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CrowingHen

It is time for me to choose a photo editor

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I've been using the free photo editor that comes with Canon and I love it.  I can do very simple and subtle edits like lens correction and colour/contrast stuff.  It's pretty powerful and easy to use for what it does do and was great for getting started.

 

But come the new year, I want to learn more about editing.  I can't see doing extreme editing except as fun exercise.  

 

My goals for photography are three:

1. to companion my writing (which has more editing than a forum post)

2. to create a passive income with stock

3. to capture the world that I see so I can share it with others

 

I never learned how to use Adobe and the more I learn about lightroom and photoshop, the more I feel it isn't for me.  There are lots of reasons.  One of the reasons is the first software someone learns tends to govern what they think is "intuitive to use".  I want to try other kinds before finally deciding if Adobe is for me so I can get used to non-intuitive tools first. 

 

What are your favourite raw editing programs?  

 

I want something that I can look at many photos and do quick edits like I do now, but also some more advanced edits like spot removal, clone, burn and the thing that is the opposite of burn which I can't remember the name.  I want to make lines not keystoned and have easy trick for horizontal horizon.  I also want to put keywords in the photo instead of doing them all after I upload.  I imagine if I keyword the photo file then I can search my personal library for these words when I want to find the photo.  Maybe I imagine wrong? 

 

Later on - maybe 2021 - I want to learn about making three exposures into one (has three letters, to expand dynamic range in a picture) and other neat things to do.  But mostly this year I'm still focusing on learning how to make the best in-camera photos (I want good ingredients) and slowly learning editing (I learn better with deep understanding so slow is my speed).

 

There are a lot of programs to choose.  Some are free.  Some cost money.  I don't mind paying money if the program is good, but I would like it better to pay once instead of every month.  But, I also don't know enough to know what words I am looking for when choosing a software.  I'm thinking of Capture One, but I wonder if this will do what I want?  It's hard to know where to begin until after you've already started then hindsight always shows you should have started elsewhere.  

 

(I only have windows 10 pc.  Canon mirrorless shooting raw)

 

Please forgive my spelling and such, I can't seem to make grammarly plugin work with this form and extreme dyslexia means my regular spellcheck goes on vacation for "the program cannot detect what language this is written in so spellcheck is disabled" or some reason.

Edited by CrowingHen
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I've never tried LR and I consider PS to be the work of the devil. Consequently, I've been using a free version of DxO Optics Pro Elite for the past couple of years. It's user-friendly and does a very good job. You might want to check out the latest version -- DxO PhotoLab 3. Looks like DxO has a sale on now.

 

I also use an older version of Photoshop Elements for resizing and tweaking. This combo -- DxO and PSE -- has been working fine for me. I do my keywording in Photo Mechanic. Once I upgrade my ageing Windows 7 PC to a more powerful Windows 10 machine in January, I'm going to experiment with Capture One Express. It's free for Sony camera owners like me, which fits my budget well.

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I used Canon's Digital Photo Professional (DPP) for years, but I also had access to Photoshop, and eventually learned enough of that program to allow me to do most of my work that way. However, unless I am missing something, neither of those programs offer a database facility, enabling you to catalogue your photos and be able to search for them by keywords. Enter Lightroom, which is a combined raw converter and database. I struggled with LR initially, I still don't find it at all intuitive, but I gradually learned enough to be able to do what I need. I'm still more comfortable with PS, but the raw converter in LR is powerful and many people rely entirely upon it for all of their work. 

 

Once upon a time you could buy stand alone copies of both LR and PS, and that's what I have, but these days you have to take out a monthly payment option. This is something that I am resisting, it works out to be quite a bit more expensive than occasionally upgrading LR, and with stock revenues continuing to fall I can't justify the cost.

 

Then there is Photoshop Elements, that may still be available as a stand alone program?  I tried it years ago and found it very limited in comparison to PS, but I believe that it has moved on now and some contributors here do use it.

