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a persistent problem that I have with RAW processing ... advice needed

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Thread started 28 Feb 2012 (Tuesday) 17:42   
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valaea
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I shoot on a 5D2 in both RAW and JPEG formats, usually with a 'landscape' camera profile for the JPEG, but then I alter the RAW file in whichever way works best (usually still 'landscape', or 'neutral' for B+W, etc.)

However, I have a problem; with most photos (not all photos ... oddly), the RAW file with added 'landscape' profile does NOT even vaguely match the JPEG (which had 'landscape' profile built in). The RAW file looks weirdly desaturated and data-loss-esque, even when I tweak contrast/saturation/vi​brance/curves and apply different camera profiles. Some data is somehow being lost when I open the RAW file in Photoshop CS5, and I can't figure out how/why.

[In fact, there's even an issue of opening JPEGs in CS5; at times, even the JPEG will look "lossy" in the same way, though when I open it in any other program, it looks fine.]

Does this maybe have something to do with the color space? RGB versus Adobe RGB? Is there a trick that I'm missing? My 5D2 firmware is up to date, to the best of my knowledge ...

Examples (and remember, the JPEGs created from the RAW file have the 'landscape' profile applied, these aren't 'raw' RAW files):


JPEG from RAW:
http://www.flickr.com ...6939605885/in/photo​streamexternal link

JPEG:
http://www.flickr.com ...6793492636/in/photo​streamexternal link

JPEG from RAW:
http://www.flickr.com ...6793493192/in/photo​streamexternal link

JPEG:
http://www.flickr.com ...6793492930/in/photo​streamexternal link

Post #1, Feb 28, 2012 17:42:23




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Nightstalker
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What software are you using for RAW conversion?

What colour space is your camera set to.

Is your computer / monitor calibrated and what monitor do you have?

Post #2, Feb 28, 2012 18:23:16


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Dan ­ Marchant
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valaea wrote in post #13985885external link
However, I have a problem; with most photos (not all photos ... oddly), the RAW file with added 'landscape' profile does NOT even vaguely match the JPEG (which had 'landscape' profile built in). The RAW file looks weirdly desaturated and data-loss-esque, even when I tweak contrast/saturation/vi​brance/curves and apply different camera profiles. Some data is somehow being lost when I open the RAW file in Photoshop CS5, and I can't figure out how/why.

Actually your brain is just fooling you on those occassions when you think the RAW file is the same as the applied setting (or the applied setting is minimal in nature).

In camera profiles have no effect on RAW files. They are only used to tell the camera how to display/process JPEG files. To show this set your camera to monochrome (as it is very easy to see if this style is being applied or not) then take one photo in JPEG format and another in RAW. Open both images in Photoshop and the JPEG will be in monochrome, while the RAW will be in colour. This is because the camera has discarded all the colour data for the JPEG file because you told it you wanted the image in monochrome. However, it keeps the all the data for the RAW file because that is the point of RAW files. They have all the raw data so you can decide how to precess later or can do multiple versions with different processing.

The only exceptions to this are when you open a RAW file in the camera makers own RAW processing software. This will often apply the in-camera style to the RAW as the default. However unlike JPEG these are not permanent changes and you can still change these settings to alter the processing because the RAW file still has all the data.

Post #3, Feb 28, 2012 18:36:57


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tim
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What Dan said is correct. If you want your image to look like what you see on the back of the camera, use DPP.

Read this bookexternal link, it has a lot of theory about RAW files and how to process them.

Post #4, Feb 28, 2012 18:46:07


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valaea
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Nightstalker wrote in post #13986139external link
What software are you using for RAW conversion?

What colour space is your camera set to.

Is your computer / monitor calibrated and what monitor do you have?


Photoshop CS5.1

sRGB

laptop monitor, calibrated it a while back ... the weird differences seem to show up on all monitors though

Dan Marchant wrote in post #13986229external link
Actually your brain is just fooling you on those occassions when you think the RAW file is the same as the applied setting (or the applied setting is minimal in nature).

interesting ...

In camera profiles have no effect on RAW files. They are only used to tell the camera how to display/process JPEG files. To show this set your camera to monochrome (as it is very easy to see if this style is being applied or not) then take one photo in JPEG format and another in RAW. Open both images in Photoshop and the JPEG will be in monochrome, while the RAW will be in colour. This is because the camera has discarded all the colour data for the JPEG file because you told it you wanted the image in monochrome. However, it keeps the all the data for the RAW file because that is the point of RAW files. They have all the raw data so you can decide how to precess later or can do multiple versions with different processing.

right, I mean that I'm applying the camera profile while editing in RAW within Photoshop itself. For both Nikon and Canon cameras, CS5.1 has built-in camera profiles which (supposedly) match the camera preset processing. Just as the JPEG automatically 'processes' the file in a certain way, CS5.1 can use apply the exact same processing (supposedly) as the 5D2 used on the original JPEG.


