14 Replies Latest reply on Aug 2, 2013 9:48 PM by drwin88

    Colors in RAW

    MarkJan77

      Hi! RAW format for my camera is RW2. I used conversion of RW2 files into DNG to process it in Ps. When previewing pictures in IRFAN VIEW I noticed that RW2 and DNG versions of the same picture (before any processing) are quite different. RW2 is sharper and with better collors. Does anybody know why it is like that and if its better to use a soft to work on RW2 files instead of converting them into DNG? Thanks for help! Marek

        • 1. Re: Colors in RAW
          drwin88

          Aloha, Mark,

           

          I have the same issue.  I was using RW2 (from FZ150) directly in Photoshop, but the newer RW2 (from LF1) is too new and my aging version of Photoshop isn't compatible with the Photoshop update.  So I downloaded Adobe DNG converter v.1.8 to convert the images.  The results in DNG are terrible.  Images that--as you say--were sharp and with good colors in RW2 are washed-out and lifeless in the DNG version and they don't look well-defined.  It looks like the pictures were taken with a dime-store camera.

           

          If anyone out there has any viable suggestions on adjustments that can be made, I would be very grateful.  I don't like the Pany software (so I would prefer to stay away from it) and I can't afford to upgrade my Photoshop (CS4) so those are not viable options.  Meanwhile I may have to shoot nothing but JPEG--at least I know what results I can get.

          • 2. Re: Colors in RAW
            Level 5

            Personally, I don't need or use DNGs, but the Adobe DNG Converter 8.2RC is now available for downloading at Adobe labs.

             

            It has new camera support and undefined bug fixes.

             

            It's accesible through the same page as ACR 8.2RC:

             

            http://labs.adobe.com/downloads/cameraraw8-2.html

            • 3. Re: Colors in RAW
              thedigitaldog MVP & Adobe Community Professional

              MarkJan77 wrote:

              When previewing pictures in IRFAN VIEW I noticed that RW2 and DNG versions of the same picture (before any processing) are quite different. RW2 is sharper and with better collors. Does anybody know why it is like that and if its better to use a soft to work on RW2 files instead of converting them into DNG? Thanks for help! Marek

              Has nothing to do with the conversion to DNG! Raw files have no color, they are essentially grayscale data. There IS an embedded JPEG the camera creates so you can see an initial preview. Only the camera manufacturer's raw converter can begin to match this as this is a proprietary process. All other raw converters much build an initial preview and that's based on some default settings to build the preview from the 'grayscale' raw data. You can take the same DNG or camera original and take them into a dozen different raw converters and basically get a dozen different initial previews (renderings).

               

              In ACR, the preview is based on the default settings. Don't like that? Update the defaults. Or ignore the initial preview and start moving sliders to produce a color appearance you desire (the reason to capture raw data). That includes the amount of sharpening (ACR is correctly conservative in it's default setting being low).

               

              Again, this has absolutely nothing to do with the DNG conversion or process. DNG is raw (unless you set lossy DNG which is a different story all together and not something you want to do unless you have a really good reason to do so).

               

              The reason to convert to DNG is primarily to allow support for a proprietary format in an older version of ACR or Lightroom although there are a number of benefits to doing so. But a DNG is as raw as the original.

              • 4. Re: Colors in RAW
                drwin88 Level 1

                "Raw files have no color."

                You're kidding, right?  RAW files contain ALL the data captured, including the perceived frequencies of the light from every pixel (i.e., color).

                The DNG converter is translating the RW2 code into a different code.  If the translation is perfect, there is a perfect color match.  It appears that the translation is less than perfect, so there is not a perfect color match.

                 

                • 5. Re: Colors in RAW
                  thedigitaldog MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                  drwin88 wrote:

                   

                  "Raw files have no color."

                  You're kidding, right? 

                  Nope, they are essentially a single channle grayscale file with luminance data for each pixel site and a filter (RGGB). The data has to under go demosaicing:

                   

                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demosaicing

                  The DNG converter is translating the RW2 code into a different code.  If the translation is perfect, there is a perfect color match.  It appears that the translation is less than perfect, so there is not a perfect color match.

                  Nope. The DNG data is as raw as the proprietary raw file. There's no color to match, the color hasn't been created yet.

                   

                  Take a proprietary raw (NEF, CRW) in say ACR and a converted DNG, you get the identical results using identical settings. Use any other raw processor that supports both (say Iridient Developer) and again, you'll get identical results from the same settings. DNG does not alter the raw data a lick.

                  • 6. Re: Colors in RAW
                    drwin88 Level 1

                    There seems to be some confusion.  The color filter is in front of the sensor, therefore the sensor is capturing color.

