Stuff and things and stuff

My last post was all about videos . . . as much as I want to get into the motion pictures business (lots of money in motion pictures), practicality and lack of any videography know-how will likely have me stick to still-photos, at least until I’m discovered by Hollywood. Yes, that’s gonna be a long time, I tell you what! 

This post will meander a bit in both topics and offerings. For instance, here’s a photo from last week . . . 

All of the photos in this post are from the same two days as when I shot the videos in the previous post. 

In case you’re wondering, the guy recovered . . . 

Those two shots were taken with the P900 and the surfers were a long way out. Also, it was a cloudy (partially cloudy) day, so the lighting was not that great. Still, as previously shown, the P900 can put us, the viewers, close to the action. 

It does better when the scene is well-lit, but then, most cameras do. The P900 can take wide-angle shots . . .

. . . I can then compare to the Note 8’s photo efforts. 

Here we see two different treatments for what are — essentially — low light shots with a lot of contrast. Almost backlit, in fact. I can’t tell you which has the correct color cast because I no longer carry my color card with me. I might have to start doing that again so I can be assured of the correct white balance. The P900 shot is edited and I might not have checked the white balance on it. You might not notice a difference were it not for the direct and close comparison of the shots.

Both cameras do a fair amount of internal processing before we get to see the photos. However, if I choose the “pro” mode, the Note 8 saves both the RAW and the processed JPG file. More on that later. 

Both the P900 and the Note 8 output closer subjects  —  and here I ask forgiveness for using technical terms — as what I classify as “pretty good” renderings of the scene.

Note 8

Note 8

These are scaled down, but the original was clear enough to be able to read the lettering in the plaque. Here are the P900 versions from a bit farther away and a wider zoom. 

P900 wider zoom

P900 even wider zoom

It’s difficult comparing them because of the different sizes. I would still give the nod to the P900, but the Note is no slouch, especially when viewed at full resolution. No, I didn’t do a SmugMug album because I’m under the self-imposed gun to get this out before writing the Halloween story for tomorrow. 

Again, the P900 has that amazing zoom . . . 

These next three photos are all from the Note 8. They are taken from the same area where I shot the videos from the previous post. I don’t have the corresponding P900 shots because . . . sigh . . . I forgot to take photos with the P900; I took only videos. 

Again, these were with everything on Automatic. Without having the P900 for comparison, I would call these “good.” Click on any of them for a larger version, or wait until the gallery at the end. 

This next shot was snapped outside the condo . . .

When you see the border around a photo, know that I tweaked it using ON1 Effects 10.

A quick note about ON1 . . . I’ve been with them for years. I started using their software in earnest back in 2013 (version 8) and I have their 2017 ON1 RAW version . . . which I hardly ever use, falling back, instead, to the ON1 Photo 10 Suite. I actually came to them because of their resize module (one of the best I’ve seen, although I’ve not tried them all) and integrated the suite more and more into my workflow as they made improvements in the post-processing modules. 

Here’s the thing . . . with their ON1 RAW version, they aim to compete with the likes of Photoshop and Lightroom. The problem is, they put out what I call a Beta version of their 2017 ON1 RAW and made users pay for the upgrade from v. 10. It was a buggy version and I rarely used it as I waited for the updates that promised to fix the problems. 

One of the major things they did is to remove features I heavily relied on for my processing. Suite 10 had two different ways to batch-process photos (one automatic and one interactive), and neither works in the 2017 version. That means I have to process the photos individually. Lots of e-mails were exchanged, with them telling me they will get to that but that other fixes were more critical. 

Well, I just got an e-mail last week that they plan on releasing the 2018 version and I can upgrade to the new version for the low price of $70. The new version still doesn’t batch process (understandable because of the changed workflow).

I deleted the e-mail. I will continue to use the ON1 Photo 10 Suite while I can still use it, but I’m looking around for something else that might fit my needs. Basically, I think the company screwed me out of one upgrade fee and I’m a quick learner. They are dead to me now. Personally, I think they are using the customers to debug their software, and I don’t like that business model.

