Lightroom 3 Beta--IQ impressions?

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by robert goldstein, Dec 22, 2009.

  1. I am currently testing Capture One 5 and think that it gives the best IQ that I have yet seen from any RAW conversion program--much better than LR 2.5. What I would really like to know is how it compares to LR 3 Beta in terms of IQ. I realize that LR is superior in terms of features, file management and workflow, but how does v3 compare to v2.5 in IQ detail, color, tonality, NR, sharpness etc.
    I plan to download it myself, but I would also like to hear the opinions of others. And if anyone has directly compared LR 3 Beta and C1-5, that would be especially interesting.
    Rob
     
  2. The NR in LR3 is amazing.
     
  3. I haven't compared it to C1 5 yet, but I felt it compares favorably to C1 4. Far, far superior to previous versions of Lightroom.
    They're still completely different applications beyond that, but at a base IQ and processing level I could see being happy with either one. It's the first time I've seriously considered using Lightroom.
     
  4. The NR in LR3 is amazing.​
    Just wait!
     
  5. Colin, what about the IQ of LR2 do you see C1 4 as improving on (and see as needing improvement)?
     
  6. On my LR 3 Beta, the Luminance NR is disabled. How can you say that it is so amazing?
    So far, in head to head comparisons, C1-5 is toasting L3 Beta. I realize that LR is not a finished product, but I suspect that its RAW conversion algorithms are close to final. Perhaps not.
    Rob
     
  7. whats NR? Is that Noise Reduction?
     
  8. Robert, i will say you didtn use correctly any version of lightroom if you consider C1Pro to give the best result.. I was a long time user of C1pro and swithc the day lightroom 1 came out, just the recovery slider and the fill in was already a big invention!
    I always find the sharpen filter of C1Pro to give crude result, so i always turn it off.
    Now C1Pro 5.0 is really good, and the lens correction tool and demoire filter is a really good thing that Lr should take advantage of in the next version for sure. In the end i find that with the correct knowledge they give similar result if you know how to process your file, as a pro photo retoucher, i have to work with many kind of camera from a rebel to a p65 and the result are amazing whatever the software i use.
    Can you post a visual example to show where c1pro toast so much lr2.5 / 3 beta? i have yet to see that....im curious.
     
  9. Patrick,
    Sorry, but I cannot post anything right now. I have indeed been using LR 3 Beta.
    My impression of C1-5 Pro is that it has smoother tonal and color transitions than LR 3 Beta and that colors are more natural. LR has always had a red bias for me. Sharpening is far superior. Also, the Clarity tool in C1-5 Pro is incredible. It seems to be a very different animal than the Clarity tool in LR. Not only does it increase local contrast, but it also appears to have a de-blurring effect, which may be due to a deconvolution process that is being applied. (I am speculating about this, but it seems to do the same thing as the Lens Softness tool in DxO, which is based on deconvolution and is also fantastic.) In any case, the detail it produces is phenomenal with none of the artifacts that Clarity can produce in LR. Clarity may be worth the price of the program all by itself. The ability to use a Levels tool in C1 is also very cool. I can assure you that in the current version, you can recover all the shadow and highlight detail that there is to be recovered.
    LR's great advantages are local editing, file managment, slide shows etc. For professionals such as yourself, these capabilities may far outweigh any IQ disadvantages. This I understand, and I expect that LR and Aperture will continue to be the standard programs in the field for that reason.
    Overall, I would say that C1-5 renders more pleasing images than LR 3 Beta, which is a step above LR 2.5, to be sure. Final judgment will have to await the ultimate release version of LR 3. If you have C1-5 Pro, I would suggest that you run some of your own head to head comparisons with LR. If you do not have it, download a trial version, as I have. It is still a relatively new product and does have some bugs that I am trying to work through with their support team. If we succeed, I plan on purchasing it.
    Rob
     
  10. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Sorry, but I cannot post anything right now.​
    That makes it pretty difficult to judge your comments. Words are just words when it comes to pictures.
     
