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12-17-2013, 01:49 PM   #1
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How to open RAW files

...the first of many questions that I will be posting.
I just received my K-3 today in a nice little Amazon Box. I must have set something wrong because everything on the SD card shows up as a .PEF file which must be a RAW file???

1. How to I reset my camera to take .jpeg files?
2. How do I open the RAW files on my computer?
I have Adobe CS 5.5 with Photoshop and it does not open my RAW files. I can see the photos on my camera but can't do anything with them...

Other that this I have to say that the K-3 not only feels fantastic and I love shooting with it but the photos look incredible from what I can see on the camera screen..
The 18-135 kit lens seems like an ideal everyday working lens...love the flexibility of the focal range.
This is coming from someone who shot with a Nikon F2 / fixed 50mm lens for years....LOL.
...Can't wait until I learn how to handle the files.

12-17-2013, 02:00 PM   #2
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First of all, the owner's manual is your friend, even one as "light" on info as the K-3's. Not to sound flippant, but the K-3 is a pretty capable and somewhat complicated camera, and you will need to become comfortable with looking these basic things up and then progressing to the more complicated issues, which is where you might need to rely on help from a forum.

That said, congrats on the new camera, you made a fine choice.
12-17-2013, 02:00 PM   #3
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1) Read the manual and you will find your answer.
2) With CS5.5 you will not be able to open the K-3 PEF files but if you shoot DNG you will. PEF and DNG = RAW

You can download DNG-converter 8.3 from Adobes homepage and convert your PEFs to CS5.5-DNGs
12-17-2013, 02:01 PM   #4
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From what I can tell there's a RAW/Fx button that appears to switch between the different files when you're shooting so I think I've solved that problem.
The only other issue is how to process RAW files on my computer???

12-17-2013, 02:02 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tjompen1968 Quote
1) Read the manual and you will find your answer.
2) With CS5.5 you will not be able to open the K-3 PEF files but if you shoot DNG you will. PEF and DNG = RAW

You can download DNG-converter 8.3 from Adobes homepage and convert your PEFs to CS5.5-DNGs
Thanks....I'll switch the setting to DNG.
12-17-2013, 02:14 PM   #6
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Picasa can view DNG files. It can do a limited amount of processing.
You can set your file recording preferences, RAW+ is fairly popular.
Lightroom is the generally preferred processing software, though there are numerous choices.
12-17-2013, 02:42 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by peterjcb Quote
The only other issue is how to process RAW files on my computer???
The CD that came in the box includes Pentax Digital Camera Utility 5.
That's what it does.
12-17-2013, 02:56 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by rawr Quote
The CD that came in the box includes Pentax Digital Camera Utility 5.
That's what it does.
ahhh haa...that's what that stuff is in there for...!
Thanks I'll take a look in the box...

12-17-2013, 02:56 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by peterjcb Quote
From what I can tell there's a RAW/Fx button that appears to switch between the different files when you're shooting so I think I've solved that problem. The only other issue is how to process RAW files on my computer???
That switch is intended for just switching from your default format for a few shots, not to be how you set the camera. There is a menu setting for file format which allows setting: jpeg or RAW and then you have the choice of RAW formats either: PEF or DNG.

If you usually shoot jpeg and don't want to post process RAW files then set the camera to jpeg.

PEF is Pentax's proprietary format, DNG is a more standard format from Adobe. If you use Adobe software set the camera to DNG and don't worry about PEF.

There is also a free converter on the Adobe site that will convert those PEF files you already took into something that CS 5.5 can read, which would be DNG.
12-17-2013, 03:21 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by peterjcb Quote
I have Adobe CS 5.5 with Photoshop and it does not open my RAW files
If you save them as DNG's it will. DNG is just a standardized way of saving RAW files, regardless of the make of camera. The version of Camera Raw that came with PhotoShop 5 doesn't have a built-in profile for the K-3, but it will open DNG files. You should also have Bridge as part of CS 5.5, and that will do batch processing of your DNG files. It's harder to make it all work together, but you should be able to everything in CS that you would do in Lightroom. None of the Adobe programs will let you "talk" to your camera like PDCU 5 that came with your camera will.

