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Old May 24, 2007, 1:35 PM   #11
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Thanks for the information, Sarah. I had seen the ToneUp S3 recommended elsewhere, and looked at the website. If I start processing RAW files more heavily, I may well try it - it seems incredible value. At the moment, now that I am more familiar with the exposures on the matrix metering, the camera JPEGs are good enough for me, and I've still got a RAW file in reserve.
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Old May 24, 2007, 1:51 PM   #12
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Thanks for the information JimC. I have used RawShooter Essentials and D40Hack but it is only a reserve at the moment. D40Hack operates in DOS but its a rapid batch operation, and there is no downside changing the D40 to D70 in the NEF file for me. (I don't retain them once the JPEG is filed). The main advantage of your suggestion would for me would be a result whereby the WB didn't have to be reset. Sincethe file is still being treated as a D70 file, I assume that the WB would still have to be reset followingyour modification of the RawShooter Essentials executable? The better solution for me (if I used RAW more heavily) would be to try ToneUp S3 as suggested by Sarah in her post.
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Old May 24, 2007, 4:10 PM   #13
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I wouldn't modify my actual .nef files unless there was no other alternative.

The Raw Shooter Essentials "hack" I mentioned (just using a hex editor to change occurances of D70 to D40) is relatively simple to perform. I don't know for sure that it would work. But, that worked fine when KM introduced the 5D when I modified RSE 2005 for it. I didn't need to modify RSE 2006, since that camera was supported in the newer version. So, I'd grab a hex editor, search for D70, change occurances of D70 found to D40 and give it a whirl.

That way, it could process your .nef files without the need to modify the .nef files. It's not going to understand the WB properly either way. So, why modify every raw file when you can modify the program only once? ;-)

If you modify the .nef files, that means that programs designed to work with the D40's White Balance may not know how to deal with it (because they may be seeing D70 in the metadata and try to process it that way instead). So, I'd modify the Raw Shooter Essentials program instead if you like it, versus messing up your .nef files so that other converters you may want to try later won't work right since they think they're from a D70. lol

Chances are, the byte offsets for information contained in the metadata changed a bit between models, too. To make it even more complicated, Nikon encrypts the metadata related to White Balance in newer models (although it's not encrypted in the D70). So, it's best to keep the .nef files intact so that other raw converters that decode the encrypted White Balance information for your camera can interpret it properly.

Some raw converters do decode it, since Dave Coffin (the author of dcraw.c) publishes the decryption algorithms in Ansi C Source that other developers can look at. Some converters use an SDK (Software Developers Kit) from Nikon to decrypt it, too.

There are a number of raw converters that will work with your D40 (including decrypting and applying the "as shot" white balance), and many of them are free.

Personally, I use some of the Linux based applications more often than applications in Windows for raw conversion. My PC is setup with a free boot manager that lets me select the operating system I want to boot into, and I've got Windows XP Pro and more than one Linux distribution installled. lol

But, there are some good free converters around that will run under Windows, too. One you may want to try is UFRaw. It's not as fast as raw shooter essentials. But, it does a pretty good job.

http://ufraw.sourceforge.net/

Personally, I never much liked the conversion using Raw Shooter Essentials anyway. But, a lot of users do like it. Adobe must have found something they like about it, too (after all, they did acquire the technology). lol

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Old May 24, 2007, 4:36 PM   #14
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JimC, I understand what you're saying but I'm just not using RawShooter Essentials enough to bother about it, and I'm not keeping the NEFs. But if I was, the D40Hack program can simply toggle back to D40 if I run it again, so other programs will recognize the file. I don't believe anything else is done to the file other than change those characters each time it is run. I'm pretty sure I will be trying other convertors in the future which cater more for the D40, but thank you for the suggestion about modifying RawShooter Essentials. I've got nothing to compare it with, but it does at least have good documentation, and given me some capablity.

In order to be more serious about pp in general, I really need to update my PC + Windows 2000 to dual core and probably Vista, but I always put off upgrading software versions as long as possible. From what I've read, the RAW convertors are pretty slow with older hardware.
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Old May 24, 2007, 5:54 PM   #15
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It reallly depends on the converter.

The more advanced algorithms (for example, the latest Adaptive Homogeneity-Directed (AHD) algorithm used by default with newer versions of dcraw.c (and programs based on Dave Coffin's dcraw.c code) tend to take a bit longer to render the image.

But, programs using older and less advanced algorithms like VNG (
Variable Number of Gradients) tend to render images faster. That's the type of algorithm most cameras are going to use for internal processing (the older and faster algorithms). A number of programs support more than one algorithm for their raw conversion.

The way a program handles highlight recovery will also impact performanee (as does use of tone/contrast curves and more).

I tend to use a Linux program called digiKam more often than other converters anymore. It's raw conversion is based mostly on Dave Coffin's code, and it gives you a number of options as to the algorithms it's using for demosacing the image (AHD, Bicupic, VNG) as well as multiple options for highlight recovery.

But, there are faster programs. For example Eric Hyman's Bibble is pretty fast.

There are a number of other programs to choose from, too. I'd suggest trying a few converters and see which ones fit into your workflow the best for those times when you're glad you shot raw + jpeg. ;-)

As for a new PC, it depends on what software you plan to use, and where the bottlenecks are with your existing PC (drive speed, ram amount/ speed, cpu speed, etc.). Personally, I wouldn't be in a hurry to jump on Vista.
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Old May 25, 2007, 1:17 AM   #16
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My PC isn't particularly slow, its more that several programs now need XP or later, so I'll wait until Vista has developed enough. I've always built my PCs re-using the case, and making another one to sell to someone else, but now my son tells me its cheaper just buying a new one. Goes against the grain just throwing away perfectly good components, but I suppose that's progress? Although dual core is much faster for rendering, its primarily disk read that is the limiting factor, so that won't change much, and I don't get as excited about a new PC or software as a new camera!
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