Exporting RAW as JPEG in-camera v. Olympus Viewer 3

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by CCRoo, Oct 3, 2014.

  1. CCRoo

    CCRoo Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 22, 2011
    Is exporting RAW files as JPEGS through Olympus Viewer 3 the same as originating a JPEG photo in camera? Is the same "JPEG engine" being applied to RAW data in both the app and in-camera?

  2. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    In my experience it's close enough to not matter.
  3. bigboysdad

    bigboysdad Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 25, 2013
    Sydney/ London
    To me it's virtually the same, your probably better off shooting raw them editing with OV3 if you have the time though.
  4. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    A RAW file contains the complete data captured by the sensor during exposure. A JPEG is a processed version of that data in a lossy compression data format. The RAW data is thrown away by the camera after it creates an in camera JPEG.

    If you export the RAW file to your computer (and you can only do that as a RAW file, you can't do it in JPEG format) and process it in an application which uses non-destructive processing like Olympus Viewer, Lightroom, Aperture, Adobe Camera RAW, that program will export JPEGs when you want them but it will keep the RAW file unaltered and you can go back and re-edit the original data at any time, once again using non-destructive processing.

    How much difference there will be between an out of camera JPEG and a RAW file processed on your computer depends on how good your exposure was, and how good your JPEG settings for the camera are as opposed to how good your processing skills are in the RAW conversion program you choose to use. There may be little difference or there could be a lot.
  5. sokar

    sokar Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 30, 2011
    I believe so, but there are additional advantages to using OV3 even when playing with the RAW files at the first stage of PP. A search of the net will clearly show that OV3 will get better colours from the Oly RAW file than other applications. I batch export from OV3 to 16 BIT TIFFS with EXIF and then import them into LR for further editing. There is definitely more to work with doing it this way. OV3 is slow and therefore if you plan to batch export large numbers of files, then be prepared for a long wait.

    Batch exporting can also have the Olympus JPG colour profiled embedded into the TIFF exports, before importing to another application.
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  6. 350duser

    350duser Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 26, 2012
    Brisbane, QLD
    Is that better than just editing the original RAW file in LR??
  7. sokar

    sokar Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 30, 2011
    Yes, I believe so. It depends on how critical you wish to be on the final result, but for images that have significant detail, I think OV does a better job that LR alone. The added bonus is that you get Olympus colours in the TIFF that you can then import into LR. It creates a great starting point.

    There is several tutorials on Utube where comparisons are made between OV and other RAW editors. Definitely worth viewing.
  8. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    Not to say sokar's process is wrong but I think some comments about RAW conversion and how things look in a particular application are necessary.

    RAW files aren't image files like a JPEG. Things have to happen before you can view the RAW data as an image because all that is recorded for each pixel on the sensor is luminance data, i.e. how bright the scene at that sensor pixel was, and even that measurement is useless on it's own because it's either the red, blue or green luminance value due to the Bayer sensor and a process called demosaicing has to occur first before a specific colour can be assigned to that pixel. There are other processes that need to be done too before you can be shown an image that looks something like what you photographed.

    Different RAW conversion programs display the initial image they show you differently because the programmers made different decisions about how best to display the RAW data as an image for you to work on. Some applications try to make it more like they think you would want it to look so that you might be able to get away with a little less work in processing, some try to display something that looks more "neutral" as a starting point so that you need to make the major decisions yourself. The initial image shown in every case is just a starting point, it's one idea of the RAW data.

    Olympus Viewer is unique in one way. Part of the metadata recorded by the camera is the picture mode you set in the menu, e.g. natural/vivid/muted/portrait/monochrome/dramatic tone art filter and so on. That choice controls part of the camera's internal JPEG conversion process for creating straight out of camera JPEGs and how your LCD screen/viewfinder image looks. Olympus Viewer uses that data in it's processing of the RAW data to create the initial image it displays as a starting point whereas other applications do not. Olympus Viewer effectively assumes that you want your final image to look like the picture mode you chose would look if the camera converted the image to JPEG for you. Not only that, because Olympus make Olympus Viewer and because they know exactly what their in camera processing does, they can achieve that result precisely. Other applications don't try to do that, and they also don't know what Olympus does in camera to process the RAW data to get those different picture mode "looks".

    You can get the same result in Lightroom but you have to get there yourself. You have to work out how Olympus achieve the look you were looking at in the viewfinder and process the image to get that result all on your own. That can be difficult and sokar's right, his process takes less work but he's also choosing to get something in Olympus Viewer that's close to what he can see in the camera as his result. Olympus Viewer will always get you that kind of look a lot easier than Lightroom or another program.