  11. That makes it pretty difficult to judge your comments. Words are just words when it comes to pictures.​
    Right you are, Jeff, so here are some sample images with crops. The C1 samples are with Clarity at 50, default sharpening and minimal other adjustments. The LR samples are with Clarity at 50, contrast and brightness adjustments and sharpening at 50. They may or may not be the ideal settings, but I think that they are reasonable choices.
    I have not uploaded images to photo.net for quite a long time, so I hope that I get it right.
    Rob
    00VKgR-203411784.jpg
     
  12. Damn, I don't know how to add more than one image per message. I will add others in separate responses.
    Rob
    00VKgX-203411984.jpg
     
  13. As you can see, there is much more detail in the C1 image, and it looks more pleasing and natural. In the LR image, the black point is set well above zero, and I pushed Fill Light as well, so as to bring out as much detail as I reasonably could in the beard.
    Can someone please explain how to post multiple images in a single response on photo.net?
    Rob
     
  14. I have been playing with the Lightroom image. If I reduce contrast severely, there is more detail in the beard, but still nothing close to the C1 image, and overall, the picture looks dull and flat.
    Rob
    00VKhT-203423684.jpg
     
  15. More sample images. I trust that everyone understands that these are not intended to be representative of "good" photography.
    Rob
    00VKiL-203431584.jpg
     
  16. In these last comparisons, the differences are less stark, but still very real. Color balance is, of course, somewhat a matter of personal taste.
    Rob
     
  17. I'm on a roll. Here is a pair of samples, this time a crop (not 100%) from an image taken in Morocco. As for the color balance difference, I think that C1 may be more accurate, as the walls of the Medina are, for the most part, colored yellow. Regardless, the more natural rendering of the C1 version is especially visible in the fabric of the man's turban, scarf and robe. Also notice the detail in the black plastic bag. The LR version has a slightly murky quality. It's not bad, just not as good.
    Rob
    00VKkO-203437584.jpg
     
  18. And the other version.
    00VKkS-203437684.jpg
     
  19. Being rather new to digital in general and RAW processing in particular, I don't have much to contribute in terms of my own experience, but would like to take this opportunity to ask about your views on a few other RAW converters I've heard good things about:
    1. SilkyPix (currently only for Windows but Mac version should be coming out soon)
    2. Bibble 5 (okay, it's still under development)
    3. Iridient RAW Developer (okay, this one's for Mac only)
    I'd appreciate your feedback as I'm trying to figure out which one to get; currently using ACR that came with PS.
    Merry Christmas guys!
    -Tomek
     
  20. Tomek,
    There are others on this forum with far more experience than I with the programs you mention, but I have tried them all.
    1. SilkyPix I found to be nearly incomprehensible. Horrible user interface. Output quality was good, but not great.
    2. Bibble 5, which is not finalized, has some unique features, but I did not like the IQ--very murky and dull even with a lot of tweaking. Perhaps I needed more time with it, but it did not seem worth the effort at this point in its development. Bibble is notorious for being a laggard.
    3. RAW Developer used to be my main RAW converter (before Lightroom and DxO). I have tested the current version. IQ is quite good, with excellent sharpening and detail, but not on the level of Capture One 5 Pro. Did not like the colors as much or the workflow.
    If file management is a top priority, then I would recommend Lightroom or Aperture. If IQ, then Capture One 5 Pro. That may change with the final release version of LR, however.
    Rob
     
  21. RG, thanks for posting those photo comparisons. The Lightroom ones do look a bit flat, more red and less detailed.
     
  22. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Just taking the Morocco images...the whites are flat in both of them, pretty far from white. There is a lot that can be done. Detail is an issue because of not working on the original file, but here is the LR image reworked so that it has white in it, slight corrections to the color balance. It's probably over-sharpened at this point, but once again, without the original file, there's not much that can be done about that.
    00VKxb-203603584.jpg
     
  23. RG, thanks for posting those photo comparisons. The Lightroom ones do look a bit flat, more red and less detailed.​
    Andrew, you're welcome. If you look at the picture of the ornate ceiling, notice how in the C1 version the chandelier appears separated from the background. There is a greater sense of realistic depth than in the LR version. I think that the overall impression of an image is far more important than pixel-peeping 100% crops.
    Rob
     
  24. Just taking the Morocco images...the whites are flat in both of them, pretty far from white. There is a lot that can be done. Detail is an issue because of not working on the original file, but here is the LR image reworked so that it has white in it, slight corrections to the color balance. It's probably over-sharpened at this point, but once again, without the original file, there's not much that can be done about that.​
    Jeff, I may not be as skilled as you, but I have been using LR since early v1. I worked very hard on the original LR images to get them as close as possible to the C1 images. The fine detail is not present, and the overall rendering is different no matter how much I worked with curves and various sliders. I think that I should have made the picture of the man reading lighter in both versions, but that would not have narrowed the differences between the two. Please understand that it is a small part of a much larger scene that was well exposed as a whole, but not as a crop.
    In the first cropped image of the man's beard, the pictures speak for themselves.
    Rob
     
  25. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I think that I should have made the picture of the man reading lighter in both versions, but that would not have narrowed the differences between the two.​
    That's not a good way to do it then. You should be working with a decent rendering, and yours has no white in it. What you have discovered is how it looks when the image isn't rendered properly. Which one looks better when it's not rendered properly isn't a very good test. What I've done, even without the original RAW file, is shown that there isn't much difference between them.
    In the first cropped image of the man's beard, the pictures speak for themselves.​
    Without an original, it's hard to tell if one could get a better rendering. Send the RAW file to Patrick, we can find out what can be done with a proper rendering in Lightroom.
     
