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Forum: General Talk 12-06-2017, 09:50 AM  
A little rant: Talking Head videos on Youtube
Posted By emalvick
Replies: 35
Views: 1,174
Oh, I wasn't thinking in a traditional sense; the days of the publishing industry are gone. But, things evolve, and the current state of business with media, books, music, video will drive how it works out. I just think we aren't that far from people losing patience with what is published that there will be an evolution towards better quality paid content. It won't be overnight, but it will happen. Now whether it pays for the authors, I don't know. One will have to continue to watch the music industry to see how it continues to evolve for them.
Forum: General Talk 12-06-2017, 09:05 AM  
A little rant: Talking Head videos on Youtube
Posted By emalvick
Replies: 35
Views: 1,174
I thought the same thing. I thought maybe someone was asking how to make shot like something out of a Talking Heads (band) video.

Yet, this thread sucked me in.

On the actual subject; the thing that frustrates me, and this goes extra to the post about repairing things in the garage, is that people aren't writing down things as much any more, so youtube ends up being the only source for info. And then, one is stuck browsing 50 videos in hopes of finding 1 that is actually useful.

This will probably create a new market for books and magazines, so maybe it is cyclical and a good thing.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 12-06-2017, 08:58 AM  
Getting off AWB for consistency...
Posted By emalvick
Replies: 21
Views: 716
The best solution is to shoot RAW if you can. At that point, in the camera, you can do whatever makes sense to you, and correct it in post-processing later.

I've tried a lot of variations of what has been suggested above. I've set my camera to a steady 5500k, daylight, awb, location specific (with a gray card), etc. Any of them can work, but for me, I really hated trying the shot specific as it took time while shooting that I didn't want to take. Using a constant wb can work most of the time, but I've also had it put me in situations where the tinting made it difficult to judge whether the shot was otherwise OK. In the end, I mostly just use awb. I have a gray card, and will often take a shot of it in what I see is challenging light conditions.

In PP, I will use a gray card shot to set the WB and then make that setting constant across all the similar images. In landscape shots, I less often have gray card shots and will just manually adjust a shot or two to get a WB I like, and then use the setting across all the images. The only time I probably wouldn't do this is (1) I set the white balance by location or shot, of which the effort above was essentially made during the shoot or (2) when there is only a shot or two per location (like when I am hiking) and the awb does a good enough job.

I have to say that with my K3, the AWB is not bad. My own problem is that even with a gray card, I like my shots to generally be a little warm of what cameras or software consider correct / neutral.

Finally, in terms of white balancing off of something neutral in an image; it doesn't always work as nicely as you might hope. If something is "white" it may not be white or blown out, and making that correction can cause more problems. There is a reason gray cards are preferred.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 12-06-2017, 08:41 AM  
Style Guide Guidance
Posted By emalvick
Replies: 39
Views: 1,330
The few people I know who do commercial photography use OOC jpgs for their business. It is a way to be rather consistent, and if you are in that kind of business you are less likely to need the types of edits that a RAW file gives you flexibility for.

As an amateur, myself, that has shot almost exclusively with RAW since I've had it, I think the only time I've really needed raw is when I grossly messed the exposure or white balance off. That isn't to say that I haven't benefited from having the flexibility, but when I've processed jpgs, I've only noticed issues when I need to change the color balance or adjust the exposure. Most other edits can be reasonable with a jpg. Thus, I'd imagine that an OOC jpg is good for business and in the odd instance a shot needs an edit or two, you can probably do it.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 12-05-2017, 04:24 PM  
Style Guide Guidance
Posted By emalvick
Replies: 39
Views: 1,330
Interesting thread, and I know I am late to the "party".

But, I once thought about it like the OP, and thought I needed to create a style, and it didn't really work for me. I was trying too hard. Then I stepped back, and I think that as artists, photographers don't need a specific "style". We should always be growing our abilities, which usually means your style will evolve over time. You get better at things, you try different things, etc. I think that just doing what you do however it works, will lead to a style and experimenting will lead that way too. You may have a style for one shoot or for one year or even longer.

Others mentioned it will vary by type of photography, etc. Ultimately, I think it is subjective and without effort something that just happens.

