Phase One releases Capture One Pro 4.8

The latest version of Capture One adds support for the following cameras:

  • Phase One P40+
  • Olympus E-620
  • And adds improved support for:

  • Phase One P65+
  • Leica D-Lux 4
  • Olympus E-30
  • Download

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    Capture One 4.7 released

    Phase One has released version 4.7 of their RAW developer, Capture One.

    New features include a brand new file format, the EIP format, which combines lens correction data with the RAW file.
    Tiff, JPG images can now be manipulated in the software. And tethered shooting is now included for Canon EOS 5DII and Nikon D3X.

    Download

    Capture One 4.6 available

    Phase One has today released an update to their popular RAW software Capture One.

    Among the new features are:

    Tethered shooting for the following Nikon cameras:

  • Nikon D3
  • Nikon D700
  • Nikon D300
  • Nikon D200
  • Nikon D80
  • Nikon D60
  • Nikon D40x
  • Nikon D40
  • And added support for

  • Phase One P 65+
  • Nikon D3X
  • Canon G10
  • Olympus E-30
  • As well as improved support for Canon EOS 5D Mark II and EOS 50D – including sRAW.

    Other improvements include:

  • Improved performance in processing, browsing, folder viewing and Color Editor
  • Load / Save workspaces (Mac only)
  • and

  • Automatic software update notifications.
  • Lightroom 2.2 now available

    The anticipated Lightroom 2.2 update is now available.

    The release includes new camera support for the following models:

  • Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Canon PowerShot G10
  • Panasonic DMC-G1
  • Panasonic DMC-FX150
  • Panasonic DMC-FZ28
  • Panasonic DMC-LX3
  • Leica D-LUX 4
  • The update also includes the aforementioned new ‘camara color profiles’ found in the calibration panel, as well as some bug fixes and improvements.

    Download update:

    for Windows

    for Mac

    Expanding the dynamic range of a single RAW file

    This tutorial will focus on a technique tailored to expand the visible dynamic range of a single RAW file (as opposed to creating a HDR file or masking a bracketed sequence).

    Most RAW editors has several tools to do just that built-in, but often you can not achieve your desired end result without complicated Photoshop work and masking techniques. In this tutorial, I’ll share some of my secrets for expanding the dynamic range of a single RAW file.

    Observe the following photograph:

    Single RAW file - developing for the shadows blow the highlights.

    'Say cheese' Single RAW file - developing for the shadows blow the highlights.

    This image is from a Canon 40D RAW file developed with Adobe’s Camera RAW 5.2. As the original image was underexposed, out of necessity to keep the highlights in range, I’ve added a positive exposure compensation to brighten the shadows, in turn leading to a clipping of the highlights. Even with tricks like Curves, Fill Light and Highlight Recovery, I cannot both expose the shadows as I want them, and also get great highlights – at least not without an unintentional hit in contrast in the process. My opinion is that neither Fill Light or Highlight Recovery are perfect in ACR, as by affecting the left or right third of the histogram respectively, they are both too broad, and don’t go far enough. – And they don’t give you precise control over the tonalities you effect.

    Let’s look at my technique for dealing with this problem. For this tutorial we will be using ACR 5.2 as our RAW developer on a PC, as well as Photoshop CS4. The beauty of this technique is that it offers a more or less automated, lets call it ‘intuitive’, way of expanding your dynamic range without delving into Curves and complicated masking for every problem shot.

    1 ) Develop your RAW image in ACR only for the shadows (left side of histogram). That is, concentrate on getting good shadow separation, and let the highlights blow for now (that means do not even try to recover the highlights, don’t touch the Recovery slider, better to let them blow out).

    2 ) When satisfied, hold Shift key, and click ‘Open Object’ in ACR to open the image in Photoshop as a Smart Object.

    3 ) In Photoshop, right-click the SO layer, and select ‘New Smart Object via Copy’.

    4 ) Double-click the thumbnail of your new SO layer, to bring up the ACR dialog again.

    5 ) This time, develop for the highlights (right side of histogram), and ignore the shadows (left side of histogram). Typically for this technique, there’ll be around 2 stops of difference between the two versions. Essentially this is just a matter of dragging the Exposure slider to the left.

    6 ) Click ‘Done’ when satisfied that all highlights are recovered.

    7 ) In Photoshop, now hide the top layer, then go to the Channels Palette and Ctrl-click the RGB channel thumbnail to select the highlights of your lower, lighter layer. What you’ve got now is a so-called Luminosity Mask.

    8 ) Go back to the Layer Palette, turn on your top darker layer (select it if it isn’t selected), and click the ‘Add layer mask’ icon.

