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Old Feb 27, 2006, 10:06 PM   #1
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I've started to use RAW images with my Rebel XT and now I'm overwhelmed with choices for how to process these.

I've tried Picasa, Canon's Digital Photo Pro, and Photoshop CS.

Photoshop seems to produce the cleanest images. I've been taking lots of low light shots of live bands using ISO 1600.

Does Digital Photo Pro offer any noise reduction? I've also tried Noise Ninja, but it doesn't seem to work with RAW files. I don't want to actually spend money on software until I'm sure I know what I want.

Are there any good tutorials out there for working with RAW files?
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Old Feb 27, 2006, 11:44 PM   #2
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ccfoo wrote:
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I've started to use RAW images with my Rebel XT and now I'm overwhelmed with choices for how to process these.

I've tried Picasa, Canon's Digital Photo Pro, and Photoshop CS.

Photoshop seems to produce the cleanest images. I've been taking lots of low light shots of live bands using ISO 1600.

Does Digital Photo Pro offer any noise reduction? I've also tried Noise Ninja, but it doesn't seem to work with RAW files. I don't want to actually spend money on software until I'm sure I know what I want.

Are there any good tutorials out there for working with RAW files?
Since each program has its own feature set--and mode of implementing each feature, I haven't seen any generic tutorials for RAW processing. Basically, I think you have to look for information on each individual developer program. I use mostly Silkypix, with some use of RSP in cases, but very generally my workflow goes something like this:

1. Adjust WB
2. Adjust exposure
3. Adjust contrast (including gamma; this is "fill light" on RSP)
4. Readjust exposure if necessary*
5. Adjust color
6. Adjust NR, if necessary (high ISO)
7. Tweak all the above if necessary

*Not infrequently, you'll find that adjusting exposure and contrast have to be done back and forth mutually, since they push the histogram scales up and down.

Silkypix has a sharpening function, but I currently don't use it, because I don't think you should do any sharpening (except local USM to cut haze; see below) until you're ready for final output. I know that some people use several steps of sharpening; I currently use only two; one for haze--if necessary--and one for final.

I currently use PSP for most my sharpening, simply because I've used the program for a long time and am pleased with the output for my JPEGs, and basically I know how to get the results I need.

If a file comes out of Silkypix with too much haze, I'll load it in PSP and immediately do a local sharpening (USM) to lower the haze. Then final sharpening comes after I've decided what to do with the photo. USM makes a big difference depending on whether you're outputting fullsize for print or resizing for web. Silkypix has a 14-day trial with full functionality, but you should allocate a lot of time during that 14-day window for testing since it has so many features. It's also a Japanese program that has been localized to English by non-professional, non-native translators, so the English is kinda wonky.

I also use a standalone NR program (Neatimage) in cases where I find noise hard to handle under Silkypix, or when shooting straight Jpegs. Great piece of software, IMO.

You should definitely continue doing as you have been, trying various programs till you find one that gives the results you like. Different programs handle different camera manufacturer's RAW files quite differently, so results of one program with one camera may not be at all relevant to another camera. FWIW, my use of Silkypix is with an Olympus E-300, which Silky handles quite well for color. I don't know how well it works with your Canon files, tho.





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Old Feb 27, 2006, 11:47 PM   #3
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I would seriously reccomend the free product called RawShooter Essentials (the Premium version is about $89 - I've used both). It is Pro quality and free.
Check it out at http://www.pixmantec.com/

Bill
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Old Feb 27, 2006, 11:50 PM   #4
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bilzmale wrote:
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I would seriously reccomend the free product called RawShooter Essentials (the Premium version is about $89 - I've used both). It is Pro quality and free.
Check it out at http://www.pixmantec.com/

Bill
RSE is definitely a program to have in the bag, but one has to be be careful about its handling of color; it seems to be more sensitive than most programs to particularl flavors of RAW file. It certainly fares poorly with Olympus ORF files (without special definitions, at least).

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Old Feb 28, 2006, 12:32 AM   #5
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Check out this link to another thread in Steve's Forums:

http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...mp;forum_id=31

It's supposed to be linking to some tutorials from Adobe.

Grant
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Old Feb 28, 2006, 8:44 AM   #6
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I use Photoshop CS and use its embedded RAW plug-in. Seems to give great results, but there again I have never compared it to anything else.

Gives me a natural workflow from colour correction, to exposure, then to Photoshop itself.

Mark


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Old Feb 28, 2006, 10:31 PM   #7
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granthagen wrote:
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Check out this link to another thread in Steve's Forums:

http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...mp;forum_id=31

It's supposed to be linking to some tutorials from Adobe.

Grant



Thanks! I just watched the one on Adobe Bridge. There's some others on RAW images, too.
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