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04-26-2009, 05:10 AM   #1
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PSCS+ACR vs. PS Elements vs. Lightroom

I've had a K10D for about sixth months and so far have been converting my RAW files in camera because my current computer is super ghetto. I would like to be able to do RAW conversion and some basic PP (sharpening, cropping, WB adjust, lens correction type stuff etc.) when I get a new computer in May. I've dabbled in the bundled software which doesnt impress me much and supposedly has the same soft "filmlike" JPEG algorithim as camera. So...

I have no idea what to get. I used PS back in college for web and multimedia design and I think its a bit expensive and in-depth for what I want for now. What about Elements? Can you use Camera Raw with Elements as well? Or is Lightroom more straightforward for basic PP? I just want to convert and edit my files in a way that gets the most out of my K10's capabilities (to the extent allowed by my photographic amateurism of course).

Sorry if this has been posted already but after sifting through news and rumors K-7 tidbits all weekend I'm tired of looking for stuff on this site right now. Any feedback would be appreciated.

04-26-2009, 06:11 AM   #2
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PC/M$ or Mac?

You have Elements 7 with ACR for Windows.
Elements 6 for Mac, it comes with ACR and Bridge.

LR2 for both Mac and PC.

I would choose LR2, if you don't need to do advanced editing with layers etc.
It's the best software when it comes to workflow and developing your RAW files.

All of my RAW files are developed in LR2, maybe 2-5% of them are further processed in PS.

Buy LR2 and if you need PS, try to get an older version that's on sale or something. Or learn Gimp.
04-26-2009, 11:02 AM   #3
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If you can afford it, Lightroom 2.3 is the best program for quick importing, organizing and adding keywords. LR edits can change the white balance, and other overall edits of the image. Although LR now has healing brush, it is not as useful, I find, as the one in Elements 6.

LR edits are non-destructive, which saves quite a bit of hard drive space, particularly by using Virtual Copies of an image. The downside is the price of around $300 US. If you know a student at a recognized institution, you may be able to snag an educational discount and pick LR up for around $100 US.

Elements 6 and 7 also include an organizer, just not up to the exotic standards of Lightroom. I am not sure if v7 has non-destructive editing or not, but v6 does not, so keeping an original results in two copies on the hard drive. I use E6 as an external editor from LR and use it mostly for correcting flaws and removing power lines, etc.

Both Elements and Lightroom include Adobe Camera Raw, so you should have no problems there.

I agree with your assessment of Pentax Photo Browser and Editor. I have kept it on the hard drive so as to be able to see EXIF data the way PPB presents it. I looked at the editor and promptly bought Elements 6.

For lens corrections, I use primarily DxO, but it might be pricey for you. It automatically corrects all the flaws in the image caused by the combination of body and lens. They extensively tested, and then applied the corrections. The corrections include distortion, light falloff and vignetting. If I have taken images where I want to do keystone corrections, I use the DxO enhancements. The downsides are price and speed. It will output DNG or JPEG or TIFF, and now there is a second copy of the image on the hard drive. Currently for the K10D, the lens modules available are DA 12-24, DA* 16-50, DA* 50-135, DA 50 macro and DA 18-250.

PT Lens is a shareware alternative for correcting distortion. Unlike DxO, it cannot correct the mustache distortion introduced by a lens designer to reduce the overall distortion. I prefer DxO, but I had the $$$ to buy it.

For panoramas, I use The Panorama Factory, and for HDR I use Photomatix.

These are just one opinionated old phart's choices. Check with everyone else before jumping in with your wallet.

If you need to do corrections and modifications as complex as are available with Creative Suite, you might be interested in using Gimp - a freeware alternative. It is reported to be as hard to use as PS CS, but the price is $800 or so less.
04-26-2009, 10:17 PM   #4
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Thanks for the feedback! After reading it and poking around on Adobe's website I think the latest version of Lightroom should suffice for my needs.