  26. Such snobbery. As if only one of the elite knows how to edit an image properly. I freely admitted that the photo of the man reading was a crop and that I should have adjusted that portion independently of the rest of the image. Here are re-edits of both versions. They are closer, but IMO, the C1 version is still more natural and pleasing. And as for the man with the beard, that's all the detail that is there in the LR version. Neither Patrick nor God himself can get anymore out of it.
    Rob
    00VL1L-203641584.jpg
     
  27. Next version.
    00VL1N-203641684.jpg
     
  28. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Such snobbery. As if only one of the elite knows how to edit an image properly.​
    There's no snobbery. There's no white in your photo. It's murky in both renditions. How can anyone tell from poor renditions? They can't. Given what you presented and how off the conversion is, there is an opportunity to learn rather than stick to a view that isn't formed from good quality conversion.
    Neither Patrick nor God himself can get anymore out of it.​
    I suspect Patrick can get more out of it, he does this every day.
     
  29. There's no snobbery. There's no white in your photo. It's murky in both renditions. How can anyone tell from poor renditions? They can't. Given what you presented and how off the conversion is, there is an opportunity to learn rather than stick to a view that isn't formed from good quality conversion.​
    I am looking at the histograms of both of the re-edited images, and they definitely contain white. I have not fully figured out C1's output processing, so the output is not quite the same as the RAW image. Do you have an opinion as to which looks better?
    Rob
     
  30. It is a bit hard to tell since the luminance NR in the 3 beta is greyed out, but overall I think the IQ is considerably better. Different than c1 1.4 (I don't use 1.5) but I think a bit nicer.
    Bill
     
  31. One more comparison for tonight. This is a challenging scene, because of the light sky and the dark tower. I tried to get the overall brightness and contrast as close as possible. I can tell you that the Levels tool in C1 is a godsend for images such as this one. It is much easier to set the white point than with the Exposure slider. Adobe should include it in LR 3
    Rob
    00VL3F-203671584.jpg
     
  32. Let's try that again.
    00VL3K-203671884.jpg
     
  33. LR 3 Beta crop. Very muddy shadows. Could have fixed it, but only by flattening overall contrast.
    00VL3R-203673784.jpg
     
  34. Robert, what camera are you using? That's a very important fact when comparing RAW converters. So far I've found that the camera manufacturer's software is superior, at least with CCD Nikons. Mileage probably varies depending on the camera brand.
     
  35. Quick question: Was Lightroom's output sharpening used in any of these examples? Sharpening in LR2 is a multi-step process. Is it the same in LR3? Thanks!
     
  36. Jeff,
    I owe you an apology. After working some more on the photo of the potter, I was able to bring out detail in the beard by cranking up Fill Light. This, of course, changed overall contrast and brightness, so I went ahead an re-edited the image both in LR and C1. Here are the results. It's hard to tell in these smallish JPEGS, but IMO, the C1 version is definitely more natural and three dimensional. The curvature of the man's body and the sense of space behind him seem more realistic.
    Rob
    00VLGU-203785684.jpg
     
  37. Lightroom 3 B
    00VLGi-203789584.jpg
     
  38. Quick question: Was Lightroom's output sharpening used in any of these examples? Sharpening in LR2 is a multi-step process. Is it the same in LR3? Thanks!​
    Dan,
    Yes, Sharpening and Clarity were applied in LR. I did it as a single step, meaning that I did not apply sharpening to the re-sized final output image, but the same was true of the Capture One version. All images were exported to Photoshop and from there to the Web. I have never been pleased with the sharpening in LR 2.5 and rarely use it. LR 3 Beta may do a better job, but I was not testing for this. I prefer Nik Sharpener Pro's RAW pre-sharpener. C1-5's sharpening, however, is very good--really crisp with minimal artifacts.
    Rob
     
  39. Robert, what camera are you using? That's a very important fact when comparing RAW converters. So far I've found that the camera manufacturer's software is superior, at least with CCD Nikons. Mileage probably varies depending on the camera brand.​
    Alex,
    These photos were shot with a Pentax K10D. I despise the Pentax software, which was designed by SilkyPix. Some people swear by SilkyPix, but I am not one of them.
    Rob
     
  40. Thanks, Rob! I enjoy using Lightroom for its thoughtful, intuitive interface but I've always found its approach to sharpening to be a bit confusing. Output sharpening helps in many cases if you pick the right preset, but it's confounding that you can't see the results before you save the output file.
    Based upon your discussion I've decided to give Capture One a try. I like the idea of built-in lens correction so I don't have to switch over to Photoshop in midstream (creating a massive TIFF file in the process). Unfortunately, most popular DSLR lenses exhibit visible distortion; correction is not an option. If Capture One provides better sharpening and lens correction in single package it might be an attractive alternative to Lightroom.
     
