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  • Welcome to the new site. Here's a thread about the update where you can post your feedback, ask questions or spot those nasty bugs!

The Best RAW Converter For....

Ian L. Sitren

pro member
I have gone back and forth on this for a couple of years. For quick editing of a lot of photos I have been using Lightroom for about a year now. Actually I find myself using it somewhat as a matter of laziness. I tend to forget that maybe it is not the best RAW converter for every type of file.

I have used Aperture and I like it too, especially the full screen display of images. But it is another program to keep up with. Sometimes I will use Bridge, sometimes I use PhotoMechanic if I just need lightning speed processing. When I shoot Phase I use Capture One and sometimes with Canon files.

But I think when I want dead bang the best image processing you get the best results with the manufacturer's program. Canon DPP for Canon files seems to be just amazing, it is cumbersome, but the image quality is outstanding. Capture One for Phase files again seems to me to be superb.

So for absolutely the best images, forget speed, ease of use, whatever.... What do you use and why?
 

Mike Shimwell

New member
Ian

Like you I use Lightroom for speed and convenience, but laziness takes over too. I like DPP and DXo for canon files. Ricoh DNG files I always process in LR/ACR. I tried (briefly) Silkypix, but while the image quality had promise I've really got enough to keep up with already. Film I scan to tiff and LR is then a fine DAM (actually, working with Tiffs allows me to work on the image in LR and then edit the original file in CS4 to clean up dust bunnies etc without losing the LR adjustments).

My biggest gripe with LR is that it takes over workflow by default. One of this winter's jobs is to re jig some things to make DXo/DPP conversion less of an effort.

Mike
 

Ken Tanaka

pro member
You may be correct that DPP is best for Canon's RAWs, C1 for Phase, etc. My own impression regarding DPP is that it does process certain types of contrast and tonality ranges differently than, say, Adobe's ACR. Not always "better" or "more accurately", just differently.

Personally, however, I've long ago adopted a very simple rating that I call the PGR for deciding whether or not to take such measures. The PGR is an acronym for Pain/Gain Ratio. If a technique or product has a PGR less than 1.0 it's worth considering. The ideal PGR is 0.5 or lower. Techniques with PGRs greater than 1.0 are not worth spending life time on. DPP has a PGR of 2.0. Ditto most other converters.

I adopted Lightroom when it was first introduced because, unlike my previous workflow, it enabled me to remain continuously focused on images rather than on tools. (I know that Aperture users feel similarly.) To me that's worth potentially sacrificing an occasional processing bonus. Being able to "keep my eye on the ball" is far, far more important to me.

The Internet is full of mythology on nearly every subject. Digital photography is no exception. I've licensed every major, and many minor, RAW processing tool during the past years. None worked better for me than Adobe's ACR. Indeed, most were much less predictable.

So perhaps you will find that the inconvenience and clunkiness of Canon's DPP is worth enduring for your work. But I sure did not.
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Ken Tanaka;69251I adopted Lightroom when it was first introduced because said:
PGR is pretty damn good as a concept! That's a great idea for interactions. In medicine it's the therapeutic ration and there we want it as high as possible!

If you always tend to use one product, LR, for example, you will be increasingly capable at getting round any limitations and work will be fast and completed with the least pain. So this tends to work against lesser used products. The pian is more since we don't use them so often.

Take Lightzone, Aperture or Nik's novel technologies and interfaces for adjusting images. If we used them more often, we might be surprised at the payoff!

Asher
 

Cem_Usakligil

Active member
You may be correct that DPP is best for Canon's RAWs, C1 for Phase, etc. My own impression regarding DPP is that it does process certain types of contrast and tonality ranges differently than, say, Adobe's ACR. Not always "better" or "more accurately", just differently.

Personally, however, I've long ago adopted a very simple rating that I call the PGR for deciding whether or not to take such measures. The PGR is an acronym for Pain/Gain Ratio. If a technique or product has a PGR less than 1.0 it's worth considering. The ideal PGR is 0.5 or lower. Techniques with PGRs greater than 1.0 are not worth spending life time on. DPP has a PGR of 2.0. Ditto most other converters.

I adopted Lightroom when it was first introduced because, unlike my previous workflow, it enabled me to remain continuously focused on images rather than on tools. (I know that Aperture users feel similarly.) To me that's worth potentially sacrificing an occasional processing bonus. Being able to "keep my eye on the ball" is far, far more important to me.

The Internet is full of mythology on nearly every subject. Digital photography is no exception. I've licensed every major, and many minor, RAW processing tool during the past years. None worked better for me than Adobe's ACR. Indeed, most were much less predictable.

