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10-29-2018, 11:51 AM - 7 Likes   #1
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The Squirrel Mafia's Pentax Digital Camera Utiliy (PDCU) thread. Now with more color!

I'm gonna be straight up. This program is slow, buggy, & can be annoying to use at times. It's not very user friendly & the lack of options can be a bit frustrating.

Putting all that aside, once you figure out the magical NR numbers, the colors that you get from the RAW files are amazing. Nothing else seems to come close to these. I use RawTherapee & DxO as well, but they can't really match the color output of PDCU. The colors are on another level of awesomeness, even when the ISO starts getting pretty high.

I've attached some parameter files to this thread that you can use on your images. There are 3 sets of parameter files. These are only for non-pixel shift images. I haven't created any pixel shift parameters. I might eventually do it. The majority of recent Pentax cameras will use the PDCU Natural parameters. The K-70 has its own set & the K-S1 & K-S2 have their own set too. It seems like there were some experimental image tweaks done at Ricoh for the K-S1/S2 & K-70 that don't seem to work the same as all the other cameras. For you K-1 owners, use the regular ones. For the K-1II owners, use the K-70 ones.

You can apply them once you are in the Laboratory mode & going to:

File > Open parameter file...

Then navigate to the PDCU Natural folder & select the file with the appropriate ISO. Use the next highest ISO setting if your ISO doesn't quite fall in the exact setting. Like use the ISO 6400 file for an ISO 4000 RAW image or us ISO 12800 file for an ISO 8000 RAW image & so forth & so on.

The settings are more of a starting point, but a lot of you might find them good right out of the box. The noise reduction settings give the most detail possible, while trying to reduce grain & color noise. Sharpening is set to 0 & they're all set to the natural color tone. You can add more or even reduce NR settings to your liking.

There are some other options that you can play with. You can also apply these to batch a bunch of photos in the Laboratory at the same time. If you have any parameter files that you'd like to share, please feel free to attach them to this thread. You can browse all attachments to this thread by clicking HERE. Hopefully this will help out some folks that are trying to figure out how to use this program.


Last edited by The Squirrel Mafia; 11-14-2018 at 03:43 PM.
10-29-2018, 01:14 PM   #2
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Hmmmm....interesting.....is this in lieu of using a RAW processor like LR or RawTherapee or to be used along with?
10-29-2018, 01:34 PM   #3
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^ It would be in lieu.

Best thing to do is to grab a RAW file & run it though all your favorite RAW converters to see which one produces the image that you like that most.
10-29-2018, 02:16 PM   #4
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I think the reason you're seeing colours you like in PDCU is that the camera colour profile will be the same (or extremely similar) to that used by the in-camera JPEG engine.

It's possible to create profiles like these for other software... I have one I made for the K10D / GX-10 in Darktable, using the "darktable-chart" utility to analyze raw and JPEG captures of a colour chart. Of course, that's a lot more work than simply using PDCU, but it offers similar benefits in terms of colour and tone curve reproduction.

That aside, it's nice to see this thread. PDCU is often overlooked, and although it has serious limitations in some areas, it's still a very capable raw development tool.

10-29-2018, 03:18 PM   #5
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I wonder if tweaking the NR settings for K-1 mkII files would have an effect on the perceived detail loss that had so much fur flying.
10-29-2018, 03:24 PM   #6
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^ The K-70 & K-1II seem to have a similar type of noise reduction baked into the RAW file. Basically, they seem to require less post processing NR than what the other cameras require, but the KP uses the same amount of NR that the K3/3II requires & it also has that accelerator chip. That is weird.

If you use the regular settings on the K-70 & K-1II, everything starts to gets smudged. The K-S1 & K-S2 are kind of similar, but no accelerator chip. I'm guessing that the engineers at Ricoh are tweaking NR settings as they figure out how to reduce noise while keeping fine detail.
10-30-2018, 06:24 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by The Squirrel Mafia Quote
^ The K-70 & K-1II seem to have a similar type of noise reduction baked into the RAW file. Basically, they seem to require less post processing NR than what the other cameras require, but the KP uses the same amount of NR that the K3/3II requires & it also has that accelerator chip. That is weird.

If you use the regular settings on the K-70 & K-1II, everything starts to gets smudged. The K-S1 & K-S2 are kind of similar, but no accelerator chip. I'm guessing that the engineers at Ricoh are tweaking NR settings as they figure out how to reduce noise while keeping fine detail.
Which bolsters the point I tried to make when the II first came out that too much NR was being applied because people were using profiles or settings for the K-1 - particularly when the EXIF was edited to show the camera as being the K-1.
11-14-2018, 08:52 AM   #8
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I've done some minor changes in the parameter files. I'm pretty happy with the results. All of these use the Natural image tone. If you press the Camera setting button in the Custom Image panel in the Laboratory, the image tone will revert to whatever the camera used. I can't seem to find a way to automatically set that in the parameter file, but then again the colors can get a bit over saturated at times when using the camera setting, especially if the camera was set to Bright tone, so I guess it's OK. You can decide for yourself when you apply it.

The parameters have been attached to the bottom of this thread. You can always browse all attachments to this thread by clicking HERE.


