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best raw converter for tonal gradations?
Looking to take advantage of raw conversion with my Sony R1 images, which I heard somewhere provides a 14-bit depth of data. Which raw converter would be best to extract finer tonal gradations for an output image? While an out-of-the-box result from the recommended raw converter would be great, I'm willing to put some effort into any recommended techniques too. Hoping to achieve more 'film-like' results..

While we are at it, could anyone also clarify the meanings of the following terms- tonality and tonal depth, as opposed to tonal gradations?.

Many thanks,AP..

Comments (5)

AnuragP wrote:.

Looking to take advantage of raw conversion with my Sony R1 images,which I heard somewhere provides a 14-bit depth of data. Which rawconverter would be best to extract finer tonal gradations for anoutput image?.

All should be equally good at it. e.g. Capture One or ACR plugin. These have the option of processing in 16-bit mode (I use ACR, which has that). Using ACR, you can open these in PS elements or Photoshop in 16 bit mode and do conversion to 8-bit jpg as final step..

While an out-of-the-box result from the recommended rawconverter would be great, I'm willing to put some effort into anyrecommended techniques too. Hoping to achieve more 'film-like'results..

That means very subtle editing (mostly boosting shadows, WB fine tuning, exposure correction, etc.), while taking care of highlights. In general default contrast & saturation will be good enough..

While we are at it, could anyone also clarify the meanings of thefollowing terms- tonality and tonal depth, as opposed to tonalgradations?.

As I understand:.

Tonal depth - The potential of capturing. i.e. Max gradations the equipment/software is capable of recording/processing..

Tonal gradations - It is actual number of gradations present. e.g. low contrast scene will have less number of these.Best Wishes, Ajayhttp://picasaweb.google.com/ajay0612..

Comment #1

Thanks Ajay, for taking the time to answer the questions..

All should be equally good at it. e.g. Capture One or ACR plugin.These have the option of processing in 16-bit mode (I use ACR, whichhas that). Using ACR, you can open these in PS elements or Photoshopin 16 bit mode and do conversion to 8-bit jpg as final step..

I do use Capture One and have to say that I find myself very satisfied with the R1 results it provides. My current workflow starts just as you recommend..

That means very subtle editing (mostly boosting shadows, WB finetuning, exposure correction, etc.), while taking care of highlights..

As I understand:tonal depth - The potential of capturing. i.e. Max gradations theequipment/software is capable of recording/processing.tonal gradations - It is actual number of gradations present. e.g.low contrast scene will have less number of these.Best Wishes, Ajayhttp://picasaweb.google.com/ajay0612.

Thanks for the tips and discussion of the terms..

Also, you have some wonderful images of the Garhwal/ Uttarakhand Himalayas in your gallery. Particularly outstanding for me were those of the Bhagirathi peaks. Thanks for sharing..

-AP..

Comment #2

To thank you for your time & nice comments:-). The shots were taken with R1.Best wishes..

AnuragP wrote:.

Thanks for the tips and discussion of the terms.Also, you have some wonderful images of the Garhwal/ UttarakhandHimalayas in your gallery. Particularly outstanding for me were thoseof the Bhagirathi peaks. Thanks for sharing..

-AP.

Best Wishes, Ajayhttp://picasaweb.google.com/ajay0612..

Comment #3

Raw converters just eh.. convert the RAW file to either a JPEG ( 8-bit tone levels ) or a TIFF ( 8bit or 16 bit ). Most RAW converters are quite good now..

Great..

Except....

To exploit this detail you have to use a 16-bit post processing package. If you don't you simply throw away the detail anyway. Worse an 8-bit editor can cause posterization and other effects to become visible..

So....

For basic tuning of the image from RAW you use the RAW converter to get close to what you want from the overall. Then you can either do small tweaks in an 8-bit editor ( and small could actually be quite large sometimes - whatever you can get away with ), or you grab a 16-bit editor than can produce more refined results. Typically this is only needed if you need to do multiple tonal effects where the 8-bit package will not be able to deal with the accumulated effects accurately..

There is no hard and fast rule about what you must do. Use whatever tools get teh job done and you are comfortable with..

I use a mixture of :.

Raw conversion / overall image tone adjustments :- LightZone ( RAWs, JPEGs, TIFFs )- RawTherapee ( can also rad JPEGs and TIFFs as well as RAW )- s7raw ( Fuji RAFs only ).

Editing :- Gimp ( 8-bit )- Cinepaint ( 8, 16 and limited 32-bit, but less refined application than Gimp )- ShowFoto ( Linux only 16-bit and 8-bit )- LightZone ( 16-bit and can do some editing tasks well ).

Noise Reduction :- NeatImage Pro ( the Pro version has batch support and more output options ).

Note that Cinepaint, GIMP and ShowFoto can all import RAWs and convert them on the fly. Currently the import results are not ( to my mind ) good enough. They are usable but add a slight inconvenience which s7raw and LightZone in batch modes avoids. Currently RawTherapee does not support batch mode..

StephenG.

Pentax K100DFuji S5200Fuji E900PCLinuxOS..

Comment #4

Thanks a lot, sjgcit, for a detailed post..

For basic tuning of the image from RAW you use the RAW converter toget close to what you want from the overall. Then you can either dosmall tweaks in an 8-bit editor ( and small could actually be quitelarge sometimes - whatever you can get away with ), or you grab a16-bit editor than can produce more refined results. Typically thisis only needed if you need to do multiple tonal effects where the8-bit package will not be able to deal with the accumulated effectsaccurately..

I do use Capture One or RSE in 16-bit mode to convert to tiffs, and as you say, it does produce a more refined look. I appreciate your listing your tools here- I did try LightZone, and it presents a nice alternative to most other raw converters, but I gave up somewhere during the trial , as the default conversion wasn't particularly pleasing for my camera.-AP..

Comment #5

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