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Free RAW processing

Discussion in 'Digital Image Editing & Printing' started by William Parker, Mar 26, 2018.

  1. William Parker

    William Parker Well-Known Member

    I have never taken a RAW image and to be honest i never had any intention too. There are to reasons for this first the sort of subjects I take are often record shots and I like to think that many of the photos I take can easily be improved/corrected using simple to use free packages that deal with jpegs only.
    However there seems to be an underline tone is various magazines that one isn't a serious photographer unless one shoots in RAW. I fully understand, well i think I do, why some use RAW images and I might be tempted to go down that road with certain photo projects but I very much doubt if I would ever be convinced to drop jpegs altogether.
    I like the simple life and I am not one for spending hours fiddling and faffing with a single image for hours on end and ending up with something that isn't the real 'truth', I know that sounds a bit confrontational/ controversial but that's how I feel and added to that I'm a bit thick and having watched some tutorials on the subject have found myself rapidly loosing interest.Perhaps there are two types of photographer, those who like taking photos and those who like spending hours 'processing' but as they say 'each to his own' never the less I would like a bit of advice.

    These might sound like stupid questions but one has to ask in order to learn and so here goes. Oh incidentally I have a Panasonic disc which came with a camera actually a GX7 bought new at a bargain after that model had ceased production, I have loaded and uninstalled the complete disc twice. It doesn't seem to work I am using Windows 10 and maybe the software isn't compatible ?

    So my first question, am I correct in thinking that 'Silkypix' software, which is on the above mentioned disc, will process RAW files and also have image manipulation software as well? I know it can be downloaded independently from Panasonic and is actually nothing to do with them.

    Second question, I believe Darktable and Rawtherapee are also available and free, has anyone much experience of them?

    I am not prepared to take out any form of subscription so Photoshop's creative cloud and Lightroom our out but I might consider Photoshop Elements, does this also work well with jpegs too? and if I purchase the CD rather than a direct down load, does the CD actually have the data on it or just a link to their own website, along with a installation code? if it's the latter I might as well just directly download it.

    Sorry for the list and I hope it all makes sense and thanks in advance.
  2. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Well, every picture you have taken has been a raw image. You didn't choose to save it and you saved the camera conversion instead maybe.

    Silkypix is "Japan's leading raw conversion software". I didn't check the quote. It is pretty horrible to use but quite effective. Several OEMs bundle a cut-down version. I came across the Fuji version first and have tried the full version demo. which is "better" in terms of output but compared to LR is like having teeth pulled.

    Lightroom has the edge for me because of all the other stuff (catalogue, blurb, posting to Flickr, printing) that comes with it. I'm on the standalone version .

    Onone is making a pitch for the LR market - I'm running it out of interest but prefer LR by miles.

    CaptureOne is excellent but costs more than LR

    Canon DPP is excellent but onlt for Canon.

    RawTherapee will do anything you want, in 10 different ways, enjoy!

    Photoshop elements uses Adobe Camera Raw - same converter used in LR and Photoshop but possibly a different interface. I don't know. I couldn't understand Elements version 7 which must be 10 years ago.

    AP said they plan to run an in depth coverage of raw processors this year. Past stuff has been rather basic and limited to "if you move this slider x happens"
    William Parker likes this.
  3. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    As PeteRob says, _everyone_ shoots RAW. Some people then do RAW conversion in camera, with or without any interaction, and some people do RAW conversion after the fact in a secondary piece of software. Some people even shoot JPG + RAW and use them for different purposes.

    I can spend anything from 0 seconds to several hours processing an image. For 98% of images it's 0 seconds. Lightroom imports them all, and auto-processes them using a standard template that takes out lens effects, adds some sharpening and choose some default exposure changes. Pretty much exactly what the camera would have done. For a few images, I then spend more time, from a minute to as mentioned, several hours.

    I don't think people who shoot JPG aren't serious photographers, and I actually think that feeling is presented more by those who don't shoot RAW than by those who do.

    Plenty of high profile well known professional photographers shoot JPG, and almost every sports / press photographer shoots JPG (because they need to submit their work straight from the 'scene' and so can't post-process them). I'd bet my boots that many of them shoot JPG + RAW though, just in case.

    There's no single right way to shoot photographs, just lots of ways that suit different people, situations and subjects.

    After having said all that, I found both Darkstable and RAWTherapee have very steep learning curves. I hated both of them, and they taught me nothing about processing RAW images. As well as having to learn how to process an image, you're also having to learn how to use a piece of software with a terrible interface.

