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Thread: Colour space & File format (& sensor cleaning)

  1. #1

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    Colour space & File format (& sensor cleaning)

    Just got my the package yesterday evening, and fortunately, I didn't any sign of harm done by the cold temperature

    So now that I've started experimenting the ... thing (with buttons everywhere), I have some questions in order to make my later workflow easier:

    1- I've read the several threads about colour space and colour management and what I've concluded is that, unless I'm really picky and want to have all colour data in my pictures (especially in the cyan-green tones), I can just go ahead with sRGB. Plus, I have to convert every photo from AdobeRGB to sRGB if I want to view them on the web or print them to a local non-professional store. So except for the additional 'color information', do I miss anything really important that I could benefit by using AdobeRGB ?

    2- When working with RAWs, I intend to use Lightroom to manage the RAW files + XMP files, since it ensures me a non-destructive method of manipulating the photos. However, many of you suggest DNG (which combine file and modifications together, unlike CR2+XMP), is there any advantage of dong this if I like to keep original file and modifications separated?

    3- Since Lightroom is entirely capable of reading the SD card, dealing with RAW and developing them; there's no need for me to install any of the thousand software in the Canon CD right?

    4- Quick thing about Sensor Cleaning feature. Right now every time I power ON/OFF, it does it automatically. Is it really necessary? Or I can just switch it off and do it once in a while?

    5- Finally, I'd like to hear about your way of working: RAW+JPG vs. RAW only.
    With RAW+JPG, I can quickly view and show or send the images without going through all the process of developing; but, it takes up space and gives me double quantity of file to manage on my computer.
    With RAW only, it takes up less space, but I have to process every one of them into LR when it comes to viewing or sending the pics.
    So what do you use? Or maybe depending on a situation (eg.: serious photography vs. birthday parties), you'll choose RAW+JPG, or even just JPG?

    Thanks in advance,
    Can't wait until spring (3 more months..) to go outside
    Last edited by Zephyrize; 16th January 2009 at 10:00 PM.

  2. #2
    Administrator Colin Southern's Avatar
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    Re: Colour space & File format (& sensor cleaning)

    Congratulations on the safe delivery of your new baby ("It's a camera - I'm a boy - have a cigar"!) (to adopt a well-known quote from the delivery room!)

    "1- I've read the several threads about colour space and colour management and what I've concluded is that, unless I'm really picky and want to have all colour data in my pictures (especially in the cyan-green tones), I can just go ahead with sRGB. Plus, I have to convert every photo from AdobeRGB to sRGB if I want to view them on the web or print them to a local non-professional store. So except for the additional 'color information', do I miss anything really important that I could benefit by using AdobeRGB ?"

    I would suggest starting with sRGB. Later on you'll probably want to get into RAW shooting - but either way, nothing is "cast in stone" and although the images you capture will forever miss those "extra colours", in practice I can promise you that you won't miss them - especially considering that your monitor almost certainly can't display them anyway!

    "2- When working with RAWs, I intend to use Lightroom to manage the RAW files + XMP files, since it ensures me a non-destructive method of manipulating the photos. However, many of you suggest DNG (which combine file and modifications together, unlike CR2+XMP), is there any advantage of dong this if I like to keep original file and modifications separated?"

    It's more a case of there being no advantage in keeping seperate adjustment files as you can just tell ACR or lightroom to revert them to their original state anyway (these programs don't change the image - they just merge the image and adjustment file into one - it's totally non-destructive. Personally, I convert to DNG and then discard the original CR2s.

    "3- Since Lightroom is entirely capable of reading the SD card, dealing with RAW and developing them; there's no need for me to install any of the thousand software in the Canon CD right?"

    Some may disagree with me, but I've only once installed the Canon software - took one look at it - and promptly uninstalled it!. The only thing I'm aware of is that DPP will honour the metadata tags with respect to picture styles, whereas Adobe products ignore all but white balance (which I personally think is a good move).

    "4- Quick thing about Sensor Cleaning feature. Right now every time I power ON/OFF, it does it automatically. Is it really necessary? Or I can just switch it off and do it once in a while?"

