6.04.2014

Camera Raw has come to the Panasonic GH4. In the form of a "Release Candidate." Whatever the hell that means.

Lauren Lane in "Vanya" at Zach Theatre. 
©2014 Kirk Tuck
www.visual sciencelab.blogspot.com
Shot in Jpeg with the GH4

No one has ever explained the term, "Release Candidate" to me but I'm guessing it means, 'we tried a bunch of different stuff and this is the one we think we're going to finally release but we are looking for adventurous stiffs to break it for us, just in case we screwed up mightily...'  Okay, I'm game. I'll download the "release candidate" of the new Adobe Raw 8.5 so I can use the Panasonic GH4 in raw file mode. I am a little nervous about the whole thing because Adobe put a little asterisk by the GH4 name on the list and noted that it was "preliminary" support. Again, as this was unexplained I'll guess that they are still trying to improve whatever it is they do to make the conversions pretty. 

Since all raw files seem to be modified Tiff files I'm a bit perplexed by the need for most camera makers to customize their raw code to the point that it becomes somewhat proprietary and requires the seasonal re-writing of the very software we want to use most in our jobs. If I remember correctly both Leica and Pentax give shooters the option of saving files in the ".dng" format which makes the files quite a bit more "universal" and pretty much ensures that even if the camera maker succumbs to the vagaries of the current market and goes away entirely there will always be a way to utilize raw files already shot. 

I guess every maker is looking for the tweak. According to Thom Hogan, Sony tweaks their raw files in the A7 series by making them lossy and encoding them as 11 bit files instead of 12 or 14 bit files like Canon and Nikon. Could be that Sony knows something the other two don't but it could also be that they are looking for some fast compression and more images on a card to serve to photographers who don't look under the hood much. Other makers seem to bake in some noise reduction that can't be turned off while some (medium format) even offer 16 bit files. 

At any rate I am happy to finally have a convenient way to work with the GH4 raw files. I'm heading out today to shoot some test shots so I can load a few and see if I can do a better job with sharpening and noise reduction than the camera does, on the fly with Jpegs. The update corrects a glitch for older Nikon compressed raw files and it provides support and lens profiles as detailed below. So....if you've got a GH4, an Oly M10 or one of the other beauties on the list you might consider heading over to Adobe:  http://labs.adobe.com/downloads/cameraraw8-5-cc.html

New Camera Support
  • Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II
  • Fuji FinePix S1
  • Nikon 1 J4
  • Nikon 1 V3
  • Olympus OM-D E-M10
  • Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH4 (*)
(*) denotes preliminary support
New Lens Profile Support
Lens Name
Lens Mount
Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG HSM A014
Canon
Sigma 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 DC MACRO OS HSM C014
Canon
Tamron 16-300mm F3.5-6.3 DiII VC PZD MACRO B016E
Canon
Fujifilm Tele Conversion Lens TCL-X100
Fuji
Nikon 1 NIKKOR VR 10-30mm f3.5-5.6 PD-ZOOM
Nikon
Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G ED VR
Nikon
Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG HSM A014
Nikon
Sigma 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 DC MACRO OS HSM C014
Nikon
Tamron 16-300mm F3.5-6.3 DiII VC PZD MACRO B016N
Nikon
Tamron SP 150-600mm F5-6.3 Di VC USD A011N
Nikon
Sigma 30mm F1.4 DC HSM A013
Pentax
Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG HSM A014
Sigma
Sigma 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 DC MACRO OS HSM C014
Sigma
Sigma 30mm F1.4 DC HSM A013
Sony Alpha

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yippee. Now I can see what this baby can really do.

Mike Rosiak said...

According to the omniscient Wikipedia, "A release candidate (RC) is a beta version with potential to be a final product, which is ready to release unless significant bugs emerge. In this stage of product stabilization, all product features have been designed, coded and tested through one or more beta cycles with no known showstopper-class bug.... Beta testing is conducted in a client's or customer's location and to test the software from a user's perspective."

So, I think you got it right - when you use a release candidate, YOU are the final quality control inspector.

Godfrey DiGiorgi said...

Indeed: a Release Candidate is simply a very late beta that is distributed to a wider audience for final testing. Public users are the best testers around at this stage as they surface problems that the formal testing in the company cannot imagine having.

"Preliminary support" for a camera typically means that a first cut of the camera specific calibration profile has been included and the raw processor has the ability to decode the raw files. Some things might not yet be implemented (like the ability to create and add custom camera profiles, for instance) but the key thing is that the camera profile has not yet been subjected to the full scope of testing and evaluation.

Whether a camera produces DNGs or proprietary raws doesn't really matter much. Each specific camera needs proper profiling and calibration with any given raw processor to achieve the best results. It takes time to do that..

G