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Subject: "Fork in the Road" Previous topic | Next topic
dohearne Silver Member Nikonian since 07th May 2007Wed 01-Aug-12 11:15 PM
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"Fork in the Road"


Ludlow, US
          

This may or may not be the place to post but here goes. With the introduction of Photo Mechanic 5 I am evaluating if the time to change has arrived. My present workflow is PM ingest and sort plus use PM to upload to Zenfolio and email. NX2 with Color Efex 3 is my raw converter. I also have Photomatix, Color Efex Pro 4, Silver Efex Pro, Define, Pro Sharpener, and HDR Efex Pro 2 which I use as stand alone programs. I increasingly find myself using Color Efex for most post processing but not taking advantage of Color Efex Pro 4 features because it is outside of NX2. I like the re-edit capability of a workflow inside NX2, including Color Efex 3, and the ability to see the result of my edits in PM. However when I want to use the other NIK apps I have to generate a TIF and go outside NX2. I understand that Aperture and Lightroom work similarly but at least the process is somewhat automated.

PM 5 upgrade license is $90, Lightroom is $140, and Aperture is $80. Jason Odell has, as others, demonstrated that raw conversion of NEF files is very good on several platforms. I am beginning to wonder if it is time to leave the PM/NX2 solution post processing workflow for all the reasons that are expressed here and other places?

  

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macfish
02nd Aug 2012
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ericbowles Moderator
03rd Aug 2012
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dohearne Silver Member
05th Aug 2012
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macfish Registered since 05th Nov 2004Thu 02-Aug-12 06:45 PM
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#1. "RE: Fork in the Road"
In response to Reply # 0


Columbus, US
          

Yes, it's a fork many of us face. Until recently I was totally devoted to PM and NX2 (w/CEP3). I had an old Lightroom 1 license key, so was able to upgrade for $80. After investing in George Jardines videos and Martin Evening's book for LR 4.1, I find myself increasingly going to LR. I also have Silver EFx, Define, HDR and CEP4, all for Lightroom, which as you say function outside of NX2. But for all practical purposes they function the same way with Lightroom. And while I find NX2's "version" functionality great, again, similar ways of doing things exist with Lightroom.
As I learn more about Lightroom, and as Nikon goes on 3-4 years without updating NX2, the Lightroom/PM fork is looking like an easier journey. And for my purposes, enthusiast not pro, using a fraction of PM's functionality, Lightroom/Nik may end up being my primary tools sooner than later. YMMV. Note: I do not pixel-peep, use UniWB, print larger than 12x18, do little if any batch processing, and process til the results look good to ME. I'd also rather spend time shooting than learning umpteen different programs. A verbal indication with NIK staff indicate that the relationship with Nikon is history. So many choices, so little time, but the good news is that there are now multiple excellent ways to achieve great results.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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ericbowles Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level skills in various areas, especially Landscape and Wildlife Photoghraphy Writer Ribbon awarded for for his article contributions to the community Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005Fri 03-Aug-12 04:01 PM
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#2. "RE: Fork in the Road"
In response to Reply # 0


Atlanta, US
          

I've got similar software and workflow. I rely heavily on PM for keywording and to render JPEG's. Capture NX2 is my primary editor with heavy reliance on Color Efex within Capture.

The issue I struggle with is the impact on workflow - both current images and historical - from use of Lightroom. I have a pretty clean workflow today that would be enhanced with a catalog - such as the one planned for release by PM. I've got more than 100,000 images edited with a Nikon based workflow and dread the thought of introducing different types of files - either NEF files edited in two incompatible systems or adding TIFF files. If I had a Camera RAW based workflow or a TIFF based workflow I would probably have the same issue in moving to Capture.

