HOWTO: RAW photo management on android / tf201

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jaypm

Senior Member
Feb 4, 2012
82
31
New York
HOWTO: RAW photo management on android / tf201

one of the original reasons i wanted the tf201+dock was for digital camera management while traveling. the dock's SD card slot is really what makes this practical. if i'm traveling and shooting 500-1000 photos then having the ability to manage these files out-of-camera becomes very useful. in various cases i would like to:

- review and discard photos
- copy or move photos from the original SD card to internal memory, or a microSD card, or a USB key
- run a slideshow on screen, or hdmi out
- share via email/etc
- upload videos to youtube

if you own a typical point-and-shoot digicam then android is more or less ready to handle all these tasks out of the box. in my case i am shooting with a canon DSLR, the 550D more specifically, in RAW format - as is the case for most 550D/600D/7D/5MD2/1D* owners along with equivalent nikons/etc. each of my RAW files are 25MB and that generally only increases as the cameras get better. RAW files are also raw, meaning the raw CMOS sensor data has not yet been processed and rendered into an image file. this is why working with RAW files is a pain in the ass on every platform - it pushes the limits of both CPU and I/O.

i just spent a chunk of time evaluating what works and doesn't in trying to do all these things with the current state of software. figured i'd share the results in case other RAW shooters come out of the woodwork.

working with RAW photos

RAW files come in various manufacturer- and even model-specific formats which means that android out of the box has no idea what to do with them. nothing in the entire android stack currently recognizes or handles RAW files, at least as of 4.0.3. so you need apps if you hope to do anything other than move the photos around.

at current time in the android market it looks like only 3 apps really try and provide a somewhat complete environment for viewing and handling RAW files. my experience with each of them was as follows:

- Photo Mate - supports viewing, rotating/mirroring, resizing and converting to JPG, backing up, slideshow, ratings, and sharing - all useful features, but amazingly there is no multi-select, meaning you can't do most of these things in bulk. this is a real limiting factor. in a few cases you have the option to do a task on an entire directory, but for most DSLRs this will mean every photo on the card and is unlikely to be what you want. speed of raw thumbnail rendering is fast, rendering of full images a couple seconds so not the best for just flipping through quickly. however the renders are full-res and the processor looks good which means it is excellent for zooming into the 1:1 pixel-level and scrutinizing sharpness and clarity.

- cr2-Thumbnailer / nef-Thumbnailer - has fewer features than Photo Mate but is faster for casual browsing and does more things in bulk. thumbnails render very fast, full-screen images renders quite fast, sub-second. the price is that these are not full-res renders, meaning when you try and zoom you won't find the full resolution to scrutinize.

- RawPal Gallery - couldn't find any way to set the read location to /Removable/SD. even tried editing the shared_prefs.xml via terminal and putting it in myself; app borked on it and reset the field. so, DOA, at least for now.

none of these have any basic developing features like crop or brightness/contrast/color/sharpness adjustments, so they make it to the point of "handler and converter" and then stop. once converted to jpg, if you need to crop something down then the built-in gallery actually does a fine job of this. it's an extra step, so things can start to drag out, but it's definitely usable at least for the one-offs.

working with HD video

videos on some of the more recent DSLRs are encoded in gigantor full 1080p and can chew up 300MB per minute, even more on some models with 60Hz rate. but increasingly codecs are starting to converge on a few and players are getting better compatibility for it. so the issues related to working with DSLR HD video files are about the same as playback of a variety of downloaded content.

in my case, both MX Video Player and BS Player Lite were able to play my 550D's videos correctly (HW accelerated as well). the built-in video player did also play but couldn't select the right audio track so it was silent (and with zero configuration operations, therefore DOA).

uploading to youtube also worked fine through the youtube app.

backup/move/prune files

i was almost surprised to see copying and moving files around between various partitions and physical devices all worked as i would have hoped/expected. the built-in file manager app can be used to pretty easily copy and delete files around the fs. other similar apps like ES file explorer and root explorer also fine of course. operations done via shell in terminal app, also fine. all as expected. the relevant locations that you will be working with are:

/Removable/SD - dock's SD card slot
/Removable/USBdisk1 - USB memory stick via dock's USB port
/Removable/MicroSD - tablet's micro-SD card slot
/sdcard - tablet's internal storage (27GB volume on the 32GB models)

in my testing, copying files across all combinations of these devices worked as expected.

of course, handling files in standard file managers and in shell means no thumbnails which means having to go off perfect memory of file numbers... which is annoying. this is why i'm hoping apps like photo mate will eventually get more multi-select functionality.
 
Last edited:

Chemas

Member
Jan 29, 2012
28
0
Did you try Photoshop Touch? http://goo.gl/lPXMX
There is no support for RAW files and it only supports image resolutions up to 1600x1600px (enough for FB, blogs,...) ...but it's probably the best app for photo editing.

