Skip to main content

Raw Converting

I know that there's a new version of Lightroom on the horizon, but I had it filed away as something to think about at some undefined point in the middle-to-distant future, and paid no more attention to it. Bill's recent experience with the LR4 public beta reminded me that it was something that I needed to pay more attention to.

Seriously – first photo with LR4 beta. Canon S100.
I use Adobe software as the core of my image editing routine. Lightroom handles 95% of it, while special tasks are farmed out to the now-ancient Photoshop CS3. The weekly-updated Vuescan drives the two scanners for the film that I use, and I'll occasionally use Photoacute for focus stacking and super-resolution processing with digital images.

I've been using Lightroom since the third beta – the first feature-complete one – of the grand-daddy program. The beta for Lightroom Four looks great, but I've developed a few decent tricks in soon-to-be-old versons. My favourite was to work with the exposure and brightness controls in opposition to each other: exposure is global, and can cause highlight clipping, but brightness will try very hard not to clip, and only influences the brighter parts of the image. The contrast control works to change the range that the brightness influences. Between those adjustments an amazing range of control could be had, and it was quick and easy to create the results that I wanted.

Lightroom 4: no more brightness control.

And I'm already thinking of LR3 in the past tense.

I'm not overly happy with Adobe. Photoshop CS6 is reported to be the last chance to upgrade at a reduced price, as they're getting rid of their policy that lets people skip generations without penalty. There's nothing in the new versions that I need, but I do miss having support for the raw files from my Panasonic GH1 and Canon S100 in CS3. It's generally a nuisance to remember what I can edit as raw files and what needs to be opened as a tiff, and I miss being able to easily merge multiple photos from those cameras into layers or panoramas. But the new versioning policy stings: I'm starting to feel like I'm not on the good end of this bargain.

Nobody says that I have to upgrade. I can stay with what I'm doing, keep the results I already have, and not need to do anything differently. But what fun is that?

So it's inevitable that I'm going to need to learn new tricks sooner or later. Lightroom Four is almost certainly in my future. But this also seems like a good time to re-evaluate what I want my software to do, and consider the options that weren't out there when I first signed up with Adobe. I'm hearing interesting things about Aperture, and DxO Optics has a reputation as the best choice for photographers who want to squeeze the best from their cameras and lenses. That sounds fascinating – and they all offer free trials.

I may need a new computer soon.


  1. Yes, DxO should be nice, as Capture One from PhaseOne should be as well. Alas, I cannot run any of these, because I'm not willing to really invest into a machine which could be running a virtualized Win7 with enough "muscles" to run these.

    So for me it is Olympus Viewer 2 (in a "tiny" virtualized Win7 with 1.5GB RAM) if I want Olympus colors, Corel's AfterShot Pro (formerly Bibble Pro), which is just like LR, and RawTherapee if I really want or need ultimate (and fine color) control, and the best demosaicing and sharpening algorithms on the planet. Mostly I use OV2 to keep the Oly colors in a conversion to .tif, and continue the rest of the work with RT. Lately I also played around with AP, but I don't have a really good camera profile for that one - I think I always see a magenta cast in that one.

    Time to get a ColorChecker Passport, and to calibrate things myself.

  2. Wolfgang, I love my ColorChecker Passport. Supporting the DNG Profiles that the Xrite software creates is going to be a critical point for any raw converter that I audition.

    I could try to create a profile myself, I suppose, but then I also need to trust my monitor calibration.

    I haven't looked at Capture One yet, but I've heard great things about it. But the 2006 iMac that does all of my heavy lifting might not be so amused by my ambitions.


Post a Comment

All comments are checked. Comment SPAM will be blocked and deleted.

Popular posts from this blog

A Decade Long Religious Con Job

I rarely write inflammatory (what some might call trolling) titles to a post, but this building you see before you deserves it. I've been seeing this building next to I-4 just east of Altamonte/436 and Crane's Roost for nearly 12 years, and never knew who owned it. Today on a trip up to Lake Mary with my wife I saw it yet again. That's when I told her I wanted to stop by on the way back and poke around the property, and photograph any parts of it if I could.

What I discovered was this still unfinished eighteen story (I counted) white elephant, overgrown with weeds and yet still under slow-motion construction. It looks impressive with its exterior glass curtain walls, but that impression is quickly lost when you see the unfinished lower stories and look inside to the unfinished interior spaces.

A quick check via Google leads to an article written in 2010 by the Orlando Sentinel about the Majesty Tower. Based on what I read in the article it's owned by SuperChannel 55 WA…

Be Careful of Capital One Mailings

Capitol One ("What's in your wallet?") sent me a bit of deceptive snail mail today. I felt sure it was a credit card offer, and sure enough, it was. I open all credit card offers and shred them before putting them in the trash. Normally I just scan the front to make sure I don't miss anything; the Capital One offer made me stop for a moment and strike a bit of fear into my heart.

The letter's opening sentence read:
Our records as of December 30, 2009 indicate your Capital One Platinum MasterCard offer is currently valid and active.Not paying close attention during the first reading, I quickly developed this irrational worry that I was actually on the hook for something important, but I wasn't quite sure what. The letter listed "three ways to reply" at the bottom; via phone, the internet, and regular snail mail. I elected to call.

Once I reached the automated phone response system, the first entry offered was '1', to "activate my Capital …

cat-in-a-box channels greta garbo

So I'm sitting at my computer, when I start to notice a racket in back. I ignore it for a while until I hear a load "thump!", as if something had been dropped on the floor, followed by a lot of loud rattling. I turn around and see Lucy in the box just having a grand old time, rolling around and rattling that box a good one. I grab the GX1 and snap a few shots before she notices me and the camera, then leaps out and back into her chair (which used to be my chair before she decided it was her chair).

Just like caring for Katie my black Lab taught me about dogs, caring for Lucy is teaching me about cats. She finds me fascinating, as I do her. And she expresses great affection and love toward me without coaxing. I try to return the affection and love, but she is a cat, and she takes a bat at me on occasion, although I think that's just her being playful. She always has her claws in when she does that.

She sits next to me during the evening in her chair while I sit in mi…