Eric Bowles
Nikonians Team
My Gallery
Workshops

Nikonians membership — my most important photographic investment, after the camera

  

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dohearne Silver Member Nikonian since 07th May 2007Sun 05-Aug-12 07:27 PM
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#3. "RE: Fork in the Road"
In response to Reply # 2


Ludlow, US
          

Eric, although I probably have only a 1/4 the number of images as you, I share the workflow concerns and abandoning a streamlined "NEF" centric workflow with PM/NX2. However, I find myself increasingly using other tools like NIK software which throw me into a TIFF workflow. So I either minimize the use of new PP tools available or consider a workflow based upon Lightroom or Aperture. But that would then force me to confront what to do my Edited NEF library. I wonder how others have approached the migration? Am I also correct in assuming any edits in Lightroom would not be available for preview in PM?

  

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ericbowles Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level skills in various areas, especially Landscape and Wildlife Photoghraphy Writer Ribbon awarded for for his article contributions to the community Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005Sun 05-Aug-12 08:51 PM
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#4. "RE: Fork in the Road"
In response to Reply # 3


Atlanta, US
          

PM will handle edited Lightroom images just fine. While Lightroom is a good catalog, I am hoping that the PM Catalog will provide a reasonable alternative. I'm planning to try the PM catalog before making further decisions.

Eric Bowles
Nikonians Team
My Gallery
Workshops

Nikonians membership — my most important photographic investment, after the camera

  

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dohearne Silver Member Nikonian since 07th May 2007Tue 07-Aug-12 01:00 PM
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#7. "RE: Fork in the Road"
In response to Reply # 4


Ludlow, US
          

Eric, my need for a true catalog is not very strong. Between my Mac search capabilities and PM I have had very few problems managing and accessing my images, but I am also use keywords extensively. I do want to be sure I understand your answer on edited Lightroom images. One of the nice features of PM/NX2 is that NX2 generates a "edited" preview image that I can extract in PM and I frequently use these jpgs for email, etc. My understanding is that in Lightroom, as in NX2, the edited view is based on side car files. Are you saying that the behavior of nef files edited in Lightroom and viewed in PM is the same as with NX2?

  

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jacsr Silver Member Nikonian since 09th Apr 2006Mon 06-Aug-12 02:28 PM
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#5. "RE: Fork in the Road"
In response to Reply # 3
Mon 06-Aug-12 02:30 PM by jacsr

Texas City, US
          

>But that would then force me to confront what to do my Edited NEF library. I wonder how others have approached the migration?

I switched from a PC to a MAC for PP a year and a half ago. In doing so I went from NX2 to Aperture. I changed from NX2 because it caused so many issues on my iMAC that I just got tired of fighting it.

When I imported into Aperture I used “referenced” files. This allowed me to keep the files in the folders I had setup on the multiple external hard drives I use. I then color-coded all previews that had NX2 edits. Aperture as Lightroom will not display any NX2 edits, so for the NEF’s that I wanted to see the edits I created a JPG and stacked it with the original preview choosing the jpg as the stack view. Since the actual NEFs were on the external drives and not in the Aperture library I could still access them via the PC and NX2. If I wanted to export a JPG from a version within the edited NEF, or review edits I still had that ability. After a little time and practice I can now PP with the same or better results with Aperture as I did with NX2. This now gives me several great options for plug-ins and other software compatible with Aperture that I would never have with NX2.

Joe

  

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dohearne Silver Member Nikonian since 07th May 2007Tue 07-Aug-12 12:51 PM
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#6. "RE: Fork in the Road"
In response to Reply # 5


Ludlow, US
          

Joe, thank-you for the description of how you made the change. Luckily, I have always color coded my NX2 edited nefs so I can easily spot them. Just curious if you tried Lightroom before deciding on Aperture?

  

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Thu 16-Aug-12 03:17 PM
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#8. "RE: Fork in the Road"
In response to Reply # 2


US
          

Hi Eric,

I have about 335,000 images cataloged in iMatch. If I had to guess, about 50,000 might be edited but most of them are a niche subject that is more or less oriented toward a product shooting workflow where everything shot needs to be edited, output and archived.

We both shoot wildlife, which I think is peculiarly difficult to catalog and manage. For example, cataloging specks on original NEFs that represent many various species of sparrows and other difficult to attribute (at least for me) birds. And it requires categorizing each image, image by image. Sports might be similar if one were cataloging images by participant.

