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Old Aug 8, 2010, 11:11 AM   #1
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Default Sony Axxx DRO-function and Lightroom 3

Hi, I don't know if this is the right part of the forum to post this question, but since this is the section for Sony Alpha cameras I guess the chances for a qualified answer is best here...

Until recently I have used Lightroom v2 AND the Adobe raw converter to handle the ARW raw-files from my A500. It was irritating having to spend time converting ARW to DNG before LR2 was able to handle my pics - but it worked fine talking picture and conversion quality.

Now I upgraded to LR3 and what a joy to see LR3 being able to import the ARW files.

BUT I have one big issue with the way LR3 handles my ARWs: The program darkens the pictures during the import/conversion!

The first couple of seconds during/after the import the previews looks very fine, showing a wide dynamic range with the pics maintaining the level of contrast. Then the previews and pictures themselves become very dark - it's like LR3 can't handle the DRO function of the Alpha cameras, and narrows down the dynamic range.

I can see that by default LR3 +5 in the level of black when I import. I can contra-act that adjustment my self on the pics, but even after doing so the pics are still darker - not having the same level of dynamic range. I'm not talking about HDR pics, but standard pics shot with the DRO function on the camera turned on.

I know how to change the default settings ( http://www.computer-darkroom.com/lr2...a-defaults.htm ), but what worries me is, am I losing DRO-data when using LR3? Can LR3 simply not handle these data from the ARW files, and therefore ignores the data? Can any one recognise this problem?

Last edited by KanteForce; Aug 8, 2010 at 11:14 AM.
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Old Aug 8, 2010, 11:37 AM   #2
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DRO settings are not applied to RAW files.

Basically, if you want to simulate what Sony is doing with DRO, you'll need to play with your raw converter settings (fill light, curves, highlight/shadows, etc.).

You're not losing any information in the raw file. Basically, what DRO is doing when you shoot JPEG is applying different tone curves during the raw conversion to selectively brighten and darken some areas, depending on the settings used. Sony licenses the Apical Iridix engine to give it's cameras their DRO features. Read more about it here:

http://www.apical-imaging.com/iridix

But, the DRO settings are only applicable to how the camera is handling the raw to jpeg conversion process (as the DRO settings have no impact on the raw data being stored). You may see it's impact in the embedded thumbnail (which is a separate jpeg image inside of the raw file that some software will show you). But, DRO settings are not applied to the raw data from the sensor stored in the raw file that converters will use to perform a raw to jpeg conversion.

Note that Sony's IDC (Image Data Converter) software does have the ability to simulate the camera's DRO features when converting from raw. But, if you're using third party software, you'll need to use that software's features (fill light, shadows and highlights adjustments, tone curves, etc.) to try and get a similar result if that's what you're after.
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Old Aug 8, 2010, 11:58 AM   #3
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Your answer made me do some research and I found this Sony NEXT thread on dpreview:

"There is a reason to turn on DRO even you are shoot raw only. Sony write DRO on/off status into raw, and lightroom 3 sees it. if you have DRO as on, lightroom 3 will try to mimic sony's DRO curve by default when decode raw. No need for you to do it manually"
(http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/re...ssage=35827355)

I'll dig into the thread and try to find out what is going on.

I don't see LR3 trying to mimic the DRO setting when importing raw from A500 - on the contrary it enhances the underexpose DRO uses?

And the ok previews when importing makes me wonder - It looks like it mimic the DRO when creating the initial previews?
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Old Aug 8, 2010, 12:05 PM   #4
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The initial preview is probably using the embedded thumbnail (which is a separate jpeg image inside of the raw file that was processed by the camera using your settings) until it can give you a better conversion from the raw data.

Again, DRO settings are not applied to the raw data; and the settings are pretty much unique to Sony cameras. In the case of your A500, you get Auto, plus DRO levels 1 through 5.

DRO settings are not designed to be standards that other (non Sony) raw converters can interpret.

Now, the metadata portion of the raw file does contain proprietary maker note tags that can tell other software how the camera was set for things like DRO, White Balance, etc. (if that software knows how to interpret those tags). But, I'd be surprised if any non Sony raw converters were able to interpret and apply those DRO settings during the raw conversion process in a way that would simulate what Sony is doing in camera (or what you'd get using the Sony IDC raw conversion software).
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Old Aug 8, 2010, 12:22 PM   #5
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Note if you use Lightroom's Fill Light slider, you should be able to get pretty close to the same results with most images.

You may also want to try Sony's latest software. See this post for more info and download links:

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/so...-sr-3-2-a.html

Keep in mind that there are major differences between raw conversion products, and each one tends to have pros and cons in how they handle the demosaic process, tone curves, noise reduction, sharpening, etc. Most raw converters can use the embedded information about a camera's white balance settings if you want them to (which boils down to a set of RGB multipliers that are applied for color correction).

But, I'd be surprised if any non-Sony converters tried to simulate something like DRO settings based on how the camera was set (even though there are tags in the metadata showing those settings). That kind of thing is very camera brand specific, not a standard setting like White Balance would be.

So, you'll probably need to experiment with a given raw converter's features to try and simulate what you'd get from a camera produced jpeg file using those DRO settings if that's the result you want.
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Old Aug 8, 2010, 12:34 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KanteForce View Post
Your answer made me do some research and I found this Sony NEXT thread on dpreview:

"There is a reason to turn on DRO even you are shoot raw only. Sony write DRO on/off status into raw, and lightroom 3 sees it. if you have DRO as on, lightroom 3 will try to mimic sony's DRO curve by default when decode raw. No need for you to do it manually"
(http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/re...ssage=35827355)
That link doesn't work (for some reason, the & got stripped out before message). Here's a post in that thread about it:

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/re...ssage=35827355

Again, it's very unlikely that a non Sony converter is going to use your DRO settings when converting from raw.
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Old Aug 17, 2010, 10:57 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimC View Post
That link doesn't work (for some reason, the & got stripped out before message). Here's a post in that thread about it:

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/re...ssage=35827355

Again, it's very unlikely that a non Sony converter is going to use your DRO settings when converting from raw.
What he said.

LR, or any other 3rd party converter, will NOT going to see/read DRO settings. Only Sony's IDC.
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