photoblogography - Just some stuff about photography

Iced by PhotoNinja

instant Kodachrome ?

in Photography , Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I have just uploaded a new gallery, simply called “Ice”. It contains a set of photos taken at various places and times, all featuring ice in diverse, and mainly quite abstract, forms.

Ice gallery

This set has been edited with a new RAW processor, Photo Ninja, the successor to the highly regarded Noise Ninja. I have to say I didn’t really expect to see much new in the world of RAW software at this point in time. I’m quite happy in general with Apple Aperture, although I keep an eye on Adobe Camera Raw, Capture One, and in particular Iridient RAW Developer. But none of these offer anything other than barely perceptible advantages over Aperture, if any at all. Aperture’s RAW engine is highly under-rated for some reason, perhaps simply Apple fatigue, although I suppose it depends on what camera you use. But for my Olympus & Ricoh files, I have no complaints. And the workflow is head & shoulders above anything else.

Photo ninja1

Photo Ninja’s quite minimalist user interface

So why bother with anything else ? Well, Photo Ninja is actually quite, remarkably, different. If there is one defining thing about it, it is that you need to go against habits and wise teachings, and let it do its thing. Once you set up a few preferences to steer it the right direction, its first attempt is usually pretty remarkable. Unlike other RAW processors, it has a real “look” of its own, which I suspect people will love or hate.  There is scope for plenty of fiddling, with a mix of standard and less standard controls (such as “illumination” which is a sort of contrast control that can be linked to exposure). But often I just come back to the auto settings - something I NEVER do usually. A huge amount of thought has gone into Photo Ninja’s automatic algorithms, and they should not be thought of as the usual “auto contrast” white / black point settings most rivals offer.

Photo ninja3

Photo Ninja’s tool list. Note its ancestor, Noise Ninja, is present & correct

Photo Ninja is a version 1.0 release and it does seem to do some weird things on the odd occasion. One of the images in the set it did something very weird indeed to, so I’ve used the Aperture version CORRECTION: I take it back. It was user error on my part. Nothing weird at all. Speaking of Aperture, Photo Ninja integrates with it extremely well and supports multiple round-trip editing of the original RAW file. I don’t believe anybody else has worked that one out. So you can retain Aperture’s excellent workflow and management features whilst using Photo Ninja as an alternative convertor.

Photo ninja2

Photo Ninja’s default setting on the left, Aperture 3.2’s on the right. It’s been said that Photo Ninja has a “Kodachrome” look.

You can get a free demo of Photo Ninja, so I suggest that if you’re interested, you just try it. If nothing else it will give you a new perspective on your images.  The photos in the “Ice” set are the first I’ve published in a long time that were not processed in Aperture. I’m not yet sure I’d want to use Photo Ninja exclusively, but I’m certainly going to keep it around.

Posted in Photography | Product reviews on Wednesday, September 19, 2012 at 10:42 PM • PermalinkComments (2)


Carsten September 30, 2012 - 3:33
Great review, completely d´accord.
And really outstanding work, hats off !



david mantripp October 01, 2012 - 8:21
You have some really nice photography on your site, Carsten! Thanks for the visit.