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05-31-2018, 12:41 PM - 2 Likes   #1
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Interpretations of „The Truth“ - SOOC vs. PP and more

Hi everybody. Just finished a new article (english) on my website.

I invite you to read it. Maybe you find something helpful or would like to discuss.

It contains written down thoughts about ...
  • SOCC vs. Raw Post Processing
  • Extracting preview images from raw images using exiftool
  • Capture One Pro: flat image development and comparison to the extracted SOOC preview image
  • Capture One Pro: different interpretations of a macro capture with examples of using ICC profiles designed for other cameras


Regards, acoufap

05-31-2018, 02:53 PM - 1 Like   #2
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Nice article and excellent points.

It's worth noting that SOOC is actually a form of Raw post processing as defined by the camera's various white-balance, saturation, contrast, color profile, etc. controls on the camera. One time my nose managed to deftly mashed the 4-way controller to set the white balance to 20000 Kelvin. Needless to say, all the SOOC images were far far from the truth.

As for "the truth" it all depends on how one wants to define it:

Technical/documentary truth: what shows up on the monitor or print has the identical brightness and color of the original object. This calls for the most carefully controlled settings for either SOOC or post processing. Note that the shortcomings of Bayer color filters imply that RAW is definitely not the truth in the technical RGB light measurement sense. A pure blue object will have non-zero green and red readings in the RAW file which need to be corrected.

Emotional or artistic truth: Permits the great leeway in SOOC settings or post processing to modulate mood and emphasis.

Maybe the two varieties of truth are the difference between WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) versus WYFIWYG (What you feel is what you get)
05-31-2018, 11:05 PM - 1 Like   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
Nice article and excellent points.

It's worth noting that SOOC is actually a form of Raw post processing as defined by the camera's various white-balance, saturation, contrast, color profile, etc. controls on the camera. One time my nose managed to deftly mashed the 4-way controller to set the white balance to 20000 Kelvin. Needless to say, all the SOOC images were far far from the truth.

As for "the truth" it all depends on how one wants to define it:

Technical/documentary truth: what shows up on the monitor or print has the identical brightness and color of the original object. This calls for the most carefully controlled settings for either SOOC or post processing. Note that the shortcomings of Bayer color filters imply that RAW is definitely not the truth in the technical RGB light measurement sense. A pure blue object will have non-zero green and red readings in the RAW file which need to be corrected.

Emotional or artistic truth: Permits the great leeway in SOOC settings or post processing to modulate mood and emphasis.

Maybe the two varieties of truth are the difference between WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) versus WYFIWYG (What you feel is what you get)
Yes, something like nose control sometimes happens. This is why a lock button like that on K-1 makes sense.

One important point concerning WYSIWYG for me is that it doesn’t really exist - it’s a wrong notion in the world of photography IMO. Our eye / brain combo works different to a lens / sensor combo. I‘d describe it this way: the image we see is a composite of an ultrafast eye scan / brain interpretation of the scenery along contrast lines (also in depth) set together in an unbelievable speed to get one image impression. Whereas the lens / sensor is a linear scan with a given focal plane.
06-01-2018, 01:17 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by acoufap Quote
Hi everybody. Just finished a new article (english) on my website.

I invite you to read it. Maybe you find something helpful or would like to discuss.
That is really interesting, and other articles on your Blog there look good too. Is there some way of setting up automatic e-mail notification of new articles?

Richard

06-01-2018, 02:10 AM   #5
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Good points.

I think there is a misperception that you can take a pitch black, under exposed, blurry image into lightroom or Capture One and run it through a few presets and you will end up with something amazing because of the magic of "Photoshop." But it doesn't work that way. You have to start with something decent to end up with something decent.

To me, the point of using an external RAW converter is really to be more selective in processing and as you say, to best achieve you visualization of your image.

Great article!
06-01-2018, 04:14 AM   #6
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Good points. I think of it as "there's more than one way to do it". It's simply a choice of when you want to do your post processing - in the camera or externally. Because there is no such thing as an unprocessed image.

If you know your camera's processing settings really well you might get away with spending less time to get to your desired end result by shooting JPEG. The main drawback as I see it is that there's less room for adjustments later.

My choice, like yours, is to spend less time fiddling with settings at the time of shooting and do that part of the job later. That is not to say that I'm sloppy with the image taking and "fix it in post". Not at all. But I think I do a better job when I can concentrate on the basics while shooting and do the fiddly stuff later (WB, NR, sharpening, etc that will rarely be uniform over all images).

In short: They are your images. You deside how to treat them.

