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Thread: A900 with 9 different RAW converters

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    Senior Member douglasf13's Avatar
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    A900 with 9 different RAW converters

    Hey everyone, I just ran across this french article about the A900 with 9 different RAW converters, and I thought that it would be useful to pass on to others. Very interesting, and seems to confirm the A900's problems with Adobe (interestingly, Lightroom apparently fairs better with the A700.)

    http://translate.google.com/translat...istory_state0=

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: A900 with 9 different RAW converters

    Wow... those DxO files really pop. A little too much contrast maybe, but I suppose that can be toned down if needed.

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    Senior Member douglasf13's Avatar
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    Re: A900 with 9 different RAW converters

    Agreed about the contrast. I also think that the reviewer used too much NR on a lot of the files, and I would have rather seen all of these with NR "off," but still interesting none the less.

    I've been thinking more and more about Iliah Borg's comments about how the A900 has a film like response curve to the sensor, rather than the more conventional linear (or eye) curve of most DSLRs, and I've come to realize that my first order of business, no matter which converter I try, is to select a linear tone curve, and it is working very well so far.

  4. #4
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: A900 with 9 different RAW converters

    Quote Originally Posted by douglasf13 View Post
    Agreed about the contrast. I also think that the reviewer used too much NR on a lot of the files, and I would have rather seen all of these with NR "off," but still interesting none the less.

    I've been thinking more and more about Iliah Borg's comments about how the A900 has a film like response curve to the sensor, rather than the more conventional linear (or eye) curve of most DSLRs, and I've come to realize that my first order of business, no matter which converter I try, is to select a linear tone curve, and it is working very well so far.
    Interesting. I agree about the NR. The aperture files look horribly smooth and un-detailed which goes totally against most evidence I've seen with how it handles a900 files. I don't feel like this test helps me choose a converter at all, just because of the NR.

    Bummer.

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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: A900 with 9 different RAW converters

    Thanks Douglas, very interesting comparison. To my eyes, it confirms my own conclusions when I did try almost all of the tested converters, which is, if you're looking for IQ only, IDC is the best converter. Now if Sony could wake up and give us more functionality like Canon's DPP.
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    Senior Member douglasf13's Avatar
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    Re: A900 with 9 different RAW converters

    Quote Originally Posted by edwardkaraa View Post
    Thanks Douglas, very interesting comparison. To my eyes, it confirms my own conclusions when I did try almost all of the tested converters, which is, if you're looking for IQ only, IDC is the best converter. Now if Sony could wake up and give us more functionality like Canon's DPP.
    Ooh man, I couldn't disagree more. I have the opinion that IDC is the second worst RAW converter out there for the A900, and the website I linked has a few articles that agree with this. IDC is soft and a bit blotchy compared to C1, IMO. Granted, my C1 A900 settings are far from the stock settings.

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    Senior Member dhsimmonds's Avatar
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    Re: A900 with 9 different RAW converters

    I have to agree with Douglas, to my eye C1 does by far the best job compared to Silkypix, LR and Adobe RAW. In fact the less you try to tweak the Sony/C1 files the better the image turns out unless I have got everything wrong at capture stage!
    Cheers, Dave
    www.simmondsphotography.com

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    Re: A900 with 9 different RAW converters

    Thanks for the link Douglas.
    My trouble with all these sorts of comparisons is that getting the best out of RAW software with a particular camera is always about learning and practice, and quite often that can mean more than the differences between the converters.

    I've used ACR, C1 and Aperture with the Sony files, and I prefer Aperture by some margin - but that's probably because I'm good with Aperture.

    Added to which, change the subject, and everything is different all over again.

    It seems to me that if you don't watch out you can end up changing your workflow completely to switch to another converter . . .which only looks better because the guy who did the test was better at it!

