Needing Early Access to Raw Files from Soon-To-Be-Released Cameras?

Conversations with staff at companies developing image editing and raw processing software has revealed the need for early access to raw files from cameras due for imminent release so their software can support them. Camera makers don’t, it seems, have the close relationship with software makers that photographers might hope they would. 

But there is one way around that. Look online for raw files from pre-production cameras. While camera brand ambassadors do not, as a rule, share raw files often due to their firmware being alpha or beta and too soon before release, some reviewers seem to get hold of late pre-production or production-ready cameras before they go on sale.

One such camera review website is Imaging Resource and it is currently sharing raw files from two about-to-be-released cameras with another due soon, as follows:

There may be other sites where raw files can be found; simply search using the name of the camera plus the words raw and samples.

Image Credits:

Header image concept and design by Carmel D. Morris.

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:

ON1 Photo Raw 2017 Updated, Improved Fujifilm Raw Support, ON1 Photo Kit: Raw 2017 Essentials Now Available at Discount

ON1 Photo Raw 2017, the standalone non-destructive raw processor and image editor cum mega plug-in suite for your favourite image editor, has been updated to version 2017.0.2 with improvements for Fujifilm camera users, raw file support for a range of new cameras as well as performance updates and bug fixes. 

From the ON1 blog post:

  • Added support for Compressed Lossless Fujifilm RAW photos.
  • Improved processing quality for Fujifilm Trans sensors.
  • Improved highlight recovery.
  • New raw file support for cameras including Olympus SH-2, E-M5 MKII, E-M1 MKII, Pentax K5 II, Nikon D5600, Panasonic DMC FZ2000, Panasonic DMC G2, Panasonic DMC G5, Panasonic DMC TZ80, Leica M10, Leica TL, Canon EOS 500D, Panasonic DMC LX15.
  • Over 20 improvements to performance in Browse which is an area ON1 will continue improving.
  • Several more performance updates and bug fixes are also included in this release.

ON1, Inc. also recently announced is ON1 Photo Kit: Raw 2017 Essentials including ebooks, workflow training videos and presets, all invaluable aids to getting the best out of your images and out of the huge range of tools that comprise ON1 Photo Raw 2017.

This last year, 2016-2017, has seen some exciting developments in stills photography software and hardware, and I look forward to seeing how ON1 Photo Raw 2017 develops over the coming months.

Although this current updater does not support raw files from Fujifilm’s X100F – currently being trialled here for review soon – I am confident that support for this amazing new version of the classic X100 will be coming shortly as well as for Fujifilm’s other imminent new camera releases such as the X-T20 and the GFX 50S.

Postscript:

ON1 Photo Kit: Raw Essentials has now been released and is available at a discount price of US$49.99 for a limited time only.

Links:

Post-Processing Expert Thomas Fitzgerald Publishes Fujifilm X-Trans Raw Processor Software Comparisons

Dublin-based photographer and photographic post-processing expert Thomas Fitzgerald recently published the results of processing one Fujifilm X-Pro2 X-Trans raw image with seven different raw convertors or image editors with raw conversion capability. 

Tests like this are useful when considering whether to try out an unfamiliar item of software or go straight to purchase though they are seldom definitive. Processing raw files is something of a moving target and all of them are updated regularly with improvements and new features.

Likewise various raw processors’ support for Fujifilm’s X-Trans sensor raw files, another moving target given that some major raw processors do not support X-Trans raw at all yet, and one that apparently never will. So it is good to know what does, currently.

Also good to read Mr Fitzgerald’s well-qualified opinions on the state of each item of software. He rates two of them as not ready for prime time at the moment. Let’s hope their makers have improvements on the way.

The raw processors or raw-capable image editors that Mr Fitzgerald tested are:

One surprise for Mr Fitzgerald is each product’s variations in default cropping, with further variation in edge detail. Oftentimes I will crop a raw file in a raw processor I have been using less lately to be taken by surprise at how much I have lost at the edge, causing me to rethink the image as I had visualized it before pressing the shutter button.

Thomas Fitzgerald is a writer as well as fine art photographer and has published a series of ebooks on processing Fujifilm X-Trans raw images in three raw processors and one on processing Sony A6000 files in Lightroom. I bought the three on X-Trans processing and recommend them.

Mr Fitzgerald also sells a number of Lightroom presets collections and a Photoshop texture pack. His blog is insightful and well worth reading.

Link:

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:

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.