  41. Dan,
    My advice is to try the Pro version. Amongst other things, it has the Clarity tool, which I find so wonderful. (At least I think it is not in the Standard version, but I may be wrong.) The organization and workflow are quite different, so be prepared for a fairly steep learning curve.
    Rob
     
  42. Robert said "...My impression of C1-5 Pro is that it has smoother tonal and color transitions than LR 3 Beta and that colors are more natural. LR has always had a red bias for me..."
    I shoot Nikon D300 and I have the same problem with 2.6 if I choose "Camera standard" or "ACR" camera calibration profiles - the rendering is to red. But when I select DX2 mode profile, the rendering is neutral. I don't know what choices you have with Pentax camera but if you don't like supplied profile you can make custom profile for your camera.
    I hardly wait for LR3 to be finished - the profiles are better, the rendering of small detail is much improved and it seems that the NR will be very good (I have no final verdict as NR is not finished yet and the lumninace noise slider is greyed out).
    Regards, Marko
     
  43. So whe start with;
    Capture One 5 and think that it gives the best IQ that I have yet seen from any RAW conversion program--much better than LR 2.5​
    And in the end whe are talking about slighty more shadow detail in the bearb of a guy, is that it....?
    When someone said MUCH better i expect to have something like black vs white, or something out of focus vs crystal clear... what i see from those example (of the potter guy) is a soft focus shot to start with.. nothing to do with a sharp image as a starter i think....
    I still personnaly prefer to work with Lr for all the latitude i could have to work on my file, for all the simplicity of it, for the amazing result i can get out of it.. and because he never let me down. I respect oppinion of people when they show me amazing example of what they say to express there point. In the end as i always said, its a matter of knowledge and experience more than a question of simple software.
    I use to use on a dayly basis C1Pro and developed a huge knowledge about it, then i discover something that I found better with Lr.. sure C1Pro 5 (that i have) is a really good and well done piece of software today, but i cant say that he give me a MUCH better file rendition, but a pretty good one that equal for sure the one i get with Lr certainly.
    I will be more than happy to provide a link to the OP to get is raw, so i can test my self the raw development of the image he use and post the result here of what i condsider the best i cant deliver out of Lr, just for my own personal curiosity ; )
     
  44. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I will be more than happy to provide a link to the OP to get is raw​
    Yes, I brought this up before for a reason. It's not clear that the OP is getting the most out of LR. It's like me reviewing race cars, I can tell you which one I do better in, but that isn't the same as a professional. Someone who uses the tools day in and out doing the testing will be far better than someone who doesn't. As I showed above, there was a long way to go with either package on that one photo in order to judge anything.
     
  45. Patrick and Jeff,
    I am an amateur enthusiast with above average artistic and technical skills. (Please don't judge my work by the samples that I have posted in this thread.) I have been published in well-known photo journals and have won several competitions. I have routinely used Lightroom since early v.1 as well as DxO and Photoshop with a variety of plug-ins. But I am not a world class expert in digital editing. How many photographers, even serious ones, are?
    I tell you this just so that you will understand that I am not some snapshooter who stumbled into this forum by accident. Yet if a person with my skills cannot readily get excellent detail and rendering from a one piece of software but can from another, which is the better program? If it takes the knowledge and experience of a professional re-toucher to equal or surpass with the first program what a reasonably competent person such as myself can produce with the second, then I would say that the second program is the one that will yield the best IQ for the vast majority of users. In Patrick's or Jeff's hands, LR may be as good as C1-5, but I do not think that would be the case for all but a few who read this forum.
    Believe me, I have learned a great deal from this thread, especially about my own weaknesses with LR. But the more I use C1-5 Pro, the more I like it and am convinced that it will give me better results than LR (and with much less effort.) What I will miss, however, is LR's local editing. I do plan on upgrading to LR 3 when it becomes available, and I am sure that I will use it occasionally. Who knows, in its final release form, I might even prefer it. C1-5 still has some bugs that need fixing, but I expect that Phase One will be on the case.
    Rob
     
