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06-01-2014, 05:39 AM   #1
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Computer and software suggestions

I'm a returning hobbyist and now own a K3. I'd like to be able to take advantage of the technology in hardware and software available to enable post-processing of images. Don't know anything about it (haven't research it yet) so I thought that I would take advantage of the knowledge available on this forum. Without breaking the bank, what computer and software would compliment a hobbyist in current computer technology?
Thank you - I really look forward to hearing from you.

06-01-2014, 06:29 AM   #2
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When it comes to computer hardware, there is not really a bad choice. You should get the best your budget allows, PC or Mac both will more than likely serve you well. For photography, you'll want a good quality screen/monitor. Everything else (CPU, memory, HDD, video card) will pretty much only affect the speed at which you'll work.

Software wise, each one will have pluses and minuses. Each will have varying options and ease of use but in the end, they're all very similar and you won't necessarily get better results with one or another.

I use Apple's Aperture for the most part, complemented by Adobe Photoshop, running on a Macbook. GF is using Adobe Lightroom on a relatively inexpensive HP notebook and she is happy with it. When travelling we only carry one computer and neither of us mind which one it is. But honestly, I think we both prefer the Mac because of its screen (resolution and brightness) but we are very aware that it was more than twice the price of the HP. Software wise Lightroom has some builtin options I wish Aperture would have (lens profiles and decent noise reduction, for example) but I prefer the workflow of Aperture.

It's a question of personal preferences and budget. But as long as you have a decent monitor/screen you should be golden.
06-01-2014, 07:00 AM   #3
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If You use Microsoft software, then I suggest 64-bit Windows OS. It's no problem with 32 bit version also, but Windows -64 bit version has some significant advantages (memory handling) - some programs just do not work in 32 bit environments (photo editing programms, but especially when the need video processing).
06-01-2014, 08:01 AM   #4
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There is a fair bit of controversy surrounding Adobe's "you can rent but not buy our software" approach with Photoshop CC (Creative Cloud), but it does have the advantage of providing a very powerful suite of processing software for a low price, if it's $9.99 per month offer is still available. You get the latest versions of Lightroom and Photoshop (and can access new versions) for that price.

06-01-2014, 09:24 AM   #5
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Key distinctions between software aimed at editing/pp'ing and speciific photoediting/image creation software - photoshop being the big name - are that photoshop and competitors incorporate layers/layer editing, while pp-ing software is typically also image organisation and library software. There are actually a lot of features in programs like picasa (free from google) for example. Lightroom is Adobe's pp'ing product to stand alongside photoshop, I have now been using version 3.6, purchased a couple of months ago to go on my XP pc (later versions 4, 5 need windows 7 or 8; I did in fact upgrade to win 7 shortly after but it was still a good deal).

As an initial free intro with a fairly standard suite of pp-ing features I can recommend Faststone. I tried Gimp as a free general photo/image editing suite but didn't really get into using it, I had had Serif Photoplus for a long time (an economy competitor to Phortoshop, photoshop users will probably sniff loudly) and - emphasis - familiarity is half the battle with most of these programs.

Overall I have to admit that Lightroom is probably worth the investment. But no hurry, check out what you can do with the free ones mentioned (and there are lots of others that other responses may be able to comment on) learn some of the ropes so to speak and think about what you want to achieve with your pics/photography.
06-01-2014, 09:52 AM   #6
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Some software also can use the power of your video card to help speed things up, too. DxO (DX Optics Pro) and NeatImage are just a couple examples of software that do this. A mid-range decent video card will run about $150 by itself on top of the cost of the computer and processor.

Also, some software will only run on 64-bit platforms. An example is OnOne Perfect Photo Suite 8 which requires a fairly powerful computer/video card to have decent performance.

For Windows, I would look for at least a quad core PC, at least 8GB memory (memory is pretty cheap), and something like an Nvidia GTX660 video card. SSD disk drives instead of standard SATA disk drives can help system performance too, but they are still pricey and you can get by without them and you can add them later. Remember you'll use this system for several years.

For Mac, you're on your own
06-01-2014, 02:43 PM   #7
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+1 for Faststone Image Viewer, it's a excellent free postprocessing prog.

Microsoft ICE is free, and useful for stitching panoramas.

OnOne recently gave away their Perfect Effects 8 program as a free offer, the offer may still be in place, check for the thread somewhere on this site.

3 free programs that are very useful.

---------- Post added 06-02-14 at 05:50 AM ----------

I just noticed the post above mine...

I tried OnOne's Perfect Photo Suite - it costs money and for me Faststone gave better results.

I would always recommend Win64 over Apple for value for money, and its possible to get classy stylish rigs in Windows nowadays too, so another of the fabled Apple benefits is negated. But Apple are also usable if money is no object- but I prefer to buy extra lenses!

