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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
 

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Older Comments

from Edwin on Tue, June 08, 2004 - 3:46

Like you, I much prefer the Sudio RAW converter.
However, I’m hoping that the release of the next Olympus “pro” body will bring with it a significant upgrade to the Studio software. Maybe the bugs will be fixed, and the speed will be much improved. However, the fact that Studio and Viewer have multi-monitor support is good, and maybe this feature will be expanded to include features in Studio’s image editor. Being able to do changes to the image on one screen in Studio’s image editor, while viewing the results on another monitor full screen would be a killer feature.
I hope Olympus is listening.

from David Mantripp on Tue, June 15, 2004 - 7:40

I totally agree that Studio / Viewer have some compelling features.  A split before / after screen in Image Editor would also be great.  Of course a lot of people will buy Studio for the camera control.  But apart from that, I think that the market is going to be seriously eroded by C1, Bibble and of course Adobe Camera Raw, which is bound to improve, and has a brilliant interface. Hopefully it will make economic sense for Olympus to further develop Studio… and announce it SOON.

from Sam Chapman on Thu, September 02, 2004 - 10:07

I seem to think that I saw something in Adobe Photoshop 5.5 for photographers which mentioned about RAW files producing saturated Reds. I’ll have to sit down some time and dig out what it says and post it here soon.
Sam Chapman

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