Thursday, September 16, 2010

I finally put a RAW editor for the Olympus Pen e-pl1 on my computer....

Well, it's about time. Unfortunately Adobe CS and CS3 don't support the Pen series of cameras, you need CS4 or later to find an update that'll support RAW editing for those cameras. The cameras come with Olympus' own editing and file management program. I'm working off two 4-5 year old computers and neither of them has a functioning DVD/CD drive, got on to Olympus' site this morning and downloaded their program. Yay. It's slower than Adobe's RAW editor, doesn't seem to do as many of the things I want to do, but it'll do 'til I get a new computer at some point in the future and load CS5 on to it.

I've only converted two shots so far, so I can't say much about the program. It does have a nice grey dropper white balance feature which works well for underwater shots... lots of greys on the reef with all of our hard corals. You can just put the dropper on a likely gray spot (OK, since this blog is read internationally I'm covering all my bases by interchangeablly using "gray" and "grey" I guess... Don't remember which one I should be using anymore) and click and the photo will hopefully go to it's natural color rather than the cyan/blue you typically get underwater. I should do some screen shots some day to show it. I tried it on a couple photos and they came out looking a bit too colorful, might have to tone down the saturation a bit on some pictures.

Here's a quick shot of a couple yellow tangs picking at algae amongst the finger corals. Tangs are herbivores and graze pretty much all day long. A lively reef will be coverered with numerous species of tangs.




Andrew Cooper said...

RAW support was one of the driving issues that pushed me in to upgrading to CS5, that and some of the new features like lens correction profiles.

I did not pay the full price. There are times when having a teacher for a wife comes in rather handy. Educational version!

Steve said...

My wife just finished up her doctor of pharmacy degree in May, we made sure to get whatever software we wanted before it was done. I've got a fresh copy waiting for my next computer upgrade.

Allison Levy said...

I am just now getting into the underwater photography/videography world. Tell me more about RAW and what are the advantages/disadvantages. I see that having an updated computer helps to run the program for one.


Steve said...

Most of the higher end cameras shoot RAW. You need a RAW program downloaded on your computer that will open it if you shoot with it, any camera sold with it will have a RAW converter so you can view them. My computers are OLD, and the CD/DVD drives don't work anymore so I can't load new programs on to them and I'm not going to pay for a download when I'm planning to replace the computers in the relatively near future. I found the OLY RAW program for my camera online for free and downloaded it to my computer.

Here's my real basic description of RAW...

RAW is essentially a digital negative, all the information the camera gets is there. JPEGs produced by cameras have actually compressed the information the camera receives, and you can't ever get it back. If you shoot with RAW, you have access to all the original information, and a RAW editor (in many cases they are camera specific, hence the need to update programs if you get a new camera and the editor you have can't be upgraded to open it) can allow you to change exposure, sharpness, colors, white balance and other things AFTER you've taken a picture without destroying the original information. It gives you a lot more leeway to fix a photo that is slightly off after the fact. Once you've finished your RAW conversions you convert that file to JPEG and then can move on to a JPEG editor and play with it some more if you want, but a good RAW converter can do most of the heavy work before you compress the photo into JPEG.

It's all more technical than that, but RAW = good. If you have that option, use it and learn how to work with it. It can save a lot of photos, especially underwater photos. I'll try to do a post later with pictures to show the difference.