    Leave it on all the time - It won't cure the issue of sensor dust completely, but it's better to chip away at the dust on a regular basis than it it to chip away at it on odd occasions.

    "5- Finally, I'd like to hear about your way of working: RAW+JPG vs. RAW only.
    With RAW+JPG, I can quickly view and show or send the images without going through all the process of developing; but, it takes up space and gives me double quantity of file to manage on my computer.
    With RAW only, it takes up less space, but I have to process every one of them into LR when it comes to viewing or sending the pics.
    So what do you use? Or maybe depending on a situation (eg.: serious photography vs. birthday parties), you'll choose RAW+JPG, or even just JPG?"

    It's a judgement call. Shooting JPEG is fine so long as you're nailing your exposures - nailing your white balances - and getting the results you want each time in terms of sharpness etc (which rules out any form of serious landscape shooting). RAW shooting offers many advantages whilst shooting both offers - in theory - the best of both world, but in reality it too has the drawbacks you mentioned. Personally, I'd be far happlier if Canon were to take out the option of JPEG in my camera and replace it with DNG - the only time I ever use JPEG is when I'm doing profiles for my lightmeter! I don't think there's any right or wrong answer to that question - just a case of what works best for you.

    Hope this helps!

    Cheers,

    Colin - pbase.com/cjsouthern

  3. #3

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    Re: Colour space & File format (& sensor cleaning)

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    It's more a case of there being no advantage in keeping seperate adjustment files as you can just tell ACR or lightroom to revert them to their original state anyway (these programs don't change the image - they just merge the image and adjustment file into one - it's totally non-destructive. Personally, I convert to DNG and then discard the original CR2s.
    Hm, I did a bit of research on DNG files and if I understood, it doesn't lose any RAW data and as you say it merge the infos to the RAW into one DNG file. Plus, it's a relatively smaller size.
    Oh and what "Embeded JPEG preview" means?
    Personally, I'm pro-standardization .

    So basically, once I uploaded my RAW files and converted them into DNG. I can just throw away the CR2? Not to be pessimistic, but are DNGs future proof... as RAWs are?

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    whereas Adobe products ignore all but white balance (which I personally think is a good move).
    You just reminded me of something by saying that.
    In a DSLR book I've read (and many other places), it's recommended to use Custom White Balance.
    However, I've came across another article saying "RAW photos have no white balance applied."
    The contradiction is confusing me a bit.


    Well, again,.... Thanks!
    P.S.: Now I understand what they mean by 'loud' lens..

  4. #4
    Administrator Colin Southern's Avatar
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    Re: Colour space & File format (& sensor cleaning)

    "I did a bit of research on DNG files and if I understood, it doesn't lose any RAW data and as you say it merge the infos to the RAW into one DNG file. Plus, it's a relatively smaller size."

    Correct, the current specification doesn't remove any data - it's more a case of reorganising the data into a common format.

    "Oh and what "Embeded JPEG preview" means?"

    It's a (relatively) low resolution JPEG file that's also encoded into the DNG file to allow programs to display a preview / thumbnail image without having to decode the entire file.

    "So basically, once I uploaded my RAW files and converted them into DNG. I can just throw away the CR2? Not to be pessimistic, but are DNGs future proof... as RAWs are?"

    Some don't like to throw away their original files - they could be handy if you want to open the file with an application that doesn't understand DNG, but there's also the option to encapsulate these originals into the DNG converted file if you want to make file management simpler, but it increases the size of the DNG file accordingly (mind you, the extra disk space that's taken up would be taken up anway if you kept the originals as well). At the end of the day it's a judgement call - some don't trust DNG (for whatever reasons); I do - and have never had a problem. Not one.

    With regards to "are DNG files futureproof" - well that's the whole idea behind them, so one could probably conclude that they're likely to be a far more so than the non-standardised files they replace! They're still RAW files - it's just that they're RAW files in a standardised DNG format as opposed to a Canon CR2 format.

    "In a DSLR book I've read (and many other places), it's recommended to use Custom White Balance.
    However, I've came across another article saying "RAW photos have no white balance applied."
    The contradiction is confusing me a bit."

