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Old Aug 25, 2005, 5:10 PM   #1
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I have written a fairly substantial review of four no-cost converters (FreeRaw, RawGem, Fuji LE, S7Raw), which may be of interest to others:
http://www.whisper-wood.co.uk/FujiRawConv.pdf
(this is over 10MB, and contains numerous example images).


The review also contains some introductory material, which may be helpful to those not familiar with raw file conversion.

The results will no doubt spark some controversy, but certainly show the importance of choosing the right converter.
Ian.
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Old Aug 25, 2005, 9:02 PM   #2
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Thanks for the info, I am printing it right now. I really wanted to learn more about using RAW with my S7000. This camera has reignited my interest in the process of photography, it has been over 15 years since I had my own darkroom but now I can sit at my computer and enjoy the process in the light of day. Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy taking pictures more than post processing.

Thanks again, I guess I have my bedtime reading tonight.

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Old Aug 26, 2005, 9:47 AM   #3
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I have a Fuji S5100. I realize that I'm not a major player in the RAW image game. I have played with S7raw and have tried the conversion to TIF that can be done with the FinePixViewer software. I find S7raw slow and unintuitive, and the TIF conversions done by the Fuji software were extremely disappointing, and they were only 8-bit images. Of course, I guess I am a little spoiled because I have Photoshop CS2 and have Adobe Camera Raw to compare with these other applications. And maybe it's because I have spent considerable time studying the information Adobe has made available. My camera does a pretty good job with RAW images. Perhaps someday I will be able to get a higher megapixel camera, but in the meantime my camera, teamed with the Adobe software, is providing very good results for me.
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Old Aug 30, 2005, 5:54 PM   #4
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I am experimenting now with RAW files, I find there are a lot of opinions when it comes to Fuji Super CCD sensors which interpolate up in the RAW format. I have read from S7000 posts, here and on other forums, and it seems that some people will always use RAW and process it using S7raw, others claim that 12MP fine jpg is just as good and still others feel that the 6MP setting offers just as much usable resolution. This article has me looking again, I have shot only 6MP up to this point since I could see little difference in prints, I guess it is time to try again.

Anyone else have any comments on Fuji RAW files in the S7000 or other non-DSLR models?

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Old Aug 30, 2005, 9:26 PM   #5
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If you are trying to compare RAW images against JPEG images on your computer monitor, I seriously doubt you will ever be able to see much difference. But, remember that computer monitors are typically displaying at a mere 72 PPI. And if you are taking your JPEG images at the highest resolution, you will convince yourself that there is no need to shoot raw images. But I think one of the main advantages of the raw images is that they are true 16-bit images. And if you use a good raw converter and convert the image to a non lossy file format you will find that you can get just a little bit more out of them. I find that my images from the 5100 benefit from the sharpening tool that is in the Adobe raw converter. And there are some other options that really help. Occasionally I get a little bit of vignetting, and there is a tool to correct the problem. One thing I like about the Adobe raw converter is that all the changes that I make to the original raw file can be canceled at any time, and I can have the original image as it was taken and start over again. Once you have converted the raw image, it is not saved again in the raw format. It is necessary to save it to another format such as TIF or PSD. And then eventually, after finishing all post processing in Photoshop, if I'm going to save as a JPEG, it's necessary to reduce the image to 8-bit. But I have found a lot of satisfaction in working with the raw images. Yes, I have to use some additional plug-ins that I have acquired to get the results I'm looking for. But I think the extra work is worth it.
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Old Aug 31, 2005, 7:23 AM   #6
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jphess

I agree completely with your post, however there is one issue here. Your S5100 has a standard Bayer matrix sensor which means that your RAW files are pixel by pixel accurate. My S7000 must use interpolation to produce the rows and columns required for a standard image file because the sensor's SuperCCD uses a diagonal array of octagonal shaped photosites. This means that to produce rows and columns it must fill in spaces which have no photosite, that is why the 6MP sensor produces a 12MP output (explained in the pdf file with this thread). Some claim that this causes degradation of the image due to the interpolation, they wrongly believe that the 6MP mode is actually pixel by pixel, but it isn't. In order to produce a file smaller than 12MP my camera must do its interpolation to 12MP and then reduce resolution to the desired level, therefore the 6MP files have still been subject to interpolation.