As for the business side, consistency is probably more important than style, but it also depends on what your business is. I'm not a pro, and I am not often around pros, but a few that I know that for instance shoot weddings, portraits, family shots, etc, do it as a job where their real art is in shooting landscapes, street, etc. as a hobby that might make them money. As a business, they need to be adaptable but consistent. Ultimately, you are working for a customer, and you need to make the customer happy. You want to be quick and good enough that your customers might recommend you to future customers.

Finally, in terms of art and artists, I always step back and look at painters (the Picassos, Monets, etc of the world). Many of the great artists evolved various styles over their lifetime. I don't know that they were purposely creating styles or just channeling some other emotions or feelings into a style. I used to paint landscapes on the side, and I definitely had a style when I did that. But, my "style" was not necessarily a conscious effort in that I didn't "try" to make each painting match the style of a previous painting. Rather, my mental vision as each painting progressed led to a style that became apparent only when viewing my collective work as a whole.

Ultimately, you have to do what works for you. I do wonder sometimes if I ever went back to painting (it's probably been 10 years since I made a painting) whether my "style" would be the same. I know if I tried to be the same, it wouldn't be any good, but then again, I may not be good anyway. For photography, which I actively participate (as a hobbyist), I just take things one day, shoot, trip, at a time.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 11-21-2017, 11:57 AM  
Help me leave Lightroom and explore my fascination with ON1
Posted By emalvick
Replies: 42
Views: 1,691
I have only found a parent folder. My folder structure is generally: Photos\Year\Date .... e.g. "Photos\2017\2017-11-01" for photos taken on November 1, 2017.

So, I had dropped in the "Photos" folder (which includes everything), and had repeatedly got to 60% complete. Deleted the cache, and the same problem occurred (just like you stated). Deleted the cache again and the catalog. Then I decided to add the folders year by year. When I got to one particular year it crashed again. I deleted the cache again, and tried adding that year to the catalog by itself. It crashed again. Similar process to check that other years that I hadn't tried wouldn't do it and no problems.

At that point, I just recreated the issue and sent On1 (replying to the message they sent me) the Log File. I looked in the Log file, and the message was cryptic. It says nothing about what file is hanging things up or why.

I could go through a similar process within that year, but I am hesitant at this point. It was easier when I had 17 subfolders to go through (2001 through 2017). It would be more difficult with potentially 100's. I would like to know what is causing the problem, but I had hoped On1 would give me feedback on the log file I sent them.

Perhaps this issue isn't too uncommon, and they are fixing it. In the meantime, I quit using their catalog completely. The software runs a bit faster this way.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 11-21-2017, 11:14 AM  
Luminar Photo Editing
Posted By emalvick
Replies: 33
Views: 1,444
If DAM is important to you, then I would urge you to explore other software that are dedicated DAM (if you haven't). LR is fine, but I am of the opinion of the poster you were quoting, too. My biggest complaint of LR was its reliance on its own DAM. That doesn't mean LR can't work for people, but my experience is that it is very minimal in the features a DAM might have.

DAM is quite important to me, so much so that it was the first thing I did when I got my first digital camera back in 2002 and a scanner to bring in older photos. At that time, there were truly few DAM options. You spent either $500 for one or lived with some limited Open Source type software. At some point I happened upon IMatch (Photools is the company), which replaced a few other software. I'm not sure it is the best DAM, but at its price point it has been miles ahead of anything else. A few years ago, I thought it was dead and started looking into other software, and even tried seeing if I could really embrace LR, but I couldn't. LR for DAM is just too limited for me.

There are many features that I like in a DAM:

(1) version control. With IMatch, it will detect any file that is derived from a source as a version and synchronize exactly the information you want (XMP, EXIF, IPTC, GPS, etc). For instance, when I export files from any software with a file name like NAME-w (where -w is added to the original name), IMatch will only synchronize EXIF data (i.e. a web version).

(2) Keywording. LR has this feature. IMatch will read keywords from the XMP record, including those from a LR catalog, and let you arrange the hierarchy easily keeping the metadata in the files intact.

(3) Categorizing. This is kind of like the Smart Collection features in LR, but a good DAM will give you a lot more options with regard to that.

(4) Renamer. LR's renamer is limited while the one in IMatch is only limited by the imagination (and perhaps EXIFTool if you are using metadata).

