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I've just been experimenting with some of the built-in filters on my Panasonic Lumix DMC-G10, and after importing them into Aperture 3, the filter is no longer there and I'm seeing the photo exactly as it would have looked without a filter. For example, the monochrome shot is in full colour! I'm not doing any adjustments on import. I'm also shooting in RAW only, not sure if that makes a difference. Would really appreciate any help with this. While I can always re-apply different filters, it's annoying as I'd managed to get a couple of really nice monochrome shots. Thanks all!

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2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

RAW images are straight from the sensor, no processing included. These effect filters on your camera would only apply to jpeg.

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Thanks, I was starting to suspect that might be the case. Pity that Panasonic's manuals are so basic--couldn't find anything much about RAW images there. On the plus side, it led me to find this site! Much to learn here :) –  Endareth May 22 '11 at 13:05

The term RAW is not an acronym, even though it is usually written in all-caps. It's meant to be taken as "uncooked" — that is, the data is read from the sensor and dumped into a file with minimal processing. It's not ready to eat, as it were. The uncooked data has several characteristics which make it less than tasty:

  • our own response to light follows a curve, whereas the sensor measures straight linear values;
  • most cameras use a pattern of red, green, blue, green sensors, which need to be merged together;
  • the human vision system adjusts to different colored light sources (the white balance) almost instantly and transparently;
  • it may be desirable to correct for lens flaws at this stage;
  • and etc. — this is not a complete list.

So, in every case, the uncooked data needs to be converted into a final image via some software process. If you save it into a RAW file for use later, you would use desktop-computer software to do the baking. That would do the above corrections, and apply any color toning, effects, and so on.

Which brings us to the filters in your question. The camera has built-in software ("firmware") which includes¹ JPEG conversion routines. The filters you are using are applied as part of these routines².

Apple Aperture doesn't have the same code, and so it can't do the same thing. RAW files generally contain metadata — notes, basically, saved by the camera's firmware along with the sensor data capture. Those notes record the camera's basic settings like ISO, aperture, and shutter speed, but they can also include more esoteric settings, like which firmware-based filter was used. If the desktop RAW conversion software recognized that note, and if it had routines that did the same thing, it could apply the same effects — so your filters wouldn't be lost.

Panasonic provides a version of SilkyPix with the camera, and it's possible that they've included the required filter routines with that software, although it's not listed as a feature online. It'd be interesting to try it as an experiment.


1. As on all cameras except some really old models, like the QV-10A I had 15 years ago, which saved in RAW only.
2. On some cameras, they can be applied after the fact to JPEG images on the camera, and may not work with RAW files. I assume these are features added at the last minute by marketing requirements, and work on JPEG for convenience, going on the fact that if you're applying a dramatic filter, the minimal quality loss through re-doing JPEG compression will be inconsequential.

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Ah, so there would be metadata on the RAW file specifying that the Monochrome filter was selected, and in theory, that could allow another application down the track to re-apply that filter. That makes more sense. –  Endareth May 23 '11 at 6:45
    
@Endareth — exactly. If camera does include that metadata (I'm not sure the DMC-G10 does), and the other application can read it, the filter could be replicated. In the case of something simple like monochrome, probably exactly. More complicated filters might be done differently from program to program — or not at all. –  mattdm May 23 '11 at 16:47

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