Virtually all of my photography starts with RAW images; I like the greater ability to tweak exposure etc. The RAW import and conversion is normally done in Apple’s Aperture 3, which also is the backbone of the workflow. However, I have lately bumped into a bug in Aperture, which also seems common to some other RAW conversion tools – after import, Aperture widely changes the white-balance away from what was initially shot/set.
The example is below, from a BG3 mixed UV and iR shot with the custom white-balanced set pre-shot. Camera is an Olympus e-M5 producing an Olympus Raw Format file (xx.ORF). The first image is the JPG which comes with the RAW and the second is the post-import RAW conversion by Aperture. The difference, as you can see is significant – these two images should be near identical.
JPG Example of custom white-balanced BG3
BG3 RAW import conversion with Aperture 3
So far, the error has only been with BG3 white-balanced images, which is puzzling. Also puzzling is that I have noticed similar miss-conversion with some other less sophisticated RAW conversion tools.
Having tried the same BG3 filtered shot with various white-balance settings, including custom (set using white-card and getting the best results), auto and other custom settings, I don’t think this is a custom white-balance issue; I suspect this is just a BG3 issue with some RAW import and conversion tools.
It is also worth noting that once imported with the off/incorrect white-balance, it is near impossible to correct using the white-balance tools in Aperture. The work around is to use another tool to do the import and conversion to TIFF and then import the TIFF into Aperture and process as normal. What was also interesting was the noticeable variation in conversion output from RAW to TIFF from various tools tested, including: RawTherapee, Adobe Elements (Adobe Camera RAW), GIMP, RAW Photo Processor 64, RAW-Convertor and Olympus Viewer 3. In the end it was Olympus‘ own Viewer 3 and RAW Photo Processor 64 that, as a default, delivered the closest to the JPG and scene as remembered.
At some point I realise I have to let go of Aperture, but am not ready to right now – for everything else I use it for, I like it and it given its capability it is very competitively priced. Am happy to see what Apple offer as a replacement first, before considering changing to Lightroom or other.