So to me the only question is "how to process it". Raw processing tools have come a long way in the last dozen years and we've seen a lot of movement in tools. Myself I'm always looking around at what I can use to process things with. While I'm a long time Photoshop user I've been reticent to keep upgrading Photoshop (which isn't cheap) just so that I can keep processing my RAW files?
Clearly that wasn't appealing (or financially justifiable) and so I've always been on the hunt for tools. Over time I've used also dcraw , Photomatix, RawTherapee and of course recently Snapseed (which I've been evaluating here for some few months on my blog here).
I like Snapseed because its fast, its free and it runs on my phone. Considering that I like to travel the phone (which is really a octa core CPU in my pocket) allows me to process stuff out in the field (or in this case at home) in a convenient manner.
But is it any good?This post really just serves to show how well Snapseed can compare to the "PC" based alternatives.
So today I took a picture which I thought was a nice processing challenge. Black and White with details I could see in the whites and and in the blacks.
So here is the OOC JPG
which isn't bad but a little disappointing.
Good old dcraw has the advantage of being free and allows me to make 16bit TIFFS if I wanted to then process that in a version of Photoshop that won't support my RAW files.
better, but it actually blew the reds making the snow a little discoloured ... so I'd need to fiddle.
So I whacked it into RawTherapee where I needed to play a little with a few bits and adjust levels and I also employed a little bit of ToneMapping (which is exactly what what Snapseed or Photomatix does).
So here I've managed to get some of the tones in the waters but lost a bit of the sense of "blackness" ... I could fiddle more but
This file took the least work, but that I liked the most. It controlled the levels in the development, I applied a little tone mapping (the HDR tools) where I could also work on enriching the water ripple and sky reflection details. As you can imagine getting it to look "perfect" requires a monitor which is perfect so at the end of the day (across 3 monitors) I prefer this one. The "proof" would be in a print (and getting that right).
So how does Snapseed actually stack up with the details if you were then wanting to actually use this to make a full sized print from the the files:
So in the same order:
The astute will observe that these are all 50% magnification because its my experience that what you observe on a screen at 50% is about what you end up seeing on a well made print at large sizes.
So, in summary all really good ... so essentially there is no penalty for sharpness in using Snapseed and indeed even if you didn't like the specific tonals I pulled, well then that is something you could simply adjust.
That it folks ... your call ... but I'm super happy with using Snapseed. Its free, fast and convenient. My only grips is that I need to use raw2dng converter to convert my RW2 files (although the maker claims the latest version works on RAW on android devices it doesn't an any of mine and not on some others either given the support forum).
People on various internet forum seem to obsess about expensive methods of how to back up their images when travelling and have ways to process them too. Well if you ask me you can get a bunch of SD cards for the trip for next to nothing. They don't need to be large (unless you're doing a ton of video) and to be honest SD cards are at least as reliable as the hard disks in those expensive "media back up" tools.
You can use your Android phone to back up your SD card to another SD card (if you're really that paranoid) via the reader (especially if you stick to smaller cards like 8 or 16GB (which are bloody cheap and take thousands of pictures).
I personally can't imagine filling up even on 8GB card with images on a holiday and then being able to ever find time to look at them ... but then I suspect for some people photography is about using the camera "like a pro" and never really doing much with the 12,000 images they took.
Anyway, I'm off to Prague in the next few days and I'll be able to simply take my phone (which I would) and my camera and a USB OTG cable + card reader.
Then I can either:
- use the OOC JPG
- process with Snapseed
then post to here, email, post to social media ... or even just keep to print later
Enjoy this revolution of free tools and powerful transportable processing in phones - I am.