How to make a good RAW Conversion
Old 08-11-2014   #1
N.delaRua
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How to make a good RAW Conversion

So I have the best girlfriend in the entire world and she just recently bought me a Fuji X100. With the updated firmware, its a pretty awesome camera.

The OOC JPEGS are pretty good, but exposing for highlights and processing RAWs have blown my mind.

There is one major problem: RAW conversion. I am using Silkypic, which I don't mind, to process raws.

I can get my photos to really pop, sharpen up, and emulate many different film stocks/tones, but every time I "develop" the photo i.e. convert to JPEG or TIFF the conversion is severely lacking! I am pretty impressed with what I am seeing on screen in the RAW converter, but it just loses something in the conversion.

There seems to be a some options during the conversions process i.e. three different types of jpegs or a tiff, and some sharpening that you can apply.

I've just been dissapointed with the conversions. Maybe I have to push the files more in RAW to get closer in JPEG.

Any pointers from a more experienced Fuji RAW processor? Convert to TIFF? Push files more? When I click the preview button it just shows me the RAW file and is not a good indicator or the future conversion...

PS Please do not suggest buying Aperture or Lightroom as a solution. I plan on going there eventually when I have the funds, but I currently have Silkypix and Photoshop CS.
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Old 08-11-2014   #2
f16sunshine
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OK, don't buy Aperture or Lightroom just test drive it for a month for free (as a download). See if the results you get are better. From me that is the best advice i can offer as I otherwise abandoned silkypix the moment I laid eyes on the user interface. Maybe other readers will have advice on using that program in particular. Congrats on the x100 it's a gem of a camera!
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Old 08-11-2014   #3
Johann Espiritu
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Try Alien Skin Exposure or Silver Efex Pro. I use both all the time!
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Old 08-11-2014   #4
semilog
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The X100 uses a plain ol' Beyer sensor, not an XTRANS sensor as found in the X-Pro1, X-E1, X100S, etc..

Any good RAW converter, ACR, LR, Cap 1 Pro, DxO, Apple, Raw Photo Processor 64, etc. should be more than adequate.

There's absolutely no need to subject yourself to the horrible Silkypix user interface unless you are using a Fuji with an XTRANS sensor, and even then, I'd avoid Silkypix.
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Old 08-11-2014   #5
N.delaRua
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Sorry guys maybe I should have been more clear.

I know it sounds crazy, but I want to use silkypix. I love the tones I can get in the raw processor, I just don't love the conversions.

I am not trying to be difficult, but honestly, I can't swing a future processing program for a while so I need to learn to work with what I have.

Maybe everyone immediately abandons silkypix, and no one can help me.

PS I love the native RAW files too, they are pretty awesome for such a small camera.

Here is a link to some recent work: https://www.flickr.com/photos/28732091@N06/
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Old 08-11-2014   #6
Ronald M
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I really do not understand. You like the raw files, and do not like the conversions.

A conversion simply changes the file to JPEG or TIFF. It does not change the visual appearance .

Unless Silky pix remembers camera settings used for in camera JPEG conversions and applies those settings when converting raw files.

So now establish if you like or do not like camera JPEG conversions. If not , somewhere in the camera menu are settings for contrast, color saturation, etc. move these to neutral or lower and then see what Silky Pix does to the conversion.

If you do not see changes with Silky P real time as you move the sliders, then there is no way to use it. For free try Gimp. It is open source.

And quit reading the forums about ETR. Sometimes good, sometimes not. But you will always need to reduce exposure /brightness to bring the files down to where they belong unless the brightest pixels are supposed to be near white. It is good for reducing noise and seeing more detail in deep shadows.
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Old 08-11-2014   #7
N.delaRua
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I think I have a pretty good idea of when to use ETR. Essentially its one form of exposure control that can be used creatively in post.

I think what I am trying to get at is that the images seem to lose something in the conversion process with respect to tonality, dynamic range, and contrast. That is all. I guess I am asking if that is normal, maybe that is obvious to more experienced digital shooters that when you convert a RAW image to JPEG you lose something.

I will try posting some screen grabs later tonight, and you guys can dissect/discuss.

I just want to establish a workflow that will create a file that I am happy to print.
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Old 08-11-2014   #8
semilog
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Two questions:

1. Are you using the same color spaces (say, Adobe RGB) in-camera and at each step on your computer?

2. Is your monitor calibrated?
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Old 08-11-2014   #9
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1. I believe I am using the same color spaces. (But I will double check; good point).

2. No. Any suggestions for a cheap solution?
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Old 08-11-2014   #10
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I don't know about silkypix, but most 3rd party raw converters only show you a preview of your file, to increase speed. Nikon's shows you the actual file and Canon's it's optional, Fuji's may or may not, I don't know. You might find a setting in the software to not use previews but show you the actual file instead.
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Silkypix is awesome but Preview in OS X SUCKS!!
Old 08-11-2014   #11
N.delaRua
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Silkypix is awesome but Preview in OS X SUCKS!!

OK so I think I figured out what I was observing.

Silkypix creates a great JPEG conversion from RAW. However, I was viewing my JPEG conversions in OS X Preview ,which for whatever reason absolutely destroys the image tonality and quality.

However, if the JPEG conversion is viewed in Silkpix, the quality and tonality is still there and is identical to the RAW processed image.

So its a matter of what you use to view the JPEG...

Here are some links to side by side comparisons and the final JPEG. Notice in the OS X Preview app the muted tonality and lack of contrast. I thought that is what the final conversion actually looked like...

Silkypix RAW vs. OS X Preivew:

https://flic.kr/p/oFSatV


Silkypix Jpeg Conversion vs. same file viewed in OS X Preview

https://flic.kr/p/opnSsq

Silkypix Jpeg Conversion on Flickr

https://flic.kr/p/oFcA1s
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Old 08-11-2014   #12
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Unfortunately Silkypix is a user-hostile program.

If this is all you can afford, then you have no choice but to figure out how the developers of Silkypix think (when it comes to post-processing) and learn to think as they do. This will be tedious and frustrating.
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Old 08-12-2014   #13
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I really don't think its that bad of a program. I am sure its not as nice, or well conceived as a more mature platform, but I have been impressed with the results and feel I can pretty easily achieve the look I am after.

The problem I was having was not actually Silkypix is a was a separate application. The conversions are very nice.

I am not a extreme post processor. Exposure, contrast, tone curve, and sharpening are about all I care to do and it makes that quite easy.
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Old 08-12-2014   #14
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I hate to add another variable to your problem, and I know very little about RAW converters or sensors. But you could download RAWtherapee for free and see if your conversions are better when going to jpeg from RAW.
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Old 10-30-2015   #15
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Most of the world uses the sRGB color space. It is not as big, but it is more broadly supported. If your goal is for the image to be seen on a computer screen, you might consider rendering is as sRGB. This might bring the results more in line when viewed in less sophisticated programs.
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Old 12-09-2016   #16
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Sounds like a discrepancy between gamma, silkypix maybe uses 2.2 gamma suited for Windows, while Preview is using your osx gamma 1.8. The difference is brightness and apparent pop that you say is lacking in preview. I'm not familiar with Silkypix, maybe someone can help on that front.
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Old 12-09-2016   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N.delaRua View Post
OS X Preview ,which for whatever reason absolutely destroys the image tonality and quality.
That has been my experience too, previews of film scans are terrible as well, they look super, super grainy.
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