I'm a lifelong software developer by trade so I am very cognizant of issues like data corruption and how to backup and maintain large databases. My personal imaging database and image archive is orders of magnitude larger than the commercial app I work with, which is targeted at large enterprises but it is mostly text based so its databases are puny in comparison

(I find it ironic that the processing horsepower required by amateur photographers just to edit a NEF file and store it surpasses the needs of many enterprise level systems, and certainly any personal software development suite I've ever worked with)

I recently revisited the cataloging issue because I am tired of waiting for iMatch to release an update. On the other hand, Camera Bits has been talking about a catalog about as long as iMatch has talked about his "Next Generation" version. That is appropriately named because I may not live to see it; maybe my kids will, assuming he outlives me . It's not clear to me who will win the horse race those two are in right now.

I like iMatch and it probably handles large databases as well as any cataloging app could. iMatch has always considered large scales to be its forte. It claims to have customers with 500K images or more in one database. I believe that.

iMatch has two major problems for me...

1. It has no built in versioning although it supports (VB) scripting so it is possible to roll your own versioning setup, more or less.

2. It has no support for soft cropping, which is a PhotoMechanic feature I heavily rely on. Just the soft crop feature alone, assuming it is carried over to their cataloging app, might be worth the pain of attempting a migration.

Another potential problem with iMatch is that it has no support for category or keyword synonyms, which could be critical for someone maintaining a stock portfolio.

To solve the versioning problem, I've written my own scripts to run through my database and aggregate images from the same NEF file. I've done this based on either shot time (including sub-seconds to segregate Ch sequences) or a (hopefully) unique image number that should be embedded in the original and derivative images.

Neither method is perfect and this is a work in progress. Success is heavily dependent on one's personal workflow and in particular one's dedication to precisely following that workflow . (and in particular file naming conventions!)

iMatch has a considerable repository of user-written scripts. Some of those are targeted at the versioning problem but none of them worked for me and my workflow, and what I wanted versioning to do for me.

I'm not sure if iMatch's next version (if it ever happens) will support soft crops and that is the major reason I'm watching what CameraBits comes up with, if *they* ever get their product out. But iMatch is here and now, and it is very stable (for me at least, and I do not see anyone complaining about their database integrity).

iMatch also interoperates well with PM and CNX2, although I do not do any metadata work in CNX2. I am not sure if PM, CNX2 and iMatch can all interoperate together at the metadata level because CNX2 does not support XMP sidecars (that is a long story).

I looked at IDImager several times over the years but every time I start reading their support forum I see people complaining about database corruption problems and stability. That scared me off because I know how much blood and sweat I put into my iMatch database and how difficult it can be to even identify corruption in such a large database.

Above all else I don't ever want to have to rebuild my catalog and re-categorize my images. Ever.

I don't recall IDImager's versioning scheme, the flexibility and how it handles images across folder structures, etc. I'd have to download a fresh eval to do that. IDImager also has its own built in user written scripting interface but I do not know the extent or limitations of that scripting environment.

I'm suggesting here that if the ability to version is important to you then the ability to roll your own scripts could be crucial regardless of what the stock app offers. It's worth researching that aspect of an image cataloger. LR offers no scripting interface so if you don't like what it does you have no alternative. This assumes one already has either scripting skills or interest in learning how to script.

My iMatch database is 10GB and growing. The size of the DB is mainly dependent on the user-defined size of the image thumbnails. Mine are 400 pixels but you can make them whatever size you want. To use IDImager I think I would need to use MS SQLServer and I had a problem with that because IDImager needs a specific version of SQLServer. My commercial software work has its own demands for certain SQLServer versions and in the past they were different. That is a peculiar problem for me that is actually going away shortly and would likely not be a problem for other users.

SQLServer licensing is not a problem because SQLServer Express is free and as far as I know it will mechanically handle and scale to the requirements and it appears to conform to MS's licensing restrictions (which are suprisingly broad for MS). I assume IDImager can deal with SQLServer Express.

