Good Enough RAW Processing


Software Week Recap Let’s get the dirty work out of the way right up front: I no longer recommend Capture NX2 as the best NEF raw file converter

These days I capture images of three types: Nikon RAW files from the D300 Sigma RAW files from the DP1 JPEG files from various sources (processing lab scans, iPhone, etc)

I continue to use Aperture as my image database. Its fast and integrates well into my Apple product ecosystem.

The one drawback is that Apple doesn’t support the Foveon RAW files, so they need to be converted in the Sigma program in bulk before being brought into Aperture. Then if I want to tweak the RAW conversion, I need to find the RAW file which is not managed in Aperture and create a new version. However with the great exposure control of the DP1 and its exposure latitude, that’s been very rare. Once or twice, I’ve done spit RAW conversions, where I create a version for highlights and one for shadows to merge both in Photoshop.

Thom’s assertion that Aperture’s conversion was now the equal of Capture NX2 certainly suggested that I should take a second look at the quality of what Aperture does, since I could potentially drop a step to directly move the file to Photoshop for editing.

Its always interesting to contemplate how to make these comparisons, since the conversion is only a starting point. An apparent relative defect in conversion, like flat rendition, could become an asset for later editing stages. So logically, one should take an image down each of the paths independently, all the way to print or web display, and compare.


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