Digital Outback Photo
- Photography using Digital SLRs


Digital Outback Photo Contest #003

Raw Conversion Contest #1 using a Canon EOS 10D Photo


Over, Terminated

Overview over all images

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  Congratulations to the winners and a thank you to all participants. We will notify the winners.

1. Prize: Capture One DSLR Pro version (Windows or Mac)

Antonio Dias

2. Prize: ThumbsPlus by Cerious Software (Windows)

Allen J. Pacheco

Adam Wade


Some might think we copied this idea. But we believe we had the first ever raw conversion contests on the internet in late 2000 and early 2001 (the first one was even before we launched Digital Outback Photo):

These were the early times of raw conversion for the new generation of digital SLRs. We now have many cameras at the 6 megapixel (MP) level and even with the Canon 1Ds and the Kodak 14n above 10MP. We also have now new and improved tools to perform the raw conversion (Capture One DSLR, Adobe Camera Raw, manufacturer tools and good old Bibble and Qimage).

To share experience it is not enough just to show the results. We need precise step-by-step descriptions of all image editing operations that had been performed. That is why we need to limit the used tools to the ones that are available at Digital Outback Photo (and they have to be available for PC or Mac):

  • Photoshop (this is the standard image editor we use)
  • Capture One DSLR Limited (or full), Adobe Camera Raw (patched), Canon FVU, BreezeBrowser
  • Other tools (if the tool author provides a free full working copy to Digital Outback Photo)

The photo is from our field trip to the Arches National Park in Utah. Photo taken with Canon EOS 10D and the 24-79mm f/2.8 lens.


  • Image should not be cropped
  • All preparation should be done for a normal inkjet print and not for wb presentation
  • Do not change the color space
  • You load the full raw image (copyright Bettina & Uwe Steinmueller) from here (6.4MB ZIP)
  • You make the best out of it and fully document all steps (try not to be too complex as this makes our life difficult)
  • You then resize the resulting file to 500 pixels wide at JPG 8 compression in Photoshop
  • Also send us 2 crops (300x200) at 100% pixel level as shown below in the sample entry
  • Do not forget to include the full instructions
  • We need be able to perform all steps ourselves following your instructions
  • We may reject entries without any further notice if they get to complex, the tools are not at hand or we see major quality issues.
  • Send images and instructions to:
  Sample Entry (by Uwe Steinmueller)


  • Converted with Capture One DSLR
    • WB on the clouds
    • No EV or CC correction
    • No Sharpening
  • Midtone-Sharpening in Photoshop
  #1 Angel Garcia


  • Converted with Capture One DSLR .
    • WB 4800 ºK .
    • EV no correction.
    • CC +49.
    • Softlook focus +300 Amount 0 threshold.
  • Sky select and darkened with levels in Photoshop.
  • Selective color adjust -50 C in reds -30 M in yellows.
  • Slightly vigneted with burn tool.
  #2 Joo C. Chung


  • Convert with BB - Sat: High, Contrast: Low, Sharpness: Mid High, all
    other as captured.
  • Mid tone sharpening - 500/1/2
  • Convert to 8 bit
  • New layer - fill with black. Add layer mask. linear gradient mask -
    bottom black to top white.
  • Set layer to Soft light blend mode and 19% opacity
  • New Layer - Selective color - Blue (+66 cyan, +0 magenta, -69 yellow,
    +100 black, relative method)
  #3 Adam Wade


  • Converted with SharpRaw (
    • color correction network trained for Adobe RGB
    • gamma set to 2
    • sharpening network trained for sharp 10D shot
    • Saved as 48-bit PS document and imported into Photoshop
  • Saturation +15
  • Converted to 8-bit
  #4 Thomas Knoll


  • Adobe Camera Raw plugin, version "something greater than 1.0".
  • Unsharp Mask in Photoshop, very large radius and small amount
    (radius 40.0, amount approximately 10%)
  • Unsharp Mask in Photoshop, small radius and large amount (radius
    0.5, amount approximately 150%)

Thomas did not follow the rules 100% :-)