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    Member grappa's Avatar
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    Re: A900 with 9 different RAW converters

    I just tried a comparison myself. Shot a few photos and converted with Aperture,Raw Developer,CS4,Capture One,Silkypix,DXO and Sony's Data Converter. If I leave all the programs on their default settings DXO is pretty clearly the best. Oh yeah,I used the in camera jpg also, which worked surprisingly well in most cases.
    The problem is that's using the default settings and one can easily improve most of the photos with a little tuning.DXO however is painfully slow (minutes per pic) on my Mac PRO while Aperture develops in a blink of the eye(a couple of seconds).
    If you are going to compare quality however you need to try DXO because it stands out from the others which all have a hazy or milky quality by comparison.
    BTW,I have been using digital cameras since 1985 so I do have some experience.

  10. #10
    ddk
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    Re: A900 with 9 different RAW converters

    Totally inconclusive imho. At best this article shows how bad processing can flatten an image and nothing more. I have most of these programs and know that they can deliver more than shown here, a waste of time!

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    Senior Member Quentin_Bargate's Avatar
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    Re: A900 with 9 different RAW converters

    Agree with Jono and others. I have used SilkyPix since I used a Kodak 14n and whist at the micro detail level I suspect C1 might wring more from the file, SilkyPix - once you are used to it AND understand how to get the best from it - is a blast. It's particularly good if you want to get rid of CA, correct for distortion, and correct perspective before outputting the image.

    But then again if C1 supported the A900 for tethered capture, I might use that. But it doesn't as yet.

    Quentin

    PS for those of you who used to develop film, notice anything familiar here? Its the old battle of the developers transferred to the digital age We all had our favourites....
    Quentin Bargate
    Director of Bargate Murray, Law Firm of the Year 2012 - 2017, ”leading individual”, Chambers HNW guide, 2017, Photographer

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    Senior Member douglasf13's Avatar
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    Re: A900 with 9 different RAW converters

    Quote Originally Posted by Quentin_Bargate View Post
    PS for those of you who used to develop film, notice anything familiar here? Its the old battle of the developers transferred to the digital age We all had our favourites....
    How true. It's probably good that we don't all use the converter, so there is some variance in our "looks."

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    Senior Member dhsimmonds's Avatar
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    Re: A900 with 9 different RAW converters

    You are so right Quentin. I always automatically refer to "developing" my RAW images rather than "processing" them!! Ah well memories of good old Acutol....better not start that discussion though!!
    Cheers, Dave
    www.simmondsphotography.com

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    Senior Member Quentin_Bargate's Avatar
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    Re: A900 with 9 different RAW converters

    Well I am quite impressed with a trial version of DxO which supports most of the lenses I use with the A900. I am getting back up to speed with a new Pc running 64 bit Vista and a new install of CS4 so a lot of learning to do over Easter.

    DxO seems to over sharpen on default settings. However it is possible to get the right balance by turning this down a bit, an then the results can be extremely good, so a real competitor for me to SilkyPix.

    Quentin
    Quentin Bargate
    Director of Bargate Murray, Law Firm of the Year 2012 - 2017, ”leading individual”, Chambers HNW guide, 2017, Photographer

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    Senior Member dhsimmonds's Avatar
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    Re: A900 with 9 different RAW converters

    Quentin
    I shall be interested in your experiences of using Vista 64bit. I am seriously thinking of going down the same road as my PC is getting a bit ancient now.

    I also looked at going down the Mac route, but several of my contacts were experiencing problems with their brand new Mac's, one having her computer replaced three times and still sufferring "hanging" program's. Add to this the cost of changing so many programs and the fact that my banks didn't like talking through the Safari browser finally caused me to NOT to go over to the "dark side"!

    I know that you can install windows and use MS programs on the Mac, but that seemed to defeat the whole object in my simplistic view. I believe the Mac problems have only occurred since they have gone over to Intel processors, and built the machines in China to be fair to them.

    Will you be able to upgrade to Windows 7 when it is released? We have a beta tester for 7 locally and he is experiencing problems using Photoshop with it but I daresay this will get fixed before public release.
    Cheers, Dave
    www.simmondsphotography.com

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    Senior Member Quentin_Bargate's Avatar
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    Re: A900 with 9 different RAW converters

    Hi Dave,

    So far, Vista 64 bit on my new Intel i7 Pc with 6gb ram is a blast. I have installed Adobe CS4 design premium on the machine along with DxO Pro and other assorted gegaws and it is running fast and (so far after all of 24 hours) reliably. 64bit OS's will become the norm eventualy but you do need to be carful to check that your hardware drivers and the programs you want to use work under a 64 bit OS. Many will, some won't.

