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Author Topic: Adobe Camera Raw 3.3 quality?  (Read 27343 times)
Michael_S
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« on: March 22, 2006, 07:55:44 AM »

I can't tell if it's me or if it's ACR.  But I still can't get some of my files to look quite the way I could or can in other converters.  I realize there will be some differences but I expect them to be modest or otherwise subtle.  I'm concerned it's my ACR skill level but can't prove it.  Has anyone else had concerns about ACR vs. other converters?

Besides Fraser's book, does anyone have any recommendations on using ACR?  I'm even to the point I'll send a couple of "problem" files out if anyone wants to try their interpretation. Huh

Thanks for the assist.  I don't want to have to break my newly decided workflow.  But the picture is the thing in the end.  So much so that I'm looking at Bibble Pro again (liking the Noise Ninja and PTLens integration at the raw level).

--Mike
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crashbowman
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« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2006, 11:32:26 AM »

Michael,

I really can't encourage you much.  All I can really say is that I am pretty much in your shoes.  I read Peter's book, Fraser's book and have started Kelby's book.  I think for myself it is just coming down to the fact that I don't like ACR.  I really want to because of work flow and I don't have to buy something else, but it is much, much easier for myself to get consistent results that I like in Bibble Pro.  I know there are some things people knock about it, but for myself it is giving me what I want easier, faster and more consistently.  I read recently where someone compared RAW converters to film and much of it being personal preference.  I would like to think that I can get multiple results from one RAW converter, that compare to multiple types of film, but I am starting to think that a lot of this RAW converter thing is going to come down to personal opinion and personal needs.

For instance I shoot lots of High School Sports in poor lighting.  The NN addition to Bibble Pro works very nice with this.  Once again sorry that I can't really help, but jus say that I understand where you are coming from.  This whole journey made me glad that I didn't delete my CR2 files.  I had already converted thousands of images to DNG and placed the CR2's in another folder.  It took me a couple of weeks to get my CR2's back in place and in a program that could write meta data to XMP side car files.  It has taught me to really think things out fully, before jumping into something.

John
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Michael_S
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« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2006, 01:04:29 PM »

John,
Not to turn this into a Support Group for Disappointed ACR Users, but I appreciate the statement of solidarity.  Isn't it nice to have NN and BPTLens all insode BibblePro?  The Bibble Labs people were kind enough to send me a short extention to my trial license so I could re-evaluate vs. ACR.

I take it from you comments that you believe your ACR issues are with the software itself and not your level of expertise with it.  I'm trying to sanity check myself here.

Meanwhile, I'm not doing anything with DNG and certainly not tossing my NEFs.

Thanks again,
Mike
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crashbowman
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« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2006, 02:39:36 PM »


I take it from you comments that you believe your ACR issues are with the software itself and not your level of expertise with it.  I'm trying to sanity check myself here.


Mike,

That is hard to say.  I do think I have a pretty good understanding of ACR and I have used it enough to get fairly good results.  I just think for myself other programs give me better results in an easier manner.  I think I could eventually get close to the same results or the same results with ACR, but I think it would take a lot of practice and possibly take longer than in another application such as Bibble or C1.  I really, really, really think that it is personal taste for myself.  Some people prefer foreign cars over domestic and some people prefer Mexican Food over Italian Food.  At this point I just think I prefer Bibble Pro over ACR.  I do think my problems are with ACR itself and not my expertise, but it is more of a personal thing rather than a Bibble is better thing. 

BTW Bibble also extended my trial for the same reason.

Thanks,
John
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Michael_S
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« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2006, 02:54:29 PM »

So what does your workflow and asset management look like with BibblePro near the front-end?

Do you use any of the IPTC functions in BibblePro?
You avoid eor use Adobe Bridge?
What about sidecar management and tracking?
Does most of your processing stop with BibblePro and you don't do much in Photoshop?
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crashbowman
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« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2006, 09:59:25 PM »

So what does your workflow and asset management look like with BibblePro near the front-end?
I use Idimager and at this point I am bringing in one image at a time and adding it to a workqueue, however if I do end up purchasing Bibble Pro I will probably write or have someonoe on the IDI forum help me write a script where I can select multiple images in IDI and send them to a Bibble Pro Workqueue.

Do you use any of the IPTC functions in BibblePro?  
Not at this time.

You avoid eor use Adobe Bridge?
Pretty much for ratings only.

What about sidecar management and tracking?
I use XMP sidecars created by Bridge or Idimager.  They seem to be functioning pretty well together at this point.