So perhaps you will find that the inconvenience and clunkiness of Canon's DPP is worth enduring for your work. But I sure did not.
I couldn't agree more with Ken. I have recently done an extensive test of 3 raw converters, namely DPP, DxO and LR/ACR. I have used a total of 30 raw pictures (varying from 100 to 3200 ISO) for this test. I have converted each raw to the best abilities of each raw converter and came to the conclusion that LR/ACr is the best solution for most pictures. For only a few ones including skin tones I have given DPP better scores. DxO was overal the winner due to the pop factor of the end result when shown to laymen. But I prefer to use LR in combination with Focus Magic and PT Lens rather than the DxO. This is because I am a real man/photographer (see the other thread by Doug Kerr re. the print button on Canon cameras). ;-)


Cheers
 

Ken Tanaka

pro member
(Thank you, Ian.)

...
If you always tend to use one product, LR, for example, you will be increasingly capable at getting round any limitations and work will be fast and completed with the least pain. So this tends to work against lesser used products. The pian is more since we don't use them so often.

Take Lightzone, Aperture or Nik's novel technologies and interfaces for adjusting images. If we used them more often, we might be surprised at the payoff!

Asher
Indeed, heavy usage of a tool can provide a familiarity that propels its utility far beyond what even its designers may have anticipated.

But the high "PGR" of DPP and other tools derives mainly from their fundamental design limitations. Working within an image processing and management environment (i.e. Lightroom, Aperture), with the ability to "outsource" if required, is a far more powerful and compelling wide-angle proposition than working with hammers and chisels, specifically potent though they may be.
 

Mike Shimwell

New member
(Thank you, Ian.)



Indeed, heavy usage of a tool can provide a familiarity that propels its utility far beyond what even its designers may have anticipated.

But the high "PGR" of DPP and other tools derives mainly from their fundamental design limitations. Working within an image processing and management environment (i.e. Lightroom, Aperture), with the ability to "outsource" if required, is a far more powerful and compelling wide-angle proposition than working with hammers and chisels, specifically potent though they may be.
Ken this is both the great advantage and disadvantage of LR to me. It is a superb environment to work within and integrates flawlessly with PS. My irritation is that i would like to be ale to send a raw file to DXo and get a tiff back into the catalogue in the same way as I can send a tiff/raw file to PS and get an updated/new file back to the catalogue. I'm probably asking too much, but...

My irritation is based on exactly your PGR in point of fact.

Mike
 

Cem_Usakligil

Active member
... My irritation is that i would like to be ale to send a raw file to DXo and get a tiff back into the catalogue in the same way as I can send a tiff/raw file to PS and get an updated/new file back to the catalogue. ...
Hi Mike,

I was under the impression that this was possible in the latest version (5.3) of DxO??
Perhaps I was wrong.

Cheers,
 

Ken Tanaka

pro member
Hi Mike,

I was under the impression that this was possible in the latest version (5.3) of DxO??
Perhaps I was wrong.

Cheers,
Well, not exactly. The latest DxO version (5.3) does tout a "Lightroom plug-in". But its actual implementation is inside-out nutty. By that I mean that this "plug-in" enables you to load Lightroom libraries as folders and collections from within DxO. (It strikes me as the kind of design that gets implemented when nobody is brave enough to tell a boss the truth; that DxO is a tool and not the total working environments that Lightroom and Aperture are.) Even for a DxO devotee this has to be a design with a PGR no lower than 1.0.
 

Cem_Usakligil

Active member
...My irritation is that i would like to be ale to send a raw file to DXo and get a tiff back into the catalogue in the same way as I can send a tiff/raw file to PS and get an updated/new file back to the catalogue. I'm probably asking too much, but...
Well, not exactly. The latest DxO version (5.3) does tout a "Lightroom plug-in". But its actual implementation is inside-out nutty. By that I mean that this "plug-in" enables you to load Lightroom libraries as folders and collections from within DxO. (It strikes me as the kind of design that gets implemented when nobody is brave enough to tell a boss the truth; that DxO is a tool and not the total working environments that Lightroom and Aperture are.) Even for a DxO devotee this has to be a design with a PGR no lower than 1.0.
Hi Ken,

I know about that plug-in and I agree that it is nutty. However, there is a so-called scenario 2 (see this pdf for details) which claims that one can send any image from LR to DxO by right-clicking on it and selecting the option “Edit (a copy) with DxOOpticsProv5”. After the edit in DxO, the resulting image is returned to LR as a 8/16-bit Tiff file, much like the PS integration works. To my understanding, that is what Mike was asking for.

