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03-17-2007, 09:00 PM   #1
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DNG and PEF

I've been shooting DNG for a while now, pretty much since I got the camera (k10d). But with the smaller file sizes of PEF and a trip coming this spring, I thought I should start now to see if shooting PEF is right for me.

The first decision I have to make is what kind of archival format I want to use. Since I do most of my PP in Lightroom, DNG has been a natural fit up to now. And I've read that DNG is possibly more future proof than other formats, but I'm not totally sold on that. It does seem to be well supported now, however. And although I haven't noticed yet, some tools create .xmp 'sidecar' files that require keeping track of; not so with DNG, they are stuffed into the image file as extra data. (The same with jpg, and I think pef).

So with PEF, I have to make a choice. Do I convert the PEF -> DNG with the supplied Pentax software? Or should I do the conversion to DNG while I import the PEF in LR?

Of course the first thing I did was to take a sample image and try both routes myself, a few times actually - until I knew I was doing it right.

Pentax Photo Browser workflow:

First, using PPB, I see that the DNG is 2x as big (21mb) as the PEF (11mb), which is bigger than the in-camera DNG (about 16mb).

Then I import to LR, switch to develop, and check the camera profile, I get only one choice; 'embedded', which really makes the colors horrid. Saturated reds look almost like glowing pinkish reds. Yuk. I guess that about wraps it up for PPB.

So then I try a Lightroom-only workflow:

Find the PEF on disk, import it, and choose the option to also convert to dng. Seems simple enough, and surprise, the new DNG is only 9.5mb. Nice.

Now looking at the camera profile I see two options; ACR 3.7 and Pentax 1.00. Huh. Ok, lets try both:

ACR 3.7: Reds are vibrant, but not pink. Some blues are richer. Greens are cooler.

Pentax 1.00: Reds are duller, less saturated. On balance the photo seems dimmer, but maybe better balanced.

Is there a 'more correct' choice? Is one of these better for the k10d?

What about tweaking one of the profiles to get a dead-on match with the chart (for this white balance) and saving it as a Preset (as the help file suggests). I tried this, but again, the results are quite close and it's a tough call. Does anyone do this in practice?

And is doing this without calibrating the monitor with a Spyder2 (or similar) first just a big waste of time?

03-18-2007, 07:12 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by noser Quote
I've been shooting DNG for a while now, pretty much since I got the camera (k10d). But with the smaller file sizes of PEF and a trip coming this spring, I thought I should start now to see if shooting PEF is right for me.

The first decision I have to make is what kind of archival format I want to use. Since I do most of my PP in Lightroom, DNG has been a natural fit up to now. And I've read that DNG is possibly more future proof than other formats, but I'm not totally sold on that. It does seem to be well supported now, however. And although I haven't noticed yet, some tools create .xmp 'sidecar' files that require keeping track of; not so with DNG, they are stuffed into the image file as extra data. (The same with jpg, and I think pef).

So with PEF, I have to make a choice. Do I convert the PEF -> DNG with the supplied Pentax software? Or should I do the conversion to DNG while I import the PEF in LR?

Of course the first thing I did was to take a sample image and try both routes myself, a few times actually - until I knew I was doing it right.

Pentax Photo Browser workflow:

First, using PPB, I see that the DNG is 2x as big (21mb) as the PEF (11mb), which is bigger than the in-camera DNG (about 16mb).

Then I import to LR, switch to develop, and check the camera profile, I get only one choice; 'embedded', which really makes the colors horrid. Saturated reds look almost like glowing pinkish reds. Yuk. I guess that about wraps it up for PPB.

So then I try a Lightroom-only workflow:

Find the PEF on disk, import it, and choose the option to also convert to dng. Seems simple enough, and surprise, the new DNG is only 9.5mb. Nice.

Now looking at the camera profile I see two options; ACR 3.7 and Pentax 1.00. Huh. Ok, lets try both:

ACR 3.7: Reds are vibrant, but not pink. Some blues are richer. Greens are cooler.

