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Old Sep 10, 2007, 1:44 AM   #1
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Since getting the K100 and shooting 99.9% in raw, I have been using a combination of Silky (the software from Pentax with the camera), to convert to JPG and then IrfanView to downsample and save into a size that can be uploaded here. I have not really liked the results nor the process.

Somehow I pulled a virus on this machine - dispite 3 pretty good defenses - they all caught the attempt to pull down additional files - but never found and deleted the actual root of the problem. Well, I finally found the cause and killed it along with returning setting of my machine up for Japanese back to English - long story - but I have been trying to install Picassa (It would only install in Japanese - so I gave up). With getting rid of the virus - I was actually able to download, install and use Picassa. Where I am going with this is - it supports the Pentax raw format and now after scanning my drives, using Picassa is light years faster than Silky for reviewing the images (and the simple stuff). But, it does not do everything I really want, so I have been considering the Bibble Labs Raw software package. Anyone using that? I would really like to stay in the raw format for as much as possible. Is there something better? I really want to correct barrel distortions (defish), HDR, and Panoramas (stitching), some cropping along with a bit of printing, and I know that Bibble does not support a number of functions as of yet. Any ideas....???

Thanks in advance.....
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Old Sep 10, 2007, 6:02 AM   #2
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IO, the Pentax software isn'ttruly Silkypix.

Try the trial version of Silkypix. It does most of what you want except the pano stitching. It has an excellent distortion correction function including CA's.
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Old Sep 10, 2007, 7:32 AM   #3
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Hi IO

Not sure what budget you have, but i can recommend adobe photoshop elements 5, it supports the Pentax RAW PEF files,(as long as you download the new camera RAW update)almogwith the DNG RAW format. Ive been using it for a while since getting my K10 and am still getting to grips with it, but its fairly straight forward to use and I know it wil do most of what you require. I did use picassa myself but found it too rough and ready for my liking.

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Old Sep 10, 2007, 8:15 AM   #4
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The phtotolab is really bulky and slow. Silkypix is expen$ive. Raw Therapee works really well although it doesn't automatically take care of hot pixels yet (the developer has that on his list) and is completely free although donations are accepted.

photomatix has a free basic version for HDR (although it's done from jpgs..I think and you'll have to do most of the work in another program). I've yet to find a good FREE pano program. Firmtools panorama composer is only $30 and works VERY well. You can get a 30 day trial for free to test it out.


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Old Sep 10, 2007, 8:39 AM   #5
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interested_observer wrote:
Quote:
Somehow I pulled a virus on this machine - dispite 3 pretty good defenses - they all caught the attempt to pull down additional files - but never found and deleted the actual root of the problem. Well, I finally found the cause and killed it along with returning setting of my machine up for Japanese back to English - long story - but I have been trying to install Picassa (It would only install in Japanese - so I gave up). ...
Have you considered using Linux as your primary Operating System instead of Windows (or at least while you're connected to the Internet)? It's very easy to install Liinux in a dual boot configuration with Windows, and most Linux distros are free. Most also come with loads of preinstalled software for many tasks. This site tracks hundreds of different distros:

http://www.distrowatch.com

I'm running XP Pro along with two Linux distros on my PC right this minute (SimplyMEPIS 7.0 Beta 3, and Sidux 2007). SimplyMEPIS is very easy to install and use, and has a lot of software included (Open Office, Firefox with preinstalled Flash Player 9, CD/DVD burning software, Image Management Applications and much more).

Here's a review of SimplyMEPIS 6.5. I haven't see any reviews of the newest 7.0 Betas yet. Note that a newer release with some updates and bug fixes came out after this review (SimplyMEPIS 6.5.02 is the current production versus beta release). So, issues mentioned by the reviewer may not be in the current 6.5.02.

http://friendlylinux.org/2007/04/25/simplymepis-65/

It's got a much better security model and Viruses and Spyware designed for Windows have no impact on it. Both Bibble and Picasa have Linux versions available now, too.

