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04-13-2009, 08:48 PM   #1
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New to RAW with tons of questions

Hello,

Let me set the baseline for my questions: I am by NO means a pro. I am a self taught amateur. I've never taken any formal classes on photography. Just years with my trusty K-1000 and many digital cameras in the last 10 years or so, plus asking tons of questions
My experience in digital has been jpg only until now. I have a very old version of Photoshop that works perfectly fine for my requirements: Cropping, minor color, contrast and brightness corrections etc.
I've had my K100DS for over a year, but now it is that I am begining to enter the world of RAW imaging. I see a lot of discussions and arguments about raw vs. JPEG and I don't want to get there. I want to get my own conclussions.
My PS does not recognize PEF so I have to rely on Pentax Photo Lab or Raw Therapee.
So far, playing with PPL I see an advantage is the capability of adjusting white balance.

Some of my questions are:

-Are there any good online tutorials on handling raw files or tutorials about these 2 applications?
- Any good tutorial on histogram tone curves?
- Any tutorials on white balance?
-If I convert a raw file into a JPEG for processing in Photoshop, would it be the same as if I had taken the pic in JPEG in the first place?
- Does it makes any difference if I convert the raw into a TIFF for Photoshop processing and then converting it into a JPG for printing or publishing whatever?

Thanks,

04-13-2009, 09:03 PM   #2
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I'll let others fill in details on software and tutorials, but a couple quick answers:

QuoteOriginally posted by ismaelg Quote
If I convert a raw file into a JPEG for processing in Photoshop, would it be the same as if I had taken the pic in JPEG in the first place?
In terms of editing capability within Photoshop, yes. You may still get an advantage from this simply because you can make larger changes to the image in the RAW converter (such as correcting exposure or white balance), before it reaches Photoshop.

QuoteQuote:
Does it makes any difference if I convert the raw into a TIFF for Photoshop processing and then converting it into a JPG for printing or publishing whatever?
Maybe. If you convert to an 8bit-per-color (24bpp) TIFF, there is a small advantage over a good quality JPEG just because JPEG's lossy compression artifacts aren't removing detail in the image. How much of an advantage will depend on the image itself and the software doing the JPEG conversion; sometimes there is no visible difference at all.

If you convert to a 16bit-per-color (48bpp) TIFF, the file contains much more of the original color data in finer steps. This will give you more room to make dramatic changes in Photoshop and still get an acceptable result.

There's a catch though: not all operations within Photoshop can be done on 16bit-per-color images. I don't use Photoshop, but my understanding is that older versions are especially disappointing in this regard. The replies you get from others here should help sort out this issue for you.

Last edited by Quension; 04-14-2009 at 07:14 AM. Reason: typos
04-13-2009, 09:13 PM   #3
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Here are a couple good sources of info on all the topics you mentioned:

Luminous Landscape

Ron Bigelow Articles

As far as workflow goes, my non-expert advice is to do as much as you can with the RAW file first. That is your Undeveloped Digital Negative so you can tweak things with this file that you can not as effectively with any other "copy".
04-13-2009, 10:34 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by ismaelg Quote
My PS does not recognize PEF so I have to rely on Pentax Photo Lab or Raw Therapee.
if you are looking for a free raw converter there was a free edition of SilkyPix... no longer available for a download from ISL (since Dec 2008) - but if you will google hard enough or ask around you might get a copy (again it was a free edition)... it is crippled of course in comparison w/ a full version, but might be suitable for your needs for a while.

04-14-2009, 06:11 AM   #5
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Ismael, what version of PS do you use? Depending on what version of PS you use, you might be able to update your version of Camera Raw to recognize PEF files for the K100DS. Adobe offers all of their Camera Raw updates for free on their download website. Here are the links for the Windows and Macintosh versions of Camera Raw updates. I don't think that the automatic updater within PS gets the Camera Raw updates, but I could be wrong. Being able to handle PEF files within PS would be convenient for your workflow and probably produce better results overall. Most important for you would be that there is a ton more resources on working with PS than with PPL or RawTherapee.