    RAW files aren't white balanced. Full stop, end of story. However, the camera does pass on a metadata tag (aka "a little note") that says "when you do process this file then this is the white balance that I suggest you use) - but it's only a suggestion, nothing compulsory. A lot of metadata tags are passed, but in reality Adobe products ignore most of them, with white balance data being the exception - but even then it's only used as a starting point - you can change it as much as you like from that starting point (and as a side note, when you change the white balance whilst in the RAW converter, it's a lossless adjustment - unlike when the image is open in photoshop proper). In contrast, if the camera is producing a "ready to eat" image (ie "jpeg") then yes it does apply white balancing - whether it gets it right is a different story (depends on a number of things that I won't go into here).

    Proper White balancing can be done a number of ways - using a custom white balance is one way (especially in conjunction with products like ExpoDisc (of which I have 2, and use neither)), but it needs to be done each time the colour temperature of the lighting changes - and it's slower than using a grey card - and difficult when you have a mixture of different temperature lighting (eg daylight with fill flash). A gray card is - in my opinion anyway - a lot easier. You simply include a spectrally neutral gray card (like a WhiBal card) into one of your shots in a series taken under the same lighting conditions - and then simply correct all the images at once with just a few clicks of the mouse. Works better in mixed lighting scenarios too.

    Hope this helps,

    Cheers,

    Colin - pbase.com/cjsouthern

  5. #5
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    Re: Colour space & File format (& sensor cleaning)

    well, wrt to trasjing the Raw...There is an exception to that.
    I started post processing about a year ago or so using Dxo Optics Pro, which I like a lot for optical defect correction.
    it does require the original file to be fed to the tool given it heavily relies on EXIF data (including Makers Notes) to make the best of the correction.
    On top of that, they do not support input of DNG (from what I recall)...

    so beware that new tools might require the original file and may not support DNG as input...

  6. #6
    Administrator Colin Southern's Avatar
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    Re: Colour space & File format (& sensor cleaning)

    "I started post processing about a year ago or so using Dxo Optics Pro, which I like a lot for optical defect correction.
    it does require the original file to be fed to the tool given it heavily relies on EXIF data (including Makers Notes) to make the best of the correction.
    On top of that, they do not support input of DNG (from what I recall)..."

    Quite right (hence the reason I mentioned it also). The irony of that is that DNG supports manufacturers "secret sauce" data (infact all EXIF Data), so if anything DxO could probably make life a lot easier for themselves if they ONLY supported DNG files in that everything could be available to them is a standardised structure. I can't for the life of me understand why they (and others) don't do it (or at least include support for it)

    Cheers,

    Colin - pbase.com/cjsouthern

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    Re: Colour space & File format (& sensor cleaning)

    I looked into dng when I got my camera and it doesn't seem to have any real downside other than the fact it's not widely adopted yet. I could be wrong and am new to this so don't take that as gospel. Obviously support is an issue due to not being widely used (yet anyhow) not everything supports it. However if most things were to support it then there wouldn't be a prob since technically it seems to be a standardised raw format that doesn't actually lose anything.

    Obviously if you use in house software then dng isn't supported but if the camera wrote dng then in house software would support it too. Simply adding dng format supportto a cam might be smart move as potential to expand user base since nikon in house stuff (I read so much about and looks good) could be used by canon owners and so on too thereby increasing revenue from software sales. Making potetial buyers of loyal customers of rival companies is pretty good strategy if you ask me, even if slim chance they'll switch to your camera (lens collection factors etc make it hard to poach such custom) you can still get them to buy your software.

    It's an open format so it's not hard to develop for, it's significant smaller size (same as good rar compression of my .raf) and so on. The only argument I've seen over it is anti-adobe crowd and groups who think if it's not FOSS it's the devil (smug linux elitists are the worst for it, kick off when proprietary format support included in a distro (including mp3) yet it's the first thing they download out the restricted repositories! If it has adobe or any other big software houses tag on they do their nut over it). I can easily dismiss this argument due to it being obviously flawed, if adobe was out to milk it they would make it a closed source proprietary format with very little details surrendered regarding it, however although it is their format they have released it in an open unrestricted use way so that's not the case.