A side note: I can't say I've noticed any proud undertone in the term "straight out of camera", at least not any more than with "I shoot only raw" or "I shoot only in M mode". Btw, do images get better by doing it the hard way? I guess "I always poke myself in the eye before shooting" should produce absolutely amazing imagery
06-01-2018, 08:13 AM   #7
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With my first DSLR Pentax K-7, I was initially disappointing at the dull looking images I was getting compared to a mates new Nikon. It took some time to realize that the Nikon default settings produced a bright, saturated jpeg while the Pentax straight out of the box did not. After some tweaking of the settings, I was able to achieve comparable photos. So far so good.



Obviously straight out of the camera (SOOC) depends to a great extent on the cameras settings which are adjustable by the user.. I have no idea just how many settings are possible Bright/Natural/Portrait,/Landscape etc each with half a dozen or adjustable settings and each setting with a range of values. The number of permutations must be enormous. Add to this the options for aperture control. shutter speed control and focus control, then something close to an infinite number of permutations are possible.



This lead to me to a logical dilemma which I could not resolve. How the heck could I possibly set the camera up to take an optimal jpeg for differing scenes? SOOC became for me at least a dead end.



Very swiftly I learnt about post processing, initially with jpegs and then RAW.


To me truth lies in the finished article.I suspect this is so for many photographers. Even the great Ansell Adams relied heavily on post processing in the darkroom.While I can understand the desire by some photographers to get the best possible image without processing, I feel this limits the creative possibilities.I process all of my images, well the keepers anyway, I try to enhance what is there, I will crop, clone out distractions, enhance colours, sharpen and reduce noise. I perform global and local enhancements. I do however refrain from adding elements, swapping backgrounds and that sort of stuff as it does not interest me greatly.



So there this is my level of truth. That is get the best result out of the scene I see in front of me, using all the tools at my disposal.
06-01-2018, 08:18 AM   #8
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^^ My journey exactly.

06-01-2018, 11:50 AM - 2 Likes   #9
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@rjbrett
Nice to hear that you are interested in my blog!

Since it costs some effort I don’t offer a newsletter. In addition the new European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that started on May 25th 2018 makes things even a bit more complicated.

So unfortunately at the moment there’s only the way to sometimes have a look at my website - if you like.

@Rondec
Thank you! - IMO "selective" is an important keyword in post processing because especially a few well set local adjustments can help to give the main subject of your photograph the right attention.

@savoche
Thank you, savoche! Your absolutely right. Many ways lead to rome.

In-camera processing is one of it. But fiddling with camera setting and working at a minimalist display maybe under a bright sky?! - Not really a good idea. I once post processed some images on my mac and very good color calibrated monitor while it was very bright in the room. Of course it had impact on my raw converter settings. In the evening I had to redo the job!

Doing advanced settings of parameters or editing in camera with good results you surely have to do it all the day to learn what are good choices and what are bad ones. You will lose important time getting good shots. And of course you don't have the opportunity to do important local adjustments.

People who think that the main task of raw development is „fixing it in post“ may have to learn a lot about sophisticated photography I guess.

My point about the attitude of some SOOC shooters was initiated by an artists announcement who had an exhibition at my workplace. Good that I didn’t have time to visit the opening.

@Bruce Clark
Good points about different camera jpg engine implementations and their base settings. And I also think that we have to concentrate on the main task of photography. Given camera and lens for me that means composition, searching for distractions in the view and eliminate them, setting the basic parameters ISO, Exposure Time and Aperture - or using just a fitting AE mode maybe with EV compensation and waiting for the right moment to make the shot. That’s really enough to do - isn't it?!

There’s one important step in the process of photography that I until now not do by myself - that’s printing. I know how to do it theoretically but to do a really good job on it you need much time and doing it frequently. If that’s not the case you go the risk that the printhead drys up. A very expensive failure. Maybe when I'm retired - some years ahead.

Your level of truth corresponds with my notion.
06-01-2018, 12:58 PM - 2 Likes   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bruce Clark Quote
To me truth lies in the finished article.I suspect this is so for many photographers. Even the great Ansell Adams relied heavily on post processing in the darkroom....

...So there this is my level of truth. That is get the best result out of the scene I see in front of me, using all the tools at my disposal.

+1. I might also add Adams and the rest of us ex-darkroom types took the same approach. SOOC (straight out of can, lol) was how you shot transparencies, not negatives & paper. A recent post on a veteran making gorgeous prints from transparencies showed how much skill goes into darkroom work. There's nothing new about post-processing.


06-01-2018, 03:22 PM - 1 Like   #11
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In actuality, post processing a la Adams et al. was done with B&W images.
Color images/prints had very little dodge and burning going on in the darkroom. Safelights were not used as the printing papers were sensitive to all wavelengths. If you dodged and burned you had the possibility of color shifts. (Full disclosure - I shot color negatives, transparencies and printed, on paper, both technologies. I usually shot slide film and produced Cibachrome prints).