(5) database. IMatch is heavily based on metadata, but one nice feature it has is the ability to flexibly create fields of data that stay with your database. Do you want to track sales of an image? Do you want to track where you've uploaded an image? customers? software used? etc. You can do that.

(6) automation. I like it when a DAM can automate a lot of the above. Versions can be auto-detected and the appropriate data set up; keywords can be setup so that the metadata only includes specific levels you want (remaining levels would be in the database); metadata is automatically written when changed

(7) *** transparent and robust. The software stores as much of its information in the XMP records for your images. If I ever quit my DAM software, all the data is there with the images. The catalog is just a backup of the information. LR has this too; it just doesn't have as much information.

and more... geotagging, scripting, timelines, complex filters, color-coding by metadata, category, keyword, etc.

Finally, there are many options out there. It's been a while since I've looked but beside IMatch, which I use, there are programs like ACDSee, Photo Supreme (idimager), Photomechanic, etc.

And, the idea of subscribing to a DAM seems a little dangerous?

Anyway I like having a dedicated DAM as it has made it easy to try various developers, bitmap editors, etc. I could jump out of LR quickly, no regrets. I jumped in quickly, too with no regrets. And, I feel comfortable that if and when I need to change DAM software, I can do it with little effort to recatalog everything.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 11-21-2017, 10:03 AM  
Help me leave Lightroom and explore my fascination with ON1
Posted By emalvick
Replies: 42
Views: 1,691
My crashing issue has been narrowed down to the point where I think it may be a specific source file. With On1 2017, I had dropped in my complete library (root folder) of photos. In 2018, On1 tried to update the cache and apparently has hung up on an image. After removing the catalog and attempting to catalog specific folders (sorted by year), I've gotten to catalog all but one folder, and that folder crashes On1, even when it is by itself (not a memory issue).

I've only gotten one response from On1, which is a bit disappointing. The response I did get helped just a bit in that I found where the log file is. I'm only disappointed that in sending them a log file I've not gotten anything back; it's been a week.

In the meantime, I've stepped back and removed folders from the catalog. Consequently, I am using the software as a "plug-in" for my DAM, and it is working ok. That's really how I should do it anyway.

---------- Post added 11-21-2017 at 09:26 AM ----------

As for On1 and other software, I personally think it is great that alternatives are coming up. LR is a bit over-rated. It has a great workflow, and the interface was better than most other RAW software at the time it came up. The DAM introduced people to having a DAM. LR and Photoshop have ultimately influenced the current crop of competitors (On1, Luminar, Affinity, Capture 1). I'm fine with it since competition will should breed improvements for all including LR. We'll see if that really happens. LR has been mostly stagnant. I had always hoped it's DAM would improve, but I don't think it really has had any improvement since LR3 (maybe LR2). The RAW processor and ACR have had limited improvements and features added since LR3. Adobe has also leaned heavily on Photoshop as a business choice, which is fine. It's hard to beat Photoshop. But On1 et al. don't have that so they can work to extend themselves by building in features that Photoshop has into their software directly.

I've never been thrilled by the need to use a plugin to get certain features that LR doesn't provide directly. It's not that Photoshop can't do it, but Photoshop doesn't always make things easy. This is what allowed On1 to build a user base as a plugin, and others like Topaz, Nik, etc. The creative control you can get out of Photoshop is great, but it does have a cost, and most photographers want to get to an endpoint quickly. Time is valuable, especially for professionals (which I am not one). But I do like taking photos and getting them on paper or online for friends and family. Plugins extend a software, but they also take time to use (exporting the image, having to catalog a new variant, etc). Of course they make things more convenient than Photoshop, so I can't complain much, but then I started playing with other RAW software.

Earlier I had mentioned that I transition to DxO primarily a couple of years ago (at DxO9). It's not terribly user friendly (presents too many features up front), but that was cleared up as I learned the program and customized my workspace. The real advantages it had for me was that on opening of a file for development, the initial edits by default are often 98% to the endpoint. I need vary few edits or external editing. Some will complain its NR is slow, but for the quality, I can handle queuing up files and letting it chug through its PRIME engine. They recently obtained Nik, so I am hoping it improves. The fact it doesn't need a catalog, simplifies things as my own DAM picks up everything and there are no conflicts between XMP info (LR always gives me that). The only complaint is that it doesn't support plugins (or plugins don't support it). It's not a huge deal, as my DAM can have its own plugins.

