Digital Camera RAW Update 4.08 for Aperture and iPhoto, with Leica M Monochrom Support!
It’s time for another Camera RAW update, and this one includes one that a select few people have been very, very anxious for — the Leica M Monochrom.
As always, just run Software Update or launch the App Store to get the latest software, or you can also get to it at support.apple.com/kb/DL1674.
Here’s the list of newly supported cameras.
- Canon EOS 70D
- Fujifilm X-M1
- Leica M
- Leica M Monochrom
- Nikon COOLPIX P330
- Pentax 645D
- Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R
- Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II
The Leica M Monochrom is that camera you’ve heard about that only shoots in B&W, and I have to admit that I’ve had one in my hands for a few days. The timing was complete coincidence, and I’d been shooting RAW+JPEG with the camera, but boy am I excited to see how the in-camera JPEG (which is just amazing) compares to the RAW decode by Aperture. The RAW decode by Lightroom is definitely good, although the camera adds sharpening which is superb to the JPEG file. That means the Lightroom decode actually looks a little soft.
So here we go… the very first photos I shot with the Monochrom were of my assistant Stephen, and I’ll start with the in-camera JPEG. Be sure to click the image to see the full size photo in a new window and zoom to 100% (feel free to download it to have a closer look). These images were shot through the Leica Summicron-M 50mm f/2.
Leica M Monochrom in-camera JPEG
Here’s what the camera delivered as a JPEG, so it has already sharpened the file and adjusted the curve to create a dynamic looking photo. This image looks absolutely fantastic.
Leica M Monochrom Lightroom-decoded DNG
Next let’s look at the DNG that was sent to Lightroom for conversion, then exported as a 16-bit TIF and reimported into Aperture. Needless to say this workflow sucks, and ironically I was in the middle of writing up the most “efficient” way to do this. I’ll finish the post eventually as it’s useful for any non-Aperture supported format that Adobe does support, but anyway… here’s the result of DNG to Lightroom to Aperture.
The image is clearly flatter, which is expected as the in-camera JPEG conversion is typically going to punch the image up a bit. RAW is by nature flat, designed such so that you can play with it in post and do whatever you like. That said, I’m not sure I’d call the JPEG superior. While this RAW conversion may be less contrasty, you can also see more details in the shadows, and his face is brighter. I’d still crush the blacks a bit for my personal taste, but the image is very clean. Also (and you’ll see this side by side in a moment) there is no sharpening (or less sharpening) applied here, so the image looks softer at 100%.
Leica M Monochrom Aperture-decoded DNG
Now for the latest addition, brought to you by the Digital Camera RAW Update version 4.08, and the letter M.
Aperture’s conversion is more contrasty, and personally is closer to how I’d treat the final file. I do feel it’s a bit hot on the face, and I’d probably scale that back a bit. I could easily swing either way on which is a more useful starting point (between Aperture and Lightroom), since both will need to be tweaked a little, but I’m leaning towards Aperture on this one. I checked closely and the face is NOT blown out, but Aperture has definitely stretched the limits.
Of course this is just one single image, so you may see very different results on other photos taken with this camera.
Side by side comparisons
Now let’s see them side by side. These are Aperture screenshots, first zoomed out, then the next two the photo is zoomed to 100% and panned to different parts of the image. Be sure to click on the screenshot below to see it at 100%, and pay close attention to the sharpness (again the JPEG will be the sharpest as it’s been sharpened in-camera), and the details in the highlights and shadows.
Next in the first close-up, you can really see the sharpness difference between the JPEG and the two DNG conversions. The eyelashes and eyebrows show the sharpening the most clearly. I think it’s remarkable how sharp the JPEG is here. You can certainly add sharpness to the DNG files as well, but we’re just seeing them straight out of box here. You can also see a dramatic difference between all three in the brightness. Look at the skin between his eye and nose, and that’s where Aperture makes it the brightest. Look closely though and you’ll see no detail is lost.
In the second close-up, we’re looking at a shadow part of the image. Here the JPEG and the Aperture DNG are very similar, yet the Lightroom one is noticeably lighter. That shadow brightness is something I’d pull back personally, but then again I’d probably pull the highlight brightness back on the Aperture version.
Overall these are three considerably different interpertations of the same image. None are wrong, and it’s tough to say which is the “most right”, but there are obvious differences.
Whatever your opinion of the result, the important thing is… it’s finally supported!!
Curiously the lens model doesn’t show up in the Aperture metadata for either the JPEG or the DNG file. However it does show up in the TIF which was the Lightroom converted DNG. Somehow Apple is missing this data in the file; clearly it’s there as the Adobe apps are seeing it. Odd.
On the left is the TIF from the Lightroom converted DNG. On the right is Aperture, missing important lens metadata
Still seeing unsupported images?
If you’ve updated and relaunched Aperture but are still seeing the “unsupported images” message on photos that should now be supported, select them and go to menu Photos > Reprocess Original…. That should kick it into gear.
Is your camera now supported?
Is your camera on the list? Any experiences, good or bad with this new update, let’s here about it in the comments!
More like this