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Good free RAW-converter

Tom P , Apr 05, 2006; 09:34 a.m.

Could anyone recommend a cheap or free raw conversion software? I really enjoyed using Silky Pix but the 70euro registration fee is a bit too much for a student. I have a Photoshop CS 2 but my opinion is that it doesn't give a lot of freedom. I use a Pentax *ist DS. Thanks, Tom

Responses

Marshall Goff , Apr 05, 2006; 09:49 a.m.

What do you think you're missing with PS CS2's Adobe Camera Raw? Given that ACR is pretty powerful, you may want to be specific in order to see if anyone knows of free software that has the features you think you're missing.

Mike Cary , Apr 05, 2006; 09:51 a.m.

Tom,

Give RAW shooter essentials http://www.pixmantec.com/ a try, though I've never used it myself as its for Windows only, I've only read good things about it.

Mike

Rob Bernhard , Apr 05, 2006; 09:58 a.m.

I've been playing around with RAW Shooter Essentials and, for a free product, it's quite nice.

I'm curious though, what problems have you found with the RAW conversion software that came with your *ist DS?

Ellis Vener , Apr 05, 2006; 10:11 a.m.

I have a Photoshop CS 2 but my opinion is that it doesn't give a lot of freedom.

That is because you don't know how to use it.

Go to a bookstore and sit down with a copy oof Mikkel Aaland's book "Photoshop CS2 RAW" . better yet , buy it and go home and sit down with it next to your computer as you work with PsCS2, bridge and ACR 3.3.

Hosteen Yendikeno , Apr 05, 2006; 11:04 a.m.

Another nod to Raw Shooter Essentials. It has an easy to follow interface and does a pretty good job.

Tom P , Apr 05, 2006; 11:24 a.m.

""I've been playing around with RAW Shooter Essentials and, for a free product, it's quite nice.

I'm curious though, what problems have you found with the RAW conversion software that came with your *ist DS?""

Thanks Bob, I'll check it out.

I tried an evaluation copy of the Silky Pix, and I found that it had much more accurate tools than the photoshop converter. It was a while ago, but I recall for example that the exposure correction was more accurate, and it had separate curves for red green and blue in comparison to the Photoshop converter that only has one curve for the luminance or brightness or whatever. Of course Photshop has many tools when you are working in TIFF or JPG but it sort of misses the point to start tweeking the colours in TIFF with Photoshop when you could tweek separate curves in a good raw converter. My point is that Photoshop is a very powerful software, but the raw conversion hasn't been thought out very well, for a leading image processing software they should've done a better job. Not worth all that money for a raw shooter.

As for the Pentax raw software, it's useless. The same controls can be found in the camera, and therefore I might as well shoot straight in JPEG as shoot in RAW and use the Pentax software for conversion.

The best solution would of course be to learn how to take really good pictures that don't need any tweeking, but before that happens i think i'll just check out the Raw shooter essentials :).

Godfrey DiGiorgi , Apr 05, 2006; 06:26 p.m.

Spend your money on a good book rather than on software, or borrow it from a library and spend nothing.

I recommend "Real World Camera Raw with Photoshop CS2".

Photoshop CS2 and Camera Raw will do just as good a job as any other RAW converter once you understand what you are trying to do and how they are supposed to work. There's no reason to spend money on different software or learn a completely different application ... learn how to use what you have.

If a bazillion professionals can do it, so can you... ;-)

Godfrey

Serge Cashman , Apr 05, 2006; 11:02 p.m.

I believe ACR and RawShooter are total garbage quality-wise, at least with D70 NEFs. Buy a book??? - Forgetaboutit.

Keep looking for a good free converter.

Serge Cashman , Apr 05, 2006; 11:09 p.m.

Oh - I like Nikon Capture and Bibble. Both not free.

So... $60 or whatever may actually be worth the price of your time.

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