Photographic software programs: both Mac and PC

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by BBW, Jan 21, 2010.

  1. BBW

    BBW Super Moderator Emeritus Charter Member

    Being a neophyte to the digital world of photography, I've already asked several questions on this subject but thought I couldn't be the only one to have these sorts of questions, hence the thread.

    Perhaps some of you could give some general overviews of specific programs...perhaps eventually there might be the need for individual threads devoted to the most used, such as Lightroom, Aperture, Lightzone, etc., with their plusses and minuses depending upon needs, computers, etc.

    I have a million questions but don't even really know where to start logically, so I will await feedback.:smile:

    (Amin and Brian, feel free to rename this thread.)
     
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  2. Brian Mosley

    Brian Mosley Administrator Emeritus Charter Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    OK, currently I own and use :

    Olympus Studio
    Simply the best colour rendition available for Olympus cameras from raw - and pretty much identical output to jpeg as provided in-camera... which is why people rave about jpeg quality from the Olympus cams.

    Surprisingly capable, but takes some time to master. I've seen some instructions somewhere... here we are, start here and follow E_B's posts.

    Some people hate this software with a passion... probably because it's slower than the mainstream raw converters and has its' own ideas about user interface. I'm used to it on Windows XP and I can get along fine with it.

    The big achilles heel of this software is that it will not access the whole dynamic range available from your raw files... highlights will not be recovered as well as the other raw converters.

    Lightzone
    This is a fantastic Post Processing application, provided you want to work on one image at a time (sounds silly, but there are lots of people who want to churn through a session as quickly as possible).

    I suppose it's inspired by dark room developers and the zone system... all I know is, it's easy to see what you're doing to your image and undo/disable/modify the edits at any time... and the processing tools are very powerful.

    There's a cult following :hail: for this program from some serious photographers - I guess I'm one of them :biggrin:

    Whichever raw converter I use as the starting point, I'll use Lightzone to finish the image in some way - even if only scaling or sharpening.

    Capture One v5 PRO
    This is a fast, general purpose (supports lots of different cameras) raw converter with a great set of features - including superb CA correction and distortion correction tools. Currently, you have to apply the distortion correction manually for m4/3rds lenses but that will become automatic in the near future.

    The detail you can get from Capture One is extremely good, and it will give you access to the whole dynamic range available from the raw file.

    Bibble Pro v5

    I'll come back and carry on with my comments soon.

    Cheers

    Brian
     
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  3. F1L1P

    F1L1P Mu-43 Veteran Charter Member

    388
    Jan 2, 2010
    Europe
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  4. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator Moderator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    I use:

    Raw Developer (Mac only) - Best RAW conversions I have seen as far as the actual process of retaining the most detail, naturally rendered. It's an amazing and affordable RAW developer but not the best choice for Micro Four Thirds because it doesn't do any of the automatic distortion and color fringe fixing that some of the other apps do. When I have a special image that I want to handle very carefully, I often go back to Raw Developer, but for 99% of my photos these days...

    I use Lightroom (version 3 beta). Lightroom pretty much has all the tools I want/need to finish the photo for most of my images. I shoot RAW only, export from Lightroom as a processed JPEG, and I'm done. Occasionally I export as a 16-bit TIFF, which then gets some work in....

    Photoshop. For the most part, I use Photoshop only if I need to do layer masking, etc. With the selective tools in Lightroom, and plugins like Viveza from Nik software, I find myself going to Photoshop less and less often.

    ______________________________

    I used to use C1 (Capture One), which Brian mentioned, in my Canon days. I think it's a terrific program, very much like Raw Developer but with the added distortion and color fringing corrections. I may go back to using C1, but for now I'm quite happy with Lightroom.
     
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  5. steve

    steve Mu-43 Veteran Charter Member

    203
    Jan 18, 2010
    Havertown, PA
    I use Photoshop CS4. I've been a PS user for a long time and find it to be the most comprehensive application for image enhancement. It does everything you can possibly want to do, in a thousand different ways, and then some. However, it's expensive and has a steep learning curve.

    I've downloaded trial versions of Lightroom three times and while I think it's a fantastic program, I find it doesn't do anything that I can't do with a combination of Photoshop, Adobe Camera Raw and Adobe Bridge (packaged with PS).

    I've heard good things about Photoshop Elements, but have never tried it.
     