Last edited by The Squirrel Mafia; 12-27-2018 at 10:42 AM.
12-11-2018, 09:31 AM   #9
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I've attached some parameters that make use of the Bright image tone that will try to keep the image from shifting towards a yellow look. Remember that you can always browse the attachments in this thread by clicking HERE. Try them out.

Last edited by The Squirrel Mafia; 12-27-2018 at 10:42 AM.
12-12-2018, 10:42 AM   #10
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Does anyone else have issues running PDCU5 on their AMD machine? I have an ASUS M32BC desktop with an AMD FX-8310 3.4GHz (4.3GHz max) processor & 32GB of RAM with Windows 10 Home Edition installed on a 500GB SSD & a 2TB spinning drive with all my junk on it. Mind you that there is no bloatware or anything on my machine, since I last installed Windows 10. It's a fairly fast machine, but man! PDCU5 runs sooooooooooooooooo incredibly slow & it's super buggy. Everything else runs flawlessly on that machine. The only reason that I put up with PDCU5 is that this program spits out some of the best colors when producing jpegs. It's the closest thing to OOC jpegs, but with far better color & detail preservation. I also use DxO & RawTherapee, but their color output doesn't come anywhere close to the color output of PDCU5, especially at higher ISO. They do however run flawlessly on my machine. No hiccups or issues when running those programs.

I also have an older Dell XPS 8300 with an Intel i5-2300 2.8GHz & 16GB of RAM with Windows 10 Professional installed on a 500GB SSD. Whenever I run PDCU5, it will kind of hang up for a few seconds on occasion, but it comes back. It runs PDCU5 a bit faster than the AMD machine, but it's not like a leap & bounds difference in speed.

I'm wondering if the super slow & laggy experience is due to the AMD processor. My AMD machine outpaces the Intel machine for everything else, but running PDCU5 on that AMD machine is almost unbearable at times. Everything else runs without a hiccup, including more processor intensive stuff like AutoCAD & other engineering programs that I use. Hmmmm.............. I am running the latest version of PDCU5 on both machines. The previous version wouldn't even load on my AMD or Intel machine. Anyone have any ideas?
12-12-2018, 11:44 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by The Squirrel Mafia Quote
... PDCU5 runs sooooooooooooooooo incredibly slow & it's super buggy. Everything else runs flawlessly on that machine.
That's roughly the same situation on my Mac on intel.
12-13-2018, 08:43 AM - 1 Like   #12
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^ Annoying, isn't it? Hahaha!

I guess that is the way of the PDCU.
12-27-2018, 10:43 AM   #13
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I have uploaded some new paremeter files. This time they are a bit more specific to each camera. They're for the more recent batch of Pentax cameras from the K-5 going forward. I even made some for the Q7 & Q-S1. If your camera is not listed (ie: K-7, K-10D, K-x, *ist DL2, & so forth & so on), just download a few different sets & try them out. One of them should work for you.

I've been playing left & right with lab samples from Imaging-Resource & DPReview, plus other RAW files with different ISOs. I've played with all kinds of noise reduction settings & have pretty much come to what I consider a reasonable trade off in between fine detail retention, grain noise, & color noise for each camera. You can change whatever settings you want to after applying a parameter file to your RAW file. All of these parameter files are for regular non-pixel shift images. I haven't created parameter files for pixel shift images yet. I'll eventually get around to it, but for now, you can give these a whirl.
Attached Files
File Type: zip PDCU K-01 K-5 K-5II K-5IIs.zip (21.3 KB, 13 views)
File Type: zip PDCU K-1.zip (28.1 KB, 11 views)
File Type: zip PDCU K-1II.zip (22.3 KB, 17 views)
File Type: zip PDCU K-3 K-3II.zip (20.6 KB, 20 views)
File Type: zip PDCU K-30 K-50 K-500.zip (21.0 KB, 11 views)
File Type: zip PDCU K-70.zip (22.3 KB, 16 views)
File Type: zip PDCU KP.zip (28.1 KB, 12 views)
File Type: zip PDCU K-S1 K-S2.zip (20.6 KB, 12 views)
File Type: zip PDCU Q-7 Q-S1.zip (16.4 KB, 9 views)
12-27-2018, 04:43 PM - 1 Like   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by The Squirrel Mafia Quote
The only reason that I put up with PDCU5 is that this program spits out some of the best colors when producing jpegs. It's the closest thing to OOC jpegs, but with far better color & detail preservation.
Sorry to move the focus away from PDCU here, but... Have you considered using Darktable instead? By using the "darktable-chart" utility, you can easily create a profile using both the raw and OOC JPEG shots of a suitable colour chart. Applying the resulting profile will render your images in Darktable very closely indeed to what you see from the camera, at least so far as colours and tone curve are concerned (you'll need to handle noise reduction and sharpening individually, but Darktable is way better than PDCU in these respects). In fact, you can go further still and use raw from one camera and JPEG from another to create cross-camera emulations - so if you want your Pentax camera photos to look like FujiFilm JPEGs, it's no problem. You just need access to both cameras so you can take equivalent shots of a suitable colour chart

If this interests you, see here for more details:

https://pixls.us/articles/profiling-a-camera-with-darktable-chart/
01-01-2019, 01:36 PM   #15
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PDCU 5 works fairly fast with my late 2015 IMac with Mojave but I use Photos 4 most of the time. My question is that I can find no info on what to do with a pixel shift image [102.5 mb]. Any ideas?
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