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Old Nov 14, 2008, 9:18 PM   #1
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Hi Guys

I know I;ve mentioned that I've not been too happy with the RAW to jpeg conversions done by ADobe's ACR/LR when compared to what the incam Jpeg engine of the E3 seems to be able to produce, specifically in terms of detail and grain. I finally managed to pull my finger out and got some pics done for you to take a look and have your opinion:

* Oly Jpeg from E3



100% crop:




* Adobe CS3 ACR 4.6 + Standard Beta Profile 2 + No NR



100% crop of ACR raw conversion:



I first spotted the difference when working on this pic taken at Chinese New year celebrations this year and was kind of stunned with the difference between the output from the E3 and ACR

Now I do like ACR/LR in terms of usability but with E3 ORF files , its clear that there is some NR going on even when none has been applied. I'm aslo suprised that in terms of detail and grain that the Oly Jpeg and thus Oly Studio RAW conversions seem to be much better.

I'll try and do a Bibble,Silkypix and Capture 1 conversions too with the same file and see how the output compares to the in Cam Jpegs.


Cheers


Harj

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Old Nov 14, 2008, 9:46 PM   #2
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Hi Harjtt: I'm looking at this on my laptop screen, and the Oly definitely has an edge. Look at the chrome screw head on the side of the camera in the two photos. IMHO, the Oly Jpeg blowup is not only sharper, but has more "snap" than the Adobe in the chrome high lights.

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Old Nov 15, 2008, 6:51 AM   #3
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Hi Steve

I agree with you mate .. the Oly Jpeg/Studio/Master files are better in terms of detail and grain over ACR/LR. The Oly jpegs were only HQ becuase at the time I didn;t know there was a Super HQ setting on the E3 so i;d assume the IQ and detail would be even better. Once I've compared some of the other RAW convertors I'll be deciding on whether to buy Studio . I doubt you'd notice the difference in a 8x10 print but if you were to go larger then it could well be an issue and it might explain why some of my pics in LR/ACR look soft even compared to the Oly jpeg.

In terms of usuability ACR/CS/LR wins hands down but IQ is whats counts and even with the latest ACR engine and camera profiles its clearly lacking.

Cheers

Harj

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Old Nov 15, 2008, 7:19 AM   #4
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A lot of Sony A700 owners were not real happy with the way ACR processed their images, giving a "blotchy" appearance to the noise grain pattern. In fairness, Sony's NR leaves something to be desired, too. lol

Bibble's demosaic algorithms tend to produce a finer grain pattern. So, you may want to give it a spin.

It looks like DxO Optics Pro's latest 5.3 version has made some major breakthroughs in Noise Reduction at the raw level. But, I don't see any Olympus models on their list of supported cameras yet. So, you may want to drop them a note and see if they have plans to add them at some point.

Note the noise comparisons here:

http://www.dxo.com/intl/photo/dxo_op...rsion/high_iso

Note that competitor A in some of the samples was Nikon Capture NX, and competitor B was Adobe Camera Raw (click and hold your left mouse button down on one of the competitor labels to see the result).

From the looks of your photos, it looks like Olympus is taking the same approach as Nikon to reduce noise.

Dave Etchells put together a video interview that goes through some of the results with DXO Optics Pro. It's pretty impressive stuff. You'll see it at the bottom of this page:

http://www.imaging-resource.com/NEWS/1224662427.html

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Old Nov 15, 2008, 8:25 AM   #5
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Hi Jim

Thanks for the reply .. and always a really good one too!

Just watched the video of DxO and what an impressive bit of software/RAW convertor - the high ISO conversions are seriously impressive and the comparisons between Nikon's and ACR really hit home. Other real pluses are the Adobe CS/LR plugin - a nice touch esp if your already using those apps. I'm going to mail them and see if they have any plans to intro support for other cameras such as the E3. If so they'll be getting my money.

In the meantime I'm going to test out Bibble, I know Bob and a few others use it as their favorite RAW convertor.

Cheers

Harj

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Old Nov 15, 2008, 8:12 PM   #6
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Hi harjTT: very interesting that you were only shooting in HQ. I've found the SHQ to be definitely superior in my 4/3rds. I assume that would still hold true for the E-3.

I've found the SHQ jpegs perfect for all around shooting, and only switch to RAW for certain shots. Part of that is that I use some good software programs that do a good job in pp the Jpegs if I need to touch them up a little. (And I've already got 2 computer hard drives almost to capacity with my photos, it would be worst if everything was RAW. I really need to start using an on-line storage system.)

Steve R.


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Old Nov 15, 2008, 10:56 PM   #7
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I don't have the E3 but the E520 and I found the in-camera RAW to JPEG converter works very well. I have difficulties matching IQ by doing the conversion myself (whether through Olympus Master or Adobe). So, I just save myself time and space on my memory cards and shoot high quality JPEG.
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Old Nov 16, 2008, 6:56 AM   #8
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Hi Steve,

When I got the E3 I had assumed that the HQ Jpegs were the highest available and only became aware of the SHQ jpeg setting after reading a comment posted by Riley regards the DPR review of the E3 where he pointed out that they didn;t use the highest quality setting available for their jpeg tests. I can;t understand why Oly basically hid that option in another menu setting - it should been the default in my opinion for all E cameras.

Now if DxO were to support 4/3 cameras RAW files then it open's up a whole new High ISO experience for all. Looking at the video - you could shoot at ISO1600 and be able to have an image that looked as if it were shot at ISO400 or lower and that would be pretty impressive. At the moment if the incam jpeg is spot on then I just keep both files but use the jpeg, otherwise I'm working on the RAW's to fix WB, etc.

Cheers

Harj

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Old Nov 16, 2008, 8:53 AM   #9
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.............I agree that the SHQ should be the default setting forI believe that all software should be at maximum features allowing the user to turn them down and no harassment to recognize when there are more 'BETTER' options then making the options difficult to find.

I can tell you that for the many years I designed and wrote software applications I never skipped the good stuff during implementation. If I wrote a feature to the good of the app, I wanted it used as primary and if later it proved to be a second rate demand then quit using it.

Cameras and cars come with user manuals but most don't read them first, if ever.... (count me in the most list).

BTW, there is a new version (5) of BibblePro about to be released.
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Old Nov 16, 2008, 1:29 PM   #10
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* Bibble Pro - No PP other than setting Noise Ninja to 0.



100% Crop




* ACR 4.6 + Std Beta 2 profile + No NR ( Re did the ACR but this time just with default settings)




100 % crop




ACR id definitely applying some kind of NR to the RAW file or the ORF already has some NR applied to it - a bit like Sony's RAW files and that makes me wonder if Oly Studio/Master are able to remove it whereas ACR can;t. The output from Bibble looks good - a little warmer than ACR and the Oly in cam jpegs, but I do like the grain, very similar to that of Studio/Master and the in cam jpegs. I'll need to spend some time learning the Bibble.

Cheers

Harj
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