Understanding Leica DNG Files
Old 01-22-2017   #1
JPSuisse
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Understanding Leica DNG Files

Hi All

So, the new M10 is actually appealing enough that I actually downloaded some of the images from the Leica website to look at in Lightroom.

Amazingly enough these images will load both on my Laptop running 10.6.8/LR4 and my Desktop running 10.4.11/LR2. I can even edit them... This means that I can buy a new camera without ditching all my hardware which works quite fine still.

Questions comments:
1.) How is this possible that such old software can read these new M10 files?
2.) This reduces cost of ownership dramatically for "new" Leica hardware.
3.) Where can I get some unedited M10 files just to play with to see if they fit in my ExifTool/Scanner/Digital Camera/LR workflow?

Any comments welcome!
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Old 01-22-2017   #2
Gregm61
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1. Because Leica has always used Adobe's DNG format for their raw files, unlike all the other fool companies that create their own raw formats. One should be able to open any Leica raw file in any version of Lightroom or Photoshop.
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Old 01-22-2017   #3
willie_901
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If the files you downloaded from the Leica were site were raw files, I will speculate the old software will read the files because Leica uses DNG raw files. DNG files will work with many versions of Adobe produces without any additional effort from Adobe.

By contrast, many other brands use proprietary raw-file formats (.NEF, .RAF, etc., etc). This means Adobe might have to develop new code to properly load and render these raw files. Occasionally one can edit the non-DNG raw file metadata and trick Adobe Products into rendering the raw file before Adobe creates, tests and releases ACR support for a new camera model. This works only when the raw file formats for an newer model are absolutely identical to an older models'. One edits the raw file metadata to indicate a supported camera model recorded the raw data. This is tedious, but it works.

Leica is very clever to use DNG raw files. It makes their life and customers lives simple. There must be economical, political or cultural reasons why CIPA members do not offer DNG raw output for their cameras.

Why do you assume the M10 files you downloaded from the Leica website are edited?
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Old 01-22-2017   #4
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When I open one of those M10 raw files from the Leica website in Capture One then I can open the file but the colours look flat and boring because there is no M10 profile in the software. So Capture One applies some generic DNG profile.

I prefer to have a proper colour profile for my cameras in Capture One. This colour profile must be developed by Phase One and will be part of one of the next software updates. Same applies for all other providers of raw converter software, they have to develop a colour profile for new camera. For my taste the specific camera profiles are a better start for working with an image.

You can download the Adobe dng converter for free and convert newer raw files to dng and process them with old software. But again your software will not have specific colour profiles for the newer camera, you get a flat start.
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Old 01-22-2017   #5
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You can tell the files have been edited, if you run ExifTool on them. You will see the Adobe LR edits in the -XMP-crss tag space.

But what is a color profiel for a DNG file? This is just a pre-setting or something then correct? Apparently, all the information to properly decode the DNG file is already in the DNG file.
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Old 01-22-2017   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JPSuisse View Post
You can tell the files have been edited, if you run ExifTool on them. You will see the Adobe LR edits in the -XMP-crss tag space.

But what is a color profiel for a DNG file? This is just a pre-setting or something then correct? Apparently, all the information to properly decode the DNG file is already in the DNG file.
I just downloaded a bunch of images from the Leica site as well. Yes, when opened in Lightroom you can see there was some pretty minor processing done based on the where the sliders are.. If you scroll all the way down in Lightroom in the Develop Module you will see camera calibration and the first drop down is the camera profile which is in the file M10 normally you can change to different profiles if available which it are not available right now for the M10 so all you have to work with is the built in stock profile which actually isn't bad... I applied my VSCO presets to the files results looked great!
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Old 01-22-2017   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JPSuisse View Post
You can tell the files have been edited, if you run ExifTool on them. You will see the Adobe LR edits in the -XMP-crss tag space.

But what is a color profiel for a DNG file? This is just a pre-setting or something then correct? Apparently, all the information to properly decode the DNG file is already in the DNG file.
Bummer, didn't notice that. Not much sense to look at these. They should have posted tif or jpg to make it clear that they publish modifed "raws".

When you open a DNG with a standard dng profile you will have all the pixel information but the color interpretation might be off. Standard profile does not know if your sensor needs some color correction for example.
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Old 01-22-2017   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gregm61 View Post
1. Because Leica has always used Adobe's DNG format for their raw files, unlike all the other fool companies that create their own raw formats. One should be able to open any Leica raw file in any version of Lightroom or Photoshop.
Canon has a very good compressed lossless RAW. I'm glad Leica uses DNG. It probably reduced R&D cost to make their own.
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Old 01-22-2017   #9
uhoh7
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M10 RAWs are very "beta", and will change by the time most get a camera:

http://www.l-camera-forum.com/topic/...-dng-analysis/
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Old 01-22-2017   #10
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The person who runs the Leica Rumors web site has posted their own set of unedited DNG files made with the M10 (see links in post):
http://leicarumors.com/2017/01/20/we...s-videos.aspx/
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Old 01-23-2017   #11
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Thanks Fotobot! I'll look at those unedited raws.

