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photoblogography - Just some stuff about photography

RAW conversion re-examined

in Olympus E-System , Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Following a current thread on DPReview, and based on some recent observations, I've revisited the "Olympus Studio" vs "Photoshop Camera Raw" question, with some alarming results. I've been using Camera Raw routinely for some months. It is fast and intuitive, and apart from high ISO images, seems to be close enough in quality to Olympus Studio to make little practical difference. However, when processing a photo recently taken in Italy, in Camera Raw, I was disappointed to find that I had apparently blown out the red channel. No amount of tweaking curves seemed to be able to save it. Later, when reviewing the shoot in Olympus Studio's slide viewer, it slowly dawned on me that here I was not seeing any such problem. So I reprocessed in in Studio's Image Editor, and hey presto - well exposed image. It is difficult to work out what is going wrong in Camera Raw; I'm starting off with the default settings, which should, I presume, give me something close to Studio's default settings. But it doesn't. This might be an extreme case, or perhaps Camera Raw doesn't like saturated reds, but for now, despite the usability issues and the bugs (see below), I'm going back to Olympus Studio for RAW developing. Marche_040522_063.jpg

Adobe Camera Raw version

Marche_040522_063_oly.jpg

Olympus Studio version

Bugs

  • 16 Bit TIFF files do not have EXIF data written to them
  • In Color Management preferences, "Embed Color Profile" will always embed sRGB profile if selected. If deselected, the in-camera profile is retained.
  • If Studio crashes, the OlyCheckMarkInfo file is lost. It seems it is only closed / save on Quit. There is no way to save it otherwise. This means that if Studio crashes, which happens sometimes, all work on sorting images is lost

Annoyances

  • No easy way of selecting images to open in Image Editor - you have to close it to get back to the slide modes, and the file browser cannot show previews of ORF files
  • Using RAW Developer from the slide modes doesn't allow you to see the histogram. So Image Edit mode is more or less obligatory
  • RAW Developer is very, very slow and clumsy. Even deselecting or selecting a checkbox, which has no effect on the result, forces a reprocess / redraw.
  • RAW Developer is very poorly documented
 

hey - time lapse!

in Olympus E-System , Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Whoops. I seem to have forgotten to post here :-) Well it has been a long road, paved with good intentions. My E-1 has clocked up thousands of shutter cycles, and produced about a Gbyte of photos, of which at least 2 are sort of ok. In the meantime I have fitfully tried to use other cameras - the XPan has had two films through it in 5 months (38 frames!) and the Fuji 670 less than 1 film. This is not because "digital is better than film" - really this has nothing to do with it - it is because the E-1 is just a fantastic camera, incredibly user-friendly, encouraging, and impossible to put down. The fact that it is digital is just a side issue. So what are the key points I've learned ? Well, first, inevitably, the E-1 is not 100% dust proof. The sensor can get dust on it, but so far a simple restart sorts it out. It just seems that the ultrasonic shaker needs a few attempts in some cases. But I've been changing lenses whenever I feel like it, which is often. Another point is battery life....well so far I've failed to run down a battery. This thing is incredible. The record so far is: 1Gb CF full, 2Gb Microdrive full, extensive reviewing, and 2Gb MD downloaded from camera on battery power, and still no indication that the battery is even thinking of packing up. And this is using the internal battery, not the grip. I really haven't got any negative points to report on. Ok, the 50-200 is a bit heavy for hand holding (I had to try hard to find something!). Oh, and the stop down button is a bit fiddly, but no more than on my Canon T90 ... less, really.