Image management, RAW development and post processing software options

peter_4059

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I'm getting to the stage where I'm interested in progressing from shooting JPEG to RAW format and learning some post processing skills. I have Olympus viewer 3, however it seems quite limited in it's post processing capability. I've previously used CS3 with Noise Ninja and Topaz Detail 2 for astrophotography.

I'm looking for some advice on more comprehensive options, including the capability to:
1. File and sort images
2. Read and develop Olympus RAW format images
3. Sufficient post processing capability (I'm thinking masks, noise reduction and sharpening) - potentially through add-ins if necessary.

Are there options beyond Adobe products worth considering?

Thanks,

Peter
 

mcasan

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On1 Photo Raw 2019 is what I am using for my ORF files now. Other options: ACDsee, Alien Skin Exposure, Luminar 3 (dam is very limited) and Picktorial. If cost is no objection there is always Capture One Pro 12.

Do some of the free trials to see what best fits your requirements.
 

RyanM

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darktable is a nice option that suits your requirements. about

It's got nice RAW development and editing tools, particularly masking, and a digital asset management system built in. Plus, it's free!
 

Fightingduck

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Hi Peter,

You mentioned that you've used Noise Ninja previously; may I suggest you try Photo Ninja, the newest version from Picturecode? While it isn't the magic bullet all-in-one for all purposes (and I understand that's what you're looking for), in my experience the RAW handling is unmatched (browsing is easy, too)…sorry, but I've tried ON1 (purchased), Luminar 2018 (purchased), and Affinity Photo (purchased), plus DxO, Capture One, etc. in trials, and I always return to Photo Ninja for what I perceive as the best "look" (natural) as a starting point Tif file. Visit Picturecode's site, where you can email for a two-week trial of the software. I've no affiliation with them, although Jim kindly provided a complimentary copy in return for a long-ago endorsement; four years ago. Still the best software for me. I use it as a plug-in with Adobe PS CC instead of ACR.

Good hunting!
Bill
 
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On1 Photo Raw 2019 is what I am using for my ORF files now. Other options: ACDsee, Alien Skin Exposure, Luminar 3 (dam is very limited) and Picktorial. If cost is no objection there is always Capture One Pro 12.

Do some of the free trials to see what best fits your requirements.
What @mcasan said... each one offers a free trial... you won't know until you've tried them out as to which one offers you an environment, and the tools, that you will be happy with.

The last thing you want to do (and, unfortunately, is what I did) and purchase all of them based on the hype of what they can offer. Try them first.

I personally use Exposure 4 from Alien Skin after deciding it was most like the Mac Finder while offering excellent sorting, keyboarding, and most of all editing for RAW files (that's all I shoot). I also use the inexpensive, yet still without a DAM, Affinity Photo. Both Affinity and Alien Skin have an excellent set of video tutorials that make your life easier.

Also... each one of these apps has been talked about more than once in this forum. You'll get some great advice (know when to stop looking!) if you search for each of the programs @mcasan has listed above. In each of those threads you can ask specific questions about that specific software. Each has their pros and cons, but it will all come down to what best fits your eye.
 

JLGF1

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What @mcasan said... each one offers a free trial... you won't know until you've tried them out as to which one offers you an environment, and the tools, that you will be happy with.

The last thing you want to do (and, unfortunately, is what I did) and purchase all of them based on the hype of what they can offer. Try them first.
I never cease to be amazed at the support forums (eg Luminar) filled with refund requests...for software that has 30 day free trials...makes zero sense.

For Windows platforms, I have less than $100 invested in: ACDSee-STD (PAM) + Affinity Photo + EasyHDR which is plenty capabable of all the OP's pre-reqs. ACDSee is configurable to call those other external pkgs, and any others you might add (eg Topaz Studio), so is easily expanded under that framework.
 
