Underwater photography by Andy Kirkland

Fuji E900 workflow overview

Well, I’ve tried to keep the basic process the same, but there are, of course, constraints.
Most of these stem from the Fuji being a 9mp camera, whereas the Oly C5050Z is only 5mp.

This means that the Fuji RAF raw files are now 18mb, instead of Oly’s 7mb .ORF files. There’s also only one card slot, so I need a bigger card (I actually need a 2gb card for the same capacity, but only 1gb fast XD’s are available).
Also, 1gb won’t fit on a CD-ROM, so I had to take a decision on storage.
I ended up getting a £400 notepad PC, which means I’ll be able to look at the RAW images on the same day. It’ll come in handy for other things as well, but there’s a obviously a weight limit penalty when flying.

I took both cameras to Marsa Alam.

The .PSD files are also bigger, of course. These are now 53mb, which means that it takes much longer to edit them (more disk activity). The additional paging doesn’t to your PC’s hard drive much good, so I either need to edit less at a time, or upgrade my PC memory again ….

Or I need to reinvestigate my solution….
… Since I get back from Marsa, Adobe’s “Lightroom” beta has been getting some attention. I tried an early beta (which didn’t really work for me), but the version 4.1 is much better.

This allows you work with Adobe Digital Negative (.DNG) format files non-destructively. As most of my changes to photos are limited to white balancing, exposure compensation, colour curves etc., or basic cropping, this is ideal.
And the files are about 10mb, if you don’t embed the original RAW image (I won’t – I’ll archive them separately).

Of course, nothing’s quite that easy …

  • I’m trying to find a way to import my enormous list of fish tags, exported from PSE. Can’t do that yet …
  • Lightroom ignores tags in PSE catalogs so you have to “cook” them into the image…
  • Can’t save DNG images (of course) …
  • DNG conversion sometimes messes up the orientation, and that can’t be compensated for in PSE …

… but I think this is going to be the way forward for me when a commercial product is available.
(Providing it’s not too expensive).

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