Cheers,
 

Gary Ayala

New member
I am a big fan of DPP. I find it give better and different sharpening than Adobe, better color and more pop ... and I also find it very fast and easy. I will use Lightroom on tricky lighting situations ... but for everyday processing it's DPP.

Gary
 

Cem_Usakligil

Active member
I am a big fan of DPP. I find it give better and different sharpening than Adobe, better color and more pop ... and I also find it very fast and easy. I will use Lightroom on tricky lighting situations ... but for everyday processing it's DPP.

Gary
Hi Gary,

You are right in the pop factor but this is due to the fact that DPP has always used the Canon camera profiles such as the standard, landscape, portrait, etc. But now, LR does this too and I don't see much pop difference between the two. Having said this, DPP is a good product and stick to it if you are happy. :)

Cheers,
 

Gary Ayala

New member
Hi Gary,

You are right in the pop factor but this is due to the fact that DPP has always used the Canon camera profiles such as the standard, landscape, portrait, etc. But now, LR does this too and I don't see much pop difference between the two. Having said this, DPP is a good product and stick to it if you are happy. :)

Cheers,
DPP also uses a different (and my opinion better) formula for sharpening ... not that LR is bad ... I just think that DPP has the edge.

Thanks for the tip on LR ... I'll make sure I have the latest version and revaluate.

G
 

Cem_Usakligil

Active member
DPP also uses a different (and my opinion better) formula for sharpening ... not that LR is bad ... I just think that DPP has the edge.

Thanks for the tip on LR ... I'll make sure I have the latest version and revaluate.

G
Again, you are also right about the sharpening of DPP being better. Actually, I have stopped sharpening when converting from raw. I do apply capture sharpening using Focus Magic once the file is in PS. Only for images which do not leave LR I still do some sharpening of course.


Cheers,
 

Ian L. Sitren

pro member
I just ran across a different circumstance.

I did a shoot with my 5D in a weight lifting gym for their advertising etc. Nothing unusual I have done the same thing many times over. I lit it as I usually do, all equipment worked fine, lighting metered fine, images on the back of the camera looked fine (I don't depend on it, just look).

Next day, I check the photos in Canon DPP, looks good. I will usually look at Canon files in DPP but not necessarily work up big shoots in it because it is cumbersome and slow. So I imported the files into Lightroom, again as usual.

Here is the whacky part, all of the highlights are blown out in Lightroom and skin tones are horrible. Lightroom is set on the same defaults I always use, so this should not have been an issue. Next I look at the files in Capture One, and they look great.

Not wanting to bother with settings in Lightroom to compensate, I did all my RAW processing in Capture One, did an output of PSD files of my selects. And then brought those into Lightroom to do my crops and some final adjustments that I like doing in Lightroom. I did my final output for the client from there.

I guess I will next see what they look like in Aperture when I get a moment, just out of curiosity.
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Ian,

Keep all the stages you have worked on. Maybe the client wont mind the images being shared at some time, down the road when they have used the images as intended!

Asher
 

Ron Morse

New member
I don't think that anything gets canon colors better than DPP. So I first get things right in DPP then grab the TIFF into lightroom and do what ever I want there before sending to PS. Very quick really.
 

Nelu Goia

New member
Hi Gary,

You are right in the pop factor but this is due to the fact that DPP has always used the Canon camera profiles such as the standard, landscape, portrait, etc. But now, LR does this too and I don't see much pop difference between the two. Having said this, DPP is a good product and stick to it if you are happy. :)

Cheers,
Hi!
"But now, LR does this too and I don't see much pop difference between the two. "
Are you sure about that?
I use Lightroom all the time for several reasons but I have to admit that Canon`s DPP results are far superior”out-of-the-box”, for normal light situations.
I am forced to use Lightroom because I always shoot in raw, for HDR, using exposure bracketing and I blend the shots in PhotoAcute. The resulting file is a .dng file which can be nicely processed in Lightroom.
I also like Lightroom for the perfect integration with Photoshop , for the local adjustments and for the fact that all adjustments are stored in a tiny .xmp file which is just a few kB in size.
For single shots taken in normal lighting conditions I use DPP though.
Regards,
Nelu
 

Phil Marion

New member
I don't think that anything gets canon colors better than DPP. So I first get things right in DPP then grab the TIFF into lightroom and do what ever I want there before sending to PS. Very quick really.
So what does 'get things right' mean? You use DPP clunky PITA interface to make tonal and colour adjustments? Do you do any sharpening, contrast adjustment here? Or do you do all these in LR after DPP's initial rendering to a TIFF?
 
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