Problems with RAW

Cosimo Matteini

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Mar 15, 2010
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London - UK
Hi There

I am new to shooting RAW. Since getting my new E-PL1 I have been shooting both JPEG and RAW at thee same time.

I have uploaded the Olympus program, but I must say I don't like it as it wants to upload everything directly (I prefer maintaining control and check things in folders before). Also, when I tried to change things with ib, the slider didn't seem to be very responsive.

I have now downloaded UFRAW which I use with Gimp. I think the control are really good in this and it's so easy to adjust WB with it and correct exposure. It's incredible when you have not used RAW before.

However, I am having some problems with (I believe) they files themselves as they come out of the camera. The JPEGs have crisp colours, great comlour rendition, and the lines are straight. When I open the RAW files, they have strong lines distortion, the colours are quite faded and lacking punch. Why would JPEG and RAW files be so different? I can understand they might handle the colour differently, but why would there be distortion in the RAW files than is not present in the JPEGS?

Am I doing something wrong? Could it be do to the fact that I sue UFRAW? Or is anyone else experiencing these problems?

Thanks

Cosimo
 

Streetshooter

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Cosimo, 1st off...Welcome.
Your raw problem may be due to the converter. I don't believe anything supports the new raw files yet. Hopefully that's all that's wrong. You may want to post a raw file and see if any one here can convert it and see the results.
The jpegs from the Oly cameras are some of the best out there...
shooter
 

Cosimo Matteini

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London - UK
thanks Shooter
for the welcome and for the answer. Well the UFRAW seems to support Olympus in general, and I am able to open the files and actually it looks like it makes it really easy to work on them. But what I am surprised about is the lack of quality to start with. There is a sort of pincushion (I think) which is really strong and is not apparent in the JPEG.

I am quite happy to upload both files (so people can see the difference) but I suppose they are quite large. Also (and here it show my being a total newby) would it matter which program you use to open a RAW file?

Thanks again

Cosimo
 

Streetshooter

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Cosimo,
The raw should open in any converter provided the program supports the file. To date, I'm unsure which programs do support the new camera. It sounds like your converter is not updated to read the file. Lens corrections are generally incorporated in the converter....
 

Cosimo Matteini

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Mar 15, 2010
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Location
London - UK
I will try that, and I will also try ib, the program from Olympus. I will just have to make sure that i change the options so that it won't open everything by default.

So that I understand this, does it mean that the jpegs that come out of the camera are already adjusted for lens aberration? And does it mean that it i open the raw file with another converter, it might rad in a different way?

Sorry if I'm being a bit thick here :p

Cosimo
 

Streetshooter

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You ain't no thicker than me...
Yes, the jpegs are some what corrected. You can see differences in different converters with raw files. I use PS4 and LR3 Beta....
 

Brian Mosley

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2,998
Hi Cosimo, and a huge welcome to exactly the right place :friends: make yourself right at home :smile:

The E-PL1 is so new that the major raw converter vendors will have to reverse engineer the raw format (should be quite straightforward, since it's likely to be almost identical to the E-P1/2) and produce a colour profile which works.

Every raw converter will have a different colour signature - and I personally don't think any of them compare well to the Olympus colour signature... which you get for free using out of camera jpeg or from raw using Olympus Master/Studio/IB software.

jpegs are corrected for distortion - many 3rd party converters do not automatically correct for distortion - but can do so if you know how to use the tools.

Will say more later - just about to sit down to dinner (tea here in Yorkshire)

Cheers

Brian

Now, your jpegs are essentially the best IQ you can get out of the camera - short of spending a lot of time mastering
 

Cosimo Matteini

Mu-43 Rookie
Joined
Mar 15, 2010
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22
Location
London - UK
thanks Shooter and Brian

I had not realised as much. I had a look and there is a plugin for ufraw called lensfun, but apparently it's a beta version and the developer suggest only experienced people should use it. So that's a no-no for me.

I will give ib another try. I wasn't impressed as it keeps on hijacking every photo file and try to upload them straight away. I will need to look at the settings and make sure I control it.

I am so impressed though about the quality of the jpegs out of the camera, that I'm tempted to just continue shooting jpeg. But everyone suggests otherwise.

Cheers

Cosimo
 

Brian Mosley

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Dec 15, 2009
Messages
2,998
Hi Cosimo,

I think you're doing the right thing - shooting raw + jpeg and keep the raw files for your archive (effectively, they're the digital negative).

To improve on the jpegs, you'd have to master a decent raw converter... which will take some time - in the meantime, the jpegs are pretty darned good.

Cheers

Brian
 

alessandro

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Jan 29, 2010
Messages
153
I am so impressed though about the quality of the jpegs out of the camera, that I'm tempted to just continue shooting jpeg. But everyone suggests otherwise.
Hi Cosimo. Italian located in GB? :smile:
First things first: micro 4/3 lenses do have a greater optical distortion than 4/3 counterparts and othe "classic" lenses.
They need to be corrected, and data for the correction are included in the raw file. JPG file are automatically corrected by the camera engine.
Some converters automatically recognize the data and apply geometrical and optical corrections (as ACR does), some others don't, perhaps they will.
Most converters have tools to correct the barrel distortion, you have to find out the quantities.

The raw file contains more informations than the jpg. For example, the white balance of the shot is memorized but modifiable without any loss. The jpg, if shot wrong, is adjustable but with loss and perhaps a resulting quality not acceptable.

Raw converters have specific profiles for brand/cameras, but you need to master some basic controls to obtain an image good as a good jpg from the camera. Luminosity, contrast, micro-contrast, lowlights cut off, highlights limit and such.

My advice is to shoot raw+jpg, be happy with the jpg if good, and start experimenting with raws.
I doubt free SWs as those you mentioned will be ready for treating micro 4/3 raws whithout hassles for some time.
 

Cosimo Matteini

Mu-43 Rookie
Joined
Mar 15, 2010
Messages
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Location
London - UK
Grazie Alessandro

Yes, Italian in London for 16 years. I think your suggestion is wise. I must admit that I have corrected a couple of photos with ufraw and the control you get was fantastic. I really could get the white balance and exposure perfectly right, maintaining the quality. This was for shots where the lens distortion wasn't a problem.

However, as you pointed out, I might continue to shoot with both, and slowly learning to have more control with raw. Everyone has been so nice on this forum so far! Thanks

Cosimo
 
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