One of the nice things about IDImager is that because it uses a standard SQL database it is possible (and easy if you have the skills) to query the database outside the app. iMatch uses a proprietary database; I'm not even sure what engine he uses.

I looked at Lightroom recently. In past versions of LR I had huge concerns about its scaleability. LR 4.1 seems to be better in that regard although I have not researched real world experiences of people scaling it up to the 100K image level and beyond.

The big problem I saw with LR, and it was a total deal breaker for me, was not how to change my workflow for future shoots but how to deal with my edited CNX2 archives. LR is simply incompatible with what Nikon is doing with these raw files, and I don't see how any catalog app could deal with that and also do what LR does.

The problem, of course, is that a CNX2-centric workflow typically relies on the edited embedded JPG in the Nikon raw file, where LR must ignore that embedded JPG because it is doing its own edits residing in the XMP sidecars. As a result LR is totally unaware of those edits and does not expose the embedded edited raw file JPG.

The solution is to output all the edited NEFs into TIF or PSD files (or maybe a derivative JPG) just to represent the CNX2 edits. And stack the original and derivative together. If that is your normal workflow then you don't have the problem I do. But I am unwilling to go back and do that, nor do I want to consume the disk space required to store 50-100K new TIFs or PSDs. I consider the Nikon approach (edited NEFs) to be a uniquely efficient way to handle large numbers of raw files.

(I only create TIFs or PSD files if I need to do something I can't do in CNX2 and I avoid that wherever possible.)

I was also not satisfied with how LR deals with "versioning". Yes, it has image stacking but it only stacks related images in the same folder. It cannot cross folders to stack (and therefore version) images. That was deal breaker #2 for me, because I am unwilling to collapse my archives into a folder structure where all the original and derivative images reside in one folder. If I were starting from scratch I might view that differently but I am 335K images and 5200 folders away from "starting from scratch".

Lightroom also has a problem with automatically stacking based on shot date/time because it is apparently unaware of shot time sub-seconds which are critical for differentiating high frame rate images. iMatch also has some limitations in that area (within the stock app) although with custom scripting the sub-second tag is easily and reliably accessed. I assume there is some issue with industry-wide standardization of sub-second metadata tags but never researched that point.

One of the great things about iMatch is its optional "Offline Cache". It allows you to maintain a small lower resolution and lower quality copy of all your images in a reasonably compact form. I maintain an offline cache of my 335,000 catalogued images in the form of 1200-1400 pixel wide "medium resolution" JPGs, which consumes about 38GB of disk space, including the iMatch database. In the modern world that easily fits in a tiny corner of any laptop hard drive.

In this age of terabyte laptop drives it would be viable to cache larger and higher quality images. Those are user-definable settings. Some day I may go back and revisit my own settings, which were chosen in the era of 100GB hard drives.

The ability to go on the road and still have access to at least those downsized cache images is a huge benefit for me, given my lifestyle. I could never do that with my main image archive, which is pushing 3TB and sits on a Win7 Pro file server.

I don't think LR offers that "offline cache" capability. I don't recall if IDImager does that either.

I am and have always been laptop based. For that the iMatch Offline Cache is critical. For a desktop bound environment on a wired network offline caching would not be an important feature and would probably not be used at all.

An important consideration could be licensing (and activation) issues. I figured out long ago that NOTHING new should ever be done in an imaging catalog app without first doing it in a test environment. It is too easy to hose a database or even the main image archive.

In many cases that requires not just a test database but a totally dedicated test environment run on a separate machine. Many "new" things require app setting changes I don't want to do on my "production" system. It's too easy to forget something and not change it back. And all this software needs to inter-operate in complicated ways.

iMatch is sold with a licensing agreement that allows the user to spawn off as many copies as he or she sees fit, as long as only one user is using the product. So I can do whatever I need to do - including setting up multiple test environments in virtual machines. Not so with Lightroom where I think I would need a second license just to set up a basic test environment. That can get expensive.

