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03-25-2016, 05:59 AM   #1
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What PP software should I use?

I've been a proud Pentax owner over a year now. I am very much still a beginner, and even more so when talking about PP.
I'd say the first few months of shooting I focused on nailing the shot in camera. I set to manual mode and shot RAW; adjusting and recomposing to get the photo as close to how I saw it in my head. Obviously this is harder that it sounds and I'm still practicing every day, but I have a much better understanding of the trifecta that is ISO, Shutter and Aperture.

I've really overlooked PP until recently.
I used Picasa3 because it was free and it could handle my DNG files directly. It was nice and easy to share photos and export to dropbox.
Google has discontinued Picasa support, the desktop app still works but I feel like I should move on to another software regardless.
I see Nik is free now, but again discontinued support. Also I've heard it doesn't handle DNG files directly...

I've installed GIMP (I have an older macbook from 2008 [OSx 10.11])
Not too comfortable with GIMP just yet; needless to say it is way more complex than Picasa, understandably.
I've heard of Darktable, just haven't had a chance to play around with it too much.
Now Lightroom... This seems like the go-to software for people here and elsewhere in the photography world.
I've never used it, nor have I even seen other people use it.
Is Lightroom my best option for an all-in-one software that can handle DNG files, edit, and sharing?

Is there a big learning curve to LR?

Which version is suggested?

I do not like this whole CC movement, so I'd likely look for a physical copy of the software.
Is LR5 much worse than LR6?
Is LR7 right around the corner?

Thanks for be patient with my ignorance on the subject; like I said photography is a new hobby to me, and post processing is even more foreign to my understanding.

-Cheers,
Logan

03-25-2016, 06:04 AM   #2
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Mac or Windows? You do mention a Macbook but I couldn't tell if that is your primary/only system you work with.

Tim
03-25-2016, 06:06 AM   #3
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I have started dabbling with Raw Therapee; it handles .DNG Raw files by its very nature and doesn't have an overly complex control system. My only real worry with Raw is that I'm rapidly running out of hard drive space on my primary laptop. I've already moved all my pics from 2011 to 2014 completely onto backup drives (two) and will soon have to delete 2015's pics from my laptop HD as well. My shutter count has gone from about 4000 this time last year (camera bought in 2012) to 15,000 now, and who knows where it will end, especially when the K-1 joins the crowd.
03-25-2016, 06:09 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by atupdate Quote
Mac or Windows? You do mention a Macbook but I couldn't tell if that is your primary/only system you work with.

Tim
Currently my primary system is a 2008 macbook.
I really want to upgrade to a PC, but just can't afford the hardware I want at the moment.

---------- Post added 03-25-16 at 09:11 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
I have started dabbling with Raw Therapee; it handles .DNG Raw files by its very nature and doesn't have an overly complex control system. My only real worry with Raw is that I'm rapidly running out of hard drive space on my primary laptop. I've already moved all my pics from 2011 to 2014 completely onto backup drives (two) and will soon have to delete 2015's pics from my laptop HD as well. My shutter count has gone from about 4000 this time last year (camera bought in 2012) to 15,000 now, and who knows where it will end, especially when the K-1 joins the crowd.
So do you just use Raw Therapee as a raw converter, or does it handle noise reduction, color adjustment, sharpening, image stacking/panoramics, etc.

And I can't agree more with the storage comment... I shot with a K-30 until about a month ago when I bought a K-3ii.
The raw files of the K-3ii are massive compared to the K-30 outputs.
But, this just means I've become a bit more selective on which photos make the "pass" once I upload the SD card.
Before I just kept everything, now I'm probably deleting 90% of what is taken throughout the day and only keeping the best photos from each session. This probably doesn't work for most photographers, but I shoot for enjoyment and don't make money off this so I am the sole decider of what stays and what goes.

Different story if I shot weddings or portraits for compensation! haha

Thanks!


Last edited by UserAccessDenied; 03-25-2016 at 06:15 AM.
03-25-2016, 06:24 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by UserAccessDenied Quote
I've been a proud Pentax owner over a year now. I am very much still a beginner, and even more so when talking about PP.
I'd say the first few months of shooting I focused on nailing the shot in camera. I set to manual mode and shot RAW; adjusting and recomposing to get the photo as close to how I saw it in my head. Obviously this is harder that it sounds and I'm still practicing every day, but I have a much better understanding of the trifecta that is ISO, Shutter and Aperture.

I've really overlooked PP until recently.
I used Picasa3 because it was free and it could handle my DNG files directly. It was nice and easy to share photos and export to dropbox.
Google has discontinued Picasa support, the desktop app still works but I feel like I should move on to another software regardless.
I see Nik is free now, but again discontinued support. Also I've heard it doesn't handle DNG files directly...

I've installed GIMP (I have an older macbook from 2008 [OSx 10.11])
Not too comfortable with GIMP just yet; needless to say it is way more complex than Picasa, understandably.
I've heard of Darktable, just haven't had a chance to play around with it too much.
Now Lightroom... This seems like the go-to software for people here and elsewhere in the photography world.
I've never used it, nor have I even seen other people use it.
Is Lightroom my best option for an all-in-one software that can handle DNG files, edit, and sharing?

Is there a big learning curve to LR?

Which version is suggested?

