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Thread: LR vs Elements vs PS advice for a beginner???

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    LR vs Elements vs PS advice for a beginner???

    I've recently started using a trial version LR2.4 having used canon DPP before. I am really pleased with the LR but am a beginner at digital stuff so I'd like advice from experts.

    What can these different programs do relative to each other? Guess I'm looking for an overview type answer; I get tantalising hints about the capabilities of the software from other threads, but lack the experience to understand the detail. I realise this is probably a basic question so if a moderator wants to shift it elsewhere, just let me know.

    Any advice/comments/suggestions helping me explore the digital PP would be appreciated....

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    Moderately Underexposed I @ M's Avatar
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    Come on all you Canon owning Lightroom users

    Somebody must have an opinion or two.
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    Well I can't comment on LR, but I started out with Canon DPP, and now I have moved to Elements. I am very much a beginner too, but I have found it very good for teaching me the basics without being overcomplicated. I found Canon DPP a bit too technical for my level of experience. Elements for me has been very good for adjusting raw images then doing basic image reworks or touch ups, and at a good price.
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    LR was built as a DAM software package with editing added as a bonus, DPP is actually a raw converter. LR uses Adobe's Camera Raw plugin (a.k.a. "ACR") for its conversions which has it's pro's as well as con's. Sometimes, ACR is better (especially with highlight recovery), sometimes DPP is better for RAW conversion (it takes full advantage of dust recovery data, lens knowledge etc).

    LR however provides some editing features that DPP doesn't (burning, dodging, image rotation, etc.). DPP however works great in combination with EOS Utility if you're planning on doing any tethered shooting.

    I would suggest to get yourself a trial version of LR, install and work with both, DPP and LR and find out which suits your workflow best yourself.
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    Whilst I use different apps including Photoshop CS3 here's the gist of it:

    Lightroom is a "Digital Asset Manager", in other words its primary purpose is to find that one single photo in amongst 10s of thousands. It does have some basic image processing capability but thats not its primary purpose.

    From what I understand DPP is canon's basic image processor application. I believe its very basic and there are a wealth of other appsout there with far more tweeks. From here I have to assume you are using a PC? Myself I use a Mac hence the reference to "apps" (applications - Mac speak for programs)

    In the end it comes down to how much you want to pay for your post processor. The following is purely my opinion other may disagree - Fords Holdens you get the idea

    At the top of the tree is Photoshop CS 4 - Basically a pro level app that will cost you $1000 or more depending on what package you get. It will give you more than you will ever need in a lifetime. Very complex with a steep learning curve.

    Photoshop Elements - A cut down version of CS4, suits most people and can usually be had for around $100. If all you want is a good photo then this is all you need. No fancy filters or image processing but a good app all the same.

    Gimp - some say its the equivalent to Photoshop - I dont believe so as I don't think some of the features are as good but it can be had for free off the net. Its just as complex as CS4 but there isn't the books and training available to learn the system.

    From here I would suggest you google image editors as there are literally hundreds of them from online to free

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkW View Post
    From what I understand DPP is canon's basic image processor application.
    DPP is a RAW convertor and that's all it is.

    there isn't the books and training available to learn the system.
    There's a big number of books and electronic documentation on the GiMP. It doesn't do 16-bit editing, nor is its support for other than RGB color models very good but it actually is not that bad.

    For editing on a PC, look at PaintShop Pro too. It is comparable to PSE, but at a slightly lower pricepoint. Both PSE and PSP have some features the other is missing, so here too: install the trials and compare before buying.

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    some thanks!

    I find this digital stuff a little confusing but am learning and starting to see the huge potential; these tips and suggestions are useful, so thanks

    simple intro with "elements: sounds REALLY good,

    and the explanations also good for me; finally see what "ACR" stands for, and thanks for overview of what the things do (RAW conversion vs editing etc) and the ranges of programs.

    I'm using a trial LR currently and am playing with the basic dodge and burns etc- quite an eyeopener for me!