    Are there any actual downsides to .dng other than the lack of support and issues stemming from it (including some I have mentioned) that I am missing?

  8. #8
    Administrator Colin Southern's Avatar
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    Re: Colour space & File format (& sensor cleaning)

    "Are there any actual downsides to .dng other than the lack of support and issues stemming from it (including some I have mentioned) that I am missing? "

    Not that I've found, but then again, I've found that for the most part, if ACR + PS don't do what I want then there's either a plugin that does - or the file can be processed in either JPG or TIF format (obviously not RAW, but that's not a problem for me).

    Possibly the key word is "control" if, for example, Nikon software could process Canon files then Canon would lose a degree of control - which I guess has a commercial angle as well as a support one (where someone would be reporting an image issue to Canon - and then Canon would discover that they were processing on a Nikon product). Probably a fairly weak argument, but possibly another headache that neither camp wants. Who knows - just a guess.

    There will always be groups who are Anti-Adobe - Anti-Canon - Anti-Nikon - Anti-PC - Anti-Mac - Anti-Microsoft - you know, the ones who would, if their rear ends were on fire, complain that the water was too cold when it was put out - that's just life.

    At the end of the day I feel that all I can do is tell people what works for me, and give them the opportunity to judge my credibility based on the results I achieve doing it that way. I do of course respect their right to do it anyway they like and they have to accept the consequences of doing so :)

    Cheers,

    Colin - pbase.com/cjsouthern

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    Re: Colour space & File format (& sensor cleaning)

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    the ones who would, if their rear ends were on fire, complain that the water was too cold when it was put out - that's just life.

    At the end of the day I feel that all I can do is tell people what works for me, and give them the opportunity to judge my credibility based on the results I achieve doing it that way.
    yup, couldn't agree more.

    I think I'll go with DNG all the way, while backing up the original RAW of important pics in DVD; that would be safe enough for me!

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    Re: Colour space & File format (& sensor cleaning)

    just beware also of the different types of DNG

    you have raw and linear...

    http://www.barrypearson.co.uk/articles/dng/linear.htm

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    Administrator Colin Southern's Avatar
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    Re: Colour space & File format (& sensor cleaning)

    "just beware also of the different types of DNG

    you have raw and linear..."


    Technically quite right, but in practice there's no reason I can think of why a Canon shooter using Adobe products would ever want to use Linear DNG. To be honest, I'd forgotten it even existed until you mentioned it.

    Cheers,

    Colin - pbase.com/cjsouthern

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    Re: Colour space & File format (& sensor cleaning)

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    "just beware also of the different types of DNG

    you have raw and linear..."


    Technically quite right, but in practice there's no reason I can think of why a Canon shooter using Adobe products would ever want to use Linear DNG. To be honest, I'd forgotten it even existed until you mentioned it.
    The files from the new Pany G1 can only be converted at present to linear dng -- it makes them huge apparently -- something to do with lens corrections embedded in the raw.

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    Re: Colour space & File format (& sensor cleaning)

    "Possibly the key word is "control" if, for example, Nikon software could process Canon files then Canon would lose a degree of control - which I guess has a commercial angle as well as a support one (where someone would be reporting an image issue to Canon - and then Canon would discover that they were processing on a Nikon product). Probably a fairly weak argument, but possibly another headache that neither camp wants. Who knows - just a guess."

    I think this won't help or bring anything new, however I remember that at the beginning, when I started with this "hobby" I thought, because of what I read, that having the pictures in DNG was better than RAW, because of the fact that DNG was universal and the RAW file was,depending on the camera brand, either .raf, .cr2 or .crw, .nef or .nrw, .arw, etc. etc. etc.

    I also read that having a DNG gives you the "security" that you could always open your file. On the contrary, having them in the original format is risky, because the camera manufacterer could decide to stop providing support to the file, ergo you could never open your file anymore.

    Now, after some months of trying, learning, etc. I ask myself, why is Aperture able to deal with almost all the RAW files and PS not?, why, PS can't deal with RAW files per se and has to be convert them into another format? what is the benefict of working then with RAW files in Aperto vs. DNG in PS?