    I like the look of Macs, but I use PC's at work in the day job, and it makes no sense at all for me to switch. Morever, despite Jono's good experiences, I hear of as many problems with Macs as with PC's. These days its a matter of style rather than substance, in my view. Use whichever you prefer.

    I will upgrade eventually to Windows 7. However, its just an operating system. I'll probably wait until gets to SP1 status before I do.

    Quentin
    Quentin Bargate
    Director of Bargate Murray, Law Firm of the Year 2012 - 2017, ”leading individual”, Chambers HNW guide, 2017, Photographer

  17. #17
    ddk
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    Re: A900 with 9 different RAW converters

    Quote Originally Posted by dhsimmonds View Post
    Quentin
    I shall be interested in your experiences of using Vista 64bit. I am seriously thinking of going down the same road as my PC is getting a bit ancient now.

    I also looked at going down the Mac route, but several of my contacts were experiencing problems with their brand new Mac's, one having her computer replaced three times and still sufferring "hanging" program's. Add to this the cost of changing so many programs and the fact that my banks didn't like talking through the Safari browser finally caused me to NOT to go over to the "dark side"!
    There have been issues with early adopters of new machines or new OS in the past too. Its not always Apple's fault, it often takes the software manufacturers a couple of months to catch up and iron out the bugs in their programs. Another issue that I've seen with people moving over from pc platform is that they underestimate the amount of ram macs need to run big programs like PS, or what they they run multiple programs simultaneously, this causes their machines to freeze. Some of this is also because in windows closing a program window will quit the software too, this is isn't the case with macs that you actually have to quit out of the program, closing the window merely does exactly but the program is running in the background, draining the ram.

    Quote Originally Posted by dhsimmonds View Post
    I know that you can install windows and use MS programs on the Mac, but that seemed to defeat the whole object in my simplistic view. I believe the Mac problems have only occurred since they have gone over to Intel processors, and built the machines in China to be fair to them.
    If you did change, Macs give you the opportunity to remain dual platform until you either change over completely or for the majority of your work and keep the Windows platform for pc software that you can't get on Macs. You're right about the change not making sense if you were to remain with Windows for all your work.

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    Senior Member douglasf13's Avatar
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    Re: A900 with 9 different RAW converters

    Yeah, Ive run Macs and PCs simultanously for a few years, and notice very little difference between the two. Each has their positives.

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    Re: A900 with 9 different RAW converters

    Macs vs Pcs - the argument isn't worth the bandwidth (and this could be the first good natured discussion I've seen).

    For us, it's a bit of a no-brainer. We write software for PC's, it's all written in a Windows environment, but we have to supplier to Windows 2000, XP, and a (very few) NT and Vista users as well . .. interesting that out of around 35 sites, not a single one is using Vista on anything other than notebooks! We are also testing Windows 7. We have to supply to run on Linux and Windows and even Ubuntu servers. Of course, we could use VMware for the PC to do this, but running on macs running VMware fusion makes it so simple and neat. Our mac-pro server is continually running 3 different virtual servers.

    We don't have to worry about viruses on the email, I have a nice notebook to carry around with me, and I can copy my basic XP machine from notebook to desktop in a few minutes (I even have a backup on an ipod, which is neat in case my laptop goes down far from home).

    Added to which, the connectivity with iphone / ical / mail and me.com, whilst not as sophisticated as Exchange server, is much more attractive and works really well.

    And the kit's pretty, which matters to me if I have to sit in front of it for 8 or 10 hours a day!

    But, as Douglas says, each have their good and bad points, and Macs can crash too!

    However - I don't think that nasty stories about mac reliability are either more or less believable than those about pc reliability. Certainly, the only two we've had trouble with had drinks poured in to them first (and one of them still carried on for a year!).

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    Re: A900 with 9 different RAW converters

    Douglasf13,

    I assume you have tried RPP since Iliah Borg helped out on it.
    Only runs on a Mac though.
    I read on a Sony forum elsewhere that they thought the two best
    were C1 and RPP for A900.

