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12-15-2011, 10:13 AM   #1
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just jumped into the Pentax dslr pond, and I need software.

just purchased a K20d refurb and I am wondering what is the preferred way to process Pentax RAW files. While I realize that there will be many options, there must be a few that are used by the majority of Pentax users. For example, I come from a Nikon background and I download my photos using Nikon Downloader into Nikon View NX. Most times, I will work in Capture before moving to Photoshop to finalize. Some, in fact many, people I know just download and work in Lightroom. For me, I use Nikon Picture Styles and while I sometimes change or customize them, I often leave them as is and get into Photoshop to do more work. What would be a good Pentax way?

12-15-2011, 10:18 AM   #2
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FWIW, I use Lightroom and then import to Photoshop. Pentax doesn't have anything like what Nikon provides for software.
As an aside, if you shoot DNG, you can use any version of Photoshop right back to 7 (not that one would want to, but it's nice to not have to upgrade Photoshop every time a new body comes along).
12-15-2011, 11:21 AM   #3
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Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop are all you need, since you already have them. Lightroom has come nice features, too. A couple good plugins for denoise and sharpening are always good to have. Both Nik and Topaz have good offerings.
12-15-2011, 12:20 PM   #4
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As a free bit of software, Picasa will process both PEF and DNG files, too, but nowhere near as well as Camera Raw. I only use it on my work computer, for which purpose (general representations of items) it's more than adequate, but it can't even reduce highlight blowout in RAW, so it's fairly useless for any detailed work. Picasa's file organising and indexing is fairly good, though, but it's only a happy-snap editor, at best.

12-15-2011, 12:31 PM   #5
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If you have a Mac, then Aperture is a good choice also. But indeed, since you already have PS, then just shoot in DNG and import directly into ACR to convert to JPEG and edit in PS. Definitely the gold standard in PP editing.
12-15-2011, 04:23 PM   #6
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cool, since I am of the firm belief that the only reason to own Photoshop is for the Nik tools and I just downloaded Adjust 5.
12-20-2011, 11:02 AM   #7
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I use lightroom for 99.9% of my editing, drop into photoshop to use the content aware tool, but rarely have to use that
12-20-2011, 11:35 AM - 1 Like   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by hsteeves Quote
cool, since I am of the firm belief that the only reason to own Photoshop is for the Nik tools and I just downloaded Adjust 5.
No kidding on Nik I would be perfectly happy with Sagelight or Bibble....except I can't live without the Nik suite!

So OP, my recc is Sagelight - about the most versatile stand alone editor you'll see, and it'll do everything you want to do for quite some time to come Currently on sale for $39!

ETA: Downthread, someone experimented, and it turns out the Nik Suite *does* work with Sagelight. Awesome I may have to revert!


Last edited by Ecaterin; 01-20-2012 at 08:01 PM.
12-21-2011, 02:24 AM   #9
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Just choose the DNG raw file option and use pretty much everything on the market. I never understood why anyone would choose to use PEF or any other non-standard raw file format when you pretty much end up converting to DNG most if not all of the time anyway.

That being said, I use LR to process my DNG file from Pentax as well as my ARW files from Sony (they dont use DNG unfortunately). Otherwise, there are free software programs out there for processing as well as simple viewing, like on Picasa for example. From there, you can load anything into LR and process your selected files.

Jason
12-21-2011, 04:29 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ecaterin Quote
No kidding on Nik I would be perfectly happy with Sagelight or Bibble....except I can't live without the Nik suite!

So OP, my recc is Sagelight - about the most versatile stand alone editor you'll see, and it'll do everything you want to do for quite some time to come Currently on sale for $39!
I had never heard of Sagelight until I read your post. Just for fun, I tried it out, and Nik Dfine, both sharpeners, and Color Efex all work with it so far.

Btw, you reccomend Sagelight but are linking to Bibble.

Last edited by Philoslothical; 12-21-2011 at 04:50 AM.
12-21-2011, 11:54 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jasvox Quote
Just choose the DNG raw file option and use pretty much everything on the market. I never understood why anyone would choose to use PEF or any other non-standard raw file format when you pretty much end up converting to DNG most if not all of the time anyway.

Jason
One reason is that for my K5 DNG files are almost 25% larger. I shoot PEF then import into Lightroom as DNGs. Adobe compresses DNG files. Pentax cameras don't.
12-22-2011, 04:15 PM   #12
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I use LightRoom3.6 and NIK Viveza2.
12-22-2011, 05:20 PM   #13
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I shoot in RAW and Bibble meets my needs.

My workflow is simple. I briefly review all my photos and give the ones that show potential for sharing or printing a one-star rating. Then I filter the one-star photos and tweak white balance, exposure, sharpening, noise reduction, etc. When I wind up with a keeper I give it a higher rating and maybe add some curves and spot reduction. That's all easy to do with Bibble.

OP, I have no idea how well Bibble plays together with Photoshop. I'm just a hobbyist and haven't invested in PS' learning curve. If my photo is too bad to fix with Bibble, then my lack of Photoshop skills won't be able to save that photo either.

I tested these other photo programs before picking Bibble in January 2011:
  • Pentax Digital Camera Utility. Free but criminally unstable. I experienced constant crashes and lost work.
  • Lightroom. Seemed functionally equivalent to Bibble. I had no complaints with the trial version but I try to avoid Adobe when practical.
  • GIMP. Free. It's an image editor (like PhotoShop) rather than a photo catalog. All those features made it more complex than I need.
  • Picasa. Free and easy to use. Not enough features for me. Had some problems with Pentax DNG and PEF formats: odd color casts, thin black bar with spots of color at right edge of photo (I think embedded EXIF data was being interpreted as part of the image).
  • DXO. I didn't give this one a fair test because I was already sold on Bibble. It showed potential if I recall correctly.
12-23-2011, 01:59 AM   #14
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I use PDCU (Pentax's software) for RAW processing and gimp for JPEG processing.
12-23-2011, 10:53 AM   #15
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I use Corel PSP (presently version X4) it reads all formats and has reasonable tools and an intuitive interface.

The main downside was the CA correction which works by removing user selectable hues in defined widths around subjects, and is really more appropriately a fringe removal tool not CA correction.

True CA correction rescales the color layers, radially out from the middle, to reallign them. I was about to switch when I bought a plug in that does geometric rescalling for CA correction.

the only other minor issue is many corrections only apply in 8 bit color depth, as opposed to 16, so you must do all color, contrast, and histogram adjustments first in full copor depth, then downgrade to use the plugins.
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