                     

                    From the source you mention:

                     

                    "Most modern digital cameras acquire images using a single image sensor overlaid with a CFA, so demosaicing is part of the processing pipeline required to render these images into a viewable format."

                     

                    "Since each pixel of the sensor is behind a color filter, the output is an array of pixel values, each indicating a raw intensity of one of the three filter colors. Thus, an algorithm is needed to estimate for each pixel the color levels for all color components, rather than a single component."

                     

                    Demosaicing does not introduce color into the process, it organizes the color data from the sensor.

                     

                    There's not much point in deconstructionist debates.  The color generated by the camera is great.  The JPEG previews are great.  The DNG results are not.  Every image processing device relies on programming.  If the programming is perfect, the result is perfect.  If the programming is less than perfect, the result is less than perfect.  DNG is not a magic box, it is a product created by programmers.  To say that "DNG does not alter the raw data" is to assume programming perfection.  The results do not support that assumption.

                    • 7. Re: Colors in RAW
                      Level 5

                      drwin88,

                       

                      You need to read up on digital raw capture,  A lot.

                       

                      You could start by reading Andrew Ridney's posts very carefully.  Andrew is an authority in color matters, he is a published author and highly respected as a consultant and presenter on a world-wide basis.  Read his books.  Visit his site.

                       

                      A digital raw file is a very, very dark grayscale image with nothing that the human eye can discern as color.

                       

                      The colors are created in the demosaicing process by the raw converter.  Each raw converter has its own philosophy of what constitutes the optimal rendering of the raw data.  That's why renderinngs of the same raw data by different raw converters differ.

                       

                      Google raw file and add key words like "Jeff Schewe", "Bruce Fraser" or "Andrew Rodney" to your search.

                       

                      The DNG converter does nothing to the raw data.  It simple takes it and puts it in a different wrapper than the proprietary one chosen by the camera manufacturer. Just like taking a manufactured product and putting it in a different box.

                      • 8. Re: Colors in RAW
                        thedigitaldog MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                        drwin88 wrote:

                         

                        There seems to be some confusion.  The color filter is in front of the sensor, therefore the sensor is capturing color.

                        There is a single color (R, G or B). Open up an RGB document in Photoshop, examine one color channel (which is grayscale data). Split that channel and what do you have? No different here.

                         

                        There's not much point in deconstructionist debates.  The color generated by the camera is great.  The JPEG previews are great.  The DNG results are not.

                        Again, this has nothing to do with DNG per se. The DNG is raw data, no different in terms of the potential real color results from the proprietary raw! The DNG IS raw data. This is digital clay: you can create a lovely vase or an ugly ashtray. Converting to DNG doesn't produce better or worse results. The idea that a proprietary raw is somehow better in terms of the resulting color than a DNG is nonsense. The only difference is some proprietary metadata only the manufacturer's raw converter may be able to use. Again, try the tests I've outlined: Take a proprietary raw and a copy that is converted to DNG and 'open' both in the same raw processor using the same settings. The results are the same, period. Blaming DNG for a poor rendering is ridiculous. The JPEG is created by the camera using a proprietary process. If you love that so much, set the camera to JPEG (clearly illustrating you can't render a raw that well) OR use the manfuacturer's raw processor that has the ability to mimic this in-camera proprietary process and results in a close match to the JPEG. Raw is raw, period and DNG is raw data. If you are unable to use a converter to produce the desired color appearance you desire, the burden is mostly on your abilities, but not one bit on the DNG or original raw data. There's no difference here. That's the bottom line.

                        • 9. Re: Colors in RAW
                          Level 5

                          If the raw data already contained the colors, a raw converter wouldn't be needed in the first place, and the image file would be already cooked, not raw

                          • 10. Re: Colors in RAW
                            thedigitaldog MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                            station_two wrote:

                             

                            If the raw data already contained the colors, a raw converter wouldn't be needed in the first place, and the image file would be already cooked, not raw

                            Exactly! But more importantly to the OP, DNG is raw data, so putting the blame on the conversion (outside of the inability to use that format inside a manufacturer's converter that doesn't support DNG) is an incorrect assumption.

                            • 11. Re: Colors in RAW
                              drwin88 Level 1

                              Wow! It didn't take long for you to get personal, which says more about you than about anything else.  Less energy into ad hominem attacks and appeals to recognize the Greatness of a Great Man, and more into rational discussion, would be preferable and far more constructive.

