When I first started shooting in RAW, I used a converter called Bibble 4. It’s good – very fast, intuitive and easy to use – but I soon came to the conclusion that it just didn’t have the ability to bring out sharpness and detail the way a bird photographer would want, and I eventually moved on to the now defunct RawShooter Essentials.
Well time marches on, and Bibble 5 is currently in (extended!) beta.
I won’t dwell on the features – basically it’s pitched very much at Lightroom with DAM capabilities, layers and other selective editing tools – but I will briefly talk about image quality…
As I suggest above, it was the relative inability to bring out detail that did for Bibble 4. Don’t get me wrong, it was a subtle thing, but I always felt that Bibble 4 images really lacked something in terms of that crispness and “crackle” (yes, I know it sounds like I’m talking about breakfast cereal – well you come up with a better way to say it!) you see in the best bird images, and no amount of sharpening could fix things.
Well, although Bibble 5 is still under development, and although they don’t talk about it in the blurb, they’ve done something to the detail and sharpening algorithms that I like very much…
Following are a few images I shot today at Marden Quarry in Whitley Bay and converted in Bibble 5. Ignore the blown highlights (entirely my fault – I just wanted some new images that I could run through Bibble 5 and wasn’t really trying very hard – and it was very sunny) and the slight colour cast (it’s a beta, remember, and I’ve applied very heavy highlight recovery too, which can cause colour shifts), and take in the texture and sharpness.
They’re actually better full sized, but even here there’s a quality to the way these look that Bibble 4 just can’t do, and – to be honest – neither can Raw Therapee or Capture 4: sure, they can do “sharp”, but as I say there’s something else about these Bibble 5 conversions.
It’s almost like having a new lens..!
As I suggest these aren’t great images, but I’ve converted the same files in Cap One and in Raw Therapee, and I can’t quite get this natural-looking sharpness from either application.
Very promising, then. Next weekend, weather permitting, I’ll put some effort in and see what Bibble 5 can do with decent files.