    As I wrotte before, it might be that I'm bringing more confusion than help, however since I'm member of this forum and after reading so much and learning so much from all of you, now I'm using Aperture just to manage my library and the whole editing is done with PSE 6.

    Cheers,
    Daniel

  14. #14
    Administrator Colin Southern's Avatar
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    Re: Colour space & File format (& sensor cleaning)

    Now, after some months of trying, learning, etc. I ask myself, why is Aperture able to deal with almost all the RAW files and PS not?,

    I'd think that the difference is probably one of philosophy - Apple find it's worth their while to update Aperture as new cameras (thus new formats) come on the market, whereas Adobe appear to have a policy of providing only limited backward support.

    Some like to crucify Adobe for this, but personally, I don't find itsuch a big deal - perhaps it's their subtle (or not so subtle!) way of saying "if you use DNG then you won't have this problem"?

    The actual issue is not so much that they don't provide backward compatable support for the cameras as it is that they don't provide backward compatable support for major versions of ACR - and in turn (once they release a new major version of ACR), don't update previous versions with support for new cameras - possibly because they don't want to waste resources updating what is in essence an obsolete product (which may sound somewhat harsh, but that an issue that DNG allows us to get around easily - in fact - it's exactly this scenario that DNG was designed to help with). In contrast, can any of us say with certainty that in 15 years time the likes of DPP 19.8, Lightroom 8, Aperture 7, or ACR 12.9 / CS10 will still open files from the likes of a 10D or a 300D?

    Cheers,

    Colin - pbase.com/cjsouthern
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 21st January 2009 at 07:12 PM.

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    Re: Colour space & File format (& sensor cleaning)

    "I'd think that the difference is probably one of philosophy - Apple find it's worth their while to update Aperture as new cameras (thus new formats) come on the market, whereas Adobe appear to have a policy of providing only limited backward support."

    Yes, but if you compare the aprpoaching of both programs, and you will have to decide, which one suites your needs, wich one would you choose?

    I'm asking because since I joined this forum, I've learned a lot but at the same time I'm getting a little bit confused and what I used to consider as good is now not so.

    Fact is that before I use to do everything with Aperture, now I rediscovered PSE 6.0 and found some quite interesting tools and now I still consider Aperture as part of my workflow, however just for managing reasons. Now the question is, if the aproach MAc gives to the RAW files doesn't bring anythig excepcional to the pictures, then why not using Lightroom instead of Aperture?

    Cheers,
    Daniel

  16. #16
    Administrator Colin Southern's Avatar
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    Re: Colour space & File format (& sensor cleaning)

    Hi Daniel,

    Tough question to answer - not in the least because I'm a PC man and have no experience with Aperture.

    In my mind I tend to think of Aperture and Lightroom as being 2 products competing against each other for the same market share (ie image management with an emphasis on batch processing / global corrections), whereas Photoshop (and to a lesser degree PSE) tend to be much lighter on image management, but with unrivaled tools and mechanisms for image manipulation (with the token image management tool being bridge).

    The Lightroom / Photoshop combination provides the best of both worlds, but how Aperture integrates with the likes of Photoshop, I have no idea.

    I'm tempted to say "if any package or combination of packages does what you want then you probably need look no further", but at the same time I feel that with that approach, if the grass really was greener on the other side of the fence, you wouldn't know - and potentially wouldn't know what you were missing.

    As I say, I'm a PC & Adobe man - so for me the choice is an easy one - although in my case I don't have a need for Lightroom - Photoshop is all I need for my style of shooting.

    There will always be people using the full range of image management and editing software - and if it works for them then (almost by definition) there's no reason why they shouldn't carry on with it. Perhaps if it's a decision you're wresting with, all you can do is try to learn from the experiences of others who have similar needs and experieance with the other competing systems?