    Not everyone wants results that look like Olympus's view of things, however. I don't find the natural or muted modes really accurate, and I don't find Adobe Standard in Lightroom really accurate either, but I'm happy to start with Adobe Standard as a starting point and work from there to a result I like. In fact I quite often have no precise idea of what kind of a result I want when I start processing, I start by getting the exposure and contrast looking right and just keep moving step by step. I have no idea how closely my result would compare to any of the picture modes on my camera and I don't really care, I do tinker with hue, saturation and luminance for particular colours at times, and I also play with vibrance but tend to keep that at fairly low levels. I sometimes play with Adobe's new profiles for Olympus bodies, the camera natural/camera muted/camera vivid/camera portrait profiles but I have no idea how close those profiles are to the profiles with the same name in the camera nor do I care. I'm not trying to reproduce what the camera shows me while I'm shooting or chomping because the camera doesn't see things the way I see them anyway.

    Ultimately we all process images to get the result we want and we try to find the easiest ways we can for how we personally can do that. sokar has found his, and it uses Olympus Viewer. I've found mine and it doesn't. Other people use Aperture or Photo Ninja or some other software and everyone has their own idea of what's the easiest way for them to do it and there's no reason to believe that any of us are wrong. It's just that we all have our different preferences for how we work and we all find that different applications come more naturally or less naturally to us.

    sokar's right when he says that his approach is better than just editing in Ligthroom, but he's right for himself. His approach is not right for me, I tried it and didn't like it. I find Olympus Viewer awkward to work in and simply don't like using it. I'd rather work in Lightroom. Neither of us knows what's best for you. Try both approaches, try some other software if you like, I started out with Aperture before moving to Lightroom. Experiment with different ways of working and simply find out what works for you and then stick with that and develop more skills in that approach. There is no single approach that's best for everyone, no single approach that is best in absolute terms. The only thing that counts is can you get results you're happy with working a particular way and does getting those results come as easily and naturally as possible for you.

    Above all, don't worry too much about what the starting point with a file looks like on screen, it's just a starting point. What counts is how easily and naturally the program lets you turn that starting point into a finished result you're happy with.

    And don't forget that with Lightroom and most other programs you can create your own presets which can speed things up a lot. If you find a particular combination of clarity and vibrancy or saturation work for you, or a particular combination of hue/saturation/luminance settings, create a preset and use it for future images. That's effectively what Olympus Viewer is doing with the picture modes, it's using them as presets for how it processes the RAW data. Once you find something that works for you in Lightroom, create a preset and use it to speed things up with subsequent images. You don't have to do things the long, hard way every time when you're basically doing the same thing with particular sorts of images every time.
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  9. 350duser

    350duser Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 26, 2012
    Brisbane, QLD
    David thats a very clear explanation of a complex process. I do find working in LR much easier and have learnt its ways....but there si always a lot to learn.
    I do notice that when I open images in LR it very briefly shows me an image which is brighter, more saturated and then it changes it to a more neutral image. I do shoot in RAW + JPEG in camera to allow me to use the wifi transfer method on the EM1. Just wondering if that initial image is infact a jpg image?? I tend to shoot natural in camera but have my saturation etc at 0 rather than -2.
  10. sokar

    sokar Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 30, 2011
    As David states, essentially it is different methods for different people. One must find what they are comfortable with. Of course LR is easier and quicker, but IMHO there is something about OV that brings out the best in some images. For many shots, I will import directly into LR, but for those that really matter, OV is hard to beat as the starting point. Have a look at the comparison in the video below. Of course, one can play with LR to get close to OV output, but how long would this take and how close would you get?

  11. alan1972

    alan1972 Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Jun 23, 2012
    Malaga, Spain
    Alan Grant
    RAW images include a jpeg embedded inside them, regardless of whether you shoot RAW only or RAW plus jpeg - that is probably what you are seeing briefly before Adobe generates its own previews from the raw data. You may also see this embedded jpeg if you view your RAW files in the file system or in a simple image viewer that does not convert raw files.

