Folks have been talking on Google Plus about converting Olympus OM-D E-M5 RAW files, and after some testing, they came to the conclusion that files converted using the Olympus Viewer 2 software look better than those converted using Adobe Lightroom 4. Rob Knight created an informative YouTube video comparing the differences and another YouTube video showing his workflow in Viewer 2 to make that happen.
I use Windows and he uses a Mac, but both versions work about the same. However, my workflow is a little different, so I thought I’d explain it below. I only use Viewer 2 to do the initial conversion from RAW to TIFF, which I then edit in Lightroom. Because I’m not using Viewer 2 to cull my files convert all of them. While in the “browse screen,” I select all the files and click the RAW button up top.
This brings up the RAW Development screen where adjustments are made using the adjustment panel on the right. The only adjustments I do in Viewer 2 are white balance, noise reduction (I actually turn it off and make sure V2 doesn’t do any) and then distortion control and vignetting. I do everything else in Lightroom.
Adjustments are made to the files that are selected (not checked off, but selected) in the “browser” section at the bottom. If one file is selected, adjustments will only be done on that single file. If multiple files are selected, all those files will get the same adjustment. The check box is for exporting files. If a file has a check mark, it will be exported. If it doesn’t, it won’t, even if adjustments have been made to the file.
Once all those adjustments are made, choose the save button up top, which brings up the “saveall” screen. We could export with 8 bit files and include the EXIF data, but RAW files contain more than 8 bits of data, so we’d be throwing some of the info away. Choosing 16 bits keeps the most amount of data possible. Unfortunately, there’s no option to keep the EXIF data when using 16 bit, but there’s a workaround for that. EXIF data is important because it includes information like shutter speed, aperture and more.
After exporting the files to TIFF format, I use ExifTool by Phil Harvey, which will take the EXIF info in the ORF Raw files and import it into the TIFF files. It comes in both Windows and Mac versions. The Windows version is a single, standalone file that I copied into a folder that’s located in my Windows path. I wanted to be able to run the program directly from the command prompt without having to change directories, so I created the batch file below and named it goex, short for Go EXIF. The period at the end of the last line is required.
cd “D:\Users\Mark D. Hall\Desktop\%1”
exiftool -tagsfromfile %%d%%f.orf -all:all -overwrite_original -r -ext tif .
For this to work, the ORF RAW files and recently exported TIFF files must be in the same directory. Then, I open Command Prompt and then type “goex 100olymp” or whatever the name of the directory is where the files are stored. I usually save mine onto the Desktop when I import them from the memory card. The good thing about this batch file is that you can have nested folders, and the program will work on all directories under the one you specify.
Going into detail about how paths and batch files work is more than I get get into into this post, plus I don’t really know how to explain it, but there’s a lot of information available on the net. If you have any questions about how to get ExifTool working, the developer is super responsive and very helpful.