As far as I can see, On1 will theoretically give me the same type of workflow. I'm not sure it will get me 98% to an endpoint, and it isn't as resource efficient as DxO. But, it could eliminate a need for plugins. Luminar will probably be similar. With On1, I am finding that without a catalog, it is more efficient. I wish it had a built in function to mark folders as favorites without necessarily cataloging them, but I can live with it as is.

I am all for people making guides for all these new software. It would help gain more users and cover a part of the market that is neglected by those that typically use LR. Heck, if someone would come up with a good guide system for Capture 1, I'd probably be more inclined to give it a try, but I've never been able to really get started with that (and the cost has put me off). Oh well. I hope the market grows and that we keep having good options available to us.

---------- Post added 11-21-2017 at 09:38 AM ----------



I suppose this would depend on your workflow. If you are processing the RAW file in LR, then I'm not sure how you could do better. You can only get the LR edits into On1 by exporting a new file, which would have to be a TIFF or maybe a new DNG (not sure that LR will export a DNG with its edits in there). If you plan on essentially processing from start to finish (no use of develop module), then you might be able to send a DNG or RAW file over by configuring the plug-in settings or through the Export settings. However, I'm not sure LR ever lets you export a RAW file. Using a TIFF file should be adequate in most cases.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 11-15-2017, 08:19 PM  
Help me leave Lightroom and explore my fascination with ON1
Posted By emalvick
Replies: 42
Views: 1,691
I moved away from Lightroom almost immediately after buying version 6, which was a joke and the sign that Adobe had no intention of actually keeping LR out of the subscription mode.

For my use, it wasn't a huge deal, as I had been cataloguing with a dedicated DAM software even before I started using LR, and LR never had the features in their catalog for me to replace my software.

At the time I jumped out of LR6, my choices came down to Capture 1 and DxO Optics Pro. I went with DxO. It is currently my software of choice, but I did purchase On1 at the promise that it might offer some of the workflow benefits I was missing from LR; DxO is really great on individual images, but I find it a bit more challenging when working through a photoshoot as syncing edits is not as straight forward as LR. On1 seemed like it was aiming to be a LR replacement, and I naively bought it. But, I found it to be much more of a resource hog than even LR. It was constantly trying to cache images, and the user interface was a bit basic for my liking. I've installed 2018 as a demo, but it crashes on open almost no matter what I do. I've not been able to use it. I'm struggling to get any support, and I want a refund on it.

I commend the original poster for the task he wants to take, but I'm not too optimistic, and the fact that On1 has all these ambitious ideas that seem to fall flat or stall on, would make me hesitant to go through the same effort. I'll stick with DxO for now, although I have to say that their recent update is a bit half-baked in its use of control points and additional features. Too many developers are trying to paste on features rather than truly integrate them.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 10-09-2017, 12:52 PM  
DxO OpticsPro 11 Essential Edition available for free
Posted By emalvick
Replies: 8
Views: 1,577
I purchased this version when it came out (I've been using it since V9).

I like it and find it works better for Pentax than almost any software I've used. If I had any complaints it is the GUI is a bit complicated because it has so many knobs and some features can be counter to others. That all being said, The default profiles tend to get me 95% to complete so that I can get an image finalized much faster than I can in LR.

The only other issue I have with it is that it doesn't work great for synchronizing edits across images. It works, but it takes more steps than LR.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 08-10-2017, 08:51 PM  
Using PEF files in photo processing
Posted By emalvick
Replies: 6
Views: 540
The only penalty to having the codecs available is up front (i.e. the first time you try to browse a folder). Windows always generates that .thumbnails hidden file that essentially stores the thumbs for future use. However, I would highly recommend using codecs by FastPictureViewer rather than those by Adobe. The Adobe ones (for DNG) really choke systems the first time you open a folder.