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Are there options beyond Adobe products worth considering?
Not many people seem to want to use Adobe Elements, for the limited PP I do I find it great, and it's as cheap as anything, about £80 for Elements 18/19. There's loads of add-ons from the likes of Nik and Topaz, for instance, and every few years you can update if you want for about 80% of the full price. No contract either.
 

archaeopteryx

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Plus, it's free!
It's also my experience darktable is a bit quicker than RawTherapee, though I use both.
Not many people seem to want to use Adobe Elements, for the limited PP I do I find it great, and it's as cheap as anything, about £80 for Elements 18/19.
Well, GIMP+G'MIC serve much the same purposes and are £0. ;) Nothing quite like Nik but, as a past user of Nik during the Google free period, I've not found I've missed it.
 

relic

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Not many people seem to want to use Adobe Elements, for the limited PP I do I find it great, and it's as cheap as anything, about £80 for Elements 18/19. There's loads of add-ons from the likes of Nik and Topaz, for instance, and every few years you can update if you want for about 80% of the full price. No contract either.
For users of Elements, one add-on that may be useful is Elements+ (US $12, a demo version is available). Although it provides many additional functions, I use it mainly for the "curves" function (that Elements lacks) which alone makes it worthwhile to me.
 

Brownie

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Another vote for Darktable. Powerful, and free. Steep learning curve, but if I can, so can you. There are tutorials up the wazoo for it. If you aren't sure how to proceed, type the question in your browser's address bar. I am constantly amazed at how much support there is for the program.

One drawback is there's no file management to speak of.
 

JLGF1

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You mentioned that you've used Noise Ninja previously; may I suggest you try Photo Ninja, the newest version from Picturecode?
Photo Ninja's Raw engine appears quite good, but it's geometry correction seems odd. It might be user error (?) but in my testing that function appears to be checked-off and it identifies the lens correctly...but applies no distortion correction?


Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)



Other app with geometry correction applied.
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 

peter_4059

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Thanks for all the suggestions. It sounds like I should take a look at Darktable to start with. I notice no-one suggested AfterShot Pro3?
 

peter_4059

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I've had a quick look at the darktable website and in particular the darktable for Windows page. It looks like the Windows version is still in development. Is anyone using it successfully on Windows?

Also checking out the ACDSee web page - is this a one off up front license or a monthly subscription or both?
 
Last edited:

JLGF1

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ACDSee is not subscription unless you want cloud storage.

Also don't forget that Topaz Studio basic is free and your legacy plugins transfer to Studio versions at no cost.
 

peter_4059

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ACDSee is not subscription unless you want cloud storage.

Also don't forget that Topaz Studio basic is free and your legacy plugins transfer to Studio versions at no cost.
I'll take a look - thanks.


Might be worth your time to dig through a couple threads....That's what I did....
Best Lightroom non-Subscription Replacement?
LR 5: Finally time to upgrade--but to what???
Bye, Bye, Lightroom ...
Yes, I'm working through those. There doesn't seem to be a lot of consensus from what I've seen so far though. I'm now trying to work out which ones to download for a trial.
 

Bob T

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Yes, I'm working through those. There doesn't seem to be a lot of consensus from what I've seen so far though. I'm now trying to work out which ones to download for a trial.
It is difficult to decide. I started looking for a LR replacement over a year ago, am still not sure.
Part of my trouble is 30 days is not enough. After thirty, I am like, "OK, this will work" so I buy it. After 60, "Dang it, I missed that, this won't work." So, like other have mentioned above, I own several of them, without meaning to.

On1 is my favorite, but their last couple updates are buggy on windows machines. The cataloging doesn't work, and crashes happen. I have invested money, and a whole lot of time, trying to make this work. There is another update due later this month, but that may be their last chance with me.

I like DxO, fast, works well, doesn't do everything.

Liked ACDSee, but after buying it, I found out it makes an original FULL copy of any RAW file I develop, and puts into a HIDDEN folder. That is how their "non-destructive editing" works.

I still use LR6 for importing, keywording, and culling. Also some development if in a hurry because I know it.

Working now with Exposure 4, and it also holds promise, (so I bought it also)

And although I have PS CS3, and Elements, I find I am using Affinity Photo for PS type work. Their training videos are very good, and cover most everything. Plus the cost is low, and it works. Even the RAW development works well. At $50, this could end up being my main tool.
 
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