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I started with Canon's DPP back in 2004 and used successive versions quite happily till I decided to try submitting to Alamy in January 2014.  At that point I didn't think DPP was good enough and switched to Lightroom.  I found it far more intuitive for RAW editing than DPP ever was with the ability to easily control black and white point setting with the five tone sliders, easy white balance adjustment, easy vertical and horizontal adjustments, and all the database and metadata facilities.  I do some panoramas - built into Lightroom.  Localised adjustments - dodging, burning, noise reduction and colour adjustments - are easy with the gradient tools or adjustment brush.  And, if you invest in the Lightroom/Photoshop combined package, cloning, focus stacking and far more major edits are available from the Photo|Edit in Photoshop menu.  For me the combination more than pays for itself.

 

One caveat.  I was a high level IT and systems trainer for many years and I rarely find it difficult to quickly learn new software so bear that in mind when following any advice from me.

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One stand alone (non-subscription) editor I have read some good reviews of is On1 Photo Raw. I am also looking for a new editor as I am still using Apple's Aperture program which is no longer supported, but on a budget and waiting to upgrade both my computer and editing software at the same time (hopefully in the not too distant future).

 

I just mention On1 Photo Raw because it appealed to me from what I read about it and it was the one I was leaning towards. There may be people here with experience of this software who can say a lot more about it. It seems to incorporate some features available in both Lightroom and PS. For example, it incorporates focus stacking and layers while having an interface similar to Lightroom. It does do panoramas and HDRs. It is apparently not too difficult to learn and seems quite versatile.

 

There are of course many others though, but just thought I'd mention that one as a non-subscription based option that might be of interest.

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Good luck - there are lots to choose from, all different, and all with their quirks. I use, as John mentioned, DxO PhotoLab. Its pretty straightforward. You raise an interesting point about our definition of intuitive - for me DxO is intuitive because I use it all the time. They offer  free fully functional trial so you can really try it out. They have sales very frequently so don't pay full price for it. The three exposure blending technique is HDR - High Dynamic Range. The software I use is Aurora HDR. I have never used On1 PhotoRaw but I have read a few unhappy stories of poor RAW conversions. Read around though, as I say I have never used it so the horror stories could easily be from people who didn't use it properly.

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i use Capture One, but i wouldn't call it intuitive, but once i got used to it, it did feel logical and highly flexible.   The other thing, is i find that they produce intuitive, level headed tutorial on YouTube....

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17 hours ago, CrowingHen said:

I've been using the free photo editor that comes with Canon and I love it.  I can do very simple and subtle edits like lens correction and colour/contrast stuff.  It's pretty powerful and easy to use for what it does do and was great for getting started.

 

But come the new year, I want to learn more about editing.  I can't see doing extreme editing except as fun exercise.  

 

My goals for photography are three:

1. to companion my writing (which has more editing than a forum post)

2. to create a passive income with stock

3. to capture the world that I see so I can share it with others

 

I never learned how to use Adobe and the more I learn about lightroom and photoshop, the more I feel it isn't for me.  There are lots of reasons.  One of the reasons is the first software someone learns tends to govern what they think is "intuitive to use".  I want to try other kinds before finally deciding if Adobe is for me so I can get used to non-intuitive tools first. 

 

What are your favourite raw editing programs?  

 

I want something that I can look at many photos and do quick edits like I do now, but also some more advanced edits like spot removal, clone, burn and the thing that is the opposite of burn which I can't remember the name.  I want to make lines not keystoned and have easy trick for horizontal horizon.  I also want to put keywords in the photo instead of doing them all after I upload.  I imagine if I keyword the photo file then I can search my personal library for these words when I want to find the photo.  Maybe I imagine wrong? 

 

Later on - maybe 2021 - I want to learn about making three exposures into one (has three letters, to expand dynamic range in a picture) and other neat things to do.  But mostly this year I'm still focusing on learning how to make the best in-camera photos (I want good ingredients) and slowly learning editing (I learn better with deep understanding so slow is my speed).

 

There are a lot of programs to choose.  Some are free.  Some cost money.  I don't mind paying money if the program is good, but I would like it better to pay once instead of every month.  But, I also don't know enough to know what words I am looking for when choosing a software.  I'm thinking of Capture One, but I wonder if this will do what I want?  It's hard to know where to begin until after you've already started then hindsight always shows you should have started elsewhere.  

 

(I only have windows 10 pc.  Canon mirrorless shooting raw)

 

Please forgive my spelling and such, I can't seem to make grammarly plugin work with this form and extreme dyslexia means my regular spellcheck goes on vacation for "the program cannot detect what language this is written in so spellcheck is disabled" or some reason.