Coming back to camera profiles, what do they really do?
1. Do they change the way LR fundamentally interprets the raw file?
Or
2. Just apply a collection of pre-edits to a file when importing?
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Old 01-23-2017   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JPSuisse View Post
You can tell the files have been edited, if you run ExifTool on them. You will see the Adobe LR edits in the -XMP-crss tag space.

But what is a color profiel for a DNG file? This is just a pre-setting or something then correct? Apparently, all the information to properly decode the DNG file is already in the DNG file.
Do you see XMP files that indicate rendering LR rendering parameters were applied.

Or do you simply see that the raw file was opened in LR? I believe any DNG file opened in LR will record this fact in the metadata.

LR can not modify raw data. By raw data I mean the original array of digital numbers, DN, copied from camera memory to the SDHC card. Metadata is not raw data. It is supplementary information about the image. Metadata is trivial to edit. Raw DNs are not.

LR offers the option to record all the rendering parameters in a DNG XMP sidecar file. With this option selected, any rendering platform that will read LR XMP and can apply LR's XMP sidecar parameters will initially render the image with these parameters applied. Again, the original raw data is not modified.

There is no reason to believe Leica, or anyone else, modified the DNG raw data.

A DNG file uses Adobe's algorithms to demosaick the raw data. While their algorithms are identical for all Bayer raw, the parameter (variables) used by the algorithms are different to accommodate differences in sensor assembly characteristics. Often Adobe must create these parameters by themselves. Some brands, (Leica and Fujifilm... perhaps others) cooperate with Adobe. These unique sets of demoasicking parameters are what make DNG files a standard anyone can adopt (DNG usage is royalty-free).
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Old 01-23-2017   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JPSuisse View Post
Thanks Fotobot! I'll look at those unedited raws.

Coming back to camera profiles, what do they really do?
1. Do they change the way LR fundamentally interprets the raw file?
Or
2. Just apply a collection of pre-edits to a file when importing?
Camera calibration profiles 'tune' the raw conversion algorithm and enable an out-of-camera raw file of a reference exposure to match the reference's color characteristics. They operate at a lower level in the raw processing chain and have a wider range of adjustment than other rendering adjustment controls.

In Lightroom, available camera calibration profiles are presented in the Develop module's "Camera Calibration" panel along with the Process Version choices and some fine tuning controls for Tint and RGB primary values. You can also create your own camera calibration profiles by downloading the DNG Profile Editor from Adobe along with its targets and instructions for use.

Camera calibration profiles are what allow Adobe, camera manufacturers, and users to create basic rendering choices for different specific situations ... like the white balance selections on a camera for "Sunny Day", "Cloudy Sky", "Landscape", "Portrait", "Open Shade", "Fluorescent Lights", etc.

I have created various camera calibration profiles for use in specific circumstances ... ones that do the image inversion and gamma correction necessary for B&W or Color negative scanning, ones (created with Xrite Passport software) that map to the Pantone color checker reference chart in order to match different cameras/sensors to one another when shooting product work where a match is essential, and so forth.

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Old 01-23-2017   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JPSuisse View Post
Thanks Fotobot! I'll look at those unedited raws.

Coming back to camera profiles, what do they really do?
1. Do they change the way LR fundamentally interprets the raw file?
Or
2. Just apply a collection of pre-edits to a file when importing?
The Camera Profiles optimize the Bayer demosaicking model for specific cameras. They are used every time the raw data is rendered into an image. The raw file itself is not modified or altered. Adobe provides detailed instructions for users to create and add their own Camera Profiles. They also provide a platform for people to share user created Camera profiles.

The "collection of pre-edits" can be stored in two places. These are always stored in the Adobe LR Catalog. One can choose to also store these in an XMP side car file embedded in a DNG file. The original raw data is not altered.
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Basically, I mean, ah—well, let’s say that for me anyway when a photograph is interesting, it’s interesting because of the kind of photographic problem it states—which has to do with the . . . contest between content and form.
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Old 01-23-2017   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tom.w.bn View Post
When I open one of those M10 raw files from the Leica website in Capture One then I can open the file but the colours look flat and boring because there is no M10 profile in the software. So Capture One applies some generic DNG profile.

