2017-2018 Digital Photography Software News

Qimage is Back

Many many moons ago—at least 150, probably more—Mike Chaney came up with a software program that many of us used to swear by (as opposed to swear at): Qimage. This little utility, while ostensibly a raw converter, had one feature that made us like it so much: it printed our images better than anything else.

bythom qimage

That image doesn't quite do it justice. What most of us saw and appreciated with Qimage was that it really took out the antialiasing impacts of digital cameras and produced very high edge acuity in prints. That technology Chaney called Deep Focus Sharpening. Upsizing was also as good as anything else we've ever seen. Qimage wasn't a bad raw converter, either. 

The problem with that early Qimage was that it was Windows only, and that it had one of the craziest UIs we've seen. It was good that it tended to be a set-and-forget program, because figuring out the settings took a little time to negotiate.

Now we have something a little different: Qimage One. Not only is it now Mac and Windows compatible, but it lives as a plug-in in Photoshop and Lightroom as well as a standalone program. It still is a bit tough to wrap your mind around the UI/workflow, though better than before. And it still produces gorgeous prints when set up properly; just as good if not more so than some very expensive RIPs. 

If you print, it's worth US$59.99 price, but there's a free 14-day trial period to figure that out if you're skeptical.

Binartem Qimage One site

Lightroom Classic CC Speeds Up

Adobe posted Lightroom Classic CC 7.2 today, an update that attempts to improve performance of the venerable browser/converter/do all program. Import is faster. Previews render faster. Export is faster. Panoramas and HDRs are created faster. The Develop module makes adjustments faster.

More importantly, some were complaining about Lightroom slowing down as their databases grew over time. This, too, has been addressed according to Adobe.

Machines with multiple CPU cores and GPUs should benefit the most, but you'll need 12GB of RAM to fully benefit. It's impossible to describe what performance change you'll see, as Adobe points out that much of what they have done scales with abilities of the machine Lightroom is running on. Run it on a memory constrained machine with integrated graphics and a dual core CPU and you'll see a different result than with 16GB, GPU, and quad core. 

That has long been a complaint from many of us, actually: buying better and more technology-enabled machines didn't really speed up Lightroom. Now it does.

There's also a new Search Folders ability, the ability to mark a folder as a favorite, filter the library on edited versus unedited images, you can create collections from folders, create collections from map pins, and there's new camera support for the Fujifilm X-A5, X-20, and Panasonic GF90 and GH5s.

Adobe Converter Raw (ACR) 10.2 also updates with the new camera support. 

As always, you should find the new CC updates in your Adobe Creative Cloud Application Manager. 

Dynamic Range from Dual Pixels

I probably don't give the Canon DSLR users enough love on this site yet. So let me try to make that up a bit. 

My friend Iliah and his team have put together a new utility called DPRSplit. If you shoot the Canon 5DM4 in "dual pixel" mode, the resulting image contains two images. One of those is the usual composite frame that makes up traditional CR2 raw files. The other is made from a set of the sub pixels (what Canon calls Dual Pixel). Because those sub-pixels collect less light than the combination of the dual pixel, you essentially are shooting a second image at -1EV. 

That means that you should be able to recover about a stop more highlight room and increase the overall DR by something close to 1EV. If you can process the two sets of data.

Canon's own software allows you to do refocus using the dual pixels. DPRSplit (beta software at the moment) allows you to extract the two images and create two new DNG files from them that can be processed by any converter or software that allows HDR processing (or image stacking with blending options).

Regular raw capture on right, sub pixel capture on the left. Note the exposure differences here. In the regular raw the bank is exposed in the mid-range and should be easily manipulatable but the highlights are lost. In the sub pixel raw the bank and trees are getting down in the shadows where it's tougher to pull up detail but the highlights are no longer blown out. Image courtesy fastrawviewer.com. 

Now, purists will note that this isn't a perfect bracket set. The regular raw image is made of summing two sub pixels together. If we call the sub pixels X and Y, then raw files contain X+Y values, where DPRSplit will create an additional raw file containing just X. Obviously, there are several issues at play here that make this not exactly the same as just shooting a 0EV and -1EV bracket pair, including low level alignment (the sub pixels get their data from opposite sides of the lens, so there's an implied depth map in the X+Y versus X data). 

Still, DPRSplit makes it convenient and produces a highlight-saving potential for Canon shooters that they shouldn't ignore. It means they can push their ETTR exposure a bit further than they usually do and recover more information.

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