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03-13-2011, 02:38 AM   #1
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AHEM...First Post. Can someone assist?

Hi folks.

This is my first post since introducing myself. Hi again.

I am really happy with my camera the K-x and have shot some lovely scenes with garden birds etc. However, I cannot get any RAW photos viewed on my laptop. Can I assume I need Photoshop to do this?
I finally deleted the editing software from my computer that came with the K-x (Utility 4) because it crashed EVERYTIME I opened it to view or edit photos.

Can anyone suggest a free piece of software for post processing that will also enable me to view RAW files or am I better off with Photoshop on the pc?

Another little question is; according dpreview the leap from JPEG to RAW isnt huge on the K-x so is it really worth shooting in RAW?

THANKS

QC

03-13-2011, 04:13 AM - 1 Like   #2
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Ufraw + Gimp (+ FastStone) is pretty nice. The first should deal with .PEF / .DNG (currently an occasional problem with K-5 .DNGs though, cannot recall trouble with K-x). After much tinkering with Ufraw settings it seems that gamma=0.35 and linearity=0.063 produces results close enough to camera JPGs .

I'm in the process of getting familiar with LR3 hoping that to be more convenient and more effective with commercial denoise plugins, but those free pieces of software do a very decent job as such (also, it seems there is loads more learning material for LR/PS).

Last edited by jolepp; 03-13-2011 at 05:29 AM.
03-13-2011, 04:27 AM   #3
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Ufraw is fine...you should check Rawtherapee too..both opensource, and very well suited for 80 % of the editing you will need to do (it's been long since the last time i used GIMP).
QuoteOriginally posted by QuestionableCarrot Quote
so is it really worth shooting in RAW?
i started using RAW some time ago because it permits you more control...some shots can be saved, it may not be a huge leap but you will notice it...
you should try by yourself (be sure to use DNG since PEF gets you strange pictures:
[IMG]
[/IMG]

oh, and welcome
03-13-2011, 05:38 AM   #4
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I really like the FastStone image viewer.

03-13-2011, 06:25 AM   #5
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QC,

First of all, your camera supports 2 RAW modes: PEF and DNG.
PEF is a Pentax propriatery format, DNG is Adobe's Digital Negative format.
The Adobe format can be read by many more programs than the Pentax format.

Why choose PEF over DNG? In the past Pentax camera's did not use the DNG compressed format therefore it did take a lot more space than PEF.
Your camera however does support compressed DNG, DNG is still a few % bigger.

So, get in your camera's menu and change PEF to DNG.

Secondly, your camera came with a Pentax version of the Silky Pix software. Why not use that on your laptop?
Furthermore, there is Google's Picasa, free and integrated with many online functions like webalbums etc. It reads both PEF and DNG.

Cheers, Bert
03-13-2011, 09:09 AM   #6
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Depending on the operating system on your laptop, you might be able to download the codec from Pentax that will let Internet Explorer display PEF images. If you have W7x64 you are out of luck with this route thought.

PENTAX RAW codec software for Windows : Software Downloads : PENTAX
03-13-2011, 09:29 AM   #7
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Resolving Pentax Utility 4 Crash

The problem with Pentax Utility 4 crashing while loading is caused by an .ini file in the Digital Camera Utility 4 folder. If I’m not mistaken this is related to the Check Image Page function.

If you click the check box on any of the thumbnail photos and leave it there, a “checkinfo.ini” file is created in the Digital Camera Utility 4 folder as the application is closed. Unfortunately, the next time the application is opened this checkinfo.ini file will cause an exception and crash the program as it loads.

There is an EASY solution to the problem.
1) Display hidden file and folders must be selected
  • Right-click and open my computer>tools>folder options>view
  • In the advanced settings window, double click the “Hidden Files and folders” then select the “Show hidden files and folder”
2) Rename or delete “checkinfo.ini” Digital Camera Utility 4 (DCU4) folder.
  • Go to C>Documents and Settings>Your Username>Local Settings>Application Data/Pentax/Digital Camera Utility 4
  • Look for and rename or delete “checkinfo.ini” (I deleted mine.)
  • That’s it. Close all folders and restart DCU4

3) To prevent the problem from reoccurring, make sure there are no checks in any of the thumbnail photos before closing the program. You can also create a desktop shortcut to DCU4 folder in case the issue reoccurs.