I prefer to have a proper colour profile for my cameras in Capture One. This colour profile must be developed by Phase One and will be part of one of the next software updates. Same applies for all other providers of raw converter software, they have to develop a colour profile for new camera. For my taste the specific camera profiles are a better start for working with an image.

You can download the Adobe dng converter for free and convert newer raw files to dng and process them with old software. But again your software will not have specific colour profiles for the newer camera, you get a flat start.
They look flat and boring because of the large dynamic range. They need to be edited to improve. This is valid for all large DR files. So the fact that they look the way they do proves that theya re unedited, not the other way around.
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Old 01-23-2017   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JPSuisse View Post
You can tell the files have been edited, if you run ExifTool on them. You will see the Adobe LR edits in the -XMP-crss tag space.
There is an option somewhere in Lightroom to reset the develop settings to default and thus remove whatever edits were done to those DNGs. No need to go hunting for 'unedited' DNGs.
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Old 01-23-2017   #17
Chuck Albertson
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Marko is right - LR 6.8 has a profile for the M10. It seems to have a bit more saturation than the Adobe Standard profile, but mind you that's based on a small sample of shots in the Leica Botique at Glazer's - lots of flaming red.
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Old 01-23-2017   #18
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Originally Posted by rscheffler View Post
There is an option somewhere in Lightroom to reset the develop settings to default and thus remove whatever edits were done to those DNGs. No need to go hunting for 'unedited' DNGs.
In the Library module, in the Quick Develop panel, at the bottom is a button to reset to defaults.

In the Develop module, there's a button to reset to defaults at the bottom of the right-hand fold out tool panel.

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Old 01-24-2017   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tom.w.bn View Post
When I open one of those M10 raw files from the Leica website in Capture One then I can open the file but the colours look flat and boring because there is no M10 profile in the software. So Capture One applies some generic DNG profile.
In the Colour tab under "Base Characteristics" make sure (i) that the ICC profile is DNG File Neutral, and the curve is set to something sensible (I use "Film High Contrast").

This will take the colour profile from the DNG file - ie whatever Leica has programmed in to the camera and the results should match in-camera JPEG output, for example. The curve setting will give a more pleasing result than a straight linear mapping.
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Old 01-24-2017   #20
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Originally Posted by rscheffler View Post
There is an option somewhere in Lightroom to reset the develop settings to default and thus remove whatever edits were done to those DNGs. No need to go hunting for 'unedited' DNGs.
Yes, this is certainly the case. LR CC contains a Development Preset named "zeroed". I don't know if this resets everything or not.

Years ago I set all rendering parameters to zero manually. Then I saved my own User Preset.

One can also reset the Camera Profile to Adobe Standard. Adobe Standard is the default for manybrands' raw files... but not all of them.

There are more reset options in the LR Preferences. I don't use these.
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Old 01-24-2017   #21
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I've downloaded five of those DNG files from the M10 proof of performance page. Are there any where the photographer stopped down enough to create a sharp image across the frame? The out of focus areas are great to evaluate noise, but I'd like to evaluate resolution as well. The image of the man with two fish on his back walking on the sand is especially annoying. 1/3000s in daylight, his arm is in focus up to his shoulder, but his face is not. Pixel-peeping these hasn't been rewarding.
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Old 01-24-2017   #22
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Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
Camera calibration profiles 'tune' the raw conversion algorithm and enable an out-of-camera raw file of a reference exposure to match the reference's color characteristics. They operate at a lower level in the raw processing chain and have a wider range of adjustment than other rendering adjustment controls.

In Lightroom, available camera calibration profiles are presented in the Develop module's "Camera Calibration" panel along with the Process Version choices and some fine tuning controls for Tint and RGB primary values. You can also create your own camera calibration profiles by downloading the DNG Profile Editor from Adobe along with its targets and instructions for use.
Godfrey

Thanks for this very useful information. I never noticed this. I found the place in LR4 in the attached file for others to see.

This means that I can take the M10 profile from Adobe and add it to my old version of LR (which are LR4 and LR2 for my Laptop and PowerMac, respectively) correct?

Now, a good software question would be, what does an old version of Lightroom do, when it encounters a file from a camera that it can not know (like my old version of LR with this new M10)? Does it simply apply a "generic" profile?

