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Old Dec 4, 2005, 3:22 PM   #1
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Is it worth it to install the software that was included in my Panasonic FZ30? I am just starting to use RAW because my previous camera (Sony F717) didn't have it as an option. I use Adobe Creative Suite 2 with Photoshop CS2 and downloaded the AdobeRAW converter 3.2 which supports my camera. I'm wondering if its worth it to download the software that came with the camera (Lumix Simple Viewer, Photofun Studio and ARcSoft Software Suite). Does anyone have any opinions and reasons why I should or should not install it? Would I get anything I don't get with Photoshop's plug-in?
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Old Dec 4, 2005, 4:12 PM   #2
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The only reason I've installed the Canon software is so I can store my name into the camera (which then gets put into all my images.)

Other than that, I believe CS2's RAW converter will give you just as much with a better interface and extras too boot.

Eric
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Old Dec 5, 2005, 1:00 PM   #3
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I have Canon's software installed, and use the Photostitch software quite a bit, but as far as post processing, I use CS2 exclusively for all of my post processing.


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Old Dec 5, 2005, 9:56 PM   #4
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It sounds like I don't gain much (if anything) with the Panasonic software, except that Arcsoft has a panorama creater. I thought when I got Creative Suite that I had read where Adobe had a plug-in for photoshop that would create stitched panoramas, but I don't really remember. I haven't felt the urge to try another one (I've done 2 with an older version of Photoshop and did it all manually. I wasn't sure the results were really worth all the agony and hours I spent on it). Am I dreaming I read that, or does Adobe really have such a plug-in?
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Old Dec 5, 2005, 10:42 PM   #5
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mtngal wrote:
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It sounds like I don't gain much (if anything) with the Panasonic software, except that Arcsoft has a panorama creater. I thought when I got Creative Suite that I had read where Adobe had a plug-in for photoshop that would create stitched panoramas, but I don't really remember. I haven't felt the urge to try another one (I've done 2 with an older version of Photoshop and did it all manually. I wasn't sure the results were really worth all the agony and hours I spent on it). Am I dreaming I read that, or does Adobe really have such a plug-in?
File>Automate>Photomerge does panoramas automatically in CS – I presume CS2 has it as well.

The raw converter that comes with the camera is next to useless according to reviews. You will do better in Photoshop.

I didn't install any of the software that came with my FZ10 and it doesn't look like the FZ30 software is any better.

The software that comes with cameras with a panorama mode make stitching easier. But you don't have that on the Panasonic – at least my FZ10 doesn't and I don't see the feature listed on the FZ30. If the FZ30 does have a panorama mode and the ArcSoft software tags and numbers them for easy stitching it might be worthwhile. But I don't think that is the case.


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Old Dec 5, 2005, 10:53 PM   #6
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I use RAWSHOOTER (paid version) for RAW photo tweaking and batch conversion.

Other than that, I occassionally use Photoshop Elements, and even use Microsoft Picture It! for really quick tweaks (like cutting a jpeg under 200K for posting photos here).

I haven't gotten into Photoshop in a major way because I'm graphics challenged.

I've got countless other photo software programs and demos, but in the end it's about learning curve.

Rather than spending a lot of time learning a lot of different software packages, just find one or two or three software packages that gets the job done for you.

-- Terry




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Old Dec 6, 2005, 3:23 PM   #7
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[email protected] wrote:
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I've got countless other photo software programs and demos, but in the end it's about learning curve.

Rather than spending a lot of time learning a lot of different software packages, just find one or two or three software packages that gets the job done for you.


How true, how true! I've been using Photoshop for a number of years - ever since a friend gave me a bootleg copy of Photoshop 3. I borrowed a tutorial from work and once I learned how to use it, I purchased my own copy (and have upgraded a couple of times). I looked at several other graphics programs that have come with either scanners, printers or cameras but have never liked them. I know there's new, advanced features in PS CS2 that I haven't figured out yet, but that's OK - I'm quite comfortable with it.

There isn't a panorama mode on the FZ30 (nothing in the owners manual). So I guess I'll stick with PS CS2. I hadn't discovered the photomerge command yet, but I hadn't looked for it. Looks like I'll have to play with it one of these days. I'm sure it will be easier than bringing in the pictures on different layers, then doing free transform to get specific spots to match up (I was using PS4 the time I tried it).
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Old Dec 6, 2005, 3:51 PM   #8
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mtngal,
If you want to do the merging by hand, at least set the layers to the difference blending mode. That will make it much easier to line them up.

But the photomerge works quite well. I don't do panos myself, but I know people who do, and I've watched them use photomerge and it looks like it works well.

Eric
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Old Dec 6, 2005, 5:19 PM   #9
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This is from three shots with the camera held vertically and stitched automatically with CS Photomerge. It seemed to work OK and didn't take very long. I think it is best to have your settings the same to use Photomerge. I haven't fed it shots with different exposure & WB settings to even out. Autostitch is probably a better alternative for different exposures and WB, as well as images taken in more than one plane: http://www.cs.ubc.ca/~mbrown/autostitch/autostitch.html

I was testing out the continuous mode to make up for my camera not having a panorama mode. Most cameras fix the settings with the first shot in continuous mode. Burst would be too fast, but continuous seems to be fairly easy to use. I often used two or three quick vertical shots to make up for not having a wide angle with my old pocket camera with a panorama mode. Continuous and Photomerge seem to be a good alternative for effectively grabbing a wider angle. This comes out to a 4:3 of about 27mm from a 38mm lens.




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Old Dec 6, 2005, 11:12 PM   #10
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What a great idea! The one time I tried it I was using a 35mm camera and did have problems matching the light/darkness between each frame (thank heavens for adjustment layerss in Photoshop that you can link to the layer below). Now all I have to do is go somewhere worth doing a panorama.
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