Any reviews of RAW conversion software compared?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by VirtualRain, May 2, 2012.

  1. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #1
    Is anyone aware of any recent reviews that would compare the RAW conversion of Aperture with Lightroom, Capture One, and perhaps DPP?
     
  2. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #2
    I believe I saw something like that somewhere, but nothing written right now would be of much use. So much is in flux with Lightroom release candidates, and Aperture is just plain long in the tooth at the moment.
     
  3. blueroom macrumors 603

    blueroom

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  4. VirtualRain thread starter macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #4
    Yeah, it seems the 5D3 vs D800 is creating a lot of interest in RAW comparison and now that's turning to analysis of RAW file interpretation... which made me wonder why the various RAW tools are not as often compared as different camera output. It makes no sense to me to pixel peep camera images and try to do extreme RAW adjustments without first understanding if the RAW converter is interpreting the data correctly in the first place.

    I'd like to know how Aperture 3 stacks up to other RAW converters in terms of sharpness, noise performance, colour, etc.
     
  5. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    I doubt that many serious reviewers are going to bother with doing any major comparisons that include Aperture 3. If Apple is going to remain committed to the application, then version 4 must be coming soon, and if they're not, then processing with it is a moot point. Either way, no reviewer is going to want to sink a bunch of time into testing Aperture 3 with the latest generation of DSLRs. Unfortunately, you'll probably just have to use the trial packages to reach your own conclusions.

    I'm committed to LR partly because of its integration with Photoshop via Smart Objects. I'm also really happy with LR 4's processing results and editing features (much improved over LR 3). However, Adobe has really annoyed me with their tactics to force upgrades. It is not possible to use the latest process version in LR and pass the files over to Photoshop unless you have Photoshop CS6, which is the only version of Photoshop that will ever use ACR 7 (which is required to use the 2012 process version). Grrrr....
     
  6. VirtualRain thread starter macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #6
    I can't help but agree with that.

    There is an interesting comparison of RAW processors for shadow recovery going on here at CR, and perhaps not surprisingly, Aperture doesn't appear to have faired as well as LR.


    I see... I don't need Photoshop (yet)... primarily because I don't know how to harness it to improve my image processing. :eek: Something I have ambition to learn but I have no need for compositing type work. However, I can see how the Adobe ecosystem is both a benefit and a problem as you say. Do you have any good resources to suggest on how to harness Photoshop as part of a photographer's workflow?

    I used LR on Windows before I moved to the Mac (probably v2) and I found it very unintuitive at the time, but I was also new to digital workflow then.

    Although I'm happy with Aperture and don't find it particularly lacking (especially now I have Nik Dfine), I may test run Capture One to see if I'm missing anything there. If anyone has any experience with it, I'd love to hear it.

    Ultimately, I'm looking for a RAW converter that's providing maximum sharpness, dynamic range and minimal noise with 5D3 RAW files that also has decent workflow and image management (which rules out DPP).
     
  7. OreoCookie, May 3, 2012
    Last edited: May 3, 2012

    OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #7
    Whenever a new version of <insert RAW converter here> is released, people will make comparisons of Aperture vs. Lightroom vs. Bibble vs. whoever. Some people, for instance, swear by the RAW converter supplied with the camera while others prefer <insert program>. In most cases -- and for engines of similar vintage, I found the differences to be minuscule, meaning too minuscule to sacrifice usability. I'm forced to use Sigma's RAW converter -- and even though the software produces top notch results, it's clunky, crash prone and I just hate it.

    As Phrasikleia correctly points out, every major piece of software has its own advantages and disadvantages. Adobe, for instance, offers tight integration -- if you're willing to go along with each upgrade. Then all the pieces really integrate tightly, and you can preserve non-destructiveness in edits when going from Lightroom to Photoshop. I also like the idea to make public betas and thus draw heavily from customer input to improve the software. The downside is that keeping all Adobe software in step each time an upgrade is released is expensive.

    Apple's advantage is tight OS integration and for me, the UI concept of Aperture (save for the bolted on bits and pieces). Some downsides are that it takes Apple a while to support certain cameras and that its release schedule leaves customers totally in the dark. I also found the software quality of Aperture to leave something to be desired, too many quirks and bugs for my taste.
     