Trying to work in digital imaging without Photoshop (PS) and Lightroom (LR) is like trying to drive in a F1 car race in a Toyota off the street.....

 

I am not an expert, I'm reading Scott Kelby's book on Lightroom for the second time and have a stack of Photoshop books going back to PS 3.

 

It is an on going process, by the time I finish one book about Adobe products there is a new version with new tools.

 

Chuck

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I've long wanted to be able to use a single program and recently that has become possible for almost all of my images. I use PhotoLab 3 from DxO, along with a paid extra called DxO ViewPoint 3. Many of the corrections are automatic, so I'm not always aware of them, but I adjust as needed before converting to a jpeg. The perspective control, horizon and noise reduction functions are top notch. The most recent version adds keywords (it's keywords only, so not complete) and cloning. For metadata I use a cheap app called Exif Editor. PL3 is standalone, but there have been several upgrades that I was happy to pay for. The version on the computer will always work, but I was very interested in the recent improvements they offered.  

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19 hours ago, John Mitchell said:

I consider PS to be the work of the devil.

 

😀 this made me smile.

 

I don't know enough to say this... but from the reading I've been doing, I don't think Adobe is the direction I want to go.  

 

Thanks for the suggestions. 

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17 hours ago, Bryan said:

I used Canon's Digital Photo Professional (DPP) for years, but I also had access to Photoshop, and eventually learned enough of that program to allow me to do most of my work that way. However, unless I am missing something, neither of those programs offer a database facility, enabling you to catalogue your photos and be able to search for them by keywords. Enter Lightroom, which is a combined raw converter and database.

 

That's the one I'm using now DPP,  but I can't get it to fix spots so I've been mucking about in gimp and failing miserably.  Gimp is too much for me at this stage (but I think it would be amazing in a year or two when I know how all the buttons work).  

 

I like the idea of the database facility for raw files.  I may go with lightroom eventually as it seems to be THE one everyone loves.  But first I want to try other programmes because subscriptions are difficult for my situation.  I would rather pay once, then pay again in five+ years to upgrade when I'm ready.

 

Thanks for the suggestion and feedback. 

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47 minutes ago, CrowingHen said:

I don't think Adobe is the direction I want to go.  

 

I may go with lightroom eventually as it seems to be THE one everyone loves.

 

 

You do realise that is a contradiction as Lightroom is an Adobe app. The fact is that only Adobe provide a truly comprehensive and integrated solution to all one's digital imaging needs in a single package that is very reasonably priced for what it does. The only drawback for some is that it is subscription only nowadays but it is inexpensive at around $10 a month.

 

It is important to understand the basics of what the different programs do to make an informed decision. Essentially there are three main processes involved in digital imaging after the image has been captured.

 

1. DAM (digital asset management) relates to cataloguing the images using the associated metadata - in other words a database. A good DAM should be able to locate images very quickly based on various criteria. This becomes very important as one's image collection grows. Lightroom has an excellent database facility.

 

2. Raw conversion and non-destructive image editing (as raw files can not be directly edited). Lightroom has an excellent raw converter and non-destructive image editor which is fully integrated with its database. Other apps which do raw conversion and non-destructive image editing include Photolab3 by DxO mentioned above which is very good and reasonably priced and Capture One which is reputedly very good but also very expensive. 

 

3. Pixel-based photo editors such as Photoshop allow modification of the actual pixels in a file and are the go to tool for detailed retouching (including removing dust spots) and layer-based image editing. Affinity Photo is another pixel-based image editor.

 

The only package that I am aware of that does all three is the Adobe Photography Plan. Not only does it do all three but it does them exceptionally well to the highest professional standards. That is why the Adobe software is so popular. 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by MDM
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3 minutes ago, MDM said:

You do realise that is a contradiction as Lightroom is an Adobe app

 

Yes, I'm sorry for not being clear enough.

 

I don't want to go with lightroom... but once I try other things, I understand I may change my mind.

 

Or to say differently:  I want to try non-adobe first but I understand that adobe is the most popular for a reason - it is the best so I may end up there even though I would rather not.

 

5 minutes ago, MDM said:

it is inexpensive at around $10 a month.

