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03-05-2013, 06:05 PM   #1
Tom McDonald
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Image processing

Hi all, been a film user guy since a young age, years spent developing and enlarging B&W , for my recent 60 th birthday bought my first digital camera (K-30) that comes with silkypix 3.0.

First impressions are that for global adjustments to RAW files it is very good. However it seems to lack the ability to "dodge", "burn" and "spot " removal that i would have expected. It would appear that these functions are available in version 4 and higher of silkypix but commands a price of approx 180 for the privilage.

Am getting confused with various reviewers comments on the web with Lightroom, Elements and CS* as to what can and cannot be done.

As Elements, Lightroom and silkypix 4/5 are going to cost similar amounts what are the recommendations to handle RAW with selective editing as briefly mentioned above.

Or, stick with sp version 3 and use a different package for further editing.

Sorry if this has been aired in the past.

Cheers

Tom McDonald

03-05-2013, 06:53 PM   #2
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Hi Tom:

Yes, it has been aired in the past - several times :-) You should look in the digital processing sub-forum.

I limped along with the Pentax software before seeing the light and getting something (almost anything) better. I went with Elements which has the dodge, burn, horizon-leveling and spot-healing brush, layers and masks, cataloging with tags (something I resisted for a long time), and all the sharing functions.
03-05-2013, 08:07 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tom McDonald Quote
Hi all, been a film user guy since a young age, years spent developing and enlarging B&W , for my recent 60 th birthday bought my first digital camera (K-30) that comes with silkypix 3.0.

First impressions are that for global adjustments to RAW files it is very good. However it seems to lack the ability to "dodge", "burn" and "spot " removal that i would have expected. It would appear that these functions are available in version 4 and higher of silkypix but commands a price of approx 180 for the privilage.

Am getting confused with various reviewers comments on the web with Lightroom, Elements and CS* as to what can and cannot be done.

As Elements, Lightroom and silkypix 4/5 are going to cost similar amounts what are the recommendations to handle RAW with selective editing as briefly mentioned above.

Or, stick with sp version 3 and use a different package for further editing.

Sorry if this has been aired in the past.

Cheers

Tom McDonald
Congratulations on the transition to the digital world. Allow yourself many many months for acclimation. The same basic photographic principles do apply.

The tools for processing digital images and for managing them have gotten much better during the past five years (I've been shooting, "developing," and printing for over 40 years, over half of that involving digital tools and processes). In addition to the previously mentioned developing (post processing) and printing, image management (aka digital asset management) is a key process that demands full attention. I assume, like me, you have binders of negs and slides organized in some way. Because it is so easy and enjoyable to generate hundreds and thousands of digital image files, you should think about how you will organize this stuff.

That's where Lightroom comes in. I recommend you install the free 30-day trial and give the tool a lot of attention so you can fairly evaluate whether it meets your needs. There is a learning curve, and for one new to digital photography, it may be confusing. Lightroom has great cataloging capabilities and superb image processing as well. Many folks use it with Elements (or the full monty Photoshop CS6, but that is overkill for most these days). Elements provides more detailed pixel pushing, but it is generally slower to rely on for all post work compared with Lightroom. The key to Lightroom success is to think of your development work as a whole process with key activities along the way.

If you are a Mac user, anything I say about Lightroom can apply to Aperture as well. I tested both many moons ago and went with the former, but both are excellent.

Hope this helps.

M

M
03-06-2013, 02:53 AM   #4
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Thanks to both of you for comments, greatly appreciated and shall follow up on your suggestions.

Thanks also for prompt reply.

Kind Regards
Tom

03-07-2013, 01:14 PM   #5
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Tom, unless you are a graphic artist or have prior Photoshop experience just get Lightroom. There is a fairly steep learning curve but part of that is just transitioning to digital and understanding the terms. The learning (IMHO) for PS or Elements is even higher and you won't use most of the program anyway.

Lots of people promote Elements or CS* and those are certainly great programs, but for basic photo work there is no need. What you have to decide is what you need to do. Lightroom is fundamentally a cataloging application that can do 90% of the editing most photographers will need to do with an image. In many cases that is 100%. If you don't need layers or complex editing then LR is all the editing you will ever need. And if you find yourself coming up short later on as your skills develop, then you can add Elements or full blown Photoshop or a number of other editors or plug-ins that give you more ability.

The difference is Lightroom is an image management solution, PS or Elements are image editing solutions.

As noted above get the trial package and see if it works for you. Be prepared to spend some time learning though, it takes a while to learn and you also need to get it configured the way you want as there are lots of options.
03-08-2013, 11:59 AM   #6
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I am a fan of Lightroom as well. Do try it out. I also use DxO Pro, but that is really not all that necessary. It cost me $150, and saves the time required to correct distortion with covered lenses as well as getting around some sensor defects. The geometric distortion tools are easier to use than Lightroom 3.6 (I cannot run v4 because I still use XP Pro). DxO is a "nice to have" rather than essential, though. I could survive quite nicely with only LR.
03-12-2013, 02:32 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Canada_Rockies Quote
I am a fan of Lightroom as well
+1 on that, it is also becoming, if not already the industry standard.

