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Old Jul 1, 2010, 2:50 PM   #1
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Default Thinking of getting serious with RAW

As I only have 3 or 4 months left until I return to the UK and work etc I'm trying to use my spare time to improve my photographic skills right through the work flow. I've been a jpg shooter for a long time but I'm finding that colour management is more of an issue when putting together albums etc so I think I will start going down the RAW route and use manual WB etc then I can batch process any adjustments needed in each series.

Well I say I can, but actaully I have no clue what software to go with for my RAW needs.

I currently edit in Paintshop Pro as I have done so for years and don't need to think about it. I have CS3 and have promised myself since Adobe kindly supplied me with it (used to work for their 2nd largest reseller) that I will learn how to use it. Problem is with CS3 that my 5DmkII and 7D are not supported in the RAW element and I'm not sure about the 1DmkIII either.

So, here I am now looking for ideas for a good RAW editor that will allow me to do the basic edits quickly and easily so I have good continuity and a great final result.

What do you use, suggest I go with?

Mark
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Old Jul 1, 2010, 2:54 PM   #2
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I should also add that as a newly married man and having been living off of savings since Jan and won't work until probably Nov that keeping cost down is helpful, but not key as I want the right tool for the job.
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Old Jul 1, 2010, 3:02 PM   #3
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CS5 (or Premiere Pro for the video), and/or Lightroom:
http://www.adobe.com/products/

DxO Optics Pro
http://www.dxo.com

Bibble Pro
http://bibblelabs.com/

Go Linux with digiKam (free). ;-)
http://www.digikam.org
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Old Jul 1, 2010, 3:07 PM   #4
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P.S.

Try Kenlive (free) for your video editing:
http://www.kdenlive.org/
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Old Jul 1, 2010, 3:08 PM   #5
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Have you looked at or used the Digital Photo Professional software that comes with EOS cameras?

I've used it a few times on some wedding photos, and it seemed to work well. Also, noting which operating system you use will help. Although, most major software companies offer their applications for both Mac and PC.

I run linux a good amount of the time, and there are several open source RAW editors out there that look nice. I installed a plug-in for GIMP called UFRaw, however at the time it did not support files from the EOS 7D. That was months ago, so I'm sure they've added support for that file format by now.
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Old Jul 1, 2010, 3:10 PM   #6
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Lightroom is really easy to use, and if you have a connection with a school somehow, the academic discount makes it affordable. If you set a particular WB on the camera, then shoot a grey card, you can adjust the grey card picture in LR and sync all other pictures to it's settings, essentially a couple of clicks (one to set the wb on the grey card picture, then select all pictures shot in that light and then click sync). I think DxO might have a similar function but I don't really remember and don't have the latest version. They still don't support my current camera so I'm not interested in upgrading/using it at the moment.
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Old Jul 1, 2010, 3:55 PM   #7
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Thanks all. I should have mentioned I have lightroom 1.x so can upg to 3 for not a lot.... again that was a freebe from Adobe a few years ago so not going to complain

Billy, do you know if there is a batch option in the EOS software similar to that mentioned by Harriet?
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Old Jul 1, 2010, 6:16 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark1616 View Post
I should also add that as a newly married man and having been living off of savings since Jan and won't work until probably Nov that keeping cost down is helpful, but not key as I want the right tool for the job.
I use UFRaw both as a stand-alone program for converting RAW files
to TIFF and also as an import plugin for Gimp. It works well with the RAW
files from my 500D. The 7D and 5D MKII are also on the supported
list.

I run Linux, but I believe both programs are available for Windows
if you haven't changed over to Linux yet.

I think you will like the price.
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Old Jul 2, 2010, 5:18 AM   #9
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For Nikon, Capture NX2 is very good and quite reasonably priced.

ETA: the things that please me about this program include:

1. It is organized like the camera's menus, and allows me to make adjustments like I would have in my camera for various things (sharpness, contrast, auto-DLighting -- a very cool feature for recovering blown highlights BTW, noise smoothing, white balance, etc.) This makes the application very well-integrated with the camera and increases my understanding of the camera at the same time that I work on my photos.

2. It gives me the look that I expect when it converts the RAW data to JPEG. I tried using the PaintShopPro RAW support, and I found that the photos just plain looked different from the JPEGs I got in RAW+Fine JPEG mode when they were just converted from the camera. That makes it hard to develop a sense of what you're going to get from the importation. In RAW editors, the best surprise is no surprise.

3. Capture NX2 can automatically adjust for distortion and vignetting for any NIKON lens. Apparently, it reads the data in the EXIF section of the photo files. The MakeNote section includes a lot of obscure numerical arrays that presumably support these corrections in software that knows what to do with it. Capture NX2 knows what to do with it. I don't know whether third-party lens manufacturers support this. I presume that, if any do, Sigma and Tamron might on their Nikon-mount lenses. But I just don't know. And Nikon, of course, wants to encourage you to buy Nikon, so they say that results on auto-correction are "uncertain" with third-party lenses. I'd love to know if Tokina supports this, as my next lens will be from them.

4. There are some very nice UI touches in the NX2 software. Their auto retouch brush is the easiest retouching feature I've ever encountered, for example. Their control points are very easy to use, although less powerful than layers, which NX2 does not support.

5. NX2 is completely non-destructive. What that means is that the original NEF file is never changed -- instead, the program keeps track of the actions you have applied, and has a separate database of those things. You can always revert to the original file (or to the last changes file) by simply selecting that. It is very easy to roll back changes with this app.

The NX2 program is basically a toolkit for getting the basic photo that you want. You would then want to bring it into PhotoShop or PaintShopPro or what-have-you for the kinds of operations that you think of as "image processing" -- skin touch-ups, working with layers, etc. The thing that NX2 does is milk the most out of your RAW file so you're starting with a very good initial photo. In routine snapshot cases, that may be all you bother doing with the photo. But for the special photos you expect to massage to perfection, NX2 just provides a very good photo to start your work on.

Last edited by tclune; Jul 2, 2010 at 9:03 AM.
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Old Jul 2, 2010, 10:40 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark1616 View Post
Billy, do you know if there is a batch option in the EOS software similar to that mentioned by Harriet?
There is a Batch process button, however I've not used it. If I can find time to play with it today, I'll let you know how it goes. However, I'm pretty slammed at the moment
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