What we can do now with post processing was nothing more than pipedreams back in the film days. Even those people (read hipsters) who have fallen back into love with film are not really working with "film characteristics". They are scanning the negatives (something I do on occasion too) and manipulating digital files, not film. Once the negative/slide is scanned into the computer, all references to the "feel of film" are gone in my opinion.

All film images had some post processing going on. The machines at the local drugstore made assumptions about the overall exposure and changed the processing as necessary. There were "customers" who complained about their images and had them "reprocessed/reprinted" to meet their assumptions. When shooting color negatives, we changed filters during "test" prints to get the colors correct. With B&W we dodged and burned, we had filters that looked like various types of cloth to give "texture", we used glossy, matt and luster surfaced paper to give the right effect to our images.

Computer screens are boring and not truly "pictures". Pictures are on paper and I bet today most "pictures" are viewed on phones that have a smaller viewable area than a 4x6 drugstore picture. Post processing is out there with us, the idea of SOOC is just so 90's when digital was new and the post processing of the drugstore machine was the best most people could get.
06-02-2018, 08:13 AM   #12
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Actually, "post-processing" with B&W film might start with the negative. Really low light? "Push" the film to boost the developed image (and screw the highlights, as I clearly recall.) Huge range of brightnesses? Water-bath development could let the shadows emerge clearly but keep all the details in the highlights - HDR for large format film, lol (never tried it myself.) Prefer a different tonal emphasis than bog-standard D-76/ID11? Develop with Agfa Rodinal. Etc, etc. Not to mention using different grades of paper for the print: from really soft Grade 1 to hyper-contrasty Grade 5.


I don't see the difference with those days and using different RAW processors/profiles. More importantly, I don't know which software, memory card, camera, lens or printer you used when looking at a final print – what matters is that final print and whether you made a decent job of it or not.

Last edited by StiffLegged; 06-02-2018 at 09:11 AM.
06-02-2018, 12:09 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by acoufap Quote
There’s one important step in the process of photography that I until now not do by myself - that’s printing. I know how to do it theoretically but to do a really good job on it you need much time and doing it frequently. If that’s not the case you go the risk that the printhead drys up. A very expensive failure. Maybe when I'm retired - some years ahead.
A 18x12 profiled colour print costs £1 ($1.33) from my local minilab - I could never see the point of doing it yourself.
06-02-2018, 02:11 PM   #14
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@StiffLegged
Thanks for referencing this nice video!


It reminds me of Bruce Barnbaum’s descriptions in his great book „The Art of Photography“ where he also describes the process of darkroom work. But he also writes about digital photography. In the first edition Barnbaum clearly favours analog photography over digital.


Like you say - there’s nothing new about post-processing. But analog needs much more time and chemicals.


Last year the second Edition of Barnbaums book came to market. I bought the digital version. He now accepts the vast benefits of digital processing for color work and that it delivers as good printing results as color negatives. For black&white he stays with analog and the appropriate classical printing process.


@PDL
Yep, some people love photographing analog again. If they want to present it in the internet or print with their own printer they have to scan their negatives or positives and do some digital adjustments. That’s simply necessary to get it right. I also did and do this from time to time. But my intension isn’t to get the special film charactistics. I like to get some „memory pictures“ in digital so that I can view them on my iPad or computer.


I like to look at my images on my iPad. But looking at a good print on special paper is completely another experience that I really love.


@kh1234567890
When I think of printing I’m addressing fine art printing. That’s something really special. I read Gulbins/Steinmüller’s book about it and have a subscription of the german fineartprinter magazine about this interesting topic.


At the moment I’m using fine art printing service providers. I choose the paper to be printed on depending on the specific photograph. The haptic and texture of paper and how it reflects light in combination with the used color is very important for the viewing experience. Also the paper characteristics are different by expample in showing detail in the dark parts of an image. Not every paper/color combination is able to show a huge colorspace and dynamics. There are many parameters that influence a print.


At the moment my paper favorites are Hahnemühle Photo Rag and Crane Museo Silver Rag. The price for my last ordered prints were 16,30 € for a 30 x 20 cm up to 45 x 30 print on Hahnemühle Photo Rag 308g and 19,30 € for Crane Museo Silver Rag 300g at same size. The photographs were printed on a Canon fine art printer.

If I’d do the printing job by myself I'd buy a Canon ImagePROGRAF PRO-1000. I think I couldn’t save money compared using a provider. But it would be something new to explore and learn. And I could proudly say - I did the whole job by myself!

It may be possible to get prints of 45 x 30 for $1.33. But I doubt that they are what I’m longing for.
06-02-2018, 04:00 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by acoufap Quote
It may be possible to get prints of 45 x 30 for $1.33. But I doubt that they are what I’m longing for.
All of my photos are just casual snaps. As for prints - I mainly use them to cover cracks in the walls of my house. I bin them when I get bored with looking at them and take some more.
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