Alternatives to Lightroom for someone who isn't locked in to it yet?

AlanF

Stay at home
CR Pro
Aug 16, 2012
9,082
12,733
unfocused said:
AlanF said:
unfocused said:
AlanF said:
...The NIK free noise reduction software is quite good and simple to use and works as a plugin with older PS but not the latest cloud offering...

I'm curious what problem you are encountering. I use the Nik Plug-ins, including the noise reduction plug-in almost daily with the latest Adobe CC (2017) with no problems.

We tried over Christmas to install it on my grandson's new MacBook Pro with the latest CC of PS but the plugins didn't work and it says on the NIK home page it is compatible with up to CC2015. Are you using the NIK on a PC or Mac? If it's a Mac and others get NIK to work on Macs then we must try to install again.

I am using a PC, so that may be the difference. On the other hand, I do know that sometimes the Nik tool box doesn't show up after a fresh install of CC and you have to go looking for it. Look in the Filter's menu and see if you have a "Nik Collection" option in the filters. Also, I know that with Windows, you sometimes have to reinstall Nik into the current CC folder because some versions of CC create entirely new folders for the program and don't transfer over all the plug-ins.

It was in the Filter menu but wouldn't work.
 

Jack Douglas

CR for the Humour
Apr 10, 2013
6,857
2,471
Alberta, Canada
Haven't been following this thread as carefully as I might, so maybe this is redundant or of limited usefulness but here's my comment on NIK Dfine2. It's not totally obvious so it can be missed. I use the eyedropper to work with colors for noise reduction and where I don't want it I select that color and reduce it to anywhere from 0 to 10%. The default levels of 100% is way too strong unless it's something like sky.

Method: Manual, Reduce, Control Points: Color Ranges, Eye drop each color you are interested in having and NOT having NR in and reduce those where you don't want it to zero. It's really nice to have the ability to slide across seeing the comparison L-R. Admittedly it's more tedious but the result is good.

Graham, Corel Paintshop is free for 1 month and it's possibly worth looking at (or is it a total joke??).

Jack
 

Valvebounce

EOS R5
CR Pro
Apr 3, 2013
4,556
444
54
Isle of Wight
Hi Jack.
Thanks for the suggestion on Corel Paintshop, I have had free versions on disc (with a PC mag) years ago and I didn't like it much, I guess it might be time to have another go.
I don't like swede (vegetable) but I keep trying it, tastes change!

Cheers, Graham.

Jack Douglas said:
Haven't been following this thread as carefully as I might, so maybe this is redundant or of limited usefulness but here's my comment on NIK Dfine2. It's not totally obvious so it can be missed. I use the eyedropper to work with colors for noise reduction and where I don't want it I select that color and reduce it to anywhere from 0 to 10%. The default levels of 100% is way too strong unless it's something like sky.

Method: Manual, Reduce, Control Points: Color Ranges, Eye drop each color you are interested in having and NOT having NR in and reduce those where you don't want it to zero. It's really nice to have the ability to slide across seeing the comparison L-R. Admittedly it's more tedious but the result is good.

Graham, Corel Paintshop is free for 1 month and it's possibly worth looking at (or is it a total joke??).

Jack
 

davidj

EOS M6 Mark II
Mar 18, 2016
75
2
Stu_bert said:
privatebydesign said:
mycanonphotos said:
If you are good with keeping your file structure tight just use Bridge and the raw editor...

That makes little sense, and I am a real Bridge fan. To get Bridge you have to have PS or a qualifying product, which Graham has already said he isn't interested in at this point.

Adobe made Bridge free last year....

But Adobe Camera Raw doesn't work unless you have PS.
 

YellowJersey

EOS 90D
Jan 2, 2014
144
0
If you want/need the cataloging feature, then Lightroom really is the only way to go.

If you don't want/need the cataloging feature, then you've got a lot more options.

I'm the oddball in that I don't want or like the cataloging feature, so I currently use a combo of Photoshop CS5 and DPP, but am seriously looking at shifting my workflow over to Affinity Photo once I get back from holiday. I manually maintain my photo library. If I shot a lot more, then cataloging in LR would make more sense.
 

