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[OM] Converters Are Us

Subject: [OM] Converters Are Us
From: Ken Norton <ken@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 4 Dec 2017 11:35:24 -0900
Sooooo....

It is no secret that I've been less than enamored (enamoured for those
who talk funny) with Adobe Lightroom for the raw converter itself.
While it isn't all that bad with the Olympus cameras, it is gut-wrench
awful with the Canon 6D files.

I can work and rework the images to my liking, but it takes a lot of
effort. Nothing comes natural and the images end up with my hated
"Canon Look" to them. Of course, I'm talking about landscape and
scenic photos, not necessarily portraiture, where it actually is
reasonably OK. Livable.

The big thing is how files in Lighroom lack "richness". It's like
cooking with corn oil instead real butter. Skim milk instead of real
cream. Gluten-free, dairy-free pizza instead of Pizzeria Uno.
McDonalds instead of In-and-Out...

It's a battle that I fight with nearly every picture. Most of the time
I've got to externally process the images in Color Efex Pro. Alas,
there is no consistency. Each image becomes a one-off because the
processing that works for one picture will fall flat with the very
next picture from the camera. I feel like I'm constantly walking that
tightrope in a high wind. It really is frustrating.

In the end, it's not that I've really been disappointed with the
pictures I've released, but the number of pictures I HAVEN'T released
because of the processing is the problem. I've literally reached a
processing dead-end with a number of pictures because of the crazy
color-cast problems and overall flatness of the images as processed in
Lightroom.

I've processed a few images in the Canon converter, which is getting
me closer, but that still forces a parallel working path that means
that anytime that I run across a difficult image, I've got to run the
Canon converter on it and then import the TIFF images into Lightroom
for further work. A royal pain the the tuckus.

As a general rule, I really REALLY like the images from SILKYPIX. I
find them to be more than exceptional and the extremely fine image
details effectively increase usable resolution by 50% over other
converters. "Micro Contrast" is a huge area of strength with SILKYPIX,
of which I find no equal with other converters. Alas, the standard
auto "get in the neighborhood" capability is no better than Lightroom.
Each image is still a processing one-off and Canon files can be made
better than through Adobe, but each image requires a lot of adjustment
to take it from 80% there to 100% there. The bulk or batch processing
capability is certainly grown up and not much different than the big
two. Just slower. The color correction "disk" in SILKYPIX, which is
similar to that in PWP is just wonderful. It's worth the price of
admission right there.

I'm now trying Capture One again. Version 11 addresses a number of the
things that held it back for me. I haven't had a chance to bend the
Panasonic L1 files yet. That might be the show-stopper. But when it
comes to the Canon 6D files, I'm absolutely amazed. One click auto,
along with two additional minor adjustments have gotten me farther
with those files than I was able to with Lightroom. The consistency
between images is rock solid and the blue casts in the shadows are
GONE!!! White-Balance is nailed. Shadow tones are correct. Clouds
don't go nuclear holocaust. (at least too much). I am not a fan of the
image details yet. It looks like I'll have to work a bit harder there.
But the real beauty is that the images look really good WITHOUT even a
touch of Clarity added.

My gut feeling is that the Capture One interface doesn't allow me to
tweak the images quite as much as with Lightroom and SILKYPIX, but
Capture One gets me closer to the destination with one click (or
select the look you want for any given image (color, portrait, B&W,
etc) with no muss or fuss.

My wife wants me to get back into wedding/portrait photography for
2018. Capture One is definitely better for skintones than Lightroom. I
would say that SILKYPIX is too--especially with Asian skin. Given the
population diversity here, that might not be a bad thing.

Anyway, I'll be doing a 3-way shootout between Lightroom, Capture One
and SILKYPIX this month. Latest/greatest versions of all three. Winner
takes all.

Specific areas of testing (non-inclusive list):
1. Color/Contrast satisfaction
2. Bulk image processing and management (wedding/event)
3. Matching images from different cameras
4. Panorama Merge functionality
5. Sharpness/Resolution/Noise Control
6. Image Bendability (how extreme can I get)
7. Speed of operation (image sorting and rating)
8. Output file sharpness
9. Image scaling issues
10. Panasonic L1 issues
11. Olympus E-3 shadow color issues and banding

AG

-- 
Ken Norton
ken@xxxxxxxxxxx
http://www.zone-10.com
-- 
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