I spend very little time in Windows anymore. With the lastest ntfs-3g drivers, you can safely write to your NTFS partitions from Linux, too (which makes it much easier to share files between Windows and Linux). You can also run a number of Windows applications under Wine (a free package that lets you run Windows apps under Linux). I've ran Raw Shooter Essentials, FastStone Image Viewer and more that way.

You can read more about SimplyMEPIS here. Personally, I'd go with SimplyMEPIS 7.0 Beta 3 now if you don't mind a few "kinks" from time to time. I've been running Beta 3 on my PC since it was available for download, and other than a problem with a wireless driver conflict (which I found a work around for, and it will be solved in the Final release), this last beta has been stable as a rock with zero problems at all on my hardware.

http://www.mepis.org/

They are moving it from an Ubuntu base to a Debian base for their software repositories for the latest 7.0 release, which will probably be out towards the end of this month. Debian tends to provide an smoother upgrade path from one release to the next compared to distros based on Ubuntu (which is one reason they're changing it for SimplyMEPIS 7.0)

It can run from a Live CD so you can see if you like it or not before installing it, too.

Another very popular Linux distro with more pre-installed software than most and very good hardware detection is PCLinuxOS. It will also run from a Live CD.

http://www.pclinuxos.com/

If you run into an application that won't run under Wine (and many will, with very little performance penalty), you can also run a copy of Windows in a virtual machine under Linux if you want to. That way, you wouldn't have to reboot to run Windows. For example, Virtualbox lets you do that and it's free (and there are more ways to approach it):

http://www.virtualbox.org/

As for Bibble, download the latest trial versions and see what you think. From a workflow perspective, it's a very fast raw converter (not to mention that many of the functions also work with jpeg files now).

http://www.bibblelabs.com/

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Old Sep 10, 2007, 7:32 PM   #6
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Hi IO

I will also recommend PSE 5. However, I still use a modified version of Raw Shooter Premium that will work with my K100D.
I also like the work flow in Lightroom, however that like Silkypix is a little pricey.
If you do a search on the board. Awhile back, Hogrider did a comparison of all the major players . Not sure what he titled the thread.

Hope this helps

Phil


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Old Sep 16, 2007, 12:59 AM   #7
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Thanks all for your suggestions. I have been looking around for quite a while, and I also took some time to clean off and pare down what I have on my 7 year old PC that I use at the house. In terms of work flow, I have loaded up the free trials (below), and what I think I will be doing is the following, that appears to possibly work well together but I have not glued everything together yet....

Bibble Pro ($129) - For me it appears to work well. It has a number of instructional videos and the trial version works great. It looks like for stitching and HDR, I can create batch queues that I can enter images in, and it then will convert the images from raw to the needed format and location for stitching and HDR processing. Also, it makes use of multiple processors as the software is multi threaded and is FAST. (more on this point later) http://www.bibblelabs.com/learn/

Autopano Pro (99 euros or about $119) - The new version does both stitching and HDR. Stitches both vertical and horiziontal. Also if you took say, 5 sets of images, it will sort out and automatically stitch the 5 individual sets together into 5 panos. It will also HDR and stitch HDR panos. So, I think that I can have Bibble Pro, move and convert the desired images to jpg or tiff (16 bit) then call autopano pointing to the folder (directory) containing the just converted images. http://www.autopano.net/

Picassa (free) - It is a bit rough for processing, but to find images quickly and to see what I have, it works very well.

As I said, my current pc is 7 years old - a 2 GHz P4 with 512MB of memory. AMD just sent me two of their their latest (announced last Monday) Barcelona 2 x 4 (2 processors each having 4 cores) systems at 2 gHz/core with 16 GB of memory, for evaluation. They scream (it also creates a bit of heat). So having Bibble and Autopano automatically combined via a work flow queue - would indeed take advantage of this type of new hardware (saving more lunch money for more toys) and essentially do what I am after.

Also, after working on advanced image exploitation systems for 7 years, now for the last 3 I have been doing a lot of work with software virturalization, with the intent of combining these two courses of effort together. So, considering a new home PC system, I'am looking at running Linux as a base with a virutural layer with several virtural machines residing on top of a multi core hardware base.


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