Which means they are plenty of books, tutorials on line and plugs in to work with it, of which many are free.

Last edited by Kerrowdown; 03-12-2013 at 02:47 PM.
03-13-2013, 05:28 AM   #8
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Tom, you didn't mention what kind of computer you are using, but in case you've got a Mac, there are several different and easy methods, too, to get the job done. One good thing about Ricoh/Pentax cameras is that they are using DNG as their native RAW format, which makes things easier. That means that with a Mac, you could start exploring your preferred ways to handle your photos even in iPhoto, the application that comes with the Mac, without any software woodoo needed.

Another nice pair would be either Lightroom or Aperture, or Photoshop Elements or Pixelmator. Both of those are relatively inexpensive. But indeed, chances are that most of your photo editing needs could be handled with either LR or Aperture. If you wish to scan and edit your film photos, too, I'd suggest to buy Vuescan, too.

That is, if you happen to have a Mac. I'm sure there are some nice Windows equivalents, too, but I don't know which ones to recommend since I haven't got a Windows machine. Don't know about the scanning or the RAW support part, but if you've got Windows, Lightroom and/or PSE might be the obvious choices, as they both come with ACR (Adobe Camera Raw) built in. PSE has somewhat limited version of it, but in the case of Pentax, that shouldn't really matter.

03-19-2013, 01:10 AM   #9
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Hey there, Tom. Welcome to digital! I own both Adobe Photoshop CS6 and Adobe Lightroom 4, but really only use Lightroom. CS6 is a powerhouse, and I do need it occasionally for certain assignments, but I would say a good 96% of my work only sees Lightroom. It is cheap, very well laid out, tried, and there is extensive support for it. Unless you are working professionally with images that need rather strong interpolation or other modifications, there is no reason to go any further than Lightroom. It really is the best thing out there.
03-28-2013, 07:34 AM   #10
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Hi Tom. I, too, am a long time film and darkroom user, but mostly in color, both slides and negatives. I own both Elements and Lightroom, but since I learned the power of Lightroom I seldom use Elements any more. I originally bought PSE when my wife got a digital camera. I wasn't really that impressed. There seemed to be too much to learn to do the simple things I was used to doing under my enlarger. Then I got a DSLR and found that PSE could do far more than I wanted in terms of manufacturing images that have little connection to what I actually photographed. And some of those capabilities seemed to get in the way of the image improvements I wanted to make.

Then I read about the workflow that Lightroom enables. So, I gave that a try. Again, I was somewhat put off by the learning curve, but got to the point that I used it more than PSE. Recently, I took a couple of on-line course in LR from Creativelive.com. They were excellent and I put many of the things I learned (such as use of the Adjustment Brush) into practice. As mentioned above, LR has excellent cataloging capabilities in its "Library" module to go with its image "Develop" tools. I now almost never use PSE. It was also mentioned that LR does not have the layer functions that are available in Elements and PhotoShop, but there are plugins available for it that do so.

As someone mentioned, the trial may be a good way to see if LR is what you want. However, you might want to try a LR course to help decide.

Best wishes,
Lee
03-28-2013, 08:34 AM   #11
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I believe there are 30 day free trials of Lightroom, so you can try before you buy to see if it does all you need and more importantly your happy working with it.

Last edited by Kerrowdown; 04-14-2013 at 12:36 PM.
03-29-2013, 08:16 AM   #12
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If you are using Mac or Linux there is a Free Open Source Software called Darktable
I have never used Lightroom and have rarely used MS since windows 98 so I can not compare them, however it is quite good and the price is right.
04-14-2013, 12:31 PM   #13
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Hey Tom!

Thought I'd chime in with my .02 cents worth of opinion here
I'm a 38-year-old photo enthusiast that started working with cameras sometime in the early 90's. I loved film, it was beautiful and had nice qualities to it that I admired. But after having all of my film cameras stolen (TWICE!), I finally stepped into the digital world, and needed a good way to process digital images. That's when I got my first copy of Photoshop. I had an old versions, just the basics, but I learned what I needed to. I used the bare minimum of Photoshop for a couple years until I decided I wanted to do MORE, and decided to teach myself how to use Photoshop *properly*. It seemed VERY intimidating at first since there were so many buttons and options and things to do. But there were plenty of tutorials online, and MANY books, one of which is quite useful, more on that in a moment.

