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06-01-2019, 07:11 AM   #1
Senior Member

Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 286
Help With DCU 5

I recently started attempting to use DCU 5 and find the interface to be difficult and confusing since I am stuck in the film era and have limited knowledge of most things digital. I've been able to import files but not much else. I can't even find how to go to the crop tool. If anyone can enlighten me on that, and have any other advice, I would be very appreciative. TIA.

06-01-2019, 07:27 AM   #2
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Posts: 366
There's a tutorial here:
Pentax Digital Camera Utility - A Mini Guide -

I haven't checked to see if it is up to date, but it should give you some clues.

PDCU takes a bit of getting used to, and it isn't the best tool for processing huge numbers of RAW files, but it does produce great results that are very similar to the JPG images produced by the camera. Personally, I will use PDCU for one-off image processing. If I have a bunch of similar images to process (eg. from a trip), I'll use something like DxO. Everybody has their own preferences.

Part of the problem with providing help is that I set PDCU up on this computer years ago, and I can't remember what you see when you first install it. I know one thing that is confusing is that PDCU has two modes - browser and "laboratory". By default, it comes up in browser mode, and you have to click on laboratory near the top left of the window to bring up all the editing tools. I arranged all the tools to suit my tastes, so I don't know where the cropping tool, etc. will appear on your screen.

My theory is that PDCU is essentially the same software that is inside your camera, with a rudimentary UI added on. This is the only explanation for the fact that it includes all the same settings that the camera has, and can generate output that is virtually identical.
06-01-2019, 04:13 PM   #3

Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 11,913
You can get access to the cropping tool via selecting 'Develop' mode, then from the main menu selecting: Window > Cropping, and looking around the screen to find the little 'Cropping' window.

But alas DCU has probably the most clumsy implementation of image cropping (or any image editing generally) you will find on the whole planet. It's simply awful, especially for beginners.

For basic edits and crops, free tools like Faststone will do basic edits like cropping easily.

Probably the best long term plan would be to invest time in learning another RAW image editor like DarkTable, Lightroom, DxO PhotoLab or one of many others:

The best free photo editor in 2019 | Digital Camera World

Raw Photo Editing Software Comparison 2018

Last edited by rawr; 06-01-2019 at 04:20 PM.
06-02-2019, 02:38 AM   #4
Senior Member

Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 286
Original Poster
Thanks to both of you for the advice. After quite a struggle I was able to import a merged HDR file into DCU and do a modest crop. What I am attempting to do is edit In-camera merged HDR files from my K-1. I had not been able to find any software that would import such a merged file but rather every program imported just one of the three files used in the merge and that included most of the programs you two mentioned. I couldn't find a way even for RawTherapee to do it despite it being said that it would. I had been told that DCU would import a merged file and I hoped that after a simple edit of some sort I could then export the file to PSE or Affinity for more extensive editing. I simply chose cropping because it is often the first step in my workflow (these are landscape photos).

I've only done this with one file with DCU so far (that took a long time!) but it did import to both PSE and Affinity as a single, merged file that I was able to edit. I have found that the K-1 in-camera HDR gives some nice images of high contrast landscape photos at times but was frustrated at the inability to edit them and now it seems I have a way to do this. BTW, I never was able to find the "little 'Cropping' window" one of you mentioned, and I found the DCU crop tool was very awkward to use, For the next try I will use some other simple editing tool instead of crop, assuming I can figure out how to do that.

Thanks again for the help, it's much appreciated. It sure can be difficult for an old dog to learn new tricks but it can be done.


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