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by Russell McMahon

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I normally take my shots in RAW and normally work happily with them in Gimp on Linux. I have recently moved to a new shiny Windows laptop with Photoshop.

I have imported some shoots using Lightroom 3 but I am not seeing a faithful representation of the image either in LR nor in PS proper.

An example of the problems I am seeing can be seen in this image:

noisy image

I have installed the latest Canon codecs for my camera (crc_1_8_0_68).

If I view the image on my camera's LCD screen I can zoom in and whilst there is a little noise this is nowhere near as bad as that seen in the above image.

What should I check to further diagnose this problem?

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Ignore lightroom for a second, have you viewed them in Canon's DPP software? This is great for RAW conversion as all the settings are specifically for it's RAW files, and the noise reduction on this is great. See how the RAW's look in this to see if it's some problem with camera/settings/raw or whether it's something to do with lightroom's setup –  Dreamager Sep 21 '11 at 11:18
    
That disc is buried in a box somewhere (I hope) I'll have a hunt around for the DPP installer. From what you and the other respondents have said its clear that there was some implicit raw processing occurring which has mislead me. –  Dan Kendall Sep 22 '11 at 8:10

3 Answers 3

The image you see on the LCD is not the Raw image: it is a JPEG preview of it. Therefore it has had noise reduction, sharpening, and colour adjustments applied to it by the camera, just like a JPEG would if you had the camera set to record the shots as JPEGs.

Only when you import the photos to your PC will you see the actual Raw file without any (or at least low level) noise reduction etc. applied. It is up to you to apply these settings in LR or ACR.

I suspect that the RAW editor in GIMP was automatically applying noise reduction settings you'd previously used, hence you weren't used to seeing it on your old system.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

It turns out that this is a hardware issue. I have exported a jpeg that displays perfectly on another computer and monitor. Equally a jpeg exported from that machine displays with the same problems on this laptop.

I will investigate drivers and what-have-you. Thanks for all the correspondents that certainly contain very useful information.

Edit - Solution found

To further aid anyone hitting this question: my laptop is a Sony Vaio and Vaio Gate software runs some display "enhancement" software - turn these settings off and enjoy the photo as you intended. Shocking it took so long to find this out.

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1  
Dan-- Lightroom has a peculiarity you should be aware of. No matter how you render previews, in the Library module, you will see an alarming amount of noise in your images. If you switch to the Develop module, it's gone. From a practical perspective, what that means is that while I can evaluate focus, exposure, and composition in the Library module, I simply cannot make the final call on noise until I switch to Develop. It's a flaw, but not a fatal one after you know to expect it. –  Steve Ross Sep 23 '11 at 23:55

Cameras embed sharpening, noise reduction and many other settings from the camera configuration into the RAW file together with information about the camera and lens hardware as hints for the converter. When you open the files using GIMP it will make assumptions on automatic processing to apply to the file before it is displayed to you based on this information encoded in the file.

PS and LR will almost certainly handle these values differently which explains some inconsistencies that you observe. In addition and maybe more importantly the raw processing engines in each application will be diffent causing other inconsistencies to be seen. This is the main problem with RAW, it is not a universal standard that is matched between cameras and software packages, which is why JPEG and TIFF formats are used to share images as these have standard profiles embedded that all software understands and interprets in the same way. Also understand that the image you see on the camera screen is the equivalent of a fully processed JPEG image that the camera would have produced in JPEG mode so may well bare little resemblance to the often softer, flatter, less saturated image of an unprocessed RAW file. Best thing to do is open the image in PS or LR then change the setting until you are happy with the result saving these changes as a template then you can apply the same settings quickly to any other file.

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