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03-12-2012, 04:35 AM   #1
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Overview of different photo processing software?

If this question has popped up before, a simple reference to it (and hopefully answers) will do...

But otherwise I would like to know what are the main characteristics, possibilities, limitations and need-to-know-things of the different well-known software packages like Photoshop, Lightroom, GIMP, Picasa and all that I forget here. I'm not a PP die-hard and use it mainly to retouche dust-specs and lift colors a bit in digitized films. Till now I effectively only used Picasa but sometimes in processing articles is reffered to layers and stuff which I can not find (or just don't know how to use).

Someone here with experience with other software that combines the usability of Picasa with more advanced features? There are probably also some K-x exposures that could be improved with a light tough of processing.

Now I think of it, any recommended reading on this subject?

Cheers,
Theo

03-12-2012, 05:53 AM   #2
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I haven't found any complete comparison between different software solutions, I'm afraid you're gonna have to do like me - try and pick your own !
Lightroom might be what you're looking for, very ergonomic, it combines a library for photo management and a development tool to edit your pictures directly in the same software (kind of like Picasa does, but much more complete). LR 4 is now out at only 130 euros.
I found Photoshop Elements to be less easy for my use (though a little cheaper too), since you constantly have to alternate between the Organizer module and the Edition module (or whatever they're called in English).
Photoshop and the Gimp are only used as a last resort for precise editing of one picture at a time, IMO.
The good thing is most of this software is either free of charge (Gimp) or offers free trial period (all Adobe products including the most expensive ones). So my advice to you is: try for yourself and don't take anybody's word on the subject! Everyone has different preferences...

EDIT: I forgot to mention Pentax's own software, which seems quite a powerful tool, unfortunately, very unfriendly IMO.

Have fun!
03-12-2012, 05:55 AM   #3
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Comparison of graphic editors

There's an extensive comparison of graphic editors at wikipedia:

Comparison of raster graphics editors - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Myself, I use Gimp. But I'm not doing a lot fancy stuff with my images and also not a fan of spending a lot of time at the computer working on my images.

Regards,
Mark
03-12-2012, 05:58 AM   #4
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There are many related threads in this section that are helpful. There is no comprehensive comparison.

03-12-2012, 06:03 AM   #5
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I am finding that darktable is the software I am using more often than not these days install | darktable

It took me a while to get the hang of it (swapping from light table to darkroom mode took me ages to figure!) but I really like it, and it's free.

Before that I was using RawTherapee (also free)
03-12-2012, 07:03 AM   #6
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Have Elements 10 but haven't used it enough to have an opinion.Faststone is free and very easy to use.My favorite thing about it is that all editing is done at full page.
Jake
03-12-2012, 07:09 AM   #7
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You have also Photo Director and ACDsee pro.
I use all of them , very similar but I just swicht to Lightroom because of the large base and a lot of free how to on the web
03-12-2012, 08:07 AM   #8
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Here's a link to a write up 'comparing' several pieces of software.

Corel User to User Web Board • View topic - Observations on AfterShot Pro

It's in the After Shot Pro (formerly Bibble) forums. It covers several softwares.

03-12-2012, 08:15 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by bjake Quote
Have Elements 10 but haven't used it enough to have an opinion.Faststone is free and very easy to use.My favorite thing about it is that all editing is done at full page.
Jake
I know I'm not the OP, but thanks for the suggestion. I just downloaded it and spent a few minutes playing with it and managed to pull back an overblown shot to the point that it's actually pretty good. Very easy interface; hell, if I can figure it out and get it to do what I want instantly then it has to be simple.
03-12-2012, 08:46 AM   #10
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Woah, thanx a lot for the suggestions and input but don't get me overloaded
A lot of the mentioned programs are already on my disk in one version or the other like ACDsee, Irfanview, Picasa, the GIMP, some built-in Windows stuff and Faststone (the latter I found via this forum but I haven't played much yet since I have it). Most are good at certain key jobs but not suitable for one stop shopping.