Here are some PS tutorial sites that I've bookmarked, but I don't know if they discuss working with RAW files specifically:
Laurie McCanna's Free Art Site - Download Free Web Graphics, Learn about Photoshop and Corel, and much more!
Adobe : Photoshop Support Center - Help and Support for Photoshop
Photoshop Tutorials & Adobe Photoshop Plugins | PhotoshopSupport.com
04-14-2009, 08:39 AM   #6
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looks like a deal for a free version of Corel PSPX - may be it has a raw converter too ?

FREE Corel Paint Shop Pro X - *************** Forums
04-14-2009, 10:21 AM   #7
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Thank you all for the responses! I appreciate it! All the links are excellent.

Venturi: Those Ron Bigelow articles: WOW! Those are absolutely great! Some of the best I've seen. I'll go thru all of them over and over.
Indytax: My version is so old I'm ashamed of telling Photoshop Elements 2.0

Thanks,
04-14-2009, 12:16 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by ismaelg Quote
My version is so old I'm ashamed of telling Photoshop Elements 2.0
No reason to be ashamed about that, before I purchased the newest PSE last year, I used free programs that probably weren't as sophisticated as your PSE 2. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like there's any way to open PEF files, even with updates.

04-14-2009, 01:41 PM   #9
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I'm a newbie. I got a hold of a Photoshop 7.0 program. Does anyone have it? Can you tell me if it has the ability to open raw files directly? Thanks! Susan
04-15-2009, 12:33 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by indytax Quote
No reason to be ashamed about that, before I purchased the newest PSE last year, I used free programs that probably weren't as sophisticated as your PSE 2. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like there's any way to open PEF files, even with updates.
Tell me about it! I used GIMP and skipped a few shopping days to afford CS4
04-15-2009, 01:33 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by ismaelg Quote
Hello,
My PS does not recognize PEF so I have to rely on Pentax Photo Lab or Raw Therapee.
So far, playing with PPL I see an advantage is the capability of adjusting white balance.

Some of my questions are:

-Are there any good online tutorials on handling raw files or tutorials about these 2 applications?
- Any good tutorial on histogram tone curves?
- Any tutorials on white balance?
-If I convert a raw file into a JPEG for processing in Photoshop, would it be the same as if I had taken the pic in JPEG in the first place?
- Does it makes any difference if I convert the raw into a TIFF for Photoshop processing and then converting it into a JPG for printing or publishing whatever?

Thanks,
Have a look at the RawTherapee manual. RT is a topnotch converter with documentation to match. It will serve you well.
04-15-2009, 05:45 AM   #12
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Just buy Lightroom 2 and you get to organize your images and process your RAW or jpeg images non-destructively. It is a worthwhile investment and can help you save time post processing and get great results.
04-15-2009, 05:57 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by ismaelg Quote
)
My experience in digital has been jpg only until now. I have a very old version of Photoshop that works perfectly fine for my requirements: Cropping, minor color, contrast and brightness corrections etc.
I've had my K100DS for over a year, but now it is that I am begining to enter the world of RAW imaging. I see a lot of discussions and arguments about raw vs. JPEG and I don't want to get there. I want to get my own conclussions.
My PS does not recognize PEF so I have to rely on Pentax Photo Lab or Raw Therapee.
Thanks,
I was very much in the same boat as you a couple of month ago. I am now shooting almost exclusively in RAW using my K100DS. I am using Lightzone for my workflow:

LightZone : Advanced photo editing made simple

It works really well for me and is very intuitive for someone, like myself, who has no experience with any other form of RAW processing.
04-15-2009, 06:01 AM   #14
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Ismael,

I also use a K100DS, and routinely use RAW. My workflow usually starts and ends with a FREE program called FastStone. It opens RAW files and does all I need over 90% of the time. If I really mess up the white balance, I will correct it in the Pentax software, and if I have some "advanced" processing I want to do (conversion to B&W with fine tonal-range control, layering, etc.), I use my very old version of Photoshop on a 16-bit TIFF version of the file. Minor color or white-balance adjustments can easily be done with FastStone. With FastStone, you can even do batch processing (like resizing/sharpening all images at once, preparing them for posting). Very nice!

-Joe-
04-15-2009, 10:27 AM   #15
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@ismaelg

On PC or even Mac I use Google's Picasa 3 for organization and quick PP tasks

It's a very nice tool with easy to use functions. It may not have all the functions of Lightroom, but it gets the job done.

You can export to JPG for editing in Pshop or other formats as well if you wanted to go into further post processing.
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