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Gear Talk => Technical Support => Topic started by: Fleetie on April 16, 2013, 12:00:25 PM

Title: MacBook Pro : Best RAW Processing Software?
Post by: Fleetie on April 16, 2013, 12:00:25 PM
Hi.

I've just upgraded my computer system to a 13" MacBook Pro Retina 3GHz and a 27" 2560x1440 monitor.

I haven't really done RAW processing before. Now my new computer is all set up, I've installed DPP onto it, and updated it to version 13.3.

But I have the impression that people here mainly use other software for their RAW processing.

I have heard people talk here about "Aperture" (I believe it is Apple software?), and Lightroom.

Which is best? I have a 5D3. How much do they cost?

I have had a quick play in DPP with sharpening a couple of pics, and I was impressed by the result. Much better than the SOOC jpg. I set sharpness to 0 on the 5D3, to get rid of those "black dot in the centre of small bright points" problem (IIRC). There was a nasty sharpening artefact problem with in-camera sharpening.

So. Which RAW software should I use? I have a feeling that the serious people seem to use "Lightroom"; is that so? If so, why?

Thanks.
Title: Re: MacBook Pro : Best RAW Processing Software?
Post by: ksuweh on April 16, 2013, 12:07:34 PM
I use Lightroom & I think probably the majority of others on this forum use it as well. That could be a new survey!! :) Lightroom has a very good workflow! It costs $150 for the full version (not an upgrade from an older version).
Title: Re: MacBook Pro : Best RAW Processing Software?
Post by: SithTracy on April 16, 2013, 12:31:54 PM
I use both a Mac and a PC... Lightroom for me.  I do have Aperture, but honestly never gave it a look once I got a copy of LR 3.6 and now on 4.4 and will likely look at the LR v5 beta before too long.  I really like the one-click lens corrections LR give and the "pop" power.  Can make the average image just look "wow" with a couple of sliders adjustments.
Title: Re: MacBook Pro : Best RAW Processing Software?
Post by: Drizzt321 on April 16, 2013, 12:36:26 PM
Well, there's RAW processing, and then there's assent management (e.g. keeping track of all those photos you're taking). DPP is pretty decent software for general RAW processing. Not fantastic, but for a free tool it's quite good. Then there are other standalone processors like Photoshop (really Adobe Camera RAW which imports into Photoshop). Finally, there's full image processing & catalog management such as Lightroom, Aperture, and Capture One. Most people choose Lightroom or Aperture, although having just checked Capture One actually isn't too expensive at $300, but from my understand it's definitely geared towards the working professional and tethered capture for photoshoots.

For myself, I use Lightroom with very occasional edits in Photoshop.
Title: Re: MacBook Pro : Best RAW Processing Software?
Post by: bchernicoff on April 16, 2013, 12:38:44 PM
Both Aperture and Lightroom are great, however, Apple is not very public about the release cycle for Aperture. Lightroom has caught up in terms of features and with what I've seen of the V5 Beta the performance is starting to get there too.
Title: Re: MacBook Pro : Best RAW Processing Software?
Post by: DanThePhotoMan on April 16, 2013, 01:09:26 PM
I have both LR4 and PS6, and I enjoy using ACR7 for PS much more. I know people who feel much differently, but I believe it gives better control over an image. Granted, that's probably because I have barely used LR at all, but ACR7 has never done me wrong and produced some fantastic results.
Title: Re: MacBook Pro : Best RAW Processing Software?
Post by: TrumpetPower! on April 16, 2013, 01:41:00 PM
In addition to the asset management tools others have mentioned, it's worth noting that the different applications are often geared towards different goals, even in terms of rendering.

If your goal is colorimetric accuracy, I don't think you're going to beat Raw Photo Processor, especially if you know how to create ICC profiles. It's also probably the best at emulating various film stocks, though that's not something I do.

DPP probably produces the best image quality in terms of sharpness and noise reduction and lens defect correction and the like, but I've never cared for the user interface. If you're the type to drop your photos off at a lab, DPP is the best for you.

