Adobe Software Differences

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by merle_miller|2, Dec 13, 2010.

  1. After being away from photography for 10 years, I am trying to slowly immerse myself back into some photo editing software. I assume that Adobe is still the 800 pound gorilla in the closet, but what Adobe product?
    I have looked on line at Photoshop, Elements, and Lightroom. I confess that I don't really understand the differences between those products. I have tried to find a comparison of those 3 products, but I haven't has any luck. Adobe would have you think that any of them would be fine (and maybe that's true), but I was hoping there was some independent evaluation out there that I just haven't found yet.
    Any reccomendations, to track down those evaluations? Thanks for the help.
     
  2. digitaldog

    digitaldog Andrew Rodney

    Photoshop is the 800lb gorilla of pixel editing, Elements is the baby gorilla. For many, Photoshop is overkill. Lightroom is probably the most interesting product you’ll look at coming back into the scene. Its primarily a raw converter with various additional modules for various tasks like setting up an image data base (DAM), building web galleries and an awesome print module. Its a parametric editor, you build instructions to eventually render pixels after which for precise pixel editing, you may need Photoshop (or elements). I suspect you’ll find, like many LR users, that you can accomplish 80%+ of the work in LR but much depends on what kind of work you do. If you do heavy retouch work, compositing, that kind of work, you’ll want or need Photoshop. Bottom line, download the demo, it runs fully functional for 30 days.
     
  3. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I find Lightroom to be what a photographer would have designed. There's a lot of functionality in it that is really useful, beyond what Andrew mentioned. For example, things like vignetting, edge burn, and even some types of dodge and burn are easier in Lightroom than Photoshop. There are some plugins (I use Nik) that add some further image processing without having to go into Photoshop. All of these products have a learning curve, and you have to anticipate being a bit overwhelmed at first.
     
  4. Ditto for LR. It's not only something which will help you organise the mess digital files tend to create (for any new-comer), but it will allow you to quickly and easily handle RAW files in a way neither gorilla can...;-)
     
  5. Is LR more like Elements or PS? I'm trying to get a handle on what it can and can't do. If it matters, right now my photos are relatively modest in number. I don't have to worry about 1,000s of photos to organize or edit. I think there's a trial sample available so maybe that's the way to go.
    Does anyone have any recommendations for books about LR?
    BTW - I assume that I should consider only LR 3 rather than earlier versions?
     
  6. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    It's not like either. LR is a combination of a very full-featured RAW converter, an asset manager, some limited manipulation tools, and a web and print producer. It's a bit hard to explain until you've tried it. It's non-destructive, so all your original images remain in their original state. And when you output, you don't have to create different versions for web, various print sizes, etc. You just export from the original file.
    I really like "Adobe Lightroom 3: The Missing FAQ" but you may want to start with an online tutorial while you work. And there is no reason to look at earlier versions, you wouldn't save any money anyway.
     
  7. Is LR more like Elements or PS?​
    Outside of the library/database aspects, the image processing engine in Lightroom 3.3 is the same as Adobe Camera Raw 6.3 in Photoshop CS 5, but with a more user friendly interface. There are two things that Lightroom does not do that the full fledged versions of Photoshop (I am unfamiliar wit h Photoshop Elements so I cannot comment on it) features; work with layers and soft proof before you print. These do not sound like deal breakers for where you are at. Lightroom is probably the way you should go but maybe pair it with the latest version of Photoshop Elements to start wiggling your toes in the post processing world. The remaining three modules in Lightoom are for producing slide shows, printing, and creating galleries for people to peruse on the world wide web.
    I'm trying to get a handle on what it can and can't do. If it matters, right now my photos are relatively modest in number. I don't have to worry about 1,000s of photos to organize or edit.​
    Even if you only have a few hundred or a few thousand images currently, don't discount the value of being able to organize them by subject and shoot date. As a matter of fact it is best to start with only a few hundred images. That way any mistakes or changes you want to make in your structure are far easier to correct than when you have several thousand.



    Does anyone have any recommendations for books about LR?
    Martin Evening's Lightroom book is very good, as is Seth Resnick's. There are also multiple free and paid resources and video tutorials on the web. here's a good one: http://www.jkost.com/lightroom.html and it is free.

    BTW - I assume that I should consider only LR 3 rather than earlier versions?​
    Absolutely.
     
  8. Even if you only have a few hundred or a few thousand images currently, don't discount the value of being able to organize them by subject and shoot date. As a matter of fact it is best to start with only a few hundred images. That way any mistakes or changes you want to make in your structure are far easier to correct than when you have several thousand.
    And start by adding KEYWORDS to your images -- early and often! Windows has a great built-in keyword search on image files. By appropriately keywording and sticking to a robust and repeatable file system nothing can ever get lost.
    I use Bridge + Photoshop and enter in all my keywords via Bridge. Currently I've keyworded maybe 10,000 of my 80,000 image files... A year from now I hope to make the number 40,000 keyworded. ;-) Lightroom is foreign to me, but its raw converter, as stated, is the same as ACR 6.3.
     