---------- Post added 06-02-14 at 06:05 AM ----------

Monitors. I originally posted a long spiel about this, using my tablet, and it all got tangled up and became a double-edit-post. Some of it is covered in the post below, especially my recommendation that you look at IPS monitors. For budget reasons I bought a BenQ 27 inch screen , that claimed it was as good as an IPS. It was well worth the money, but it is not as good as an IPS. Dell often do nice IPS screens, and that 30 inch screen of theirs gets good reviews. A few years back I bought a Samsung screen, and my son, who is a graphics artist, bought a Sammy with the same model number, but with different prefix and suffix letters. His cost 3 times as much! Some manufacturers offer gamer type screens, fast but who cares about the colour exactitude, or slightly slower screens that are much better suited for graphics artists and photographers. Keep that in mind. It's worth getting a larger screen, 27 or 30 inch, if you can afford it, but if extra size reduces the quality, choose the smaller- you can always use the quality screen for the photos, and use a second cheapo screen as a sidescreen for text and menu work. Avoid 3D screens like the plague.

Last edited by Bagga_Txips; 06-03-2014 at 06:09 PM.
06-03-2014, 05:00 AM   #8
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It strictly depends on what breaking the bank is to you and whether you want a computer that is adequate initially or something that will handle your future needs. As far as CPU's- bigger more core is better. Same thing with video cards, Ram- the most you can afford. OS bit- 64 handles more memory than 32. What computer brand and CPU brand? Whatever you fancy. Monitors now that is another story; TN almost worthless for color editing it may look good on screen but print matching can be a crap shoot, LED a little better but if it is TN still almost worthless, PLS getting there and the newest technology, IPS, Preferred but quality color matching can depend on type/price. The more resolution the better with 1920 x 1080 or higher preferred.

Software;
Several free ones mentioned, even the one that came with your camera will work but as you grow and want to be more creative then usually so will the cost of your software. So to find out use the free and trial software until you find one that suites your needs. I've used and tried a lot of editing software over the years and right now to me the best deal going down right now for my purpose is the $9.99 per month Photoshop CC. Like any software it takes a bit to learn but IMO versatility and creative wise as a stand alone software I don't think photoshop can be matched as yet and It has the ability to use the best plug-ins software on the market including onone's but like computer brands. Software is a matter of preference Photoshop just happens to be mine. Along with Topaz products, Alien Skin, Eye Candy, Photmatix, Portrait Pro, Perfect effects, HDR Pro & Mystical products.....LOL


Last edited by Oldbayrunner; 06-03-2014 at 05:13 AM.
06-03-2014, 05:09 AM   #9
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Thank you all for the information. Much appreciated.
06-08-2014, 03:29 AM   #11
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If you can run darktable (darktable | the photo workflow software) on your operating system, I would give that a try. I've been using it for nearly 4 years now (!) and have only rarely thought about purchasing Lightroom. Then again, I am a hobbyist- so if you think you will want the integration of LR and PS (and other Adobe software), paying for software may be the best way to go.

With the K-3, I have found my mid-2010 13" Macbook Pro to be less than optimal. Especially if I am applying noise reduction (darktable has sensor profiles for almost all Pentax cameras). You'll want more than 4gb RAM and much more than 256mb on your video card. The RAW file size coming out of the K-3 is just a bit too much for seamless editing with my computer.
06-08-2014, 11:58 AM   #12
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I give a thumbs up for OnOne (Perfect Effects 8). I use that add on with Photoshop and I love it. Photoshop was expensive, although you can now do the Adobe Creative Cloud. I believe Adobe CC can go as low as 10$ per month and maybe even less if you choose only Photoshop or only Lightroom.

If you want to go the completely free route I would suggest GIMP. I have heard many good things about it and have tried it but definitely not all of the options.

As for a computer, you really can't go wrong with most run-of-the-mill computers. I use a PC so I cannot speak for Macs but any new PC will most likely have an i3, i4, or i5 processor and any of those will be fine for basic photo editing.
06-08-2014, 06:42 PM   #13
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Computer:
PC: any Dell Intel i5+ Win 8.1 Pro 64bit, 6-8GB Ram, hard disk 500GB+ and additional hard disk of 1TB+
Mac: Mac Mini
Monitor: 23"+ IPS LED monitor, I like Acers - 3yr warranty

Software: Adobe Lightroom 5, I think the best to use and easy for post processing and can be had for around $79 on sale
06-09-2014, 06:18 AM   #14
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The hardware advice above is solid - 64bit Windows and 8GB RAM will make a lot of work much faster. You'll also want to consider a backup HDD, 1 or 2 TB units are not expensive, and good insurance. Plus if there's ever a disaster you can just grab your backup drive.

I bought Lightroom 4 a couple years ago, I presume that's no longer available but 5 current. It's pretty intuitive and seems to yield very good results for me.
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