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01-17-2015, 03:16 AM   #1
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Of Interest to Linux Users - PEF vs DNG

I know we Linux users are in a vast minority, especially photographically, but I have had an incident lately that might be of real interest to those interested in purchasing new cameras. I originally bought a Pentax K100 because I had Pentax lenses, and they were backwards compatible, and I've never been a rich man.

I started off in Linux for the same reason - because I simply couldn't afford Photo Processing programs when they came out. Linux was free, but we all know the problems. In the beginning, it didn't even have a RAW converter, so Linux users had to buy Bibble Pro (now Corel Aftershot Pro), or some other like program. After years of tinkering, I finally came to a system that worked for me.

Fast forward to 6 months ago. I have a Kx and a K10, and really wanted to upgrade to a K3. I borrowed a friends, and shot off a card with RAW+ and PEF which is default on the Pentax cameras. When I loaded the card into a card loader, the new Corel Aftershot Pro wouldn't open the PEF files. So I held off buying until Corel updated their product to open the PEF files on the K3. Well, even though it opened PEF files from my Kx and K10, it stubbornly wouldn't accept them from my friends K3.

Then I discovered that PEF was default, and DNG was available. Guess what? Not only Corel, but Linux freeware such as UFO RAW, and also RAW Therapee, opened the DNG just fine. So I've moved the camera settings on both of my DSLRs to DNG.

In addition, Gord's also going to get a new K3. And they're $300 cheaper than when they were introduced! Who says there's no God?

I simply had no idea of the DNG option within the camera because I'd always used the default PEF. Thus, I held off buying a needed upgrade through sheer ignorance. This post is to help those few that might be in a similar situation.

I'm a bit of a maverick with respect to processing - I use GIMP, and because my DSLRs are always shot manually and exposures calculated by a Sekonic Spotmeter (I shoot a lot of film still, so I go the same way), I feel no need for more elaborate photoshopping programs. I can do everything I want in GIMP, and very, very seldom ever have to resort to RAW files for processing - my exposures are usually bang on and the JPEGs just fine. Because 35%+ of my work is in film (all of my B&W), my system, admittedly a bit crippled by today's standard, works for me.


Last edited by gord lucas; 01-17-2015 at 03:23 AM.
01-17-2015, 03:43 AM   #2
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QuoteQuote:
Who says there's no God?
Me! As long as gphoto2 has not implemented full Pentax support, but work's in progress (allegedly).
01-17-2015, 07:04 AM   #3
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You're not completely alone. I run linux mint. I run my workflows through raw therapee and gimp, and it works fantastic for me. I feel the same way about linux as I do about pentax. They're both great products that don't seem to get enough attention.

Linux has come a long way in the last 10 years as far as usability for the non-programmer. I used to have to run the command line a lot. Now, it's all through the GUI.
01-17-2015, 07:30 AM   #4
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I use ufraw which is useful in bash and also has a nice UI.
It uses the standard dcraw to decode the camera files and here is a list of supported cameras. It looks like all the Pentax dslrs are available.
UFRaw - Supported Cameras

01-17-2015, 08:26 AM - 1 Like   #5
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Get Darktable 1.6, will do all you need and more and no Monthly payments !

Using Suse 13.1 now, have used linux for many years it's a shame that through bad PR by unnamed large
Corporations has affected its user base.
Very mature now and can meet and beat the others.
01-17-2015, 08:47 AM   #6
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I'm running Lightroom 4 on Ubuntu using Wine. Works pretty well, and can read all sorts of raw files.
01-17-2015, 09:27 AM   #7
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I run Mint 17.1 and alternate between Rawtherapee and Gimp w/DCRaw plug-in and have been working for me so far. I'm still on the learning curve for Darktable which is quite a feature rich program. I do have to admit, I still keep Win-XP in my system so to get access to Photoshop Elements from time to time. I haven't tried running PE on Wine though.
01-17-2015, 09:30 AM   #8
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I've switched to DNG when I got the K5 and UFRAW had some problems with the K5 PEFs.

Currently using the dark side and PDCU4.

01-17-2015, 01:16 PM   #9
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Try darktable (darktable | the photo workflow software) it is free. I am shooting with K5 in PEF and have no problems with darktable.
01-17-2015, 01:23 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by K57XR Quote
I run Mint 17.1 and alternate between Rawtherapee
For several days, I've been experimenting with Rawtherapee, seeing if I can get better results out of the DNG files from my K30. Obviously, where there are blown highlights or wonky exposure, I can get better results vs the
camera JPGs, but otherwise, I find I'm hard pressed to see any improvement over the JPGs that come out of the camera. I'm wondering if, with the multitudes of adjustments available, I'm not over-tweaking. I'm also working with
the Silkypix 3.0 that came with the camera, and also not having much success bettering the out of camera JPGs, but I find Silkypix is a bit easier to use than Rawtherapee.

