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Thinking about upgrading your camera? Better upgrade your software.

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by stratokaster, Jun 15, 2012.

  1. stratokaster

    stratokaster Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 4, 2011
    Dublin, IE
    Last week I finally upgraded to Lightroom 4.1. (I hesitated for a while because in Ukraine Lightroom 4 is, for some obscure reason, more expensive than in other countries.) What can I say? It is a great piece of software and probably the best RAW converter I have ever seen.

    What actually strikes me most is its ability to recover both clipped highlights and crushed shadows. Lightroom 3/ACR6 already was the best RAW converter in this regard, but Lightroom 4 is much better.

    One small example...

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

    As you can see, originally this picture had a noticeable clipping in the sky. This is the best I could get in Lightroom 3:

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

    And this is how the clipped area looks in Lightroom 4 with default settings. The difference is striking, isn't it?

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

    So, what's going on?

    Analyzing the RAW file with RawDigger shows that both blue and green channel are actually clipped:

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

    I think Lightroom 4 recovers luminance information using the remaining (red) channel and then tries to guess the color of the clipped area by analyzing adjacent areas. Strictly speaking, this 'guesswork' does not produce technically correct result, but it looks visually pleasing.

    Before upgrading to Lightroom 4, I had minor complaints about highlight headroom of my camera (the venerable Panasonic GH2). Now? I don't know, I may even cancel my OM-D preorder.
    • Like Like x 12
  2. Brian G

    Brian G Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 16, 2010
    Victoria, BC
    I've been playing with a trial of LR 4.1, and I've found the same thing. Using files from my GH2, it's a noticeable improvement over what I can recover from ACR in PS 5.5.

    It's a bummer - I prefer to use ACR, and don't want to "invest" in a different workflow or additional program. Not sure whether I'm going to plunk down for Lightroom, but it's a noticeable difference.

    My current thinking is that I'll wait until there's a reasonable deal to upgrade PS to the new version.

    Thanks for the comparisons!
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Livnius

    Livnius Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Jul 7, 2011
    Melbourne. Australia
    LR 4.1 is superb. There is no doubt the EM5 can put together a sweet set of pixels, it's a fantastic little machine and the reviews, both user and pro reviews are spot on...it gives you ample room to both push and pull back clipped areas to reveal surprisingly good 'lost' detail. But I think the improvements in LR have played a part too. I was so pleasantly surprised with what I was able to recover from my EM5 images that I decided to run some of my older GF1/GX1 shots through the software, images where using previous versions of LR I was unable to recover any further without some serious ugliness kicking in....and you bet, LR4.1 manages to do so much more than its predecessor. I've been impressed enough to now begin going through a small handful of select older already processed images to give them another run through post processing.

    There is much to be said about these improvements, but there is also something beautiful about non-destructive post processing that allows one to go back and apply the latest software magic/voodoo/witchcraft to older images.
    • Like Like x 3
  4. Bokeaji

    Bokeaji Gonzo's Dad O.*

    Aug 6, 2011
    Austin, TX
    Have the new aperture updates caught it back up with or? Does anyone have both?

    - Eliot@Austin, TX
  5. gsciorio

    gsciorio Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 29, 2011
    Miami, FL
    Adobe Camera RAW is what powers LR so if you like Camera RAW then stick with that. No need to change.
  6. gsciorio

    gsciorio Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 29, 2011
    Miami, FL
    Nice write up here. Lightroom 4 is great for working the tones but I'm not too happy with the color.

    I've also using C1 Pro and the color tools, tonality and overall rendering is far superior to LR. If you have not tried it the trial is fully functional for 60 days.

    raw converter | image editing software

    Keep in mind that C1 Pro is the same software used in most high end shoots with Phase One cameras. It's remarkable what the software does with the E-M5 files.
  7. briloop

    briloop Mu-43 Regular

    May 23, 2012
    Mount Juliet, TN
    Quick reminder on LR4

    I know this has been covered elsewhere on this website, but, be sure to check B&H before you buy LR4 from another retailer. B&H has a deal going on where if you buy a lens from them, they'll knock $50 off the price of LR4. The deal expires July 5, 2012.
  8. Hikari

    Hikari Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 26, 2010
    You are confusing the RAW with the interpolated image. The interpolation is simply better in the new Lightroom (interpolation is guessing). And you cannot separate your idea of "technically correct" with "visually pleasing." There is no such thing as a technically correct image (especially in a consumer camera) and for the entire history of photography the only correct result is visually pleasing.
    • Like Like x 4
  9. Hikari

    Hikari Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 26, 2010
    C1 is great for Phase files, but I don't really like it for many non-Phase/Leaf cameras. But I don't use Lightroom, but Photoshop. With Phase backs (and I shoot with one), C1 is really nice in the capture stage, but for a complete workflow, Photoshop is a much better tool. YMMV.
  10. tanngrisnir3

    tanngrisnir3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 18, 2011
    It IS fantastic, but wait until you start playing around with things from the NIK suite of software.

    It's like how LR SHOULD have originally been made
    • Like Like x 1
  11. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    I don't think so. I was hoping for some improvements in RAW processing and a some of the new Lightroom features including automatic chromatic aberration correction. They're not in it. Most of the reviews of the latest version that I've seen are luke warm to worse. The most positive, and the most useful to me since it pointed out a couple of things I hadn't realised, was the following review:

    Aperture 3.3: The ApertureExpert Review - ApertureExpert Tips - ApertureExpert.com

    That may answer some questions for you.

    I'm thinking about swapping to Lightroom but I'm not certain whether it can import my Aperture library and retain my processing. I know I can export my RAW masters and lose my processing but I don't want to go that way and have to reprocess all of my better shots again in Lightroom when I'd rather be out shooting.
    • Like Like x 1
  12. gsciorio

    gsciorio Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 29, 2011
    Miami, FL
    What Nik plugins do you recommend to start with? I'm a big fan of Snapseed on iOS but on the Mac its lacking.
  13. gsciorio

    gsciorio Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 29, 2011
    Miami, FL
    Yeah the workflow is not as simple as LR but it is easier once you get a custom panel set up and I find the colors always cleaner then with LR or Aperture.
  14. tanngrisnir3

    tanngrisnir3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 18, 2011
    Here, if you've got 30-60 minutes to spare, watch this:


    That said, Dfine and Viveza just change all the rules
    • Like Like x 1
  15. runner girl

    runner girl Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Nov 26, 2011
    I just got LR 4.1 from B & H. I got a free Kelby training video set with it - it DOES give you more than the free ones on-line. I didn't see any deals anywhere else.
  16. gsciorio

    gsciorio Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 29, 2011
    Miami, FL
    Thanks! I've seen a few videos on the Nik site and will be testing out Dfine and Viveza this week on some jobs.
  17. How "clever" is the interpolation software? Are there any examples of where it creates an unpleasant result? The way that is has worked in the example looks great, but are there times where it will try to fill in an area with false colour where it shouldn't have?
  18. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    I just run Lightroom betas all the time. All the latest improvements, and I haven't had to pay them for LR yet.
  19. tanngrisnir3

    tanngrisnir3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 18, 2011
    Take the time to actually get to know their stuff.

    This sounds portentous and stupid, but it literally changes everything if you've been using LR for a long time.
    • Like Like x 1
  20. heedpantsnow

    heedpantsnow Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 24, 2011
    So what are you running now? Is there a new beta now??
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