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12-10-2013, 07:43 AM   #1
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thinking out loud about my k30 image settings and increasing contrast

I'm afraid I haven't thought to use the custom image setting (basically the color image setting) enough in the past year since I got my k30.

On the k30 the setting offerings are:
bright, natural, portrait, landscape, vibrant, radiant, muted, bleach bypass, reversal film, monochrome/b+w, or cross processing.

I was using bright shortly after I got my k30 about a year ago, and also adjusted the sharpness parameter to high. I guess I was happy enough for a while before I switched between natural, landscape and very little with the other settings.

I've been shooting in the natural setting since the start of this summer. I'm knocking myself a little because I don't think of adjusting this setting often enough but I'll try to from now on.

Lastly I've noticed some wonderful contrasty photos lately and they left me wanting. My impression is these photos are PP, which I am a complete PP novice and use only Picasa at present. Anyway, I've upped the contrast parameter in the portrait setting and going to see how pleasing this is.

I'm really just thinking out loud so thanks for listening and any comments, suggestions are welcome.

12-10-2013, 08:02 AM   #2
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I've increased my PP-fu significantly since moving to Lightroom. It has a lot of interesting tools, and I still think I'm pretty novice.

Bumping contrast while de-saturating colors can lead to some interesting photos, too.
12-10-2013, 09:36 AM   #3
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It's pretty clunky and awkward to use, but don't forget the software that came with the camera, if you're trying to avoid paying for lightroom/aperture/photoshop/etc
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/61-post-processing-articles/206286-pentax...ini-guide.html
12-10-2013, 10:08 AM   #4
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A second vote for using the Pentax utility software for this. I'm not sure if it works the same when shooting jpeg but do know it works great with raw shots.

With the Pentax software, all the camera settings you are talking about are available to change and play with. This is a great way to see what each different setting does with any one image.

12-10-2013, 10:31 AM   #5
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My first photos were often beyond processing help, so I didn't process to make them better. I always tried to see processing as a learning tool for the next photo I'd take in similar circumstances. Say you have an image that only looks good when all the contrast settings are boosted. What could have been done when you took the shot to increase contrast? How about changing your shooting position so you are not lined up with the lighting direction? Light at a 90 degree angle to your lens will show contrast. Lenses lose contrast shooting wide open, some worse than others, so maybe change that next time. Flower or sunset shots might have overexposure in the red channel that eliminates detail, so contrast can't be recovered.

Lightroom usually has a display in each of the Develop panels that shows the problem areas. Just hold down the Alt key. In the Basic panel, holding the Alt key and moving the Exposure slider will show overexposure. That works in the other versions of Adobe Camera RAW (Elements and Photoshop) too.

The camera software can be a learning tool in a different way. Shoot RAW, then open the image in the camera software. The image is shown with whatever settings the camera had for a JPEG, but you can apply any camera settings to the image. You can directly see how altering a camera setting applies to an image. You can do this on the camera's tiny screen too, but bigger is better.
12-10-2013, 10:46 AM   #6
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I had a hard time shelling out $100+ (or whatever it is) for Lightroom... until I saw it in action at my buddy's place. So much better than Picasa, which is what I was using too. It's nondestructive, and doubles as a good file management tool. Not to give an advertisement for Lr, but PP in general greatly improved my pictures. Still learning...
12-10-2013, 05:27 PM   #7
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I've been using Irfan View and Gimp for a long time, both are excellent and what Irfan View won't do Gimp will. And both are free. I tweak the camera settings so I have to do the least processing possible, usually just a crop and slight increase in contrast will do it. lately 90% of the time I've done nothing but crop...

I almost always use the Bright setting and tweak it a little, actually need to bring up some of the others now and then and tinker a little. I bumped contrast and saturation a little, and both sharpness settings one notch.
12-11-2013, 08:56 AM   #8
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I've been using Irfanview since shortly after it came out, which on review makes me feel old, since it's 16 or 17 now. It's a fantastic tool for looking at images of any format. It's a decent tool, once you install the right plugin, for crushing PNG files down to their smallest possible size. It's an OK tool for very simple image edits, like cropping. I can't imagine trying to do anything more complicated with it, especially if you're working with lossy files (JPG, etc).

