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01-08-2008, 06:57 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by Seafood Quote
Does anyone use the PP software that comes with DSLR's? I have a 100d I got back March. Have been using Picasa but looking at playing with RAW. Is the software that comes with the camera any good or would I just be wasting time? I really dont want to drop $100 on PS.
Well I've used both, in fact I'm a pretty heavy user of Picasa though I have to admit that any post processing of importance I use ACR in PS.

Though the Pentax software does a fine job of RAW conversion its interface is just downright weird and its speed, and the clunkiness and snails pace response of the image browser keeps me well away.

Picasa though limited in its adjustment capabilities does a great job rendering RAW files (excepting grossly overexposed images). It's fast, its interface is very good and the set of tools that it provides for image browsing, sorting/organizing, batch printing, exporting and web display make it just great and let's face it for the money it can't be beat.

ACR however provides me with the best output and flexibility. I don't know how you can get PS for $100 but so long as it's legit I'd consider it, it's a powerful tool and is probably a better package to become proficient with long term.


Last edited by distudio; 01-08-2008 at 07:38 PM.
01-08-2008, 07:09 PM   #17
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The Pentax software has the SilkyPix engine, which is highly rated for its algorithms.

The GUI around the SilkyPix engine is a disaster - it's the worst of all converters I've seen (and I've tried a lot of them). For example, most of the adjustments require you to enter numbers instead of providing a slider with an instant visual feedback.

If you're looking to cheap alternatives, Raw Therapee is free, better UI, albeit slow.
If you buy a SanDisk Extreme III SD card you get a free license for Capture One LE, which may be your closest to pro-software choice.
01-09-2008, 03:04 AM   #18
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QuoteQuote:
If you buy a SanDisk Extreme III SD card you get a free license for Capture One LE, which may be your closest to pro-software choice.
I just bought the above card and there is nothing about Capture One LE in the package. I checked the Sandisk web site and didn't find any info there either. I'm looking for something as an alternative to PL3. I'm new at digital, but I think I'll primarily be capturing my images in JPEG rather than RAW. I need some software to handle JPEG as initial input.

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01-09-2008, 12:22 PM   #19
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Thanks everyone for the feedback.

I have a few follow up questions that will display my ignorance.

When you all use the term RAW conversion or RAW converter. Does that mean just the simple act of converting from RAW to jpeg OR does it also include being able to make changes to RAW files like white balance corrections, exposure editing etc?

So for instance. If I download RAW Therapee...does this program allow me to make adjustments to my photos (more so than Picasa) or is this simply to convert from a RAW file to a jpeg file?

01-09-2008, 01:08 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by Seafood Quote
When you all use the term RAW conversion or RAW converter. Does that mean just the simple act of converting from RAW to jpeg OR does it also include being able to make changes to RAW files like white balance corrections, exposure editing etc?

So for instance. If I download RAW Therapee...does this program allow me to make adjustments to my photos (more so than Picasa) or is this simply to convert from a RAW file to a jpeg file?
The terms "raw converter", "raw conversion" don't really make sense any more and should be dropped.

Once upon a time, not that very long ago, the camera's raw data file couldn't even be LOOKED at on your computer without being converted. And until the idea of non-destructive editing was embraced by just about everybody, even if you could VIEW your raw file, you certainly couldn't edit it without first converting it to an editable file format like jpeg or tiff.

But that's not true any more. Most raw file formats can be viewed in most applications without needing to be converted. If you never wanted to post a photo on the Web or send it via email, you could shoot raw and NEVER convert to jpeg! You still don't edit the raw files directly, of course, but that's a technicality. Your raw workflow app (say, Light Crafts' LightZone, or Adobe's Lightroom) opens the raw image, remembers the changes you wanted to make to the white balance, crop, etc., and applies those changes over and over again every time you view the file. You aren't really changing the raw file, but you think you are.

Light Crafts' LightZone still uses the term "convert" for the "save-as-jpeg" process. I've complained to them about it. Adobe Lightroom, if I recall correctly, doesn't use the term "convert" anywhere. You edit your raw file, and when you want to get a jpeg, you EXPORT or SAVE AS.

