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Extreme RAW Fail

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by Holymoly, Jul 16, 2013.

  1. Holymoly

    Holymoly Mu-43 Regular

    I am at a complete loss with regard to RAW conversion. One of the reasons I dumped my Nikon D60 in favour of an Olympus is that having done badly with converting my RAW files I decided to just shoot JPEGS and had read reports that the Olympus JPEG engine was better . Whereas the Nikon in camera converter was excellent and one could clearly see the extra exposure latitude I had zero luck with RAW conversion software. Using Scarab and one other converter it was as if I was using horrible thin JPEGs with none of the feeling of “luxury” to which I had been accustomed in camera and hoped to repeat on a large screen.

    I was quite happy with my E-PL2 JPEGs but now I have an E-P3 on the way I am thinking of dabbling with RAW again. Can anyone suggest where I may have gone wrong and set me on the right path? The obvious first question to be addressed is whether the Photoshop converter is better than a free one? With thanks in anticipation for your thoughts.
     
  2. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Keith
    First off, I would advise against setting the text color in your posts, since this makes your message extremely difficult to read for anyone who happens to be using the dark theme (as I do).

    As to your question, the only RAW conversion tool I have significant experience with is Lightroom (which uses Adobe Camera Raw). However, if you are not wanting to invest money in a software package, then Olympus' bundled editor also works for RAW conversion.
     
  3. chipbutty

    chipbutty Mu-43 Veteran

    With something like Lightroom 4/5 it's really quite difficult to go wrong. Idiot proof almost! Not that I'm calling you an idiot :) It's logically designed with a top down workflow. You can get very nice results without leaving the safety of the Basic panel. Adjust white balance, exposure, the magical Highlights slider, then add contrast, sauration and vibrancy as needed. Obviously the more confident you get the more you start getting adventurous with the other Development panels. Of course other software can also do a good job. I really like Lr for not only the development module but the way it organises my photographs.
     
  4. entropicremnants

    entropicremnants Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 16, 2012
    John Griggs
    Yeah, I'm not squinting at that. Take the color off of it and I'll have a go.
     
  5. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Olympus Viewer 3 if you are concerned about preserving shadow detail otherwise Lightroom. Convert raw to tiff in OV3 then import that tiff into LR (or any other developer) and away you go.

    To be sure there are a lot of crappy raw converters and even more crappy development tools.
     
  6. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Keith
    I assume you are also a dark theme user, John. The only way I am able to read it is if I highlight the text with my mouse.
     
  7. entropicremnants

    entropicremnants Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 16, 2012
    John Griggs
    Yes, with my aging eyes the dark scheme means less watering eyes, lol.

    I'm not that motivated to read it, lol. Some people seem to need to "style" everything but I'm not a fan. Keep it simple.
     
  8. BigTam

    BigTam Mu-43 Top Veteran

    773
    Mar 19, 2012
    Dortmund, Germany
    Ron
    I'm a DxO fan. Automatic lens corrections and a good collection of presets keep my post-processing time to a minimum, and still get good results.

    For about 70% of shots, the in-camera JPG engine does a good job.

    All depends on your level of perfectionism :)
     
  9. dcassat

    dcassat Mu-43 Veteran

    272
    Nov 16, 2011
    Cloverdale,CA
    As most of my life I've been an IT guy, software quality means a lot to me. Lightroom is certainly one of the highest quality packages you can buy and provides excellent bang for the buck. I've processed about 18,000 images with it and wholeheartedly recommend it for post processing. BUT, make sure you have a lot of RAM, a fairly new processor and lots of storage space. You'll have a much better experience.
     
  10. yourguitarhero

    yourguitarhero Mu-43 Regular

    78
    Jul 29, 2011
    Personally I use Capture One 6. I worked in a photographic archive for a while and that's what they used, so it's what I'm trained in/used to.

    The Express version is free to download just now. Check out the deals forum.

    A simple workflow that I use is:
    Import files, with a job name and a counter.
    Go through files and delete out of focus shots or least-good of similar shots.

