Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Making more of the good ol' Olympus C series Ultrazoom

I've had my C-750UZ for a long while. The plastic latch on the battery door is half broken. The internal capacitor doesn't hold charge much anymore. It's voracious for energy. Normal alkaline AA batteries (four at a time) don't last very long in it. Lithium one use disposable AAs are a bit expensive. Enerloop type modern NiMh have just enough fresh voltage to last enough and still not cost you an arm and a leg.

Despite it all, the colours of the C series JPEGs are happy and presentable - the greens are punchy yet not over the top and so on.

Just today, I came across a forum posting that noted that the C series Ultrazooms can produce RAW files - with a lot of help from some Russian hacker forum. I tried it, haven't made up my mind whether it's worthwhile or successful. If you want to give it a go, here's what you have to do:

  1. Download OlyRAW program - it runs on Microsoft Windows PCs - I tried it on Windows 7 and it still works on that newer Windows. Keep that aside for a while.
  2. Take your C series camera and switch it on.
  3. Open the xD card compartment door. A red alert message will appear on the LCD screen.
  4. Hold down both Ok button and the switch LCD/EVF toggle button together for 3 seconds.
  5. The LCD display should now shows a two panel menu - cursor around the menu so that it reads USB -> CONTROL, press OK
  6. Now close the door, switch off.
  7. You will need a (currently) common USB to mini-USB generic cable (your C-series camera came with one). Attach the cable to the camera and the running computer
  8. Switch on the camera - the computer will acknowledge and the camera will display a 3 choice menu on the LCD. Choose PC on the camera.
  9. Run the OlyRAW program and tick the RAW Enabled checkbox, then click Ok on that dialog .
  10. Switch off the camera and disconnect.
  11. The camera will now create two files with a JPG extension each time you click. One file will be a real JPEG, the other will be an unusual RAW file but it will still have a .JPG file extension.
Processing the RAW file.
  1. When you want to process the RAW file, copy the file to your computer.
  2. You might want to rename the RAW file's .JPG extension to .BIN so that you do not get confused.
  3. You now need to run RawWork.exe to convert this RAW file to an .NEF file.
You will need RawWork.exe, Rawnef.odb and optionally a configuration utility rawutil.exe. Get these files - from this raw2nef webpage and the rawwork webpage.

Note: The RawWork database does not have an entry for the C-750uz - there are entries for the C-770, C-765

Note: NEF, by the way, is the Nikon RAW file format.

When you don't want the C-series camera to produce RAW files anymore, you need to run the OlyRAW program and untick the RAW Enabled checkbox you ticked previously.

Disclaimer: These are instructions derived from the OlyRAW Russian website - play with your camera at your own risk - no liability is assumed if it becomes a useless brick.
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