For RAW files I hope adobe will make something similar to bridge(+camera raw)/lightroom soon. :)
 
Last edited:

esm922

Member
Jan 11, 2012
9
1
Thanks for the info on working with raw files. I want to add one more program to the mix and it is NEF-Thumbnailer which is for those of us that are working with Nikon raw files. It is done by the same people that did the CR2-Thumbnailer program which was reviewed in first post so the same limitations and features apply. Also wanted to note that the RawPal Gallery program let me access my removable card but it seems to need root to do it.I was not to impressed with the program though. RawPal also picked up my DropSync program and did galleries of all my pictures on Dropbox.
 

Justin_Thyme

Member
Jan 22, 2012
34
4
Princeton, NJ
Being a professional photographer I would never attempt to use a tablet as a processing platform, NEVER! Firstly, even though the prime is the fastest tablet out there its not enough to run batch process on RAW files even if there is an app for it. Secondly you cant calibrate the colors on any tablet. You mentioned already the file sizes and I have 0 patience on the speed of the SD reader built in to the dock, like usb 1.0 speeds. I shoot a Canon 1D MkIV and 1Ds MKIII that both have enormous files and USB 3.0 reader.

I do use the tablet for previewing images but thats it. I shoot both raw and jpeg and with the Pro series bodies you get CF and SD card slots so I save RAW to CF and jpeg medium to SD. To preview I just insert the SD card and have smaller files for preview purposes. If I need to process images I use my laptop if Im away or desktop at home. Both have the processing power and displays needed for professional results that you cant get out of a tablet.
 

jaypm

Senior Member
Feb 4, 2012
82
31
New York
Thanks for the info on working with raw files. I want to add one more program to the mix and it is NEF-Thumbnailer which is for those of us that are working with Nikon raw files. It is done by the same people that did the CR2-Thumbnailer program which was reviewed in first post so the same limitations and features apply. Also wanted to note that the RawPal Gallery program let me access my removable card but it seems to need root to do it.I was not to impressed with the program though. RawPal also picked up my DropSync program and did galleries of all my pictures on Dropbox.

thanks i added information about nef-Thumbnailer to the OP.

i have root on my tf201 but wasn't able to get it to look in the /Removable directory, maybe i missed something. if you want to share instructions on that i can add them as well.
 

jaypm

Senior Member
Feb 4, 2012
82
31
New York
Being a professional photographer I would never attempt to use a tablet as a processing platform, NEVER! Firstly, even though the prime is the fastest tablet out there its not enough to run batch process on RAW files even if there is an app for it. Secondly you cant calibrate the colors on any tablet.

never say never... tablets are just computers like any other and there's nothing fundamental that will prevent them from eventually being good RAW processing devices. quad-core tegra3 clocked at 1.3ghz is already in the vicinity of the minimum power needed to process RAW files in a reasonable amount of time, provided that the RAW processing engine is sufficiently multi-threaded. by next year you'll see 2ghz quad-core tablets hitting the market. it's really only a matter of time until the software starts to strengthen and these devices become viable for real RAW work.

once we have the right software then the limitation becomes the fat-finger interface to a touchscreen for making fine adjustments. the tf201 dock adds a touchpad that remedies that problem. other tablets could be paired with bluetooth mice to gain the same functionality.

and then there's color calibration. well, tablet screens are using current display technology like any other and can be calibrated once the software supports it. it's already the case that one of the programs i listed above supports its own color calibration settings.
 

namebrandon

Senior Member
Sep 8, 2010
448
33
Chicago, IL
www.sunny16.org
Being a professional photographer I would never attempt to use a tablet as a processing platform, NEVER! Firstly, even though the prime is the fastest tablet out there its not enough to run batch process on RAW files even if there is an app for it. Secondly you cant calibrate the colors on any tablet. You mentioned already the file sizes and I have 0 patience on the speed of the SD reader built in to the dock, like usb 1.0 speeds. I shoot a Canon 1D MkIV and 1Ds MKIII that both have enormous files and USB 3.0 reader.

Get back on POTN you jack-ass.. ;)
[ <-- BrandonSi ]

I guess being a professional photographer as well, I'll go ahead and disagree with you. :D

Unless you're printing, color calibration isn't *that* much of an issue, especially if you can profile with sRGB. I would prefer to edit in LR on Windows, but in a pinch, I'd be OK editing on a tablet, especially the prime, with the dock + mouse and keyboard.

It's not an editing machine by a long-shot.. It's not even a laptop, but for a instances where you're traveling or are on-location and want to do a quick edit here and there, it can handle the job.
 