    I clicked with Lightroom in minutes. Your mileage may vary.
    William Parker likes this.
  4. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    NB: As I told a friend of mine, if you don't want to shoot RAW, just don't shoot RAW. It doesn't matter.
  5. William Parker

    William Parker Well-Known Member

    Thanks Tony,much appreciated
  6. GlennH

    GlennH Well-Known Member

    Elements is primarily intended for rendered images (JPEGs, TIFFs, etc), but you can edit those same files in ACR if you want instead of opening them directly into Elements itself. That way, you'd be editing metadata instead of pixels, leaving the original file intact. For someone that only wants to perform basic, quick edits on photos, that seems like a feasible way of working. You'd likely have to dig into Elements for some tasks (e.g. resizing a copy for the web), but you could use ACR for much of the donkey work in the same way that many people use Lightroom.
    William Parker likes this.
  7. El_Sid

    El_Sid Well-Known Member

    Yes, Silkypix will process the raw files. I downloaded a copy from the Silkypix website to try with the files from my G3. The version I have is Windows 10 compatible and it seems to do a decent job but it's a bit clunky compared to Adobe so now I tend to convert the files to DNG and use those in Adobe Camera Raw. I also downloaded a current version of RawTherapee which seems to work well but the interface seems to be far less user friendly than it once was.

    I also downloaded a trial copy of the current elements but found the 'raw converter' part a very poor and cut down version of the full program missing most of the really useful features of the proper version. Even my antiquated CS3 version is far superior to the Elements option - you'd be far better served by RawTherapee or even Silkypix.

    Ultimately though if you have no need to shoot raw, don't. When or if you find yourself struggling to get a JPEG to look the way you want without the IQ going to pot then that's the time to consider looking at raw processing.
    William Parker likes this.
  8. William Parker

    William Parker Well-Known Member

    Thanks everyone for taking the time to comment.
  9. Brian

    Brian Venerable Elder

    In broad terms Tony I agree with you. However, one thing that puzzles me and that is. How can you spend several hours processing an image?

    I reckon anything more then two minutes is reason to press the delete button and go down the pub.
    spinno likes this.
  10. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    Each to their own. I reckon if you find an image you like, then investing time in making it better isn't wasted, but I'd never suggest your approach was wrong.

    I love this image

    [​IMG]On the other bank by Tony Evans, on Flickr

    It probably took me about an hour to get it to the stage it's at. Trying different processing, removing a couple of cherry pickers and a couple of birds which didn't add anything. I printed it - which then involved slight re-cropping and proofing changes. As soon as I got the print, I noticed the rubbish in the water on the right hand side. Not the twigs and grass, but the plastic bottles. The print I got is fairly small, part of my 'trying to print more of my work', but now I can't unsee those plastic bottles, so I have every intention of removing them, which'll probably take another hour maybe to do it convincingly.

    I also really like this shot,

    [​IMG]Where you been? by Tony Evans, on Flickr

    I had to remove half a car from that shot to get the one I wanted (was there 10 minutes, didn't get any useful people without cars). That took a little while. I've actually made quite a big mistake with the road markings, having checked some other source shots. When I had that one printed, I had to crop it and only had one line of the white lines in it, so it's not as obvious, but I'll go back and fix it so that the white lines are more realistic, again, probably another hour.

    I really love this shot.

    [​IMG]Geometry by Tony Evans, on Flickr

    Post processing took 10 minutes.

    I love this shot.

    [​IMG]More Art Gallery by Tony Evans, on Flickr

    Post processing was about 5 minutes.

    It varies, and I don't think it's wasted effort. I think the post-processing on the ones I spent time on improves those images over the originals.
  11. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    I find it varies too. For the most part I do the weeding (deleting the worse) for Canon images in DPP - it is a shame it doesn't work for Fuji - because it is quick and simple. This saves time fiddling about in LR with images that aren't going to benefit from time spent. I then add the folder to LR. I haven't really got into using user-presets for import (except for Fuji where I add author and copyright info. and set to Astia film simulation). Once in LR I generally take the first image of the set and set any global adjustments, then I synch those across all of the day's import. Then I go through the set to see if local adjustments are needed. If I have similar images then I'll copy-paste develop settings from one to another. It's all pretty quick. I am not very good at using LR to do "removing" clutter I unless it is very simple stuff like dust-spots. I'm trying to learn how to use On1 which has photoshop-like tools for that but I find it all far too complicated.
  12. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    Lightroom's not very good at it unless it's just spots! Some stuff works okay, other stuff not so much. The car I took out was in photoshop, which is much more successful than Lightroom for the same amount of invested effort, I find.
  13. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Ah, I couldn't really understand how you could do it in LR! I don't think I could cope with Photoshop. I got lost on Elements 7, can't figure out On1 once it goes beyond develop and so have little interest to migrate to the subscription LR classic. Does Photoshop "bloat" like On1. I didn't actually do any editing (I gave up) but it created a 240 MB .psd file (since deleted) alongside the 20 MB raw file I was trying to improve.
  14. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    If you start adding layers and the like in Photoshop, the images get very big, very quickly. For the road to nowhere, the .CR2 raw is 21.5MB, the .PSD file is 34.7MB, so not terrible.
  15. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

  16. William Parker

    William Parker Well-Known Member

    I'll drink to that!

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