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    Senior Member douglasf13's Avatar
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    Re: A900 with 9 different RAW converters

    I actually sold most of my Macs right before the A900 purchase, because I've begun building all of my own computers, so I never had a chance to try RPP with A900. All that I have left is an old G4 laptop for web use, and I can't do much photo processing with it. Iliah recommended Raw Therapee to me as a substitute for RPP, and it does a very good, albeit slow, job. He also said that his RAW Magick Lite will be available at the end of the month for A900, and I may give that a try.

    Iliah is a big proponent of doing most adjustments in PS, with only very simple things being done in the RAW converter itself (he has numerous, valid reasons that I won't get into,) and he disapproves of the direction that RAW converters are going, now that they are attempting to become "do everything" boxes. While I'm not as much of a perfectionist as he is, in C1 I mostly just use a linear tone curve, tweak exposure a bit, and maybe add a bit of clarity, and then everything else is done in PS (unless it's just family photo album stuff.) RAW Therapee may have slightly better output than C1, but C1's file management and other options are much better, albeit not quite up to Lightroom. It's too bad that LR is so far behind all of the other converters in regards to actual output.

    p.s. I agree with Jono that mac vs. pc arguments are usually bad vibes all around. each works very well.

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    Re: A900 with 9 different RAW converters

    Looks like RPP can be used as a plugin for Lightroom and Photoshop.
    Too bad you got rid of your Mac stuff or you could have tried it.

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    Senior Member douglasf13's Avatar
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    Re: A900 with 9 different RAW converters

    Yeah, maybe, but there are a few converters that are equally as good, and Borg's own RawMagick will probably be the best of the bunch, if one is interested in slow converters of the highest quality. It's PC only, so I would have had to dual boot if I stayed with Mac. Ultimately, I'm finding C1 to be a nice combination between quality and speed.

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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: A900 with 9 different RAW converters

    Quote Originally Posted by douglasf13 View Post
    Yeah, maybe, but there are a few converters that are equally as good, and Borg's own RawMagick will probably be the best of the bunch, if one is interested in slow converters of the highest quality. It's PC only, so I would have had to dual boot if I stayed with Mac. Ultimately, I'm finding C1 to be a nice combination between quality and speed.
    A quick visit to raw magick page shows no updates since Nikon D2H. Or is there another webpage that I've missed?
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

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    Senior Member douglasf13's Avatar
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    Re: A900 with 9 different RAW converters

    I emailed Iliah, and he said that he expects a new version by the end of the month.

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    Re: A900 with 9 different RAW converters

    Quote Originally Posted by douglasf13 View Post
    It's too bad that LR is so far behind all of the other converters in regards to actual output.

    p.s. I agree with Jono that mac vs. pc arguments are usually bad vibes all around. each works very well.
    Hi Douglas
    I'm afraid I'm not such a perfectionist as most, but I agree with you about lightroom, especially with the less popular cameras.
    On the otherhand, Aperture's output is pretty good, it works well with the A900, and although it probably isn't the 'best', the rest of the functionality makes it good all round compromise (IMHO of course!).

    Just this guy you know

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    Senior Member douglasf13's Avatar
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    Re: A900 with 9 different RAW converters

    Oh yes, Jono, Aperture appears to do a very good job as well. It seems that the better the color separation, the worse that LR handles files, so that's why it's having so many problems with the A900.

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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: A900 with 9 different RAW converters

    Quote Originally Posted by douglasf13 View Post
    I emailed Iliah, and he said that he expects a new version by the end of the month.
    Thanks Douglas! Will be looking forward to trying it.
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

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    Workshop Member kuau's Avatar
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    Re: A900 with 9 different RAW converters

    So even shooting low iso 200-400 Lr is not the way to go for the A900?
    To bad I really like the workflow of LR oh well in terms of workflow, does C1 compare? I tried the demo of DXO on my Quad Core Vista64 PC with 8gb of ram and it is so slow. I also downloaded Raw Therapee and for me it crashes all the time.
    Bottom line then should I be learning C1 for the PC?
    Thanks
    Steven

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