ON1 Photo RAW 2017 Image Editor Released, Now Available for Tryout or Purchase

This year, 2016, really has been a bumper year for great photographic hardware and software and now it has become even better with the long-awaited release by On1, Inc. of On1 Photo RAW 2017, an integrated raw processor and image editor replete with presets, filters and other functionality. 

On1 Photo Raw 2017 combines the best of On1, Inc.’s other image editing products into one expansive, feature-packed browser-based interface.

So now On1 Photo RAW 2017 joins Macphun’s Luminar as the latest of the two completely new raw processing-cum-image editing products of this year, to complement major upgrades of popular established software like Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, Affinity Photo 1.5Alien Skin Exposure X2, Aurora HDR 2017, Capture One Pro 10, DxO Photo Optics 11, Pixelmator 3.6 Cordillera and more.

Nobody can complain about not being spoiled for choice or not having the possibility of different raw processing and image editing paradigms and workflows.

On1 Photo Raw 2017 – I am dropping the capitalization of raw to RAW for the clear and obvious reason that RAW is not an acronym – along with Luminar are banging the nails in the coffin of separate software for raw processing and image editing and not before time.

The familiar On1 colour and monochrome (aka black and white) film simulation and printing effects presets are included in On1 Photo Raw 2017. Here, a mix of platinum printing, split-toning and a favourite analog film.

I am well over the idea of halfway processing images in a raw processor, then exporting them half-done to an image editor then finishing them off destructively or non-destructively before exporting them to a web-centric format for publication.

The more I can do non-destructively inside a raw-savvy application the better, in my opinion, and ON1, Inc. and Macphun clearly have got the message. Both their applications’ appearance in the latter part of 2016 can only be a good thing for competition, choice and plenty of terrific new features to come.

I have barely had time to skim the surface of what On1 Photo Raw 2017 can do, and it has been far long since I last used any of On1, Inc.’s other products, so best I keep it short, or shortish.

More conventional raw processing and image editing is a breeze in On1 Photo Raw 2017 too, as in this photograph made on the same day and camera as the monochrome image above.

The first big standout feature of On1 Photo Raw 2017 is its speed. It is FAST and clearly it makes plenty of use of the powerful graphics processing units (GPUs) of contemporary computers like the Apple iMac Retina I am using right now.

Secondly On1 Photo Raw 2017 belays the often time-consuming process of importing images into catalogs or sessions and is browser-based, enabling you to jump right in without delay.

Third, so many of the presets I came to appreciate and rely on when using other On1 products in the past are right here right now in On1 Photo Raw 2017, ready to add to a stack of filters, tools and adjustments that On1, Inc. tells us will only be growing over the coming months.

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An uncropped image shot for square format. Optical correction is coming to ON1 Photo Raw 2017 next year.
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Optical correction and applied in DxO ViewPoint 3 then cropping, resizing and exporting to JPEG applied in Affinity Photo.

I am looking forward to automatic lens correction, workspaces, versioning, in-camera profiles as looks or film simulations, the portrait filter and background processing all of which are slated to arrive from January to May 2017.

Software updates, camera updates and bug fixes are distributed throughout that list, exciting and very necessary given we are expecting the arrival of Panasonic’s GH5, Fujifilm’s GFX 50S and X100F, and more in the first part of 2017.

In common with other contemporary image editors, On1 Photo Raw 2017 works as standalone software and as a plug-in for host applications like Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, and Apple Photos. Conversely, On1 Photo Raw 2017 acts as a host to other image editors and plug-ins such as, for example, Google Nik Collection.

On1 Photo Raw 2017 is available right now as a freely downloadable 30-day trial version along with a great set of free product training videos and the best advice I can give you right now is to watch as many of them as appropriate. (Advice I have yet to follow as our Internet access here has been even slower than usual lately.)

On1, Inc. is offering terrific upgrade and full version deals expiring on December 31 so get in fast if you want to take advantage! Even better is that the customary 2 computer limit does not apply for installing ON1 Photo Raw 2017. It can be used on up to 5 computers.

Affinity: Affinity Photo now on Windows – and gets a huge 1.5 update

https://affinity.serif.com/blog/affinity-photo-now-on-windows-and-gets-a-huge-1-5-update/

“We’re really pleased to let you know that we have launched Affinity Photo 1.5. We’ve had this in development now for over six months, so it’s an absolutely huge update – without a doubt the biggest we have done yet.

Not only that, the launch of 1.5 coincides with Affinity Photo going on sale for Windows.

New features you can look forward to include HDR merge; Direct PSD write back; Macros; Tone mapping; Focus merge; Batch processing; New filters; 360 image editing; RAW improvements and much more….”