Saturday, March 18, 2006

Canon's Digital Photo Professional: It's not bad

A few months ago I bought myself a Digital Rebel XT for "that solstice holiday". I've been pretty satisfied with it, but until now I've just been shooting JPG and using the sRGB color space.

Recently I bought the Magic Lantern Guide to the Digital Rebel XT EOS 350D. The book mentioned that Canon's Digital Photo Professional is now bundled with the camera, and that it's pretty good. Sure enough I found it on my CD. I decided to try shooting JPEG and RAW and give it a spin.

I'm impressed. The JPEG+RAW fills my memory card pretty quickly, but even so I rarely get beyond the 60-70% level before I transfer images. The latest version of Canon's DPP (download the patch) breaks Canon's EOS Capture however. I'm using Image Capture to pull in the images, embedding sRGB profiles in the JPEGs. I then review in DPP. I make major changes to images there. If I don't need to fix an image, I delete the RAW (CRF) file. If I do need to fix a JPG, I work on the RAW/CRF file and save it as JPEG 8 bit, then delete the CRF file. (I wouldn't mind, however, an option to save as JPEG 2000 or DNG.)

When I'm done I rename the files with my usual naming convention (YYMMDD_RoleName_IMGNumber) and dump them in iPhoto. Overall it's a practical way to learn more without burning lots of disk space. It should work for me until I switch to Aperture post the 1.1 release. The only glitch is that DPP is agonizingly slow at converting to JPG.

Update: UhOh. Big Glitch! The trim tool doesn't seem to work at all! I wonder if this bug was introduced with the latest patch.The Trim tool works in a slightly different manner than I'm used to. You set a "trim" and a "trim" icon displays over the RAW file. But the trim is only applied when you convert to TIFF or JPEG. The astoundingly slow JPG conversion must be running in some kind of emulation, it's so slow it makes this application much less useful than it should be. I think the only way to use it is to batch the conversions so you can set them up and return later in the day ...

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