    A question; does raw conversion automatically result in info loss? can one, for example, sharpen in one application and perform other edits with other apllications without losing the depth of info available in the raw format? i ask because DPP seems really good at sharpening (and as jev said also dust/spot repair), but lacks even the basic edits i'm learning with LR?

    all very confusing but also exciting!

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    my suggestion. Get Scott Kelby's book "Photoshop Lightroom for Digital Photographers" (make sure you get the right version - ie dont buy the lightroom 1.4 version). Lightroom is a great programme, but it is way to complex for us to teach you how to fully utilise it. Yes we could give you a bit of insight, and give you a few tips, but nothing like what you can learn from a decent book on the software.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ricktas View Post
    my suggestion. Get Scott Kelby's book "Photoshop Lightroom for Digital Photographers" (make sure you get the right version - ie dont buy the lightroom 1.4 version). Lightroom is a great programme, but it is way to complex for us to teach you how to fully utilise it. Yes we could give you a bit of insight, and give you a few tips, but nothing like what you can learn from a decent book on the software.
    appreciate the tip (all of them), very easy to get lost in the fog of possibilities when one starts... cheers

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    Quote Originally Posted by nouveau1 View Post
    I've recently started using a trial version LR2.4 having used canon DPP before. I am really pleased with the LR but am a beginner at digital stuff so I'd like advice from experts.

    What can these different programs do relative to each other? Guess I'm looking for an overview type answer; I get tantalising hints about the capabilities of the software from other threads, but lack the experience to understand the detail. I realise this is probably a basic question so if a moderator wants to shift it elsewhere, just let me know.

    Any advice/comments/suggestions helping me explore the digital PP would be appreciated....
    I am a canon user, and I use Bridge + Photoshop CS4/ACR. Bridge isn't as comprehensive as Lightroom, but I got a lot more than just pictures to manage.

    For me, ACR and DPP is similar. But ACR is a lot more intuitive for me, and it offers more options for adjustment. For instance DPP only offers a sharpness value to adjust but ACR offers both strength and radius of the sharpening effect. DPP is on the other hand, easier to learn as it's not as confusing as ACR.

    Photoshop cs4/element is NOT something you can replace whether you choose lighroom/ACR/DPP as converter. Mainly local/mask sharpening and output sharpening, and I also often like to blur an otherwise harsh bokeh. You simply can't do this step anywhere else.

    So basically, you are looking at these softwares:
    Lightroom/Bridge = Management/Batch processing
    ACR/DPP = Converter
    Photoshop CS4/Element = Image processing.

    I use Bridge > ACR > CS4.
    Currently snapping away with -> Canon 500D + 7D | EFS 18-55mm | EFS 55-250mm | EF 300 f/4

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkW View Post
    ...

    Lightroom is a "Digital Asset Manager", in other words its primary purpose is to find that one single photo in amongst 10s of thousands. It does have some basic image processing capability but thats not its primary purpose.

    ...
    not sure which version of LR you have used but it is far from having only basic image processing capability.

    sure the DAM component is wonderful and extremely useful, but LR's raw conversion and photo fix capabilities are very powerful.

    I have LR2.5 and CS4 and only use CS4 when I need to do serious editing (read cloning) or I want to do "artistic" stuff.

    it has clearly been built for photographers and the complete workflow capability from image import, cataloging, raw conversion, PP and printing is great.

    just for the record - yes I am a fan of LR

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    Hi

    My 2 cents worth.

    Photoshop was originally designed for image making and target market was
    graphic designers. Photographers in search of a tool started using it.
    However it is not tuned for the photographic workflow.

    In the last couple of years, there are now products that are aimed
    primarily at photographers. A couple being Lightroom and Aperture.

    For someone just starting in Digital, I would go for one of these
    products that target Photographers. The functions they provide are more
    than sufficient to crop, retouch and repair photographs. And they aim at
    the whole workflow i.e. getting images from camera, organising/storing
    them on the computer and then delivering them as output (printing,
    websites, email, books services etc).

    In addition these products remove the hassle when dealing with RAW
    images.

    They are relatively easy to use as they have been designed for
    photographers. So you spend more time looking at/reworking your photos
    thinking like a photographer rather than a graphic artist.