    If you haven't already done so you could experiment with the profiles Adobe recently provided for Olympus cameras (as David mentioned above). If you find that one of these consistently gives you a starting point that you prefer to Adobe Standard, you could use it as a default or preset so that your first view of the photos is closer to what you are aiming for.
  12. YantaYo

    YantaYo Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 18, 2012
    I am finding the Lightroom Camera profiles for the OMD-E5 come close or exceed the OV 3 processing of the RAW files. I will have to do further testing. It would be nice to stay with Lightroom. No further editing done on the below samples except Lightroom selecting Camera Profile of Vivid.

    Here is a OV processed EM5 RAW files (jpeg more course than lightroom version)


    Here is a Lightroom processed EM5 RAW files with the Camera Profile of Vivid

  13. 350duser

    350duser Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 26, 2012
    Brisbane, QLD
    A noob qs: how do I know if i have the camera profiles in my version of lr5?

    I have looked into library-app support-adobe-cameraraw-cameraprofiles and its empty!!

    How does one download camera specific profiles?

  14. alan1972

    alan1972 Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Jun 23, 2012
    Malaga, Spain
    Alan Grant
    On my Windows system the profiles supplied by Adobe are stored in
    C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5.6\Resources\CameraProfiles\Camera

    This is a different location to any user-installed profiles.

    If I remember rightly these profiles were introduced with version 5.3 so if you are on an earlier version you might not have them. If they are installed they should appear under "Profile" in the Camera Calibration panel in Develop.
  15. mcasan

    mcasan Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 26, 2014
    And how do you send an image to a plugin like Nik or Perfect Photo Suite from Olympus Viewer?

    I suggest folks stick with a DAM that has good non-destructive editing tools plus the ability to use third party plugins. No single photo editor can do what everything all the plugins can do.
  16. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Lightroom uses ACR (Adobe Camrea Raw) to convert the raw file into an image. Olympus Viewer uses Olympus specific methods that Adobe does not know details ... in some cases ACR gives worse (some say different because they are too nice to say worse) results due to this significant difference.

    There are several threads here with sample images showing this difference. Primarily on shadow detail one can see the most pronounced differences with LR coming up short.

    Pretty easy to show that OOC jpg is different from OV3 jpg and one should expect the embedded engine in camera has to make some compromises for throughput that are not constraints for OV3 so in some cases expect OV3 to render better jpg than OOC. For certain the differences are generally small. When viewing prints the differences will be very hard to find unless the subject matter and exposure are in those special conditions that highlight the differences.

    Pretty much any compression (besides none) removes any differences between OV3 vs. OOC and in many cases even the differences between LR vs. OOC are less than the loss from compression.

    For a great many people the differences are too slight to bother with when contrasting the ease of use and other workflow considerations for raw development. In my case I only use OV3 to convert and export TIFF (then import the TIFF into LR) when I know I'm working in that shadow regime where the differences are most pronounced.

    If one is happy with OOC jpeg then why open the can of worms? Unless one likes worms ...
  17. RichardB

    RichardB Snapshooter Subscribing Member

    Nov 19, 2012
    Maryland, US
    OV3 does not use plug-ins, but it can process a raw file and produce a tiff for further processing by another program. You can also register an external application in OV3, and pass images to the external program directly. There is no reason to "stick with" one image processing application to the exclusion of others.
  18. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    The simplest way to see if you have the camera profiles installed is not to go looking for them somewhere on your hard drive, it's simply to see if you can access them within Lightroom. In the Develop module, go to the Camera Calibration pane and there's an item called "Profile". It's probably showing "Adobe Standard" but it there are other profiles installed you just click on the up/down arrow thingie to the right of "Adobe Standard" to access a drop down list of installed and available profiles. Be aware that profiles are camera specific so you will only be able to access profiles for the camera which took the image you have open.

    The Adobe profiles are installed with the Lightroom instal/update and you don't have to instal them yourself. In fact I have no idea where to obtain copies of them which you could instal yourself. There is a file location for installing profiles you make yourself or obtain from elsewhere but I don't know if that is the location in which Adobe instals its own profiles and it may not be. The bottom line, since Adobe instals the profiles with the application, is that if you can access them in the Camera Calibration pane then they are installed. If you can't access them then they aren't installed. If they aren't installed then I would suspect that you are using an older version of Lightroom than Lightroom 5 and you would probably have to upgrade to LR5 in order to get them.
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  19. GBarrington

    GBarrington Mu-43 Top Veteran

    The unasked question, for me anyway, is if you WANT the look of an OOC jpg why would you shoot anything but an OOC jpg?
    • Like Like x 1
  20. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler Subscribing Member

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    RAW gives higher dynamic range during exposure.

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