Free Open Source Raw Processor RawTherapee Gets Big Version 5 Update

RawTherapee has just received its largest update in several years, to version 5. It is always a good idea to have copies of open source raw processing and image editing software on your production computers and keep it updated.

Using RawTherapee 5 to view and process a Fujifilm X100F raw file.

Makers of free open source software are not constrained by the schedules and constraints to which commercial software makers are held and can add new camera support or innovative, sometimes even odd, processing tools to their products.

RawTherapee and its open source raw processor companions written about at The Fujifilm X-Pro2: The Optical Viewfinder Documentary Hybrid Camera for the Rest of Us? Plus Notes About the X-T2. are no exceptions.

I have just downloaded RawTherapee 5 and will explore its new features when I have some ever-decreasing spare moments. Ha! A quick scan of RawTherapee 5’s processing tools reveals some very interesting possibilities indeed.

Links:

Phase One Releases Four Custom Capture One Pro Workspaces and Workspace Settings Files

Optimum image processing workflows and workspaces are still something I have to fully work out for all the raw processors and image editing applications I use, and I suspect many other photographers are in the same boat. A similar thing applies to moviemaking with workflows. 

Some current raw processing and image editing software has the ability to choose built-in preset workspaces and a subset of that software allows you to create, save and share your own custom workspace files. A further subset of current applications has this ability coming soon.

Ever curious as to how other photography professionals do it, I always go on over and download custom workspace settings whenever I hear about them.

As soon as I read about the four new Capture One Pro workspaces being shared by in-house photographers at Phase One, I headed off to skim the articles about them, saved them into my Evernote Capture One training notebook, downloaded the custom settings files and placed them in my Capture One Pro workspaces folder.

I have yet to work out my own optimum Capture One Pro workspaces though I have a small set that are about halfway there, adapted from older workspace settings files I found on the Web.

Some day soon, I swear, I will shut all distractions out, boot up Capture One Pro, load up a typical session or catalog, then go to work on creating the best personal custom workspace that I can. Doing that will be a future timesaver even though it will eat up a little time while doing it.

The Capture One Pro Custom Workspace Settings:

Macphun Luminar Raw Processor/Image Editor Updated, More Speed and Power, Hot Deals

The Luminar all-in-one raw processing and image editing application by Macphun, makers of a suite of other great products including Aurora HDR 2017, is my default, go-to software for photography and image resizing and exporting duties. Luminar has just been updated to version 1.1.1 and it continues to get better every single time. 

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Luminar’s version 1.1.1 update arrived shortly after an X100F review loaner was kindly delivered by the folks at Fujifilm Australia and after processing my very first shot with the X100F, camera plus processing software feels like a match made in heaven.

Both outwardly appear stripped-down, simple even, but their unassuming interfaces hide real power. I am impressed by how well Luminar 1.1.1 handles X-Trans raw files from the X100F.

Most software companies take ages to get around to supporting the very latest cameras. Macphun is already on the ball with the X100F and I hope will be just as fast to support two other soon-to-be-released new cameras, Fujifilm’s GFX 50S and Panasonic’s GH5.

I made the above three snapshots with the Fujifilm X100F at lunch earlier today then quickly and minimally processed them in Luminar 1.1.1 using the Smart Image Enhancer preset from the Photo Essentials preset pack available for purchase from Macphun. The photograph at left was cropped while the other two were full-frame.*

I was after a naturalistic though richly coloured, dark-toned image reminiscent of slow transparency films from the analog era. The light is always challenging in this location, its centre lit with dark amber and with bright sunlight at both ends. Digital noise is not a concern with these types of images especially now that contemporary mirrorless cameramakers are doing such a great job making it appear organic.

This quick and dirty test showed that Luminar 1.1.1 has gained speed in loading raw files and when processing using filters. I have a heavy image processing session coming up later this week and that is when this latest Luminar update will really be put to the test.

Meanwhile, colour me impressed. The Macphun team published a list of coming updates to Luminar and this latest update has me looking forward to what is coming next. Right now Luminar is Mac-only but will be coming to Windows sometime this year.

Macphun Luminar Special Offer:

Macphun has a terrific hot deal going on at the moment for Luminar, so get in now!

Footnote:

* I have been noticing the term “full-frame” being applied to the 35mm digital photography format as if that sensor were some kind of yardstick by which to judge other sensor sizes. These other sensor sizes such as APS-C and Micro Four Thirds are being described as “crop sensors”. Really?

