Digital workflow: part five / 7 comments + post
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In this tutorial we will discuss a variety of alternative RAW processors, illustrating their strengths and weaknesses in comparison to Adobe Camera RAW. This will include a discussion of Capture One Pra, DXO Optics Pro, and RAW Developer.

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comment by Fabio at 09:08 PM on 2 February, 2010

Why not Canon DPP too?

comment by djn1 at 09:40 AM on 3 February, 2010

Hi Fabio, do you mean I should have mentioned DPP (alongside, Bibble Pro and so on), or that I should have reviewed it?

comment by Fabio at 10:18 PM on 16 February, 2010

I thought that since you are quite experienced with Canon equipment, and Canon are among the most used digital SRL, it could have been very interesting for many of us a detailed review of this important application.

comment by djn1 at 06:02 AM on 17 February, 2010

Fabio: when I first got my 20D I tried using DPP but found it so slow and useless that I gave up - and used Capture One and Camera RAW instead. From what you're saying though it looks like it's probably improved quite a bit so I'll take another look at it.

comment by Tin at 09:47 AM on 18 February, 2010

I've used Capture One Pro for several years, along with Camera Raw and Adobe Lightroom. Although I found that for the most part Adobe Lightroom's workflow is much more intuitive (at least to me), with the exception of going in and out of CS4 and back into Lightroom, I prefer the color produced by Capture One Pro. This is regardless of Canon or Nikon raw files.

Default settings on either RAW converter do not show much difference. The difference becomes remarkable when I decide to crank the saturation up regardless of method. While both RAW converters can produce deeply bold colors, I've found that Capture One Pro can do this while maintaining intact skin tones. Adobe's Camera RAW has the tendency to produce pumpkin-like skin tones. This effect becomes more exaggerated when I photograph non-Caucasian skin tones.

Maybe it's just me, but it takes me a LOT more time to produce similar effects in Camera RAW (bold colors with neutral skin tones). This is not practical for me when I want a fast turnaround time for my clients (especially when the majority of them are non-Caucasians).

While I feel that Capture One's default noise reduction and sharpness are a bit too strong, I do like the fact that the noise reduction varies and depends on multiple factors, including ISO setting and exposure. There's a different noise reduction amount applied to each file depending on ISO and exposure settings used.

comment by Fabio at 01:23 PM on 21 February, 2010

Yes DPP was, and it is still, a slow and muddled application with a very unfriendly interface.
When I first bought a Canon DSLR I tried to use it but I have been discouraged by the slowness, so I turned to the easier and more appealing ACR.
Recently, after a long battle with noise issues I made a comparison between ACR and DPP and I noticed that noise is better under control with DPP.

comment by djn1 at 04:17 PM on 21 February, 2010

Fabio: OK, in which case I'll take another look at it, but don't suspect that I'll use it all that often - for much the reasons you mention.