The NEX-5 comes bundled with Sony Image Data Suite, which has software packages that help you view, manage and process your images via a nice Collections based system. It uses a Lightbox application to view the images, and a RAW Converter with a variety of features available for processing your RAW files.
When you start Sony's Image Data Lightbox SR, you can add folders or individual images to Collections that you can save so you have unique views of your images.
Browsing of both RAW and JPEG images you add to collections is simple, and you have a wide variety of viewing options, including being able to select the number of image preview panes available (up to 4 screens), multiple sizing options available by clicking on icons or using menu choices (zoom in or out, fit to window, actual pixels) with the ability to see histograms and image property screens as you're browsing through an image collection, too. You can also filter by rating and file type.
Batch Processing of RAW files for conversion is also supported by Sony's Image Data Converter SR. Simply hold down the Ctrl Key Down while right clicking on images to mark them. Or, to mark a group of images for processing, you can press the Ctrl Key and Right click on the first image you want to mark in a set, then hold down the Ctrl and Shift keys and right click on the last image you want included in a set to easily mark an entire group of images. Then, when you Click on the Output button, you can either use the cameras settings for processing, or load processing settings from an XML file you've saved from within Sony's Image Data Converter SR. Here's an example of saved settings loaded from a saved .xml file that it can apply to all of the marked images during a batch conversion.
Sony's Image Data Converter SR gives you a wide variety of settings options for Brightness, White Balance, Creative Style, Contrast, D-Range Optimization, Highlight Color Distortion Correction, Color, Peripheral Illumination, Sharpness, Noise Reduction, Tone Curve and Display Control. You can expand or collapse the available choices under each of those categories. For example, here are some of the available White Balance Choices, letting you select the Camera Settings, use a preset, dial in a color temperature, or measure a grey point in the image to set it:
We found that the Sony Image Data Lightbox SR works well for managing and rating of both jpeg and raw photos, with the Sony Image Data Converter SR giving you a wide variety of raw processing options, with output format choices for color space, 8 or 16 bit depth for TIFF files, and compression level for jpeg images, as shown in this screen:
Sony also includes PMB for even more media software features. It lets you browse both video and jpeg image collections and gives you multiple views, including both thumbnail and calendar views of your images with time line sorting.
You can also use the included tools to enhance your images, with tools for cropping, red eye correction, enhancing contrast, sharpness and saturation and tone curves.
In addition, you can select files and press a button to e-mail them to others, save them to CD, print them, or open them with another editor. You can also trim your video files or convert them to wmv format.
In short, we were pleased with the Sony Image Data Suite and included PMB Software, as it did a better than expected job of managing photo collections and processing of media files, offering a wide variety of features to help photographers get the best out of the camera.
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