I'm trying to figure out which software path to take for cataloging and editing my images. I've downloaded an evaluation copy of Light Room 3.3 and have been trying it out. I'm not sure it's the answer though. Adobe seems to want you to buy all of their offerings to get a fully capable image editing package, including Elements and PS CS5.
I've listened to a couple of Nikonians' podcasts on Capture NX2, and they seem to like it. Can anyone tell me what the advantages/disadvantages would be in choosing Capture NX, over the Adobe offerings? Probably a whole lot cheaper for one thing.
Also, will Capture NX2 do the whole job of image editing? Or are there more plug-ins, add-ons, etc. that I'd need to buy?
#1. "RE: Noob deciding on a software path" In response to Reply # 0
San Jose, US
If you want to do cataloging AND editing in the same package, their are few good choices. Capture NX2 is NOT cataloging SW, it is primarily a NEF editor that is easy to use and can process NEFs, Tiff's and JPEGs. LR will give you cataloging and editing, but you give up being able to apply in camera settings that Capture NX2 allows you to do. There are other stand alone cataloging packages like ACDC, but I have not used them. I use CNX2 primarily and sometimes Photoshop CS5 Extended, but lately less and less. I have no catalogue SW and have not yet found a need for any.
#2. "RE: Noob deciding on a software path" In response to Reply # 1 Wed 15-Dec-10 12:10 AM by WRider
Terre Haute, US
I don't mind having to purchase 2 software packages to handle the various chores. I just want to know what I'm getting into ahead of time. Is there some sort of "software map" available that can tell me what each package does and doesn't do?
#4. "RE: Noob deciding on a software path" In response to Reply # 2 Wed 15-Dec-10 08:37 PM by tclune
>I don't mind having to purchase 2 software packages to handle >the various chores. I just want to know what I'm getting into >ahead of time. Is there some sort of "software map" >available that can tell me what each package does and doesn't >do?
I can tell you what I use and why I use it, FWIW. I like CNX2 for accessing the raw data, especially for adjusting the mapping of the 12-bit data into the 8-bit realm. My D5000 tends to lose detail in that mapping by default, so I like to remap to capture the full range of data. The highlights and shadows functionality (showing what is off-scale as a mask on top of the image and the Quick Fix adjust sliders) are very easy to use. The adjustment to the curve is obvious, but pretty much like every other software app in that regard.
I use the CNX2 camera adjustments, like its auto-correction for Nikon lens distortion and for linear CA suppression. They are excellent IME. I have one lens (a Tamron 90mm f/2.8 macro) that has a real problem with axial CA when used wide open in bright backlit contexts. The CNX2 slider for removing axial CA is about the simplest and cleanest tool I have found for removing axial CA.
I usually use CNX2 for cropping and/or straightening an image where appropriate. BTW, one thing that CNX2 does very well is keeping a list of editing as part of the .nef file. The changes don't take a lot of disk space and are fully reversable (and reapplicable). In my experience, this is done better in CNX2 than any other program I know.
The batch processing is a useful feature. One thing that I do with it is use the auto-retouch brush to fix the stuck pixel that I have in my camera. I have saved a process that includes my usual settings, including applying the brush to the stuck pixel region, and apply that process at the beginning of my work.
The way that CNX2 selects regions for adjustment is much simpler and faster than working with layers, so I try to do the typical adjustments (localized contrast/brightness/saturation tweaks, etc) using that tool if I can.
If appropriate, I then import the image into PaintShop Pro (Photo X2 is the one I use). I use a plugin for noise removal on high ISO images (Neat Image, which I like a lot for that purpose. I also like its sharpening tool if I'm running it anyway. For photos that don't need noise reduction, I may apply a touch of PSP sharpening) because I find it much better than either the CNX2 noise reduction or the PSP native tools for this. If I need to make perspective adjustments (I have a Tokina 12-24 f/4 II. Architectural shots often need to be tweaked, at least when I take them), I do it with the PSP tool for this, which is very easy to use and quite effective. If I have to use layers (e.g., compositing multiple images), I do it in PSP.
I don't know how typical my workflow is, but this approach works for me.
#3. "RE: Noob deciding on a software path" In response to Reply # 0
New York, US
While there are any number of software apps you might consider, these would probably be the two most common solutions:
1) Capture NX2 for RAW file processing and some editing. At a later date, you may want to add an organizer such as Photo Mechanic and perhaps a stronger editor such as Adobe Elements or the all-powerful-and-expensive Adobe Photoshop.