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Author Topic: Free Raw Converter  (Read 28609 times)
robertwatcher
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« on: December 15, 2007, 07:45:44 PM »
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For those who haven't invested in a RAW file converter, you mind find this Free Open Source Raw Therapee converter and digital photo processing software valuable. It is based on the popular "dcraw" RAW engine which supports most cameras including the new Nikon D300 / D3, Canon D5 / D40 / 1Ds Mark III, Olympus E-510 / E-3, Fuji S5Pro, along with many others. I downloaded it today and found the interface very intuitive and it worked well with my D40 / D200 and E-510 RAW files.

Here is the download and website:

http://www.rawtherapee.com/

I decided to process the same RAW files in both  Raw Therapee  and Lightroom - and have to say that the results from both were very good, but different in some ways. Much of the difference may have to do with my not being familiar with processing RAW images as I don't generally use that format. I did find that the Lightroom results were slightly sharper and yet less detailed, while the Raw Therapee settings I used resulted in a more real looking file to my eye. I tried to match these as close as possible and added a little sharpening to the Raw Therapee file to match the eye sharpness of the Lightroom file - which did increase the contrast a little.

This NEF file is from my Nikon D200 camera shot at 640ISO. The Raw Therapee conversion is on the left and the Lightroom conversion is on the right:



Here is the full frame image using the  Raw Therapee conversion:



Here is the full frame image using the Lightroom conversion:





Here is an interesting comparison of files converted with  Raw Therapee and other popular converters like Adobe Photoshop ACR 3.4, Nikon Capture 4.3, RawShooters Essential 2006, Bibble Pro 4.7, Capture One Pro 3.7.4, Silkypix 2.0.19.1, and UFRaw 0.8.1:

http://www.rawtherapee.com/index.php?page=...e&compar=de

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I also used the processor on some of my Jpeg files and found some of the tools very useful and easier to get to than they are in Photoshop. One such example is the very useful draw tool for straightening the image based on drawing a horizontal line. It sits right there in the window. The noise reduction and sharpening features also allow Edge Detection settings so appear to be a little more versatile than in Lightroom (akthough Lightroom may use more smart features to do the same thing - I'm not sure). Anyway - Raw Therapee   is a tool that I am sure to use.
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Mike Arst
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« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2007, 11:34:31 PM »
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I hadn't tried this converter in a while. It seems to do a reasonably good job, though its UI needs work. It took a while to figure out that if 1:1 magnification is selected, the program can become sluggish to the point of unusability (at least with Canon 5D raw files). Lower maximum magnifications helped but still the program needs to provide better performance when the magnification is 'actual pixels'.

One caveat. Installation of the last version I had (1.1) didn't create any entry in the Control Panel's Add/Remove Programs dialog. Before installing 2.2 I removed v. 1.1 with RawTherapee's own uninstall app. The uninstaller removed not only the RT files, but also every other file I had placed within its directory (and it removed any directories I'd created there). Not that putting files you want to keep into the application's directory tree is a good idea -- but these were only tests. That aside, the wholesale removal of ALL files is non-standard IMO. Most programs' uninstallers ignore files and directories their own installers didn't create. I don't know if version 2.2 also has such an uninstall 'feature' but in case it does some caution is called for if you remove it.
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sniper
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« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2007, 04:58:38 AM »
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Thanks for posting this link.   I'll give it a try. Wayne
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robertwatcher
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« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2007, 08:15:28 AM »
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Yesterday I also tried the converter with my Olympus E-510 with a RAW shot of a quilt laying beside me (natural flourescent lighting) and again there was a difference in the processing done in the 2 programs, but to my eys the colours that I was getting out of Raw Therapee were more accurate looking. I'm sure that if I played with Lightroom more, I could balance for similar colors and tones. It was just just easy to get looking right in Raw Therapee with the straight forward controls in the User Interface:

Raw Therapee  processing of Olympus D-510 ORF file shot at 1600 ISO:



Lightroom  processing of Olympus D-510 ORF file (colour differences will probably just be White Balance differences):




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« Last Edit: December 16, 2007, 08:15:55 AM by robertwatcher » Logged
The View
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« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2007, 03:10:51 AM »
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The main differences are in the color mood.

And this would not be Lightroom's fault.

I honestly don't see how those picture comparisons could tell anything about the differences in capability between Lightroom and Raw Therapee.

In the comparison of the two shots of the girl's face, the Lightroom sample is so off in color, that she looks like a corpse. That alone bashes in your perception.

I have never been a true fan of these software comparisons, where details of photos, processed by different apps, were compared to one another.

I looked at these before I bought Lightroom, and found them all inconclusive.
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Deserts, Cities, Woods, Faces - View of the World.
robertwatcher
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« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2007, 08:15:58 AM »
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Quote
I have never been a true fan of these software comparisons, where details of photos, processed by different apps, were compared to one another.

My intention wasn't to compare the 2 conversions as a one is better than the other thing. As I mentioned above, that I'm sure if I spent time I could get the colours and looks similar to each other. I never presume that anyone could make a decision based on the small web images I post or try to impress anyone by these images - it is a starting point for people to go out and check themselves. I'm simply showing that the program will convert RAW files and do a decent job of it.    

These were the 2 programs I have available (I also have Nikon Capture) and what I did notice however on both the Nikon and Olympus  conversions - is that to my eye the Raw Therapee conversions contained more detail and may be better at noise reduction (using LAB) than what I got from the settings I was using in Lightroom - although sharpness and colours were more subtle.

Many photographers or individuals who are passionate about photography don't have expensive programs like Lightroom or Photoshop or any of the other specialized commercial products available. By showing in the pictures that there may not be much missing in conversion quality by using this free RAW convertor program - - - Raw Therapee may be a good buy (FREE) and may satisfy many photographers needs. I also happened to like it for working on my JPEG files.
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sniper
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« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2007, 01:12:58 PM »
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Well I have given it a try, and first impressions are good, it does what is says on the tin.  The interface is a bit confusing at first, and the shadow/highlight needs some work (it's nowhere near as good as LR, but then it is free!) the sharpening seems very good, perhaps better than LR? (I haven't printed yet) we will see.
For those looking for something different, or on a low budget give it a try. Wayne
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MichaelEzra
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« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2007, 10:59:36 AM »
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a nice converter, but buggy. could not convert Mamiya ZD file without crashing...
File selection dialog boxes are very inconvenient... why not stick to standard windows dialog?
« Last Edit: December 19, 2007, 11:00:55 AM by MichaelEzra » Logged

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