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I'm new to working with raw images, since the Lumix TZ101 is my first camera which can output raw image files, and I'm struggling to make good use of them. I'm quite satisfied when I'm manually adjusting the parameters for individual raw images, e.g. with darktable, but the settings only ever work on that one image; when I apply the same filters to another image with slightly different lighting conditions, it's either too bright or too dark or the contrasts are unnatural.

The TZ101 also does output jpg files, which I fall back to when I don't have the patience to fiddle with the sliders for every single picture I've taken, but the jpegs also have a few downsides: they don't make good use of the available dynamic range (e.g. a bright sky which has great detail on the raw image is just 100% white on the jpg), they are often slightly blurry (even though the raw images are perfectly sharp) and on my last trip, I accidently activated a post processing filter on the camera and now all my jpegs are ridiculously oversaturated.

So I need a way to convert my raw images to jpg with some reasonable settings that automatically adapt to the lighting conditions when the image was taken. What would be a good workflow to do this with as few manual steps as possible?

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  • In LR you can create preset with "Apply Auto Tone Adjustments" and receive reasonably good results. Have no idea about darktable Sep 26 at 13:23
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    LR is Adobe Lightroom? Seems pretty expensive if you're not using it in a professional context
    – klamann
    Sep 26 at 17:50
  • for one time batch convert you can apply for trial version. Now the trial is just 7 days, but this is a lot of time for one task. Sep 26 at 17:52
  • that doesn't work for me, I'm looking for a reliable workflow that I can use whenever I take new pictures. I'm willing to make a reasonable one-time payment for a software that solves my problem, but I won't buy an expensive subscription service if I'm going to use the software maybe once per month for just my personal photo collection
    – klamann
    Sep 26 at 20:07
  • Operating system? Free or willing to pay a nominal price?
    – Joanne C
    Sep 27 at 22:32
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I would find a photo style for jpegs that suits you best and doesn't push the contrast too far (such as "natural"). And then use editing software that can automatically apply those settings to the raw files.

I know Panasonic SikyPix can apply at least some of the camera settings to raw files by default, but I'm really not familiar with the program. And Adobe Lightroom can apply the base photo styles as default edits (but not the custom or edited photo styles AFAIK). I'm not really familiar with darktable either, so IDK if it has that kind of capability.

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  • I just had a look at Silkypix, the description on the website was really promising, but it seems like it doesn't support DNG files and I'm not keeping the RAW images, just the DNG version. I didn't have the chance to try lightroom yet, but it appears to be pretty expensive and I'm not a professional photographer or anything.
    – klamann
    Sep 26 at 17:43
  • SilkyPix can read/edit DNG files, but only exports jpeg/tiff. The advantage of using/keeping the raw files is that the edits are separate and kept in a sidecar file (similar to how LR works)... so your raw files are never actually changed/damaged. Sep 26 at 18:56
  • I installed Silkypix and didn't manage to open a single DNG file. And I'm not interested in keeping my RAW files since DNG offers better lossless compression and the chance that I will still be able to open a DNG file in 20 years is higher than with some ancient proprietary RAW file format.
    – klamann
    Sep 26 at 20:02
  • "... the chance that I will still be able to open a DNG file in 20 years is higher than with some ancient proprietary RAW file format." LOL. Please name one proprietary raw format that's ever been used that can't be opened today? Also, depending on the specific camera/manufacturer (I'm not sure about Panasonic), there's a lot of useful information in the maker notes section of the EXIF data that is stripped by most DNG convertors and irrevocably lost.
    – Michael C
    Sep 28 at 4:13
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    @klamann; it's very odd that exiftool gets more out of the dng conversion than from the original raw... which was the source for the exif data in the dng. You would have to do a line by line comparison, and you would need to know if the reader yo are using can read/display the proprietary/makernote exif fields (I think exiftool generally can?). Sep 29 at 12:48
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I would first read the camera manual and 1) set the JPEG quality (you are possibly using a lower quality) and 2) reset the saturation. Maybe you can do both by going back to factory settings.

Then, don't forget that the final image is going to be a JPEG so you have to make choices & compromises to shoehorn the dynamic of the sensor into the somewhat lower dynamic of the JPEG format. To make sensible choices automatically requires knowing a vast body of before/after images and possibly knowing the type of subject on the photo. Which is more or less what the "Scenes" mode of your camera can do.

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  • That would help me to make better jpg pictures in the future, but I need a way to get the best out of the raw images I have now, without editing each image by hand. Can you offer some advice on that?
    – klamann
    Sep 26 at 10:04
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Software recommendations are always tricky, since aging of questions can be a factor, but...

My alternate choice when it comes to batch work flows would be Affinity Photo. While not free, it's a one-time payment ($74.99) and is available on Mac and Windows as well as iOS. Affinity documents the batch process in their documentation, it's quite configurable, and you can apply macros to help build a consistent work flow for your images and preferences.

A very generous free trial is available if you want to test it out for your needs. I'm a fan of their applications despite paying the full Adobe tax for their suite (I use Illustrator a lot).

Trying not to sound like an advertisement for them, lol.

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  • I'll have a look at the trial, thanks for the suggestion!
    – klamann
    Sep 28 at 19:55

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