If you don't want to manipulate your images after you download them from the camera, then set it to save them as jpegs. If you want the option to manipulate your images later, but need them as jpegs right now, without doing another conversion on your computer, save your images as RAW+.
12-17-2013, 04:27 PM   #11
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Congratulations on the great camera!
Here is what I suggest. Go to the Menu and select colour space to be sRGB and the raw file format to be DNG, not PEF.
Thing is, raw files are not just "files." The pef or dng is a container, it contains raw data that the sensor recorded (which is not a photo yet), along with metadata (date, aperture, shutter speed, copyright data if you input it), preview thumbnails (that is why the thumbnail on the camera and in explorer can look different from the raw file once you open it in software), and even post processing information.
Post processing is actually like developing film. To open the raw file (the dng, for example) you will need software that does this. Some software merely "previews" the raws - you do not want that. You want software like Silkypix, Lightroom, Aperture, or FastStone (there are a couple threads with lists of good raw editors). These will interpret the raw data and turn it into a photograph. Software can have its specifics, so different software might render the same raw data a little differently. And then you develop/post process it - you adjust brightness, add contrast, change saturation, make the white balance just right.. Different software does this in different ways.
If this is your first DSLR, you might want to just shoot jpeg for a while and learn about shutter speed, ISO, and aperture. These three parameters let you manipulate things like photo blur, depth of field, brightness, etc. You see, jpegs are raw data that gets processed in-camera according to the way Pentax engineers designed it. Its not perfect, because the algorithms are merely machines, they do not know what is beautiful. But they are not terrible either. They are a fine place to begin. One more thing.. jpegs are already developed raw data, but they also discard a lot of information. That is why editing jpegs is usually a bad choice, but processing the DNG file is much safer, as the raw data remains unchanged and nothing gets lost - you merely change how it gets interpreted.

Also! You might want to read this. Maybe even bookmark it. Good luck
12-17-2013, 06:06 PM   #12
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There have been some good posts so far but maybe a bit information-heavy. Short answer - you can't really simply "open" Raw files. They have to be processed in software before they will do you any good. You can get a viewer program that will let you view the plain Raw image but you won't like the way they look.

It sounds like you are fairly inexperienced. My best suggestion is to go into the Menu, using the button on the back of the camera and change the setting for File Format to Jpeg. Forget about Raw for now. The camera will produce excellent images in Jpeg by itself and let you concentrate on learning the controls and techniques for getting pleasing images.

When you are comfortable with the camera, you can try shooting some Raws to play with. I suggest using the Menu to set the File Format to Raw+Jpg. That way, you get two images each time you press the shutter - one finished Jpeg and one Raw of the same scene to play with. Upgrade your copy of Photoshop or get a less complicated, less expensive alternative like Elements or Lightroom and try your hand at improving the image over what the camera did with the Jpeg. Eventually, you may get to where you keep the camera set only for Raws but there is a learning curve to get there.
12-17-2013, 08:12 PM   #13
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Thanks for all the input. I understand a little more exactly what a RAW file is now.
I need to familiarize myself with this camera and learn the controls.
Having had a Nikon F2 and a B&W darkroom many years ago, I have a good grasp of basics like ASA, f-stops, shutter speed,depth of field, etc....I just have to learn digital processing and how to manipulate RAW files and it probably would help to read the manual.

Peter

Last edited by peterjcb; 12-17-2013 at 08:34 PM.
12-17-2013, 10:45 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by peterjcb Quote
I have Adobe CS 5.5 with Photoshop
Have you used the programs in Creative Suite, or do you just have it on your computer? If you have some experience with Photoshop, great, otherwise you might want to stick to some simpler programs to start with.
12-19-2013, 02:16 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by peterjcb Quote
Thanks for all the input. I understand a little more exactly what a RAW file is now.
I need to familiarize myself with this camera and learn the controls.
Having had a Nikon F2 and a B&W darkroom many years ago, I have a good grasp of basics like ASA, f-stops, shutter speed,depth of field, etc....I just have to learn digital processing and how to manipulate RAW files and it probably would help to read the manual.

Peter
Just a hint. Set your camera to shoot .jpg only. Review the picture after you take it with that little > button way to the left of the camera's eyepiece. If you like the shot and want to have a RAW file, it's still in the camera's memory until you take another shot or turn your camera off. You can save that RAW file while the image is on your review screen by pressing the AE-L button on the upper right hand corner of the camera. It will ask you if you want to save the RAW file; you can select that option and press "OK". Then when you download your pictures to your computer, you will have both a .jpg file and a RAW file (choose .DNG for your standard in the Menu if that's what you want, rather than PEF). Then you can manipulate the RAW file with suitable software. I've found PhotoShop Elements to be an economical and effective program to do this. Adobe has an "add on" free software on the internet so Elements can handle .DNG RAW files. Those DNG files, when converted to .jpg using the software, give you way more latitude to adjust exposure, contrast, hue, white balance and many other parameters for a perfect final product.

Done this way, with the AE-L: button, you don't fill up your card with large unwanted RAW files - only the ones for the pictures you really like and want to work with more in post-processing, either now or when you're ready to do this more advanced development of your pictures.

John
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