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  6. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator Moderator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    I think that the vast majority of what most photographers want to accomplish in PS CS4 can be done in PS Elements with the Viveza plugin from Nik. It's a lot cheaper (though the plugin isn't cheap), and the learning curve is much less steep.

    I recently recommended this software combination (Elements and Viveza) to my father, but I think he's determined to take on leaning PS CS4.
     
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  7. bebrox

    bebrox Mu-43 Regular Charter Member

    80
    Dec 29, 2009
    Scotland
    The Gimp, Lightroom and Silkypix

    I have started to use Lightroom 2.5, before that I was using Silkypix (came supplied with my LX3 and G1).

    I also use 'The Gimp' but Lightroom is starting to take over especially after spending some looking at online tutorials.

    I sometimes shoot raw but mostly jpeg. My entry for the 'Cold' contest was shot as a jpeg and tweaked using Silkypix. I like RAW but oftentimes am so pleased with the jpegs that I don't bother too much. Anyhow Silkypix although a bit unwieldy has always produced good results.

    From now on I will use Lightroom and try and become more adept at using it.
     
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  8. BillN

    BillN Mu-43 All-Pro Charter Member

    Jan 19, 2010
    SW France
    I have used Photoshop for sometime - now CS2, for image manipulation - but I only understand a small part of the application.
    I will stick with what I have as an upgrade to the latest version is expensive and would be wasted on me

    I have Lightroom 1.3, (the first version), which I am now getting more into - I will stick with this, (it is an Abobe product so has similarities to the other stuff I use), and probably upgrade to the latest version once I feel I would benefit from the improvements that have been made.

    Coping will all this different stuff is a job in itself - I am used to the layout of the Nikons - so this venture into M4/3 means I have to press different buttons and turn different wheels to get to where I want to go - another challange

    Likewise I'm sticking with XP Pro as long as I can
     
  9. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus Subscribing Member Charter Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    I use Lightroom 2.6 and 3.0 Beta. I also use PS CS4.
    It's hard to beat LR because it makes the catalog better than any other program.
    You can search any part or all of your catalog by anything you can think of.
    It organizes great. It processes Raw/DNG very well without leaving the program.
    This is HUGE! Going back and forth from Bridge to ACR to PS is a drag...
    LR keeps you working in the same space.

    The thing to remember is that your library/catalog will grow rapidly and can get out of hand if your not organized.

    I use the Oly thing just for firmware updates as I am already 60 and can't wait forever to process an image.

    More later....
     
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  10. texascbx

    texascbx Mu-43 Veteran Charter Member

    389
    Dec 30, 2009
    Texas
    Between DXO optics 6 and Lightzone. DXO is good for doing a lot of pics at once and Lightzone for one at a time.

    Lightzone can really bring back some not so good pics too.
     
  11. BBW

    BBW Super Moderator Emeritus Charter Member

    Thanks everyone for your comments. Once I familiarize myself a bit more with the concepts involved with different softwares, and more - I'll definitely have some more questions. First I'm going to do a little more research. Just had a screen to screen session with a friend which helped a great deal to at least have some very basic understanding...

    So far no one has mentioned Aperture... I hear they are coming out with version 3...but I don't know if it will add in some of the photoshop-like qualities that are "missing" now...

    I shall return when I have more knowledge to as more questions!(I need a nodding head emoticon)
     
  12. kengan

    kengan Mu-43 Rookie Charter Member

    22
    Jan 16, 2010
    S.Holland.Lincs.UK.
    Lost count of the Trial/Demo downloads, but have bought a few as keepers.

    My main longest standing is Zoner Photo Studio. (Up to Version 12 now) Been using this from V5 some few years back. Not as powerful as the more popular ones, but does all I need, is 100% reliable, with VG user support.

    Helicon Filter, has a few useful options, I sometimes need. Sadly getting very long in the tooth.

    Just upgraded for free, my Bibble to V5, looks very good, covers lens distortion I see, but not tried yet!

    Not forgetting Irfanview!
    For my pans, I use Panoramic Factory!
    For printing QImage Pro.

    And Slide/Video Shows, Photodex Proshow Producer.

    Neat Image for noise correction.

    That's about it! I think!:doh: Almost forgot, Artizen HDR for ? HDRs, though Zoner does this OK now.

    //NB\\ None of these require a RAW plug-in, they all recognise and edit/convert my G1/FZ50 Raw files.
     
