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Old Aug 29, 2010, 1:09 PM   #1
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Default Beginner-friendly programme

Hi,

I'm a complete novice at photoediting (actually never tried it at all), but am about to buy the FZ38. Could you recommend a starter free editing programme, that is novice-friendly but will meet most editing needs? Having had a quick look through the forums, Picasa or Irfanview seem to be popular - would these be ok or would you recommend something else? Do those programmes also do noise reduction, or do I need a second programme for that?

Also, at some point when I've learnt more how to use the camera, I would like to try HDR - do I need a different programme for that?
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Old Aug 29, 2010, 1:16 PM   #2
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infranview is good for resizing / sharpening ...... gimp might be the one your looking for http://www.gimp.org/ as for hdr try martin sykes auto hdr look in the hdr section as for noise a good freebie is noiseware http://noiseware-community-edition.en.softonic.com/
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Old Aug 29, 2010, 7:48 PM   #3
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The Gimp may be a little more than you want to jump into as a beginner. Irfanview has a lot of nice features, but is somewhat limited. You can, though, do a lot of basic editing tasks, such as cropping, adjusting exposure/color, resizing. It also works with photoshop plugins (not all are compatible, though), so there are quite a lot of more advanced things you can do as well.
The program I use more than any, is Photoimpact, which can be as simple or as advanced as you want it. There is a simplified user interface for starting out, and a full-feature mode which can do just about anything photoshop can do, and quite a few things it can't. There is a HDR function built in, with the ability to create a custom profile for your camera (to use when you want to create a HDR type image from a single exposure). Photoshop Elements is also a very good program - I just don't care for some of the things it adds to my computer.

There is a free program which does very well for noise reduction, sharpening (deconvolution) and local contrast enhancement (much like some HDR programs), called Image Analyzer -http://meesoft.logicnet.dk/ It isn't the simplest thing to use, and a lot of the features, you have to figure out how to use for yourself, but the price is right.

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Old Aug 29, 2010, 7:54 PM   #4
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also look at google's picassa. It is free. decent editing program.
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Old Aug 31, 2010, 5:40 AM   #5
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I would go with look at picasa its free and very easy to use and does all the basics. If you feel later that you need more then theres the GIMP very powerful layers editor does very nearly everything that the paid for progs do.
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Old Sep 1, 2010, 11:07 AM   #6
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I agree with the comments about Picasa and Irfanview, as well as agreeing that while GIMP is a powerful program it is not really meant for beginners.

The problem with learning how to edit photos is not learning how to use the program but learning why you want to use (e.g.) levels. Once you figure out why you want to adjust the response curve, it is not difficult to figure out how the program does it.

So start with something simple (and free) and go to a more powerful program when you find that you want to do something those cannot do. Until you want to use them, all the features in the more powerful programs will mostly just cause problems for you.
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Old Sep 1, 2010, 8:09 PM   #7
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The likeliest reason to need a more advanced editing program would be for cloning out unwanted elements in the frame, such as power lines, or sensor dust.

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Old Sep 2, 2010, 8:31 PM   #8
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My advice is to get Photoshop Elements 8 from the very beggining.
You'll have a lot of auto settings (levels, colors, contrast, sharpness, etc.) and a lot of precise tools for the future.
You can get it for $60 on eBay.
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Old Sep 2, 2010, 9:55 PM   #9
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Trial versions of Elements (and other good editors) are available. Since they are time limited, make sure you have the time to learn them before downloading. And that you have figured out how to do the simple stuff (crop, contrast, brightness, ... ) with some simple programs before you download any of them.
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Old Sep 2, 2010, 11:47 PM   #10
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Just remember, though, that when you install PSE, it installs the Adobe file manager, which process runs at startup, and is constantly using resources. At least this was the case when I installed PSE3. It got really annoying whenever I started the computer, and had to wait while it looked over all my drives for photos. Took about ten minutes, as I recall. Acrobat reader goes looking for updates whenever I attempt to open a .pdf, and I have to wait until the update loads before looking at the document.
PS. I hate Adobe.

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