
    Can I ask if you have tried adjusting the raw boost setting in Aperture? It seems to affect the tone curve applied to the basic raw adjustment. Perhaps this would make a difference. I am interested in this as I use A3 with C1 as an alternative raw developer.

  11. Panut

    Panut Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 25, 2011
    I didn't try RAW boost... but I just did, and no help.

    Ladies and Gentlemen!

    I just realized that the problem is that the default setting for black point is so high.
    I just lowered black point setting -> problem solved!
    • Like Like x 1
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