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Software

December 2007

Using the new Digital Photo Professional (3.2)

The latest incarnation of Digital Photo Professional (DPP) is version 3.2, released with the EOS-1Ds Mark III. It includes some ingenious new features and functionality.

The most obvious new feature is support for EOS-1Ds Mark III files. Previous versions of DPP will not be able to decode and then edit or process files from the EOS-1Ds Mark III so if you upgrade from a previous EOS camera to the EOS-1Ds Mark III you will need to update the version of DPP on your computer.

DPP background

DPP is Canon’s proprietary RAW viewing, editing and processing software aimed at advanced amateur and professional photographers shooting in RAW file format. It allows you to adjust your RAW images and output them in a variety of formats for use in other software such as Photoshop. It is supplied in the box with all current EOS digital cameras.
DPP is constantly being improved and updated. It offers high-speed display and processing of RAW files using Canon-developed algorithms. One of the main advantages of DPP is the full backwards compatibility meaning each new version can still read, edit and convert files from all EOS digital cameras back to the EOS D6000 and EOS D2000, though with these last two cameras, you will need to download another piece of software from the Canon site to convert from TIFF to CR2 files.

Lens correction
The most interesting addition to the latest version of DPP is the lens aberration correction function. Although all Canon lenses are designed and manufactured to produce the highest quality images, constrains of technology, manufacturing and cost mean that some minimal aberrations still exist in the lenses. This new addition to DPP aims to correct these minor aberrations and so produce even higher quality images. The adjustments available correct four factors in the images:

Peripheral illumination
Otherwise known as corner-shading or vignetting. Digital cameras are very susceptible to light not striking the sensor at the correct angle, and with some lenses it is possible to see a slight fall-off in the corners of the image where it looks darker than the rest of the frame. This adjustment aims to even out the lighting across the frame.

Distortion
With wide-angle lenses, it is possible to see distortion around the edge of the lens – straight lines become curved, and subjects at the edge of the frame are distorted. This adjustment ensures straight lines are straight.

Chromatic aberration
Around the edges of an image it is occasionally possible to see colour fringing, especially at high contrast edges such as branches of a tree against the sky. This adjustment will effectively remove the chromatic aberration.

Colour blur
At the edge of very bright areas, it is occasionally possible to see red or blue colour blurring. This adjustment will remove the colour blurring.

To make these adjustments, the software has to re-process the image. When doing this, it makes use of information that is stored with the image when you capture a RAW file with an EOS camera as well as a database of information included with DPP. It makes use of four pieces of information:

1. Lens optical data – This is included with DPP and is like a fingerprint for each lens showing the optical characteristics of that lens.

2. Lens ID – Lens information for the lens used. This is stored automatically by the camera.

3. Lens focal length – The exact focal length that was used to capture the image. This is stored automatically by the camera.

4. Distance information – The focal distance used when the shot was captured. This is stored automatically by the camera.

Using all this camera, lens and image information, adjustments can be made automatically to the images to ensure the highest possible quality with the system.
Thirty-two lenses are supported by the lens correction function. These can be seen in the table below.

Lens Lens (continued)
EF14mm f/2.8L USM EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM
EF14mm f/2.8L II USM EF28-70mm f/2.8L USM
EF20mm f/2.8 USM EF28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM
EF24mm f/1.4L USM EF28-200mm f/3.5-5.6
EF28mm f/1.8 USM EF28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 USM
EF35mm f/1.4L USM EF28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS USM
EF50mm f/1.2L USM EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM
EF50mm f/1.4 USM EF-S60mm f/2.8 Macro USM
EF85mm f/1.2 USM EF-S10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM
EF85mm f/1.2 II USM EF-S17-55 f/2.8 IS USM
EF100mm f/2.8 Macro USM EF-S18-55 f/3.5-5.6
EF16-35mm f/2.8L USM EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 II
EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 USM
EF17-35mm f/2.8L USM EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 UII USM
EF17-40mm f/4L USM EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
EF24-70mm f/2.8L USM EF-S55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS

Although the above lenses are compatible with DPP, with the EOS 5D and EOS 30D cameras you need to make sure you are using the latest versions of the firmware for the camera to be able to recognise the newer lenses. These can be seen in the table below.