                               

                              A couple of statements made by posters:

                               

                              "Raw is raw, period and DNG is raw data. If you are unable to use a converter to produce the desired color appearance you desire, the burden is mostly on your abilities, but not one bit on the DNG or original raw data."  ["unable to use a converter??"   All one does is open the folder and select "convert."  The user has absolutely no control over the process.  To imply otherwise is to introduce gross error into the discussion.]

                               

                              "DNG is raw data, so putting the blame on the conversion (outside of the inability to use that format inside a manufacturer's converter that doesn't support DNG) is an incorrect assumption."

                               

                              Adobe disagrees with both of you:

                               

                              “…raw converters…may use very different algorithms…which is why the same image may look quite different when processed through different raw converters. Some converters will map the tones flatter to provide editing headroom while others will try to achieve a more film-like look by increasing the contrast of the curve….Vendors make a relatively subjective determination of what the best “look” is, and then adjust their converter to produce that result.”

                               

                              To reiterate the key part of my original post:

                              "If anyone out there has any viable suggestions on adjustments that can be made, I would be very grateful."

                               

                              UFRaw might be a viable option for some RW2 but doesn't yet support the newest RW2 files

                               

                              BTW, I didn't read the Book, nor do I intend to after reading reviews on Amazon, since the 5-star reviews appeared to be written by friends (at least 2 reviewers implied that they hadn't read the book) and at least one other review described a book that wasn't all that informative--and had poor color rendition to boot.  If the above sweeping (and erroneous) statements about RAW and converters are any indication, there may well be some serious factual errors in the Book as well.

                              • 12. Re: Colors in RAW
                                thedigitaldog MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                                drwin88 wrote:

                                 

                                Wow! It didn't take long for you to get personal, which says more about you than about anything else.

                                Personal, where?

                                 

                                “…raw converters…may use very different algorithms…which is why the same image may look quite different when processed through different raw converters.

                                That's what I said too: You can take the same DNG or camera original and take them into a dozen different raw converters and basically get a dozen different initial previews (renderings).


                                 

                                To reiterate the key part of my original post:

                                "If anyone out there has any viable suggestions on adjustments that can be made, I would be very grateful."

                                You want some sites or resources to better learn how to use the Adobe raw converter? Can do. Start here: http://mulita.com/blog/

                                 

                                Learn to use the converter to get a decent starting point from the raw (DNG or otherwise), save that as a new ACR/LR default.

                                 

                                Bottom line: DNG is raw. The DNG or original proprietary raw will produce identical rendering when opened in ACR or LR. You don't like it, fix the default. This is NOT the fault of DNG any more than a poorly focused or exposed or composed image is the fault of the camera. It's the operator.

                                • 13. Re: Colors in RAW
                                  Level 5

                                  It's utterly impossible not to mention your complete ignorance of the subject when commenting on the totality of your posts, drwin88.  If you want to construe that as an ad hominem attack, be my guest.

                                   

                                  There's no point in attempting a "rational discussion" on totally irrational statements made by you without any base.

                                   

                                  Adobe disagrees with both of you:

                                   

                                  “…raw converters…may use very different algorithms…which is why the same image may look quite different when processed through different raw converters. Some converters will map the tones flatter to provide editing headroom while others will try to achieve a more film-like look by increasing the contrast of the curve….Vendors make a relatively subjective determination of what the best “look” is, and then adjust their converter to produce that result.”

                                  On the contrary, what you quote verifies, confirms and strengthens what both of us (guru Rodney and yours truly) have just told you.  You have a definite reading comprehension problem.  Maybe you've taken a few too many speed-reading courses, to the detriment of your grasp of the subject matter of what you read.

                                   

                                  Again, if you want to construe that as an ad hominem attack, be my guest.

                                   

                                  If you don't want to learn how to use Camera Raw and to understand the nature of digital raw capture, that is your problem and totally outside my bailiwick.

                                   

                                  What you write—and not only the stuff about raw capture and raw conversion—deserves no further comment

                                  • 14. Re: Colors in RAW
                                    drwin88 Level 1

                                    Station2:

                                     

                                    I didn't see your post about DNG Converter v8.2 until this evening.  I did not receive email notification of your post, so didn't get back to this thread until later in the conversation.  Since I assumed that I was being notified of all posts, it did not occur to me to scroll up to see if I had missed anything.


                                    I downloaded 8.2 and it works perfectly. The previous problem disappeared.  I also generated TIFF files from the converted RW2 originals (RW2 ->DNG -> TIFF) and they are all of the same quality and color. TIFF files from DNG Converter v8.1 were awful, so apparently there was an issue with that iteration which has been resolved.

                                     

                                    I do thank you for sharing this information and providing the link.