The only exceptions to this are when you open a RAW file in the camera makers own RAW processing software. This will often apply the in-camera style to the RAW as the default. However unlike JPEG these are not permanent changes and you can still change these settings to alter the processing because the RAW file still has all the data.

Does Canon have special RAW processing software? The RAW files are CR2 and CS5.1 seems to have no problem with processing them ...

In any event, I feared that my question would be misinterpreted; I'm aware that RAW files have no processing applied to them normally. My point is that when I use CS5.1 to apply the same "JPEG" processing to the RAW photo that my camera applied (CS5.1 uses the same presets that the 5D2 used to create the JPEG), the photo looks horrendous. It takes a huge amount of ingenuity and adjusting levels/curves in ten different sub-menus just to get the RAW file's processing up to the basic mediocre standard of the JPEG created by the 5D2.

Is the problem perhaps that the CS5.1 camera presets (in the drop-down menu in RAW processing) aren't actually equivalent to the 5D2 camera presets? Everything I've read about CS5.1 claims that if you apply the presets in RAW, it should match your JPEG; but it's nowhere close (again, see the example photos). There's always a "lossy" aspect to the RAW file, and my workarounds just make it look off.

Post #5, Feb 28, 2012 18:51:47




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valaea
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tim wrote in post #13986291external link
What Dan said is correct. If you want your image to look like what you see on the back of the camera, use DPP.

interesting, would DPP solve the issue? I guess I trusted in Adobe way too much ... I figured that they would have incorporated the Canon/Nikon camera profiles flawlessly into CS5.1, but, maybe not? I guess I don't really think of Adobe as "third-party software".

Post #6, Feb 28, 2012 18:54:09




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I have CS5.1 if you want me to try a set of original jpg and raw images that you've had an issue with before. I've never noticed an issue with mine, and I guess theoretically it could be a software issue.

Post #7, Feb 28, 2012 19:41:05




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tim
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valaea wrote in post #13986345external link
interesting, would DPP solve the issue? I guess I trusted in Adobe way too much ... I figured that they would have incorporated the Canon/Nikon camera profiles flawlessly into CS5.1, but, maybe not? I guess I don't really think of Adobe as "third-party software".

What issue? The only issue I see is you not understanding your tools. There's a chance you have a color profile issue too.

Post #8, Feb 28, 2012 19:51:33


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tonylong
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valaea wrote in post #13986345external link
interesting, would DPP solve the issue? I guess I trusted in Adobe way too much ... I figured that they would have incorporated the Canon/Nikon camera profiles flawlessly into CS5.1, but, maybe not? I guess I don't really think of Adobe as "third-party software".

I'll chime in!

As to the Adobe profiles matching your jpegs, no...Adobe profiles to apply some under-the-hood processing, yes, and they are designed to "approximate" a Picture Style but, at least from what I've seen, tend to be a bit muted. Adobe expects and lets us do the "fine tuning" of things, things like Fill, Blacks, Recovery, Contrast, Saturation, Vibrance and Clarity are all powerful tools for adjusting your photo "global" settings that can go beyond what the Profiles give you and you aren't second-guessed as to what you "want" (which can happen with a Picture Style such as Landscape, etc.

As has been mentioned, the Canon Raw software Digital Photo Professional (DPP) does "read" and use the camera Picture Style to give you a preview that can be a good "starting point" but that you can with Raw change around and tweak in ways that you can't with a jpeg.

For that reason I strongly recommend that people who are starting out with shooting Raw or who are having difficulties like you are having (quite common, BTW) install and use DPP, even if you want to still use Photoshop. Yes the Photoshop Camera Raw plug-in has some great tools that can go beyond the abilities of DPP, but DPP is worth at least working with on the side for comparison and reference for the Picture Style feature alone.

As others have mentioned it sounds like you may have some other issues as well -- please take some time to read these two "stickies" on color problems and color management:

http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthre​ad.php?t=296149

http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthre​ad.php?t=707058

After you've read them and tried to absorb as much as you can, chime in here and update us!

Post #9, Feb 28, 2012 20:53:55


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tzalman
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CS5.1 has built-in camera profiles which (supposedly) match the camera preset processing.

I figured that they would have incorporated the Canon/Nikon camera profiles flawlessly into CS5.1

That is your primary misconception. It's a difference in philosophy really; the camera produces jpgs for people who don't want to do any further processing, or at least very little. The jpg has to be, therefore, a finished product. DPP emulates camera processing, so it also defaults to a finished product, although you can overrule its defaults and change the processing. PSCS/ACR assumes that its customers want to do their own custom processing, otherwise they wouldn't have shelled out the big bucks. The program, therefore, has defaults that provide a good starting point from which you can go in many directions, a less highly processed starting place.

