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Author Topic: Raw Shooter versus ACR 3.3  (Read 6541 times)
Ray
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« on: January 22, 2006, 03:44:22 AM »
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Okay! I'm going to attempt the impossible. RAW converters differ so widely in their operations and adjustments, one can never be sure if one 'better' result is due to an adjustment that could have been made in the other converter if one but knew how.

The following tests are confined to just one parameter, the 'detail extraction' slider in RAW Shooter.

There have been some suggestions flowing from the Charles Cramer P45/4x5 comparisons that a different RAW converter might have made all the difference.

So I downloaded the trial version of Raw Shooter, which was suggested as an alternative to ACR,  to see for myself.

First impressions were that RSP really did 'extract' more detail from a RAW image than ACR. I was excited. But further experiments made me less sure.

Following are the results.

(1) Both full images with all settings as close as possible to zero (except temperature and WB). Ie. no sharpening, noise reduction, contrast enhancement etc. Zilch.

[attachment=171:attachment]

You will probably notice there are subtle differences. The sky top right is slightly bluer in the ACR image which is also slightly darker. Never mind! We must press on because I haven't got all day.

The next image shows the blow-ups indicated in the magenta square.

[attachment=172:attachment]

You can see here that the RSP image has significantly more detail. Need we go further? I mean, the difference is like that between a first rate prime and a second rate zoom. But I like to be thorough, so I decided to give the ACR image a touch of Focus Magic. Below is the result.

[attachment=173:attachment]

Now, you should be able to see from the above image that the default settings in Focus Magic (which is what I used) have brought out the detail in the ACR image to the point where it's virtually as good as the RSP image. In fact, it's probably not quite as good, sharpness wise, but the ACR image actually looks better. It's somehow smoother and has better tonality.

Let's see what happens if we now give the RSP image the same Focus Magic treatment.

[attachment=174:attachment]

I think it's apparent that the RSP image is now oversharpened.

Conclusion? If you buy RAW Shooter, you get a Focus Magic type of sharpening program thrown in. Could be a good deal if you don't already have Focus Magic.

Forgot to mention; 24-105 IS at 24mm, 1/80th at f8 and ISO 100. The 'detail extraction' slider in RSP was set to maximum. Oh! Camera EOS 5D.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2006, 06:16:13 AM by Ray » Logged
boku
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« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2006, 08:11:56 AM »
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Ray,

In some small way I am actually a bit disappointed to read this. I think you are on to something here. That is likely going to make me rethink my comfortable stance that PSCS is all I need. The possibility of improved results hits me right where it hurts - this is probably the most important criteria for selecting a tool.

When I tried the original freebie betas of RAW Shooter, I hated the interface and got poor results. That was sort of comforting because it eliminated one more tool I had to understand for workflow. Now, you have me wondering if I need to pony up.
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Bob Kulon

Oh, one more thing...
Play it Straight and Play it True, my Brother.
photopat
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« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2006, 10:01:02 AM »
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I'm pretty shure that what you see is that Rawshooter applyes some sharpening  and Camera Raw(and Capture One) does not.
And it appears that RawShooter extracts more detail than Camera Raw (which is not true)

If you apply some capture sharpening to the Camera Raw image you'll get the same details.

It's simular to some scanner software (like Imacons) you need to set sharpnes to a negative value if you don't want to shapen the image(in Imacons case -60)
This thing that raw shoter does is not a possitive thing since it's better to apply capture sharpening in PS rather than in the RAW "delveloper"

 In RawShooter I think you need to set shapnes to-50 and "Detail Extraction" turned off to get no sharpening added at all.


Patrick
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Jack Flesher
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« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2006, 10:23:37 AM »
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Raw-Shooter does apply sharpening even at its default zero setting, unless you go into the sub-menu under batch-convert and turn it off.

However, as your example shows, even the basic setting does an excellent job.  Imagine what it will do when you fine tune it for your individual cameras!  Oh, and BTW, you can preset different values of sharpening, detail extraction and noise reduction based on the native file's ISO in the processing parameters dialog, so those settings will get autoamtically modified by ISO during conversion -- very handy!  

What you should try now is apply a much lighter, detail extraction pass of FM to your RSE conversion -- just enough to further pop the detail without introdicing the over-sharpened artifacts.  I don't use FM, but do have a CS2 detail sharpen routine that puts a nice final polish on the RSP file. (I use RS Pro, but the sharpening/detail extraction routines are identical in RS Essentials.)