Valvebounce

EOS R5
CR Pro
Apr 3, 2013
4,556
444
54
Isle of Wight
Hi YellowJersey.
My understanding is that you don't have to use the catalogue to organise your photos, I have my photos organised how I want, but I'm not opposed to having those locations imported in to a database that would give me additional options for searching my photos.
Anyone know if I have misunderstood this aspect of Lightroom?
Still playing with alternatives, still don't know which way I'm going!

Cheers, Graham.

YellowJersey said:
If you want/need the cataloging feature, then Lightroom really is the only way to go.

If you don't want/need the cataloging feature, then you've got a lot more options.

I'm the oddball in that I don't want or like the cataloging feature, so I currently use a combo of Photoshop CS5 and DPP, but am seriously looking at shifting my workflow over to Affinity Photo once I get back from holiday. I manually maintain my photo library. If I shot a lot more, then cataloging in LR would make more sense.
 

Valvebounce

EOS R5
CR Pro
Apr 3, 2013
4,556
444
54
Isle of Wight
Hi Alan, Unfocused.
Thank you for the very interesting detour about various sharpening results, it all adds to the learning curve.

Cheers, Graham.
 

Mikehit

EOS R6
Jul 28, 2015
3,353
557
Valvebounce said:
Hi YellowJersey.
My understanding is that you don't have to use the catalogue to organise your photos, I have my photos organised how I want, but I'm not opposed to having those locations imported in to a database that would give me additional options for searching my photos.
Anyone know if I have misunderstood this aspect of Lightroom?
Still playing with alternatives, still don't know which way I'm going!

Cheers, Graham.

LR started off primarily as a raw converter but with a powerful digital rights management (DRM) functionality bolted on. And at the time of first release, the adjustments available with LR made it almost unique and the cataloging added to its usefulness. It has now become bloated and there are alternatives.

The catalog is a very useful part of the digital rights management and is arguably one of its main differentiations to other products. To be honest if it was not for the cataloging I would probably find it easier to move away from LR but I sometimes wonder if I have LR because of the catalog or if I use the catalog because it is there (my keywording seems to have got out of control!).

So the question comes, when you say 'alternatives to LR' what do you want an alternative for:
- cataloging - there is almost nothing better
- raw converter - this is personal taste but there are a load of options and everyone has their views on what is 'best'
- ease of global changes at the point of raw conversion - I think it is excellent and I can go quite weeks without ever using PS. Before I subscribed to CC, I had standalone LR5 and if I wanted to do any layers work I used GIMP which is free

Another alternative is PS Elements which has the same raw converter and the option on more specialised selection tools.
 

Valvebounce

EOS R5
CR Pro
Apr 3, 2013
4,556
444
54
Isle of Wight
Hi Mike.
I have my preferred raw converter, DxO, I have my own storage method, what I want is something to make selective adjustments on shots like the example shown earlier in the thread. I was just looking at brushable adjustments until a tutorial really brought home the advantage of layers by spelling it out with along with the examples.
I have had GIMP in the past, but a lot of what I tried seemed counter intuitive! Can GIMP work non destructively on raws? I seem to recall the need for thingy's raw plugin which I also recall I couldn't get to work.

Cheers, Graham.

Mikehit said:
Valvebounce said:
Hi YellowJersey.
My understanding is that you don't have to use the catalogue to organise your photos, I have my photos organised how I want, but I'm not opposed to having those locations imported in to a database that would give me additional options for searching my photos.
Anyone know if I have misunderstood this aspect of Lightroom?
Still playing with alternatives, still don't know which way I'm going!

Cheers, Graham.

LR started off primarily as a raw converter but with a powerful digital rights management (DRM) functionality bolted on. And at the time of first release, the adjustments available with LR made it almost unique and the cataloging added to its usefulness. It has now become bloated and there are alternatives.

The catalog is a very useful part of the digital rights management and is arguably one of its main differentiations to other products. To be honest if it was not for the cataloging I would probably find it easier to move away from LR but I sometimes wonder if I have LR because of the catalog or if I use the catalog because it is there (my keywording seems to have got out of control!).

So the question comes, when you say 'alternatives to LR' what do you want an alternative for:
- cataloging - there is almost nothing better
- raw converter - this is personal taste but there are a load of options and everyone has their views on what is 'best'
- ease of global changes at the point of raw conversion - I think it is excellent and I can go quite weeks without ever using PS. Before I subscribed to CC, I had standalone LR5 and if I wanted to do any layers work I used GIMP which is free

Another alternative is PS Elements which has the same raw converter and the option on more specialised selection tools.
 