Does most of your processing stop with BibblePro and you don't do much in Photoshop?
A little bit of both, I was transferring into PS and doing some finishing work like sharpening and such, but my last group of prints were mostly done in just Bibble.
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jeremyrh
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« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2006, 06:57:15 AM »

Michael - as you probably guessed, I feel the same way as you, but subsititute "Nikon Capture" for "Bibble" Grin

 In fact I was quite keen on the workflow that Bibble would allow (Noise Ninja, rotating and cropping etc) because that would eliminate even more of my PS workflow. However, I like that NC writes the adjustments into my NEF file, and makes a preview that reflects that adjusment, so I don't think I'll go beyond my trial download, particularly with a NC upgrade round the corner.

If I may make a "political" comment  Wink your experiences illustrate what I've been trying to say about the danger of Peter's book - that it is very persuasive in terms of describing the problem, but only presents one solution. It's very easy to follow the recipe and lose sight of whether you actually like the cake.

regards,

Jeremy
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peterkrogh
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« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2006, 07:00:43 AM »

This is a good place to have this discussion.  It's important for people to understand that each RAW file converter will produce different results.

That said, I would be interested in taking a look at a file that you consider to be problematic in ACR.  Maybe a RAW file (with or without the xmp sidecar file) and a TIFF made straight from Bibble that you think is clearly superior.

You can send to me with yousendit.com. I can't promise I'll have time to look at it, but I'll try.

Peter

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Michael_S
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« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2006, 01:55:53 PM »

Peter,
That is a very kind offer.  And I'll take you up on it!  I've secretly been hoping I could get a much more experienced second opinion.  And open it up to anyone else who'd like to take a crack at it.  Actually, I have two NEFs that I think are very, very tough to do in ACR.  I have the TIFFs from my trial with DxO Optics 3.5.  The differences really surprised my amateur photography friends at work.  Both are challenging shots.

I think I'll send you the wine cellar photo from February.  The wood an wall colors are really tough to get looking natural.  The Clinton Library shot has architectural elements that would demand lens distortion treatment.

So far, Bibble Pro isn't giving me results that are a noticeable improvement over ACR.  It is however, much more convenient to do Noise Ninja and PTLens at the raw level without having to make a big TIFF for Photoshop CS2 processing.  5MB NEF plus a .bib sidecar vs. a raw (NEF or DNG) plus a 30MB TIFF.  So the improvement may be in workflow and storage requirements.

I'll send you the NEF and the DxO TIFF.  You may notice some of the features appear over-processed.  I only used DxO at its defaults to see how it worked with no intervention.  The settings could have used some tweaks, especially the noise reduction.  I think some actual object texture was lost.

Many Thanks,
Mike
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Rick McCleary
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« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2006, 03:23:48 PM »

Michael,

Can you send me the NEF as well?  This may be a good starting point to discuss differences between RAW processors using a real live file.

Rick
(email is in my profile)
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AlanDunne
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« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2006, 05:05:56 PM »

Well, I can't resist.

Mike please send me the file as well. Perhaps you can post in on a web site and start a competition. Free copy of  'The DAM Book" for first place.

My email is in my profile.

Cheers ... Al
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Michael_S
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« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2006, 10:51:11 PM »

Peter should have received the wine cellar NEF with a TIFF from DxO default settings and a PSD with my most recent, and best, attempt with ACR.

Rick and Alan each got the wine cellar NEF and the Clinton Library hallway/walkway NEF.  No output files for them.  But I can send examples if you would like.  It's just that those TIFFs are so big!!  Good thing I'm not shooting a D200 or a big Canon 5D.

I can't wait to see what the results will be.  This isn't a contest, it's a raw converter clinic.
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peterkrogh
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« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2006, 01:45:29 PM »

Michael,
I got them and I will take a look.  BTW, you can send the link for yousendit.com to multiple people.  I could forward to Rick and Alan if it would be helpful.
Peter
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Michael_S
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« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2006, 02:09:01 PM »

Peter,
Great idea.  I'm not accustomed to that service.  Please send them the URLs for the wine cellar TIFFs.  They already have the links to the wine cellar and library raws.

If you would like the link to the Clinton Library raw file please let me know either here or by direct email.

Thanks Again!
--Mike
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Rick McCleary
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« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2006, 02:20:34 PM »

Mike -

I sent you two versions of each of the two files you sent.  If I did the yousendit thing right, you should have email notifications for them now.  Let me know if you can get to them; if not, I'll post the files to my FTP site and give you log-in directions.

I processed each file in ACR and Capture One, and have labeled them as such.  After processing, I followed my standard procedure for these types of images (no intense colors, relatively monochromatic.):
1) Correct white point/black point while still in RGB.
2) Convert to Lab for color/tonal correction and sharpening.

I then flattened the files, converted to sRGB (the more "universal" web space), and saved as jpegs (to save bandwidth).

If you're interested (and can deal with a larger download), I can send the layered Lab files.  I just didn't want to clog your computer at this point.
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