    When you want to get into serious image making i.e. building a
    completely new image from separate ones, that might be the point to look
    at other tools such as Photoshop or Elements.

    What do I use? My current workhorses are Photo Mechanic and Aperture for
    the main photographic workflow and Photoshop CS4 for any serious
    manipulation. But to be truthful, 90% of my rework is done in Aperture.

    I also have Lightroom. It is okay and I will probably switch to that in
    the long term - Apple are neglecting Aperture.

    In the past I used Breeze browser back in earl 2000's for RAW
    conversion. But the tool I really liked for DAM was iView Media Pro.
    However it was subsequently bought out by Microsoft.

    Cheers
    Mark
    Mark B

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    Quote Originally Posted by lampukameister View Post
    not sure which version of LR you have used but it is far from having only basic image processing capability.

    sure the DAM component is wonderful and extremely useful, but LR's raw conversion and photo fix capabilities are very powerful.

    I have LR2.5 and CS4 and only use CS4 when I need to do serious editing (read cloning) or I want to do "artistic" stuff.

    it has clearly been built for photographers and the complete workflow capability from image import, cataloging, raw conversion, PP and printing is great.

    just for the record - yes I am a fan of LR
    I have previously but no longer use LR as I don't like the way it handles images, not interested in masses of files and side cars that LR generate around one single file. Its messy and not a logical way of storing files. But thats my opinion just the same as its the way I view the capabilities of Lightroom. I did use LR1 and trialed LR2. Not worth the money again in my opinion. I'm certainly no fan of LR or even Adobe for that matter even though I do use CS3. But thats another issue.

    As for RAW conversion, you must be a Canon or some other brand user as there is nothing better on the market than Nikon's own software for Nikon systems which is what I use. RAW conversion will always reside with the camera manufacturer's genuine software (especially Nikon) as they are the only ones who know exactly what the algorithims are. Camera algorithims are not given out to software manufacturers whether its Canon, Nikon, Pentax or any other digital manufacturer. Adobe can only make assumptions and guesstimates in this.

    Mod edit: removed personal comment site rule [3]
    Last edited by Kym; 02-10-2009 at 8:22am. Reason: Mod edit: removed personal comment site rule [3]

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    Re: LR vs Elements vs PS advice for a beginner???

    Hmm, I'm a fan of lr too, not because I'm a fanboi but because its workflow and image processing capabilities are for me pretty perfect. But what I've also learnt is that the best software for you might not be the best fit for you, and a lot has to do with what you know

    The big thing about lr is lossless jpeg and raw processing with changes being recorded in the database rather than in the image and the worse thing by far is it's speed ingesting where I know use breeze browser if speed is of the essence

    So, I can load from cf card, process, keyword, export fully finished images straight onto my website in one flow

    Nothing else out there does all that for me in one product

    It's a tool though much like my camera

    It seems the whole photographic community is embracing lr and it's not just the adobe fans - I would love not to have to use cs3 at all of I can avoid it
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    My take...
    LR is one of Adobe's better products and priced reasonably.
    LR can do 80-90% of what I want in image processing and is a good DAM.
    PS still has its place and when teamed with LR makes for a powerful complete solution; albeit PS is very hungry.
    The LR UI is much better than other Adobe products.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkW View Post
    I have previously but no longer use LR as I don't like the way it handles images, not interested in masses of files and side cars that LR generate around one single file. Its messy and not a logical way of storing files. But thats my opinion just the same as its the way I view the capabilities of Lightroom. I did use LR1 and trialed LR2. Not worth the money again in my opinion. I'm certainly no fan of LR or even Adobe for that matter even though I do use CS3. But thats another issue.

    As for RAW conversion, you must be a Canon or some other brand user as there is nothing better on the market than Nikon's own software for Nikon systems which is what I use. RAW conversion will always reside with the camera manufacturer's genuine software (especially Nikon) as they are the only ones who know exactly what the algorithims are. Camera algorithims are not given out to software manufacturers wheher its Canon, Nikon, Pentax or any other digital manufacturer. Adobe can only make assumptions and guesstimates in this.