Camera Raw / Lightroom offers the best flexibility for creative manipulation, no question. When I'm looking to do that sort of thing, I generally develop the file with Raw Photo Processor and then open the TIFF in ACR for further manipulation.

Lately, though, I've been more and more paying attention to the light itself and doing less and less work that needs much post-processing. The attached photo, for example, is nothing more than two colorimetric developments of the same RAW file, with the one for the sky slightly underexposed and masked in to restore the detail. Shoot in great light (whether by painstakingly finding it or making it) and develop the photo such that what comes out of the camera is the same as what went into it and you won't have to do much, if anything, to it in post-production.

Cheers,

b&
Title: Re: MacBook Pro : Best RAW Processing Software?
Post by: pierceography on April 16, 2013, 01:43:50 PM
I like to keep things relatively simple workflow wise: Photoshop.  But for my entire process I have a home grown solution for photo storage/management (NAS over samba on a linux box with software RAID) and a custom web application which allows me to view/catalog my photos.

Software side, I like photoshop quite a bit.  The problem with NAS and some of the workflow/catalog software (Aperture, Lightroom, etc) is that it can get really s-l-o-w, especially if you're over wifi (I often am).  So using a web app to quickly access thumbnails in a gallery style layout is very useful.  If I want to open an photo for further editing, I have a link which opens it in Photoshop.  I've also recently started using the Nik plugin suite after Google put it on sale.  Huge thumbs up for Nik, especially Silver Efex.  But that's not necessarily a RAW processing platform.

Plus the added benefit (for me) of using NAS and a custom web app for cataloging is I can access my catalog anywhere over a browser or even an iOS app I wrote.  </nerd>

But if you're looking for super simple and inexpensive, Lightroom is the way to go.
Title: Re: MacBook Pro : Best RAW Processing Software?
Post by: Tov on April 16, 2013, 01:45:12 PM
Aperture through the Appstore is probably half the price ( 70 euro's) of Lightroom. At the moment the best raw engine is from Apple=Aperture.
http://www.guygowan.com/promos/Aperture/?PHPSESSID=b087cb07536b406a6bf14031ec8c08f1 (http://www.guygowan.com/promos/Aperture/?PHPSESSID=b087cb07536b406a6bf14031ec8c08f1)
Title: Re: MacBook Pro : Best RAW Processing Software?
Post by: scottkinfw on April 16, 2013, 01:47:46 PM
I am a Mac person and I like LR better than Aperture.  It is much easier to use, and does a great job.
Title: Re: MacBook Pro : Best RAW Processing Software?
Post by: Botts on April 16, 2013, 03:25:41 PM
I use Aperture to convert my RAW files about 90-95% of the time.  Images that need extra work get processed with DxO and reimported to Aperture as TIFF files.

DxO's perspective, and distortion/vignetting correction is second to none.

I'm an Apple Aperture Certified Pro, so I have more background than most with Aperture, and love teaching it.  Once you learn how to master keywords, and smart albums, I find its asset management second to none.

I can't wait for a new version of Aperture, or ideally, for Apple to acquire DxO, but even still, I really like it for normal use.  If you decide to go Aperture, I'd definitely recommend Peachpit Press' Aperture book.
Title: Re: MacBook Pro : Best RAW Processing Software?
Post by: Harry Muff on April 16, 2013, 03:46:15 PM
Lightroom and PS6 here.


I'm struggling to like Dx0, but the only good (great) feature is the camera/lens modules and general distortion correction. And I've just bought a 16-35...


I've nothing against Aperture, it just doesn't excite me like LR does.


I swear, whoever buys up Dx0 will clean up.
Title: Re: MacBook Pro : Best RAW Processing Software?
Post by: Fleetie on April 16, 2013, 07:19:53 PM
I've been running LR4 on 30 day trial this evening.

Here's the result of the photo I've been working on.
Title: Re: MacBook Pro : Best RAW Processing Software?
Post by: Fleetie on April 16, 2013, 07:20:40 PM
And here's the SOOC jpg.
Title: Re: MacBook Pro : Best RAW Processing Software?
Post by: Fleetie on April 16, 2013, 07:24:52 PM
Sorry, I don't know how to post the pictures full-size on here, because the site only allows up to 4MB files, and the full-size jpgs are much bigger than that.