I was checking the Adobe website and found a gazillion Photoshop products, [smug mode start] which of course are all great photo and video editing products, seemingly all can do almost the same but they only have different names, packaging and prices. There is even a version called CS5 for photographers, wow! [smug mode end].
How can a sensible person decide what product suits his needs based on such dis-information??? There are really no clear indicators in what e.g. Elements differs from Lightroom except for the price, I can imagine some interface differences but not from Adobe's info, except that Elements is primarily used by house-moms.

For now I downloaded a trial Lightroom 4, only need some time to try and get used to it...
03-12-2012, 09:50 AM   #11
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QuoteQuote:
I just downloaded (Elements 10) and spent a few minutes playing with it and managed to pull back an overblown shot to the point that it's actually pretty good. Very easy interface; hell, if I can figure it out and get it to do what I want instantly then it has to be simple.
I'm on Elements v9 which I also find easy and powerful.
03-12-2012, 10:37 AM   #12
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In your original post you asked about things to read.......

Try this, non bias
Photo Editing Tutorials

Or you can try this, Bias
The Luminous Landscape

The all in one solution is elusive. You'll always find part of the software lacking. Closest ones that come to this are Photo Shop or Corel Graphics Suite.
I can't speak on PS, never used it, but with the Corel Graphics Suite, the Raw converter sucks. I'm sure other folks will find a fault in PS.

Good Luck
03-13-2012, 01:02 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by thazooo Quote
In your original post you asked about things to read.......
Try this, non bias
Photo Editing Tutorials

Or you can try this, Bias
The Luminous Landscape

The all in one solution is elusive. You'll always find part of the software lacking. Closest ones that come to this are Photo Shop or Corel Graphics Suite.
I can't speak on PS, never used it, but with the Corel Graphics Suite, the Raw converter sucks. I'm sure other folks will find a fault in PS.
Good Luck
That Cambridge-site is worth spending time on, it looks pretty impressive!
In the meantime, is it correct to state flatly that Lightroom is for organizing photos and that Elements is 'CS-light' for processing? So in fact you need both?
03-13-2012, 01:12 AM   #14
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Not quite exact, no... you can do much more with LR than just organizing, check out the "Development" module!
However it does not include all the functions of 1000$ Photoshop... If you like Elements for processing, my advice would be to NOT get LR, since Elements already includes an organizer
03-13-2012, 09:43 AM   #15
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I find that LR's strength is more workflow oriented. It's an Adobe software, so it is possible to get similar results out of all the Adobe Software in terms of processing and even organizing.

The difference is in how you get those results. Lightroom targets the photographer as its user and tried to make its interface friendlier. Organization is fairly intuitive, and the development module is meant to do quick but quite effective editing of your photos in a simple workflow-based routine. The benefit is that you can actually quickly edit a whole photo shoot's worth of images assuming the images are all similar to begin with. Photoshop and Elements tend to be more image oriented where you'll be working one image at a time. I think you can do some mass operations, but it isn't as "simple", at least as far as the interface in LR makes it. The power in Photoshop and Elements is that you have access to editing tools such as layers, selective editing, masking, etc that is limited or non-existent in LR.

What works best ends up being a function of what you plan on doing. I am one of those that really doesn't like to spend a lot of time on the computer with images. I use Lightroom, and it works for me 95+% of the time. I can very quickly and effectively process my photos with only rare photos requiring more than a few minutes of work. Often, I'll spend 10-20 minutes on the first photo of a shoot and then use that as a preset for the remainder of the shoot. Only occasionally, do I wish to take the photo to Photoshop for editing that can't be done with LR alone. Most of the time, if I need that much work I dump the photo.

All the software tends to accept similar plugins, so if you end up liking software like Nik or noise removal programs, on-one brand, etc. they can all be worked in conjunction with LR, Photoshop, and Elements.

As someone mentioned, you'll have a hard time finding an all in one solution, but LR does a good job of balancing features without being over-complicated. That goes a long way.
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