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12-23-2009, 01:13 AM   #1
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Anyone hates dig. camera utility (v4.11)?

Just got my K-x and installed the software. It works fine, but... For a nice DSLR camera to come with a piece of useless junk like this is a real shame. It has a very limited set of features and is so basic, that I don't even know what's the point of having it?

I continue to use my old Canon ZoomBrowser software which offers at least one great feature - you can preview ALL pics in your camera/card select to download only NEW, or selectively delete those you don't like/want. From what I see, Pentax software only offers selecting folder(s) and previewing pics one at a time. How lame... Canon software offers a slew of other features, glad I still have it.

EDIT:
Just found this great program on another thread on this forum:
digiKam - Photo Management Program | Manage your photographs as a professional with the power of Open Source
Seems like it does everything Pentax utility should have and - for free.


Last edited by maxmagnum; 12-23-2009 at 02:25 AM. Reason: new info
12-23-2009, 06:58 PM   #2
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You can't have looked at DCU too hard. I'm a Silkypix Pro user & previously used PPL. I've had a look at DCU and it is quite powerful. It even has Silkypix Pro's Dodging control, which I desperately wanted after trialling both SP4 & SP Pro, and was willing to pay a large premium over SP to get it. And it has the lovely Silkypix colours (the reason I used the much more crippled PPL, until I bought SP Pro).

In Browser mode you can sort by File date (Alt-D) or by Shooting Date/Time (Alt-T), or use the menu (the ABC icon on the right next to RAW).

I see Thumbnails at the bottom, Preview above it, various stuff on the left & right. You can run up to 3 different Checked image lists. Each time you click on the check you update to the next check group in a 1,2,3,unchecked ring. You can check files in different directories, and see them all when you click on the (say) "Check 3" tab.

Each group can be handled separately. So you copy or move a selected group (out of the 3, if you're running multiple checked groups) to a folder i.e. to your computer. I think you only looked at the Easy Image Transfer command. Actually, I don't know how you have your camera set up, but my two Pentaxes create a new folder each time. I move all the images in a folder, not bothering to select which ones I'll keep at this stage, (out of habit I do this in Explorer, but there's no reason why I couldn't use Easy Image Transfer) to my PC and then work on them there.

You can preview all images as thumbnails. As you use right-arrow to move through the thumbnails, you can see a big view above in the Preview section. Any time you find a dud, press Del to delete it from the disk.

The Copying & Pasting of Parameters is a powerful feature. You have say 6 underexposed images. You set the Exposure, WB, NR, colour, contrast etc. for the first one in Laboratory mode, then copy its parameters & paste it to the other selected files.

Where SP has it over PPL & DCU is its tastes where you can have predefined & user-created combinations of parameters either global (multiple sections) or local (just one set of parameters, say in the colour or NR section). As you move your mouse down the drop-down list of tastes, you see the effect in real-time on the image so you can speedily browse the changes before selecting.

SP Pro has great user responsiveness on a dual-core PC. You can work seemingly unaffected on files while RAWs are being processed in the background.

Don't judge DCU after a quick glance. There's a lot in this program and you need to spend a few hours experimenting and learning it.

Last edited by dosdan; 12-24-2009 at 01:59 PM.
12-24-2009, 12:09 PM   #3
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Thank you for a detailed info. Yes, I initially did only look at Easy Image transfer hoping that it would behave in the same intuitive and intelligent manner as my Canon software (see details below). I did find the thumbnail preview and I certainly like some of the sophisticated functions unique to the Pentax cameras.

Unlike Pentax software, my old Canon ZoomBrowser does one thing which I cannot find here - it has a very simple option to download only new images from camera. I often keep old images on the card and if there is a couple of hundred images, it is very helpful to have the software automatically recognize and let you select the new ones only and download only them.

Another feature that I could not find in Pentax software is the ability to automatically create separate folder on the hard drive during transfer so that each one of those folders is named e.g. by shooting date.

Once the images are transferred to the hard drive, the Pentax software is very good, even better than Canon's, however the image transfer options and configurability I find to be poor.
12-24-2009, 01:23 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by maxmagnum Quote

Just found this great program on another thread on this forum:
digiKam - Photo Management Program | Manage your photographs as a professional with the power of Open Source
Seems like it does everything Pentax utility should have and - for free.
Have you tried digiKam yet ? Would you please share your experience with digiKam?

I wanted to try 'http://bluemarine.tidalwave.it/screenshots.html' seems like nice free alternative to Adobe Lightroom, but it seems having problem opening K-x raw files.

Picasa, does not seem to like K-x raw files either, opens it with weird colors.

Corel PaintShop Pro Photo X2 does not do it too.