I do not like this whole CC movement, so I'd likely look for a physical copy of the software.
Is LR5 much worse than LR6?
Is LR7 right around the corner?
SilkyPix is the RAW converter that ships with Pentax cameras and it is free. The results are very good, and the interface has improved a good bit.
03-25-2016, 06:25 AM   #6
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I have used Raw Therapee to tweak colour, brightness, contrast, and to invert B&W negatives shot with a macro lens and a slide copier. I'm really not into doing anything more, and I am so inexperienced with it that I should do no more than suggest you try it for yourself. It was free of charge last I looked, so no risk to have a play with it.
03-25-2016, 06:44 AM   #7
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Do you want software that includes cataloging? Or something that is used for just one file at a time?

Main strengths of LR are that it is fairly simple to use, but still has some powerful tools, and it also has fairly good cataloging. So you have lists of your photos, you can make non-destructive duplicates, you can do edits in singles or groups, you can make collections it has lens profiles,.. I think FastStone and Corel Aftershot and DXO Optics have these functions, as well. With Pentax cameras you get a version of Silky Pix. The actual Silky Pix is a little different from the one that comes with Pentax cameras - it is more updated, but not specifically tailored for Pentax. Its not bad, but I found its interface complicated, compared to LR. Maybe the newest version is easier to use. I know it is powerful.

RawTherapee and Photoshop and Gimp are more for single-file edits, I think.

QuoteOriginally posted by UserAccessDenied Quote
Is LR5 much worse than LR6?
I think LR6 was a fairly big jump, but plenty of us are still using LR3..
Either way, I think Adobe sells two types of LR, one is CC and the other is standalone. Double check this, I'm not sure. I'm not really keeping up with the many types of software and their updates, rebranding, and so on

Edit: btw, my answers are for Windows. Im not sure about Mac software availability. And also, you can try free trials of most of these software, which can help you decide.
03-25-2016, 07:14 AM   #8
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You can get both Lightroom and Photoshop via Creative Cloud subscription - I think they call it their Photography option - for $9.99/month USD. The only caveat is that you have to commit to a year - you can't cancel before that. I've used Lightroom for a couple years (I bought LR4 standalone) and like it very much. Lots of third-party plugins out there to give you nifty one-click changes, and a fair number of them are free. Learning curve is moderate but not terrible. Photoshop is much worse, learning-curve wise, and I rarely use it.

The Nik Collection from Google - a group of programs/plugins for image processing - just went free. I've never played with them, but plan to this weekend. They play nice with both LR and PS, I believe.

03-25-2016, 07:23 AM   #9
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Darktable all the way. I've tried using other PP software since starting to use DT, but nothing seems to have the same level of control whilst maintaining ease of use. Admittedly I've not used any paid software, but from what I've seen I'd basically be paying for someone else to edit my photos which is plain daft.

Here are some handy tutorials to get you familiar with how it works. The tutorials are from an older version of DT, but the differences are mostly cosmetic.

03-25-2016, 07:27 AM   #10
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My suggestion if to give open-source programs like RawTherapee & Darktable a try first. They're free & you have nothing to lose, outside of spending some time to learn them.

You can also download a 30 day trial of Adobe Lightroom to see if you like it. If you do, then it's either $10 a month or you buy LR 6 for $149. They've made it harder to find that option on their website.

https://www.adobe.com/products/catalog/software._sl_id-contentfilter_sl_cata....html?start=20

^ Just scroll down to Lightroom & click on buy. They really want you to subscribe.

There are more like DxO, Capture One, Silkypix, & others. You'll have to do some more research & try them out.
03-25-2016, 07:39 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by The Squirrel Mafia Quote
My suggestion if to give open-source programs like RawTherapee & Darktable a try first. They're free & you have nothing to lose, outside of spending some time to learn them.

You can also download a 30 day trial of Adobe Lightroom to see if you like it. If you do, then it's either $10 a month or you buy LR 6 for $149. They've made it harder to find that option on their website.

https://www.adobe.com/products/catalog/software._sl_id-contentfilter_sl_cata....html?start=20

^ Just scroll down to Lightroom & click on buy. They really want you to subscribe.

There are more like DxO, Capture One, Silkypix, & others. You'll have to do some more research & try them out.
I'll have to download the trial and give it a run.
I had Darktable on my Mac but never got it to work... Everytime I opened it my computer would crash.
I cleaned up my HDD and factory reset my Mac; updated OS and added 2GB of RAM.
Maybe I'll have better luck this time around.
GIMP is great, but I just haven't found the time to really give it a chance. It seems like a graphic design program rather than photography based, but it should still have some cool features.
03-25-2016, 07:43 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by UserAccessDenied Quote
I'll have to download the trial and give it a run.
I had Darktable on my Mac but never got it to work... Everytime I opened it my computer would crash.
I cleaned up my HDD and factory reset my Mac; updated OS and added 2GB of RAM.
Maybe I'll have better luck this time around.
GIMP is great, but I just haven't found the time to really give it a chance. It seems like a graphic design program rather than photography based, but it should still have some cool features.
Recent versions of DT are much more stable.
03-25-2016, 08:04 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by clockworkrat Quote
Recent versions of DT are much more stable.
Good to know!

I'm a huge advocate for open source software. We use it at work and I help our clients utilize it when possible.
Especially when site licenses for our software can reach $4500 a year...

I'll install DT tonight and take another look.
03-25-2016, 08:08 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by UserAccessDenied Quote
Good to know!

I'm a huge advocate for open source software. We use it at work and I help our clients utilize it when possible.
Especially when site licenses for our software can reach $4500 a year...

I'll install DT tonight and take another look.
Good luck, I hope it works for you.
03-25-2016, 08:09 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by clockworkrat Quote
Good luck, I hope it works for you.
Does Darktable work well with Nik Collection?

Or is it not that seamless?
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