FYI: Thomas is the original author of Photoshop and Camera Raw

  #5 Michael Jonsson


  • Capture One DSLR 1.2 RC1 "Something that almost ships"
  • Exposure: +0.3 EV
  • Contrast: 0
  • WB 5200 kelvin - Color cast 221/18
  • Sharpening: Standard 115/1
  • Everything done in C1, including scaling and cropping
  • I have never actually been to Utah... ;-)

Note: Michael is the author of Capture One DSLR

  #6 Don Lashier



  • CaptureOne DSLR Limited Edition RC2 Beta 2
    • Grey Balance: As Shot (AWB)
    • EC: 0 CC:0
    • Levels: WP set at 214
    • Curve: Attached. A four point curve was used to locally increase contrast in two tonal ranges. Deep shadows were purposely sacrificed a bit to add depth and detail to the vegetation. The other 'hump' of the M was to contrast the sky a bit. This is more than I usually do to an image, but you picked an interesting one :-)

    • Color Saturation: +10.0%
    • Focus: Soft, Amount 300, Threshold 3
  #7 Antonio Dias


  • Converter: Capture One DSLR -LE V1.2 RC2 B2
    • Gray Balance: Auto
    • Exposure: EC0.35, CC: 7, Levels: BP:6 WP:246, Curves: none, Color Saturation: 4%
    • Focus: Standard Look, Amount: 160, Threshold: 3
    • Develop: Tiff, 8-bit, Convert to Web destination sRGB
  • Loaded into PS7
    • Resized
    • USM: 300, 0.2, 2
  #8 Magne Nilsen


  • Linear 16-bit conversion with PowerShowel II, Daylight WB (The only 16-bit 10D Linear conversion that works, so far...)
  • Assign "ETC-0 Linear" profile
  • USM 500/0,4/0 in Linear before converting to Working space
  • Convert to Working Space
  • Curves, White Point clipped at 212
  • S-curve for contrast:[0,0 / 76,52 / 180,204 / 255,255]
  #9 Eric Wolf


  • Adjustments made in Capture One DSLR LE 1.2 running on Win2K
    • Grey Balance -> Color Temp = 4700
    • Grey Balance -> Color Cast = Hue 156 (green/cyan) Saturation 4
    • Exposure -> Exposure Compensation = +0.15
    • Exposure -> RGB Levels = max set to 248
    • Exposure -> Red Channel = min set to 10 and max set to 246
    • Exposure -> GReen Channel = max set to 246
    • Exposure -> Blue Channel = max set to 231 (forces some of the blue
      channel in the sky to 100% saturation)
    • Exposure -> slight 3% boost to the light end of curve, but mid and
      lower end tacked to the midline
    • Focus -> Sharpening -> Method = Soft Look
    • Focus -> sharpening -> Amount = 64 (there is not a lot of room to
      sharpen the hilights on the sagebrush stems without generating an artificial
      appearance when viewed 1:1)
    • Focus -> Sharpening -> threshold = 2


  #10 Orin Bassoff


  • Converted in Breeze Browser:
    • Conversion Method: Normal
    • Low Noise Reduction
    • Color Temp: 6100
    • Color Space: As Shot
    • Saturation: Normal
    • Contrast: Normal
    • Sharpness Mid High
    • +.6 Exposure Comp.
    • False Color Filter: On
  • Output: 16bit tiff Edited in Photoshop:
    • Levels: RGB Channel 5,1,250
    • Convert to Lab Color
    • Select Lightness channel
    • Unsharp Mask Filter 175% Amount, .3 Radius, 0 Threshold
    • Select all channels
    • Convert to RGB Color
    • Hue/Saturation: Master Saturation +5, Blues +50, Reds -5 Convert to


  #11 Steve Schlaeger

  • Open file Photoshop Camera Raw(patched for 10D):
    • WB as shot
    • Exposure +.65
    • Shadows 5
    • Brightness 50
    • Contrast +34
    • Saturation 3
    • Sharpness 25
    • Smoothness 0
  • in Photoshop
    • Apply curve

    • 8 bit
    • Nik Sharpener 2880 printer best printer small box Anna
    • fade luminosity 50%
    • Action copy layer
    • opacity 50% highpass filter 6 Pixels soft light
  #12 Roger Salmon