Now for the RAW issue, your camera produces an uninterpolated RAW file which contains all of the captured data at the higher bit level. My S7000 creates a standard image matrix of 12MP before saving the RAW file, so even the RAW file has hadinterpolation.

Since this is also true of the professional S2 DSLR, and that camera is a favourite of portrait photographers, I assume that the interpolation is not a serious problem, but here we have the issue of sensor size as well. The S2 uses a large APS sized sensor while the S7000 uses a tiny 1/1.7" device. Clear as Mud isn't it.

I will continue to use 6MP whenever I am away from a computer and need to take lots of pictures but I will use RAW for those special images. I do not have the Adobe converter because I only have a "hand-me-down" PS7 (too bad he hasn't upgraded from CS yet) and the first issue PSElements that came with an Epson scanner, can't afford CS2. I have used RAW Converter LE (pretty pointless to shoot RAW if there are no options for adjusting the files before you convert to tiff), and S7raw (which will take quite some time to master) but no other converters.

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Old Aug 31, 2005, 8:54 AM   #7
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I have recently bought an S7000 and on the Finepix disk is a RAW converer. Is this suitable for downloading RAW images, or would I need other software? By the way, I find the 12M setting on my S7000 most suitable for producing A4 prints which I enter in my photo club's competitions.

Interesting forum ...
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Old Aug 31, 2005, 10:02 AM   #8
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Monza76,

There you go again reminding me of just how minuscule my knowledge base is. I didn't realize the problem of the different matrixes. However, I do know that the Adobe raw converter will convert the images from the 7000. I understand that Photoshop is expensive. But have you considered getting Photoshop Elements? The latest version has the capability to utilize the Adobe raw converter, although it isn't as fully functional as it is in Photoshop. There is another raw converter that I'm keeping my eye on, but it doesn't support Fuji cameras yet. When it does, I will provide more information about it.

hado,

The raw converter you referred to didn't impress me. There is no capability to manipulate the raw image before it is converted. And I wasn't very impressed with the converted tiff file. And the other thing that disappointed me about the conversion is that the file was converted to 8-bit in the process. So I felt that I lost a lot of the benefit of shooting the raw image.
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Old Aug 31, 2005, 3:23 PM   #9
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A couple of comments.

If you shoot RAW, you can have the best of both worlds.

1. If you use the RAW converter that came with your camera, you will get an 8-bit tiff file that looks just like the jpg file that comes out of the camera. Makes it simple, just drag all the files to the converter, and your done. Kind of defeats the purpose of shooting RAW, since you only get a photo that looks like the "out of camera" jpg.

2. You still have the RAW file to use, to get the best pic that you can from the file... using whatever program you decide is best for you.

I use S7Raw and Picture Window Pro. I use S7Raw to make exposure corrections if needed, save as a 16-bit tiff, and use PWP for all other adjusments. All of PWP's functions are 16-bit (48-bit color), so I prefer it over PS, PSP, and others.

Just my 2 cents.
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Old Aug 31, 2005, 4:54 PM   #10
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Well, I guess S7Raw is a pretty good choice. After reading your comment about it I went back and tried it again. I still say that I don't like it nearly as well as I do Adobe Camera Raw. And I don't want to start a big discussion about the merits of different photo editing software programs. But you say that you like your editor because everything is 16-bit and that is why you like it better than Photoshop. I just wanted to mention that with the latest version of Photoshop everything but some of the artistic filters is available. I have yet to work on a 16-bit image where I needed to choose a filter that was not available. And everything else, i.e. adjustment layers, all of the image adjustment controls, everything that I depend upon constantly, is available. But the nice thing is that there are a number of different alternatives available. And if we are able to get the results we are looking for, what else matters?
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