[Digikam-users] Using camera RAW settings by external RAW converter (was: Preview is "better" than RAW conversion?)

Niels Ott niels at delta-b.net
Sun Aug 31 13:34:57 BST 2014

Am 31.08.2014 um 13:29 schrieb Michael Gerdau:
> For me this resulted in owning a small Windows Notebook with Capture NX
> (Nikon's RAW converter) installed to do the job.

Thinking about it, it is so surprising that only the original camera
manufacturer's software makes JPEGs like the camera does. After all,
this is part of the camera's "secrets" in making good pictures.

If you've got a Canon, you can probably install CHDK and work around
"secret features" in your camera (by simply losing these features?).

I guess this is very parallel to what I experience in Linux audio: I
want to be a producer/creator, not a programmer. People come around with
their MacBooks and make me envious with the software they run. So I run
audio plugins for Windows on Linux, which is often unstable and not
recommended. But the simple truth is: there are no open source plugins
that can compete. And there are some decent payware plugins for Linux,
but they don't cover all my needs.

I think this is a very basic open source problem: If you're targeting
users in a niche, such as pro photographers, pro audio users, or any
other smaller group of professionals, it is hard to compete with payware
products. (Actually I experienced similar problems with statistics
packages for psychological measures in GNU R.)

Open Source has moved away from the users==developers thing a long time
ago. And if you want to do good photography, you'd rather spend your
time on something else than on coding. Same with music, video,
psychology or whatever demands a high level of competence that you
rather want to focus on.

Still, I'm refusing to switch back to Windows (which I quit using in
1998). Things always worked out somehow in the end and I save loads of
money with open source. (Apple is not an option, simply too expensive.)

> Now my question:
> Does anyone of you know of a way to (fairly accurately) use the camera's
> RAW parameter as a default to start from with an external (aka running
> on Linux) RAW converter ?

I think this is what DigiKam already does. However, as far as I
understand it, the point is in what happens afterwards. Brightness,
contrast, colors etc. can all be tweaked in the DigiKam editor in a
convenient way.

The trick most likely is to automatically find values that give you the
best result. As said above, the camera manufacturers have good reason
not to tell you about these (and hide them in their Windows software and
in the camera).

These values are probably based on heuristics (e.g. how many pixels are
over/underexposed and other statistics) and not stored into any RAW file.

Most of this post is educational guesses. Feel free to correct me.


Niels Ott
Bassist und so bei Delta B

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