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04-30-2021, 03:25 PM   #1
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Terrified of RAW but want to try out something that's easy to use

I've mostly shot jpg's but want to try RAW processing.......but I'm frankly a bit terrified at the prospect. I've dabbled a bit with Raw Therapee but it seems more complicated than I probably need. I'm not the type to spend hours doing PP so I just need something straightforward without hundreds of options that I might never use and would probably just get confusing. The other day a colleague was telling me about DXO Pure Raw which sounds very easy to use and would probably do about as much PP as I need. I was looking at the DXO website and the reviews are good but the KP and K-1 didn't seem to be on the list of supported camera's. Does that mean that Pure Raw won't work for me?

Or does anyone have recommendations for a relatively simple and easy to use PP program that might suit what I'm looking for. Would things like Darktable and Lightroom be more than I need?

Or should I just stick with jpg's and refine my camera settings?

04-30-2021, 03:26 PM - 1 Like   #2
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Assuming you are on PC, I'd recommend Adobe Camera RAW or Lightroom

PS. I'd consider RawTherapy advanced RAW development software
04-30-2021, 03:35 PM - 1 Like   #3
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Try XnViewMP, FastStone or Irfanview (all free) - you should find something about one of them, at least, that is what you want - then upgrade to some other software if and when you feel the need. When shooting RAW, I always use DNG, rather than the mfr's own version (PEF in the case of Pentax), since it is practically universally acceptable to software (on Windows, at least).
04-30-2021, 03:44 PM - 1 Like   #4
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It takes me seconds to work on a RAW shot to get what I want. If it needed hours then I simply didn't get it right in the first place. When I first started in digital (2003) storage was horrifically expensive so initially I shot jpeg to save storage space. I really wish I hadn't. Mistakes like wrong WB are much more difficult to correct. All PP programs can be configured to give you an initial view that suits your style and help you identify any that will benefit from more work.

04-30-2021, 03:49 PM - 1 Like   #5
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Darktable is free and easy enough to learn to get by with. Don't be intimidated by the thought of raw being difficult - it isn't. In fact it makes your life simpler at that precious time you are composing your image. So many decisions can be left till later on the PC. Don't waste your time on expensive programs at this point in your photographic journey - the freebies are excellent. If you use Raw+ in camera you still have a jpg to compare your editing against.
04-30-2021, 03:51 PM   #6
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I use darktable, and in some ways it's easier to work with than RawTherapee, and it's also open source and free.

The defaults are a good starting point, it automatically applies a base tone curve that tries to match how the manufacturer sets their default jpegs (so it has different curves by brand). When you first import there's a default look that, for Pentax, looks more or less like the natural jpeg setting (note that the very first image it shows is actually the jpeg preview embedded by the camera in the raw file).

From there, you can start editing one module at a time, let's say "basic adjustments" which gives control over contrast, brightness, some highlight and shadow control, vibrance and saturation.
The best part imo is that any module can have a mask (drawn, parametric, or both), so if you're comfortable with just a few types of edits, you can still refine the image with local edits, which for me is the real advantage of raw processing.
04-30-2021, 03:57 PM   #7
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Raw is not terrifying. It gives you all the data. You can use as much or as little of it as you want. Just hitting the Auto button will probably give you something you are happy with 80% of the time.

04-30-2021, 03:58 PM   #8
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Adobe Photoshop Elements read raw file with the help of Adobe Camera Row. Its edition ability is limited but I have found that for 80% of images it is more than enough . It is easy to work with. It costs some money (< $100) but does not require subscription.
04-30-2021, 04:10 PM   #9
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BTW, you can also just process the RAW directly from the camera trying different jpg presets and custom settings. It's quite useful to know how to fine tune a jpg to your liking right from the camera, only keeping the software processing for more heavy or serious work.
04-30-2021, 04:28 PM   #10
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Dark table

Bruce williams has a good youtube channel "understanding dark table". Close to 100 videos.
04-30-2021, 04:31 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by carlb Quote
I've mostly shot jpg's but want to try RAW processing.......but I'm frankly a bit terrified at the prospect. I've dabbled a bit with Raw Therapee but it seems more complicated than I probably need. I'm not the type to spend hours doing PP so I just need something straightforward without hundreds of options that I might never use and would probably just get confusing. The other day a colleague was telling me about DXO Pure Raw which sounds very easy to use and would probably do about as much PP as I need. I was looking at the DXO website and the reviews are good but the KP and K-1 didn't seem to be on the list of supported camera's. Does that mean that Pure Raw won't work for me?

Or does anyone have recommendations for a relatively simple and easy to use PP program that might suit what I'm looking for. Would things like Darktable and Lightroom be more than I need?

Or should I just stick with jpg's and refine my camera settings?
DXO Pure Raw doesn't post process your images for you, except for noise removal. You still have to put in some work to get the image where you want it. I'm not sure what you're terrified of. There's a lot of instruction out there on basic post processing.
04-30-2021, 04:35 PM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by JohnBee Quote
Assuming you are on PC, I'd recommend Adobe Camera RAW or Lightroom

PS. I'd consider RawTherapy advanced RAW development software
I am pretty sure one can't use Adobe Camera RAW by itself. It is a plugin to other Adobe products such as Photoshop and Bridge.


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04-30-2021, 05:24 PM - 2 Likes   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by carlb Quote
I've mostly shot jpg's but want to try RAW processing.......but I'm frankly a bit terrified at the prospect. I've dabbled a bit with Raw Therapee but it seems more complicated than I probably need. I'm not the type to spend hours doing PP so I just need something straightforward without hundreds of options that I might never use and would probably just get confusing. The other day a colleague was telling me about DXO Pure Raw which sounds very easy to use and would probably do about as much PP as I need. I was looking at the DXO website and the reviews are good but the KP and K-1 didn't seem to be on the list of supported camera's. Does that mean that Pure Raw won't work for me?

Or does anyone have recommendations for a relatively simple and easy to use PP program that might suit what I'm looking for. Would things like Darktable and Lightroom be more than I need?

Or should I just stick with jpg's and refine my camera settings?
Of course you could always use the software that came with the camera "PDCU" or Pentax Digital Camera Utility made by Silkipix for Pentax, it too will process RAW although it is no where near as involved as some of the others!

Silkipix also produces some higher valued software for image processing as well. Products | SILKYPIX

Here is the link for the latest updates from Pentax for DCU5 : Digital Camera Utility 5 Update for Windows : Software Downloads | RICOH IMAGING

Something else to think about!
04-30-2021, 05:26 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by jumbleview Quote
Adobe Photoshop Elements read raw file with the help of Adobe Camera Row. Its edition ability is limited but I have found that for 80% of images it is more than enough . It is easy to work with. It costs some money (< $100) but does not require subscription.
I agree. It also gives some photoshop capabilities like content aware and working in layers.

I shoot raw + jpeg. I found I was spending a good deal of time processing raw files to get to a point that was no better than the camera produced jpeg. The more you get it right in the camera first, the less post processing is needed.
04-30-2021, 05:27 PM   #15
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DXO is pretty easy to use as is Lightroom. Lightroom has way more tutorials though. Those are really the only 2 raw developers I've used though.
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