 

This is the main reason why I want to avoid adobe - it's for people who think $10 is a small amount of money.  My income is seasonal so a subscription based fee is not a good fit.  It's better for my situation to pay more once every few years, than small amounts each month.  Later, if stock photography can be a steady passive income, I would use that income to pay for a subscription.  

 

16 minutes ago, MDM said:

It is important to understand the basics of what the different programs do to make an informed decision. Essentially there are three main processes involved in digital imaging after the image has been captured.

 

1. DAM (digital asset management) relates to cataloguing the images using the associated metadata - in other words a database. A good DAM should be able to locate images very quickly based on various criteria. This becomes very important as one's image collection grows. Lightroom has an excellent database facility.

 

2. Raw conversion and non-destructive image editing (as raw files can not be directly edited). Lightroom has an excellent raw converter and non-destructive image editor which is fully integrated with its database. Other apps which do raw conversion and non-destructive image editing include Photolab3 by DxO mentioned above which is very good and reasonably priced and Capture One which is reputedly very good but also very expensive. 

 

3. Pixel-based photo editors such as Photoshop allow modification of the actual pixels in a file and are the go to tool for detailed retouching (including removing dust spots) and layer-based image editing. Affinity Photo is another pixel-based image editor.

 

This is extremely helpful.

 

 

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You could try DxO Photolab 3 as a trial as it is  very well-specified, although as Kevin says, the perpspective correction costs extra and I don't think it does HDR, merging or focus-stacking. It has local adjustments and basic cloning. It is currently on special offer as well. 

 

For image management you could try Adobe Bridge which is a free file browser with quite powerful file management capabilities including complex searching. However, it is much slower than Lightroom and becomes unmanageable for larger image collections as it is a browser rather than a database. But it works well for collections up to a few thousand. 

 

And there is always Photoshop Elements which has a cutdown raw converter and has a lot of the facilities of Photoshop. 

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Or you could try darktable....similar to Lightroom without the cost 😉

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3 hours ago, CrowingHen said:

 

😀 this made me smile.

 

I don't know enough to say this... but from the reading I've been doing, I don't think Adobe is the direction I want to go.  

 

Thanks for the suggestions. 

 

I was being a bit of a smart aleck, of course, but I think that there is a reason why no one trusts photos or photographers any longer. 🙄

 

That said, I find PS Elements to be very useful for the minor adjustments that I make to images, and I plan to upgrade my ageing version next year. There are now plenty of alternatives to Adobe for RAW processing, though, that don't involve paying for subscriptions.

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Basically, you can go with Capture One, but it's quite pricy unless you have Sony or their other camera brand specific version (Fuji?).  I have the free version for Sony -- Capture One Express for Sony, and DX0's Photolab3 for dealing with noise in particular (Prime noise reduction is excellent), and also have Sony's suite for Sony Cameras, just in case.  I also pay annually for Adobe's Photographer package: Lightroom Classic and PhotoShop with Bridge.  I rarely go into PhotoShop, but I have used it at times for special editing.   I did the math on the Adobe subscriptions and pay by the year. 

Lightroom and Photoshop will both work with DXO Photolab and DXO Viewpoint.  Wait for the sales with these (current one expires fairly soon, but they seem to always have periodic sales).

 

I haven't tried some of the others, but I have tried Gimp.

 

My only problem with Adobe is that I live in Nicaragua and may in the future face what a Venezuelan Alamy photographer had to deal with -- being cut off from Adobe products due to US government policies.  I'm not proficient with Capture One but can use it.  DXO Photolab is also full featured and can import Lightroom keywords. 

 

You can always try the free ones for free and do the 30 day trial on the ones you have to pay for.   I've been using LR for a number of years and used GIMP before that.  Lightroom does more and more inside the program.   Both DXO and PhotoShop will let you use the Nik Collection filters if you want to purchase them.  I bought an earlier version of them and don't use them, though some people like them very much. 

Edited by MizBrown

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On 26/12/2019 at 22:52, John Richmond said:

I started with Canon's DPP back in 2004 and used successive versions quite happily till I decided to try submitting to Alamy in January 2014.  At that point I didn't think DPP was good enough and switched to Lightroom.

