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07-15-2009, 05:55 AM   #1
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Raw editing and post processing software for dummies?

When I shot with a film slr, I just took my film to the local camera shop for quality processing. I suppose there were people then that did (and still do) develop their own film, and in fact, my grandfather used to do just that many years ago. I was never even tempted, and never felt the need to go that far.

However, this DIY processing seems to be more of a requirement with DSLR's, esp. the pentax models, so I am looking for some guidance on choosing a good, but not too difficult to learn program to edit and convert raw images. I get the mpression that it's a waste to go beyond the P&S camera level unless one is going to shoot raw and post process (beyond the basics- cropping, resizing, etc.)

I work in the engineering field, and learned to go from graphite and vellum to CAD with just a small amount of effort. So, I do have the ability to learn how to interface with software programs, but something more intuitive than not would be preferred when it comes to Raw editing software. I'm also not looking to spend hundreds of dollars either.

Any ideas as to where to go to research this? I did some searching on the forums, but I don't feel very much enlightened as a result. If there are threads that would be helpful, please help me find them.

07-15-2009, 06:09 AM   #2
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I like Lighzone:

LightZone lightcrafts

They have a free trial and if you like it the purchas price is $99.95USD
07-15-2009, 06:21 AM   #3
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Have you played with the in-camera options for jpegs (sharpening, saturation, etc.)? Or manipulating images after shooting but still in the camera (the so-called "digital filters")? There are some people who never bother with RAW files and do all their work in the camera.
07-15-2009, 07:14 AM   #4
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Ron Bigelow Articles

07-15-2009, 11:28 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Duck Dodgers Quote
Have you played with the in-camera options for jpegs (sharpening, saturation, etc.)? Or manipulating images after shooting but still in the camera (the so-called "digital filters")? There are some people who never bother with RAW files and do all their work in the camera.
Nope. I find it hard to really tell what adjustments to make looking at the image on a 2.5 or 2.7 inch screen beyond exposure, depth of field, composition and perhaps focus. My computer has a 17 inch screen.

deejjjaaa: Thank you for the link - lots of good info about post processing. "Lots" being the imperative word. Rather overwhelming. It makes me pine for the "good ol' days" when most enthusiast level or hobbyist photographers weren't considered to be backwards for lack of their own darkroom. That level of extensive post processing would suck the fun out of photography for me in a heart beat.
07-15-2009, 12:13 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sew-Classic Quote
That level of extensive post processing
well... you want it easy - try picasa or aurora ("...Enter FREE24 at checkout. www.lightcrafts.com..." and get a link to download aurora application for free)... otherwise you have to read.
07-15-2009, 12:17 PM   #7
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I use Lightroom for 99% of my post processing. I own LightZone as well and it used to be my primary tool; but Lightroom does so much so well and has DAM built-in that I now rarely have need to pull up LZ.

Both tools are about as photographer intuitive as can you can get and do not require photoshop "skillz" to be competently used.

I would happily recommend either with one caveat - LightCrafts customer support (LightZone) has in the past sometimes been less than expedient and they did make me a bit nervous about how well I'd spent my then $150. Hopefully now that they've 'streamlined' operations things are better?
07-16-2009, 05:16 AM   #8
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Thanks for all the info guys.

Perhaps this winter I'll have the time to delve into the process. Certainly seems to be one of those undertakings that is going to need some time dedicated to it. For now, I think that I'll just enjoy taking photos and the lack of snow.

07-16-2009, 05:53 AM   #9
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Hi, Sew-Classic,

I'm relatively new to the forum, as well; and I, too, live in Ohio. If you're in the Cincinnati area, we've got the Ohio Valley Camera Club. I'm sure several people there have first-hand opinions and would be willing to share. (I'm only newly joined there, too.) If you're elsewhere in Ohio, I imagine there'd potentially be a similar sort of group available.

You put an interesting spin on this, though; it hadn't occurred to me how digital doesn't have a direct analogue to the local photo lab, where someone ostensibly qualified develops film and provides the output for you.
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