That being said, I use my DAM software to drag and drop or send files to my applications of choice just as one could with LR or even Bridge. It's a lot easier for me to work that way than with Explorer.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 06-28-2017, 07:38 AM  
Comparing various processing software
Posted By emalvick
Replies: 30
Views: 2,717
Personally, I think most of the software is so comparable, especially for younger people brought up on computers. They'll adapt as long as the workflow concepts don't change that often. Again, it's probably up to the teacher to instill some sense of awareness of other apps even if the course is tailored around a specific app.

As far as pricing goes, I would only encourage someone to actually contact companies and see if you can work out some type of educational and volume discount. In the thread you repeatedly refer to software as expensive, but most of these programs are comparable in pricing. I realize it adds up when you have to buy for 20,30,+ students, which is why for almost any of these programs I'd encourage contact with a company.

Adobe used to (it sounds like the may not anymore) have such steep education discounts because they could hook users into the software. Other companies may consider that if contacted. I'll have to ask a family friend who teaches digital art (illustrator and photoshop) what she does now. Subscriptions can be appealing from a certain perspective (they seem cheaper and can be if taken advantage of), but they are often impractical for schools, etc, working from a fixed budget and awkward contracting requirements.

I work for a state government, and we always negotiate a fixed annual cost and agreement (for multiple years sometimes) as paying monthly bills is not convenient with the way budgets work. Schools would seemingly be similar only often with even slimmer budgets.

But, back to my original point, I would email companies like On1, Affinity, DxO, Phase1, etc. about the potential for educational discounts. A personal message could mean a lot to the right company at securing a custom deal that would work for you.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 06-21-2017, 09:46 AM  
Comparing various processing software
Posted By emalvick
Replies: 30
Views: 2,717
A problem you might have with Affinity is that I'm not sure it works well as a Raw Editor; it's a Photoshop replacement not really a LR replacement. It's a bit clunky for Raw processing (in my limited testing of that use).

As a high-school teacher, I would think you might have access to special deals for using some software products (seat discounts, education discounts, etc), especially the Adobe Suites and subscription? LR and Photoshop always seemed like a steal from that perspective, and that was how they hooked in new users.

The other thing you'll have to consider as a teacher, is whether you can make the software work for you. You are the one that is going to be teaching it. I've used and tried a few of the different RAW processing software, and they can all be usable with some effort. Of course some are easier than others in terms of workflow and even just terminology and interface. LR was always nice because the terminology it uses are straight-forward and conceptually easy. Others are not necessarily so.

The new On1 Raw Developer is not a bad software, and it is trying to be a LR killer. It's definitely a bit behind LR at this point, but it is fairly intuitive and not what I would consider expensive.

Last, RawTherapee is something you might look into because it is Open Source (free). It works well although I think its terminology and workflow are a bit more geared towards digital processing rather than photography, but it isn't hard to get past.

In any of the cases, I would definitely get some trials of a few of theses; inquire about any educational discounts you might be able to utilize; become an expert at them yourself; and then teach the next generation of photographers what a joy photography can be (and that processing isn't so bad). I'm not afraid to admit that when I was in high-school the thing that scared me most about becoming a better photographer was the fear of the darkroom. It was so easy to rely on the local camera store, and family and friends made it sound so daunting. There was little encouragement. I think the digital side can be daunting, too, but it is worth the encouragement and not so bad once it's learned.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 06-19-2017, 03:04 PM  
Comparing various processing software
Posted By emalvick
Replies: 30
Views: 2,717
For the first quote, the software is quicker that LR. I like it a lot, and it is flexible. While I could just plug it, I'll note there are alternatives that may be easier to use or have different features that may benefit different types of users. But, below I'll mention some benefits of it, especially for those coming from LR or even in using it with LR (which is what I did).

IMatch is mostly metadata driven for cataloging. It works predominantly off of XMP data (embedded or side-car). It has mapping features, supports hierarchical keywords, and has what is called "data-driven" categorization. The beauty is, if you have used keywords or mapping in LR, your images will come into IMatch with that data being usable (assuming you save your LR data to the XMP records for your images). Imatch does have a catalog file, but it is mostly there for user interface. Its philosophy is to keep as much image specific information as you need within the XMP record. So, it doesn't have a migration utility, but selecting all your images in LR and making sure the data is saved to the XMP record guarantees most of your LR info will be in the new software. That's probably about as good as software will be for cataloging.