Will
01-09-2008, 01:19 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by WMBP Quote
Light Crafts' LightZone still uses the term "convert" for the "save-as-jpeg" process. I've complained to them about it. Adobe Lightroom, if I recall correctly, doesn't use the term "convert" anywhere. You edit your raw file, and when you want to get a jpeg, you EXPORT or SAVE AS.
Technically it's still a conversion as is the RAW view to screen, it's simply not the same as viewing a jpg (which obviously required decoding) to screen as there must be assumptions made about the RAW contents and how to interpret and display the data. So I agree with their choice of terminology and I think that it would be mildly misleading to state otherwise.
01-09-2008, 01:45 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by distudio Quote
Technically it's still a conversion as is the RAW view to screen, it's simply not the same as viewing a jpg (which obviously required decoding) to screen as there must be assumptions made about the RAW contents and how to interpret and display the data. So I agree with their choice of terminology and I think that it would be mildly misleading to state otherwise.
I respectfully disagree - and apparently so do the folks programming the major apps.

You're right, there's got to be some sort of "conversion" involved in representing a pile of data on screen. But that's always true. The distinction between converting a raw file and "decoding" a jpeg seems to me pretty philosophical. I'm a software developer myself and I understand what you are saying, but I'm talking about the UI, which is what matters to 99.9% of users. Normal users don't give a flip what's happening under the hood.

And for most users, conversion is a file to file process, not a file to screen process. And as I said, the folks at Adobe seem to think the same way, since the term "convert" doesn't get used to describe the process of opening the file. The process of saving a jpeg version of your raw original is called "export." The word "convert" is used in Lightroom only to describe the process of converting from the original raw format (say, PEF) to DNG - a file format conversion. I am pretty sure that the word "Convert" is still there in LightZone 3 simply as a hangover from earlier versions.

Things were not always easy for users - that's how raw got a bad rep. But things are easy for users now. The user does not have to convert anything, so there's no point in talking about it. Reminding everybody that it's still hard for the computer isn't, in my view, worth doing. I don't care how hard the darned computer works. ;-)

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01-09-2008, 02:04 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by WMBP Quote
I respectfully disagree - and apparently so do the folks programming the major apps.

You're right, there's got to be some sort of "conversion" involved in representing a pile of data on screen. But that's always true. The distinction between converting a raw file and "decoding" a jpeg seems to me pretty philosophical. I'm a software developer myself and I understand what you are saying, but I'm talking about the UI, which is what matters to 99.9% of users. Normal users don't give a flip what's happening under the hood.
Indeed, that's why there's so much confusion about colour management and the like. The fact is that in order to display the image some assumptions have to be made and in doing so incorrect assumptions can be made, I guess it's akin to trusting AWB (which I do not).


QuoteOriginally posted by WMBP Quote
Things were not always easy for users - that's how raw got a bad rep. But things are easy for users now. The user does not have to convert anything, so there's no point in talking about it. Reminding everybody that it's still hard for the computer isn't, in my view, worth doing. I don't care how hard the darned computer works. ;-)
Yes, I bet the Vista GUI development team held the same ideas and look what an hideous and disconnected interface that spawned.


Last edited by distudio; 01-09-2008 at 02:31 PM.
01-09-2008, 02:42 PM   #24
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Semantics. Raw (not RAW; it doesn't stand for anything...not in the way PEF or JPEG or DNG are acronyms) data is just that: raw data. There's no set rhyme nor reason to it, save that the file adheres to some convention. All the major camera companies offer raw data formats; none of them are the same. If you say the ACR doesn't convert that raw data to a viewable image...well, just how does it display it, then? It has to apply the same rules that the creator used (whether that creator was Pentax or Nikon or Canon) in order to make sense of the data and display the image. Otherwise, you'd have the same mess as when you attempt to open a jpeg file in a text editor. If you say that the raw data wasn't "converted" because it wasn't saved to a file, that's one thing, but that data was certainly "saved" to a register, and then copied and "saved" to the video display device, so where does that leave us?

