LensTagger, or: how to add metadata to images shot with legacy glass and/or on film

LensTagger shortcut

First and foremost: in this way you will actually be able to add much more to your images then just, say, lens data, such as: lens serial number, film type used, developer, agitation scheme, shutter times, scanner, paper etc.

Continue reading “LensTagger, or: how to add metadata to images shot with legacy glass and/or on film”

How to: a tip for working with Lightroom old presets

Lampetia Cape, Cetraro, CS, Italy

If you, like me, have been messing around with Adobe Lightroom for a bit you’ve probably accumulated quite a few presets, and more importantly you’ve probably come up with some of your own tailored to your own style and work.

Problem is, when Lightroom changed the processing engine, many old presets stopped working. This was necessary because with the new version of the engine, the 2012, the available sliders and their latitude changed as well.
Continue reading “How to: a tip for working with Lightroom old presets”

The importance of choosing the right raw converter

Forest of the Tasso

A while ago I tested pretty much all the raw converters available at the time with a Canon 5D Mark II: http://www.addicted2light.com/2012/05/28/review-raw-converters-mega-test-part-i/

But I advised in the review that the results were camera-dependant, meaning that each software gives the best possible results with a specific sensor / camera combination.

This does not mean that the results with other cameras are unusable, by any means; they will be simply average.

To “visually” understand what I’m saying just take a look at the following pictures.

 

Photoshop CS6RawPhotoProcessor

It’s exactly the same file, with zero post-processing other than the a straight raw conversion, without any optimization or aesthetics considerations to have the output look pretty much the same between the two softwares –  meaning that it sucks big time. 🙂 It has been shot with a Sony Nex 7, then developed once with Photoshop CS6 and the last iteration of its Camera Raw and once with RawPhotoProcessor (RPP for its friends and family!).

Obviously in both cases the sharpening has been set to zero, even if this is hard to accept given the vast difference visible – and yes I double checked!

Photoshop CS6RawPhotoProcessor

RPP “corrected” also the magenta shift you can see in the borders of the image and the chromatic aberration present in high contrast transitions.

 

Photoshop CS6RawPhotoProcessor

I’ve wrote “corrected” in quotes because there is no specific command in RPP for doing so, it’s a matter of demosaicing algorithm used. Especially the CA can actually be often a product of the algorithm used and not of the lens.

Keep in mind that I’m showing here one result only, but I tried different files, shot ad different ISO values, and different raw converters. And the ones that worked best with the Canon 5D Mark II files performed rather poorly with the Sony Nex 7 ones.

So it definitely pays testing your own equipment. It takes a few hours, but then you will be sure to extract each ounce of quality from your gear.

Happy Holidays!

Review: Raw Converters Mega Test part V

Oriolo Calabro, castle and town

If you haven’t read the first four parts please take a look at them, because there you may see the images unsharpened and sharpened with various tools, and you’ll learn about the specifics of this comparison.

Raw Converters Mega Test part I

Raw Converters Mega Test part II

Raw Converters Mega Test part III

Raw Converters Mega Test part IV

 

Now that we have seen, in the previous parts, who the winners are it’s time to draw some conclusions.

 

– Adobe Photoshop CS5 / Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3

Pretty good raw conversion quality with industry leading performance for all the other aspects. Both programs are easily usable in a workflow that includes other softwares as raw converters when it’s mandatory to obtain the maximum quality.

Rating: ★★★★★

www.adobe.com 

 

– Apple Preview

It’s a Mac software, so what can you aspect? It’s easy to use and does the job, and an excellent one. A bit limited for “creative” interpretation of the pictures, but really great as a plain raw converter.

Rating: ★★★★★

www.apple.com 

 

– CaptureOne Pro 6.3.5

Many professionals used to use this program. I, quite frankly, nowadays I don’t see the need. The results are pretty good, but not better than Lightroom, and it costs a lot more doing a lot less. More, the interface is confusing, and it litters the file system with useless proprietary configuration files for each and every image. Too little for too much.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

www.phaseone.com

 

– Corel AfterShot Pro 1.0.1

The interface is well studied, but it’s not the 2003 anymore. There are better softwares out there, also free.

Rating: ★★★★☆

www.corel.com

 

Digital Photo Professional 3.11.4

One may think that Canon should know a trick or two about its own cameras, but if so it is not shown in this software. Good results, but nothing to write home about, and limited conversion options. It may came in handy if you save a dust removal image on the camera, to apply it to the raw files (that you can save again as raw and than open with a better app). At least it’s free.

Rating: ★★★½☆

 

– DXO Optics Pro 7

If your camera / lens combination is supported maybe it’s worth a shot. But try it first because, for example, with the (supported) Fuji X100 both Rawker and Preview do a better job…

Rating: ★★★½☆

www.dxo.com 

 

– Gimp / Ufraw 2.6.12

If you are on Linux go for it, but the 8bit limit it is not a good thing. When it will sports a full 16bit support the rating will become a full 4.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

www.gimp.org

 

–  perfectRaw 0.6

Forget about it; it was a noble attempt, but the years do not pass in vain.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

www.ojodigital.com

 

–  RawDeveloper 1.9.4

Pretty good results, but it lacks an histogram and it costs too much for what it has to offer.

Rating: ★★★★☆

www.iridientdigital.com

 

– Rawker 2.3.4

The interface could use a radical redesign, but quality wise it’s one of the winners, and it’s fast and it’s free!

Rating: ★★★★½

raifra.fh-friedberg.de

 

– RawTherapee 4.0.8

Another one of the winners, in various categories, and overall one of the best. Probably the one with the best interface, with the exclusion of Lightroom.

Rating: ★★★★★

rawtherapee.com

 

– RawPhotoProcessor 4.5 64bit

Great results, but Rawker and Apple Preview do almost always better quality wise and RawTherapee beats it in the usability department. Overall still a good choice for low Iso images.

Rating: ★★★★☆

www.raw-photo-processor.com