Lightroom beta 3 is the only one working so far

12-24-2009, 02:28 PM   #5
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As regards wanting to bring across only new files, in the camera setup meu there is an option to use the date instead of PENTX as the folder name. If you do shoot photos during the day it puts them in the same folder. The name format is 103_2512 which means 3rd folder, taken 25th Dec. (I'm an Australian and in Setup | Date Adjust | Date Style I''ve selected DD/MM/YY. The manual says MMDD, so it should be MMDD by default). I like to have my folders sorted by date on the PC so, just before importing, using Explorer I rename them in the camera to YYMMDD format, e.g.
20091225 - Trip to SouthBank

and then move the folder to my F:\Photos directory so it becomes

F:\Photos\20091225 - Trip to South Bank


The way I work is I leave few folders on the SD card. Even if you do leave more folders, as long as you understand the date name format used, you can work out which folders are new.

Or are you only working on part of a folder's contents and then going back latter and working on another part of the same folder? If so, that's not the best workflow in this case. You also don't put files from different sessions in the same folder, do you? That would defeat the folder date-name method of working.

Dan.

Last edited by dosdan; 12-24-2009 at 03:24 PM.
12-24-2009, 07:38 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by borysr Quote
Have you tried digiKam yet ? Would you please share your experience with digiKam?
I will play with DigiKam and report back in a few days. So far, there is one thing I don't like about it - it is huge. It is installed by "Internet install" which means it downloads from a server whatever it needs. And judging by its needs, it must be a woman

It's bare minimum version took close to 400MB on my HD!!! At first glance it does seem cool, especially for the price

I doubt though that this monster will be a keeper, but will have more on that next week.

What I would really like to find is a good download manager. Something similar to or better than what I described (see Canon ZoomBrowser comments). Something that would automate the download process with more configurability of the whole process. I do see the value of the Pentax software, but its download features seem poor.

Last edited by maxmagnum; 12-24-2009 at 07:44 PM. Reason: additional comments
12-24-2009, 07:52 PM   #7
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Thank you Dan, very helpful tips! If you can't find in what you got, then you gotta work with what you got (kinda like marriage).

After downloading and sorting out my work, I don't date my folders since Window does that (although it changes if you edit folder contents). In addition Canon ZoomBrowser names folder by date as I explained which is inittially helpful to figure out what's where. In the final version, I prefer to name folders only by name/shooting location which is easier for me to figure out where's what. After your thoughts, I might have to rethink this since there may be better ways.

Some type of tagging could be a solution. I've seen a program somewhere, can't remeber the name, that does this. It can filter photos by tags, so that you can physically have them in different folders, but if let's say, there is your dog Skip in many shots from different trips, if the photos are properly tagged, you select the filter "Skip" and the album view will display only Skip's pics. I have to remember what is the name of the program and where I saw it and will post back if successful.
12-24-2009, 09:27 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by maxmagnum Quote
I will play with DigiKam and report back in a few days. So far, there is one thing I don't like about it - it is huge. . .
It's bare minimum version took close to 400MB on my HD!!!
I think the reason is that it includes all KDE desktop framework - unix XWindows system for Windows, sounds weird .

It is probably good for Linux users, as many of them have KDE anyway so Digikam is small addition.

BTW, anyone has gimp working with Pentax K-x raw files?

12-28-2009, 11:24 AM   #9
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FastStone Image Viewer will download like the canon software. It will only download new photos and will download and view pentax raw files.

FastStone Image Viewer - Powerful and Intuitive Photo Viewer, Editor and Batch Converter
12-28-2009, 04:45 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by maxmagnum Quote
Just got my K-x and installed the software. It works fine, but... For a nice DSLR camera to come with a piece of useless junk like this is a real shame. It has a very limited set of features and is so basic, that I don't even know what's the point of having it?
...
It's a RAW converter, definitely not a piece of useless junk.
12-28-2009, 04:49 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by borysr Quote

BTW, anyone has gimp working with Pentax K-x raw files?
It works if you install UFRaw UFRaw - Home
I'm new to RAW and the Gimp so I can't comment on how well it works but it does open the PEF files.
12-28-2009, 05:02 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by ddhytz Quote
It's a RAW converter, definitely not a piece of useless junk.
OK, OK... I didn't mean to be that harsh, but... My expectations are to have a nice, functional and versatile software. I see that this software does have some powerful features, but I just wish its design was a little better, more intuitive and more contemporary. The GUI looks and feels kinda amateurish.

One of the features, that I still cannot figure out is rotation of images. Not the display, but permanently rotating the actual image. Lossless. There are programs that do that, but why not the Pentax program? One simple option - "Rotate actual image".

As far as RAW, there are other RAW converters and they are totally free.
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