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Old Dec 27, 2005, 10:54 PM   #11
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Actually, the first shots I noticed the problem on were outdoor shots, only it wasn't as prominent as in the examples I provided. Basically the brightest part of the sky had a strange bluish cast with a very noticeable edge. It affected the tree branches in front of it as well. However, there was no such effect on the corresponding JPG, which was not overexposed. That's the problem, is that it doesn't just occur in overexposed areas, it occurs in the brightest spots in correctly exposed photos, effectively diminishing the dynamic range.

I've attached a crop of the first image I noticed it on. Notice that in the RAW image, the sky looks blown out even though the image is darker than the JPG, but the JPG image looks fine. You can tell it isn't overexposed because there's still blue in the brightest part of the sky. I applied a curves adjustment to darken the midtones and you can see that the JPG still has fine detail that is lost in the RAW. The RAW image looks like I took a large white brush and dodged over that portion of the sky.

Again, I'm not saying it's the camera or the RAW file itself, I believe it is the Photoshop plugin misinterpretting the data in the RAW file. When importing the RAW, I used the same settings as in the R2D2 image, with everything set to 0. None of the sliders can fix the blown out portion of the sky, unless I overexpose the image to the point where the entire sky is pure white.


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Old Dec 27, 2005, 11:57 PM   #12
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Wow, interesting stuff. I am new to RAW, and after these postsI might just stick with JPEGs. Would be nice if Panasonic would release its own proprietary RAW processing software. That's the only way to determine if this is an in-camera or software problem.


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Old Dec 28, 2005, 1:40 AM   #13
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Corpsy wrote:
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Similar adjustments can be made extremely easily, quickly, and without taking up file space by using Picasa http://picasa.google.com/index.html
I suggest some of you give it a try, it's similar to adjusting RAW files with ACR, only much faster and easier, and you don't have to resave your images, the adjustments are stored by the program itself (similar to xmp files for RAW).

I have Picasa, but I don't like using it since everytime I open it the program takes minutes to scan all my photos and I can't just open files from their actual location, but I need to import all my images into Picasa again before being able to work on them. I find that to be a pain. Also, when you import them, does it actually make copies at another location? I am not crazy about the interface from what I have seen so far. However, I like the idea of not having to recompress jpeg images every time I do some pp on them. How does that work in PS? Is there a difference between image adjustments and using the "New Layer Adjustment" as far as quality loss is concerned when re-saving images?
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Old Dec 28, 2005, 2:02 AM   #14
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I have Picasa set up to only scan certain folders for new images, so there isn't much waiting at all to get into it. As long as I drop my images into that folder or a subfolder, I'm good.

Picasa doesn't make copies of your images, but it saves the changes you make to the images, like rotation, fill light, cropping, effects, etc... It probably saves thumbnails though. I like that you can undo the changes at any time since your original isn't being touched.

The difference with adjustment layers is that you have to save them onto a PSD file, which will obviously be a lot bigger than a JPG, and every time you save a file as a JPG you lose some quality, even at the max quality setting. Perhaps if PS had some way of using a linked JPG in a PSD that allowed you to lay adjustment layers on top, and which would only save a link to the image and the adjustments rather than the image itself, then you'd really have an effecient way to touch up photos without filling up hard drive space.
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Old Dec 28, 2005, 3:28 AM   #15
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I did a little reading around the forums and came across this RAW converter: http://ufraw.sourceforge.net/

I gave it a shot running it from The Gimp, and it turns out that it can convert the RAW files without the blown out highlights I get in Photoshop. It's not as convenient or as easy to use, but it's easy enough and does a good job. The GIMP can save right to a PSD so it's not too much of a pain in the neck.

Initially, it does appear that the RAW image produces more vivid colors than the JPG, but other than that I don't see a huge practical difference. Auto white balance also does a nice job here. I noticed some odd looking artifacts in one of the RAW images that didn't appear in the JPG, but I had to zoom to 300% to see them.

I'll have to play with this some more, perhaps I'll have some use for RAW after all. This does beg the question, why is a freeware program better capable at this than the premiere photo editing software? Oh well, as long as I can get the job done, that's all that matters.

Here's how the R2D2 RAW image looked after UFRaw did an auto WB on it:


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Old Dec 29, 2005, 3:22 PM   #16
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Corpsy, I've recently found that RawShooter Premium 2006 handles the (nearly blown) highlights in FZ30's RAWs much better; you might want to give it a try.
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Old Dec 29, 2005, 5:58 PM   #17
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Good to know about the GIMP plug-in. I'll try that. So, after all, it is a software issue with Photoshop then.
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Old Dec 29, 2005, 8:13 PM   #18
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Thanks for the tip Koosla, but I don't think I'll be buying any new software for RAW conversion. It seems the only real advantage to RAW in this case is being able to correct white balance, and the FZ30 is very good at doing that automatically when taking the picture. Also considering that I can fit 7 high quality JPGs in the space of one RAW, I think I have a better chance at capturing good images using JPG with burst or auto bracketing, but might use RAW in special circumstances.

It seems to me that RAW is probably better suited for use on a DSLR which captures more detail in the highlights and the shadow areas, where on a camera like the FZ30 the shadow detail is mostly lost to noise.
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Old Dec 29, 2005, 10:48 PM   #19
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Have you seen this?

http://av.adobe.com/russellbrown/CS2CameraRAWSM.mov
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Old Dec 29, 2005, 11:25 PM   #20
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I've seen it now, thanks. :-)

Russell Brown knows what he's doing for sure, but his voice is like a horrible Stan Lee impersonation. I've watched a few of his podcasts, but it's hard to tolerate him for more than 5 minutes.

I was aware of most of the functionality that he showed off, though I haven't played with it that much. One of the first things I realized when I found out how to synchronize the effects was that it would be a great tool for panoramics (at least I think it would), assuming you did all your shots in RAW.

I didn't know about how to use the eyedropper with the curves tool to create points. I've done that within Photoshop, but it never would have occured to me that it could possibly be done in ACR.

Excelsior!
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