You can't see much difference between the above 2 pictures, because they've been reduced in size so much, but on the big computer monitor, the RAW-converted images is sharper and I've played with the levels a bit to make the image have more "pop", to me, anyway.
Title: Re: MacBook Pro : Best RAW Processing Software?
Post by: Camerajah on April 16, 2013, 08:30:41 PM
aperture been using it before there was lightroom
Title: Re: MacBook Pro : Best RAW Processing Software?
Post by: pwp on April 16, 2013, 08:41:30 PM
Apple has really repositioned Aperture as a more amateur program. Nothing wrong with that, it's simple to learn and operate and delivers great conversions. Lightroom is a more fully featured program that is constantly updated and improved. The fact that more photographers use LR than any other program for RAW conversions speaks for itself.

There are any number of alternatives, all with particular strengths, but LR really puts it all together.

-PW
Title: Re: MacBook Pro : Best RAW Processing Software?
Post by: Click on April 16, 2013, 09:07:11 PM
Another vote for LR here. Lightroom is the way to go.
Title: Re: MacBook Pro : Best RAW Processing Software?
Post by: GDub on April 16, 2013, 09:22:13 PM
From straight up to super creative, Lightroom RAWKS!
Title: Re: MacBook Pro : Best RAW Processing Software?
Post by: gary on April 16, 2013, 09:53:52 PM
I use both Lightroom and Capture One and find them both straight forward to use Capture One is slightly cheaper but not so its noticeable. I have PS5 but rarely use it especially as the other programs develop further. I use the NIK and Alienskin plugins which I like and compliment LR and Capture One well.
Title: Re: MacBook Pro : Best RAW Processing Software?
Post by: ksagomonyants on April 17, 2013, 12:11:01 AM
For a limited amount of work I do, Adobe Bridge + Photoshop CS5.5 works just fine.
Title: Re: MacBook Pro : Best RAW Processing Software?
Post by: eml58 on April 17, 2013, 01:18:16 AM
I operate the OSX System, have used Lightroom since it first started, currently use Lightroom 4, waiting for LR5 (Beta now out)

Lightroom: for filing all my Photos, basic changes such as White Balance Adjustment (I shoot RAW), any cropping needed. Only drawback no Layers.
Photoshop CS6: After LR4 adjustments, I move to CS6 for any thing I plan to do that requires Layers adjustments.
On One: Now do about 70% with this software that I once used Photoshop for, more intuitive & much easier to use than Photoshop, very good "Brush" technology, but doesn't do everything Photoshop does.
NIK Viveza 2: Use this for very localised adjustments, but less so now with the advent of On One.
NIK's Silver Effex pro 2: Best B&W software available.
Title: Re: MacBook Pro : Best RAW Processing Software?
Post by: K3nt on April 17, 2013, 02:59:25 AM
For minor work and cataloging I run Aperture on my MacBook Pro... Photoshop+ACR for more "intensive" work. In addition to these I got Nik Software's bundle at a steal of 126USD for the whole package.. Brilliant stuff that.
Title: Re: MacBook Pro : Best RAW Processing Software?
Post by: MaxPower on April 17, 2013, 03:04:23 AM
I have installed Apeture and Lightroom on may macs.
But Aperture is my main tool. Lightroom has some nice features,
but the the ui didnt behave like a native mac os x app.
Title: Re: MacBook Pro : Best RAW Processing Software?
Post by: stefsan on April 17, 2013, 03:10:17 AM
I use DPP for my RAW conversions. Yes, its user interface feels clunky and cumbersome but the possibilities to correct aberrations (lens specific profiles), sharpen and optimize your files before producing a TIFF or JPEG (or whatever format you prefer) are rather good. For my eye, DPP delivers the best output files. As you can't apply corrections like noise reduction only to specific parts of the picture, you might want to a) be careful with the NR and sharpening sliders and b) use some other app for the finer touches – I use PS6 with NIK software mainly for NR and sharpening the  final output files.
For all of this you could use LR or Aperture or DXO or Capture One which all do a good job – in the end it comes down to user preference. One important thing DPP is lacking is the possibility to add keywords/tags and manage the files. LR, Aperture and all the other apps do this.
Title: Re: MacBook Pro : Best RAW Processing Software?
Post by: greger on April 17, 2013, 04:09:38 AM
I use DPP and PS CS 5.1. I have to upgrade to 10.8 from 10.7. When I've done that I will upgrade to PS CS 6. Every new
version of ACR that comes out has better raw processing. I've been using the Detail Tab to eliminate noise in my Pics.
You might want to check out Elements 11. For around $100.00 it comes with the latest version of ACR. Adobe will let you do an upsell to the full version of Photoshop. It is not cheap. It is up to you as to what version you want. Elements or the full version of Photoshop. Some Photographers use Lightroom and then finish up in Photoshop for the final image.
You could do a search: Photoshop Elements vs Photoshop CS. Or vs Lightroom to see what others think is best. DPP has
some good points to it and Canon is making it better over time. I use it to process raw pics so I can convert them to Tiff
and jpeg. I then send the jpegs by email to friends. Macs email will let to choose how large you want the attachment to be. Good Luck. 
Title: Re: MacBook Pro : Best RAW Processing Software?
Post by: greger on April 17, 2013, 04:42:45 AM
I was just on the Adobe website and read that Adobe no longer offers an upsell option from Elements. I don't think Elements has the same Full version of ACR as Lightroom and Photoshop. Something else to research.
Title: Re: MacBook Pro : Best RAW Processing Software?
Post by: m on April 17, 2013, 05:16:26 AM
Have a look at this:
http://www.canonrumors.com/2013/04/adobe-lightroom-5-public-beta-available/ (http://www.canonrumors.com/2013/04/adobe-lightroom-5-public-beta-available/)

