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Confused about PP software choices

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by SpaceManSpiff, Jan 24, 2014.

  1. SpaceManSpiff

    SpaceManSpiff TalkEmount Top Veteran

    547
    Dec 13, 2013
    Tucson, AZ
    Eric
    Ok, I am ready for starting to shoot RAW, at least for my landscape shots --I have realized how limited JPEGs are. I have been using iPhoto to massage the JPEGs on my MacBook Pro. Lately I have been experimenting with Pixelmator as it has a higher level of control.

    I would like advice/guidance/words of widsom on what PP software to use. I have read (and watched tutorials) and find it a bit overwhelming :crying:...and I am reluctant to buy LR just because it is the big player and that Aperture apparently hasn’t been updated since dinosaurs roamed the earth. It appears that LR offers more tools/control while Aperture might have a more familiar workflow/organization.

    Is DXO Optics Pro another option? I get the impression that it is a stand-alone PP software and not just a RAW converter with corrections for certain camera/lens combos and elaborate NR algorithms.

    Has Apple abandoned Aperture? Will third parties continue plug-in support?

    Sorry about the rambling post and lack of specific questions, but I don’t know where to start.:confused:
     
  2. José De Bardi

    José De Bardi Assistant in Virtue

    Aug 31, 2013
    Dorset, UK
    José
    I've just gone from iPhoto to Aperture, so far so good. I replaced my 2011 MacBook Air with a 2014 so thought I'd make this swap at the same time.
    I made my decision mainly on price and easy of upgrade as all the threads I read said the LR is better than Aperture but not by miles or anything.
    Seems it comes down to preference of interface/workflow, if you like iPhoto you will pick Aperture up very quickly.

    So far so good, I've not actually shot anything since upgrading so I've only been playing with a few existing shots (all JPG). I have decided to go RAW for any paid work and for select personal shoots where I know I will want more control too.

    I have the DXO trial, it's an impressive bit of software, but with no real 'library' function and it seeming to be aimed more at the automated quick fix for known body+lens combos I don't think it will work for me... I'm shooting more and more with legacy glass, and aperture can sort lens distortion (although any tips on plugins for this are welcome anyone!?) so seems DXO is surplus to my requirements.

    Will be interested to see what others think on the matter, I won't be changing my decision mind!
    I'll try and remember to update this thread in a week or two once I've used it a bit more.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  3. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    Basically, your choices for affordable, high quality RAW converter and photo manager apps in one that are relatively easy to use are Aperture and Lightroom. As for Aperture: No, Apple has not abandoned it, and after Final Cut Pro X and recently Logic Pro X, it'll probably be the last of the three big Apple creative softwares that'll get the HUGE 'X'-Update that introduces never before seen user interfaces, tools and so on. But we don't know anything about that now - it might take another two years, it might be a new standalone purchase, ... - so base your purchasing decision on what you get now.

    And what do you get now? With Aperture, you get a quite refined, fast RAW processor that does all the basic tasks good enough and looks and feels modern. With Lightroom, you get a comparably powerful if uglier photo management software that is far more powerful in editing photos. Correcting lens distortion? Removing noise? No problem with Lightroom, but Aperture fails miserably in such easy tasks - doesn't have lens corrections at all and the noise reduction is laughable. Sure, you can add this functionality with plugins, but they're expensive too ...

    I personally still use Aperture (for three years now) with plugins, as a beautiful interface is far more important to me as having all the power in one tool (I'm someone who puts beauty above everything, which always decides what I buy in the end), but honestly, I'd recommend Lightroom for someone else now. It's just so much more powerful, with a relatively simple workflow too and everything else also works.

    You'll have everything you need in one place.

    As for DXO Optics and similar solutions - not good as your first option - too complicated, often too pricey. LR does the job more than good enough for the first few years, or the first hundred thousand of photos, for everyone.
     
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  4. José De Bardi

    José De Bardi Assistant in Virtue

    Aug 31, 2013
    Dorset, UK
    José
    Oh, and last release was Nov '13 so is still actively developed.
    It is overdue for version 4, web rumours reckon Oct this year it will be announced with release in Nov... I hope!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  5. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    Hopefully it will be version X not v. 4. And of course it's actively developed, they NEED to keep RAW camera support up to date at least as long as they're selling the software, everything else would be a total ripoff.
     
  6. José De Bardi

    José De Bardi Assistant in Virtue

    Aug 31, 2013
    Dorset, UK
    José
    Well either way 4 or X - a major upgrade!

    The RAW support is a separate update that applies to iPhoto/Aperture collectively - the Nov update was specific to Aperture bug fixes, the latest RAW update was only a week ago (added Canon EOS M2).


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  7. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    Given Adobe's nefarious scheme to convert all of their software to hostageware, I really, REALLY wanted to like and use Aperture. So I bought it, and used it exclusively for a little more than a month, with Dion Scoppettuolo's Apple Pro Training Series: Aperture as my instructor. Long story short: its shortcomings and Apple's apparent lack of interest in it (except for regular raw updates) sent me slouching back to Lightroom. As Poki mentioned, Lightroom has been in another league for some time now as far as its editing capabilities go, and LR 5 has widened the gap even more. As much as I would like to, there's just no way I could recommend Aperture to someone starting out with raw development. I can't comment on DXO, having never tried it. But Lightroom, yes. It works well, and gets updated regularly. My only fear is that Adobe will eventually move it up into the cloud as well, and then all of your photo are theirs.
     