I'll admit it isn't the most user friendly software, but that is only because it has a ton of features, most of which I won't use. You can customize the user interface and control keyword use and other items pretty easily. With regard to side-cars it has a feature called buddy files, which will keep everything related to the parent image together if you manage your image files completely through the software. It takes a bit of setup, but I'm able to use it with each RAW software I use. It also has versioning, which helps when using derivative files (e.g. a jpeg output from DxO) or a black and white from Silver Efex. The feature can be made automatic (or not), but it does take work to figure out.

With LR and Pentax DNGs, I liked that I could update the DNG preview in LR and IMatch would show my LR edits. That's a LR only benefit, but it was nice. Now with DxO, I don't really get that benefit, but I do create categories so that I tag images into so I know which software I've used (some of the categories are automatic in that if the software sees the DxO specific sidecar file, it'll put the image into the category automatically). Keywords were nice in that I could easily use them in LR and vice-a-versa.

The newest version of the program has improved its mapping feature so that I can use GPS tracks and data (a big deal for my older dSLR images) to sync up and geotag my images.

The categories, especially automatic ones, are fantastic. Once you learn to use them, the sky's the limit. I use them to track edit status, and they essentially replace the Smart Collection feature in LR.

The close it all, I will say again, that it isn't going to be for everyone, but they have a trial version. The developer is easy to work with too, so if the trial isn't long enough, I wouldn't be afraid to email him. It can be overwhelming, even if it is ultimately the right software. It wasn't $110 when I started using it 12 years ago (probably 1/3 of that cost), so I wasn't afraid to drop some money on it. I'd probably be a bit more cautious now, but I would regret it if I hadn't found the software. The challenges of setting things up pay off now as most cataloging is automatic. I take care of keywords, and it takes care of the rest.

The beauty is that if the developer ever stops developing, I can leave without much worry. All my catalog efforts are stored in XMP data, so I won't lose any sleep. And, if I decide to go with a better software, I should be able to do so easily.

Of course there are likely to be simpler programs, but it ultimately depends on the features the user needs. Other software for DAM and cataloging includes ACDSee and Photomechanic, but the feature sets are going to be different.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 06-19-2017, 08:49 AM  
Comparing various processing software
Posted By emalvick
Replies: 30
Views: 2,717
Most software do similar things albeit the way of getting there will vary.

I did use LR (have a stand-alone LR6 license), but with my decent computer, each update just made it drag more and more. I shifted over to DxO a couple of years ago, and have used it almost exclusively.

In terms of Cataloging, I get that LR is advantageous for some. I actually like to keep my cataloging separate. Part of it was because I was cataloging before there was a LR and before I had a dSLR. When I finally got one, I didn't want to have to commit to any software across the board. Learning to develop RAW, I used RawTherapee, Silkypix, and Lightroom, ultimately settling on LR for some years (LR3 to LR6). While I used their Catalog out of requirement, I did not use it as my means of cataloging files. I stuck with my stand-alone DAM (IMatch).

All I really want out of my Catalog is the ability to categorize and find files for processing. Most processing software store their edits in either a catalog, metadata, or separate side-car file. Storing in a catalog is a bit of a way to tie users into your software. LR for instance does this by default. I've not used Capture One enough recently, but I believe with its catalog it does this too. However, if I change defaults to store edits in the metadata or separate files, my DAM file will manage those files too, and I'll always be able to access edits in whatever software I choose.

Of course, edits aren't able to be used across software, which is fine.

Anyway, I digressed, but the point is that I like having things separate because I can focus on the one primary function of a software. I personally never felt LR was great at its cataloging. I did like its develop module, especially in terms of ease of use and workflow. My only real complaint is that it seem to efficiently use my system. I always find it a bit disappointing that Photoshop operates better on my computer than LR does. But I have no desire to use Photoshop (and ACR stand-alone) as the workflow features just aren't there. Bridge doesn't really suffice as a replacement either.

DxO has been fairly quick except perhaps exporting. It's interface isn't the best at being intuitive, although I've learned a lot of it. In some ways it has too much flexibility. However, my favorite aspect is that the default processing in DxO gets me 95% of the way to a final image, especially with regards to exposure. Where it lacks a bit in workflow, it makes up in the efficiency of not spending a ton of time clicking through edits. Unfortunately, that efficiency does get lost once I have to start making a lot of custom edits.

