Thursday, 13 November 2014

Software and RAW convertors

The best RAW convertor is Aperture. It's Mac only though and Apple for some odd reason are stopping supporting it so...

Choose between:

Lightroom CC
I finally decided to cease messing and pay for the Adobe CC for photographers, which at £100 a year is only the same as paying for regular updates of Photoshop which I was buying anyway - 'get over it'. If you are serious about photography, do the same.
Do I like Lightroom, not much, why:
Lightroom applies recovery which screws up your photos - this can be avoided in part though. In the develop pane on the right, change the Camera Calibration processing engine from 2012 back to 2010 and save the workspace to keep it this way. This is a Guy Gowan observation. What does this do? If you compare an image with overexposure highlighting on, you will see that the 2012 engine simply rubs out some of the 'red' wash without actually doing much else - and while I'm on the subject, whoever said 'expose for the highlights' was lacking knowledge - digital cameras retain more detail in the slightly overexposed areas than they do in the shadows. Recovery of shadow detail usually leads to colour moiré - horrible black areas with red and green dots in.
Lightroom annoys the hell out of me as you have to keep switching panes or functionality is missing - I want stacks everywhere, particularly in 'develop' where it ain't. I actually have to go to 'Library' to open stacks then back to 'Develop' again... arrrrgh!
This aside, Lightroom is powerful and knits well with photoshop which is what you really need to edit your photos properly. One reason is that it's totally crazy to mess around with a brush when you can use a layer mask which is bang-on accurate and can be created in seconds instead.

Capture One Pro 8
Like this a lot. It's designed to go with the very expensive but very good Phase backs fitted to the 645 body (which I think is really Mamiya?). It's RAW conversion is good and the software is quick and the library is easy to get to grips with.

DXO Optics Pro 10
This program is a must have if you shoot wide angle lenses IMHO. The company has taken the trouble to measure body/lens combinations in the lab and tailor processing specifically to the exact combo you are using. Obviously not all lenses are covered so check here loads are tho'

Digital Photo Professional 4
Canon supplies this for free with their EOS cameras. I have a Canon M as well and despite this camera still being on sale, Canon don't support it in version 4... what! This software is otherwise good for free, but despite Canon knowing Canon's magic formulae so RAW processing should be the very best, I don't think it is.

Adobe Camera Raw
Link is more useful than a download click. Comes with Photoshop, see Lightroom above.

I have them all! Decisions!

Conclusion: If you can get on with Lightroom, trial available, then the Adobe CC membership represents a very good route. If you want a standalone option with no on-going payments, then Capture One is your best option. DXO is very, very good, but unless you shoot a lot of wide, then the other products, to me, feel more complete.

Before buying, there are free trials for all the above products!

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