  • Converted with SharpRaw 1.31 using high resolution interpolation
  • Sharpened with a custom sharpening network, trained as described in the system help
  • Saved as a 16 bit .psd
  • Opened in Photoshop 7
  • Sky selected and contrast enhanced
  • Shadows lightened with Chromasoftware's Shadow Control
  • Mild edge sharpening with Chromasoftware's Sharpen
  #13 Allen J Pacheco

  • Conversion using Canon FileViewerUtility supplied with 10D.
    • All settings "As Shot" except sharpening which I set to High which is
      pretty decent for landscape shots.
  • Convert to16-bit tiff.
  • Photoshop
    • Open image and assign sRGB (I assume the "As Shot" settings were
    • Hue/Saturation : Master.... Saturation +15
    • Hue/Saturation : Cyans......Hue +10 | Saturation = +50
      (to blue-up the sky)
    • Unsharp Mask : Amount 20 | Radius 30 | Threshold 3 (to
      clean up haze)
    • Convert to 8-bit
    • Unsharp Mask : Amount 200| Radius 0.3 | Threshold 0 (
      poor man's overall-sharpen)
    • Fade Unsharp Mask: Opacity=100% with Mode =Luminosity
      (Sharpens only the luminance channel with out changing to Lab
  #14 Ike Tamigian

  • Converted in Camera Raw
    • WB adjust
    • Saturation
  • Chroma Shadow Control
  • 200%/.5/0 USM
  #15 Cathy Brown

  • Converted in Capture One DSLR LE
    • Gray balance: C1 automatic, color temp 6000, saturation +10
    • Exposure: EC -.4, cc +12;
    • levels RGB 0/227; red 7/227; green 7/214; blue 0/211;
    • slight curve to adjust contrast

    • film standard
    • sharp: soft at 200, threshold 2
    • developed as 16-bit tiff
  • In PS 7.1: all in 16 bit
    • curves to burn sky and butte saved as burn history state

    • curves to dodge foreground and highlights saved as dodge history state

    • used soft round history brush set to 70% opacity (stylus pressure
      control) to burn the sky; reduced opacity to 30% to burn butte
    • used soft round history brush set to 40% opacity (stylus pressure
      control) to dodge foreground foliage; also used lightly on butte
    • applied a slight contrast curve

    • saturation +4, blue hue in sky -6
    • converted to lab and ran USM on luminosity channel: amount 150/radius .5/threshold 3;
    • restored to RGB
  Overview over all images
  After the contest was over we found in the Canon news group at Fred Miranda's site a very nice interpretation and that is why we add this special entry (not part of the official contest)
  Special Entry by David Kieltyka

  1) Use Adobe Camera RAW to convert the RAW file to 16-bit desaturated
-- Temperature: 2100
-- Tint: -40
-- Exposure: +1.50
-- Shadows: 5
-- Brightness: 20
-- Contrast: +40
-- Saturation: -100
-- Sharpness: 0
-- Smoothness: 0
-- Moiré Filter: unchecked

2) Levels adjustment: 18--0.90--250. (This and the second levels adjustment below are approximate since I didn't record the settings I used.)

3) Convert to 8-bit format.

4) Create a duplicate layer and set the mode to "multiply".

5) Use the gradient tool on the new layer (linear, "normal" mode), foreground color set to pure white, to preserve only the sky detail.

6) Duplicate this new layer twice. This gives you four layers total.

7) Leave the opacity of the first two duplicate layers at 100%. Set the opacity of the third duplicate to around 80% (I forget the exact setting I used). This has the effect of burning in the sky.

8) Flatten image.

9) Convert to grayscale, then to Duotone. Use the WarmGreyQuad.ado file to one the photo.

10) Convert back to RGB, 16-bit mode.

11) Levels adjustment: 5--0.85--235.

12) Use Fred Miranda's Intellisharpen Pro, v2.2 action at Intensity 5 to do unsharp masking. This also converts the file back to 8-bit mode. Fred's action performs light overall unsharp masking while sharpening edges more intensely.

13) Save and done.


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