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Belsaye
19th March 2008, 03:05 PM
With all the various photo editing software available in the marketplace, some costing an arm and a leg, or 2nd mortgage [if available]

How many forum members use the more economical offerings available, or even the freely available open source gimp, to name but one.

Personally I have been using Photoplus from serif and it works for me. The point is do you have to spend zillions on the latest photo editing software.

How about a photo editing software review.

Regards

belsaye*chr

ianc
19th March 2008, 04:17 PM
With all the various photo editing software available in the marketplace, some costing an arm and a leg, or 2nd mortgage [if available]

How many forum members use the more economical offerings available, or even the freely available open source gimp, to name but one.

Personally I have been using Photoplus from serif and it works for me. The point is do you have to spend zillions on the latest photo editing software.

How about a photo editing software review.

Regards

belsaye*chr

It all depends on what you want to do. In the past I have professionally worked as a photo restorer and for that type of work to my mind nothing comes close to Photoshop. Having said that for most people the full version of Photoshop is a bit of over kill. I have used both Gimp and the excellent Graphic Converter, a shareware mac image editor, and found them both more than able to cope with anything I would want to do. The one advantage the photoshop programs have is that most tutorials, in mags and on the net, are geared to them.

The problem with doing a review of editing software is it takes a long time to learn all the ins and outs of any program and it would be difficult to give a fair comparison of a program the reviewer knows well and one they are just starting to use for the review.

Just my 2p worth.

Ian C.

mike_j
19th March 2008, 05:58 PM
As Ianc says - it all depends on what you want to do. I run two photo management programs, Picasa and Lightroom. This is because Picasa is also used by my wife on a laptop and by other members of the family. It is quick, easy and does 90% of what I want.

Lightroom is slow and complicated but more sophisticated and has great cataloguing facilities. I also have Photoshop 6.5 which I use for detailed editing, cloning, dust removal etc. It's powerful enough and I know it inside out, I feel no urge to upgrade.

For most people Adobe Elements and Picasa will meet their needs I suspect. I suppose I should also comment on Olympus Master but must confess I have never bothered loading it, or the Nikon equivalent which came with my wife's compact.

Graham_of_Rainham
19th March 2008, 08:51 PM
I use Picassa most of the time, Elements sometimes and CS2 when I need to do something the others won't do, but that's not very often.

RAW plugins are avalable that make Picassa so easy to do all the basic edits. I really like the B&W filter with colour picker, I find the simplicity of the viewing of results is the best of the three I use.

dennisg
28th April 2008, 04:51 PM
I agree with some of the responses here. It takes way too much time to give a software package an objective review due to the complexity and familiarzation of the program.

In the past two months I have tried out for the 30 day trial period "LightZone" by Lightcrafts located in California. The package the I chose was the $149.95 level. There is also a more expensive package at $249.95 I think.

I found the lesser version to be very nice and it uses A Zone Mapper to select different areas of ther photo being modified, and it adjusts the dynamic range of that portion of the photo. There are also over thirty differnt adjuectment filters that can be sued to enhance your photographs.

This program supports ALL of the Olympus cameras including the E-3 and I think the E420. All adjustments are non-destructive as well. File formats support are of cause RAW and manay, many others!!!

So if you are interested go to www.lighcrafts.com and download a free thirty day trial of the sofware. If you should decide to purchase the program, you can by credit card and a product user key number will be emailed to you. Free updates are also available when you purchase the software.

Enjoy!

Dennis Goldensohn*clap

Nick Temple-Fry
28th April 2008, 05:23 PM
As a user of The GIMP, and as someone who is keen to avoid spending money if at all possible, I would recommend that people give it a try.

There is nothing 'cheap' about the product (except the lack of a price) and it is maintained/developed to a very professional standard. Its only lack compared to other products is a slight lack of packaging/automation, it assumes you know what you want to do. Personally I find this an advantage.

Be aware that on top of The GIMP sit an array of plug-ins (also free) that greatly extend the functionality. There are also numerous 'how-to' examples on the web.

Yes the magazines concentrate on photoshop - but the concepts of layers/masks/blending modes are quite readily tranferable, so most articles can be read to understand the principles which you then apply in The GIMP.

Nick

HughofBardfield
29th April 2008, 10:57 AM
GIMP is definitely worth a try. As Nick says, it lacks some of the automation and GUI of Photoshop, but given that it's free, is fairly constantly updated / improved and can be given extra functionality thru plugins and so on, it is well worth a try if you're on a budget. Personally I prefer PS, but my copy of CS came bundled with my PC (although I keep toying with the idea of upgrading to CS3... I can get a student discount thru the Open College of the Arts).