LDS

EOS 5D Mark IV
Sep 14, 2012
1,719
248
Mikehit said:
LR started off primarily as a raw converter but with a powerful digital rights management (DRM) functionality bolted on.

You meant "DAM" - Digital Asset Management - not "DRM" which are techniques to enforce copyright by enforcing usage controls over media (i.e. trying to forbid copies). LR does nothing in this regard.

DAM features in LR are good for a single user usage - but are quite limited compared to DAM tools aimed at larger organizations. Till now Adobe doesn't look interested to add team features to LR.
 

Mikehit

EOS R6
Jul 28, 2015
3,353
557
Valvebounce said:
Hi Mike.
I have my preferred raw converter, DxO, I have my own storage method, what I want is something to make selective adjustments on shots like the example shown earlier in the thread. I was just looking at brushable adjustments until a tutorial really brought home the advantage of layers by spelling it out with along with the examples.
I have had GIMP in the past, but a lot of what I tried seemed counter intuitive! Can GIMP work non destructively on raws? I seem to recall the need for thingy's raw plugin which I also recall I couldn't get to work.

Cheers, Graham.

Mikehit said:
Valvebounce said:
Hi YellowJersey.
My understanding is that you don't have to use the catalogue to organise your photos, I have my photos organised how I want, but I'm not opposed to having those locations imported in to a database that would give me additional options for searching my photos.
Anyone know if I have misunderstood this aspect of Lightroom?
Still playing with alternatives, still don't know which way I'm going!

Cheers, Graham.

LR started off primarily as a raw converter but with a powerful digital rights management (DRM) functionality bolted on. And at the time of first release, the adjustments available with LR made it almost unique and the cataloging added to its usefulness. It has now become bloated and there are alternatives.

The catalog is a very useful part of the digital rights management and is arguably one of its main differentiations to other products. To be honest if it was not for the cataloging I would probably find it easier to move away from LR but I sometimes wonder if I have LR because of the catalog or if I use the catalog because it is there (my keywording seems to have got out of control!).

So the question comes, when you say 'alternatives to LR' what do you want an alternative for:
- cataloging - there is almost nothing better
- raw converter - this is personal taste but there are a load of options and everyone has their views on what is 'best'
- ease of global changes at the point of raw conversion - I think it is excellent and I can go quite weeks without ever using PS. Before I subscribed to CC, I had standalone LR5 and if I wanted to do any layers work I used GIMP which is free

Another alternative is PS Elements which has the same raw converter and the option on more specialised selection tools.

GIMP cannot work on the raw image, and I am not aware of any layers-capable program that can, which is why the are first converted to things like .tiff or (in the case of PS, .psd) files and they effectively become the raw file. So I would not get too hung up about it.
In LR any non-destructive pixel changes are stored as data in the .xmp sidecar file. If you want to do non-destructive changes in programs like PS, the non-destructive data is stored in the information of each layer (same idea, different way) but layers are ultimately more flexible and with layers you can actually move pixels around the image. The advantage of LR is that the .xmp sidecar files are far lower memory space than creating a new .tiff alongside the raw file.

You can use GIMP as a plug-in for LR or you can keep ti standalone and export the LR raw from LR as a .tiff and open that file in GIMP - although I was impressed with the output from GIMP I also found it to be a tad counter-intuitive (I had used PSE before that) which is why I ultimately went back to PSE/PS. But for anyone who used layers only occasionally it is a very good alternative.
 

Mikehit

EOS R6
Jul 28, 2015
3,353
557
LDS said:
Mikehit said:
LR started off primarily as a raw converter but with a powerful digital rights management (DRM) functionality bolted on.

You meant "DAM" - Digital Asset Management - not "DRM" which are techniques to enforce copyright by enforcing usage controls over media (i.e. trying to forbid copies). LR does nothing in this regard.

DAM features in LR are good for a single user usage - but are quite limited compared to DAM tools aimed at larger organizations. Till now Adobe doesn't look interested to add team features to LR.

You are right. Thank you for correcting this.
 