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  13. BBW

    BBW Super Moderator Emeritus Charter Member

    Software 101 remedial help

    Am I correct that all the softwares mentioned other than Lightzone and Photoshop Elements require the use of a RAW software program first? Viveza looks really nice but apparently it has to be used with some other software...and it appears that is the same with almost all of these.

    I know these are really basic questions but this digital software world is quite confusing to me, at least right now. For example are all versions of Viveza "plug ins", meaning they can't stand alone? And yet Lightroom is not a "plug in" but something else...and yet I don't think it is a stand alone?

    The same with the various B & W softwares mentioned here as well?

    I was kind of hoping to find out that Aperture would work, but alas it does not, yet. I was particularly interested because I knew it would take advantage of iPhoto and that I would not have to reinvent the wheel at this juncture. I would love a really souped up iPhoto type of thing...something like what I think Viveza offers without having to also buy one of the RAW programs, though I guess Amin's suggestion about Photo Elements could solve this problem without setting me back excess amounts of money and eventually might offer me the opportunity to move into the Mac Aperture which I believe is compatible with Viveza.

    I really do appreciate everyone's patience and help here because it is a different language to me at this point.:hail::smile:
     
  14. hohoho

    hohoho Mu-43 Regular Charter Member

    170
    Jan 24, 2010
    Tokyo
    The Gimp and only the Gimp. One reason is that I'm mean, another is that my main computers are both GNU/Linux. Another is that I can add it to any computer I please without any legal qualm whatever, and can recommend it to any and all, including the impoverished.

    However, I haven't yet used RAW files. Since I also have access to a Mac, the description above of RAW Developer interests me.
     
  15. rmazzi

    rmazzi New to Mu-43 Charter Member

    3
    Jan 23, 2010
    Photographic Software Programs

    I am brand new to the forum, so here goes my first, hopefully useful, post.

    I have been using three programs, Lightroom, Aperture and Photoshop. I use Lighroom the most, it is fast, there is a lot of online tutorials and information on it and it does most everything you need for basic photo tweeking.

    I bought Aperture, mostly for the flexibility of album output. I find it slow on my dual core 2.4 Ghz iMAC, even with 4G of Ram, compared to Lightroom. The flexibility and ease of publishing the albums is nice however. I do like some of the metaphor they use in the UI such as the light table, but it is a sluggish program compared to Lightroom. I also don't know if Apple has done anything significant in upgrading the program lately, so i wonder if they have lost interest due to their burgeoning phone business.

    Finally, i use PS CS4 only if i have composites or major manipulation. I found that Nik Software Viveza is incredibly powerful and easy to use. It now comes as a plug in for Lightroom and Aperture, but have not tried it yet.

    At the end of the day, i am sticking with Lightroom and will do some upgrading to stay current. Lightroom 3.0 is in beta, but i think i need to upgrade to OS 10.5 for it to run. Fast, full featured, and lots of support out there.
     
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  16. BBW

    BBW Super Moderator Emeritus Charter Member

    rmazzi, first of all welcome to the MU-43 discussion board and thanks so much for posting here.:biggrin:

    In reading your post, am I correct that Lightroom is a stand alone program? I thought one had to use it in conjunction with another program.

    And are you currently using a micro 4/3 camera with your version of Aperture? I didn't think it supported micro 4/3 yet, or perhaps I misunderstood what I read and it just doesn't support the Olympus E-P cameras.

    I've got a MacBook Pro currently with 10.5.8 running and 2GB... Haven't updated to Snow Leopard yet. Thanks for any and all comments and/clarifications... I need all the help I can get.
     
  17. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus Subscribing Member Charter Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    Lightroom is a stand alone program. You can also use plug in's with it...
    shooter
     
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  18. BBW

    BBW Super Moderator Emeritus Charter Member

    Thanks pal, I needed that answer.:thumbup:
     
  19. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus Subscribing Member Charter Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    No prob Pal..ette.
    Try the beta 3, free download.
    You'll like it. There's free videos to help ya along.....
    It's very intuitive once you surrender yourself to it...
    Don
     
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  20. rst

    rst Mu-43 Regular Charter Member

    109
    Jan 25, 2010
    Germany
    I also use mainly Lightroom. It lets me do what I want without having to change programs, for me it is an end-to-end tool made for photographers. And now that I found out how easy I can add frames, borders, shadows etc with an ImageMagick post-processing action, I even use it to do the finishing for sending to an online printer.

    Cheers
    rst
     
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