Pentax 1.00: Reds are duller, less saturated. On balance the photo seems dimmer, but maybe better balanced.

Is there a 'more correct' choice? Is one of these better for the k10d?

What about tweaking one of the profiles to get a dead-on match with the chart (for this white balance) and saving it as a Preset (as the help file suggests). I tried this, but again, the results are quite close and it's a tough call. Does anyone do this in practice?

And is doing this without calibrating the monitor with a Spyder2 (or similar) first just a big waste of time?
Okay, the Pentax software when it creates a DNG embeds the original file in the DNG, hence the larger size.

For you with your work-flow options would to shoot PEF and then convert to DNG when importing into Lightroom.

As far as the profile and calibration go, it my be an idea not to attempt on an uncalibrated monitor.

Hope this helps.
03-18-2007, 07:30 AM   #3
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I'd suggest importing the files to your archive using the Adobe DNG Converter, which will make your DNG files smaller. It will also convert PEF to DNG if you want to go that route.

Adobe - Photoshop : For Windows : Adobe DNG Converter and Camera Raw 3.7 update

Adobe - Photoshop : For Macintosh : Adobe DNG Converter and Camera Raw 3.7 update
03-18-2007, 08:03 AM   #4
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monitor

QuoteOriginally posted by noser Quote
And is doing this without calibrating the monitor with a Spyder2 (or similar) first just a big waste of time?
I wasted a huge amount of time until I calibrated my monitor (Spyder 2). I think you'll be shooting in the dark without it.

03-18-2007, 08:14 AM   #5
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Thx...

QuoteOriginally posted by Cideway Quote
Okay, the Pentax software when it creates a DNG embeds the original file in the DNG, hence the larger size.
Ah.

QuoteQuote:
For you with your work-flow options would to shoot PEF and then convert to DNG when importing into Lightroom.
Can do. Probably easier to keep the files straight too. I don't plan on backing up the PEF's... once they are converted to the slightly smaller Adobe DNG's I'll grab those.

I also noticed that my Windows Explorer DNG thumbnail viewer (arcsoft, I think) can't render the PPB/PPL DNG's. The in-camera and Adobe DNG's work fine.

QuoteQuote:
As far as the profile and calibration go, it my be an idea not to attempt on an uncalibrated monitor.
My local store has the Spyder2Express for $99... I don't have a printer (I send them to a lab), so is that all I need? The full kit is $250... $ I'd rather spend on new lenses...

QuoteQuote:
Hope this helps.
It does... thanks!

N
03-18-2007, 08:19 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dana G Quote
I'd suggest importing the files to your archive using the Adobe DNG Converter, which will make your DNG files smaller. It will also convert PEF to DNG if you want to go that route.

Adobe - Photoshop : For Windows : Adobe DNG Converter and Camera Raw 3.7 update

Adobe - Photoshop : For Macintosh : Adobe DNG Converter and Camera Raw 3.7 update
Thx... just grabbed that... I've heard a rumor about LR not doing the import / conversions correctly every time, so I'd rather do this as a separate step.

N
03-18-2007, 08:20 AM   #7
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<sigh>

Less and less $$$ for lenses.... thx
03-18-2007, 10:20 AM   #8
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The first thing I always do after importing raw files is convert them to DNG using Adobe DNG Converter. I keep the PEF's embedded (just in case -- call me paranoid) and they end up around 15mb each. That way I (theoretically) don't have to choose. I do wonder about how lossless the "lossless" compression really is, though.

Then I just back them up to DVD and keep a copy of the good ones on the hard drive for processing.

I am a little nervous, though, about the "archival" nature of DNG or any other computer file. It's not like keeping a binder of negatives on the shelf -- hey, maybe I'll convert all the DNG's to slides...

03-18-2007, 10:22 AM   #9
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Oh yeah, I'm using a K100D, so a) the files will be smaller regardless, and b) I have no choice but to shoot in PEF.
03-18-2007, 12:03 PM   #10
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Here is my K10D/Lightroom workflow....