The reason I tell you this, is that I have used Adobe Lightroom. I have used (and own) Aperture. I also own a full Adobe CS3 suite of software. Of all the digital processing tools I have used, I find that for the most accuracy and the best ability to control *all* of the fine details / burning / dodging (repairing / fixing if that needs to be done), that Photoshop gives me the greatest sense of satisfaction when an image is done. Aperture and Lightroom are both GREAT pieces of software, but in the end, I find that for *me*, Photoshop is much more flexible and offers more possibilities, even if it means you have to learn something new.

I would personally recommend that you pick up at least Photoshop (in whatever version you need, CS3 does just fine even with the most current RAW files). Older versions of Photoshop often cost HUNDREDS less than the most current versions. And, once you choose (and purchase) your desired version of Photoshop, then go get a new or used copy of "Photoshop CS3: Classroom in a Book" (or CS4, CS5, etc). The Classroom in a Book series are really well written, easy to understand guides to learning the features of Photoshop, and give you the tools you need to manually process your images.

If you buy the actual book, it comes with a CD that you use in conjunction with it to learn each lesson. The book has photo's showing which tools to use, and detailed descriptions to help make the process pretty simple. After I took the class for two semesters, my professor asked me to assist her in teach the course, because besides what I had taught myself, the book helped fill in a lot of gaps and made it fun / simple to do.

The nice part about Photoshop is, it's not *just* for processing images like Aperture and Lightroom. It can be used as a very powerful creative tool if you should choose to do more with your images than *just* process them.

Here are a couple examples of photos I took and processed , all self taught with these books and Photoshop CS3. Each require some minor little fix or adjustment such as burning / dodging where it was needed, without changing the overall original image, just minor repairs. Or in the case of my yellow Beetle there, I had it washed and waxed, then on my way to the photoshoot, I drove through a puddle that was unavoidable and splashed dirt on the side of my car. So I removed the dirt in Photoshop.

And yes, the colors on the sunset are natural! It was a breathtaking sunset and I have an even larger panoramic version of it as well.





Had to remove some small bits of dirt, and torn spider web off the flower, and touched up the shadows on the petals with a little burning to really make them pop.


The nice part about Photoshop is the ability to retouch images where you need to remove blemishes quickly and precisely without effecting the rest of the image.
I had to remove a number of small blemishes from my niece's face and the Photoshop 'Patch' tool is pretty awesome. No airbrushing was done, just removed the blemishes, color corrected, and removed a couple of stray eyebrow hairs that she asked me to remove, as well as tweaked a few shadows to soften them up a little around the face / nose.


When you want to start doing more fun & creative things like Photo-manipulation, layering, etc, Photoshop is definitely better. Here are a couple examples of things I did with Photoshop for fun.


(full sized version here : http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3176/5735819397_c8010650b8_o.jpg)


On this "Got Faith?" piece, I had to do a lot of work on my friend Rose's face. Her husband had been very abusive, and she had bruises all over her face. She also suffered from a malady that caused her to have the use of only one eye, the other eye does not open. And while she was feeling particularly depressed, I took some photos of her, touched them up, printed them out, hand-cut the matte-board, and provided her with a framed copy, so she would know that she was still loved and that she was STILL a beautiful woman. Photoshop provided me with some quick ways to quickly give her another eye and fix all that needed fixing.

One last image... just another one of those "I have too much time on my hands, lets have fun with Photoshop" moments.

(larger version here http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2368/5735819427_b389bacb29_o.jpg)


Anyway, just some examples. Lightroom and Aperture are both great. They will both "process" an image, and help you tweak them a bit. But then they are done.
If all you want is quick way to process a file and get done with it, those two programs will get the job done.

If you want a program that will process your images, AND give you a heap more potential in what it can do, spend the $ on Photoshop and then take some time every day (or twice a week) to learn how to use it and you'll be happy that you did!

Just my opinion though
04-22-2013, 12:06 PM   #14
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Image Processing Update

Hi Everybody,

just to let you know what i have done over the past month since asking for help:

1 .Used 2 photos (snaps) for trialling as these gave opportunities for developing, cropping and retouching, and comparison.

2. Used:
2.1 Silkypix (that comes with the K30),
2.2Lightroom 3.6 (my pc runs XP and this is the latest version of LR to run on this OS, Zoner Photo Studio

Last edited by Tom McDonald; 04-22-2013 at 01:34 PM.
04-22-2013, 03:22 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tom McDonald Quote
Hi Everybody,

just to let you know what i have done over the past month since asking for help:

1 .Used 2 photos (snaps) for trialling as these gave opportunities for developing, cropping and retouching, and comparison.

2. Used:
2.1 Silkypix (that comes with the K30),
2.2Lightroom 3.6 (my pc runs XP and this is the latest version of LR to run on this OS, Zoner Photo Studio
3.6 is nice and faster that 4.X and the most important thing you miss is only the better CA and PF removal.
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