More Bits Please
GIMP does not support 16-bit per channel images fully as of version 2.6, which is a surprise. GIMP is often touted as the premier open source alternative to Photoshop.
GIMP is implementing 16 -bit support piecewise, with full support slated for version 3. This scuttles my plan to work with high range grayscale images in GIMP.
Krita could have been a solution but I can’t try that as on my system (Ubuntu 9.10) it’s broken.
CinePaint adjusts the levels beautifully but I can’t find how to map the greyscale to an arbitrary colored gradient.
ImageJ specialises in scientific analysis of image data. It was able to fix the contrast and apply “lookup table” coloration (see below). The finished image has a palette of 256 colours only because of the way the lookup table feature works, but It still looks miles better than my previous attempts using GIMP exclusively.