Gimp is something I think you can only truly like if you're an open source junkie and/or have never been exposed to anything more intuitive. On the surface, it has a lot of the same functionality that photoshop has, but actually using those functions is an exercise in frustration.

If one is looking for free/cheap photo editing software that's easy to use and produces good quality images, Pixelmator is a great option on the Mac. It's about $30 and is really fast, and in some ways (magic wand tool in particular) much more intuitive even than photoshop.

On the PC, well, I don't know any truly excellent alternatives for photoshop, but you can get photoshop CS2 (or Macromedia Fireworks if anyone liked that interface) for free from Adobe, since they killed off their activation servers for those products and now provide them on a "please don't install this unless you paid for it 10 years ago, (but it's 10 years old, so we don't really care enough to worry about it if you do)" basis.
Error: Activation Server Unavailable | CS2, Acrobat 7, Audition 3
Error: Unable to Activate | Macromedia products

Available for Mac, too, but only runs on G4/5 processors.

12-11-2013, 11:05 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by narual Quote
any truly excellent alternatives for photoshop
For Windows, Corel PHOTO-PAINT is probably the best alternative to PhotoShop, if you want advanced bitmap editing capabilities. It will open PSD files and is compatible with most PS plug-ins. Corel Graphics Suite is about a third of the cost of CreativeStudio, and what it won't do that the Adobe programs can, I have never had a need for. However, neither PS or Corel PP are geared for batch post-processing. Corel also sells PaintShop Pro, another program with a long history, which can be a good alternative to Lightroom. I found it to be slower than Lightroom and more awkward to use, but it is less expensive.
12-11-2013, 11:10 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by RGlasel Quote
neither PS or Corel PP are geared for batch post-processing.
Well, photoshop sort of can, with bridge, but Lightroom is cheaper and much easier to use for post-processing. I think Lightroom was on sale for $60 bucks a few days ago. Not sure if it still is.
12-11-2013, 02:20 PM   #11
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A second recommendation for shooting RAW. In the long run it'll better for you to get used to shooting in RAW and controlling the contrast, color temp and other things in post.
Just remember:
JPEGs are 8-bit files = 256 shades from pure black to pure white.
K-30 12-bit RAW files = 4,096 shades from pure black to pure white.
This means that when you shoot JPEGs, your K30 deletes 94% of the information coming from the sensor as it makes the 12-bit to 8-bit conversion. That's a high price to pay just to have the camera make the adjustments for you.
12-11-2013, 02:38 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by FrankC Quote
A second recommendation for shooting RAW. In the long run it'll better for you to get used to shooting in RAW and controlling the contrast, color temp and other things in post.
Just remember:
JPEGs are 8-bit files = 256 shades from pure black to pure white.
K-30 12-bit RAW files = 4,096 shades from pure black to pure white.
This means that when you shoot JPEGs, your K30 deletes 94% of the information coming from the sensor as it makes the 12-bit to 8-bit conversion. That's a high price to pay just to have the camera make the adjustments for you.
err… no. I don't think you really understand this.

JPGs have many more than 256 shades. GIFs are limited to 256 shades. That's why they suck for photographs and why it's wonderful that modern browsers all support PNGs now.

JPGs have 8 bits of color PER CHANNEL, giving almost 17 million shades of color. Even GIFs have that whole gamut available, they can just only contain 256 of them at a time.

(for reference, the human eye can see somewhere south of that number. 7-10 million according to assorted sources.)

RAW files have 12/14 bits per channel. That gives something like 68 billion/4.5 trillion shades.

But the real benefit of shooting raw isn't the number of colors, it's that it's the raw sensor information that can be manipulated without modifying the base file and without the limitations of a JPG.
12-11-2013, 02:41 PM   #13
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Raw Conversion made easy by Thom Hogan much better explanation of what shooting raw gets you.
12-11-2013, 05:48 PM   #14
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Narual,

Thanks for the clearification on the JPEG color depth.
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