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01-14-2015, 08:48 PM   #1
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Which software?

I just used Faststone, the free version 5.3. Worked with if for about 4 nights on a project. It is basic and not very user friendly in my humble opinion but it was a good first time experience to learn.
Can anyone recommend a better software for a newbie? I don't mind paying for it so I'm not looking for something free. Photoshop is too much for me at this stage of the game...need more experience.


Last edited by Shakey; 01-14-2015 at 09:49 PM.
01-14-2015, 09:05 PM   #2
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Lots of choices, really depends on what you want to do. And I assume you mean Faststone not Flatstone? Do you need keywording tools? Layers? RAW processing? Export and publish plug-ins? Add up the features you need before asking which software?

I use Lightroom and find it does all and more than I need. It's strengths are image organization, RAW processing and good export and publish features. Any of these programs have a large learning curve, my time invested in learning is worth 100x the cost of the software so pick a winner and stick with it. Jumping from program to program wastes time and you never gain the skill you need to be good.

I have seen lots of people focus on developing pictures or this and that photoshop trick and forget the basics of being able to find an image 10 years from now. Properly titled and keyworded images are an asset, lost images are a waste. Lightroom is really focused on storing and finding your images for you so if managing your digital assets is important thats the way I would go.
01-14-2015, 09:36 PM   #3
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Sound advice from Jatrax. Lightroom is the most popular program. Its indexing function is a standout and there is a wealth of help available.

Other programs have similar feature sets. Many have one special distinguishing feature.

I use DxO Optics Pro 10, Elite edition. It automates a lot of processing, although still gives a lot of scope for individual tweaking. If your lens and camera combination is supported (check the web site), it automatically corrects for distortion, vignetting, etc characteristic of that lens - a wonderful feature. If the lens/camera combination is not supported (eg most Pentax legacy lenses), it has tools for making your own adjustments although this is a bit tedious.

DxO also has presets to render photos (e.g. single shot HDR, high key portraits, etc), and you can create your own. You can do things like batch removal of a dust spot.

DxO OP has a couple of special tricks:
- Its "PRIME" noise reduction (just a name, nothing to do with prime lenses) is outstanding. 6400 ISO? No problem - it will clean up nicely. It used to be slow but is much faster in version 10.
- ClearView - a new feature in v.10 (Elite only) which reduces the effect of atmosheric haze. Needs a light touch, but works very well.
Some people use DxO OP as part of their workflow just for the noise reduction.

DxO also make two plugins that work with DxO OP and with LR and other programs. FilmPack allows various film-like renderings. ViewPoint allows high-level distortion correction of image taken with wide angle lenses. I use VP and it's excellent with the DA 12-24 (eg. when houses, poles and trees lean sideways at the edges of the image).

Jatrax is on the money about the worth of learning and sticking to a particular program (or combination).

It would be nice if these programs did what free utilities like Picture Information Extractor or Exposure Plot do, and nice if they did stitching (like the free program Autostitch). But I doubt there is a true one-stop-shop. Like everything in photography, it's a compromise.
01-14-2015, 09:38 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
I use Lightroom and find it does all and more than I need. It's strengths are image organization, RAW processing and good export and publish features. Any of these programs have a large learning curve, my time invested in learning is worth 100x the cost of the software so pick a winner and stick with it. Jumping from program to program wastes time and you never gain the skill you need to be good.
Lightroom is all you really need if you ask me. Then again I've never even tried Photoshop.

Once you get the basics down of Lightroom it's not that hard to use... but just like any other tool, using Lightroom is a skill.

I have had LR for almost 2 years and I am still learning stuff about it. They have entire courses about how to use Lightroom. There are many videos online that teach you a lot.

Lightroom is also non destructive. You shoot RAW and if you mess something up 'click here' to erase all changes and start over...

All the organizational stuff is one aspect I have yet to really get into. The actual editing of and correcting images though...I find it to be pretty good. I am a complete amateur though... even after two years of playing with it. I still learn new stuff all the time.

01-14-2015, 10:18 PM   #5
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+1 for Lightroom. Not difficult to learn the basics and you can increment your knowledge as you go: I'm with alamo - I've had it for 2 years and learning stuff still.
Plan your organization carefully. You can always reorganize, but that impinges on your time for making new images!
Lightroom allows you to create new folders in Windows Explorer (and I assume in Mac Finder) and drag and drop processed images into them.
It also allows you to make 'Collections' which is a way of cross referencing images that have two or more aspects:
EG If you create a folder for each holiday and you have images of a relative, a bridge and a bird in flight taken on the holiday but you want to be able to bring up all your images of relatives, or bridges or birds, regardless of when they were made, you can do so. This sort of thing can also be done using Keyword Tags but I haven't explored that much.
But I have digressed and got away from the main game: processing in Lightroom can be as easy or as complicated as you want.
Download a trial copy from Adobe's website and give it a go.


PS My processed jpgs have the camera allocated file number included in the title, so I can always go back to the RAW file and reprocess if I need to. I keep the RAW files in a separate catalogue.
01-14-2015, 10:19 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Shakey Quote
I just used Faststone, the free version 5.3. Worked with if for about 4 nights on a project. It is basic and not very user friendly in my humble opinion but it was a good first time experience to learn.
Can anyone recommend a better software for a newbie? I don't mind paying for it so I'm not looking for something free. Photoshop is too much for me at this stage of the game...need more experience.
Photoshop elements or lightroom is a good place to start. Once you get good with either of those, transitioning to the full version of photoshop won't be a problem

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01-14-2015, 10:27 PM   #7
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The real key to using Lightroom efficiently is presets. You can spend hours on an image or get 95% of the same thing automatically using a preset. It takes work to learn what you need to do but when you do always save that as a preset.

