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RAW images seem to lack detail


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I recently purchased a Lumix S5 and am evaluating various tools to handle RAW image processing (Affinity Photo included). I've noted that images processed by AP seem to lose detail and generally give the appearance of being more diffused than other RAW extraction tools like Silkypix and XnViewMP. I'm including link here that I hope will provide a little insight into what I'm referring.

It'd love to use a single application for processing the RAW files and later handling photo editing, but I'm a disappointed in AP's RAW processing quality.

Can you suggest a way that I can improve RAW image handling in AP? Example, different settings in AP's RAW Develop screen?

Thanks.

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Hi @jlpeiferand Welcome to the Forums,

Which operating system are you running Affinity on?  Could you also attach the RAW file shown in your screenshot?  How does the image appear in Affinity when viewed at 100%?

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Hello and welcome!

57 minutes ago, jlpeifer said:

I've noted that images processed by AP seem to lose detail and generally give the appearance of being more diffused than other RAW extraction tools like Silkypix and XnViewMP. ...

Affinity's RAW converter as default doesn't apply any automatic associated curves, sharpness + contrast adjustments, thus RAWs opened in Affinity initially often look more flat than in contrast to other RAW converters, which do perform some initial auto-adjustments for certain cam RAW formats. If you setup & apply in Affinity the above said things too, you should get similar looking results. - Under MacOS APh can be switched over to use the Apple RAW engine instead, which then should also give initially slightly different looking results in terms to what you called diffuse look.

For XNViewMP AFAIK that shows up just the embedded JPG preview part of RAW images (so it doesn't develop the RAW file on the fly) and thus more how your Lumix S5 cam would show up it's preprocessed JPG images. Meaning here, a preview of the image the way the Panasonic cam internal software generates as an JPG.

☛ Affinity Designer 1.10.5 ◆ Affinity Photo 1.10.5 ◆ OSX El Capitan

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1 minute ago, v_kyr said:

Affinity's RAW converter as default doesn't apply any automatic associated curves, sharpness + contrast adjustments, thus RAWs opened in Affinity initially often look more flat than in contrast to other RAW converters, which do perform some initial auto-adjustments for certain cam RAW formats. If you setup & apply in Affinity the above said things too, you should get similar looking results. - Under MacOS APh can be switched over to use the Apple RAW engine instead, which then should also give initially slightly different looking results in terms to what you called diffuse look.

 

That would make a lot of sense to me, as i use a Mac daily and i'm using the Apple RAW engine in Affinity and haven't noticed any loss in sharpness at any point in my workflow with RAW files. 

I also wasn't aware XNViewMP is likely showing the embedded JPG which as you say, will have been processed by the camera.  I know a lot of other image editors do that but Affinity reads the actual RAW data, which is why sometimes a RAW file in Affinity can open larger, dimensions wise, than in other apps.

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3 hours ago, stokerg said:

Welcome to the Forums

Thank you. Glad to be here.

 

3 hours ago, stokerg said:

Which operating system are you running Affinity on

I'm using macOS 10.13.6 High Sierra on a pimped-up mid-2012 Macbook Pro. To head off the oft-asked question, "Why don't you upgrade your O.S.?" Because upgrading further will disable its dedicated NVIDIA GPU that is unsupported in later versions of the O.S. (and I'm not ready to kick my trusty companion to the curb in exchange for a newer model just yet).

 

3 hours ago, stokerg said:

Could you also attach the RAW file shown in your screenshot?

I have uploaded a copy onto my Web server. A link is now available on the page I referenced above or click here for a direct download (36MB).

 

3 hours ago, v_kyr said:

Affinity's RAW converter as default doesn't apply any automatic... Under MacOS APh can be switched over to use the Apple RAW engine instead

Interesting. I tried the Apple RAW engine instead, but saw no notable difference in how the image looked on-screen. It's possible that the laptop's integrated screen doesn't have the super-fine resolution I'd need to observe a change.

 

3 hours ago, stokerg said:

I also wasn't aware XNViewMP is likely showing the embedded JPG

Thanks for teaching me something new. I was unaware that RAW files contained a JPG side-car.

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Posted (edited)

Just a quick note to thank everyone who responded to my question. I studied the RAW adjustment options more and found that I was able to achieve greater image clarity and detail than I had previously. Your input is much appreciated!

Edited by jlpeifer
moved some words around
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7 hours ago, stokerg said:

also wasn't aware XNViewMP is likely showing the embedded JPG which as you say, will have been processed by the camera. 

Buried deep in the Mac version of that app's preferences at Interface > Formats > Read tab > Camera Raw tab is a "Use" option with 3 options:

2110814077_CameraRAWUseoptions.jpg.073782b98ad397139cc2b2fbc2112f82.jpg

I am not sure what half & full size refer to.

 

4 hours ago, jlpeifer said:

Thanks for teaching me something new. I was unaware that RAW files contained a JPG side-car.

Most but not all RAW files contain an embedded full sized JPEG preview. This is part of the RAW file itself, not a separate companion sidecar file.

Affinity Photo 1.10.5, Affinity Designer 1.10.5, Affinity Publisher 1.10.5;  2020 iMac 27"; 3.8GHz i7, Radeon Pro 5700, 32GB RAM; macOS 10.15.7
Affinity Photo 
1.10.5.280 & Affinity Designer 1.10.5 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 15.7

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25 minutes ago, R C-R said:

not a separate companion sidecar file

I chose the wrong words here... attempting to express an understanding of what was described. I was thinking about using "parasitic twin" but thought maybe it'd trigger someone. Anywhooo...

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12 hours ago, R C-R said:

Buried deep in the Mac version of that app's preferences at Interface > Formats > Read tab > Camera Raw tab is a "Use" option with 3 options:

Fascinating. After changing this setting in XNViewMP I noticed a significant change the rendered image. It looked identical to the image presented by Affinity Photo... a bit soft/diffuse. I'm convinced that it was the embedded JPG image that was being presented by Silkypix. I was unable to find a similar setting or preference in Silkypix that would force display of the RAW image instead of the embedded JPG.

Looks like Affinity Photo was handling this correctly all along and I was just too naive to understand what I was seeing.

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26 minutes ago, jlpeifer said:

Fascinating. After changing this setting in XNViewMP I noticed a significant change the rendered image. It looked identical to the image presented by Affinity Photo... a bit soft/diffuse

No wonder or surprise here, since XNView (re)uses DCRAW which in turn is what libRAW also was build from and what Affinity Photo uses as a RAW conversion library engine. So they share under the hood the same origin of software routines for RAW processing.

Silkypix Dev Studio is a RAW converter software, which for it's image files overview browser view may use for quick previews just the embedded JPG parts of RAW files here (?). But when you open any of those previews and so the whole RAW file, it should process and develop that RAW file data from ground up of course.

 

☛ Affinity Designer 1.10.5 ◆ Affinity Photo 1.10.5 ◆ OSX El Capitan

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6 hours ago, jlpeifer said:

I was unable to find a similar setting or preference in Silkypix that would force display of the RAW image instead of the embedded JPG.

There is no 'RAW image' in a RAW file. That's why it has to be processed ("developed") to create one. For (much!) more about this, see for example the RAW Actually Spotlight article.

Affinity Photo 1.10.5, Affinity Designer 1.10.5, Affinity Publisher 1.10.5;  2020 iMac 27"; 3.8GHz i7, Radeon Pro 5700, 32GB RAM; macOS 10.15.7
Affinity Photo 
1.10.5.280 & Affinity Designer 1.10.5 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 15.7

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