I did pick up On-1 last fall under an expectation it might exceed LR. Unfortunately, the feature set is not quite there (yet) and the programming leaves it about as slow as LR had been for me.

I've not tried RawTherapee in a while. It still seems like a great program. I just found its workflow a bit quirky and could never click with it. And Capture One would appeal to me the most, but its price tag scares me away. I know it shouldn't make that big of a difference. As it is, I'm pretty happy with my setup and like DxO best. I am going to count on On1 improving its feature set to match up with LR more at which point I'll feel comfortable completely uninstalling LR. I also got Affinity Photo to replace Photoshop, at which point I'll be free of Adobe completely.
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 04-10-2017, 10:01 AM  
Soft images with autofocus vs liveview
Posted By emalvick
Replies: 16
Views: 1,119
So did you say you don't have a problem when using Live View?

You also said this happened after cleaning the sensor. I wonder if this is a problem with the body and not the lens. Have you tried another lens to see if you are having the same issue?

At wider angles, I think auto-focus can be difficult because the auto-focus points are not as small as we all expect them to be. It becomes very easy for the camera to focus on something in front of or behind an object if the object isn't very big. I've had that problem often with my Pentax cameras and wider angled lenses.

The best way to test and adjust for back/front focus is to use a tripod and a more calculated target. The paint can is a good idea. I usually use a ruler/yard stick with a distinct mark I can focus on.

The difficulty with a zoom lens is that adjustments are for the lens no matter the focal length, so if the lens is working fine at the telephoto end, it may not after you adjust it.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 04-04-2017, 01:55 PM  
Photoshop Elements 14 and Silver Eft Pro
Posted By emalvick
Replies: 4
Views: 488
Did you try to reinstall the Nik suite?

If it was working for you before, I can't see why it would quit. Sometimes software lists a limit on software versions because that was the version that was out when the software was released. In other words, PSE 13 may have been the version of PSE when Nik was released. My own experience is that the plugins continue to work with software well beyond what was listed. Of course, eventually the plugins may not work, so PSE 14 may in fact not work. But, you stated it was working, so I can't see any reason why it still can't be made to work.

I suspect the reinstall of PSE 14 you did wiped out the plugin shortcuts, and a reinstall of Nik will reinstall those.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 03-27-2017, 01:23 PM  
Do you use RAW or jpeg or both? Any advise?
Posted By emalvick
Replies: 25
Views: 1,182
I pretty much shoot RAW or occasionally RAW+. I have a default preset I apply to all my RAWs on import in DxO (current software) or LR6 (previous). It gives results that are generally better than the JPG without effort. I figure why not control the JPG conversion rather than let the camera do it. Not that the defaults are bad on my camera, but it takes little effort to create my own defaults.

Using RAW gives me flexibility when something goes wrong. I've had days when I've accidentally had the wrong WB (most common) or other mistake that ends up not being a mistake when shooting RAW. With JPG you pretty much have to nail the dynamics perfectly from the start. RAW gives some flexibility.

Finally, this doesn't mean shooting RAW is an excuse to be lazy. It's just a reason to shoot more like you would with film and not worry about peeking at each shot and trying over when something appears wrong. Rather, you can have confidence that your RAW file will work focusing more on what's around you than what your camera shows you.

But, I'm not a professional either. I actually think that if I was a professional, I might actually go more for an all JPG approach. Processing at any level takes time, and it might be easier to go through more JPGs and quickly identify keepers than processing individual photos to find them.

Ultimately, it's a matter of what works for you.
Forum: General Photography 03-22-2017, 12:40 PM  
Google reduces JPEG file size by 35%
Posted By emalvick
Replies: 21
Views: 1,547
I understand that.

I mean from a visual perspective. Take Tiff file and save it as a JPG (with reasonable settings). Do you see a difference?


Obviously the latitude for editing is the reason people work with Tiff and RAW files, but the end result is what it is.

People don't record or edit audio in mp3 format either. I think the same issues would show up.
Forum: General Photography 03-21-2017, 03:57 PM  
Google reduces JPEG file size by 35%
Posted By emalvick
Replies: 21
Views: 1,547
Because it is just a JPG and fits within the standard, I'm sure it will be implemented without much else fanfare. At some point, we'll just find our jpgs are a bit smaller. It probably won't even get noticed that much.