And yes Bob -- IMO RSP is a must-have   Once you get the hang of the workflow, you will never go back to ACR.  Take 1/2 hour to read the documentation file as it contains significant information about how to use the program efficiently.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2006, 10:40:54 AM by Jack Flesher » Logged

TimothFarrar
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« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2006, 11:11:02 AM »
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Ray, thanks for the info. I have had much better results when printing huge enlargements (around 150 pixels per inch) if no sharping is applied until after doubling the image size right before printing. Otherwise I tend to get an enlargement the pixelization and halos seen in the closeup shots you posted.

Besides the "detail extraction" which, as is clear from your examples, is simply a confusion with the word sharpening, do any of these Raw converters actually have any real image quality enhancements over ACR? (screen shots please)

About the only problems I can see with ACR in terms of image quality is color distortion in areas of blown out highlights and in the color interpolation of the bayer color grid. Sometimes around really high contrast fine detail, there are a few pixels that are off color (not caused by chromatic aberration).

- Timothy Farrar : farrarfocus.com
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Ray
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« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2006, 11:23:39 AM »
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Quote
I'm pretty shure that what you see is that Rawshooter applyes some sharpening  and Camera Raw(and Capture One) does not.
And it appears that RawShooter extracts more detail than Camera Raw (which is not true)

If you apply some capture sharpening to the Camera Raw image you'll get the same details.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=56561\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I don't find this is the case, Patrick. My initial impression was that RSP's 'detail extraction' might just be sharpening by another name. So I repeated the experiment with another image, but this time I set the ACR sharpen to 50. (I also tried 100, but that was clearly oversharpened.)

As Jack has suggested, I also turned off sharpening in RSP under batch/convert (which I also did for the previous images).

What I'm finding is that RSP is not only providing more detail without the oversharpened look, but better tonality, that is, more subtle shading of colors. In its default mode (similar to ACR's Auto Adjustments) it seems to bring out colors that don't appear to be even there in the ACR conversion.

Here is another example below showing very small crops that have been interpolated for easier viewing.

[attachment=175:attachment]                                      [attachment=176:attachment]

You'll notice in the small crops that the RSP image shows subtle shades of green that the ACR conversion didn't seem to pick up. Of course, I'm sure there are various ways of bringing out those colors in ACR. My concern would be that I might not know they were there.
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61Dynamic
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« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2006, 11:39:42 AM »
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I remember this topic came up a few months back. There was a claim that RSE/RSP developed raw files with more detail in them and it was not an effect of sharpening but of much more sophisticated interpolation algorithms. I called malarky on that, the gauntlet was thrown down and a few people were going to test the theory. Nothing came of that, seems we all got preoccupied with the real world and holidays.

Rays test here backs up my experience with the program. There is no detail that magically gets resolved with RSE that does no exist with other converters and can't be pulled out of an image with a good sharpening solution. RSE does have one benefit however, and that is in the fact that it with working directly with the raw data. I believe this is why there seems to be slightly more tonal details extracted in the lady's pants in Rays example with RAE over FM. Of course some of this gap could be narrowed with some heavier fine-tuning. the difference is hair splitting. Essentially, RSE just saves you a step in PS by sharpening automatically.

I would like to test it more myself but am on a Mac. Pixemantec really needs to get the ball rolling on a Mac version of their program. I'd be very likely to purchase a copy if it was available as I did like using it when I was using PCs.
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spphoto
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« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2006, 12:12:02 PM »
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hi, can rsp correct fringing aberrations (red/blue/yellow etc..)?
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photopat
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« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2006, 12:28:29 PM »
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Yea ..But the detail extraction in RawShooter is a "sharpening" effect  simular to a local contrast enhansment done in PS(unsharp mask) as I've understood it .So if used there is some sharpening applyed(just called another name).
And I'm not sure if I remembered things correct.But when discussing this app with a fellow college some time ago(looong time ago)...But when turning sharpening off in RawShooter you still apply some sharpening  and need to set it  to ≈ -50 if you want no sharpening at all(and turn detail extraction off).

So "a better" way(when comparing) would be for.
RawShooter.      Set the sharpening to -50 and turn off detail extraction off.
CRW. apply no sharpening.

Then compare the 2.
OR for the CRW image.(if sharpening in RawShooter is "just" turned off and detail extraction is used)

1.Apply capture shapening preferably with PK Sharpener orTLR professional shapening tool
2.Do some local contrast enhancement.

Then compare the RawShooter developed image and the "adjusted" CRW image.

I'm not saying that RawShooter isn't better than CRW (I can't try it myself since I'm on a mac)
But when comparing ,the image should be treated  in the same way.  
Patrick
« Last Edit: January 22, 2006, 12:59:57 PM by photopat » Logged
paulbk
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« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2006, 03:14:03 PM »
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re: RSP v1.0.1 used on 1D MII files

The default sharpening in RSP is almost perfect, if you don't apply addition sharpening. I've cut the default sharpening in half (-25) for all ISOs. Rarely apply capture sharpening once in Photoshop. Selectively apply final sharpening using PK Sharpener.
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paul b. kramarchyk
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« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2006, 08:56:14 PM »
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FTR, RSE/P have *BOTH* a sharpening setting and a detail extraction setting, and they each impart unique changes to the image -- so they are not really doing the same thing.

