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Old Jun 4, 2007, 9:40 PM   #1
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I've been trying to edit some RAW (NEF) shots, and the surprising thing is that I'm not getting results as good as what the D80 produces directly as a JPEG. In fact, I find I'm getting better results with a little rebalancing of the camera JPG than starting from raw.

I've tried Nikon's Capture software in Windows, Ufraw in Gimp on Linux, and Bibble on Linux.

In all cases, I either get more noise or less sharpness. I've yet to match both noise and sharpness directly from the camera.

Considering that the little processor in the camera is producing superior JPGs in a fraction of a second as compared to 15 seconds on a 3 GHz processor is amazing to me. I keep thinking I must be overlooking something obvious, but I don't know what.
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Old Jun 5, 2007, 3:16 PM   #2
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Although I'm using PS2 with our D70S's, I used to use Rawshooter Essentials, and had no problems whatsoever. It's a free download, maybe you could try that.
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Old Jun 5, 2007, 4:44 PM   #3
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Well, any setting combination is going to be a compromise. When you sharpen, you tend to bring out noise. ;-) But, a heavily processed image with low noise can still appear to be sharp (sharpening the smoothed out image).

You have to compare "real detail" versus perceived sharpness to determine what's working best.

If you're using Linux, make sure to give the newer digiKam releases a try using more of the settings, too. It's using dcraw.c code (as is UFRaw and others). But, it's got some additional parameters it can use for noise reduction and more during raw conversion. It's also got some separate noise reduction filters (and you can save custom profiles and reload them after experimenting with the noise reduction profiles using your images).

I've been pretty impressed with the latest digiKam 0.9.2 Beta 3 (although the newer versions are not in most repositories). I pulled digiKam 0.9.2 Beta 3 from Debian Experimental this morning (this beta was released a couple of days ago and a package for it has already made it to Debian Experimental). It's been running fine on my PC under a partition I've got Sidux 2007-2 installed on (a distro based on Debian Sid/Unstable). I've been running 0.9.0 and 0.9.1 final under some other distros, and the newer 0.9.2 betas appear to have some performance tweaks (better than expected).

I was running 0.9.2 Beta 1 before that all day yesterday (it's in Debian Sid/Unstable right now). But, I figured I'd give 0.9.2 Beta 3 a try now that it's out (and even the digiKam developers think it's suitable for production work now, despite it's beta status). Note the "rock solid" comments in the release announcement for this new beta:


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Old Jun 7, 2007, 9:15 PM   #4
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I tried "Lightzone" and got results much closer to the in-camera. The difference was a much more aggressive use of both sharpening and noise reduction. I then set similarly agressive settings in "Bibble" and got good results. I need to play with it some more, but I'm inclined to fairly aggressive sharpnening and noise reduction settings now.


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