EOS 5D
Firmware version Incompatible lenses
1.0.5 or earlier EF14mm f/2.8L II USM EF50mm f/1.2L USM
EF85mm f/1.2L II USM EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM
1.1.0 EF14mm f/2.8L II USM EF50mm f/1.2L USM
EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM
EOS 30D
Firmware version Incompatible lenses
1.0.4 or earlier EF14mm f/2.8L II USM EF50mm f/1.2L USM
EF85mm f/1.2L II USM EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM
EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS EF-S55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS
1.0.5 EF14mm f/2.8L II USM EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM
EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS EF-S55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS

DPPTool

With the EOS 40D, EOS-1D Mark III and EOS-1Ds Mark III, lens ID, focal length and focus distance are recorded automatically by the camera and stored in the header file attached to the RAW file. To use aberration correction with these cameras, simply enter the lens correction module and use the check boxes.

With the older cameras, the EOS-1D Mark II N, EOS-1Ds Mark II, EOS-1D Mark II, EOS-1Ds, EOS-1D, EOS 5D, EOS 30D and EOS 400D, lens ID and focal length are recorded, but the focus distance is not recorded. When using the lens correction function with files from these cameras, aberrations are corrected on the assumption that focus distance is set to infinity.
This may not be the case, so you can then use the sliders beneath each adjustment to fine-tune the results.

Because most of the processing is done automatically by the software, using the lens correction function of DPP is actually very simple. In the tool palette (right), select the ‘NR/Lens’ tab. Next to the ‘Lens aberration correction’ click the ‘Tune’ button. This opens the Lens correction window.


DPP_lens_corr_window

The lens correction window with the sliders and check boxes for adjusting your images.

To activate each of the correction controls simply click the check boxes next to each option. If you are not happy with the results or would like to fine tune the results even more, you can use the sliders for adjustment. When using the chromatic aberration correction, there are also two sliders – one for red and one for blue chromatic aberration.

When using the corrections, there are a few factors you need to consider. If you are using the peripheral illumination tool you may find noise appears in the areas lightened by DPP. This is because noise appears first in shadow areas and is exacerbated by lightening those dark tones. If this happens, you may be able to remove the noise by using the noise reduction features within DPP.

The effect of using the peripheral illumination correction with an image shot using an EOS 5D and EF16-35mm f/2.8L USM lens. Look closely at the corners of the image to see the change.

With the distortion correction, the image may be cropped causing a loss of information around the edge of the image. This is because using distortion correction often bends the image outwards to correct the distortion. The amount of cropping will depend on how much distortion there is in the image to begin with.

The effect of using the distortion correction function on an image taken using an EOS 5D and EF16-35mm f/2.8L USM lens. Look at the horizon line to see the effects of distortion correction.

If you use the colour blur correction tools you should take care. If it appears to have little or no effect on your image, make sure you leave the check box turned off as it can lower the colour saturation of some images. This could be compensated for using the colour saturation slider in DPP, but if there is no colour blur to remove, you should leave it off.

Usability updates
Beyond adding new camera support and the lens correction function, there are other features that improve the way DPP functions and will enhance your experience of using it within your workflow.

Shadow/Highlight warnings
When adjusting images in RAW, it is often wise to keep an eye on the shadow and highlight levels to ensure you are not overexposing highlights or blocking up shadows. A new warning display function has been added in this release to make it easy to see when you have adjusted the sliders too far. You can set the levels at which the warnings will begin to appear (192-255 for highlights and 0-64 for shadows) to tailor your editing to your needs. When the level of a pixel is beyond your pre-defined setting, the warning will appear on the image as either red (highlights) or blue (shadows). This option needs to be turned on in the menu for each session you have in the editing window.

DPP1
© David Newton

In the preferences panel, set the levels for the shadow and highlight warnings.