,
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Jack Flesher
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« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2006, 08:59:11 PM »
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There was a claim that RSE/RSP developed raw files with more detail in them and it was not an effect of sharpening but of much more sophisticated interpolation algorithms. I called malarky on that, the gauntlet was thrown down and a few people were going to test the theory.
~~SNIP~~
I would like to test it more myself but am on a Mac.

So let me understand this...  You call malarky on it, claim it isn't doing anything ACR doesn't do, yet since you are on a Mac you have never actually tested it yourself?

Huh,
« Last Edit: January 22, 2006, 08:59:55 PM by Jack Flesher » Logged

Ray
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« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2006, 09:25:36 PM »
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I did say I was going to attempt the impossible   . I can see now much more clearly why reviewers like Dpreview only test in-camera jpegs. The differences between RAW converters and the possibility that some might apply a default sharpening that can't be turned off, would make the test results invalid.

I did some more conversions of the previous image, but this time in RSP I turned sharpening to it lowest point, minus 50, and 'detail extraction' to its lowest point of minus 50.

The first set of 3 crops includes 'local contrast enhancement' to the ACR image, as someone suggested. Perhaps a pixel radius of 50 is too great, hower the 'unsharpened' RSP image with its minimum settings still looks the best.

[attachment=177:attachment]

In the second set of 3 crops, I've applied Photoshop's Smart Sharpen  in default mode. This brings out the detail in the ACR image to a level that is comparable to the unsharpened RSP image, but what happens if I now apply a bit of sharpening to the RSP image?

[attachment=178:attachment]

The fact is, one could spend a lot of time messing around with various sharpening methods and degrees of adjustment, which is why I prefer time-saving automatic features.

Perhaps the bottom line is, RSP seems to deliver better results 'out of the box', so to speak.

One other point I find interesting is that these extreme blow-ups of very small crops, show the same detail and subtle shading when viewing the enlarged thumbnail from within LL, as they do when I open the same jpeg compressed image in Photoshop.

This fact seems to be at odds with some hints I read from some quarters on the Rob Galbraith forum recently, that the web is a very poor medium for displaying subtle differences between images.  
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61Dynamic
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« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2006, 09:37:31 PM »
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So let me understand this...  You call malarky on it, claim it isn't doing anything ACR doesn't do, yet since you are on a Mac you have never actually tested it yourself?

Huh,
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=56600\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
I've tested it back when I was using a PC and used it quite a bit. I was heavily considering using it as my primary raw converter at the time since I was not at all happy with Phase One's support and slow development cycle and ACR was pre-2.4. I ultimately decided against using it due to funky color compared to the other options.

So yes, I've used it - I'm not talking outta' my butt here.

Since I'm on a mac now I don't have easy access to RSE. Testing it more thoroughly now would be too time consuming and is not a high-priority at this moment. If a mac version existed, things would be different.
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Jack Flesher
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« Reply #14 on: January 23, 2006, 09:33:42 AM »
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Okay, makes sense.

You should know however that RSP has improved the default color profile and now includes the ability to add alternative profiles -- and they offer a set at additional cost.
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Jack Flesher
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« Reply #15 on: January 23, 2006, 09:38:09 AM »
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One other point I find interesting is that these extreme blow-ups of very small crops, show the same detail and subtle shading when viewing the enlarged thumbnail from within LL, as they do when I open the same jpeg compressed image in Photoshop.

This fact seems to be at odds with some hints I read from some quarters on the Rob Galbraith forum recently, that the web is a very poor medium for displaying subtle differences between images.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=56601\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Ray, I think the discussion on RG centered around the fact that a print will first show more tonal/hue gradations than a monitor alone can display, and then even more when compared to web display.  

Cheers,
« Last Edit: January 23, 2006, 09:38:52 AM by Jack Flesher » Logged

61Dynamic
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« Reply #16 on: January 23, 2006, 11:23:58 AM »
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Okay, makes sense.

You should know however that RSP has improved the default color profile and now includes the ability to add alternative profiles -- and they offer a set at additional cost.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=56611\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Yeah, and the additional profiles are pretty good too considering they're made by Etcetera. This is why I'd purchase it if they had mac support.
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Jack Flesher
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« Reply #17 on: January 23, 2006, 12:14:25 PM »
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This is why I'd purchase it if they had mac support.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=56618\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

You didn't hear it from me, but I expect you'll have your chance in about two weeks.

,
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