View Full Version : How to process Raw files ? (Minolta A2)
05-18-2004, 11:15 AM
I'm pretty sure that some of you shoot in Raw modus.
What is the best way to have a decent work flow ?
(I really don't like to process every file manually)
What do I have to keep in mind with Raw processing ?
How can I make it automatic ?
Of course every thought is welcome :)
BTW I use the Minolta Viewer software and the Photoshop CS Raw Plugin.
05-18-2004, 11:45 AM
This is a good start I guess:
05-18-2004, 02:06 PM
Thanks for starting this thread. I just forgot to do it earlier, sorry for that.
The first thing I want to point is that shooting in RAW is not absolutely necessary unless you really need quality and/or processing. The A2 like the A1 and 7Hi has a very good jpg converter with compression og only 1:3 which is much less than many other digital cameras. Thus jpg A2 files are really good. I'll come back on this matter later on.
When looking at A2 RAW files, I noticed that they were very well defined and detailed, 8Mpix is much!, but they also have a lack of contrast and saturation. I also notice that although sharp they can be enhance with usm, and quite a lot, without seeing any artifacts of oversharpness. Thus, I'll very shortly list the enhancements I generally do to files I shoot in RAW. I use PS CS in french, so I don't know all the function names in english or german.
First I use Highlight/Shadows function, but mainly to increase midtones contrast. BTW highlights and shadows can be finetuned here very easily too. But as RAW files are very "flat" I use this function to "boost" general light distribution across tones. That's easy and very efficient.
Then I increase overall contrast and adjust brightness. It's amazing to see how much colour saturation this operation can bring, at least on A2 RAW files. Increasing contrast immediately boosts colour saturation and picture is yet very good.
The last thing I do is usm. You can increase it a lot because A2 files are not much boosted in the camera to avoid noise. Thus you can cook it very good in PP. An important thing here is that it is best to do it by steps. You'll get better results than in one shot. I usually use 40-60%/1/0 as parameters and apply it several times. But be careful here as when you convert file to jpg, you'll have to reapply usm. So don't do it to strongly in this step. Once in jpg format, reopen it in PS and apply usm again by steps.
My settings are generally:
1. 10%/10% 30pix for highlight and shadows or 0% if I dont really need them to be enhanced
2. contrast +10/20 depending on picture obviously (I rarely modify brightness
3. USM 40-60%/1/0 applied generally 2-4 times
I rarely increase saturation as contrast does it for me :-).
Of course there are a lot of other enhancements, I'll describe them in a other post in this thread. And of course all this, excepted usm, can be achieved with curves editing. But I think that this shorts steps are easy and quick to apply, and overall they work fine for each picture.
I'll come back with a second post...
05-19-2004, 12:04 PM
thanks for that long and detailed message :)
It already helped me a lot.
I have a question though, do you save the image in the raw converter with camera defaults or do you do somthing in the raw converter already ?
One more, if you shoot raw, does the in camera setting before shooting matter or is only ISO important before shooting ?
05-19-2004, 09:02 PM
First the only important camera setting is ISO. It sets the CCD gain, so the lower ISO, the less grain. For all other parameters you can use raw converter, including exposition which you can also set precisely at this stage.
I personally use only PS CS RAW converter, allthough it gives a balance with a bit less RED than Minolta dimage viewer software. But as long as you can adjust all this in PS there is no problem. The only settings I normally adjust here are sharpness (I give full strenght) and exposure which I adjust sometimes (usually exposure is very good on the A2 with a -0.3 permanent correction).
That's it. But again, if you apply these PP steps described above to a RAW file and then convert it to JPG, you'll get very close to a JPG file produced by the A2 itself. So for posting here on TE with only 800x600 and 200KB, it makes no sense to shoot in RAW, unless you want to use the picures for other purposes obviously.
I think about one important advantage of shooting in RAW. It's the colour balance and exposure adjustment, As they can be set at RAW conversion stage, it is very confortable to adjust it at this stage rather than having to make a lot of shot to test the best colour temperature at shoot time. For example, there are some pictures from the interior of a cathedral or any other interior or even night shot which has artificial light. You shoot in RAW and then adjust for the best colour temperature at conversion stage exactly like if you where still taking the shot. That's an enormous advantage. Exposure can be adjusted the same way with the same advantage, that's to say, you don't need bracketing, as long as there is enough imformation on the file obviously. If highlights are burned out, you can't do anything even with the RAW converter!
Well Jan, let me know how things behave with your A2 and if you're convinced by the quality or not :-).
05-21-2004, 01:44 PM
After studying the manual for a while and playing around with the cam and the raw converter in PS CS and your instruction I finally love the cam :) although I like to have a larter zoom as in my earlier cam 10x, but you can't have it all :)
I shoot in Raw because lately I got accepted to a stock agency :) And they only accept the best possible quality so even a 1/3 jpg. is not ok.
Thanks for your great help :)
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