For example my import preset for the k-3:
  • Copies files from the camera to directories on my file server, separate folders for each day under a folder for each year
  • Makes a backup copy on an external hard disk
  • Renames the files to "YYYY.MM.DD@HH.MM.SS_K3"
  • Applies +10 contrast, -10 highlights, +20 clarity, +20 vibrance, -5 saturation
  • Sets camera profile to embedded
  • Turns on lens corrections
  • Turns on remove Chromatic Aberration
  • Sets sharpening to+25 and sharpening masking to 65
  • Sets tone curve to medium contrast
For a lot of images that is it, done. For those that need more work or deserve more work then complete the processing in Lightroom and then for the .01% that deserve the works the rest is done in Photoshop.
01-14-2015, 10:28 PM   #8
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As someone who owns and uses both Lightroom and Apple Aperture (macs only), I have to say Aperture is FAR stronger in file organization, though LR has more bells-and-whistles for editing. Unfortunately, Aperture is being discontinued by Apple, and will be replaced in the next few months by something imaginatively called Photos. We are yet to see what it can do.

A lot of people don't like the Adobe pay-per-month-for-life model for LR. It may suit you. I think you can still buy it outright. LR is powerful and the interface is tolerable enough.

01-14-2015, 10:49 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Paul the Sunman Quote
I think you can still buy it outright.
You can. Though I got the pay by month photographers bundle which includes Photoshop, well worth the fee if you use it.
QuoteOriginally posted by Paul the Sunman Quote
I have to say Aperture is FAR stronger in file organization,
Curious what features in file organization Aperture has that are missing in LR?
01-14-2015, 10:52 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Shakey Quote
Can anyone recommend a better software for a newbie?

You should browse this thread. It has all been answered a few times :-)

Digital Processing, Software, and Printing - PentaxForums.com
01-14-2015, 11:10 PM   #11
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You may also wish to look at Corel Paint shop pro. I think it is at release XVII . It strted out as Jasac but Corel bought it at about elease 8.

It has most of the same features of photoshop, and can accept and use 3rd party photoshop plug ins, for features it lacks.

It is much more intuitive than photoshop, but the biggest drawback is that although it can do all the same functions, the controls and function names are not the same as photoshop, so when you read an article about post processing, you need to translate the photoshop names and functions into corel speak

For me, the most frustrating thing is that they are not always the fastest to upgrade/update to accept PEF format from new models, so if you shoot raw, use DNG
01-14-2015, 11:46 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
You can. Though I got the pay by month photographers bundle which includes Photoshop, well worth the fee if you use it.

Curious what features in file organization Aperture has that are missing in LR?
  • Aperture gives you the choice of Managed (i.e. internal) and Referenced (i.e. external) files, or a mixture of both, and it is very easy to move selected or all images from one to the other. I find this particularly convenient when travelling for extended periods (months in my case), when I store all my new photos as Managed, backed up using vaults or Time Machine to a portable hard drive. This is safer than storing them initially on the portable HD as referenced files. Yes, I could then backup the portable HD to the laptop HD, but that is less convenient. In general, if not travelling, I often make files Managed on import, and periodically change all the older ones to Referenced when I want to free up disk space on the main HD (e.g., every 6 months).
  • Aperture has Projects. There is no LR equivalent, though with some effort you could use keywords to achieve a similar effect. I am lazy with keywords, even in Aperture. Aperture Albums = LR Collections, and Aperture Smart Albums = LR Smart Collections, with similar functionality, though I find the Aperture interface more intuitive.
  • Import from a camera/card into a new or existing Album in Aperture is easier and more intuitive than the equivalent in LR.
  • LR Catalogs are kludgy. You have to exit LR to change catalogs. And moving photos from one catalog to another is a pain (through export and import).
Yes, I know, when you get used to the software, you can do it all perfectly adequately in LR. But having used both, I really find Aperture to have the better interface.



One feature that I'm not sure everyone knows about is that you can actually work with a single Referenced file system from both Aperture and LR. Currently, I use Aperture to import my photos (Referenced) to a file system built on a date hierarchy (year-month-day) and access it from LR if I want to do something that Aperture doesn't do (e.g., lens profile corrections).
01-15-2015, 02:38 AM   #13
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Thing is Paul, he's tried FastStone and that's Windows only software, so trying to use Aperture won't work. AFAIK, it's Apple/Mac software and won't run on Windows.
01-15-2015, 04:01 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by photolady95 Quote
Thing is Paul, he's tried FastStone and that's Windows only software, so trying to use Aperture won't work. AFAIK, it's Apple/Mac software and won't run on Windows.
I don't know FastStone. Thanks for the info.

I wasn't recommending Aperture in any case; it's dead. In fact, I was saying LR is a good choice, even if it isn't perfect.
01-15-2015, 04:04 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Paul the Sunman Quote
Aperture in any case; it's dead.
If it's dead, why mention it? LOL
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