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Dark Knight

Senior Member
Feb 20, 2008
115
0
Whatever the case, having a fast track device to preview, show the client and perhaps even the rate the images before your full blown PC/MAC based workflow is a benefit.

There is a good article in this quarter's C'T digital Photography magazine (German Mag, aimed at world Wide audience) about the benefits of tablet aided photography. Most of it is aimed at the iSlab's with a small excerpt about Android. (See here for a preview)

Android based photography is definetly under exploited and we need more apps out there. If the small developers keep innovating, perhaps the big players (Adobe, Canon, Nikon etc..) will take notice and understand we benefit from such tools. Then there's the niche players like Leica, Panasonic, Fujifilm etc.. where there's very little RAW support.

I'll be watching this thread.. Keep the RAW , Tethered shooting etc.. recommendations coming in.

Some of my recommendations :
- Eye-Fi card for Wireless RAW preview
- DSLR Controller app by Chainfire....
 

mtechfan

Senior Member
Jan 14, 2009
450
18
Östersund
I use RawVision myself, its not expensive for the pro version either.

Makes it a lot easier to show my clients the raw files I just shot on a larger screen. My laptop was much too big to carry around. The Prime is perfect.

:)
 

spectre130

Member
Jan 20, 2011
6
0
I shoot with a 1DmkIII and 7D... So I shoot CF cards. I want to use the transformer to weed out photos and dump the CF cards onto a portable HD. With that said, how do you all have you setup? Will a USB hub work with the CF card reader and HD hooked up, or is the androids still unable to move files from one storage device to another like the case used to be? I want to get rid of the laptop while traveling and I typically shoot 400gb in a week.

Sent from my PG86100 using Tapatalk 2
 

Dark Knight

Senior Member
Feb 20, 2008
115
0
I have the TF101, regular Transformeer (not the Transformer prime).

With the keyboard dock, the built in SD card reader can be used to read SD card contents and a RAW viewer app can then render the images.

If you don't have the Dock on you - and I would imagine out in the field you want to be as light with the kit as possible - you could purchase the Asus USB host dongle or the Asus SD card reader. Both work well for me.

It's nothing cutting edge. The SD card shows as a mounted drive and you can then view / copy the contents using a File Explorer or Raw viewer.
 
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Dark Knight

Senior Member
Feb 20, 2008
115
0
I think most of us here are not proposing it being used as a full photographic workflow or fine editing.

Think of it as a preview tool to help save time when you do come to your true workflow.

Surely there's benefit in rating some of the images on the train ride home ? Yes you couldn't fine edit or view the images on calibrated monitor, but for composition and exposure alone, rating upfront would save time for final workflow.
 

wernerzero

Senior Member
Dec 21, 2010
88
10
I agree, no need to fully edit your photos, but some sort of preview and rating app would be awesome.
If you take a couple of hundred, or even thousands, of shots on a trip, then it would be a real timesaver to be able to go through your shots and discard the bad ones, maybe have a three star system for good pics/ great pics, need editing/ excellent pics, need only some tweaking...
And if it could somehow implement a layer of some sort, on the image, where you could scribble down your first thoughts and ideas for editing. The same way you can open pdfs in a few apps and write comments to the text.

Now that Nikon has announced the optional WU-1a Wi-Fi module that can be used with the new D3200 DSLR and an app for android, maybe we are closer to getting apps that can handle raw-images on our devices.

W.Z.


I think most of us here are not proposing it being used as a full photographic workflow or fine editing.

Think of it as a preview tool to help save time when you do come to your true workflow.

Surely there's benefit in rating some of the images on the train ride home ? Yes you couldn't fine edit or view the images on calibrated monitor, but for composition and exposure alone, rating upfront would save time for final workflow.
 

wapcamer

Member
Mar 28, 2010
16
0
Paris
caketuzz.com
Hi jaypm,

Nice list but I'm surprised you didn't mention RawVision.
Indeed it does support multiple selection for deletion, jpeg extraction, import (to empty your card for example), it has support for Eye-Fi transfers. Finally you will be able to quickly share with other apps (flickr, facekbook, dropbox etc...).
Regarding videos, it give a preview but you will still need MX Player (my fav) to read the video properly.

As everyone agrees here, the goal is not to make photo post-processing as we would do on a desktop, but rather to check the photos, sort and share them in a convenient way.
Still, there will also be quick retouching options: crop, straighten, brightness, contrast, B&W/sepia conversion etc... Don't expect U-points, but rather quick image enhancing features.