Give me the Topaz business model any day and time . . . buy once and free upgrades for life. That’s the kind of thing that builds loyalty and trust. Plus, their software doesn’t need constant fixing to be useful. 

Let me put a photo in here before people leave (I have more photos below the next bit of ranting). 

Where wuz I? Oh, yeah . . . rip-off photo suites. 

No, that’s not fair . . . On1 Photo 10 was (is) and excellent product well worth the money I paid. Unfortunately, the company — and hence the product — and me now travel on different paths. I wish them luck, but that path they will travel alone. 

Which brings me to Nik Collection. I mentioned them before, but what people might not know is that the software has been sold to DxO (I use their software as well). You can still get the (current) free version of the Nik Collection (HERE) but DxO will be updating the software and releasing a new version. You can also download the current version at the DxO site as well as sign up for notification when they release the 2018 Nik Collection (HERE), although I imagine that will be available for a fee. 

DxO has integrated the U-Point technology into their own product which now offers localized editing in addition to whole-photo manipulations. I’ll probably do an upgrade since it’s offered to me with an upgrade discount. 

However, all of these tools are now reaching a point where additional modifications improvements will go beyond my need for them (I don’t manipulate photos as much as people think). At some point, I’ll freeze what I have and no longer bother with upgrades. 

Anyway, back to the Note 8 . . . I mentioned that the Pro mode of the camera can save both the RAW shot and the processed JPG. What does that look like, you ask? Well, these are photo pairs right out of the phone; the first one is the RAW capture, and the second is the photo as processed by the camera. Some of the differences are impressive.

Here goes nothing (remember, I did nothing to either version of the photos) . . . 


As Processed by Note 8 (JPG)


As Processed by Note 8 (JPG)


As Processed by Note 8 (JPG)


As Processed by Note 8 (JPG)


As Processed by Note 8 (JPG)


As Processed by Note 8 (JPG)

So, a couple of interesting things . . . the output (the JPG) is pretty much what I framed when I shot the photo. The RAW version is larger (wider zoom) and it appears whatever processing they do can be quite extensive. The first photo (especially) includes some adjustment for distortion. 

The negative with what they do is that they seem to apply a fair amount of contrast (regular and dynamic) as well as (in my opinion) going a little heavy with the sharpening. They might sharpen a lot to compensate for what looks to be a lot of noise reduction even in good light. It gives the edges a slightly unnatural look when viewed at the pixel level which most people should not do. 

The thing is, are the RAW photos as useful as those from the regular cameras? I’m assuming the sensor is pretty small (12MB versus 8MB for the Note II) and RAW capture seems of limited use.

Why don’t we test that out?

Note: if not interested in phone photography/performance (and/or you’re an old man from Australia), you can skip this and either go to the gallery or leave altogether. 

Here is a RAW photo  along with a 100% zoom clip (the full picture is scaled down to 1280 pixels while the clip is an actual 1:1 of the photo best viewed by clicking on it or waiting for the gallery at the end):

Original Raw

Original RAW 1-1

This next pair shows what the camera outputs:

Original Phone Processing

Original Phone Processing 1:1

This is what I can do — how I would edit/process this photo — in Lightroom when editing the RAW file:

Lightroom – from RAW

Lightroom from RAW 1-1

In the gallery, I’ll have each full size in sequence and each clip in sequence so that they can be more easily compared. 

What you can’t see above is that the one I processed has a bit less harshness at the edges (more realistic) but has a tad more noise in the shadow portions. You can click on the individual files for the parger versions (full size in the case of the 1:1 clips).

Here’s the ON1 processing of the JPG output from the camera. This is the typical processing I do on photos from the phone or the P900 (with minor variations depending on the content of the photo):

ON1 – from JPG

ON1 – from JPG 1-1

Here is the same processing applied to the RAW file:

ON1 – from RAW

ON1 – from RAW 1-1

Again, processing the RAW version results in “cleaner” edges; not as jagged, more natural and again you sacrifice a bit on the noise. The phone processing handles the noise issue a bit better and I suspect I would have better luck doing a pass of noise reduction first and then processing the photo.  

