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Thread: RAW Converters questions

  1. #1
    benm's Avatar
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    RAW Converters questions

    I have just recently purchased a Nikon D90 and is my first camera that shoots RAW. The RAW software on the CD that comes with the camera is ViewNX ver 1.1.1 (currently available version from Nikon website is 1.5.2). I also have Photoshop Elements 6 which has ACR 5.5 (latest version available for ver 6). Is there a significant difference between RAW converters or is it mostly in the user interface? What about Capture NX2 - what can this do that ViewNX can not? And yes, I know there are other converters out there but unless someone can say that one is vastly superior over the others I will just stick to these 3 for now.

    Second question - Can anyone recommend a good book about RAW conversions? For example, it should have a good explanation of the terms that are used (such as clarity, vibrance, recovery, etc). The couple of scientific texts I own about color use terms such as chroma, value and hue, with which I have more familiarity. Obviously, I can play with the sliders and see the results but I do better if I can get the scientific explanation behind stuff like this.

    Thanks! Ben

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: RAW Converters questions

    Hi Ben,

    I use ACR 5.5 and there is lots of support for it, plus a very good book (hang on, I'll just read the title off the spine; "Real World Camera RAW with Adobe Photoshop CS4" - although it comes in older versions too; e.g. for CS3, etc., but probably best to get the latest. It has all the explanations you ask for, I still use it myself.

    Nikon's ViewNX doesn't really do the RAW conversion, Capture NX2 does, but costs money once past the 60 day trial. Videos of what can be done with NX2 looked very promising, but I just couldn't get the hang of it, and with limited support for it anyway, I went back to ACR in frustration. I am happy with ACR and not looking for anything else at the moment.

    Cheers,

  3. #3
    benm's Avatar
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    Re: RAW Converters questions

    Thanks, I will be ordering that book this week. I don't understand your comment about ViewNX since it does read NEF files and it appears you can modify them. What does it do then? (I'm completely new to RAW).

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: RAW Converters questions

    Hi Ben,

    True, but I have never used it beyond trying the sliders because it offers rather less than ACR with Elements does and I was/am used to that anyway. As you are just starting, it might be the right answer for you.

    Now you have peaked my interest, and I see it has an axial colour abberation tool down the bottom, I might try that on the 18-200mm shots that occasionally need it.

    One significant thing ViewNX lacks is noise reduction, I use what comes in ACR on all my shots and it means upto 1000 ISO, I don't need to use further noise filtering like Neat Image.

    The frosty morn' shots were all shot at 800 ISO and only had ACR NR applied - they don't look too bad.

    Cheers,

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    Re: RAW Converters questions

    Hi Ben,

    My suggestion is to stick with ACR; it's immensly powerful (if it can't do something then it probably can't be done) - it integrates seemlessly with other Adobe products such as Bridge and Photoshop or Photoshop Elements - and there is just so much more support out there for it by way of forums / books / videos etc than any other product.

    Also, I'll second Dave's book recommendation - it's the industry standard reference for ACR, written by two gentlemen who are very much "Adobe Insiders" (and who have played a very active role in it's development).

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    Re: RAW Converters questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    I use ACR 5.5 and there is lots of support for it, plus a very good book (hang on, I'll just read the title off the spine; "Real World Camera RAW with Adobe Photoshop CS4" - although it comes in older versions too; e.g. for CS3, etc., but probably best to get the latest. It has all the explanations you ask for, I still use it myself.
    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    My suggestion is to stick with ACR; it's immensly powerful (if it can't do something then it probably can't be done) - it integrates seemlessly with other Adobe products such as Bridge and Photoshop or Photoshop Elements - and there is just so much more support out there for it by way of forums / books / videos etc than any other product.

    Also, I'll second Dave's book recommendation - it's the industry standard reference for ACR, written by two gentlemen who are very much "Adobe Insiders" (and who have played a very active role in it's development).
    I'll third Dave's recommnedation. "Real World Camera RAW with Adobe Photoshop CS4" is an an excellent book. I'm in the process of reading it right now and have found it to be very informative and thorough.

    For what it's worth, I use ACR 5.6 over the RAW converter that ships with Canon's DSLR's. ACR offer's more control over the conversion process than Canon's.
    Last edited by Terry Tedor; 17th March 2010 at 11:00 PM.

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    Re: RAW Converters questions

    I bought the book and have read the first 4 chapters. I am just beginning to understand what it's all about. Even though I use Elements rather than CS4 this book has excellent information on the basics.

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    Re: RAW Converters questions

    This is a copy of my post of a few minutes ago, in another thread; my mistake..

    If all you need is to convert RAW to 16-bit Tiffs, Raw Therapee is worth a look. It's free*, versatile and supports batch processing. I use it with everything turned off (sharpening, NR, exposure etc) as i prefer to do all of this in Photoshop.

