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(OPINION) Why Adobe Lightroom is not adequate for m43 raw files

Discussion in 'Back Room' started by minibokeh, Jan 24, 2015.

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  1. minibokeh

    minibokeh Guest

    Some lenses (example below: Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7) have a heavy amount of distortion. Most (all?) m43 cameras store lens correction information as part of their raw files to allow for software-based compensation.

    Adobe Lightroom does not provide a choice whether to apply this information - it is always used.
    There are several downsides to this:
    - Since mathematically the image is warped, some pixels are interpolated and others disappear (loss of actual information). Result: Loss of detail and sharpness, mostly in the corners.
    - To achieve "straight" lines, the shape of objects is distorted. This effect is intensified the further away from the center they appear (similar to a fisheye effect).
    - The image is cropped to mask "black" areas next to the image border that don't have any information after the transformation.

    Many leading raw converters give users a choice whether to use the "correction", or turn it off:
    The "good" list includes Iridient Developer (below), DxO 10.0, Capture One 8, Photo Ninja (never applies lens correction), Raw Therapee (not tested myself).
    "Bad" raw converters (no choice, people look like Herman Munster): Adobe Lightroom (including 5.7.x), Silkypix (including 6 Pro).

    The example below is representative for many images taken with the DG 15mm f/1.7 lens - whenever a person appears near the border of the image, the amount of distortion applied by Lightroom causes visible unnatural alterations (Iridient Developer for comparison):
    <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/101667287@N08/16172582968" title="Leica-DG-15-f1.7-GM1-raw-converter by Moritz Berger, on Flickr"> View attachment 405370 "1024" height="768" alt="Leica-DG-15-f1.7-GM1-raw-converter"></a>
  2. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 14, 2012
    New Mexico
    Amin has mentioned this a various times too. Sometimes it is not an issue, but with certain lenses it is, and though I use Lightroom, I agree that not giving the user a choice in something as fundamental as this is a bad decision.
  3. minibokeh

    minibokeh Guest

    Yes - you could use the manual distortion correction to bend the image back to a more natural form; by doing so, you would lose even more border space (tighter crop) and induce more smeared details. At some point you might as well throw away the image (or not use Lightroom - which for most I guess will be the more attractive choice).
    Please note that Lightroom with m43 is not the only scenario where Adobe has received very vocal feedback about neglecting mirrorless systems - Fuji users are quite upset about how LR consistently delivers much worse results compared with many other raw converters.
  4. bigboysdad

    bigboysdad Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 25, 2013
    Sydney/ London
    Back to OV3 then and import the rendered tiff to LR5. This should be done anyway and I used to do this, but got lazy and went straight to LR. This thread is a reminder to get back to that routine.
    • Like Like x 2
  5. Jay86

    Jay86 Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 26, 2012
    I had no idea… never really noticed it before. Disappointing to hear, will definitely have to look at some of my own images with another raw converter to see whats going on.
  6. minibokeh

    minibokeh Guest

    @bigboysdad: Does OV3 have an option not to apply the lens correction?
  7. Pentaxis

    Pentaxis Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 10, 2014
    Interesting about the distortion. Seems older versions of Lightroom had some color rendering issues by default with Panasonic cameras too. Not sure if that has been updated or not.


    Hard to deny the workflow though!
  8. bigboysdad

    bigboysdad Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 25, 2013
    Sydney/ London
  9. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team Subscribing Member

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    Surely the issue here is whether the correction data in the lens firmware is correct or not. Why wouldn't you want the lens's distortions corrected if the correction was accurate? Maybe the 15 has differing correction by focus distance? Actually, I'm talking myself into wanting my raw converter to have it optionally applied! Yes - I agree, we could do with Adobe changing this :wink:
  10. bigboysdad

    bigboysdad Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 25, 2013
    Sydney/ London
  11. Ross the fiddler

    Ross the fiddler Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    My choice was to go for Capture One instead! :rolleyes: 
    • Like Like x 1
  12. Larry H-L

    Larry H-L Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 6, 2013
    Ohio, USA
    Sorry, but I don't think this is the case.

    I use Lightroom 5.7, a recent version. If you are in the Develop module, scroll down to Lens Corrections.

    There are four mini tabs labeled: Basic, Profile; Color, and Manual.

    Go to Profile, and UNCHECK the box that says "Enable Profile Correction." Watch your picture pop in and out, showing the correction applied, as you click the enable box on and off.

    Under the color tab, you can also uncheck the automatic chromatic correction.

    That said, not every lens has a profile, but that is not an Adobe issue.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Larry H-L

    Larry H-L Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 6, 2013
    Ohio, USA
    Here's a screenshot from Lightroom 5 that shows where you turn off the Lens Correction, it is listed both under "basic" and "profile."