Cheers to all, John

PS-Also very useful but a completely different topic is the possibility for B&W film scans. Up to now, I have been using an invert curve preset, but it is not always stable (maybe 0.5% of the time, I have to reimport an image and re-apply). Making a profile for this function probably would be much more stable. I will figure out how and make a separate post.
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Old 01-24-2017   #23
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They look flat and boring because of the large dynamic range. They need to be edited to improve. This is valid for all large DR files. So the fact that they look the way they do proves that theya re unedited, not the other way around.
Yup, because the user is meant to edit the files using all the info that could be captured.
It's the same thing when I get my dev/film scanned at pro labs. The scans always look a little flat as they captured all the info available from the film. It's up to me to edit them to suit.

If someone wants a 'finalized' image straight out of the camera, then they should be shooting jpegs not RAW.
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Old 01-25-2017   #24
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If LR does not "know' the camera it will not render its raw file.

Older versions of LR render M10 raw files because they are DNF files.

A completely different issue are the Camera Calibration Profiles.

I don't what you mean by "I can take the M10 profile from Adobe and add it to my old version of LR ". I speculate this happens automatically. If Leica supplies M10 Camera Calibration Profiles, then these should work with all versions of LR. Right now are there separate Camera Calibration Profiles for M8, M9, M9M, M240, M240M raw files?


The Adobe Standard profile was last updated in 2012. So older LR versions will render using the 2010 Adobe Standard profile. It looks as though you are using an even older version, 2003 Adobe Standard profile. The most recent version of Camera Raw is 9.6.1.

I understand how come some people do not upgrade LR. At the same time, in my experience, the 2012 Adobe Standard raw renderings are superior to the older Camera Raw renderings.
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Old 01-25-2017   #25
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Originally Posted by Bill Clark View Post
I tried DNG, making dups of my Canon RAW files.

Gave up DNG.

Canon raw works for me. It's probably due to my workflow started with Photoshop/Bridge before DNG was developed by Adobe.

I understand Adobes intention to have software that could be used by all camera manufacturers but Canon, Nikon and Sigma each still have their own. And I haven't had any problem using their software for RAW. I have Canon, Sigma and Fuji cameras and they all work for me.
The debate about whether to use proprietary raw files (Nikon, Canon, etc) vs DNG is not at issue here. Leica cameras produce raw files in DNG format directly from the camera, you don't have any other raw file format to choose.

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Old 01-25-2017   #26
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Originally Posted by JPSuisse View Post
...
Thanks for this very useful information. I never noticed this. I found the place in LR4 in the attached file for others to see.

This means that I can take the M10 profile from Adobe and add it to my old version of LR (which are LR4 and LR2 for my Laptop and PowerMac, respectively) correct?

Now, a good software question would be, what does an old version of Lightroom do, when it encounters a file from a camera that it can not know (like my old version of LR with this new M10)? Does it simply apply a "generic" profile?
...
PS-Also very useful but a completely different topic is the possibility for B&W film scans. Up to now, I have been using an invert curve preset, but it is not always stable (maybe 0.5% of the time, I have to reimport an image and re-apply). Making a profile for this function probably would be much more stable. I will figure out how and make a separate post.
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If LR does not "know' the camera it will not render its raw file.
Older versions of LR render M10 raw files because they are DNG files.

A completely different issue are the Camera Calibration Profiles.

I don't what you mean by "I can take the M10 profile from Adobe and add it to my old version of LR ". I speculate this happens automatically. If Leica supplies M10 Camera Calibration Profiles, then these should work with all versions of LR. Right now are there separate Camera Calibration Profiles for M8, M9, M9M, M240, M240M raw files?

The Adobe Standard profile was last updated in 2012. So older LR versions will render using the 2010 Adobe Standard profile. It looks as though you are using an even older version, 2003 Adobe Standard profile. The most recent version of Camera Raw is 9.6.1.

I understand how come some people do not upgrade LR. At the same time, in my experience, the 2012 Adobe Standard raw renderings are superior to the older Camera Raw renderings.
"If LR does not "know' the camera it will not render its raw file." This is not true in the case of DNG raw files. Because properly formed DNG raw files are a standard, Lightroom will render any of them even if it doesn't have a 'good' camera calibration profile for the task.

"The Adobe Standard profile was last updated in 2012." This is not true. You're referring to the process version not the Adobe Standard camera calibration profile. The Adobe Standard camera calibration profile is updated with every release of Lightroom to include new and improved camera calibrations. It is a complex implementation which uses a master file that aggregates in specific camera profiles (stored in external files) depending on what kind of raw file has been opened. The process version is the set of underlying raw conversion engine algorithms that use parameters set in the camera calibration profile for rendering the files ... and there I agree with you 100%: the 2012 process version is FAR superior to the older 2003 and 2010 versions.

I know the Lightroom application bundle pretty well; I did a search through it (I've done this countless times for other purposes... ;-).