  46. Robert, didtn meant to offend you, that was not the point of my post. I fully understand the kind of person who come here, and this is why im here.. to help you and the other amateur.
    So many people claim that this or that software is so far better than this or that withotu beinng hable to prove it..because with the limited knowledge they have they could get good result with this or that..example; how people people *think* that they can get better result with Capture NX vs Lr for the Nikon file.. but have 5min experince of Lr and use Capture since they have there camera..it is fair to say that Capture is far better? nope. Strangely, all and i say ALL of those who claim that NEVER send me the original raw to test it in Lr vs there Capture rendition when ask to provide it to make a appropriate comparaison..nobody seem up to that exercise..why? If i was to claim that something was better than something else, and someone ask to make a appropriate test i wouldtn be shy...
    My point is that you cant state that a software is better than a other one if you dont have the sufficient knowledge to fully understand it. As you sum it really well you are a amateur enthusiast with above average artistic and technical skills, not a pro. If you have said that to start, something like " for me, for the knowledge i have i think that C1Pro doest a better job automaticaly of rendering my file vs Lr, and it seem i could get better IQ out of the box" or something similar i wouldtn said anything because you where right, C1Pro does effectively give better result withotu too much needed knowledge.. but that is for me the only thing superior..the interface, the way he sharpen, the way he handle file, the maze you need to figure out to navigate in it is not appealing for the common user.
    The 2 picture you show of the bearb guy are not that different one of the other.. im mean for the common user they look virtually the same, and without the other aside they both look well developed..i dont think again you can state that C1Pro is so superior base on that, so its is not just in my hand that Lr could be good as, it is in anybody hand that want quality with a simple program AND 1hour of tutorial.. like any amateur enthusiast with above average artistic and technical skills should take to enjoy better result.
    As i previously state, in the end they both should give you amazing quality, its a matter of experience..and you seem to agree with that part ; )
    lets shake hands and walk away with a smile..
     
  47. Patrick,
    I agree that Lightroom's user interface is more straightforward and intuitive. It also performs operations, such as loading sessions/folders, more quickly. But once one has figured out C1-5's organization, the actual adjusting of the image is extremely simple, and, at least for me, it gives consistently better results with less effort. So, I see it as one of life's many trade-offs.
    Rob
     
  48. I gave up the LR3 beta. After getting a new camera which actually takes decent pictures at high isos (7D) I do need the luminance nr, and not feeling like dumping 400 pictures into some photoshop plug to do it ;)
    I will give LR3 another chance when it comes out, meanwhile I'll stay with C1 or LR2
     
  49. Here's my experience of LR2 vs LR3: Mind you, I will be comparing files produced by the Nikon D300 and D700 only. For image quality, LR3 has the clear advantage over it's predecessor. Especially at high ISO. It's not just how it handles noise reduction (which is sooo much better), everything about the files seem to look better to me. I haven't taken the time to really get down to the nut and bolts of what it is I'm seeing, lets just say that for my paying clients, I started processing all my high ISO stuff in LR3. Why just the high ISO stuff? Well, for me LR2 does a decent job when given a nice file. I haven't found the difference in low ISO file handling to be great enough to overcome LR3's greatest liability: Speed. The program limps along like someone shot out both it's knees with a 12 gauge. A project that would take me 2 hours to edit in LR2 is easily 3 to 4 hours in LR3, and it's mostly time wasted watching the spinning beachball on my Intel Macbook Pro. Just switching from one image to the next in the Development module can easily consume 5 seconds of zero productivity. If you don't have the latest and greatest hardware be careful about upgrading- you may wish you hadn't!
    The new features and image rendering or LR 3 look highly promising. Lets just hope Adobe can get it at least as fast as LR2. Funny, I used to complain that LR2 was slower than Bridge+ACR, now it seemingly runs on steroids. Also funny how Adobe is advertising LR3 on a platform of SPEED SPEED SPEED! It's 1984 all over again.
     
  50. Capture One 5 Pro vs. Lightroom 3 Beta update:
    For those who may be interested, I have continued to work towards honing my skills in both programs. For some weird reason, I enjoy doing things like that. C1-5 Pro still consistently produces better results in my hands. Images have a greater sense of depth and presence. The Clarity tool is an absolute revelation, once you learn how to apply the right strength for any given image.
    Rob
     
  51. A very challenging image. First C1. I was able to accomplish this with relative ease.
    00VRUJ-207639584.jpg
     
  52. Next Lightroom 3 Beta. This took a lot of work.
    00VRUL-207639684.jpg
     
  53. C1-5 cropped
    00VRUQ-207639884.jpg
     
  54. LR-3 B cropped.
    00VRUW-207640084.jpg
     

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