What does all this mean?

Nothing . . . I’ll likely use the Auto Setting and show you a photo like this (well, OK; I would level it and boost the brightness a bit, but that’s it!) 

. . . and you’ll be happy because you generally don’t give a cra . . . er . . . don’t care much about the details and — in fact — the majority of you never go to SmugMug. Plus, pixel viewing is rarely rewarding unless the photo is truly sharp and clean. The overall photo usually suffices, and unless doing long and boring comparisons, no one would know the difference between RAW, JPG, modified or processed, cropped or not . . . and no one should. 

Just enjoy the photo and the writing and live a good life.

Here’s the gallery . . . 

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


Note: if you are not reading this blog post at, know that it has been copied without permission, and likely is being used by someone with nefarious intention, like attracting you to a malware-infested website.  Could be they also torture small mammals.


Please, if you are considering bestowing me recognition beyond commenting below, refrain from doing so.  I will decline blogger-to-blogger awards.   I appreciate the intent behind it, but I prefer a comment thanking me for turning you away from a life of crime, religion, or making you a better person in some other way.  That would mean something to me.

If you wish to know more, please read below.

About awards: Blogger Awards
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Note: to those who may click on “like”, or rate the post; if you do not hear from me, know that I am sincerely appreciative, and I thank you for noticing what I do.

. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.

Finally, if you interpret anything on this blog as me asking or wanting pity, sympathy, or complaining about my life, or asking for help and advice, know you’re  likely missing my subtle mix of irony, sarcasm, and humor.

About disperser

Odd guy with odd views living an odd life during odd times.
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10 Responses to Stuff and things and stuff

  1. oneowner says:

    I like the fact the Note can save a RAW file, but looking at your photos I’m not sure how valuable that feature is considering the jpgs processed in the phone look very nice. My MOTO doesn’t save RAW files but the jpgs seem to have a nice range of tones I can still edit in LR. The Samsung phone cameras have improved a lot over the years and I think they might even be on a par with the Apple phones.
    Last year I pre-ordered the ON1 RAW when it was first announced because I thought it might be a good replacement for LR, since I’m not a fan of renting software and the fact the “10” suite was very nice. The ON1 RAW hasn’t worked out for me at all. It is not a good replacement for LR, at least not for me. I find it awkward and nonintuitive, although capable of providing decent editing.
    Lightroom, for all its faults, is still the best editor around


    • disperser says:

      Yes, I don’t see me using the Note RAW version much. I think I can get marginally better photos from my own editing of RAW files, but when looking at them at the resolution of the blog, it’s such a minuscule improvement (and subjective) that it’s not worth the time and effort.

      I do wish I could tone down the sharpening on the on-phone processing, but I can live with it.

      Ditto on the ON1RAW. I occasionally fire it up by mistake and it’s OK, but then I go back to v. 10. For that matter, I still load the B&W module from v. 9 because it has some tweaks I like better than v. 10.

      As I mentioned above, 2017 RAW no longer fits my processing workflow, so at this point, it holds no advantage over just using Lightroom. By the way, the current version of Lightroom is the last one that Adobe will sell on its own. They don’t plan on improving the single license version after this, so I was considering buying it.

      The reason is that I think most suites are at the point where any improvements are small and incremental. Just for kicks, I went back to the last LR I bought outright and it still does the job.

      I’ve already nixed upgrading ON1, and debating the DxO upgrade but I’m curious about the integration of Nik Tools into the DxO modules.

      The subscription model doesn’t bother me too much because you do get both Lightroom and Photoshop with it. That said, all the companies are really pushing integration across multiple platforms and devices (by way of the Cloud interface) and I’m not a big fan of that.

      It could be that at some point I will freeze all the versions at what I like and not worry about “improvements to my photo-processing process.”


  2. Interesting to see the comparisons, Emilio!
    As a non-photographer who know nothing about cameras, settings,etc., I love looking at all of these photos. The shades of blues and greens are stunning! Cool plants and the mural is cool, too! :-)
    HUGS!!! :-)
    PS…I laughed several times while reading this very informative post!


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