    9 ) You should now see a composite of the two layers that will have expanded dynamic range, but also will look a bit lifeless and with poor contrast.

    10 ) To add local contrast, you need to select your Layer Mask, and add Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur. How much depends on a number of factors, including file size and detail frequency in your image. Typical key figures for Amount are in the 90-127 range. However, for some images, such as the sunset example in the end of this article, you may need to go as low as 1! This is up to your best judgement, and needs some experimentation and careful examination to set right for every image. You’ll want to achieve natural contrast and at the same time avoid visible halos and artifacts. Note that what you are doing here is essentially how Unsharp Mask worked in the dark rooms of yore. Only this digital equivalent is much, MUCH easier.

    11 ) Finally, you may need to adjust the tonalities affected. You can do this by adding a Curves adjustment (Image>Adjustments>Curves) to the Layer Mask. Typically, you want to darken the mask a bit, by creating a point in the middle of the curve and dragging down about 2/5th of the way. You may also use other tools and adjustments on the mask to localize the effect – all non-destructively.

    12 ) For a final kicker, now press Ctrl-Alt-Shift-e to create a new composite layer on top of the others, then add Filter>Sharpen>Unsharp Mask, Amount: 6-12, Radius: 90-127, Threshold: 0, to add a bit of extra local contrast. Typically I overdo this a little, then immediately go Edit>Fade to 66%. Alternatively, you can set the layer opacity of this composited contrast layer as you like.

    End result:

    The final result - highlights have now been smoothly recovered.

    The final result - highlights have now been smoothly recovered.

    Disclaimer: What you see above is no miracle cure for blown highlights. You will still need to expose your photo in a way so that all data can be recovered, and you might have to take care of increased shadow noise from pushing the shadow end.

    Here’s another example comparing ACR’s Highlight Recovery to this method:

    my method

    Dynamic Range expansion - top: image developed for the shadows, middle: Recovery at maximum in ACR*, bottom: my method

    * Recovery at 100, with positive exposure compensation of +2. A closer approximation of ‘my method’ could be achieved by maxing out both Recovery and Fill Light in ACR, leaving Exposure slider at 0, but doing so introduces nasty edge artifacts and very low contrast.

    Enjoy!

    I’ve compiled this technique into a Photoshop action, which you may download and study here.

    Copyright 2008 Mathias Vejerslev

    Camera RAW 5.2 released

    Adobe’s Camera RAW 5.2 contains new support for the following cameras:

  • Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Canon PowerShot G10
  • Panasonic DMC-G1
  • Panasonic DMC-FX150
  • Panasonic DMC-FZ28
  • Panasonic DMC-LX3
  • Leica D-LUX 4
  • Plus these new features:

  • Targeted Adjustment Tool (TAT), for intuitive local adjustments of Curves, Hue, saturation for example.
  • Output sharpening for print or web
  • Snaphots feature, to save image-specific versions of your RAW image
  • Camera profiles – the previously mentioned camera specific profiles are now included
  • Download: For Mac For Windows

    DxO Labs reveals DxOMark camera comparison webpage

    DxO, makers of DxO Optics Pro and DxO Analyzer has revealed a new webpage with RAW image quality comparisons based on their analyzing tool. The webpage gives an easy overview of camera performance across brands and price based on a number of user selectable criterias, and is free to use.

    DxOMark

    RED announces new line of DSMC’s

    There’s a new abbreviation to get accustomed to – DSMC: Digital Stills Movie Camera. With the merger of professional stills and professional video in DSLR-like bodies, we have a ‘new’ medium.

    Red Scarlett modular

    Red Scarlett modular

    RED is an innovative camera company run by Jim Jannard. The previous flagship, RED One, was a revolution in digital movie capture, allowing RAW video footage (yes, just like RAW stills). Now Red has announced a whole new line of Digital Stills Movie Cameras, including the Epic and Scarlett systems. The systems are modular and interchangeable, for instance, you are able to use both Nikon and Canon glass. And the chips goes from 3k to a whopping 28k! in size.

    Michael Reichmann of Luminous Landscape gives us the lowdown on this new line of gear.

    Apple releases Aperture 2.3 update

    Apple Aperture has been updated to include support for the following cameras:

    Canon 50D
    Nikon D90
    Nikon P6000
    Sony DSLR-A900

    Also included in the update are unspecified bug fixes.

    A Virtual Tripod with Photoshop CS4 Extended

    This techique describes a method to stack several high ISO source images in Photoshop CS3 or CS4 Extended, in order to minimize random noise – in effect creating a synthesized long duration low-ISO exposure.