I was lucky enough to also get a discount on Lightzone (they had a special offer for Lightroom users), which saved me about 30. I find it works better for some of the "difficult" images that Adobe Camera Raw doesn't seem to manage successfully. I think it's particularly good for B&W. The only difference AFAIK between the full and basic versions is the ability to batch process. There are some useful tutorials that show its uses on the LightCrafts website.

I am currently experimenting with some software called Helicon Filter ( http://www.heliconsoft.com/heliconfilter.html ) as it has the option to use a different RAW converter called DCRAW which otherwise runs as command line software (Yech!). In some circumstances, it can recover highlights which ACR cannot reach, and has some other useful bells and whistles. Fairly expensive though (from $115, $250 with retouching), unless you want an annual licence (from $30). I find the GUI a bit clunky.

My feeling is that there is no "best" software. Different packages do different things in different ways. For eg, some of the first images I took with my E1 were simply horrible in Lightroom, with horrendous banding in a post-sunset sky. Running the RAW file thru Lightzone was a revelation: the banding was absent (although I was able to bring it back with a bit of ham-fisted manipulation!) and with only fairly simple manipulation, I was able to get close to my visualisation of the scene. The banding went away in Oly Master as well, but I find the GUI annoying, and, of course, it doesn't have the full range of features in Studio.

Before I discovered the GIMP, I also successfully used Paint Shop Pro (under 40 on Amazon), but I don't know if it includes support for ORF files.

Nick Temple-Fry
29th April 2008, 11:13 AM
I am currently experimenting with some software called Helicon Filter ( http://www.heliconsoft.com/heliconfilter.html ) as it has the option to use a different RAW converter called DCRAW which otherwise runs as command line software (Yech!). In some circumstances, it can recover highlights which ACR cannot reach, and has some other useful bells and whistles. Fairly expensive though (from $115, $250 with retouching), unless you want an annual licence (from $30). I find the GUI a bit clunky.



Hugh

There is a fully featured 'free' raw converter called RAWTHERAPEE, the backend to this is DCRAW.

http://www.rawtherapee.com/?mitem=2

There is also a plugin for The GIMP called ufraw (which can also run free standing)

http://ufraw.sourceforge.net/index.html

like all dcraw based processors it is unhappy with exif data, but it looks like that is about to change.

Nick

HughofBardfield
29th April 2008, 12:15 PM
Hugh

There is a fully featured 'free' raw converter called RAWTHERAPEE, the backend to this is DCRAW.

http://www.rawtherapee.com/?mitem=2

There is also a plugin for The GIMP called ufraw (which can also run free standing)

http://ufraw.sourceforge.net/index.html

like all dcraw based processors it is unhappy with exif data, but it looks like that is about to change.

Nick

Thanks for that Nick. I've used UFRAW with GIMP. Can't say I liked it much, but that was probably at least a couple of versions back with the E500 I had then.

I've heard of RawTherapee, but I didn't realise it used DCRAW. I'll go check it out. I know some of the folks on DPReview swear by it - others just swear... but that's DPReview for you! ;)

Rawcoll
29th April 2008, 07:16 PM
I refuse to pay over half a grand for Photoshop, particularly as it does far more than I'll ever need. Even Lightroom is not exactly a snip, but I got a free copy as a Rawshooter user. I've also got SilkyPix, and switch between this and Lightroom as the mood takes me. I haven't really done enough processing to form a view as to which is best.

But when I need to work on those (few) masterpiece images ;) I find I return to Picture Window Pro. A rather clunky, old fashioned, interface, but if you're not trying to process a large number of images this is no big deal. Basically, it is a very powerful piece of software that does what it says on the tin. And it does an awful lot very competently, albeit destructively (so you'll need plenty of room to save the intermediate images). It also does things in a very logical, transparent, way, so I find it easy to understand what I'm doing.

Ian

Ellie
30th April 2008, 12:39 AM
I've got Captureone4 which I can use for RAW conversion. I used a number that came with a Sandisk memory card, so got it for free. I like it better than Olympus Master, probably because I've only got the free version.

For other editing I mostly use Photofiltre, which is also free. It does most things, and very easily too, there are all sorts of downloadable plugins, but I haven't worked out how to use any of them yet. It's far simpler to use than Photoshop which I find fiddly and time-consuming because everything's hidden away somewhere or other.

I tried an early version of Picasa, didn't like it and have never tried it since, I know quite a lot of people think it's very good.

I've also got a copy of a focus stacking software, Helicon Focus. Again it's free, but I haven't used it yet because I haven't taken the right sort of pictures.