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Updating to Lightroom 4.1 to gain RAW support for Olympus OM-D E-M5 – converting all your old presets

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

One of the never ending issues with buying a new camera is that you need the latest photo editing software to be able to deal with the new RAW file structures of the camera.

This applies to all of the latest cameras although arguably there is less of an issue with those cameras which use the Adobe DNG RAW format.

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 is no exception to this, to process the RAW files in Adobe Lightroom, you need Lightroom v4.1 or later – at present there is only a release candidate available but it seems to work well.

Adobe Lightroom v4.x adds a few nice new features to Lightroom v3.x but it also means that by default your old presets no longer give the same results if they alter the following parameters

  • Exposure
  • Brightness
  • Contrast
  • Fill Light
  • Highlight Recovery
  • Black Clipping
  • Clarity
  • Tone Curve

That’s the BAD news, now the good news – you can have the presets working in Lightroom v4.x if in the Developer mode you scroll down to the Camera Calibration section and set Process to 2010.

Unfortunately, you will need to do that every time you want these old presets to work.

You have 2 options to manage this annoying problem:

  1. create a new preset with the process 2010 saved into the preset so Lightroom always reverts to 2010 format when using the preset
  2. try to re-create the appearance of the old preset in process 2012 then save as a new 2012 preset (this will of course no longer work in earlier versions of Lightroom)

The 1st option is simplest by far:

  • open any image in Developer mode
  • apply the preset
  • set process to 2010
  • press the + icon at the top of the list of presets to save your new preset – ensure all parameters used by the preset are ticked in the dialog box
  • you can now delete the old preset

The downside to using process 2010 is that you will not be able to add further adjustments using process 2012 parameters, but you can still use new features such as the gradient tool.

The downside to converting them to process 2012 is that it will take a lot of trial and error to find new settings to match the old ones.

If you don’t upgrade, you can still use older versions to process your jpegs, but note, that by default, Lightroom will not import jpegs if it finds a similarly named RAW file, to enable this, you need to go to Edit:Preferences then under General there is a section “Import Options” – just tick the “Treat jpeg files next to RAW files as separate photos”’s tests of 50mm lenses – Oly/Nikon/Canon/Sigma

Thursday, October 2nd, 2008

One of the beauties of the Olympus system is that you can adapt almost any SLR lens ever made onto it via adapters (with the notable exception of Canon amongst a few others). Note Sigma have announced a Four Thirds mount version of their lens so we can have 50mm f/1.4 in AF if we really need it – although unfortunately, its still a lens designed for full frame and not specifically for Four Thirds.

Thus it is interesting to compare a few of the available 50mm lenses:

  • Olympus ZD 50mm f/2.0 macro – see test here
  • Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM – see test here
  • Nikon AF-Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D – see test here
  • Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM – see test here

When looking at the MTF charts make sure you have chosen the APS-C or DX chart for the non-Olympus lenses, and select f/2.0 for the aperture.

If you wish to use the excellent Sigma on Four Thirds, to take into account sensor size difference, the site suggests you need to multiply the MTF results by 0.87 and ignoring data past 81% of image size as this will be cropped.

Now, I use such lenses for 2 main purposes – portraiture at f/2.0 or macro at f/5.6-8.

Only the Olympus has great macro performance but that is not surprising as its the only macro lens listed there.

So let’s summarise performance for portraiture at f/2.0:

The clear winner is easily the Olympus ZD 50mm macro – it has the advantage of being designed for a smaller image circle, and it has superb performance even at f/2.0 wide open. The corners are almost as sharp as the centre and aberrations are extremely well controlled.

So if you can afford this lens, buy it – as they say on the site – no Four Thirds dSLR owner should be without it, it is that good (apart from some annoying focus issues – hopefully Olympus will make a SWD version with a focal range limiter switch and change the manual focus to that on the 50-200mm SWD, and perhaps add a magnification indicator for macro work).

The Sigma clearly outperforms the Canon and Nikon at f/2.0 – the Canon starts to get soft a third out from centre on an APS-C camera while the Nikon starts getting soft half way from centre on a DX camera. If used on a Four Thirds, the results of these would be even worse, although you crop out some of the worse performing corners at least.

What they have not tested are the manual focus legacy lenses such as the Olympus OM 50mm f/1.4, but I would expect similar results to the Canon or Nikon.

Of course, all these lenses do allow use of f/1.4 aperture which the ZD macro does not, but at a substantial cost to sharpness (use the slider on the MTF charts to see what effect different apertures have on sharpness) and aberrations as well as CA and lens flare. The OM lens certainly appears soft with substantial purple fringing on my tests when used at f/1.4 – you really need to use it at f/2.8 for reasonable results.

Bottom line – buy the Olympus ZD 50mm f/2.0 macro if you can afford it – it’s worth every bit of the money and is good enough to work well with the Olympus EC-20 2x teleconverter

Abobe Creative Suite 4 (CS4) announced

Thursday, September 4th, 2008

Adobe have announced that their new version of Photoshop and Creative Suite (named CS4) will be unveiled on Sept 23rd 2008.

I’m sure many will be keen to see what extra functionality it has in store, maybe I might even consider upgrading from CS2.