How to make RAW Images less grainy and Skin color

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by Archer, Sep 11, 2013.

  1. Archer

    Archer TalkEmount Regular

    Aug 19, 2013
    London, England
    My Sony NEX 5N is the first camera I've ever owned that can save RAW images as well as JPEGs.

    Well I'm finding shooting in both RAW + JPEG format is such a life saver sometimes, especially in photos with a lot of skin (such as headshots)

    I took one photo close up with flash of one woman at work with African Skin and the photo looked awful on my camera - flash seemed too close and way over exposed, etc

    But when I went home and looked at the RAW image it looked simply stunning. I didn't have to change a thing.

    I'm also finding a lot of difference with JPEG vs RAW on the skin tones of people of color.

    People with brown skin appear quite red in JPEGS but look really good in RAW.

    The only thing I don't like in RAW images is often the photos look very dark and grainy, almost like very high ISO type images - how can I export a SONY RAW file to JPEG but get that nice smoothing effect the default JPEG gives?

    I mainly view all my images in Google Picasa and use that to export files to 2048px JPEGs at 85% Quality to then upload and share with friends on Facebook.

    I'd really love to smooth out some of those RAW Images sometimes, whats the best PC Software for doing that? (Hopefully Freeware)
  2. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Grainy: If you want to try LightRoom then the "noise reduction" bar under "Detail" works very well for me ;) 
    Dark: again in LightRoom you can fix that with adjusting "exposure", "brightness" etc.

    With RAW you can easily adjust/correct the WB too, a parameter that has been reported not to be that good on Nex's Jpeg's

    Google Picassa is not a serious post processing program per say (more like effect program IMHO) ;) 
  3. Fiddler

    Fiddler TalkEmount Regular

    Mar 8, 2012
    RAW files are not image files - they're just sensor data, so what you're looking at when you open a RAW file is an image preview, rather than an image in 'RAW Format.' I'm not familiar with any free RAW conversion programs, but I'm told that the Sony program that comes with the cameras is decent enough. It comes down to personal preference, but I use DXO Optics, and am happy with it. For editing files after conversion from RAW, Gimp is free and has quite a good set of features.
  4. Frank Teurlings

    Frank Teurlings TalkEmount Regular

    Dec 10, 2012
    I find Sony Image Data Converter perfect to work with.
  5. Bugleone

    Bugleone TalkEmount Veteran

    Aug 21, 2011
    Beware if you are using the Sony supplied 'RAW converter'........I found that it threw away half of the file 'size' and gave very poor results. In fact the supplied software was abysmal and did no favours to the NEX.........

    ...........Picassa 3 can act as a 'RAW converter' and if you only need simple edits such as tone, density, cropping and sharpening it's quite good.

    'Lightroom' may well be good but it's also very expensive........and complicated too!
  6. Frank Teurlings

    Frank Teurlings TalkEmount Regular

    Dec 10, 2012
    No problems with it. Works better than converting with Adobe DNG converter.
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