Note: I haven't tried downloading camera or lens profiles for Rawtherapee to use. Will this help?

Whenever I try googling how other people are using Rawtherapee, I find the discussions really hard to follow. It's obviously a very powerful application in the hands of a knowledgeable user. I wish there was a cheap sheet
somewhere for the noob - something more than what's in the wiki.
01-17-2015, 01:32 PM   #11
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Thanks for the replies. It's interesting to see how many responses there are to my post . . . . I wasn't expecting this. I'm glad I'm not alone.

I was pleased, though, to discover DNG - I had no idea about the dual RAW systems built into the Pentax cameras. Just plain ignorance, operating on the default. Was just hoping that my post could save a whack of time and angst by mentioning the DNG option and that it works with just about everything!

And I'm super glad to discover that, not only am I not alone, but some real knowledgeable people are here that can guide me through the next digital phase! I'm currently doing a lot of film, and rediscovering my B&W darkroom skills.

Thanks again!

PS Arkav - I don't know anything about RawTherapee - I have it on my computer but haven't experimented with it. But there are obviously guys here who can help you. Best!
01-17-2015, 02:24 PM   #12
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Running Fedora 21, I have been working with my Pentax DSLR for about ten years, I have no problem to work with Ufraw+Gimp, I can open PEF and DGN files....I tried also Rawtherapee and Darktable (please try also them) but I reverted to Gimp...furthermore I installed Ufraw+Gimp also in Windows so I have same tools on both operating systems...
01-17-2015, 02:46 PM   #13
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Still another (Arch-) Linux user here
I am using Rawtherapee mostly for conversion, but LightZone also deserves more than a look.
Former Bibble user I abandoned AfterShotPro rather soon, as I felt that Corel only had a half-hearted comittment to this software - in my opinion.
01-17-2015, 03:28 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by forest_bear59 Quote
Still another (Arch-) Linux user here
I am using Rawtherapee mostly for conversion, but LightZone also deserves more than a look.
Former Bibble user I abandoned AfterShotPro rather soon, as I felt that Corel only had a half-hearted comittment to this software - in my opinion
.
Me too I agree totally. Used to converse with the Bibble guy on a regular basis. I still use Bibble. I do have Aftershot Pro, but now that I know UFRaw opens DGN, I won't bother with either. I really don't use RAW conversion much. Because I use manual, a handheld light meter, and bracket, the JPEGs I get are almost all just fine, almost never have blown highlights, etc. But the key word is almost, and once in a while I do need that RAW file.

antonio montag said: "Running Fedora 21, I have been working with my Pentax DSLR for about ten years, I have no problem to work with Ufraw+Gimp, I can open PEF and DGN files....I tried also Rawtherapee and Darktable (please try also them) but I reverted to Gimp...furthermore I installed Ufraw+Gimp also in Windows so I have same tools on both operating systems..."

I certanily will try both Darktable and RawTherapee - I have the latter on my computer, and will download Darktable and investigate both. As I mentioned before, I had no trouble opening PEF files in any converter, as long as they were from my Kx or K10, the most recent cameras I had. But nothing would open files from my friend's K3.

That's why I was ecstatic to find out about the DNG option on the K3 menu. I'll be using DNG from now on.

Thank you all for your replies.



Last edited by gord lucas; 01-17-2015 at 04:06 PM.
01-17-2015, 04:24 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by arkav Quote
For several days, I've been experimenting with Rawtherapee, seeing if I can get better results out of the DNG files from my K30. Obviously, where there are blown highlights or wonky exposure, I can get better results vs the
camera JPGs, but otherwise, I find I'm hard pressed to see any improvement over the JPGs that come out of the camera. I'm wondering if, with the multitudes of adjustments available, I'm not over-tweaking. I'm also working with
the Silkypix 3.0 that came with the camera, and also not having much success bettering the out of camera JPGs, but I find Silkypix is a bit easier to use than Rawtherapee.
I don't have a K-30 but from user reviews the camera is already capable of producing high quality jpeg images. For casual photography with the ideal shooting condition and camera setup, my K5 produces excellent jpeg images that I don't even bother with raw files. I use raw processors in general for special images only – mainly for printing or salvaging photos.
Rawtherapee does have a multitude of adjustment options that it's easy to “overcook” images. I haven't used SilkyPix in a long time but I do remember it easy to use and adequate for basic processing. It's not as full featured as Rawtherapee but I find Gimp-UFRAW easier to use.
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