    Here's the url;

    http://www.rawtherapee.com/?mitem=3 but so scroll down for #2.4.1 as #3.0 is an alpha release

    HTH

    proseak

    *

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    Re: RAW Converters questions

    Phase One's Capture One v 5.1 is amazing. I now use it for Leaf Aptus files as it's way better than Leaf Capture ever was. It supports most digital raw files except Hasselblad.

    http://douglasdolde.com

  10. #10
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    Re: RAW Converters questions

    Hi All
    I have access to a version of Photoshop CS3 - which I am trying to learn more about using. To date I have been opening my canon RAW files in the supplied software then trying to 'play around on some to learn in photoshop' but this is only after working on them a bit & converting to jpg, but I want to try & get to use just the 1 program.
    Does anyone know if you can just download a 'free plug-in' from the adobe site of Adobe Capture Raw, that has been suggested here to Ben
    From what I found it said 'not compatible with CS3' for the later versions, which are the ones that list canon 7D as one of the cameras files it will open
    I also tried to work through their site, to get an nswer for this, but could find no way to contact them by email to try & find out do I have to have CS4 to use an ACR version for 7D.

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    Re: RAW Converters questions

    Quote Originally Posted by wilgk View Post
    Hi All
    I have access to a version of Photoshop CS3 - which I am trying to learn more about using. To date I have been opening my canon RAW files in the supplied software then trying to 'play around on some to learn in photoshop' but this is only after working on them a bit & converting to jpg, but I want to try & get to use just the 1 program.
    Does anyone know if you can just download a 'free plug-in' from the adobe site of Adobe Capture Raw, that has been suggested here to Ben
    From what I found it said 'not compatible with CS3' for the later versions, which are the ones that list canon 7D as one of the cameras files it will open
    I also tried to work through their site, to get an nswer for this, but could find no way to contact them by email to try & find out do I have to have CS4 to use an ACR version for 7D.
    Hi Kay,

    The solution is easy - just pop along to Adobe's website and download the DNG converter. DNG (Digital NeGative) is Adobe's standardised file format that can be opened in any version of CS, regardless of the source (I convert ALL my files to DNG, even though I'm using CS4) - it also means you don't get pesky sidecar files - AND - you can rename your files as they're converted.

    If you want to play around with files it's important that you don't convert them to JPEG first as this throws away a LOT of information, and often it's information that you need.

    If you need a hand with this just start a new thread here, and we'll all jump in to get you going in no time flat

  12. #12
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: RAW Converters questions

    Hi Kay,

    Colin's way is one way that will work.

    Although the info says "not compatible", I'm sure other's here have found that ACR 5.6 (I think that's what you need), does work ok with slightly older versions of PS or Elements.

    Ensure you follow the instructions precisely, as that will enable you to go back to the version you have now if need be.

    I'm sure there will come a point when they do something to stop it working (e.g. ACR 6.0).

    Cheers,

  13. #13
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    Re: RAW Converters questions

    I use a Canon and find sometimes DPP which is Canon's version of ACR can do things ACR can't. I find if something is blown it is a good idea to check DPP first then save although ACR takes absolutely no notice of the new settings. I have ACR 5.2 by the way.

    You don't need an example; a house I photographed way back had a blown sky, DPP returned definition and colour but ACR only returned definition. cheers.

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    Re: RAW Converters questions

    I prefer Lightroom. Beta 3 is available until end of May or something and I really think the final version will be worth the money. I like the intuitive workflow and wealth of opportunities.

    I dislike Photoshop Elements because it relies on ACR as a plugin, while Lightroom does native RAW-editing. I don't know how else to explain it. Lightroom replaces Elements and Bridge both as library tool and for editing RAWs. As it relies upon ACR, it also get better and better as ACR gets more advanced and refined.

    Nikons NX2 have a brilliant local editing function, but is so limited in other respects that I do not like it. Lightroom or Bibble Pro are quite similar. I have heard Bibble includes better sharpening algoritms.

    RAW file editing means non-destructive editing, wheras first converting the image will in effect limit your editing process. Doing all basic adjustments in RAW and then exporting a version to your preferred format means you can always go back and make another export if you are not satisfied and start anew.

    Lightroom have a brilliant workflow and excellent exporting and printing functions, except it cannot export to PNG.

    CS3 and CS4 and now soon coming - CS5 are expensive packages of programs. Here in Norway CS4 Design Premium costs somwhere around 2000. As I find I can do most of my editing in Lightroom, and it is much better than both Adobe Bridge as a library tool and Elements as an editing tool - this is my packet.

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    Re: RAW Converters questions

    Quote Originally Posted by nanook View Post
    I prefer Lightroom. Beta 3 is available until end of May or something and I really think the final version will be worth the money.
    ... so long as they sort the Canon 1Ds3 tethered shooting bug!

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