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08-21-2014, 10:27 AM   #1
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I sold out!

While I am still a bit shaky in making this admission, I must admit that I sold out. For years I have stayed away from using any of the expensive Adobe Photo related products such as Photo Shop, Elements, Lightroom or any other unfree products that they have released onto the general public. For much of my personal work I just use Microsoft’s Picture Manager and when I have time to play such as trying to remove years of exposure to sun and other abuses from a middle aged subject’s face I use GIMP. However, yesterday I succumb to pressures of frustration which I cannot fully explain and hit the “Buy it Now” button and purchased a copy of Adobe Lightroom 5. Having done that I feel a need to explain my sell out.

I have a strong appreciation for highly detailed sharp images. If it was still in existence I would be a member of Ansel Adams f64 club. That is how I have always seen photography. I am usually shooting at the smallest aperture looking for the maximum depth of field. Depth of field is what brought me to experiment with the Q series of cameras and is the main reason I will NEVER go to a full frame camera. But I digress.

I have never shot RAW because well, I just did not need it for my personal uses and the photo work I do for others does not require it and as I have explained elsewhere, sometimes my deliverables are expected as soon as I shut the camera off so…. Despite those facts, recently I have begun to see how shooting RAW MAY help me achieve more detail in my images. I say MAY because it appears that similar to working with film, the quality of the images shot in RAW depend on my skills in using the development software. Skills which at this point in time do not exist. Skills that I hope will be developed by learning from others and hence the reason for purchasing Adobe Lightroom 5.

Over the years I have purchased 8 Pentax digital cameras all capable of shooting RAW. With each camera comes a CD of software Pentax feels will allow the user to convert those RAW files to a more interchangeable, software friendly format such as .jpg. However while this may be really good software, it has lousy documentation. In fact the documentation, learning manuals etc. are virtually non existent or so well hidden that if they had a need to do so the CIA could not find them.

When you are a Newbie to this process such as myself you look for inspiration to people who are proficient at using the software and again, I could find very little in the way of You tube or similar videos showing how to use the Silkypix software that came with my recent Pentax cameras. However, while doing that research on Silkypix I found hours upon hours of videos, some good and some not so demonstrating many aspects of using Adobe Lightroom. So with the possibility of the Silkypix road being longer, bumpier and less defined than I want to experience I decided, despite the fact that I must now give up one beer every week for the next year, to see what taking the path of least resistance for once in my life is all about and that motivated me to hit that Buy it Now button on Adobe Lightroom 5.

I find the timing of this experimental transition to RAW to be rather ironic as it is running parallel with me pulling all my darkroom equipment and the boxes for same out of various spaces small and large and preparing it for an attempted sale. Not that I expect to recoup much of my financial investment from this sale but I now have better uses for the space all that equipment has been occupying for the past 20 plus years. The 4x5 view camera along with several boxes of frozen 4x5 Plus-X film that have been occupying my freezer for about 20 years will probably be the next to be in search of a new home.

Time for a beer,
Denny

08-21-2014, 10:40 AM   #2
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Not sure why you think it is selling out?

Lightroom is just a tool, get the best tool for the job. You would not hesitate to buy a new lens if it made your work easier would you?

Do prepare for a learning curve. LR is simply amazing but you have to spend the time to learn it.
08-21-2014, 10:44 AM   #3
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A little tip with regards to lightroom - Set aside a specific folder for your photos, and then make sure you have a good consistent folder structure. With a good folder structure (i.e. Main Folder -> Subfolder (depending how you organize) -> Specific folder -> RAW files), Lightroom becomes a fantastic tool for organizing your files.
08-21-2014, 10:56 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by CWRailman Quote
taking the path of least resistance for once in my life
Welcome to the leeward side of the slippery slope of life! It is crowded, but if you find a quiet spot behind a big rock, you can avoid being swept by the current into the big black lagoon of missed opportunities. As far as software goes, Lightroom is top drawer, designed by photographers who built software to benefit their own photographic endeavors, not simply to fulfill a contract from a camera manufacturer, or sell post-processing software because someone told them there was a market for it. The best part is that whatever you learn to do in Lightroom will make your craft better with no more effort than what you spent before. As long as you were enjoying more than one beer a week before, your sacrifice won't make the rest of your life miserable.