    Go through each photo:
    Crop
    Set white balance using a white, grey or black area and the coloured numbers until red=blue (kelvin) and green=purple (tint)
    Set exposure until the histogram is even and fills across the area for it.
    Check for over exposed highlights/under exposed shadows and adjust HDR sliders.
    Bring up the blacks slightly*
    Add in some contrast*
    Add some sharpening*
    Export as JPEGs

    I may not have all the technical terms correct.
    * Not always necessary
     
  11. RevBob

    RevBob Super Moderator

    Jun 4, 2011
    NorthWestern PA
    Bob
    I have an E-P3 that I keep set for jpeg+raw. I love LR4 and if you spend another $20 on the Prolost presets mentioned here earlier this week you get a very powerful but simple to use raw converter. :cool:
     
  12. Holymoly

    Holymoly Mu-43 Regular

    Lightroom for RAW

    Hi DeeKayK. Both the photog who ran the business I worked for in the film days and the new owner swear by Lightroom but when I said I will get it they both talked me out of it saying it was more about mass-producing work. I take your comment as an endorsement however that it does the job. Thanks for reviving the old thought.
     
  13. Holymoly

    Holymoly Mu-43 Regular

    Lightroom for RAW x2

    That is 2 votes for Lightroom. No worries about the use of the word idiot because that is how I am coming to see myself for not sorting this thing sooner. Nice that it is idiot-proof too. Certainly as per the Canon Kiss I really like to "keep it simple stupid" but the bloke who demonstrated it to me was probably more about showing off his skills than actually sharing. The most important thing I take from your comment however is that my other experiences were aberrations and that RAW files can be taken advantage of by programs other than the in-camera one. Many thanks CB.
     
  14. Holymoly

    Holymoly Mu-43 Regular

    Aah so it is not all about the workman blaming his tools.. that is gratifying to hear Rob. With reference to shadow detail are you saying that Olympus Viewer 3 is designed specifically for Olympus files and therefore a better RAW converter than Lightroom? Are you also saying that Lightroom doesn't recognise Olympus files and that OV3 is a must to convert therm to a format useable by Lightroom? Thanks for your thoughts.
     
  15. Holymoly

    Holymoly Mu-43 Regular

    Auto Lens Corrections

    Thanks BigTam. Are you happy with the RAW converter? I have never heard of DxO until now but I like the sound of lens corrections. I shoot mostly with a 14-150 and note that my tele shots regularly turn up the in corners like a big happy smile :)

    I am not a perfectionist in terms of running every photo through an editor in the hope of creating a masterpiece. In fact I am really reluctant to make any changes and that includes straightening horizons and cropping. That is when I am shooting stuff just for myself. I worked for a portrait photog once and have twice since done a little portraiture for friends. Both times I was highly grateful for the flexibility that RAW provided. Hence my revisiting the subject.. in case I get asked again :)
     
  16. Holymoly

    Holymoly Mu-43 Regular

    Lightroom Value for Money

    Thanks Dan. I think I have enough "grunt. " If you are an IT guy you might be interested that I run an Intel E8400 Core 2 Duo 3.0Ghz processor. 4GB of RAM shows on system settings (I am sure I put in 8) which is running at 800Mhz (although capable of 1000.. built the thing myself and still don't know how to tweak the BIOS). Very interesting the recurrence of Lightroom in this conversation considering how locals I spoke to put me off it. You talk of bang for buck.. I couldn't find a price on the Adobe site. Is this what you would expect to pay? Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 Windows Download | Bargain Software Shop
     
  17. chipbutty

    chipbutty Mu-43 Veteran

    I'm enjoying those presets too. It's just a shame Adobe haven't given us an option to increase the size of the preview window. That would make these presets even more useful.



    Sent from my ZTE-BLADE using Mu-43 mobile app
     
  18. BigTam

    BigTam Mu-43 Top Veteran

    773
    Mar 19, 2012
    Dortmund, Germany
    Ron
    DxO have a trial you can download. I find it easy to use for the basics - most corrections are fully automatic and specific to a particular camera+lens combination.

    Distortion, CAs, vignetting, sharpness, centre/edge differences.

    Just check on their site if your camera and lenses are supported.
     
  19. ghetto

    ghetto Mu-43 Regular

    Free converters are fine, but a lot of times they are for different audiences. If you are looking at free ones, you can do a search on "ufraw" and "darktable" and try your luck. I personally stick with UFRaw.

    Free is always good especially if you don't know if you're going to really use something or not or just occasionally dabble in things.
     
  20. Holymoly

    Holymoly Mu-43 Regular

    Lightroom 4 and Prolost Presets

    Thanks Reverend Bob.. sounds like you have a bit of "inside" info :) JPEG with a little insurance policy in the form of a RAW file backup may well be the way I go with the E-P3. Another vote for Lightroom 4. No doubt it wouldn't be receiving this level of endorsement if it didn't do the conversion well. Prolost presets?.. I must have missed that one.