The photographs above have been made with an APS-C sensor camera. That camera has a full-frame sensor, one utilizing the full frame of the APS-C sensor. In one photograph above, the image is not full-frame but has been cropped. The sensor has not been cropped, only its output in this case. The other two images can be described as full-frame though.

The “full-frame” and “full-format” aficionados need to get over this misuse of terms that make the 35mm film format appear to be some sort of unassailable standard. It isn’t. It never was.

Throughout much of the history of analog photography, the 35mm format was regarded as “miniature”, and was often adversely compared to larger formats like 6×4.5cm, 6x6cm, 6x7cm, 6x8cm, 6x9cm and larger on 120 film, or sheet film in the 4″x5″ size, 5″x7″, 8″x10″ and larger sizes. The digital 35mm format is no more the standard or benchmark than 35mm film was.

Zack Arias has a terrific article and video on the subject at DEDPXL, Crop or Crap :: Math or Moment.

Capture One Pro Raw Processor Updated to Version 10, New Features and Training Videos

Its not red hot news, as Phase One A/S released version 10 of its Capture One Pro raw development software a few weeks ago now, so much as some welcome added extras in the form of a number of excellent training and webinar videos by Phase One for those of us new to Capture One Pro and that are very useful for veteran users too.

This past year, 2016, has been an amazing one for raw processing and image editing software, as I have mentioned several times before now in other articles, with major updates as well as entirely new products.

We as photographers benefit from a broader choice of products and, in my humble opinion, the software makers benefit from one of them lifting the bar higher again with the rest challenging themselves to match and even surpass the current leader’s example, or diverge into a completely different direction.

I have barely had time to properly digest how Capture One Pro 10 has lifted the bar and have yet to try its new features out, but the stand-out for me is its new three-step sharpening process.

Three Step Sharpening
Full control over the sharpening process from Capture to Output. Diffraction Correction, new creative tools for Halo Control makes sharpening easier, and recipe independent output sharpening remove the need to guess amounts for final size.

While trying out and working seriously with a range of image editing and raw processing software recently, I have noticed some divergence in the way each product sharpens images. Those variations seem to depend on which camera the raw files come from, and, of course, how the user manipulates each product’s sharpening controls.

X-Trans raw files from Fujifilm’s X-Pro2 and X-T2 cameras are a case in point. Opinions vary widely amongst experienced users as to which raw processors get the best out of X-Trans files but I have also been noticing differences with raw files from other cameras.

There is clearly more to sharpening than meets the eye. From the evidence Phase One has understood that and its solution is a three-phase process with the welcome ability to see the result of that in version 10’s Output Proofing tool, before hitting the Process button.

Bravo Phase One for seeing the light, and now I hope that all the other raw processing and image editing software makers will follow that example, find their own ways of improving sharpening and even go beyond Phase One’s achievement in version 10 of Capture One Pro.

Now the question is, will Capture One Pro be supporting Fujifilm’s groundbreaking GFX 50S medium format digital camera? Not according to a Phase One representative:

“It is unlikely that we will support the Fuji GFX 50s – we have a long standing policy of not providing support to direct competitors of our core business.”

If true, even more incentive for makers of other raw processors and image editors to equal then surpass the features in Capture One Pro 10.

Right now I and other photographers of my acquaintance are relying on a range of raw processing software in order to get the best out of each camera brand’s sensors and lenses. Not all raw processors are created equal in terms of core functionality, regardless of other possible image editing functions.

Wouldn’t it be incredible if all such software’s core features rendered the best conversions possible for all raw file types from all cameras and lenses, levelling the playing field in that regard, but then strived to differentiate themselves in other ways?

One or two to get the best out of Fujifilm X-Trans raw files, others to get the best out of other brands’ raw files, another because it has a decent Digital Assent Management (DAM) function, it all adds up.

Being an independent, self-financed photographer/moviemaker having to maintain licences for a range of similar, oftentimes overlapping, software in order to get the best out of what one does is incredibly expensive. It would be good to narrow things down a little.

  • Youtube.com: Phase One channel – scroll down the page to Capture One 10 Tutorials and Capture One 10 Webinars.

Macphun Luminar Pluto Update Coming on Friday, 16th December

Macphun Luminar, a powerful and promising new image editor and raw processor that debuted earlier this year, is about to receive an update, code named Pluto.

