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08-25-2007, 08:23 PM   #1
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Confused about RAW image appearance

Today I shot some pictures in RAW, something i just started toying with, I usually shoot jpg... I looked at some of the pictures in pentax photo browser, then next I looked at them with Pentax Photo Laboratory... In the photo lab program the picture looked bland, all the color was dull... while in photo browser it was vibrant, the yellow flower was yellow... in lab it was pale and not so yellow... i understand raw is a strip down image, or so i think lol, however, why would it look vibrant in the browser, while still a raw file... but in the lab, look so bland? Can anyone explain this? Thanks!

08-25-2007, 10:55 PM   #2
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raw isn't "stripped down" - it's just the opposite. It's EVERYTHING the camera sensor recorded.

As to why there's a difference between a photo browser and converter - Many raw formats, including Pentax PEF, support embedding a preview image into the raw file (usually this preview is a JPEG.) It may be that the photo browser is showing the JPEG preview image, while the converter is showing the actual file.

Could you post examples of what you mean by "bland colors"?

I know nothing about the Pentax PC utilities - I've been using ufraw since day one with my K10D. I can tell you that I've always gotten better results from a converted raw image than JPEG. Of course, you need to be careful with the settings of the raw converter to get good output. My guesses are either:

Somehow you accidentally bumped the saturation adjustment down in the converter
White balance setting in the raw converter was changed away from "Camera White Balance" to something else that is incorrect for the image. Sometimes pictures where the colors are too "cool" (which, believe it or not, translates to HIGHER color temperature - confusing!) look desaturated and bland, even when in reality the saturation isn't off, it's just that everything has been shifted towards blue in color.
08-25-2007, 11:27 PM   #3
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You have to understand that if RAW looks bland, then it's because the camera saw it that way. You can't change that. The JPG and preview have had some default adjustments and processing made to them, that's why they look more "vibrant". If you want the final result look like that, you now have to make those adjustments yourself. But now you can also adjust it differently, should you want to, and have different colors in final output. I haven't used Pentax software as I do not like the interface and it's dog slow (moving windows) so I can't give any advice regarding it, but I imagine there may be some presets somewhere for achieving that typical vibrant look you've accustomed to. Though, when you use defaults it defeats the purpose of shooting RAW in the first place.
08-26-2007, 04:55 AM   #4
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Be sure you don't have simulated wide gamut display enabled in photolab in the tools- options menu. That makes the preview look washed out too.

08-26-2007, 08:29 AM   #5
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Original Poster
borno! that was it lol... i had wide gamut display enabled... thanks for the tip! ... and Entropy, i learned something new from you as well, i never knew that the RAW was previewed as jpg... alos what i meant by RAW being stripped down was that the image is what it is, the camera adds nothing, and at the same time takes nothing away.... barebones... but at the same time everything... my striped down description probably does not make much sense does it.... anyways, im glad my mystery is solved... thanks folks! oh and aabram, your right, the lab is a bit slow lol...
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