    If you want to be a fanboi for some piece of software that fine but please don't put down my assessments of something based on your fanatic love of this app.
    Mod edit: removed personal comment site rule [3]

    You've admitted your own bias which is ok - we all have our own preferences but your own bias does not make it better.

    You asserted that LR has "some basic image processing capability but thats not its primary purpose". I beg to differ. The develop module is very full featured and as a complete package, it has a lot to offer. more so than say Capture NX2 which is fine RAW converter.

    You don;t like the way LR processes photos because it uses side cars and this does not make sense to you and you state categorically that you don;t like adobe products. Sure NEFs are a proprietary format but adobe and nikon came to an agreement to support NEFs.

    As my signature proudly proclaims - I am indeed a nikon user and prefer to buy nikon where it makes sense to do so.

    I tried Capture NX2 for a few months and found while it rendered raw files well and recognised all the nikon settings such as picture controls and ADL, I - and this is a personal opinion - found it to be unintuitive, very slow on both my PCs and I also needed other programs to manage my workflow.

    Again horses for courses. If NX2 works for you - great. it did not do it for me, despite being nikon "preferred" software.

    hop onto the nikonians website and you will see as many users of LR, aperture or CS? as NX users. there is no perfect software.
    Last edited by Kym; 02-10-2009 at 8:24am. Reason: Mod edit: removed personal comment site rule [3]

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    buy a mac and get Aperture , then download GIMP for free .. problem solved for under $300 ( Well except for the mac )
    Hi Im Darren

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    Quote Originally Posted by lampukameister View Post
    ....

    just for the record - yes I am a fan of LR

    Quote Originally Posted by lampukameister View Post
    Mod edit: removed personal comment site rule [3]

    You've admitted your own bias which is ok - we all have our own preferences but your own bias does not make it better.

    ....
    Am I missing something here?

    So Marks bias doesn't make it better, but yours does for some reason! .. .. OK.. it all makes more sense now!

    Having tried just about every image editing program myself.. well OK... make that PS, LR, PSP(versions 6-9 or something) and recently tried Bibble5(I'm about to remove it too), and I was going to try Capture One as well.. and I can definitely tell you, as a non committal fanboy(ie. with no personal preference, as even Nikon's NX suite have their issues!), CaptureNX is the easiest software to come to terms with for a beginner.
    All the other programs have a steeper learning curve, when all you want is spot of brightness or something. I mean how hard is point and click editing going to be?
    Problem is that CaptureNX isn't as powerful an image manipulator as PS is with its myriad of manipulation options.

    Where CaptureNX's real ability lies, is in converting Nikon raw images into usable raster files with no effort compared to any other software(raw converter). You also get that same NEF -> image high quality conversion from ViewNX. So a non Nikon user will see no benefit in using any of the Nikon software with their non Nikon raw files.. I'd recommend using their manufacturers conversion software as the first step(but that's only going from my limited experience).

    Some of the limitations of CaptureNX are high system resource usage, slow refresh time for the NEF file after an edit, and lesser tools for doing a more detailed edit(clone stamping, and suchlike). But as for saving files, Capture is the fastest program of lot of 'em.
    I tried Bibble5 because it's supposed to be the fastest/quickest program for photo editing.
    It proudly tells me that it saved my NEF into a TIFF file in about 22-23seconds.. where CaptureNX saves it in about 5-10seconds!?

    as you said 'horses for courses', but I'm wondering how you claim CaptureNX is unintuitive, when it has the most natural editing workflow I've ever known in a photo editing program?
    I mean seriously!!... point and click isn't that hard is it?
    You click on a tool, and you then set it onto your image and you adjust the sliders(or whatever edit you wanted to perform).. surely it wasn't as hard as your preference towards LR makes it out to be

    Never let personal preferences get in the way of good advice!
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigdazzler View Post
    buy a mac and get Aperture , then download GIMP for free .. problem solved for under $300 ( Well except for the mac )
    http://dailyapps.net/2007/10/hack-at...-3-easy-steps/

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