Pluto will add batch processing, dehazing (above), enhancements to the colour temperature filter including an eyedropper, a Golden Hour filter (above) for that soft amber glow at any time of day and the ability to add textures to custom presets.

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Macphun Luminar Pluto has gained a number of crop presets including two Facebook formats.

Batch processing in particular is of interest to professional photographers and especially when covering events, and the eyedropper tool will bring Luminar’s colour temperature correction up to par with other professional photography software.

I am looking forward to the dehaze filter for cleaning up smog-tinged harbourside photographs and beachside shots early mornings, and the Golden Hour filter will be very useful on soggy, grey days like today.

The free Pluto update to Macphun Luminar will be released on Friday, 16th December.

Luminar itself is available as a trial version via the Luminar product page, and new purchasers can take advantage of holiday sale bonuses including sky overlays for sky replacement, presets, video tutorial and photography ebooks.

Macphun promises Luminar updates every month or so with dozens of new tools and further improvements in the queue, including Digital Asset Management aka DAM in 2017 as well as a version of Luminar for Windows PCs.

Cam Tech: First Look, Macphun Luminar

Luminar by Macphun is an exciting development in what has amounted to a banner year for photography image editing software. I take a first look at Luminar and list some of the most essential features I’d like to see appear in a future version of Luminar. 

At the time of writing, Luminar was already in version 1.0.2, with more updates on the way soon. This current version seems to have solved some rather odd problems seen when processing X-Trans raw files from Fujifilm cameras like the X-Pro2 and X-T2 in the beta and launch version. Phew!

Photolemur, Artificial Intelligence-Driven Automatic Photo Processing Software for Everyone

Photolemur, a brand new software product for Mac OS X, has just been launched into its pre-order discount phase. Photolemur, according to the statement at the top of its pre-order web page, is “the world’s first automatic photo enhancement solution, that instantly makes your photos much better with the help of computer science & artificial intelligence”. 

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The Photolemur interface, simple, easy and fast.
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Processed only in Photolemur.

Lower down, an FAQ question, “Who is the user for Photolemur and why do they need this product?”, is answered with “All-in-all, Photolemur is not for professional photographers, it is for the rest of us, who take a lot of photos, and want this [sic] photos automatically become more beautiful.”

But you know what? If I were back in the field as a magazine or news photographer, or indeed an event photographer, I suspect I would love Photolemur and rely on it for rapidly and intelligently batch processing the large takes those two fields of photography often demand.

While it is true that cameras like Fujifilm’s X-Pro2 and X-T2 can produce excellent film-simulated JPEGs, hence the SOOC label one sees on many photographs from both published online, in my experience every photograph regardless of camera and file type can benefit from some degree of enhancement.

The Photolemur pre-order page has a long list of  automatic image enhancement features, all of them solid and well-considered, and the two foremost for me and my purposes are batch processing for 40 photos and raw processing for over 800 cameras.

I haven’t seen nor tried Photolemur yet but I am very much looking forward to trying it out. It could be the completely unexpected automatic image enhancement solution that might change my career and what I do in stills photography.

Shoot, batch process in Photolemur, send off the number one selects then go back later to refine the images in other image editing and raw processing software. My workflow might be about to change for the better.

And as to Photolemur and image processing for movie productions? Think time-lapse sequences.

Cam Tech: First Look, DxO ViewPoint 3

DxO Labs released version 3 of its DxO ViewPoint optical and perspective correction software product which functions as a stand-alone and a plug-in for popular image-editing software. 

I put DxO ViewPoint 3’s new automatic correction functions to the test and give it a thumbs-up, with the hope that full EXIF support for Fujifilm X-Sensor raw files and files derived from them will be forthcoming.

Macphun Announces Luminar Raw Processing & Image Editing Software

I have been searching for quite some time now for the perfect software for beginners and professionals to use in editing their raw photo files, especially important given I have resumed teaching photography. 

Then an announcement appeared from Macphun, the software company responsible for Aurora HDR, Creative Kit and, in a previous incarnation, the now free Nik Collection of which my favourite is Viveza.

Although I have not seen a beta of Luminar or anything about it yet other than Macphun’s Luminar announcement page, based on the many positive traits of the company’s other software, this has the potential to be one of the best image editors and raw processors on the market.

According to Macphun:

To make a long story short, it is a truly complete photo editing powerhouse. … Luminar pre-order starts on the 2nd of November. And the launch is scheduled for November 17.

Time will tell!

Meanwhile, Macphun has released a sneak peak web page and video.