 

Hi John, When I started submitting to Alamy back in 2008 I was using Canon gear and using DPP without any problems with QC. They were even harder back then to pass having to submit higher Mb images than we have to now. I was having to uprez images to get them through QC then. Thankfully we don't need to do that now.

 

It was only when I changed to other makes of photographic equipment that I started to use LR. It was quite a big learning curve too.

 

Allan

 

Edited by Allan Bell

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On 27/12/2019 at 08:07, Chuck Nacke said:

Trying to work in digital imaging without Photoshop (PS) and Lightroom (LR) is like trying to drive in a F1 car race in a Toyota off the street.....

 

I am not an expert, I'm reading Scott Kelby's book on Lightroom for the second time and have a stack of Photoshop books going back to PS 3.

 

It is an on going process, by the time I finish one book about Adobe products there is a new version with new tools.

 

Chuck

 

 

Which other one have you tried which you feel are not up to digital imaging standards?

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Thanks everyone for chiming in.  So many great points of views and ideas.

 

I like the analogy of the car.

I'm a tortoise style worker.  I'm happy to do long hours of what others think are boring tasks.  If it's a race, I would always be the plodder.

 

At this stage, I'm not ready to drive a race.  I want a nice, reliable "car" to learn to drive in.  Maybe not a safe volvo nor one of those modern cars that anticipate my needs and washes my hair on the way to work.  I want something dependable that I can learn the details of why and how things work instead of "move slider to the far left" or "apply preset XYX".  

 

The list of the three types above is helping me tremendously!

 

From what I understand, GIMP is like number 3: Pixel-based photo editors.  GIMP is beyond my skillset but I'm muddling through it with tutorials so I think I have enough power there for the time being.

 

For now, I feel that 1 (DAM) and 2 (raw converter with non-destructive mild editing) is what I want to focus on.  This narrows things down a lot.

Edited by CrowingHen

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23 hours ago, MizBrown said:

Basically, you can go with Capture One, but it's quite pricy unless you have Sony or their other camera brand specific version (Fuji?).  I have the free version for Sony -- Capture One Express for Sony, and DX0's Photolab3 for dealing with noise in particular (Prime noise reduction is excellent), and also have Sony's suite for Sony Cameras, just in case.  I also pay annually for Adobe's Photographer package: Lightroom Classic and PhotoShop with Bridge.  I rarely go into PhotoShop, but I have used it at times for special editing.   I did the math on the Adobe subscriptions and pay by the year. 

Lightroom and Photoshop will both work with DXO Photolab and DXO Viewpoint.  Wait for the sales with these (current one expires fairly soon, but they seem to always have periodic sales).

 

I haven't tried some of the others, but I have tried Gimp.

 

My only problem with Adobe is that I live in Nicaragua and may in the future face what a Venezuelan Alamy photographer had to deal with -- being cut off from Adobe products due to US government policies.  I'm not proficient with Capture One but can use it.  DXO Photolab is also full featured and can import Lightroom keywords. 

 

You can always try the free ones for free and do the 30 day trial on the ones you have to pay for.   I've been using LR for a number of years and used GIMP before that.  Lightroom does more and more inside the program.   Both DXO and PhotoShop will let you use the Nik Collection filters if you want to purchase them.  I bought an earlier version of them and don't use them, though some people like them very much. 

 

Do you use the catalogue feature with Capture One Express? If so, how do you like it?

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2 hours ago, John Mitchell said:

 

Do you use the catalogue feature with Capture One Express? If so, how do you like it?

 

Sort of just to see how it works, but most everything still goes through LR.   You can do catalogues or sessions, and also create albums.  Lots of useful YouTube videos, but since I don't have to switch, I'm not that familiar with the organizational side of the program.  You can also call up other programs, including the DXO programs and the Nix plug-in collection.  If you have Helicon Focus, there's a plug-in that will let you call up that, too. 

 

If Adobe stops letting me use its programs in Nicaragua, switching will be a learning curve, but the critical question was will it export suitable .jpgs, and it does.   I've always sensed that it was more of a resource user than the Adobe programs.   Capture One is based in Denmark. 

 

Also, if you use it on one machine, that's it.  You have to buy the pro version to activate on more than one machine.   I don't have a camera that will do Live View tethered by wire, so no great interest in the Pro version.

