Testing Iridient O-Tranformer on Olympus OMD-EM1 raws

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  • Peter Gallagher
    Peter Gallagher
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    on: October 12, 2019 at 11:26 pm

    I enjoy getting the most out of my µ-4/3 sensor. There is a heck of a lot of information in just 21MP, if properly exposed and the low-weight, robustness and high quality optics of the format all appeal to me.

    I sometimes try to increase the data I have to play with in post by shooting small-field panoramas and focus-stacked images (Olympus cameras/lenses make the latter very easy, hand-held) and occasional ‘Hi-res’ (sensor-swizzling) images on a tripod. When the ISO creeps up beyond 2400 or so I usually shoot multiples using a burst mode that can be blended in Photoshop (or elsewhere) to give me the low-noise and shadow detail I’d find from a larger sensor.

    Beyond these techniques I have been hoping to make more use of Lightroom’s new “Enhanced Details” processing. My new iMac with a discrete GPU takes only a second or so to re-process an .ORF raw file for ED. So that’s a much more practical option than it has been in the past.

    To my surprise, however, I have found that Iridient’s O-Transfomer raw processor — a cut-down version of the main Iridient Developer product with limited development options — does an even better job of extracting additional detail from my ORFs than Lightroom’s Enhanced Details. O-Transformer, like the specialised versions for other cameras (https://www.iridientdigital.com), can be set up to act essentially as a “plug-in” for Lightroom (there are other ways to set it up, too). So, like Enhance Details, it will reprocess a raw-file selected in the LR catalog (e.g. in Grid view), send it back to the same folder as the original and register the new file with the LR catalog. A new version, renamed, turns up after a second or two, on my machine, beside the original in the LR Grid.

    Now, the advantage is most visible, as with Enhance Details, in pixel-peeping and in full resolution display or printing. If the output is a web or PDF file at a fraction of the native size of the image, there’s not likely to be much visible difference. So I’m not proposing to process all my raws or to ingest raws from now on using the O-Transformer. But for USD 36, the Iridient product is a bit like having a bigger sensor when I want one: good value, in my view.

    Of course, I’d like to show you the difference. It’s difficult to do so in an image that’s under the 3MB limit here on the forums. Still, here’s an attempt. It’s a 100% crop from a snap I took in Shirawakaga-go (Japan) in August. On my iMac screen, the differences between the O-Transformer version (right) and the LR Enhanced Details version (left) are noticeable in, for example, the clump of hydrangeas and the weeds in the mid-foreground and the bunch of re-bar leaning on the wall of the shed in the right-background. By the way, neither of these images has any output sharpening or noise reduction in LR.

     

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