While not being the final release, you can still try it out extensively.
In the end, you have to choose.
Title: Re: MacBook Pro : Best RAW Processing Software?
Post by: Tov on April 17, 2013, 06:42:44 AM
The fact that more photographers use LR than any other program for RAW conversions speaks for itself.

-PW

That is because most people use Windows. So Aperture is out of the question.
Regardless what raw converter you use you will always need PS.
Title: Re: MacBook Pro : Best RAW Processing Software?
Post by: atosk930 on April 17, 2013, 08:04:39 AM
Give both a try and see which you like better. I personally use Lightroom.

http://www.apple.com/aperture/trial/ (http://www.apple.com/aperture/trial/)

https://www.adobe.com/cfusion/tdrc/index.cfm?product=photoshop_lightroom (https://www.adobe.com/cfusion/tdrc/index.cfm?product=photoshop_lightroom)
Title: Re: MacBook Pro : Best RAW Processing Software?
Post by: zazen on April 17, 2013, 08:49:18 AM
Let's not forget about a few other free options for RAW conversions:
RPP: http://www.raw-photo-processor.com/RPP/Overview.html (http://www.raw-photo-processor.com/RPP/Overview.html)
RawTherapee: http://www.rawtherapee.com (http://www.rawtherapee.com) with MacOS X builds here: http://code.google.com/p/mattintosh4-devel/downloads/list (http://code.google.com/p/mattintosh4-devel/downloads/list)
and I believe GIMP deals with RAW files as well. MacOS X builds here http://gimp.lisanet.de/Website/Download.html (http://gimp.lisanet.de/Website/Download.html)
Title: Re: MacBook Pro : Best RAW Processing Software?
Post by: Fleetie on April 17, 2013, 05:37:29 PM
Thanks for all your advice.

I've downloaded the LR5 beta, and I'll have a play with it.
Title: Re: MacBook Pro : Best RAW Processing Software?
Post by: RGF on April 22, 2013, 02:11:43 AM
I have both LR4 and PS6, and I enjoy using ACR7 for PS much more. I know people who feel much differently, but I believe it gives better control over an image. Granted, that's probably because I have barely used LR at all, but ACR7 has never done me wrong and produced some fantastic results.

+1 here on a PC but when I switch to Mac later this year, I'll stick with LR and PS.