The JPEG2000 thing I think flops like a lot of other things because it isn't exactly the same thing as a JPG and it creates frustration. I remember the first time I came across a JPEG2000 file; I couldn't believe that I couldn't open it with the software I had.

Audio kind of has the same thing. Mp3 is good enough for most people in the way JPG is good enough for most people. There are of course other formats including those that aren't lossy, so it's subjective on how much you can tell the difference and care enough to worry about it.

In photography, I've honestly never noted a difference between a JPG and Tiff file, but I'm conscious enough not to go repeatedly working on a JPG to find out. Thus, I always stick with a lossless format as a start, in images and audio. In audio, I can tell the difference on a good system, but on the go, in my car, or at work, I don't notice or even care if I'm listening to an Mp3 or worse.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 03-17-2017, 01:26 PM  
"Blue sky" brush
Posted By emalvick
Replies: 10
Views: 831
It's very easy with these tools to go overboard, sometimes without even being aware of it.

Most of my experience has been with LR (and now DxO pro), and the clarity and dehaze functions are tools I have a love-hate with. I've resorted back to using the color adjustments similar to an above post using the saturation and luminance to bring back some of the blue but not so much as to remove the realism in the image. I've had to learn that if it's cloudy, it's cloudy. I can't work miracles. Actually, I can composite an image with a sky, but that's not the type of work I like to do.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 03-04-2017, 08:52 PM  
Importing in chronological order
Posted By emalvick
Replies: 12
Views: 669
Oh... I'm aware of that. I stated it that way fit illustration, but you're right. My real file naming is a bit more complicated:

Yyyymmdd-hhmm_cid_####.ext

Cid is a body/camera ID since I use multiple bodies, and #### is the number from the original filename. That gets me in chronological order about 99%. The other 1% is that multiple cameras rarely have the exact time synced . It's usually close enough.

But, I had used something like I originally posted and never really had problems until my k3 and using bracketing modes. I tend to shoot slow and deliberately. Time zone is not usually a factor either as I rarely shoot such that i would overlap. I guess because I rarely drive across time zones.
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 03-03-2017, 10:44 PM  
Do SD cards "wear out?"
Posted By emalvick
Replies: 32
Views: 1,752
I've had cards get corrupt after years of use. Not often and more often with cheap brands I no longer buy.

I've also had the cards flat out fall apart. Nothing lasts forever.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 03-03-2017, 10:40 PM  
Most Accurate 50mm for the K3
Posted By emalvick
Replies: 22
Views: 1,251
I've got an M 50 1.7 that I love. I've also got the DA, which I don't like, and I've not tried another 50.

Part of that reason is the FA 43 is the one lens that gives me as much joy as the 1.7 with respect to performance and image quality at a similar fov.

If I had to get a 50, I'd probably get the F 1.7 as I think it would compare with the M I already have.

1.4 seems tempting, but given the iso on modern cameras, the extra stop of speed doesn't seem necessary for the money. And the 1.7s usually perform as well at 1.7 as the 1.4s do at 1.7.
Forum: General Photography 02-28-2017, 03:27 PM  
Has anyone photographed a total solar eclipse?
Posted By emalvick
Replies: 20
Views: 1,555
I photographed the nearly total eclipse in my area in 2012 (I believe it was an annular eclipse in the right locations) as well as the venus transit that year (see my avatar).

I used about 10-stops of ND filter plus a really fast shutter speed with aperture around 11 to 20 to get the images I got. I actually practiced with shots taken of the non-eclipsed sun since most of the eclipse will still be quite bright. I briefly used the Live-view to aim the shot with my tripod. DO NOT keep the live-view on, however, as you'd probably ruin your sensor. Since your shot is going to be quick, I wouldn't think the tripod would matter much although a nice tripod-head will help you control where your camera is aimed.

The key is getting the exposure as correct as you can, but realizing that you are going to have a ton of contrast. You have to be mindful of what your goals are and that you will blow-out some parts of the image. My goal in practicing was finding the exposure that was just good enough to show sun-spots. That was then my setting for most photos with only slight tweaking when the eclipse is at its max.
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