  9. I downloaded the Trial Version of LR last night. This should give me a good feel as to what LR is all about. I should also pick one of the books that was recommended and work through that as well.
    All of your recommendations have been good ones and are much appreciated. I had an earlier (very early) version of PS and all I could think about was what have I gotten into? I know I have some work ahead of me. Thanks for all the help.
    Now...what can we do about getting Nikon to release the D7000 ?
     
  10. ... just move to Montreal, whe have plenty of D7000 here ; )... 1279$CAN body only.
    ___
    Also, for a quick and really good tutorial on Lightroom and many other product go to www.lynda.com
     
  11. I see no need for upgrading from Photoshop elements 5 for image editing. Version 4 was just as good for editing. Their major limitation is not working on 16 bit images. For that, Picture Window is useful. Regardless of the image editor one uses, free Irfanview is better for some operations.
     
  12. Patrick,
    How long has the D7000 been out up there? That would be a pretty far drive for a camera, but it might be quicker than waiting for Nikon here.
    Is the camera worth the wait?
     
  13. I own LR(2) and PSE(6), and have used PS(7&CS4), but if I had to pick one program for all-around photography it would be Lightroom. For my style of photography, I rarely use PSE, because I can do all I need to in the Develop module in LR. I recently sorted through 25,000+ images for a photo contest, and though it was a long job, it would have been nearly impossible without it. I haven't used Bridge much, but I understand it can do many of the things LR can.
    Alexander
     
  14. Just to throw an idea out there.....Although I have been using Photoshop since about ver 5 or so and have CS5 and use it everyday, I have recently acquired Paintshop Photo Pro X3. I have to say that it has some features that I prefer to photoshop. If I was just getting started I could see myself using it over the Adobe products, particularly since it is $79.00. It is far more sophisticated than Elements and not far off of photoshop. Its loader program is not bad either.
    It just might deserve a look if one is starting from scratch. Besides. Adobe is just charging too much for their products and upgrading too often with too little. I will still use CS5 but if I didn't have it already I doubt I would invest $700.00 in the product and then add another $300.00 for Lightroom. I would rather use the Corel product and buy a Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR with the difference.
    flame on
     
  15. I have been browsing for LR3, PS, and PE books on Amazon. Now, I'm more confused than ever. There must be a dozen or so books for each of the applications that would be useful, but how to pick among them? I'd love to fill out my library with them, but some of them are very expensive. There doesn't seem to be a correlation between price and whether readers consider them a good book.
    Also, there were many books written about the Nikon D7000 even though it hasn't been released here. How do they pull that off?
     
  16. I started 2 years ago with Element5 and now Element 7 all the way until I discover LR3. Now I used it most of the time (90%). It is very powerful in fine tuning your picture.Even if I don't use Element that much, I plan to buy Element 9 for the layer mask. I could buy a plug-in but I prefer E9 since there is new features.
     
  17. I shot a large swimming meet over the weekend. I had a couple of hundred pictures from which I sorted a hundred or so I wanted to use. I put these through global drag and drop into what Lightroom calls a collection which simply shows images in one easy to use collection regardless of where they are filed on my computer or external drives. I made a global change in all these pictures at once to correct the white balance although the WB in this particular arena is pretty good. I then went through each picture quickly to make corrections in exposure, crop, and sharpening where needed. I exported these raw files to converted to web sized jpeg images all at one time. These pictures were up on the web in a matter of about two hours from start of downloading to finish. I had one picture of a group of about forty people who won a trophy at the end of the meet that I wanted to print at 13X19. This was last minute as they were declared surprise winners. The light was bad with bad back light and I shot the picture at 3200 ISO, a fortieth @ f4 IS and as I had packed my flash away and I had to rush for my camera as I did not expect to be called to do the picture. I got a usable print. I moved this picture into Photoshop CS5 to make more precise corrections there and I am more comfortable printing large fussy pictures out of PS. I have been using PS for a long time and it is still more instinctive for me than Lightroom. For me, Lightroom has taken some learning and I am still not completely there. However, for batch processing, IMO, there is nothing like it. I would recommend you start with it. It has saved me hours of processing time and I routinely use it for most processing, at least all initial processing but I would not be without PS.
     
  18. For me, Lightroom has taken some learning and I am still not completely there. However, for batch processing, IMO, there is nothing like it. I would recommend you start with it.​
    I love LR. I use it daily as well and would be my first choice to get started with. But what else have you tried? LR isn't the only kid on the block. Especially if you are new.
    Merle, there's also Bibble and I wouldn't ignore the free Picasa, either. I start many newbies off on Picasa and they love it. Although not a professional replacement for LR, it's faster than LR and has other features that LR should have as well. Picasa also integrates well with your gmail account too.
    Adobe is just charging too much for their products and upgrading too often with too little.​
    Agree 100%, Lee. I'm looking forward to alternatives in the next decade or two.
     