Hope this helps, good luck..
03-13-2011, 09:15 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by QuestionableCarrot Quote
... Another little question is; according dpreview the leap from JPEG to RAW isnt huge on the K-x so is it really worth shooting in RAW? ...
Short answer - no. At least not for a newby just learning photography and a new camera system.

Until you are a bit more comfortable with what you are doing and ready to spend some time in front of the computer on EVERY image you want to keep, the fine JPG setting is probably best for you. If you use the scene mode that best matches the images you are taking (portrait, landscape, etc) the camera will produce perfectly fine images that you do not need to post-process. At least not much.

After you are more comfortable and wish to explore more deeply into image post-processing, you can start shooting RAW+JPG.

03-13-2011, 09:45 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by dadipentak Quote
I really like the FastStone image viewer.
Thanks for linking to that, it's just what I was looking for. Picasa doesn't display my dng's properly.
03-14-2011, 02:00 AM   #10
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Original Poster
Many thanks to all who answered my query.

I was impressed with the feedback when perusing the forum before I joined it and its just as impressive now.

Each and everyone of you - thanks very much!
03-14-2011, 09:39 AM   #11
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I disagree with abmj. Shoot RAW+JPG now! Even if you do not want to get into serious post-processing right now, you may get a shot that you will REALLY want to later, and it would be better to have that shot in RAW for future reference. SD cards are cheap (in comparison to film and processing!) and readily available. Hard drive space is cheap too, and you can always delete those you know you will not want.
03-14-2011, 10:33 AM   #12
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I shoot in RAW and while viewing the pictures I took in the Pentax software I will delete the RAW files I don't like and right click on the ones I do like and "create JPEG" from them.

I then save the jpeg in my regular pic folders for quick viewings and save the RAW files elsewhere.
03-14-2011, 10:51 AM   #13
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That looks like a very effective management solution!
03-14-2011, 04:40 PM   #14
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Welcome to the forum, QuestionableCarrot.
A lot of photographers have had trouble with the Utility 4 software crashing. There's an update on the Pentax website that fixes the problem and makes the whole program easier to work with. It's not bad at all, works well with DNG files, easy enough to learn and of course is free. If you're looking for other free software I'd certainly back Faststone, especially the latest version. Just a request - if you wind up using Faststone regularly, throw the guy a few dollars donation; he works really hard for nothing and deserves support. I've also used GIMP quite a lot. It's not Photoshop but it's well stocked with features and could be all you'll ever need. And again, free is hard to beat when you're on a budget or just starting out. Virtual Studio is another free photo editing program written by photographers for photographers and is well worth playing with. It can't open RAW files, so you'd have to open them in something like Faststone or Utility 4 first and save them as Tiff or Jpegs.
Later on, if you want to try Photoshop, look for a cheap printer and check the box to see if it's got a copy of Photoshop Elements with it. (Or just buy Elements - I think it sells for around $70). Eventually, if you get really serious and start to exhibit your photos, you'll want Photoshop. Excellent though the programs already mentioned are, nothing beats the real deal. But that's for the future. In the meantime, enjoy your photography. It's a great hobby.
As for RAW vs Jpeg, you'll find numerous threads on the forum discussing this topic. Everyone has their own view. Read as much as you can and try everything!

Last edited by Wombat; 03-14-2011 at 04:53 PM.
03-15-2011, 07:57 AM   #15
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As Coeurdechene mentioned, you could consider RawTherapee - though the current version may not be very stable, and the stable version is very old. I use the current alpha version, which is updated frequently. Make sure you extract the program to a folder whose name does not change, and set the image editing program in the Options dialog so that RawTherapee can find it.

RawTherapee is multithreaded, so you'll be able to take full advantage of a multi-core processor. It offers a choice of demosaicing algorithms and stores the changes you've made in a "profile" before actually saving to JPEG or other image format for non-destructive editing.

--DragonLord
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