  8. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #8
    I've seen these tutorials recommended a lot:

    http://goodlight.us/writing/tutorials.html

    I didn't learn from those tutorials, but the techniques are ones I've been using for a while (particularly luminosity masks).

    I've also heard good things about this guy's videos:

    http://homepage.mac.com/zackschnepf/photography/videos.html

    So I can't say whether or not these tutorials and videos are good at teaching these techniques, but I do endorse the techniques themselves.
     
  9. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

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    #9
    http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/reviews/2012/04/ars-reviews-adobe-lightroom-4.ars/4

    Page 4 of Arstechnica's LR4 review had some comparisons between different RAW converters.

    By and large these comparisons are a little hard to come across, but I'd also say that by and large, most mainstream RAW converters produce very similar results, and that unless you're out for that last 0.5% in your RAW images, any of them will do a perfectly serviceable job.

    Note how many RAW converter comparisons like this require 100% views to actually discern differences- indicating you really need to be pixel peeping (or enlarging a lot) to really notice a difference. For print applications, it's likely all these minute details get lost in the print process itself.
     
  10. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #10
  11. VirtualRain thread starter macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #11
    Thanks, I'll look into these.

    Thanks. I agree, it's probably well into diminishing returns trying to analyze RAW converters after reading a couple of reviews.

    He did a more recent one here... http://www.twin-pixels.com/raw-processors-review-aperture-bibble-capture-one-dxo-lightroom/

    It's interesting... Aperture was great except for noise reduction and lens correction which we know are the key issues.
     
  12. VirtualRain thread starter macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #12
    :eek: Despite not being one to normally quote myself, I thought I should follow up on this...

    I spent some time with Aperture and posted my results here. So at least in this shadow recovery exercise, Aperture holds its own.
     
  13. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #13
    It's not just that the differences tend to be very small, but that you cannot simply use the »same settings«*in each RAW editor and compare. Picking »optimal« settings involves a lot of subjective decisions, and sliders are often not comparable.
     
  14. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #14
    Thanks for the link.

    I've read a lot of reviews and Aperture does a very good job with RAW conversion. As you mentioned however, it does a poor job out of the box with noise. Plugins help with that though. I use LightRoom and use Topaz Labs DeNoise. I found it does a better job then other PS plugins
     
  15. righteye, May 5, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2012

    righteye macrumors 6502

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    #15
    I would say that LR4 is the most complete one stop shop ( plus with some plugins, for example on one perfect photo, Nik software or topaz products one has endless choices)
    One of my fave features in LR4/CR7 is the the ability to change the colour temperature to specific areas in a photo, example different lighting temperatures in a photo can be corrected,Brilliant!
    Improvements keep coming there is a new colour fringing control in a LR4.1 beta (not tried it)
    I have several other RAW processing apps that i use from time to time (i use DxO for Architecture as i find the the lens corrections superb for getting perfect straight and corrected lines) but LR4 is my default with a sprinkle of PS 5/6 pixie dust when needed.

    PS: look up Deconvolution Sharpening(if you have not already) as a way of getting the finest detail from your Raw image combined with the masking slider ( to prevent sharpening the sky for example) one can get some great results.
    The numbers given are flexible i use a bit less Amount and detail but keep the radius at 0.7 with my 5d2

    http://diglloyd.com/blog/2010/20100723_3-Sharpening.html

    I also suggest you get some LR4 training if thats the direction you choose ( it will save you hours and hours of time!) for example The Luminous Landscape have some great tutorials or Lynda.com ( yes you will have to pay but they are worth it in my HO

    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/videos/lr4_combo.shtml

    UPDATE; Since i posted this i have tried out Aftershot Pro (formerly Bibble) and compared it to LR4 and DXO PRO 7.
    My conclusions are LR is till the best if only using one RAW processor, plus its a DAM as well
    DXO is the best option when working on architecture it sorts out the geometry problems gets rid of chromatic aberration with one click (although the new correction in LR4 is now better) and is my goto for this sort of photography but i tend to take my time in DXO to get the results i want.
    ASP very fast on the HEX core (if you need quick previews this is the one to use) but is not quite as good as the other two for final image quality, this may improve if Corel do some more updates to it.
     

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