Aperture RAW Processing - The Not So Ugly Truth

ApertureVC1.jpgI just went through an exercise with a reader that was doing all his RAW NEF conversions in Capture One Pro prior to importing into Aperture because the RAW conversion was so much "better". The reality is that Aperture RAW processing is really really good. It just is neutral/flat out of the camera and juiced way way up by default without doing anything "out of the box" with Capture One Pro. Really.

Personally I think the default Capture One Pro settings for "film curve" and the default sharpening and saturation are way over the top but that first impression kills - doesn't it. This became a huge "issue" when a lot of people new to photography in general went digital and then went "serious" and started shooting RAW - prior to that contrast curve, default edge sharpening, and color saturation were not the gold standard for evaluating RAW conversion quality or image quality. In fact those things get in the way to really evaluate a RAW converter.

To be blunt - all of the major vendor's RAW converters here today in 2010 are pretty darn "good". So are the sensors. Apple's is actually in the top tier in terms of "goodness". The screen shot at the top is a RAW conversion from a readers D700. The left image is Aperture, the right one is Capture One Pro. I turned the tables on this a bit because I decided to leave the "default" curve and saturation blow the whites in Capture One and I turned off the default unsharp mask in Capture One - I meanwhile added three adjustments in about 5 seconds to juice up the Aperture conversion - really less than 5 seconds but any of you could do it in 5 seconds. I further gilded the lilly by adding a very subtile edge sharpen block while leaving the Capture One turned off.

Not really my taste in color, etc. but you can get pretty much anything you want from Aperture'sApertureDefault.jpg RAW converter - save the adjustment as a "preset" in an album of presets that you like as a "default" and stamp them on your images when imported in like 1.285 seconds. Still way way faster than Capture One Pro that is as slow as a dog. The screen shot in the text is the way the RAW NEF came into Aperture. This is NOT how you evaluate RAW converter "quality and goodness"


Ps. F.C. If you want me to take your image down I will just drop me a note.

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