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Old Jul 15, 2008, 10:37 AM   #1
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Took this photo and processed it in ACR and Pentax Lab and was wondering what you thought about the results.

Pentax Lab:


ACR:



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Old Jul 15, 2008, 1:57 PM   #2
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Interesting. I'm surprised that the PhotoLab had as much problem dealing with the blown-out part on the top left - it's always seemed to me that ACR has more trouble with things like that. ACR's version handles the transition to burned out much smoother than PhotoLab. The PhotoLab version has a sharper contrast curve and appears a hair sharper than the ACR version (at least reduced to this size). I think the ACR version has a tiny bit more information, and if it were mine, I'd prefer the ACR version, then perhaps change the contrast curve a bit in Photoshop to get it somewhere around the PhotoLab version. Also, I like the OOF green areas in the ACR version a wee bit better - it looks a bit over-processed on the PhotoLab version almost like too much sharpening is added and the computer added artifacts.
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Old Jul 15, 2008, 7:38 PM   #3
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My initial reaction was that I liked the photo lab version better, as I was focused on the bird/subject and the richer colors and contrast are more pleasing to my eye. I agree with Harriet though, the blown highlights in the corner look much better with ACR. Ideally you would have the bird from one and the background from the other. I don't know which version would be best to start with to achieve that end result though.

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Old Jul 15, 2008, 9:30 PM   #4
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As a P.S. to my other message - I'm using my laptop monitor, which isn't very good (I'm out of town for a while). So there may be other things that I would notice better with a decent monitor.
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Old Jul 15, 2008, 9:44 PM   #5
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I agree with both of you although I do like contrast in my images and I would normally bump up the contrast in the ACR image, but for this test I left it alone.

The problem with the Photo Lab image is the contrast is what you get like it or not, although the sharpening tool in Photo Lab seems to work better than the one in ACR.

I am looking for something other than ACR to convert RAW/PEF files so I guess I am going to try Aperture and see how that goes next. Two of my friends that are pros use Aperture exclusively and nothing else, except for a tweak or two in CS3 on difficult images.

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Old Jul 15, 2008, 9:53 PM   #6
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Out of curiosity, why are you looking for a replacement for ACR? I would assume that there's something specific you aren't satisfied with and I'm always interested in such things.
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Old Jul 15, 2008, 10:08 PM   #7
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I don't feel I get the sharpness I should get from ACR using the lenses I have. I have tried Aperture and it seems to work better for me, but before version 2, I didn't like how it worked.

I get the sharpness from Photo Lab, but it does other things to the image contrast wise that I don't like, plus it is a clumsy program to use.

I have not tried Lightroom for a while, but the Beta version didn't work for me at all.

I just want a conversion program to jpg after which I can deal with the image in PS, although Aperture claims to do it all.

I use Mac's so PC programs are not an option!

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Old Jul 16, 2008, 10:12 AM   #8
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Tom,

The risk of finding a raw converter that will do final sharpening to your liking is that you may cause problems for yourself if you do any additional editing.

As I understand it, ACR is really intended to do "capture sharpening", meaning the type of sharpening that would typically be done in camera when shooting JPEGS. The objective is to avoid any sharpeningthat would interfere with downstream processing. Final sharpening would then be done as a final step in the photo editing software.

The risk of finding a raw converter that will do final sharpening to your liking is that you may cause problems for yourself if you do any additional editing after conversion.

Here's a link to an article by one of the ACR developers that I thought was really helpful.

http://photoshopnews.com/2007/05/31/...camera-raw-41/
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Old Jul 16, 2008, 10:28 AM   #9
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Thanks for the info, although to run ACR 4 I would have to pony up the cash for CS3 as it won't work on my CS2.

Also at the end he stated "Apple's Aperture for my RAW workflow and conversion since either of these tools now give far superior quality of image than the latest versions of ACR/LR."

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Old Jul 16, 2008, 12:49 PM   #10
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ennacac wrote:
Quote:
Thanks for the info, although to run ACR 4 I would have to pony up the cash for CS3 as it won't work on my CS2.

Also at the end he stated "Apple's Aperture for my RAW workflow and conversion since either of these tools now give far superior quality of image than the latest versions of ACR/LR."

Tom
The comment at the end was actually a repy to the article, not a part of the article.

I wasn't trying to defend ACR though. I wasjust pointing out that there is a rationale for their approach to sharpening. Personally, while I use ACR to make a first pass conversion from PES to JPEG, I usually go back to PhotoLab to process the real "keepers" before doing any serious PP.
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