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09-27-2022, 07:23 AM   #1
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Looking for photo editor that can edit .pef files without duplication

Dear all,

I really dislike that I've so far found no program that can edit my pentax raw files without saving it to a duplicate jpeg or proprietary format, sometimes with the bitrate mangled.

If someone could recommend a program preferably on a budget that'd be great.

Thanks!

09-27-2022, 08:05 AM - 1 Like   #2
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Well Lightroom Classic does, but it's expensive. And of course, the 'edits' you make cannot be viewed on the PEF file in any other software, which is why export (generally as jpg) will be useful at some point.
This brings another question: is there any particular reason why you don't want to shoot DNG? For sure compatibility would be easier?
09-27-2022, 08:20 AM - 1 Like   #3
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Darktable and Corel Aftershot both claim to on their websites. Darktable is free/open source. Aftershot can be found super cheap, it's not a very great application though. I think I may have a unused copy of Aftershot Standard that I got in a bundle, would be happy to give it to you if you try the trial and like it.
09-27-2022, 09:41 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by VictorDA Quote
Well Lightroom Classic does, but it's expensive. And of course, the 'edits' you make cannot be viewed on the PEF file in any other software, which is why export (generally as jpg) will be useful at some point.
This brings another question: is there any particular reason why you don't want to shoot DNG? For sure compatibility would be easier?
is that possible on a pentax ist d/s?

09-27-2022, 09:48 AM   #5
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I think you mis understand the purpose of RAW. Raw is a data input to be used and adjusted to produce final images. I believe programs like lightroom do not actually save your edited raw file, they save the adjustments as a separate file .

what are you trying to do with the end file, if you need more than 8 bit color depth, for example save the processed files in TIF format. Otherwise just save them as JPG as a finished product.
09-27-2022, 10:08 AM   #6
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Thanks for your insights all. here's some recent efforts.
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09-27-2022, 10:28 AM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Arisenfromash Quote
Dear all,
I really dislike that I've so far found no program that can edit my pentax raw files without saving it to a duplicate jpeg or proprietary format, sometimes with the bitrate mangled.
If someone could recommend a program preferably on a budget that'd be great.
Thanks!

You can do a lot worse than use the Pentax-supplied Digital Camera Utility
There are a couple of hoops to jump through when installing it from Software Downloads : Support & Service | RICOH IMAGING but it'll work perfectly with files from your *ist DS … I use it with mine, and all my other Pentax cameras
Basically, the download needs to be installed from a "disc" labelled S-SW177, so you can temporarily re-name your hard disc and install from the desktop (assuming Windows here) or copy the downloaded executable to a USB drive or even SD card that has been re-labelled appropriately and run from there.
The user interface is a little "different" and the program is a little quirky or cryptic in places, but it does the job, and it knows all about your camera and any Pentax a/f lenses you use on it
SATOBI with your *ist DS images … click click done
More expensive options are available

09-27-2022, 11:18 AM - 1 Like   #8
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I just tried RawTherapee with a PEF file from my K-3iii and it more or less works. It seems like it believes the image is larger than it would other wise be and has a border of weird pixels but other than that it worked perfectly. The image size is larger as well so it looks like it may be including pixels that on the sensor that are not otherwise used but these can be cropped away.
09-27-2022, 11:59 AM   #9
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The point of many if not most RAW developers (i.e., the programmes) is NEVER to edit the original file and save over it. They keep the original file pristine and use auxiliary files (or other mechanism) to add your edits over the original file for screen or printer output.


If editing and writing over files is what you want, my suggestion would be to have the camera do jpgs and use a bitmap editor--GIMP or something more commercial.
09-27-2022, 12:24 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Arisenfromash Quote
is that possible on a pentax ist d/s?
I would have said Yes but looking at my camera's options, I don't think so, I think PEF is your only option out of the camera. I don't think you'll find software that will change a PEF file and save the changed version under the same file name. I know Lightroom saves all its edits to a PEF file in a separate sidecar XML file just to avoid changing the PEF file and possibly breaking it. So you'll have some duplication no matter what.

I used to either use Adobe's DNG converter and then Adobe software on the DNG, or Pentax's Digital Camera Utility. The Pentax software is interesting because it has options from all the camera models up to today. But it will only open the PEF file, not a converted DNG.
09-27-2022, 12:55 PM - 1 Like   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Arisenfromash Quote
I really dislike that I've so far found no program that can edit my pentax raw files without saving it to a duplicate jpeg or proprietary format, sometimes with the bitrate mangled.
raw files are to digital photography, what the film negative are to analogue photography. A raw file by itself is the start of the process. The end of the process is an image file (which any raw format is not).

So if you start with a raw file and want to post it on the web, you need to make it into a jpeg.... or less favourably another web friendly image format.

if you start with a raw file and want to print it, most consumer printing companies require jpeg. Some high -end printers for commercial work require TIFF. No one wants raw files because they are not image files.

What do you want to do with your end-product image ?

Last edited by pschlute; 09-27-2022 at 02:55 PM.
09-27-2022, 01:22 PM   #12
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To use an analogy think of .pef/dng files as a film negative and .jpg/png as the print.

Back in the day you would put the negative in the projector and if you wanted to crop the photo you would create a mask for the photo paper or enlarge the image to the size you wanted and put the paper where you wanted in the enlargement.
The sky was too bright you would create a mask to cover paper everywhere the sky wasn’t and start exposing the paper and pull the mask after a few moments and then finish exposing the picture.

You didn’t mess with the negative because you may want to go back and make a different crop next time.
Once you cut (cropped) the negative there was no going back.

If you did want to make those kind of destructive changes you were taught to use a slide copier and make a duplicate to make those changes.

.pef/dng files should be thought of the same way, it’s a negative your changes are the print you want to make.

Most photo programs make a copy of the negative (raw file) so you can always go back to the negative and start a new “print” from scratch.

Someone mentioned Aftershot, that program creates an .xmp file that contains the changes you have made (crops, color balance changes, layers) and leaves the .pef/dng files alone and then you export the final .jpg file to share with the world.

Last edited by smrk; 09-27-2022 at 01:46 PM.
09-27-2022, 02:14 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
The Pentax software is interesting because it has options from all the camera models up to today. But it will only open the PEF file, not a converted DNG.
Not totally accurate!
If a PEF from my *ist DS is converted to a DNG in DCU 5 (there's a button for the job!) that DNG can then be re-opened and edited in DCU 5 "as normal"
It is true, however, that most other editing software will affect the EXIF sufficiently that DCU will deem the file to not be "Pentax-original" and refuse to edit it.
09-27-2022, 02:40 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by smrk Quote
Someone mentioned Aftershot, that program creates an .xmp file that contains the changes you have made (crops, color balance changes, layers) and leaves the .pef/dng files alone and then you export the final .jpg file to share with the world.
Ah, that was me - I misunderstood this as searching for an inexpensive program that would open .pef files without converting them first, and I remember using Aftershot with files from my *ist dl years ago.
09-27-2022, 06:39 PM   #15
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Isn't there the Adobe Raw converter?
Adobe Digital Negative Converter


Its been ages since I used it since I moved to LR, but its still there AFAIK.
Its a batch convert to DNG, so just select files and go drink coffee and come back.

After that, just open up with editor of choice.
I will recommend some decent editor rather than trying to keep it too cheap and end up wasting time on clunky interface, processing times and big workarounds for certain effects/edit styles.

I liked Luminar Neo enough to buy it and supplement my LR+PS workflow, but it can be a decent standalone for general needs imho.
Otherwise, look at Photoshop Elements
There are others as well and they usually all have some sort of discount going on.
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