SteveM

EOS 90D
Jun 29, 2016
138
0
I honestly can't see a high quality alternative to Lightroom. Using the 'Adjustment Brush' in Lightroom is using layers. For any cloning/ healing (above the very basic that Lightroom offers) you would need to open the image in Elements.
Yes this is an 8 bit operation, but all of your tonal editing (it is this which causes banding) would be done in Lightroom. You shouldn't experience any detrimental effect to your image in this way. Elements wouldn't sell a single copy if people's images were routinely ruined through banding and they sell a lot of this software.
I had a play yesterday where I edited all the tonal changes in Lightroom, converted the image to 8 bit and did some cloning and healing....no problems at all. Many of us spent a lot of years editing entirely in 8 bit before 16 bit was introduced....again with no problems.
 

LDS

EOS 5D Mark IV
Sep 14, 2012
1,719
248
Valvebounce said:
I have had GIMP in the past, but a lot of what I tried seemed counter intuitive! Can GIMP work non destructively on raws? I seem to recall the need for thingy's raw plugin which I also recall I couldn't get to work.

If you use GIMP, be aware 2.8 it's still a bit too tied to the sRGB colour space. It may not matter much if you output into that color space and/or doesn't edit much colors, but if you do and/or print on many pro photo printers it may become an issue, depending on the images.

Also AFAIK 2.8 doesn't support 16 bit image editing, which again may be an issue for your images or not - depending on how you convert RAWs for input.

AFAIK GIMP can use Darktable and UFRAW as RAW converters - but some of them don't work on Windows, and may need other pieces to work.

Version 2.9 - which is not a "stable" one yet - improves color management and adds 16/32 bit file processing.

Adjustment layers I'm afraid are planned for a future version (see https://wiki.gimp.org/wiki/Roadmap), and GIMP development is not really fast... my take on GIMP is "if it does what you need, use it, but don't expect missing features to be added quickly".
 

SteveM

EOS 90D
Jun 29, 2016
138
0
Canon have just released a new version of dpp which supports older models, so no need to have 2 versions open at once....for me at least as the new version supports the original 5D as well.
I'll be downloading that tonight.
That should be worth another look at - principally because it is free.
 

Diko

7 fps...
Apr 27, 2011
436
5
39
Sofia, Bulgaria
Valvebounce said:
... is there any other software I should be looking at before going ahead with Lightroom?

Yes there is the new On1 Photo RAW and it's layer feature. However have in mind it's a new program just released.

As general alternatives you will always have the faster Capture One, which is faster and with better IQ output, but harder to learn and with less of the Adobe LR catalog power.

I hope I helped ;-)
 

Jack Douglas

CR for the Humour
Apr 10, 2013
6,857
2,471
Alberta, Canada
I bought ON1 Photo RAW when it was offered just before Christmas but haven't had time to get seriously into it yet. They are making a great to do about what they will be adding and if they follow through it will be impressive. It seems more directed towards landscape though. They are also trying hard to draw folks into their subscription ON1 Plus community.

Jack
 

Valvebounce

EOS R5
CR Pro
Apr 3, 2013
4,556
444
54
Isle of Wight
Hi Mike.
Sorry, my mistake with the description, by work with, I meant open the raw and allow me to fiddle with the way it looks then save the changes to an associated file, sidecar or whatever other proprietary name programs like DxO call their file, I like not having to convert to xyz to work on them and storage is an expense that always raises the question "why do you need more storage already?" and there is no way I am not keeping the original cr2 files so duplication needs to be minimal.

Cheers, Graham.

Mikehit said:
GIMP cannot work on the raw image, and I am not aware of any layers-capable program that can, which is why the are first converted to things like .tiff or (in the case of PS, .psd) files and they effectively become the raw file. So I would not get too hung up about it.
In LR any non-destructive pixel changes are stored as data in the .xmp sidecar file. If you want to do non-destructive changes in programs like PS, the non-destructive data is stored in the information of each layer (same idea, different way) but layers are ultimately more flexible and with layers you can actually move pixels around the image. The advantage of LR is that the .xmp sidecar files are far lower memory space than creating a new .tiff alongside the raw file.

You can use GIMP as a plug-in for LR or you can keep ti standalone and export the LR raw from LR as a .tiff and open that file in GIMP - although I was impressed with the output from GIMP I also found it to be a tad counter-intuitive (I had used PSE before that) which is why I ultimately went back to PSE/PS. But for anyone who used layers only occasionally it is a very good alternative.