03-December-2010

Digital Editing — Comparison of RAW Image Converters.

Something a bit different. Today I am comparing 4 different programs that convert the RAW digital images acquired by my Nikon cameras. The RAW converters that I typically use include Adobe Camera Raw (ver 6.2), Nikon Capture NX2 (ver 2.2.6),  Phase One Capture One Pro (ver 6.00), and DxO Optics Pro (ver 6). The programs were all run on Windows 7 (64 bit). The image is one that I had taken on a Nikonians workshop run by Michael Mariant in Big Sur this spring.  The image was taken with a Nikon D3x and 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 100, 14 mm, f/16, 2.5 sec) on a tripod. The overall scene was beyond the dynamic range of the digital sensor. It was rather dark in the forest, thus the long exposure. The bit of sky visible is bright (and blown out). In the following days I will be comparing some HDR (high dynamic range) programs to process several images of the same scene taken at different exposures to try to compensate for the wide dynamic range.

Adobe Camera Raw. This is the program that Adobe uses to process RAW digital images for Photoshop and Lightroom. Camera Raw is only able to read some of the Nikon in camera settings. In recent versions they have included settings that simulate the Nikon Picture Control settings (Landscape, Vivid, etc). The current version of Camera Raw also now includes lens corrections for a wide variety of lenses including the lens that this image was taken.

Wide Angle Looking up from a Coastal Redwood Forest. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 100, 14 mm, f/16, 2.5 sec). Raw image converted using Adobe Camera Raw 6.2 default. (David J Mathre)

Adobe Camera Raw: Adobe Stantard, No Lens Correction.

Wide Angle Looking up from a Coastal Redwood Forest. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 100, 14 mm, f/16, 2.5 sec). Raw image converted using Adobe Camera Raw 6.2 (landscape and used lens correction). (David J Mathre)

Adobe Camera Raw: Landscape and Lens correction for Nikon 14-24 mm f/2.8.

Author: David Mathre

I am a scientist by training (Eckerd College, BSc; Caltech, Ph.D.). I worked for 27 years as a Chemist in the Pharmaceutical Industry developing processes to manufacture medicines for human and animal health. I now spend my time as a photographer and world traveler. My interests in photography include the natural world, wildlife, landscapes, skyscapes, and seascapes. I have traveled to over 50 countries over the last 10 years, often on Semester at Sea voyages. While at home in New Jersey, I spend time on a home renovation project and expanding my wildflower garden/meadow.

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