DPP2
© David Newton

When you adjust an image such that the highlights or shadows are above or below your set levels, the red or blue shadow/highlight warnings will appear.

Direct printing
If you plan to print your images using a Canon printer after adjusting them, the linkage with the new Easy Photo Print EX (EPP-EX) may well prove useful. It allows printing of RAW images directly from DPP to EPP-EX without first having to convert the RAW file into a TIFF or JPEG file. It provides easy control for high quality printing results. This addition is also valid if you are printing to either the iPF 5100 or iPF 6100 large format printers.

High quality display
When reviewing a large number of images in high quality display mode, it can be time consuming to move between each image as the computer and software need to decode the data and apply ‘Moiré reduction’ to the image. The preferences panel adds a new function for high speed display. This makes reviewing images quicker, but you may see moiré patterns in the image and the noise reduction panel will be unavailable. It has been designed for use in the initial sorting of images before working through the images and adjusting them.

DPP3
© David Newton

The preferences panel now provides a check box for high-speed image display (highlighted in the red box).

JPEG noise reduction
DPP is not just a RAW viewer and editor. It can also be used to view JPEG images converted from RAW files. When converting RAW files to JPEGs, especially when using high compression rates, it is possible to see noise within the images. Ticking the option in the preferences panel to remove ‘block noise and mosquito noise’ will improve the quality of the images by reducing the noise levels.

DPP4
© David Newton

Tick the box (highlighted in red) to reduce the noise levels in converted JPEG files.

Sort order
When sorting images from a shoot, it is useful to be able to drag them around into an order that suits your needs. With previous versions of DPP, this was possible, but as soon as you left the folder and then re-entered it, it would revert to the original sort order. With version 3.2 an option in the preferences panel has been added to allow you to save your ‘random’ thumbnail sort order so you can come back to it at a later date without having to re-organise your files.

DPP5
© David Newton

Checking the retain sort order box (highlighted in red) will mean you can order your images by dragging and dropping them into order, then save that order for future use. Un-ticking the box will cause the images to revert to the original sort order next time you view the folder.

DPP_quickcheck
© David Newton

The quick check window has been updated for version 3.2. There is now an image information button to bring up a window with EXIF data for the image.

© David Newton

Using the preferences panel you can also adjust the quick check tool to give the option of a 100% view or full screen view as opposed to a 50% view and full screen view. This speeds up reviewing your images for sharpness. With this option set though, moiré reduction will be switched off in the quick check window.

RAW+JPEG
If you shoot RAW + JPEG files simultaneously, version 3.1 only gave the option to delete or move/copy images in the single image display. With version 3.2, these options have been expanded such that you can now rotate the files together, add checkmarks to both files and save the image with a thumbnail.

© David Newton

When editing RAW images, it is often useful to compare the image before adjustment and after adjustment to see how the image has progressed. With DPP 3.2 you can switch between the two comparison views using the view menu.

IPTC and XMP data
Many photographers make use of third party software to add or edit IPTC and XMP data to help catalogue their files. With previous versions of DPP, doing this before working on the image in DPP meant that data was lost as DPP did not track and retain it. In the new version, IPTC and XMP data is retained in most cases even after opening, editing and converting the image in DPP. The table shows when data is retained or lost.

Action in DPP IPTC info XMP info
RAW images saved as renamed RAW files Retained Retained
RAW images converted to JPEG or TIFF images and saved Lost Retained
JPEG images saved as renamed JPEG images Retained Retained
JPEG images converted to TIFF images and saved Lost Retained
TIFF images saved as renamed TIFF images Retained Retained
TIFF images converted to JPEG images and saved Lost Retained

LZW compression
TIFF files adjusted and saved using the Windows Vista operating system are saved using LZW compression. In previous versions of DPP, these files could not then be displayed using DPP as LZW compression was not supported. However, in version 3.2 they are displayed in exactly the same way as any other TIFF file.

Colour temperature
The default white balance colour temperatures in EOS cameras are set as 5200K. DPP used to be set to a default of 5600K. With the latest version, these settings have been brought into line so that the default DPP setting is the same as the cameras.