08-21-2014, 11:10 AM   #5
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I'm guessing all the hours you spent on other software over the years, you'd be quite a Lightroom Ninja by now. I use LR4 and enjoy the results I get with it. Haven't found a reason to move up to LR5. Welcome to 2014.
08-21-2014, 11:14 AM - 1 Like   #6
klh
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My one regret since purchasing Lightroom is that I didn't shoot RAW from the beginning. I have a lot of JPGs that I wish were in RAW format now. My advice to anyone serious about their digital photography would be to shoot and archive in RAW or RAW+, even if you have no intention of editing the files today.
08-21-2014, 11:16 AM   #7
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Once you see how much nicer 'difficult' files are to work with and when you see what you thought were unusable bad photos in jpgs are like in RAW, you'll question why you didn't do it sooner.

Using straight out of the camera jpegs is like trusting that the best possible print of you photos comes out of a mini-lab's automated scan and process. To use your f/64 club example, there isn't a single Ansel Adams (or Magnum, or any other famous/infamous group's or photograther's) print that wasn't heavily worked in the darkroom before printing. Why should your digital files be any different?
08-21-2014, 12:19 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by RGlasel Quote
As far as software goes, Lightroom is top drawer
...and is easily the best value for photo image processing software on the current market. The name betrays its purpose. Anything you would normally do in a traditional wet darkroom can be done in Lightroom. It is as simple as that.


Steve

08-21-2014, 12:20 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by JinDesu Quote
A little tip with regards to lightroom - Set aside a specific folder for your photos, and then make sure you have a good consistent folder structure. With a good folder structure (i.e. Main Folder -> Subfolder (depending how you organize) -> Specific folder -> RAW files), Lightroom becomes a fantastic tool for organizing your files.
But if you rely on Lightroom for organization, keep in mind you will always require lightroom as most of the benefits of organizing through Lightroom are proprietary. Not trying to use this to sway you one way or another, but more because, if you've been shooting for years you likely already have your organizational structure and once you change it's hard to change back.....
08-21-2014, 01:26 PM   #10
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I am likely forever tied into lightroom, even though my folder structure is organized... the post processing and 'star' ratings would be too much for me to justify switching to any other package.

It's far, far easier to pay $75 every two years.
08-21-2014, 04:49 PM   #11
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Lightroom is not a sell out - not in the least. I don't have it, but from what I hear it is a great tool that will allow you to do more and enjoy more. I am considering upgrading my post processing software and LR5 is on the list. Enjoy the new tools! Glenn
08-21-2014, 05:55 PM   #12
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For lightroom, my learning curve was to push the Auto exposure button. I almost always hate it, but it's usually a better jumping off point than what I started with. Most of the time I push the sliders about halfway back to zero, except for the Blacks slider, which I almost always slide a little lower. I use LR's Auto WB too, and adjust from there.

Add just a tiny bit of clarity, vibrance and saturation to taste, and you've basically done it. Lens correction is the next step, remove purple fringing if you have it. Last thin I do is mess with the luminance channels. Usually bring blue down to deepen the sky, others as needed but less often.

---------- Post added 08-21-14 at 07:57 PM ----------

One more comment, way down at the bottom is a section called "Camera Calibration", and the profile's set to Adobe by default. Change it to "embedded" and you'll get more Pentaxish colors.
08-21-2014, 07:27 PM   #13
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For landscapes, I shoot in RAW mode and typically underexpose a stop purposely to get more detail out of clouds/ensure I don't blow out anything when processing in Lightroom if not doing a multiexposure HDR. You can get a TON of detail that would otherwise not be visible in a JPG by doing the aforementioned with a single shot.

Not sure how this would work with the Q but it works a treat with the K-5 II and it's 14-bit RAWs.
08-21-2014, 07:36 PM - 1 Like   #14
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An invaluable resource.

Martin Evening's book, The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 Book: The Complete Guide for Photographers, is a must read. There is so much more to LR than just photo editing. It took me awhile to get my head around some of it's cataloging features but they have completely changed how I manage my photos. Martin's book is, IMO, the best and most efficient way to learn the program; it's not a quick read, it's very much a textbook, but you'll be glad you devoted the time to it.
08-22-2014, 05:57 AM   #15
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I use Darktable myself, but if you're running Windows, then that wouldn't be an option. Of course, there are other free options, some very good, but most have a slightly different approach than Lightroom. Darktable is probably the most like Lightroom (notice the name is clearly using the other parts of the words "dark room" and "light table"). By what I have gathered, each program has its advantages and disadvantages over the other, but being familiar with some of the advantages of Darktable, I would hesitate to give them up for the unfamiliar advantages of Lightroom even if I thought it would be practical for me to purchase and run it. By all accounts, though, Lightroom is a very good RAW processing program.

Last edited by CFWhitman; 08-22-2014 at 06:07 AM.
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