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
  14. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Incorrect. Even with the box unchecked, you're still seeing the result of the built-in correction parameters. This simply gives you correction above and beyond that, as even with built-in correction applied, you do not get a perfectly undistorted image.

    And as with OV3, this does not apply to the built-in correction parameters recorded in the RAW file. There do exist custom lens correction profiles for m4/3 lenses, but these again are not provided by Adobe, and apply after the built-in-correction. It is these profiles that the panel you show allows to be disabled/enabled.

    You have a choice when it comes to m4/3 - you can use a fully supported RAW converter (e.g. LR, OV3) or you can use a converter with the ability to turn off all distortion correction.

    EDIT: C1 does allow you to fully disable distortion correction. Technically that means it doesn't comply with the m4/3 standard, but in practice it does work quite well.
  15. bigboysdad

    bigboysdad Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 25, 2013
    Sydney/ London
    Interesting and noted. Well if OV3 won't give this data, I guess LR won't either.
  16. How effective is the built in LR correction? I have just realised that I had not enabled the correction, so none of my photos had been corrected for distortion or chromatic aberration. I do notice a substantial change in my 15mm f/1.7 shots but without a nice parallel brick wall to photograph I can't really tell how good a job it's doing.
  17. MAubrey

    MAubrey Photographer

    Jul 9, 2012
    Bellingham, WA
    Mike Aubrey
    It's worth nothing, too. That the listed focal length of your lens is based on the built in correction metadata in the RAW file.

    Any software that allows you to turn off distortion correction is also increasing the focal length/angle of view of the image.
    • Like Like x 1
  18. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    +1 and not even primarily because of this issue. I just think Capture One does a better job at retaining detail relative to noise as well as giving me pleasing color and contrast without a lot of fiddling.

    I still use Lightroom for cataloging, but C1 for everything else. Disclosure: Phase One gave me a free copy to review back in the day. Since then (last few versions), I've been buying my own copies.
    • Like Like x 1
  19. minibokeh

    minibokeh Guest

    1. It's not just the DG 15mm lens (below are 2 examples with the Panasonic 7-14mm f/4). Clearly the issue is to be expected to have greater impact with wide angle vs. normal/tele optics.
    2. @Larry H-L: Dhazegi is right, the option in Lightroom only toggles additional distortions (corrections) beyond what is picked up from the lens.
    3. @pdk42: This is not a question about the built-in correction being "correct" or not. Even if you want "straight lines", the built-in correction doesn't fully correct the image in every case (e.g. architecture), esp. when part of the issue is that you had to shoot at an angle (there are no tilt-shift lenses for m43). Problem: Now we are reshaping the image twice, first pass the lens data, second pass user corrections. Since both are lossy transformations (real pixels disappear, phantom pixels are extrapolated), the result is inferior to one that leaves all corrections to the user (1 step). Plus depending on your motive, you are better off with curved lines vs. distorted people - this choice should be left to a human.
    4. The issue is so bad as to keep me from using Lightroom as a raw converter with any of my wider lenses. Examples below show why. I have hundreds more. Difference between a picture that you would have to trash vs. something acceptable.

    GM1, 7-14mm f/4 at 9mm (Lightroom - Iridient Developer). Full size image if you click through on the link to Flickr if you want to look at the loss of detail 1:1.
    <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/101667287@N08/16365734285" title="_1030973-1 by Moritz Berger, on Flickr"> View attachment 405424 "500" height="375" alt="_1030973-1"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/101667287@N08/16179521219" title="_1030973 iridient by Moritz Berger, on Flickr"> View attachment 405425 "500" height="375" alt="_1030973 iridient"></a>

    Another example (street photography) where you will get some distortion with any wide angle, yet the lens correction introduces so much distortion as to kill the image (LR-Iridient). Probably would apply some correction to the Iridient picture as well, obviously with less of a damage from interpolating the image twice in opposite directions:
    <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/101667287@N08/15743285014" title="14095-165838-1 by Moritz Berger, on Flickr"> View attachment 405426 "480" height="640" alt="14095-165838-1"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/101667287@N08/16178348200" title="14095-165838 iridient by Moritz Berger, on Flickr"> View attachment 405427 "480" height="640" alt="14095-165838 iridient"></a>
  20. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    The micro four thirds standard expects/requires that the automatic profile correction will be applied. Both OV3 and Lightroom apply it, and both don't provide a choice to turn it off.

    It seems more than a trifle excessive to claim that a RAW conversion program is "inadequate for M43 RAW files" because it is treating them the way the micro four thirds standard expects them to be treated.

    Some programs let you disable the automatic correction, some don't. There's a lot of reasons for choosing one program over another but that difference isn't one that makes a significant difference for me. I'm quite happy using Lightroom and I have no problems with the automatic profile correction being applied.
    • Like Like x 3
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