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Old Apr 2, 2009, 6:48 PM   #1
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I am interested in editing raw images captured with an Olympus E-520 and am considering purchasing software (PhotoShop & Lightroom). Question: as I am only going to edit raw images do I need the whole Photoshop program? Is Lightroom by itself an editing program. Does Adobe elements offer a program to do editing without purchasing the whole Photoshop program?

Thanks for your help.
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Old Apr 2, 2009, 8:29 PM   #2
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I use Photoshop Elements to process RAW files. It uses the same Plug-In that Lightroom and Photoshop use: Adobe Camera RAW.

Adobe has free trial downlaods for their products:

Photoshop Elements: http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshopelwin/

Lightroom: http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshoplightroom/
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Old Apr 3, 2009, 9:19 AM   #3
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TCav: "It uses the same Plug-In that Lightroom and Photoshop use: Adobe Camera RAW."

Plug-in? Is this another item that needs to be purchased?

Gary
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Old Apr 3, 2009, 1:29 PM   #4
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garys17 wrote:
Quote:
TCav: "It uses the same Plug-In that Lightroom and Photoshop use: Adobe Camera RAW."

Plug-in? Is this another item that needs to be purchased?
No. It's free. It comes with the package (which ever package you pick,) but the updates can be downloaded independantly. In fact, you can download Adobe Camera RAW now; you just won't be able to use it with anything.
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Old Apr 3, 2009, 4:06 PM   #5
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Lightroom is a very good editing package for photographers.

I used to use photoshop, but since the release of Lightroom 2 I find I haven't needed to use photoshop at all.

For most photographers it's all they need.
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Old Apr 3, 2009, 10:13 PM   #6
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Thanks for your help. I have downloaded Lightroom and will play around with it for awhile.
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Old Apr 3, 2009, 11:18 PM   #7
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I use Lightroom for many of my adjustments, but it won't do everything that Photoshop does, so I also have CS4 (I've been using Photoshop since Photoshop 3). My computer was in the shop recently so I was using my husband's computer, which has nothing on it. I ended up buying Photoshop Elements and discovered it does pretty much all that I normally use CS4 for - I was very impressed with its capabilities.

I still like Lightroom and think LR and PSE would be a good, cost-effective set of programs that will do just about anything you would need to do.
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Old Apr 4, 2009, 7:16 AM   #8
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mtngal,

My understanding is that, for the most part,LR is PSE with workflow tools. My primary problem with PSE is that I shoot continuous so I have a lot of images I need to process, many of them exactly the same way, and PSE's 'Process Multiple Files...' command is weak. Does LR have a better facility for processing multiple files?
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Old Apr 4, 2009, 6:09 PM   #9
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Lightroom doesn't quite work the same way as PSE does. I don't know PSE as well as I do LR, but I'll give it a try to explain the differences, at least as I noticed. PSE has two modules (at least the version I have) - one that is called Bridge and acts more or less like Bridge that's included with CS4. The second module is essentially Photoshop, with the third being the same ACR program for raw conversion. As far as a photo organizer, Bridge and Lightroom are very similar now. I didn't play enough with PSE to find out what it didn't have that CS4 does - apparently everything that I commonly use CS4 for, PSE does.

Lightroom can do a whole lot more than just organize photo files, make slide shows and print. They have a develop module where you can take a raw file and make adjustments, something you need either ACR or Photoshop for. What Lightroom does is store in its database the commands for making those changes you've applied, not actually make the changes to your original file. So if you have a bunch of pictures that you want the same correction made (i.e., changing the white balance, or perhaps a series of shots are underexposed, or your tripod wasn't as level as you thought and the series is all tilted slightly the same way or all three at the same time), you can make the changes on one file, then paste (sync) those changes onto however many pictures you want to apply them to. It applies that set of instructions (you can specify all or just some of them) to the files and it shows you what the changes will look like when applied to files, but doesn't actually change the file. You can make further changes if you want, or if one picture looks horrible, you can have that one revert back to its original state (or go backwards, there's a history screen like there is in PSE). You aren't actually changing the file, just changing the instructions of changes you want to make. You also have the ability to make "virtual copies" of pictures - where you can take the same picture and apply totally different sets of commands to them. You aren't creating a separate file at this point, so you don't have multiple files wandering around in folders somewhere. When you get all of the pictures the way you want them, then you "export" the pictures. That saves the pictures as new files (either jpg or tiff) - that's when the instructions are applied to the file and the changes actually made (the original stays the same).

There are things about Lightroom that seem a bit cumbersome to me (some things that Aperture seems to do better), but I've never found anything that works quite like LR when it comes to developing tools. This latest version has added a number of functions that are starting to get more into the things I would have used CS2 for (like getting rid of dust and making changes to selective parts of a picture).

If you ever have some spare time it would be worth it to download it and use it through the trial period. I recommend looking at some of the tutorials/resource material available for hints how to get what you want out of the program - while playing around with sliders is always fun, it sometimes isn't exactly obvious how to get what you want. People seem to either love or hate it, so I'd definitely recommend trying it before buying.

A minor thing that I love about the crop tool in LR - it has the third grid lines showing. I really appreciate knowing where they actually are as I'm terrible about lining things up. I may totally ignore them, but its nice to know where they are. And yes, it has the straightening tool also, which is also in ACR, and will automatically crop the corners/edges off that don't fit in the frame (not always a good thing).
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