Lens issues such as vignetting and distortion don't bother me unless they are just glaring. On the photos I've taken so far, I haven't noticed anything too terrible. What I have noticed, however, is some pretty hefty CA at full size on some of my pics. I'm currently using the Sigma 17-70/2.8 with a cheap ($15 USD) Kenko UV filter. The lighting here in Taiwan is pretty awful as the sky is usually brutally bright and overcast when its not raining. I believe this is where most of the CA around object edges comes from.

Is this something I can solve with PP in Lightroom? I plan on buying a decent B&W polarizer as well to add some punch to my landscape photos. Will that help?

One other thing, until I get a faster lens I do have to go up into the upper ISO ranges at times. I do notice a fair amount of noise in a lot of these pictures. Does Lightroom have good NR capabilities?

Thanks again for the advice.

04-27-2009, 02:53 AM   #5
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For a zero cost option, I suggest RawTherapee to process your images, will do both jpg and RAW images and for additional adjustments, use GIMP
Just use Google to get links to the software
04-27-2009, 08:40 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by PaddyB Quote
Thanks for the feedback! After reading it and poking around on Adobe's website I think the latest version of Lightroom should suffice for my needs.

Lens issues such as vignetting and distortion don't bother me unless they are just glaring. On the photos I've taken so far, I haven't noticed anything too terrible. What I have noticed, however, is some pretty hefty CA at full size on some of my pics. I'm currently using the Sigma 17-70/2.8 with a cheap ($15 USD) Kenko UV filter. The lighting here in Taiwan is pretty awful as the sky is usually brutally bright and overcast when its not raining. I believe this is where most of the CA around object edges comes from. Is this something I can solve with PP in Lightroom?
I advise you to take off the filter. I gave up using filters as protection when I was still using slide film for the adverse effects they have on the image. This might cut down on CA's and definitely will cut down on flare. I find that with lenses that produce CA's they can be greatly reduced in camera by stopping down two stops or more. This of course brings up the problem below.
QuoteQuote:
I plan on buying a decent B&W polarizer as well to add some punch to my landscape photos. Will that help?
I own some expensive polarizers, and they can certainly enhance colours a lot. Think out of the box a bit and use them after showers when the foliage is wet to cut down the reflections. This intensifies the colours wonderfully.
QuoteQuote:
One other thing, until I get a faster lens I do have to go up into the upper ISO ranges at times. I do notice a fair amount of noise in a lot of these pictures. Does Lightroom have good NR capabilities?
Coming from a film background, I find the noise in my digital photographs nothing at all. You can add Noise Ninja as a plug in to Lightroom.

QuoteQuote:
Thanks again for the advice.
You will find you can reduce the noise a lot by exposing generously. Look up ETTR or ETR as some call it. I use the "blinkies" to highlight bad exposures on playback. I don't use the instant replay. I don't have to check every image, just one from a subject / lighting group. I want one tiny specular highlight in the blinkies. The more generous the exposure without blowing out the highlights, the less the dark areas have to be boosted and the less the noise.
04-28-2009, 11:21 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by NorthPentax Quote
PC/M$ or Mac?

You have Elements 7 with ACR for Windows.
Elements 6 for Mac, it comes with ACR and Bridge.

LR2 for both Mac and PC.

I would choose LR2, if you don't need to do advanced editing with layers etc.
It's the best software when it comes to workflow and developing your RAW files.

All of my RAW files are developed in LR2, maybe 2-5% of them are further processed in PS.

Buy LR2 and if you need PS, try to get an older version that's on sale or something. Or learn Gimp.
How old?

Would PS 7 suffice along with LR2, along with Elements 7?
04-28-2009, 02:26 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by res3567 Quote
How old?

Would PS 7 suffice along with LR2, along with Elements 7?
I would recommend LR 2.3 and Elements 7. With this combination, I doubt you would need full blown photoshop. The combination is about half the price of Photoshop.

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