    Cheers,

    Colin - pbase.com/cjsouthern

    PS: Final thought - it seems that at the moment the vast majority of post processing questions relate to image manipulation, not image management - and the most popular tool for that is (like it or not), Photoshop. The biggest advantage that I can see in using Photoshop (apart from it being an extremely deep and wide product) is that there's more resources available to users who use it than probably all other products combined. Many examples even here when someone asks for a critique - immediately we jump in with Photoshop terminology (levels, layers, masks etc). So personally, my thought would be "use whatever image management package you like, but you'll probably make it easier for others to help if you're using Photoshop (or to a lesser degree PSE) for Image manipulation.
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 22nd January 2009 at 09:18 AM.

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    Re: Colour space & File format (& sensor cleaning)

    Quote Originally Posted by dasle View Post

    Fact is that before I use to do everything with Aperture, now I rediscovered PSE 6.0 and found some quite interesting tools and now I still consider Aperture as part of my workflow, however just for managing reasons. Now the question is, if the aproach MAc gives to the RAW files doesn't bring anythig excepcional to the pictures, then why not using Lightroom instead of Aperture?

    Cheers,
    Daniel
    Hi Dan, you and a couple of days on the couch have made me quite a convert to Aperture 2 for (a) conversion from Canon etc RAW (b) whole picture editing. Not least as it has one of the most truly explanatory manuals I have seen for years. Will continue that in PP section.

    But in the end I find that landscape shots and birds nearly always require selective editing of a part or parts of image, so you are back to PS/CS/PSE or NX2. No doubt in my mind which branch there, but those guys at Adobe must be on somebody's wavelength.

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    Re: Colour space & File format (& sensor cleaning)

    Hi Chris, in fact since then I'm questioning myself a lot. Now I see the disadvantages from Aperture, even it's really simple to use.

    I'm a Mac user since I was 13 (a long time ago!), let's say it different, Macintosh is turning 25 in next Monday and my parents got my first computer on June 1984. Since then I'm an Apple user and the only experience I've using PCs is at work.

    That is the main reason, why I'm an Aperture user. I'm used to. Now, after trying to convince you to give Aperture a try, and after so much reading a learning I ask my self, what is the meaning of having Aperture if PSE can do everything, except managing the library?

  19. #19
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    Re: Colour space & File format (& sensor cleaning)

    Quote Originally Posted by dasle View Post
    what is the meaning of having Aperture if PSE can do everything, except managing the library?
    As I explained, I became interested in the RAW CONVERSION stage when Canon DPP stopped working on some OS10.5 macs (apparently Graham/Dendrophile has no problem)

    The difference is that when I revisited old CR2 files using PSE4 for conversion, I was careful to do as little as possible before moving on. Like DPP it has only blunt tools for optimising RAW with little logic, just try the settings and see. Using Aperture, the tools are powerful and explained, especially the 5 line levels correction instead of the usual 3 and distinction between Saturation and Vibrancy.

    I have posted my excercise challenge pic at
    PP challenge
    It never got to anything worth posting when I was using DPP and/or PSE 4 despite help from a number of experienced guys on WPF; I think it now has. Get it better still using what ever you like & prove me wrong!

  20. #20
    Administrator Colin Southern's Avatar
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    Re: Colour space & File format (& sensor cleaning)

    "Using Aperture, the tools are powerful and explained, especially the 5 line levels correction instead of the usual 3 and distinction between Saturation and Vibrancy."

    Hi Chris,

    I downloaded the "smoke.zip" package and had a quick look on my home PC - but I think I'll download it again and have a closer look at work (much bigger screen for a start).

    Your mention of the distinction between Saturation & Vibrancy caught my eye - I was wondering if you knew that Adobe added some really cool controls in version 4.xx (and upwards) of their raw converter? Saturation / Vibrancy as well as Clarity are there - and in addition they also added a highlight recovery feature and a Fill Light (the fill light alone was a good enough reason for me to upgrade to this version - it's proved to be an absolute lifesaver on many occasions - it works beautifully). They also added very granular control of hue / saturation / brightness of colours over about 8 ranges - and simplified tone curves. It's been an absolute treat to work with.

    Apologies in advance if you already know all of this - I sometimes get a bit lost keeping track of who's using what here (I blame it on old age!) - just thought you may have only seen the older versions of ACR.

    Good to hear you're on the mend too!

    Cheers,

    Colin

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