  19. Merle, IMHO if you are starting from scratch, I suggest that you shoot raw+jpeg (see below). In that case you need to get a raw converter and PSE9 - you can decide later whether you use PSE enough to warrant an upgrade to CS5 later (Adobe gives excellent deals on upgrades from PSE to CSx perdiodically). If you are a Nikon man, in my opinion your best bang for the buck in raw converters is by far Capture NX2. You loose the excellent database functionality of LR but you gain several invaluable advantages. Just a few off the top of my head:
    1) Virtually every important camera parameter other than EV can be changed later in Capture NX - exactly as if you could go back and change those parameters in the field. This direct correspondence and trial and error has been an invaluable learning tool for me when I was switching from film a few years ago. Should I have chosen D-lighting or the Landscape mode for that picture? No sweat. Just shoot and worry about them later.
    2) Best Image quality off the bat. I have LR2 and tried LR3 for a few months earlier this year. LR3 is better than LR2 but CNX2 is still king in the color rendering department for Nikon cameras I shoot about 5000 pics/year and LR3's advanced database features were not enough to sway me.
    3) The learning curve is very quick, and once you read a CNX2 book like Jason Odell's excellent e-book, the non destructive step-based process is intuitive and easy to use.
    Enjoy the learning process. I know I am.
     
  20. Thank you one and all for your responses. I appreciate all of your suggestions. Based on what I've been able to understand about these programs, it appears to me that Elements 9 would be a good starting point.
    I do not take that many photos that I need a powerful tool to track and ID them. From what I can gather, this is where LR3 really shines. Although even with a meager collection of photos it is not a bad idea to think about organizing them in a coherent fashion. I have downloaded the trial version of LR and I'll be playing around with that for the next 30 days.
    I don't know what to make of CS5 other than it is the most expensive by a long shot. If the 3 applications, this seems to have the biggest learning curve. I don't really know about file handling, but I see that it is bundled with LR3 sometimes which makes me think that it is not as capable a file handler as it could be. For photo manipulation it is the 800 pound gorilla. It seems to have a more robust B-W capability than maybe the other two, and that interests me. I think there's a trial version of CS5 that I might download to see first hand what I might be missing.
    Lastly, Elements 9 seems like a good program to begin with. I don't have the workload of a professional photographer like noted in one of the responses. I assume that what I can learn from Elements can be applied to the other programs as my needs and expertise increase. Finally, I can't ignore the cost. If I find out that I really need something a little more advanced, I won't be out an arm and a leg. It seems like a good approach to start off with something like Elements to determine what my needs really are before looking elsewhere.
    Now if I can just get Nikon to cooperate with the D7000 !
     
  21. Greetings - I am reading with interest, posting after many latent years. Knowing that the programs I am going to be using the most for digital (mostly photos and scans) archiving and management are PS -what - 5? and Light room, can you advise me on what I need to run these programs for a few years? We were robbed this week of two laptops that had to be 8 years old, a dell & an mtech but I thought I had it pretty good since I was able to muddle along with pscs2. I am also able to use an old gateway that was not stolen, with ps 6 but I want to get down to business with the archiving on a current unit. I have pretty much ruled out apple, as I have used pcs exclusively in the landscape architecture profession with GIS, most adobe, etc. The software bundles look dismal though and the specs are unrecognizable to me at this point. I even considered a program like Past Perfect used in the museum field, or end note. Can a laptop run all this, or do I need a desktop to be productive? Thank you for your thoughts on specs and units - M
    PS - I might mention that they stole my little Panasonic Lumix and passed over my son´s 2 big canons. lenses and my eos 5!
     
  22. I do not take that many photos that I need a powerful tool to track and ID them.​
    In that case, IMHO, you are best served by Capture NX2, $135 on Amazon.com. You can download a free trial from Nikon's site here . I also recommend that you watch the several available free tutorials here and on YouTube, and download Jason Odell's excellent The photographer's guide to Capture NX2. U-point technology is truly amazing for localized corrections.
     
  23. Not many photographer need Photoshop CS2-3-4-5... most of them only need Lightroom and Element.
    You can of course just get Element and live happy for years, at 99$ there is no reason to get Nikon NX for 135$.. and get Element anyway because you need it probably anyway..
    Any of those 3 software from Adobe will produce stunning work bw or color.. the main reason to get CS5 is for is CMYK capability, and some extended filter that pro use that dont exist in Element.. like for example, the older version of Element didtn have layer and that is a big no no for me.
    I think i will anyway suggest you get Ligthroom for all he have to offer.. dont just think its a librairy or because you dotn have a lot of image you dont need it; the day you have a lot of them you wont have to start over.. see it that way.
    My suggestion;
    1_get Element for 99$
    2_get Lightroom for 299$ and it could be the last software you need
    3_dont touch CS5-6-7-8 because im almost sure that you dont need it.. even if i dont know you ; )
     
  24. LR will not do what you need Photoshop Elements for (cut and paste and advanced processing), so Elements is good to own anyways, as I mentioned earlier.
    On top of Elements you then have to choose a raw processor: you can either go free (a reduced version of Adobe Camera Raw comes with Elements - ACR has the same 'engine' as Lightroom and it may be all you need) or, if you want the best raw converter for a Nikon camera in terms of IQ, I think the $135 that I spent on CNX2 is the best software investment I have made since I started shooting raw.
     

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