Insert card into reader and open Lightroom (I have the autoloader disabled because not all the cards I put in my reader are for LR). I import into Lightroom using the convert to DNG and copy to... option. I also have a develop preset that I use on import that tells LR to use the Pentax 1.00 profile instead of the ACR 3.7 profile.

Once the import is done I create a back-up to an external drive and later to at least one DVD.

I use this workflow for a couple reasons. Converting to DNG on import makes the import slower, but no slower than doing these steps individually and this way I can walk away until it is all done. I use the develop preset on import for the same reason, since all my K10 images get the Pentax profile.

I make my back-ups after import for the same reason I copy the images right from the card, before cleaning the card. I get all my renaming done in one move so that my back-ups have the same naming scheme and if there are any problems I still have the PEFs on the card. Once everything checks out I clean the card.
03-18-2007, 12:45 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by davemdsn Quote
Here is my K10D/Lightroom workflow....

Insert card into reader and open Lightroom (I have the autoloader disabled because not all the cards I put in my reader are for LR). I import into Lightroom using the convert to DNG and copy to... option. I also have a develop preset that I use on import that tells LR to use the Pentax 1.00 profile instead of the ACR 3.7 profile.
Ok ... the $64k question ... why the Pentax 1.00 over ACR 3.7 profile?

I can see a difference in some test shots (using objects that have highly saturated colors), but the difference is minor ... worse in the orange-red area.

The way I see it I may have to back up the PEF's also, because if I choose the wrong profile I'd have to reconvert some of the images with the other profile to get a 'correct' DNG.

Or is this a non-issue - can you apply a different profile to an existing DNG and override the first one without losing any RAW data... and get the same DNG as if the correct profile was chosen to begin with?

And if so... can the profile be extracted from an in-carmera generated DNG? I assume that the Pentax engineers came up with their own (in firmware)...

(lots of questions, I know, but somewhere out there is the right answer...)

Thx,
N
03-18-2007, 07:35 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by noser Quote
Ok ... the $64k question ... why the Pentax 1.00 over ACR 3.7 profile?

I can see a difference in some test shots (using objects that have highly saturated colors), but the difference is minor ... worse in the orange-red area.
I had a photo shoot that gave me some tricky color correction while in the ACR profile. If I got the skin tones right the background was off, and visa versa. When I switched to Pentax profile it all fell together.

QuoteQuote:
The way I see it I may have to back up the PEF's also, because if I choose the wrong profile I'd have to reconvert some of the images with the other profile to get a 'correct' DNG.
Actually you can change it in Lightroom or Photoshop (ACR) after the fact, just a matter of a click in the profile section.

QuoteQuote:
Or is this a non-issue - can you apply a different profile to an existing DNG and override the first one without losing any RAW data... and get the same DNG as if the correct profile was chosen to begin with?

And if so... can the profile be extracted from an in-carmera generated DNG? I assume that the Pentax engineers came up with their own (in firmware)...

(lots of questions, I know, but somewhere out there is the right answer...)

Thx,
N
Yes.
03-19-2007, 11:41 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by noser Quote
Ah.

My local store has the Spyder2Express for $99... I don't have a printer (I send them to a lab), so is that all I need? The full kit is $250... $ I'd rather spend on new lenses...

N
Apparently the coloromiter thingy - the spider, that Sypder packages in the 3 or 4 models is the same. It's the software that's different. They have a comparison chart of the differences between products. Look at the chart and determine what model meets your requirements. I do a bit of multimedia on a weekly basis, and use 3 or 4 monitors (never more than 2 at once - just depends on location I'm in). The pro pakage allows for projector and multi monitor callibrations, so I went with the pro pack rather than the $99 set-up.
03-19-2007, 03:56 PM   #14
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The one thing I do prefer between the 2 is the Pef files move a LOT faster from adobe photoshop elements loader to its browser then the Dng files

cheers

randy
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