Archive for the ‘How To’ Category

Thoughts on Raw vs JPEG

May 18th, 2008

I’ve been having a discussion with a friend regarding the benefits and challenges of JPEG and RAW file formats.  There’s already a lot of discussion on this topic out there but here’s a bit more.

The challenge my friend has with RAW is that the images are not as striking as JPEG.  In fact, she says the RAW images are rather flat and she’s right.

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April 20th, 2008

I vividly recall avidly reading Ansel Adams and Edward Weston, savoring every idea, every concept, every technique they discussed.  I guess I’m a zone system kind of guy at heart.

One thing they both said that baffled me were their comments on previsualization.  Seeing the final image in one’s mind’s eye before snapping the shutter was beyond my ability.  Boy, was that ever intimidating.

Well, umpteen years and thousands of photographs later I still feel challenged by the notion of previsualization.  But I think I may be getting a glimmer of a hint.

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Genuine Fractals Impressions #2

April 17th, 2008

This is not so much a comment on Genuine Fractals as it is on the workflow end game, namely, resizing (Genuine Fractals) and output sharpening (Photokit).  Here’s the test.

  • Resize a 6 M pixel image using Genuine Fractals to 16″X24″.
  • Create output files at three resolutions – 180 ppi, 240 ppi and 360 ppi
  • Sharpen the image using Photokit output sharpener for 180 Matte, 240 Matte and 360 Matte respectively.
  • Examine the resulting images on the monitor for image quality.

And quickly, here are the results.

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Ginormous Image Files

February 29th, 2008

Here’s a follow up to a comment I made about 800 MB files in a previous posting (see Canon 1Ds Mark III Workflow).  There were a few incredulous responses along the lines of, “How could anyone have an 800 MB image file?”  The answer was pretty straight forward.  Start with a 20 MB RAW file, convert it to tiff (now you’re around 100 MB), add a few layers and presto, an 800 MB gorilla.

But I have that one topped.  Give this one a try.  Shoot a 360 degree panorama.  Now at 15 degrees between shots it takes 24 images to make the full 360.  Let’s see, that’s 1680 MB of RAW files.  To make life simpler, convert the RAW files to JPEGs.  Then stitch them together in CS3 using Photomerge.  Don’t flatten the layers; just save the file as a PSB (you have to use Adobe’s large file format) and there you have it – a 2 GB image file.

Here’s an interesting tidbit for the Lightroom version of Trivial Pursuit:  LR can’t import the file – too big.

All I can say is, “It’s a good thing they now have 1 TB external drives.”  And to think my very first computer had a 90 KB single sided, single density 5 1/4″ floppy drive.  Yep, just one of them.  Come to think if it, with its 4 MHz Z80 CPU it would have taken about a week (maybe more) to stitch together the 24 images assuming I could have found enough storage to hold the file once it was done.  We’ve come a long way baby.


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DxO Impressions 5

February 22nd, 2008

I want to set the record straight on my experience with DxO.  In the interest of fairness, it appers that the troubles I was having was a result of .NET issues that existed on my machine before I tried to upgrade DxO.  How do I know this?  Well, the process I had to go though to fix the problem caused by the DxO upgrade fixed some other problems I was having with my computer.

So here’s my final conclusion:

The .NET problem, it was lurking in the bowels of my computer waiting for something to come along.  The DxO upgrade was just that thing.  Now the .NET problem is resolved.

I’ll wait before giving DxO another try but when they come out with their upgrade for the 1Ds Mark III I probably won’t be able to resist.  The concept behind the product is still fascinating.


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DxO Impressions 4

February 20th, 2008

Well, I’m very pleased to report that I heard back from DxO.  They expressed regret for the problems I was facing and hoped I’d reconsider.  I was impressed they responded.  So often companies don’t bother with a disgruntled customer.  So I’ll keep an eye on the product and if it appears it is stabilizing I just may give it a go again.

Read the final posting in this saga to see how it all turned out.


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DxO Impressions 3

February 19th, 2008

The plot thickens.  Now, since the failed installation of DxO, not only does it not work but at least one key program no longer works.  It tries to launch and then just disappears with no error message or anything.

 Several Hours Later….

Everything is back up and running again – except DxO.  I uninstalled it after reinstalling it and it still didn’t work.  A little research for the other program that wasn’t working suggested .NET 2.0 was corrupted.  Fixing it required using a utility to uninstall it as the Windows Add/Remove Programs wouldn’t touch it.  If you run into the same situation, here’s the link to the Microsoft support site.

That fixed the problem.  But I’m afraid I’m not going to risk going through this again by reinstalling DxO.  I got along fine without it in the past and I’ll get along fine without it in the future.

Read the final posting in this saga to see how it all turned out.


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Canon 1Ds Mark III Dynamic Range

January 16th, 2008

It’s time to do some controlled testing with the III.  The sensor’s dynamic range is always something of interest and very important.  So I set up a test and came up with some results.

The test consisted of shooting an inside door this evening.  The door has a bit of a pattern so it’s not flat.  The high exposures show was adjusted so it just barely produced clipping.  Then the exposure was decreased by one stop until just before the detail disappeared into black.  The results are in; the sensor captures 7 or 8 stops of dynamic range.  From what I read Velvia is about 5.

But wait; there’s more.  There’s a feature called Highlight Tone Preservation that’s supposed to give you more on the high end.  And it does indeed, adding another 2/3 to 1 stop to the top end.  So the grand total is 8 or 9 stops of dynamic range.

 Click here to see my photographs.


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Canon 1Ds Mark III Live View

January 13th, 2008

Last night I did some shooting with my 70-200 on a tripod.  I wasn’t pleased with the sharpness with that lens when shooting hand held.  Duh!  So I set everything up and snapped a few shots.  A quick review last night and I still wasn’t satisfied with the sharpness when shooting at 200mm.  Now, I must confess, one of the problems could very well have been that I was taking 2 min exposures.  It was getting late and I wanted to shoot at f/11 or better.  There was probably enough of an evening breeze to move the subject (shrubs about 400m away). 

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Canon 1Ds Mark III Workflow

January 12th, 2008

Got a chance to work on some images last night.  Had to pull myself away at midnight.  Here are a couple of thoughts.

RAW file size is about 20 MB as expected.  The TIFF file with just the Background layer is 120 MB.  That’s about four times larger than I’m used to.  I worked on one image using my regular workflow and it ended up at over 800 MB.  A second TIFF was over 500 MB.  File size has become an issue overnight.  And I just added a 1 terabyte external drive to my workstation.

Now, my normal workflow begins with a PS action that does three things –

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