Goodbye Adobe


For some time now I have had the feeling that Adobe Camera Raw is not doing justice to the files hat come out of the Olympus E-M1 Mk2. Straight from the camera with Adobe’s RAW conversion (Lightroom or Photoshop) they always look noisy and over saturated and usually I have to do some work to get them back to something that I like. Sometimes though, it takes more time than I want to spend on a photograph, occasionally I’m still not satisfied with the final result.

Last weekend it all came to a head when I noticed that everything I had shot at High ISO (3200 – 6400) looked incredibly noisy, as for the skin tones,  I thought they all had jaundice.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Default RAW Conversion from Adobe Lightroom

Just recently Olympus released a new version of their RAW Converter, the previous one was incredibly slow and clunky, so I never used it. Lightroom has always been my goto software for developing RAW files, I’ve been using it since version 4.

Interestingly Olympus were demonstrating their Workspace software at the Photography Show last weekend and it did seem a lot faster with a better designed interface.

It had to do a better job than Lightroom so I decided to give it a go to see if it could do anything different with the files from the E-M1 Mk 2

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Default RAW Conversion from Olympus Workspace

Definitely a marked improvement, not as much noise, maybe not quite as sharp as the Lightroom version. But I can always add sharpness far easier than I can take noise away.

So with that in mind I decided to process a few photographs from the photography show at the NEC.

Male Model
Olympus E-M1 Mk2 & 75-300mm. F6.3 1/250s ISO 3200

A little background though. The models weren’t posing for me. They are there to work for companies who are demonstrating lighting equipment, techniques, etc. Usually lots of photographers will gather around these demonstration, camera equiped with a telephoto lens and take some photographs. You’re not close to the model, lighting and angles might not be ideal, but it’s a good opportunity to photograph something different. In the main I’m a landscape photographer.

As far as I’m aware I can use these photographs for my blog as I’m not making any money from it. If you are one of the models featured here and want me to take the photograph down I will. Alternatively if you would like me to add your name to the photograph I’m quite happy to do this.

Olympus E-M1 Mk2 & 75-300mm F6.3 1/80s ISO 6400
Olympus E-M1 Mk2 & 75-300mm F6.3 1/80s ISO 6400

My process was to do the RAW Development with Olympus Workspace with finishing touches completed in Affinity Photo from Serif. My contract with Adobe is due to end in May, so I’m looking to drop them altogether and continue with the Olympus/Serif workflow.

Olympus E-M1 Mk2 & 75-300mm F6.3 1/125s ISO3200

After years of using Lightroom I find it quite strange and not so intuitive but it is early days. I must say though, there are some things I am used to doing in Lightroom that just can’t be done with this new workflow, so I can see some compromises coming. And here’s one that evident straight away. Some of the photographs are missing a watermark. In Lightroom it’s automatic. With Affinity Photo I have to remember to brush it on, and as you can see I’ve forgotten to do it in several instances

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Olympus E-M1 Mk2 & 75-300mm F6.3 1/80s ISO 6400

In the photograph above I was 5 metres away from the model so had to zoom in quite a bit. The image was soft but a double pass of High Pass Sharpening around the eyes and lips makes it look a lot sharper. I don’t normally sharpen everything, otherwise you bring out all of the blemishes on the skin.

Olympus E-M1 Mk 2 & 75-300mm F6.3 1/160s ISO 4000
Olympus E-M1 Mk 2 & 75-300mm F6.3 1/160s ISO 4000

Lighting on this was terrible. The Queen of Hearts, was walking around one of the big camera manufacturers demo stand for their cameras. There was harsh overhead and side lighting, lots of shadows were there shouldn’t be and she never kept still, walking from one side of the stand to the other.

My final photograph. I used the same technique described earlier to get the photograph ready for publishing. but in addition I used the Glamour Glow and Darken/Lighten filter from the old NIK Color Efex to soften the skin and adda bit of a vignette.

Olympus E-M1 Mk2 & 75-300mm F6.3 1/160s ISO 6400
Olympus E-M1 Mk2 & 75-300mm F6.3 1/160s ISO 6400

So that’s it from me. I really need to work on using this new software and see if I can create a new workflow that I’m happy with.

Until next time – Mike

 

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10 thoughts on “Goodbye Adobe

  1. Haven’t a clue about most of it and your explanations were quite over my head but I enjoyed reading it and felt I was learning something. They all look fantastic to me and if I could do anything half as good I’d be very happyl.

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  2. They look good to me, I might give the Olympus Workspace a go, at present I use Lightroom but I am very slow at editing my photos.

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    1. I like Workspace but it is slow and I miss some of the features that I can get with Lightroom. Previously I did everything in Lightroom and then exported direct to the WP servers. Now that I’m using WS and Affinity I find it’s taking extra steps that i could well do without.

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  3. Hmmm, very interesting and of course it is over my head as well. But I still like to read about all of your trials and complaints of the various techniques that you use to accomplish the final results of your skilled and precision photography. Looking forward to some new landscapes.

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    1. Hopefully this week Yvonne. Weather here has been pretty awful for weeks but it looks like Spring is starting here. We’re supposed to be getting some good fine weather over the next few weeks.

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    1. I like it David, but it is slow and I’m so used to doing everything in Lightroom. The WS and Affinity workflow combination gets me frustrated at times and over this past week I’ve spent most of my time in front of the computer trying to replicate what I would do in Lightroom. Unfortunately i’ve finally realised that I’m not going to be able to achieve that

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