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View Full Version : G500 & KD-510z RAW mode, AF Calibration



JimCockfield
09-16-2004, 01:02 PM
Against my better judgement, I'm going to put out this information.

I was up until 4:00AM yesterday morning messing with this (downloading C Compilers, JPEG Libraries, etc.). However, I can confirm that RAW mode works.

Here is where you can find the initial information on it (don't ask me to translate because I don't speak Russian).

http://myfototest.narod.ru/

Here is a Russian Conversion Utility (very slow) that will work with the G500 or KD-510z:

http://myfototest.narod.ru/graw109.zip

This utility does not convert to JPEG. Instead, it converts the RAW files into a .mrw format that can be read by DIVU, etc. You can choose from A1, A2 or DiMAGE 7 Series formats.

To use it, set RAW multi to 0 for DIVU, or 2 or 3 for other .mrw converters (according to the instructions). I tested it with the 7_G500key converter key, checked the g500 raw box, set multi to 0, set pre-sharpening to none. Then, I used DCRAW to convert to a different format. Results were pleasing.

You can also use DCRAW to convert the G500 RAW files directly to 24 bit .PPM files, or 48-bit .PSD files. Just type DCRAW and you'll see the command line arguments. You don't need the Russian utility for this purpose.
http://www.cybercom.net/~dcoffin/dcraw/

You can get precompiled .exe files for Windows and Mac platforms from here:

http://www.insflug.org/raw/

To convert, I've found that the -a command line argument (auto white balance) works very well, based on my limited tests.

Note that DCRAW does not support the Konica KD-510z. Even though the internal file structure is identical to the Minolta G500, the camera manufacturer and model number information is different.

So, I had to modify the DCRAW.C source last night to work with my KD-510z and recompile the program (which was a chore, since I had to chase down the JPEG libraries he was including). I talked to the program's author yesterday to inquire about support being added for the KD-510z. He asked me to send him RAW files, which I did. He is also going to take a look at trying to use the camera's white balance settings for initial image adjustments (this command line argument currently does not work properly with these models).

In the meantime, if anyone needs a dcraw.exe that will run under Windows, already modified for the KD-510z, I can e-mail you the one that I modified and compiled last night. If you have a G500, the precompiled versions should already work.

Anyway, to shoot in RAW, do the following (AND DO THIS AT YOUR OWN RISK, AS I DO NOT KNOW IF YOU COULD DAMAGE YOUR CAMERA):

Press and hold menu button (standard menu will appear in the display)

Press and hold shutter button

(at this point, both the menu button and shutter button are still held down)

Then (while continuing to hold the menu button and shutter button down throughout the sequence below):

2xTELE (press right zoom button twice)
1xWIDE (press left zoom button once)
(a blue information screen appears here)
TRASH (press trashcan icon button once)
PLAY (press upper left button on back of camera)
2xTELE (press right zoom button twice)
1xWIDE (press left zoom button once)

The developer menu will appear (you can release the shutter button and menu button now).

Select "RAW Data Mode". The camera will then shoot in RAW (even though the files have a .JPG Extension) until you power it off. Then, it will go back to normal operation. The RAW files run around 10MB.

WARNING! Do NOT attempt to go into the other menus. For example, if you select AF Calibrate, it will immediately begin a calibration of the Autofocus, and it WILL mess it up badly

Preliminary Thoughts:

It's a lot of trouble to shoot in RAW (given the keystroke combinations needed to get into this mode each time you want to use it). It's also much slower (the G500 and KD-510z don't have a buffer). For special photos (portraits or landscapes I may want to enlarge), I can see using it.

Otherwise, I think it's more trouble than it's worth (since the JPEG and image processing algorithms in the KD-510z/G500 are already pretty darn good anyway).

You also will not be able to preview the images in the camera. In this respect, it will be like using film (you can't see what the photos look like until you convert the RAW files into another format later using software).

Likewise, I have not tested it enough to tell if it could damage anything (for example, how the camera may handle it if the media becomes full).

Autofocus Calibration:
----------------------

DO THIS AT YOUR OWN RISK

I cannot recommend doing this. However, if you have SEVERE AF problems (and can't wait on service from KM), I want to make you aware that there is a way to do a calibration. But, you are probably better off sending the camera into KM if you have problems. Anyway, here is what I've found seems to work for me:

Setup a Test Target with lots of contrast in good light.

I used an Afghan with a rows and columns of small diamond shaped markings (about 1/4 inch each in size) against a light background.

USE A TRIPOD, and measure 100 inches (2.54 meters) from the camera's lens to the Test Target. Or, try 2.3 meters (I'm still undecided on which works best).

Powerup Camera by opening the cover

Press and hold menu button (standard menu will appear in the display)

Press and hold shutter button

(at this point, both the menu button and shutter button are still held down)

Then (while continuing to hold the menu button and shutter button down throughout the sequence below):

2xTELE (press right zoom button twice)
1xWIDE (press left zoom button once)
(a blue information screen appears here)
TRASH (press trashcan icon button once)
PLAY (press upper left button on back of camera)
2xTELE (press right zoom button twice)
1xWIDE (press left zoom button once)

The developer menu will appear (you can release the shutter button and menu button now).

Scroll down to and select the AF Adjust Menu (Note that as soon as you select it, AF calibration will begin, so MAKE SURE you have everything exactly as it should be before you enter this menu choice).

After the sequence is completed, WAIT until it exits back to the developer menu before powering off the camera (just close the cover at the developer menu).

If any errors appear on the screen while the AF Calibration is being performed, then you will need to recalibrate the camera.

WARNING: You can screw up your camera. I did not measure the distance properly when performing the first AF Calibration, did not have a good enough test target, got errors during the calibration, and it really messed up my autofocus.

My focus was so far off after my first attempt, I had to recalibrate outside in bright sunlight to keep from getting errors during my subsequent calibration attempts, and the autofocus wouldn't work at all indoors!

So far, I have recalibrated my camera using a variety of focus distances and test targets. Mine is currently calibrated with a test target at 2.54 meters (100 inches)

It is my understanding that the Factory uses a 2.3 Meter Calibration (although I have no way to confirm this).

If you are not experiencing severe focus problems, I strongly recommend you don't do this procedure. I'm still experimenting with it myself (my camera focused fine before, but curiousity got the best of me). To be frank, I still don't think I've got it quite as good as it was from the factory -- even after numerous calibrations.

So, take my warning seriously!

I'd hate for anyone to turn their camera into a paperweight (as I almost did after my first calibration attempt)!

JimCockfield
09-16-2004, 02:18 PM
I just got a note from Dave Coffey (the author of DCRAW). The Konica KD-510z has been added to the source code.

Dave also modified the code so that the DCRAW correctly supports the -w switch (using the camera's white balance). I compiled and tested it a few minutes ago, and it seems to be working fine (accurate colors).