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03-25-2013, 11:18 AM   #1
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New to RAW, trying to figure out workflow with lens correction...

I bought my first DSLR, a Pentax K-30 about a month ago and I've been having a great time with it. Until now, I've been shooting JPG with it.

A few days ago I downloaded demo versions of various software and I've been trying out the included Silkypix, Lightroom, Aperture, CaptureOne, DxO Optics, and the PTLens plugin. One thing I've learned (and it's obvious once you think about it) is that a full computer given plenty of processing time can do a better job doing RAW->JPG conversion than the little processor in the camera given only a fraction of a second. Makes sense, right?

But what I'm a bit stumped on is how to deal with lens correction. The in-camera conversion does it automatically. Using a RAW->JPG converter it seems to be an extra step with most of the problems but the main point is that from what I've read doing any sort of external plug-in operation is a destructive step in the processing. That is, when you're messing with sliders to adjust color, sharpness, etc... it's all undoable and there's no loss of resolution no matter how many steps you perform. But, according to what I've read online using PTLens (for instance) is a loss of resolution because the image software doesn't know how to undo it - the plugin is basically a black box.

Now, maybe this information is incorrect but the logic seems to make sense and the pages I've looked at recommend that any lens correction be your last processing step for this reason.

Is this right? Ideally I'd like to do lens correction first so it can be applied in a batch manner to all the new images I'm important, and in addition it would be nice to keep the image in RAW format while doing it and not prematurely convert to JPG. I haven't bought any software yet so I'm still open on which way to go but I'm leaning towards either Aperture or Lightroom with PTLens as an add-on.

Anyway, I'd appreciate any help in understanding this and figuring out the "right way" to set up my RAW workflow. In general, I'd like it to go something like this:

1. Import new RAW files
2. Lens correction and anything else I know I'll always do be applied to the whole batch
3. Do any manual work fiddling with exposure, sharpness, etc... at my leisure later on
4. Only convert to JPG in order to print, email, Flickr, or maybe save space on low-star rated pictures (maybe using Rawhide, etc..?)

Thanks!

03-25-2013, 11:35 AM   #2
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On point 4, you do not have to convert a Lightroom RAW file in order to print. It will print a DNG or TIFF directly. There is also a lens correction box in LR, either use profile or do it manually.
03-25-2013, 11:42 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by dboeren Quote
any sort of external plug-in operation is a destructive step in the processing
This is true, sort of, in that you generally have to export to TIFF, PSD or some other format to use a plugin. But Lightroom handles lens corrections just fine so I'm not sure why you need a plugin for that.
I use Lightroom, I have an import preset that makes a few adjustments including lens corrections as I import. So lens corrections are the first thing that happens. Now, LR does not have profiles for all lenses, although some are available online but they do cover all modern Pentax lenses.

I don't do any external editing (everything is done in RAW) unless I need layers for something. In that case, all editing is done in LR up to that point then I export as TIFF to PSE and do the final work there.

Keep in mind there are lots of software makers out there and they all insist their solution is better than the others. In many cases they may be right for a specific thing, but are they enough better that you need to use a dozen different plugins to get the job done? I don't think so.

Get Lightroom, learn to use it, which is a long and serious endeavor, and then if there is something it cannot do look for a plugin that will do that for you. You will go nuts evaluating all the different software and never have time to shoot pictures.
03-25-2013, 12:21 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Franky2step Quote
On point 4, you do not have to convert a Lightroom RAW file in order to print. It will print a DNG or TIFF directly.
Sorry, I explained that poorly. I was thinking of converting to JPG in order to have a print made at the local photo processing place or online print service (who might not accept DNG), rather than printing on my own printer.


On the Lightroom lens correction: Thanks for pointing this out, I think this is just what I was looking for - being able to do the correction without leaving DNG format. Here's what happened... I did spot the Lightroom lens correction tool earlier, but it wouldn't allow me to select any Pentax lenses so I thought it didn't support Pentax lenses. As it turns out, it only supports Pentax lenses with RAW/DNG files - *NOT* JPG files, even though for some crazy reason it will do Canon/Nikon lens correction in JPG. I have no idea why this is so, but it falsely led to me to believe that I would need PTLens to get the job done.

So thanks for both solving my problem and saving me $25 on a plugin I won't need anymore. It still doesn't support legacy lenses (for instance I have a Pentax-A 50mm f/1.7) but I found an Adobe Lens Profiler Creator download that may solve that issue.

03-25-2013, 12:48 PM   #5
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you may also find a similar Pentax lens that will profile your lens "close enough", although I can't imagine you'd need to profile a near normal lens.
03-25-2013, 01:42 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by dboeren Quote
Canon/Nikon lens correction in JPG
Clever software, it knows some of the users of those brands don't know anything about raw.
03-25-2013, 02:11 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by dboeren Quote
supports Pentax lenses with RAW/DNG files - *NOT* JPG files, even though for some crazy reason it will do Canon/Nikon lens correction in JPG.
DNG and jpeg have different lens profiles. The ones installed by default are for DNG, you can download (or create your own) jpeg profiles and install those. Go here: Adobe - Adobe Lens Profile Downloader : For Windows : Adobe Lens Profile Downloader 1.0.1 for more information and a download of the profile downloader. There are a few Pentax jpeg profiles available but not an overwhelming number. But if you are going to use DNG then it really does not matter.

Other brands do have both jpeg and DNG profiles included, I think I read somewhere the jpeg ones were user created and included as a courtesy to Canikon users.
03-25-2013, 02:37 PM   #8
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I've downloaded Adobe Lens Profile Downloader, but more in hopes of getting additional DNG profiles for Pentax-A and earlier lenses. No luck there. But there's a lens profile creator too, so maybe I can try creating some later. I'm not too worried about my 50mm f/1.7 but someday I might acquire funkier old glass that can benefit from it.

Makes me wonder what other people are doing who have old Pentax lenses, I guess maybe they're doing it manually?

03-25-2013, 03:02 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by dboeren Quote
Makes me wonder what other people are doing who have old Pentax lenses, I guess maybe they're doing it manually?
Maybe, but many that shoot old glass like the 'classic' look those lenses provide rather than the more sterile (but accurate) look of modern lenses. So they might not be as worried about 'fixing' them.
03-25-2013, 03:10 PM   #10
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I have downloaded both the Adobe Lens Profile and the Profile Creator.

But that's about as far as it's got, I've just not had a chance to even play with them yet, or to find out even, if I can work them.

Guess I should have paid more attention when I was at school.
03-25-2013, 04:11 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
Maybe, but many that shoot old glass like the 'classic' look those lenses provide rather than the more sterile (but accurate) look of modern lenses. So they might not be as worried about 'fixing' them.
Well, you've got me there. I'm a programmer by day and so I tend to assume "more accurate" is better. I mean, if it wasn't, then why are the lens companies trying so hard to make lenses with only minimal aberrations to begin with?

But, nostalgia is perhaps a good exception to the general rule.
03-25-2013, 04:54 PM   #12
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I used the adobe tool to create and publish a custom profile for an EOS-mount Tokina lens a couple of years back. It required a lot of patient recordkeeping and time to reconcile all the samples. The resulting product worked well . . . until the next version of LR contained the same basic thing 5 months later!

For a classic 50mm I wouldn't bother, and just tweak it manually if even needed.

M
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