View Full Version : Newbie Question regarding workflow
Found the site after doing a search for RD-1s, I have been a (analog :D ) Photographer for years and I have mainly used Nikons & M-Leicas,
Last year I bought a D-70, Which is nice but it rarely gets used.
Last month I found that they finally started to drop the price for the RD-1s over here in Japan so I am now the Very proud owner of what seems to be an exceptional camera. I suppose that I am Lucky in that I already have some good lenses for it,
I also believe the RD-1 has placed a curse / blessing ?? on me as I simply do not seem to want to leave home without it, using it has definately rekindled my desire
to take better images.
And this is where I have a Question, Can someone please tell me or give me the link to a review/tutorial of a good digital workflow, I am in the IT industry so computers per se are not a problem , Just that I have never delved into the whole image manipulation side of things,
And I make the following statement not so as to be completely bombarded with requests, but if there are any members out there needing/wanting things from Japan I would be willing to help. but please understand this is not a business, so Private non commercial requests only. Thank You.
Mike, how much are the R-D1's now in Japan?
In a recent thread we found out that in HongKong they go for about 970 GBP, making it something like 1450 euros. Much better than the 3000 euros I'll have to cough up here in Holland.
I bought mine for 260,000 yen which is about 1350 GBP, But they are also selling Epson Factory refurbished for 210,000 yen about 1100 GBP, so that price of 970 GBP in Hong Kong still sounds a great deal. FYI an Epson Original Spare Battery (EPALB1) cost me 5,000 yen - 27 GBP. Yes these bodies are more reasonable overhere but you have the advantage of cheaper prices for the lenses over in europe!!
I can't direct you to a general and complete workflow .... do not even know if you have Photoshop??
If you shoot raw (as i hope you do) sharpening the files (speperate for print and webviewing) is critical, especially because R-d1 files appear quite soft.
If you want an action for sharpening (for print) .. and have PS .. i recommend an action sold at www.fredmiranda.com ... Called "Nikon CS Pro" .. it works wonderful with the R-d1 files in my opinion. It was designed for Nikon .. but the D100 has the same chip ..
Welcome to the forum.
I was speculating in the Serial Numbers thread about refurbished R-D1's. Looks like its already happening in Japan then.
Michael Reichmann has a good Digital Work flow on his Luminous Landscape site at: http://www.luminous-landscape.com/techniques/process.shtml but it is a little out of date depending what software you are using and of course does not mention the R-D1's Epson Raw converter which seems to be to best for this camera at the moment.
Sean made a mention of his workflow in another thread including a mention of capture sharpening. I have always made a point of leaving sharpening to the end in photoshop so would be interested if he and others think that the plugins that are used like this offer real improvements?. So perhaps if he can find some time from all the lens tests he is carrying out at the moment he might publish his workflow using/from Epson Raw. I would certainly like a quicker/better way of doing this.
This camera is certainly addictive but time consuming if you shoot everything in Raw and then convert, so although I know Raw gives the best quality I'm tending to shoot a lot as H jpegs, which are still good and a lot quicker to work from if you have shot lots of pictures.
Workflow is, of course, a very personal thing. The site that I write for, Luminous-Landscape, has some very good articles by Michael Reichman about workflow and there are also some interesting pieces on http://www.outbackphoto.com . My own workflow for the R-D1 looks like this.
1. I shoot in RAW mode (very often set to B&W so that the pictures are automatically in B&W when they're previewed and batch-processed)
2. I use PhotoRAW to batch process each folder of pictures to JPEG just to make viewable files for editing. That doesn't allow me to make any corrections but all I need from this process are "readable" files.
3. Using Breezebrowser or Thumbs Plus (the former recognizes ERF files and is a great program to have for organizing RAW files) I look through the JPEG conversions to determine which frames are to be deleted all together (both the original RAW file and the associated JPEG) and which frames will be getting further attention.