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  8. SpaceManSpiff

    SpaceManSpiff TalkEmount Top Veteran

    547
    Dec 13, 2013
    Tucson, AZ
    Eric
    Gentlemen,
    Fantastic responses and just the information I was hoping for!! :encouragement:
    Your comments are validating some of the concerns I have about each product. I am starting to feel like I can make more of an informed decision now.
     
  9. Jefenator

    Jefenator TalkEmount Top Veteran

    876
    Nov 23, 2012
    Oregon, USA
    Jeff
    Haven't tried them all and don't particularly care to. Lightroom gives me one-stop shopping: conversion, editing, adjustments and now even retouching! Should be relatively future-proof as well with DNGs TIFFs and JPEGs stored in a conventional folder setup. Yes, Adobe will ding you from time to time - I was forced to do the $80 upgrade in order to keep working with the new A7 RAW files. But the enhanced features made it worth it.
     
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  10. SpaceManSpiff

    SpaceManSpiff TalkEmount Top Veteran

    547
    Dec 13, 2013
    Tucson, AZ
    Eric

    Thanks Jeff! At this stage, doing everything in one application certainly is attractive. Can you elaborate on the "future-proof" aspect? I have read about this before, but didn't understand...is this because these are common file formats and not proprietary?
     
  11. TonyTurley

    TonyTurley TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Apr 24, 2013
    West Virginia, USA
    Not to throw you into a tailspin, but there is also the freeware option: RawTherapee. It has a rather bewildering array of options, but a lot of the time, I find the "Default" profile works fine. There are also tutorials available on the Web if you want to go beyond the basic operation.

    Tony
     
  12. SpaceManSpiff

    SpaceManSpiff TalkEmount Top Veteran

    547
    Dec 13, 2013
    Tucson, AZ
    Eric
    Thanks Tony! ^^^Choices are good! I will read up on RawTherapee, that was not an alternative I had considered.
     
  13. Jefenator

    Jefenator TalkEmount Top Veteran

    876
    Nov 23, 2012
    Oregon, USA
    Jeff
    DNG is an Adobe format, but pretty open and common across numerous brands (according to Wikipedia…)

    I like the way Lightroom files everything according to how I want to organize it. Makes me think some future migration over to another program (or even to PC) should be much less prohibitive.

    Apple OTOH makes me feel increasingly "locked in" (and not just with photos). It's like a gilded cage - the interface is certainly yummy. Everything is ducky until you attempt to stray out from the habitat they've created for you. Then suddenly there's a bunch of hassles which feel oddly contrived. I don't like that. Also, I have been hung out to dry in the past (got some old AppleWorks database files that are now going to be a real pain to access…)

    I'm not an Apple hater, mind you - been using Macs for over 20 years, now. But for my photo workflow, Adobe seems to be the way to go for now and for the foreseeable future. (All 6 months' worth ;))
     
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  14. xXx1

    xXx1 TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 15, 2013
    I have been using Raw Therapee now for over a year (I don't even have Windows or Mac, only Linux so it is about only option for me). I don't think it is a bad choice mut new cameras aren't updated very often. Still waiting support for A3000. I basically like it but I must admit that learning to use it isn't easy. Its UI is organised very technically and not in order I would like it to be (I do white balance first, after that contrast [usually with curves], noise removal and sharpening, finally straightening and cropping and resizing). You have all these in different tabs and it takes time to use it.
     
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  15. SpaceManSpiff

    SpaceManSpiff TalkEmount Top Veteran

    547
    Dec 13, 2013
    Tucson, AZ
    Eric
    Awesome, guys! Hugely appreciated! I will digest this as I am away from the computer today, but will respond tonight.
     
  16. Tabibito

    Tabibito TalkEmount Regular

    177
    Apr 1, 2013
    If you want a less pricier alternative of Lightroom you can try using Cyberlink Photo Director. I've been using PD3 for about a year before moving up to Lightroom. The latest version is PD5. Its interface is simpler than LR in my opinion. There's a 30 days trial version available for download on its website.
     
  17. izzikiorage

    izzikiorage TalkEmount Veteran

    323
    Jul 30, 2013
    I've been using lightroom for quite some time now, but somehow I can't seem to reduce noise as well as the in camera jpeg does. Mine either remain noisy or they get very soft due to the noise reduction applied. Any suggestions?
     
  18. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    I don't use Lightroom, but you should be able to fine-tune the noise reduction, both in how much color and contrast noise gets reduced as well as locally (i.e. where in the image you want to reduce how much noise). With the right settings, you should be able to get quite good noise reduction.
     
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  19. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    I find the Adobe TV tutorial videos helpful when I need to gain some additional insight into Lightroom's tools. Here's their noise reduction tutorial.
     
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  20. izzikiorage

    izzikiorage TalkEmount Veteran

    323
    Jul 30, 2013
    Thanks, will give the tutorials a shot