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12-01-2010, 11:28 PM   #1
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Best processing software for dslr newbie

My new Xr will hopefully arrive tomorrow or next Monday. My question is what processing software is best to start with. I have zero experience in this area but come next week I will finally have my first opportunity to process my own images. I have followed many threads about it but having no hands on opportunity nothing stuck. I did note that noone seemed to use Pentax software that comes with the camera, or I assume comes with the camera.

In film days I left it up to local photo shop, which is no longer there due to the digital age and on-line camera shopping.

12-02-2010, 12:43 AM   #2
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Try "Scarab Darkroom".

Next, try GIMP (more advanced). Both are free.
12-02-2010, 03:15 AM   #3
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Start with the utility that came with the camera. Might take a while to get used to.

I use UFRAW for raw conversion and pre-processing (like crop etc); if you don't use the RAW format, it is however useless. Usually don't go further than that but next step is the GIMP.
12-02-2010, 03:39 AM   #4
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You can download a 30 day trial of Adobe Lightroom, from where you can manage all of your images, and probably do all of your editing, from the one application.

Adobe Lightroom

12-02-2010, 04:45 AM   #5
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Ufraw, Gimp and FastStone are free combination that works (for me :-), but the two first might require quite a bit of trial and error tweaking. My idea of getting in the ballpark with them can be found here: Photoshop elements might be a budget option for more convenience, there is a 30-day trial for that as well I believe.

Last edited by jolepp; 12-02-2010 at 08:15 AM.
12-02-2010, 05:49 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by texoma Quote
My question is what processing software is best to start with
If you are looking for a free, simple, lightweight and easy-to-use photo editing app for your jpegs, check this out:

Photo! Editor - The perfect choice to edit and improve your photos

Last edited by Manel Brand; 12-02-2010 at 05:50 AM. Reason: typo
12-02-2010, 05:51 AM   #7

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Gimp is a fine choice but requires serious time and effort to learn to use. Probably not a good choice for someone new to PP, or has limited time, or who generally isn't comfortable with a steep learning curve.

Some like to start with a mass market freebie like Picasa. Just to get used to the idea of PP and learn some of the terms and actions in a generic way. Training wheels, if you will.

Others jump to Photoshop Elements, my choice for neophytes. It's generally available at an attractive price these days: $50-$75 USD. Elements offers two levels of guidance and also allows you to take the training wheels off when you're ready - three approaches as you become more capable and competent.

If and when you need to move up, noting that many don't have that need, Gimp and the full Photoshop are well worth investigating. But that is another question entirely.

Last edited by glanglois; 12-03-2010 at 06:00 AM.
12-02-2010, 05:53 AM   #8

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I am on Picasa and

While appears to be rather simple in its basic setup, once loaded with the plug-ins, it is quite powerful.

Both are free.

12-02-2010, 05:55 AM - 1 Like   #9
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If you have zero experience, why not just begin with the simplest to use and what is free..Windows Image Viewer, Picassa (much better), or what comes supplied with the camera (Silkypix)? Those listed in order from easiest to more robust.

My advice, learn the basics of the camera and the fundimentals of photgraphy first before going too deep into software...easy to lose priority and perspective if trying to confuse what is most important at this point.

12-02-2010, 07:05 AM   #10
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as many have said, start with what comes with the camera.

Personally I use Corel's PSP X3 (current version) but I started out using PSP at version 8 before Corel purchased Jasc Software. This was also before I was shooting a DSLR, but I was in the process of scanning and editing all 20,000 of my film shots. I began looking for just an organizer, for filing the photos logically, and then moved rapidly into editing them, since Jasc offered a bundled package for both, I started there, and have simply advanced along the upgrade path ever since.

While the Adobe products seem to be the gold standard in photo editing, I have found that PSP does all that I need, and most of what Photoshop and others perform, at a fraction of the price of photoshop. It is largely intuitive, the menu structures are relitively straightforward, and it is something that is useable for a casual editor, not really into detailed post processing of large quantities of shots.

The major drawbacks I have seen are,
- it can sometimes crash, although Version X3 seems to be more stable than previous versions,
- corel is somewhat slow to update the cameras supported, therefore DNG might be a better RAW format than PEF
- not all corrections are done in full 12 bit color of the PEF RAW file. Color balance, contrast and exposure are done on full raw files but sharpening and many add ins work on 8 bit color.
12-02-2010, 07:14 AM   #11
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I've seen Elements on sale for under $60, plus a rebate. Does most anything for beginner to intermediate user, has 3rd party manuals, free trial.
12-02-2010, 08:11 AM   #12
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I think Blad software "Phocus" is free. has anyone tried it?
12-02-2010, 08:13 AM   #13
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Man you all make a new guy feel right at home...thanks

I continue to be amazed and appreciative of all those on this forum who so quickly and generously share their knowlege with others. I had never heard of some of these tools and will be looking into them as I launch into this new phase of my photographic experience. I am a 72 year old dslr neophite who is just itching for UPS or FedEx to show up with my new Xr kit and other goodies so I can get started.
12-02-2010, 08:43 AM   #14
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Straight out of the gate, I editted in Lightroom, and was quite overwhelmed. I learned through trial and error, and finally bought Vision & Voice, a book tutorial on a specific photographer's workflow. While some may have arguements on the validity of some of the material, it still shows you how to use the tools and what they do. After reading it, I find that I'm back to simply whelmed with Lightroom.
12-02-2010, 09:01 AM   #15
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Just so you know, the little known "scarab darkroom" is a free alternative of adobe lightroom, essentially a "lightroom light" . Anyways it allows you to organize raw files, edit them at the basic level, and then export them to edit them in any other program you select (and there are tonnes of great suggestions for that here).

I might agree that GIMP is a bad place for a beginner to start. It's a powerful too, but unwieldy.

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