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10-13-2009, 03:19 PM   #1
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Processing Software


I need your expert opinions on the processing SW. The time came to make a selection and print some photos.

During the preparation I noticed that the colors of the photoes are different depending on what program I use to open the file.

I have PS CS2, Raw Therapee, Pentax browser, and Pentax lab.

What I noticed is that if I look at the pictures with Pentax photo browser, I have less saturated colors as compared to the Pentax photo lab. In the Photolab I use natural colors, but still is a difference. When I use bright, is very different.
What is the impact on the printed pictures between the RAW conversion with bright mode and natural?

Looking at the same pictures with Raw therapee the colors are little less saturated.

After the conversion I look at the pictures with PS and look diffent, eventhough I choose that the PS do not manage the colors.

If I open the photo for fast browsing with Win viewer is again a diffent color.

From your experience which of this programs is more close to reality.
Currently I gave up "looking" at the monitor and adjust the photo according to the curves. I would like to have more confidence in a program.


10-13-2009, 03:53 PM   #2
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Remember RAW images come out without anything added to them, Bright and natural modes don't affect them.

Post-processing software like Adobe Camera Rae does some of those modifications on the RAW image even before saving them as JPEGs (unless you select 0 adjustments on all RAW settings).

Then after that you make even more modifications on PS.
Images looking 'close to reality' is just too subjective. It matters more how the image is exposed than how the PP software alters it thereafter.

Or is it that I misinterpreted your question?
10-13-2009, 04:02 PM   #3
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I think a problem you are seeing is that each software begins with different default settings for specific RAW data. Considering that raw processing programs outside the Pentax ones are designed to deal with a large quantity of formats, they often choose a default setting that is going to look more accurate for one format over another depending on the format. I know Raw Therapee essentially does nothing when it opens a RAW file, so you are usually going to see an image that is not very saturated or sharp because it is just showing the RAW file. Other software gives a baseline processing, and even the Pentax software will give a processing that should be similar to what is in the camera. The difference in the two Pentax software may be because the browser is using an embedded JPG rather than the RAW data directly.

Ultimately, the quality of the software is going to depend on how you process the RAW file and the final process and not how it starts in the program. I’ve tried and used multiple processors, and I always find that I start out with baseline settings or profiles to get my image to a starting point closer to the final result I want than it starts. Otherwise, I’d put my bets on the Pentax software to be closest to what you might want at the starting point.
10-14-2009, 09:48 AM   #4
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Thank you for answers.

I think I understood. I did not know that "by default" the Pentax RAW add some extra features.

I did a set of tests:
In first picture I compare the Pentax foto Lab (PFL) and Raw therapee without any changes, just as they come out of box. If I look at the screen with Pentax photo browser I can see a image that is over exposed with 0.2 while in photo lab under exposed by 0.3 as I get the picture in jpg.

In the second picture I apply the same correction of 1 stop over expose to RT and PFL with natural and bright. Then I add a correction of only 0.5 to RT that in the end look the same as PFL with one stop compensation.
I got the idea that PFL underexpose since all my pictures I noticed are under exposed 0.5.

But there is still a problem is that between each software I can see a different image.

I think the lesson learned is to have a program that is calibrated with the screen and printer and use only that.


10-14-2009, 10:16 AM   #5
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I also discovered that pretty much all RAW converters interpret images differently. I ended up quitting using Corel Paint Shop Pro X2 Ultimate because it was blowing out highlights severely before I even touched the image. No matter what I did, I couldn't recover them. I tried free trials of every different RAW converter I could find and ended up settling on Photoshop CS4. Lightroom was excellent, but you can't work with layers like you can in Photoshop. That made a big difference to me. I absolutely love the results that I get with Adobe.

The only other one that came close IMHO was On One Capture One Pro. That was a very effective interface, easy to use, and provided great results. It was still $300, and I figured that if I was going to spend that much, I might as well get CS4.
10-14-2009, 10:20 AM   #6
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I think your confusing the default tone exposure and tone settings of each software suite vs. colour management.

Assuming you are viewing all the programs on the same screen, the calibrated screen will display identically for colours that each of the software suites have the same colour values for. Colour management and how it is managed from screen to printer is a completely separate issue. From only a display perspective, where you can notice this is when an identical file is opened on two separate monitors and shows a different colour response.

As for photo "Reality", that is a really subjective term. Does that mean, as true as what the sensor captured, closest to actual colour response and saturation or what you actually "remember" the scene looking like.

I'm not trying to be faceitous - just making you think about the whole idea of PP in RAW and the benefits of it. Otherwise, test in-camera settings for what looks most pleasing to you as a jpg output and save yourself a lot of time.

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