It can also give more interaction during a shooting by presenting the photos to the model or photographer as soon as it is taken. I think of Eye-fi, but also WT-1 or the Canon equivalent, which will be supported in the future, as well as usb host support, though 3rd party apps can help to mount usb devices, that will then appear in the filesystem.

wernerzero: about taking notes on a photo, e.g. you could extract a JPEG and then send it to the very nice 'Skitch' application (made by the guys of evernote)
 
Last edited:

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    HOWTO: RAW photo management on android / tf201

    one of the original reasons i wanted the tf201+dock was for digital camera management while traveling. the dock's SD card slot is really what makes this practical. if i'm traveling and shooting 500-1000 photos then having the ability to manage these files out-of-camera becomes very useful. in various cases i would like to:

    - review and discard photos
    - copy or move photos from the original SD card to internal memory, or a microSD card, or a USB key
    - run a slideshow on screen, or hdmi out
    - share via email/etc
    - upload videos to youtube

    if you own a typical point-and-shoot digicam then android is more or less ready to handle all these tasks out of the box. in my case i am shooting with a canon DSLR, the 550D more specifically, in RAW format - as is the case for most 550D/600D/7D/5MD2/1D* owners along with equivalent nikons/etc. each of my RAW files are 25MB and that generally only increases as the cameras get better. RAW files are also raw, meaning the raw CMOS sensor data has not yet been processed and rendered into an image file. this is why working with RAW files is a pain in the ass on every platform - it pushes the limits of both CPU and I/O.

    i just spent a chunk of time evaluating what works and doesn't in trying to do all these things with the current state of software. figured i'd share the results in case other RAW shooters come out of the woodwork.

    working with RAW photos

    RAW files come in various manufacturer- and even model-specific formats which means that android out of the box has no idea what to do with them. nothing in the entire android stack currently recognizes or handles RAW files, at least as of 4.0.3. so you need apps if you hope to do anything other than move the photos around.

    at current time in the android market it looks like only 3 apps really try and provide a somewhat complete environment for viewing and handling RAW files. my experience with each of them was as follows:

    - Photo Mate - supports viewing, rotating/mirroring, resizing and converting to JPG, backing up, slideshow, ratings, and sharing - all useful features, but amazingly there is no multi-select, meaning you can't do most of these things in bulk. this is a real limiting factor. in a few cases you have the option to do a task on an entire directory, but for most DSLRs this will mean every photo on the card and is unlikely to be what you want. speed of raw thumbnail rendering is fast, rendering of full images a couple seconds so not the best for just flipping through quickly. however the renders are full-res and the processor looks good which means it is excellent for zooming into the 1:1 pixel-level and scrutinizing sharpness and clarity.

    - cr2-Thumbnailer / nef-Thumbnailer - has fewer features than Photo Mate but is faster for casual browsing and does more things in bulk. thumbnails render very fast, full-screen images renders quite fast, sub-second. the price is that these are not full-res renders, meaning when you try and zoom you won't find the full resolution to scrutinize.

    - RawPal Gallery - couldn't find any way to set the read location to /Removable/SD. even tried editing the shared_prefs.xml via terminal and putting it in myself; app borked on it and reset the field. so, DOA, at least for now.

    none of these have any basic developing features like crop or brightness/contrast/color/sharpness adjustments, so they make it to the point of "handler and converter" and then stop. once converted to jpg, if you need to crop something down then the built-in gallery actually does a fine job of this. it's an extra step, so things can start to drag out, but it's definitely usable at least for the one-offs.

    working with HD video

    videos on some of the more recent DSLRs are encoded in gigantor full 1080p and can chew up 300MB per minute, even more on some models with 60Hz rate. but increasingly codecs are starting to converge on a few and players are getting better compatibility for it. so the issues related to working with DSLR HD video files are about the same as playback of a variety of downloaded content.

    in my case, both MX Video Player and BS Player Lite were able to play my 550D's videos correctly (HW accelerated as well). the built-in video player did also play but couldn't select the right audio track so it was silent (and with zero configuration operations, therefore DOA).

    uploading to youtube also worked fine through the youtube app.

    backup/move/prune files

    i was almost surprised to see copying and moving files around between various partitions and physical devices all worked as i would have hoped/expected. the built-in file manager app can be used to pretty easily copy and delete files around the fs. other similar apps like ES file explorer and root explorer also fine of course. operations done via shell in terminal app, also fine. all as expected. the relevant locations that you will be working with are:

    /Removable/SD - dock's SD card slot
    /Removable/USBdisk1 - USB memory stick via dock's USB port
    /Removable/MicroSD - tablet's micro-SD card slot
    /sdcard - tablet's internal storage (27GB volume on the 32GB models)

    in my testing, copying files across all combinations of these devices worked as expected.

    of course, handling files in standard file managers and in shell means no thumbnails which means having to go off perfect memory of file numbers... which is annoying. this is why i'm hoping apps like photo mate will eventually get more multi-select functionality.
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