A camera/DPP Picture Style is more than just a camera profile. A profile is nothing more than a generic mathematical model that describes how a particular camera perceives and records colors. This enables the converter to translate the numbers in the RAW file into numbers in a standardized color space. As well as the profile the P.S. contains additional processing instructions regarding contrast, saturation and sharpness - all that is needed to produce what the design team in Tokyo thinks will please you. PS's Camera DNG Profile is nothing more than the simple profile alone (slight exaggeration, it's not so simple). It is accompanied by Adobe's moderate defaults and the burden of moving on from there is on you.

Post #10, Feb 29, 2012 01:17:24


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valaea
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tim wrote in post #13986737external link
What issue? The only issue I see is you not understanding your tools.

thanks for your contribution!

tonylong wrote in post #13987105external link
I'll chime in!
As to the Adobe profiles matching your jpegs, no...Adobe profiles to apply some under-the-hood processing, yes, and they are designed to "approximate" a Picture Style but, at least from what I've seen, tend to be a bit muted. Adobe expects and lets us do the "fine tuning" of things, things like Fill, Blacks, Recovery, Contrast, Saturation, Vibrance and Clarity are all powerful tools for adjusting your photo "global" settings that can go beyond what the Profiles give you and you aren't second-guessed as to what you "want" (which can happen with a Picture Style such as Landscape, etc.

ah, I see; indeed, I can get roughly what I want after tweaking the RAW file for an hour ... I suppose I just thought it would be more straightforward to start with the in-camera JPEG processing as a sort of 'baseline' from which to do the RAW editing more quickly.

And I'll definitely look into DPP; I think I actually have it on my hard drive somewhere ...

I'll read those two threads, as well; I figured out color/calibration a while ago but perhaps I missed something ...


tzalman wrote in post #13988451external link
PSCS/ACR assumes that its customers want to do their own custom processing, otherwise they wouldn't have shelled out the big bucks. The program, therefore, has defaults that provide a good starting point from which you can go in many directions, a less highly processed starting place.

Well, this has been very informative; I had mistakenly assumed that Adobe would give the option for "very processed" under the camera profiles in RAW, but apparently it's far less highly processed, as you noted. I suppose this just means that I'll have to spend more time in RAW than I had planned initially ... I can usually get the final result that I want but just hoped for fewer processing steps (in some cases it would be easier to start with JPEG-esque processing as a baseline, in other words).

Post #11, Feb 29, 2012 02:07:47




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tzalman
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Well, this has been very informative; I had mistakenly assumed that Adobe would give the option for "very processed" under the camera profiles in RAW, but apparently it's far less highly processed, as you noted. I suppose this just means that I'll have to spend more time in RAW than I had planned initially ... I can usually get the final result that I want but just hoped for fewer processing steps (in some cases it would be easier to start with JPEG-esque processing as a baseline, in other words).

Actually, Adobe has provided for the possibility that some users will want to speed up processing, start at a different point, or recreate camera processing with two different options. First, it is very easy to create your own set of custom defaults. In LR you can even have different default sets for different cameras or different ISOs. (I don't know if this is true of ACR also.) Second there is the preset, a collection of multiple slider positions applied with one click. There are presets from Adobe and hundreds of presets from users, most free and some for money. Matt Kloskowski has a set of Canon Picture Style presets that are pretty close. http://forums.dpreview​.com ...rum=1006&message=33​598894external link And, of course, you can make your own presets.

Post #12, Feb 29, 2012 04:27:01


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tzalman wrote in post #13988826external link
.... In LR you can even have different default sets for different cameras or different ISOs. (I don't know if this is true of ACR also.)...

Works the same in Lightroom and ACR. The options to select default Camera profiles (by ISO or camera serial number) are immediately transferred between the applications so any settings made in Lightroom are shared in ACR and vice versa. The only difference is Lightroom presets and ACR presets aren't interchangeable but there used to be an app called LR2ACR Converter that translated Lightroom presets into xmp presets for use in ACR.

Post #13, Feb 29, 2012 06:12:11


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valaea
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tzalman wrote in post #13988826external link
Actually, Adobe has provided for the possibility that some users will want to speed up processing, start at a different point, or recreate camera processing with two different options. First, it is very easy to create your own set of custom defaults. In LR you can even have different default sets for different cameras or different ISOs. (I don't know if this is true of ACR also.) Second there is the preset, a collection of multiple slider positions applied with one click. There are presets from Adobe and hundreds of presets from users, most free and some for money. Matt Kloskowski has a set of Canon Picture Style presets that are pretty close. http://forums.dpreview​.com ...rum=1006&message=33​598894external link And, of course, you can make your own presets.


Wow, this is extremely helpful ... I knew about making my own presets but had no clue that someone had already come up with custom Canon Picture Style presets. Thanks

Post #14, Feb 29, 2012 12:29:55




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a persistent problem that I have with RAW processing ... advice needed
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