6 Raw converters, and I've narrowed it to 2

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by john carter, Apr 28, 2007.

  1. Has anyone else tried this? I have six converters mostly freeware, and I've
    run the same images through each using the 'default' processing. Then I
    viewed them on the same organizer. They are: Xnview, Raw Therapee, Pentax
    Lab, the Adobe that came with PSE3, RAW Shooter, and Picasa2. I also used
    LightRoom but now that it is out of Beta, I'm not going to use it (it wasn't
    the one I like best). Adobe, RAW Shooter, Picasa2 all were exactly the same.
    The Pentax Lab was really good but just a little light. The top two in my
    opinion were XnView and Raw Therapee. They were both a little dark but had a
    richness that I liked (very much). When I adjusted the light converters
    (darker) and lightened the the others, my personal favorite was XnView, but I
    can't figure out how to get 16bit TIFF file so by default RAW Therapee was my
    top pick. I enjoyed this test and now have a converter that I like.
  2. I didn't care for the Lightroom beta versions, but version 1 is pretty good. You have a couple more days to buy it with a $100 discount. I don't have a problem with Bridge/Photoshop either.

    It would seem the most important characteristic you seek is "free".
  3. You didn't try Silkypix. Some top pros use it & love it. When I did a test of all converters - larger group than yours - it won.

  4. Picassa has nowhere near the control of ACR. Bibble is supposed to be nice.

    I dislike NX by Nikon.

    Bibble is 129 at Amazon
  5. Check Klaus Schroiff's (from photozone.de) overview and quality comparison between raw converters; some of the converters are free, too:

  6. Free is not my motivation. I just wanted to try some other converters. I was surprised at how they were so different using default settings. I probably have paid for more photo equipment over a longer period of time than most people. I will probably be purchasing Bibble's RAW converter as it really shines. I used the Pentax Lab that came with my K10d and it is SilkyPix, but I don't know if it is the same. I was just surprised at how much better some of these converters are, at least in my hands
  7. A decent RAW converter that comes free with the camera and
    works in OS X was one of the deciding factors for my purchasing
    the Pentax K100D. To me I can't understand having to buy even
    more software when you've plunked down large amounts of
    cash for the camera.

    Wow! I didn't realize there were so many free RAW converters.
    Competition is good.
  8. Capture One.
  9. I think you use Nikon. If you use Canon, their packaged raw converter is good. The Canon people told a us that there are real differences between Adobe and the Canon product. Interesting. And, your post was intersting. Thanks.
  10. Hi John,

    I tested a bunch of RAW converters when I received my Pentax K10D. My workflow up to
    that point had been Photoshop CS2+Bridge+Camera Raw based for almost three years
    (since whenever CS2 shipped... and using CS before that). My evaluation basis was a set of
    four radically different RAW captures, each processed from the original RAW file to a TIFF
    file solely in the RAW converter and printed through my standard workflow using CS2.

    The biggest eye opener to me was Adobe Lightroom. It produced the TIFF files that printed
    the best, and the prints that its own Print module produced were ever so slightly better to

    That being said, the differences between all six RAW converters I tested were on the level
    of nuances that are virtually impossible to articulate on the computer screen (yes, I've
    tried). Print output is indeed different from what you see on the screen.

    I'm convinced that with any one of the good RAW converters available today, you can
    obtain extremely similar results, so the criteria of choice for which one does the best job
    for you is generally based on other factors ... Learnability, ease of use, how well you can
    remember what it does, etc are a larger factor in what works best than the operations of
    RAW conversion itself. Any of the RAW converters that I tested with will do a very very
    good job of producing high quality RGB image files with adequate study and practice. I
    found Lightroom's operations suited me best.

    I moved my photographic image processing system to Lightroom after v1.0 was
    released and reorganized the rest of my image processing system to suit it best. I use
    Photoshop CS2 and LightZone Basic as plug-in editors, to accomplish
    editing work beyond the global editing and RAW conversion that Lightroom is designed to
    do, and use Lightroom's organizational and print facilities extensively. I do continue to use
    some scripts that I built for Photoshop CS2 occasionally, so Bridge and Photoshop remain
    important parts of my total workflow. All of this together is proving to be a productive
    environment for my work, producing top-notch results ... which in the end is all that is
    really important.

  11. Nuances, that is the key word, Godfrey. I used LightRoom for B&W conversions, XnView for web work (no TIFF16bit), Pentax for batch, and RAWtherapee for TIFF16bit to printer. Isn't it great to have so many choices? I hope to meet you soon Godfrey.
  12. It is great to have choices that work well for each of us.

    I am curious about your use of Pentax' Browser and Lab for batch operations, however. On
    my system it is abominably slow and tends to crash regularly. Both Lightroom and
    Photoshop CS2+Bridge+Camera Raw do a much better job of processing batches of
    images, present much more usable editing tools.

    Let's get together for coffee or something soon. We can both bring prints. :)

  13. Godfrey, Right, I'll email you. I use the Pentax because I figured it out. Mine is slooow, too.
  14. cs3 camera raw plugin has 'Fill Light' and 'Vibrance' controls. Sounds interesting - does anyone know what they do ?
  15. You don't list it, but you owe it to yourself to look at BreezeBrowser Pro. There's info on it at Art Morris's website (www.birdsasart.com).
  16. Dmitri:

    Fill Light raises luminance on the middle tones without pushing the white clip limit or
    point around, analogous to what good fill lighting should do.

    Vibrance is a more subtle variation on Saturation adjustment. It achieves a more tightly
    controlled saturation adjustment differentially across the scenes regions, with less
    tendency to channel clip.


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