4. I archive all the RAW files that make the initial edit to Kodak Gold CDRs (two copies burned of each CD)
5. For the files that are now going to get serious attention, I re-open PhotoRAW and process them frame by frame (with all needed adjustments) to 16-bit TIFFs. This is where I do initial color correction (if working in color) using the WB eyedropper, make slight EV corrections if needed, etc.. My goal is to make a file with as much detail as possible in both the highlights and the shadows. 16-bit files are much more robust when going through various tonal changes (levels, curves, etc. in PS CS) 8-bit files quickly fall apart with significant tonal changes, leaving very gappy histograms where lots of tonal information is just *gone*
6. I open the a chosen file in PS-CS. I use Photokit sharpener (see review on LL by Michael) in at least two stages: 1) Initial capture sharpening just to recover some of the detail lost by the AA filter. The R-D1 files are often described as "soft" but they're actually no softer than those from many 6MP DSLRs. The Canon 10D files are even softer. Sometimes I'll get into the layers menu and back-off the Photokit capture sharpening a bit.
7. I work with the file in PS CS, leaving it in 16-bit all the way through if I can.
8. I size the file for output (300 ppi for work going to an art director or graphic designer, 240 ppi if it's going to my Epson 2200). If the file is going out to be worked on by someone else, I do no further sharpening. If I'm printing it, I do output sharpening according to the paper I'm using.
As for the lens tests, I'm playing around with them for starters but have a mountain of work to get done before I can even begin serious testing.
Sean, Thank you Very much for that very concise explanation and for a great site.
Seems like I will be spending quite a lot more time infront of my monitors!
You're welcome. Have fun.
I have always made a point of leaving sharpening to the end in photoshop so would be interested if he and others think that the plugins that are used like this offer real improvements?. So perhaps if he can find some time from all the lens tests he is carrying out at the moment he might publish his workflow using/from Epson Raw. I would certainly like a quicker/better way of doing this.
One thing about sharpening that I've noticed subjectively but haven't yet had time to test enough to document:
I too have to shoot a lot of JPEG H images (mostly in fast-moving situations in which I don't have time to wait for the longer raw write times, or change memory cards every 40 shots.)
I also had always followed the conventional wisdom that sharpening should be done as your last step in Photoshop, so for my last big shooting session I tried using the R-D 1's "Film" presets to turn the "Edge Enhance" setting all the way down. I figured this would raise less risk of enhancing noise pixels, and I could always do my sharpening in Photoshop as a final step.
What I found, though, was that these images looked VERY soft -- the edges almost seemed spread somewhat -- and Photoshop's Unsharp Mask filter wasn't able to recapture the missing sharpness. I actually got significantly better-looking results when I returned the Film preset to the default setting.
So far I've only been able to experiment slightly with raw files, but the effect seems to be the same -- images look better overall if I choose the right Edge Enhance setting in the Epson raw file plug-in, rather than setting the plug-in to minimum enhance and then trying to sharpen in Photoshop.
I suspect that what this is telling me is that Epson chose the default setting with its anti-alias filter in mind... so if you defeat edge enhancing, you actually get reduced edge sharpness rather than simply "unenhanced" sharpness.
This might be exactly what you want for portraiture, for example -- setting up a Film preset (or equivalent raw-conversion settings) with no edge enhancement, slightly lowered contrast and saturation, and a slightly warmer color balance might be a great idea for that.
But I'm now fairly well convinced that you should NOT turn edge enhancement completely off and expect to put back the "missing" sharpness with Unsharp Mask -- it just won't work!
(Maybe one of the Photoshop plug-ins Sean recommends would do a better job... but I'm trying to stay out of the Plug-In-of-the-Month Club!)
Workflow is, of course, a very personal thing. The site that I write for, Luminous-Landscape, has some very good articles by Michael Reichman about workflow and there are also some interesting pieces on http://www.outbackphoto.com . My own workflow for the R-D1 looks like this...
Sean, thanks for that well-documented workflow -- but it's suitable only for Windows PC users. As far as I know, there's no equivalent PhotoRaw batch conversion utility for MacOS, and none of the batch browsers except Photoshop's own slightly clunky browse-file window will display ERF files.
(I'm hoping that my fave, iView MediaPro, eventually will get an update to handle ERFs -- I emailed them about this and they asked for some raw-file samples to study, which I sent to them -- but who knows how long that will take...)
Of course, as I noted in an earlier post, I have to do a lot of my shooting in JPEG format for practical reasons, and for this my usual procedures work fine. But I'd like a more efficient process for the occasions when I can afford to shoot in raw format.
Do you have any info or suggestions about what raw-file workflow solutions are working well for Mac-based R-D 1 users? Thanks for any info...
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