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RAW developement in Affinity Photo

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Hi befehr,


For the same reasons as yours, I have tested, a lot of, if not all the Mac photo softwares on the market. Some are quite goods, some do not stand longer than a 24-hours testing (like Pixelmator pro for instance). It would be very long to detail the pro or cons of each software, but the only one that has stayed on my computer is Affinity Photo. It's the most complete, and the most powerful alternative to Photoshop, in my sense.

In a side by side comparison, you have to adapt your way of working  for each software, and, most of all, going through the whole processing, to achieve a final result that suits you.

Your concerns are justified, and it is always good to point out things that could be improved. But If you want to get rid of Lightroom, just stop trying to compare.


For information, I use Photo Mechanics as a DAM, Iridient Developer, or Affinity for the raw files, and Affinity and sometimes Nik plugins for the finishing work. After a few weeks to learn all of these software (I still have work), I do not regret switching from Lightroom.


All the best,


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As one or two others have said, this image has large areas of heavily underexposed and overexposed pixels. Particularly, in the heavily overexposed areas there is no information to recover. Essentially, the dynamic range of the original scene is significantly wider than your camera's sensor is capable of recording accurately. It's a great example of a situation where you'd take bracketed exposures, then run through the HDR tools in Affinity Photo to combine them.


I took the liberty of opening your raw file in my copy of FastRawViewer. I use this software for initial examination & culling of my raw files, as all of its analysis and displays are based on the actual raw data, and not any rendering (e.g. an embedded jpg preview).


The first image shows the overexposed and underexposed areas. The black parts of the sky have no usable data, meaning that all 3 channels are "blown out". It's not possible for any highlight recovery tool to recover data that isn't there. ;)




The next image shows the raw histogram (i.e. the distribution of sensor channel values as captured by the camera sensor). EV0 corresponds to middle grey, and is typically 3 stops below a camera's saturation level. Note that you have several sensor points between EV0 and +3 stops. These are sensor points where some recovery might be possible. You then have a bunch of sensor points above +3 stops - the saturation level. These are basically blown out for good - there's nothing to recover.




The final image shows the number and percentage of sensor points considered under or over exposed. The last column shows overexposure data if positive exposure compensation were to be applied (simulating the "hidden" exposure compensation applied by Adobe's Camera Raw). As you can see, there are a lot of overexposed sensor points, particularly in the green channel, which is where most image detail is derived from.






Over the hill, and enjoying the glide.

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Currently many raw converters do not only do highlights recovery but also highlights reconstruction. Lightroom does it to some extent, and so does Capture One but the best results I've seen in my files were with PhotoNinja. Free converters like RawTherapee and darktable also offer this capability (and they uniquely allow you to see raw histogram [RT] or raw over/underexposed areas [dt]). I think it's reasonable of me (a paying client) to expect of Affinity that they take note of what competitors do in this respect and learn from them.

Why matters

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