    It is the first in a series of techniques relating to ‘computational photography’ – the process of utilizing several source images and raw computer power to enhance your final image output.

    So you are at an art museum. You’ve got your shiny new DSLR with you, but the strict rules of the museum excludes both tripod and flash use. Unfortunately the art pieces are not all that well lit, maybe just the equivalent of a single incandescent lightbulb from the distance of a couple of meters.

    – But you really want to get that depiction of a museum piece… What do you do?

    My Canon 40D features a maximum of 6.5 frames per second. Instead of taking one exposure at high ISO, I can take a sequence of exposures at high ISO, and then combine all of them in a Photoshop Stack to create an image devoid of the rampant random noise. Photoshop aligns, then averages the pixels from each shot to create noise free pixels, and extract details otherwise obscured. The reason this works is because the noise is random – it is rarely in the same spot in two seperate images.

    Astronomers has stacked images like this for a long time, indeed they have some very sophisticated software available to them, but now everyone with a copy of Photoshop Extended can utilize its powerful align and stack algorithms to do this trick.

    Here’s the workflow:

    1) Set an exposure suitable for the lighting and for handholding. For a painting, you don’t need much DOF, so an open aperture is suitable, just choose the first aperture that is sharp for your lens. In this example, my camera settings were: RAW, 1/160s f 2.2 ISO 3200. I want a fast shutterspeed for my 50mm 1.4 to ensure sharpness across the handheld sequence I’m about to make. I choose the highest ISO setting on my camera, ignoring any noise issues for now.

    2) Angle the shot, focus, brace the camera as best you can, and hold down the shutter for as long as necessary. The more shots you have, the better a result you can expect, but you should also expect a longer processing time. My Canon 40D filled its buffer at 15 photos at 10MP RAW format, and it took it just a bit over 2 seconds to do so.

    3) So, now you’ve got 15 noisy, virtually useless, slightly underexposed ISO 3200 shots of the same washed out painting. Great.

    At this point, back at my computer, I open up Bridge, and examine details with the Loupe on all of the frames. If one or two are out of focus, I delete them or exclude them. Then I open up all of the remaining sharp shots in Camera Raw. I make sure to select them all, dial in a +1 exposure, because I had to underexpose the shots a bit to get a faster shutter speed. This will push my source images to ISO 6400(!). I carefully adjust the WB and other settings. I like to keep a linear tone curve for this technique, but your mileage may vary. You may even add a bit of capture sharpening, disregarding the hit you take in noise. – But do turn off all noise reduction, as we will deal with this in the next step.

    I usually keep to a 16-bit Prophoto workflow, but I find that for a 15 image stack in Photoshop, it might just be to much data crunching to wait for, so I made my source images 8-bit Adobe RGB in this case. See screenshot:

    Camera RAW - 15 photos selected, note positive exposure compensation.

    Camera RAW - 15 photos selected, note positive exposure compensation.

    Note that these are not photos of an actual piece of art, but of a 1 euro reproduction print I bought in a tourist trap in Spain. It’s hanging on a wall in my room, and it came in handy for illustrating this article.

    Next, I click Done.

    4) In Photoshop, go File>Scripts>Load Files into Stack. Select your images, and make sure to check ‘Attempt to automatically Align Source Images’ and ‘Create Smart Object after loading layers’.

    If you have a lot of source images, this process can take a little while. Go make a cup of coffee, pet your cat or sumthin’.

    5) When done, go Layer>Smart Objects>Stack Mode>Mean.

    The pixels of all the layers will be mean blended, and the noise will be seriously diminished. Taking into account my photos were ISO 6400 originally, they now look great. I now flatten my image (Layer>Flatten Image), clean up any residual noise with Neat Image, apply a transform to straighten up the image, then apply a healthy dose of Filter>Sharpen>Smart Sharpen. The final step is a slight crop, because when handholding for a sequence like this, framing will differ somewhat, and around the edges of the photo there’ll be a margin where there’s more noise, because there are fewer overlapping frames.

    Here’s some before / after crops at 100%:

    Comparison of 1 original ISO 6400 frame vs stacked, Neat Image + Smart Sharpen result.

    Comparison of 1 original ISO 6400 frame vs stacked, Neat Image + Smart Sharpen result.

    And here is the final result:

    Result of 15 image mean stack

    Result of 15 image mean stack

    It sounds like a lot of trouble, but once you establish this workflow, it is quite easy. And it can get you those shots that would otherwise be impossible, such as in museums or other low light situations with static subjects, where you prefer not to use, or cant use, a flash or a tripod.

    If you think this sounds like to much work, here’s an idea for a $1 camera stabilizer.

    Enjoy.

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