I suppose you could call it a raw interpreter, instead of a converter...

Too much nit-picking about semantics, I say.
01-09-2008, 03:07 PM   #25
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Duck,

No need for big words like "semantics." It's just a matter of context.

If this were a computer programming list, discussion of conversion and conversion algorithms and file formats might be appropriate, although even there, the nitty-gritty truth needs to be brought up only when it's useful.

But this is not a programming list. The context here is, we're trying to help a newbie photographer do something with some simple image capture files. All beginners needs to know -- actually, all any user needs to know these days -- is that they can open their editing program and view their raw files just as easily as they view their jpegs in the same program. There is no "conversion" step from the user's point of view and thus no need to introduce the term "conversion" into the picture. There's certainly no conversion step for raw files that is noticeable and different from whatever the computer has to do to display jpegs.

Trust me on this. I'll be happy to stipulate that we're all brilliant and understand these things profoundly. But it's not about how much you or I know about how the computer actually works. It's about what the user needs to know, what the user will find helpful to know. I spend a painfully large amount of my time telling people how to do things with software. If they don't need to know it, there's little point in bringing it up.

And I see this question asked a lot on various lists, always by newbies, and the use of the term "conversion" always betrays some fundamental confusion. Seafood asked:

QuoteQuote:
When you all use the term RAW conversion or RAW converter. Does that mean just the simple act of converting from RAW to jpeg OR does it also include being able to make changes to RAW files like white balance corrections, exposure editing etc?
To which the best answer, I think, is, you don't need to worry about "conversion", not the word, not the process. As far as you will ever know, there is no "act of converting from raw or jpeg." When you open a Microsoft Word document, do you perform an "act of conversion"? I don't. I don't even perform an act of conversion if I open an rtf or html file in Word. I just open the file -- boom! there it is and I get to work. Same thing with photo files. Copy your raw files from the SD card to your computer's hard disk, open 'em up in your editing program, edit away, and when you're ready, use whatever command your program provides you with to create jpeg output that you can email to your mother.

Will

PS I agree with you that "raw" is correct. Note that I personally never say "RAW", as if it were an acronym for something. However, you and I are fighting a losing battle on this point.
01-09-2008, 03:35 PM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by WMBP Quote
PS I agree with you that "raw" is correct. Note that I personally never say "RAW", as if it were an acronym for something. However, you and I are fighting a losing battle on this point.
Your last paragraph made me laugh, you are correct of course but general usage has brought RAW into common usage just as you and many others choose to use the acronym jpeg instead of the correct form JPEG ;-)
01-09-2008, 03:57 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by distudio Quote
Your last paragraph made me laugh, you are correct of course but general usage has brought RAW into common usage just as you and many others choose to use the acronym jpeg instead of the correct form JPEG ;-)
Oh, to hell with the original poster! ;-)

JPEG is indeed an acronym -- but originally not for the file format. It's an acronym for the group that defined the format, the Joint Photographic Experts Group. Except that they didn't define just one file format, they defined multiple formats. One of those formats is often referred to as JPEG, and this is fine, if used consistently. But many authorities, including the W3C and I think certain programming languages that are common the Web, prefer lowercase filename extensions for all MIME types, so we now more commonly see .html than .HTML, and .jpeg is quite as common now as .JPEG. And due to the preference of Windows for three-digit filename extensions, we also have to contend with abbreviations like .JPG and .jpg.

So on this one, the situation is confusing enough to make one want to cry, or at least step away from the computer.

Will
01-09-2008, 04:11 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by WMBP Quote
Oh, to hell with the original poster! ;-)
LOL, I think he was answered quite a few posts back, semantics lead us here.
01-09-2008, 08:54 PM   #29
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QuoteQuote:

Too much nit-picking about semantics, I say.
Exactly. Choose your own verb. And Adobe is not the god of software.

To the previous post about entering numbers versus using sliders in PPL...Entering a number is a more-reproducible way to make a setting. I wish I could do it in the editor I use But, for the life of me, I can't recall ever entering a number in any of the options I use in PPL.
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