 

My understanding is that you chose either sessions or catalogues.  Not sure about using both, though that might be convenient.   Catalogue works by database, so very much like RL, and images can be stored anywhere.   Sessions are files and folder driven with four default folders.  Sessions are more fluid and unique to Capture One.  Catalogues came in as of Capture 7 (I'm listening to the video on this).  If you import images from LR and then select the folder where the images are, you'll get the related keywords. 

 

Just checked and Express only allows one catalogue.  I can add photos to it, but don't quite see how to use sessions in Express though I can import sessions and catalogues.   I suspect that the full Sony version has sufficiently more features that if I have to use it as my main program, I'll be upgrading and paying.  

I think I still have a valid license for an earlier full Sony version, and may add that back to see what is and isn't in the older version. 

 

Edited by MizBrown
checking my copy of the program.

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2 hours ago, Allan Bell said:

 

Hi John, When I started submitting to Alamy back in 2008 I was using Canon gear and using DPP without any problems with QC. They were even harder back then to pass having to submit higher Mb images than we have to now. I was having to uprez images to get them through QC then. Thankfully we don't need to do that now.

 

It was only when I changed to other makes of photographic equipment that I started to use LR. It was quite a big learning curve too.

 

Allan

 

Good points, Allan

 

In my experience DPP was certainly good enough as a RAW editor but, having trialed Lightroom, I found it to be far more comprehensive - particularly in the database and metadata facilities as well as friendlier tone curve adjustments, gradiant and adjustment brush alterations.  As I've said I find learning new software very easy so even the 30 day trial period was enough to convince me to switch.  I also tried Photoshop Elements (whichever version was around in 2013/14) but it just didn't do enough for my needs.so Lightroom it became.  Stand alone at first, then subscription.

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5 hours ago, MizBrown said:

 

Sort of just to see how it works, but most everything still goes through LR.   You can do catalogues or sessions, and also create albums.  Lots of useful YouTube videos, but since I don't have to switch, I'm not that familiar with the organizational side of the program.  You can also call up other programs, including the DXO programs and the Nix plug-in collection.  If you have Helicon Focus, there's a plug-in that will let you call up that, too. 

 

If Adobe stops letting me use its programs in Nicaragua, switching will be a learning curve, but the critical question was will it export suitable .jpgs, and it does.   I've always sensed that it was more of a resource user than the Adobe programs.   Capture One is based in Denmark. 

 

Also, if you use it on one machine, that's it.  You have to buy the pro version to activate on more than one machine.   I don't have a camera that will do Live View tethered by wire, so no great interest in the Pro version.

 

My understanding is that you chose either sessions or catalogues.  Not sure about using both, though that might be convenient.   Catalogue works by database, so very much like RL, and images can be stored anywhere.   Sessions are files and folder driven with four default folders.  Sessions are more fluid and unique to Capture One.  Catalogues came in as of Capture 7 (I'm listening to the video on this).  If you import images from LR and then select the folder where the images are, you'll get the related keywords. 

 

Just checked and Express only allows one catalogue.  I can add photos to it, but don't quite see how to use sessions in Express though I can import sessions and catalogues.   I suspect that the full Sony version has sufficiently more features that if I have to use it as my main program, I'll be upgrading and paying.  

I think I still have a valid license for an earlier full Sony version, and may add that back to see what is and isn't in the older version. 

 

 

Thanks for the reply. The catalogue / sessions thing sounds a bit complicated. I'll have to check out some videos.

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I have always used Photoshop Elements (poor man's Photoshop). It's a LOT cheaper than the full program and can be bought outright with a once only payment, not monthly. 

Unless you want to get into serious image manipulation - which it seems you don't - it is everything you need.

 

 

 

Edited by Phil Robinson
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2 hours ago, Phil Robinson said:

I have always used Photoshop Elements (poor man's Photoshop). It's a LOT cheaper than the full program and can be bought outright with a once only payment, not monthly. 

Unless you want to get into serious image manipulation - which it seems you don't - it is everything you need.

 

 

 

 

At some future time I may need to find an alernative to LR as my current version won't support the latest cameras.

 

I notice that you have some cut-outs Phil, the kind of thing that I would use PS to produce, using the pen tool. Is there now an equivalent in Elements, and can you now use layers in that program? It's quite possible that Elements could do everything that I would reasonably need.

 

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