While there are camera calibration profiles in the Lightroom 6.8 application bundle for a host of different Leica models—including the M8, M9, M240, etc.—there is no camera calibration profile for the M10. These profiles are supplied by Adobe. I suspect this means that the LEICA M10 camera calibration profile is supplied by Leica embedded in the M10 DNG file, just as the "Embedded" profile is supplied in DNG files from other Leica cameras.

All DNG files that I've seen from any camera include an embedded default calibration profile; usually it's not all that well worked out, it's just a default color spec. Previous ones from my Leica X, X113, M-P240, and SL produce rather cartoonish oversaturation and other flaws. It looks like, from the sample M10 files I've pulled from the net, the one that Leica has made for the M10 and named "LEICA M10" actually does a good job.

So, the long and the short of all this is that if you open an M10 DNG file in an older version of Lightroom, IF the camera calibration profile is embedded in the DNG file and IF it is compatible with the parsing protocol used by older versions of Lightroom, it will simply be there and work. Exactly what it produces in output will depend on the process version that version of Lightroom supports in use.

"...a completely different topic is the possibility [of using camera calibration profiles] for B&W film scans..."

I have several camera calibration profiles (made with the Adobe DNG profile editor) that perform inversion and gamma correction (and mask removal for color negative film too) used when I scan film with a camera via a copy setup. They work very well and very reliably, with one particular issue: because the profile inverts the normal direction of the grayscale progression, all the controls that adjust tonal scale values in the LR UI operate inverted as well. I'm sure you've seen this if you use an inverted tonal curve preset. This presents a lot of difficulty when trying to make fine adjustments ... the controls just don't work the way they were designed to.. and they also can cause problems when applying other presets that are expecting tonal controls to work the normal way.

My strategy for using these pathological camera calibration profiles works this way:
  1. Import the raw file
  2. Apply the inversion camera profile
  3. Rough in adjustments to be 'close' but not hitting the limits of white and black point range
  4. Export and Import in place to 16bit-per-component TIFF files
What this leaves you with is a very editable TIFF file that has a normal—non-inverted—tonal scale. Use that for finish editing...

onwards!
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Old 01-25-2017   #27
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Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
So, the long and the short of all this is that if you open an M10 DNG file in an older version of Lightroom, IF the camera calibration profile is embedded in the DNG file and IF it is compatible with the parsing protocol used by older versions of Lightroom, it will simply be there and work. Exactly what it produces in output will depend on the process version that version of Lightroom supports in use.
This indeed seems to be the case. Thanks for clarifying above. This will help anybody who does not have the "newest" version of LR.


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"...a completely different topic is the possibility [of using camera calibration profiles] for B&W film scans..."

I have several camera calibration profiles (made with the Adobe DNG profile editor) that perform inversion and gamma correction (and mask removal for color negative film too) used when I scan film with a camera via a copy setup. They work very well and very reliably, with one particular issue: because the profile inverts the normal direction of the grayscale progression, all the controls that adjust tonal scale values in the LR UI operate inverted as well. I'm sure you've seen this if you use an inverted tonal curve preset. This presents a lot of difficulty when trying to make fine adjustments ... the controls just don't work the way they were designed to.. and they also can cause problems when applying other presets that are expecting tonal controls to work the normal way.
Yes, I have the exact same issue using the invert image preset I created. The controllers are not intuitive use. I find however that the Process 2003 version of LR and the invert preset is quite good for black and white negatives once you get used to it. For color negatives on the other hand, I just scan as JPGs...

Thanks a lot Godfrey! Let me think about all this stuff!
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Old 01-25-2017   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willie_901 View Post
It looks as though you are using an even older version, 2003 Adobe Standard profile.
Willie, yes, this shot is from LR4. But, I have the file set to Process 2003, even though Process 2010 and 2012 are available.

For the DNG files that VueScan puts out, I have not been able to tell a difference between the different process versions.

This could be different for camera raw files though. I just don't have the experience there to tell.
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Old 01-25-2017   #29
Godfrey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JPSuisse View Post
Willie, yes, this shot is from LR4. But, I have the file set to Process 2003, even though Process 2010 and 2012 are available.

For the DNG files that VueScan puts out, I have not been able to tell a difference between the different process versions.

This could be different for camera raw files though. I just don't have the experience there to tell.
That's because the DNG files generated by VueScan are of a different nature compared to DNG files containing raw data from a camera. They're actually
'DNG encapsulated TIFF' where the embedded TIFF data is a serial RGB stream, not mosaiced sensor data that must be deconvolved to extract RGB channel data. Most of the differences between the process versions have to do with how the demosaic algorithms operate, which is unnecessary for scanned data.
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