(I have a huge preference for software that does not require activation, or if it does that it allows for what I consider to be basic requirements for proper testing. And that requires multiple installations on multiple machines. That is increasingly lacking in the modern post-XP world. And partly because I know, from real world experience, that many software companies play fast and loose with their activation policies. I had my own horror story with Adobe a few years ago where they tried very hard to back out of a $1000 perpetual license agreement)

I've gone into all this because you and I have a lot in common in terms of subject matter (wildlife), which I think has particular requirements for cataloging. And also the scale of our image archives. I am very reluctant to heavily cull my wildlife images, for a number of reasons. All relating to the fact that as I learn more about birds I find things in my old images, the importance of which I just never previously understood.

You should research heavily all the issues related to scale, including speeds and feeds. Even with modern hardware speeds and feeds there is a huge amount of blood and sweat shed cataloging a large database, especially a large wildlife database. An app that looks good with a quick test of 10K images may not look so good with 100K+ images. In some cases it may not be possible to scale up an eval in the time period usually given. Unless you have the time and a spare machine to dedicate to the task 24/7 until its done .

If you happen to have a lot of old D2H (but not D2Hs) images you have a peculiar and very difficult problem I could go into in more detail.

_________________________________
Neil


my Nikonians gallery.

  

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ericbowles Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level skills in various areas, especially Landscape and Wildlife Photoghraphy Writer Ribbon awarded for for his article contributions to the community Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005Thu 16-Aug-12 03:29 PM
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#9. "RE: Fork in the Road"
In response to Reply # 8


Atlanta, US
          

Neil

Thanks for the really thorough explanation of your experience. It's a complex area and you provided a very good explanation of your experience with some big issues.


Eric Bowles
Nikonians Team
My Gallery
Workshops - Smokies Oct 2012

Nikonians membership — my most important photographic investment, after the camera

  

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Thu 16-Aug-12 07:48 PM
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#10. "RE: Fork in the Road"
In response to Reply # 9


US
          

Hi Eric,

I probably didn't even scratch the surface of what you are going to do . If you need any help or advice, let me know.

My sense, having followed the iMatch forums and poked around in other catalog app support forums, is that apparently there aren't that many people that attempt to (or need to) catalog 100K+ images. Most people seem to be managing more like 20,000 or so.

I often question what I'm doing (like every time I do a big ingest into iMatch), but I'm in so deep it would take man years to actually make all those culling decisions and in the best case I don't think I could get down below 100K.

Anyway, it is difficult to find good practical advice on how to manage large image catalogs and a lot of what you may read may be written by those in the 20,000 league. Keep that in mind.

Depending on your species spread (birding) and some other things, you could easily have a thousand hours of work, all told, cataloging your images. Minimum several hundred I think.

It would take between 50 and 150 HOURS of machine time to ingest 100,000 raw and tif files (JPGs are faster) into iMatch on my old dual core laptop. I haven't done any ingest performance tests on my new CoreI7 laptop (note to self!).

During that time iMatch is well behaved and other things can be done on the machine but iMatch doesn't allow anything else to be done on it during that time.

You would likely not do it all at once of course, but no matter how you slice it up its a lot of machine time. Enough machine time that my ideal catalog app would be multi-user, even me by myself, the other user being batch intensive processes. I could keep a batch user busy for a couple of months, 24/7, just running certain iMatch scripts that are very machine intensive. Anything you have to do 100,000 times can be problematic.

I think LR is quite a bit faster in that regard. I recently eval'd LR 4.1 and was impressed with the ingest performance. It is harder to benchmark LR because it does most of the work in a background process but I monitored the CPU usage to try to figure that out. I didn't take my LR database past about 20K images before I ran out of time. Actually some problems I saw (in the app, not the performance) made me go back to iMatch and spend time perfecting my versioning scripts, strangely enough

My suggestion out of all this is to make an expendable copy of your complete image collection, preferably on a dedicated hard drive, BEFORE you start downloading and installing evals. I assume it is in the 1TB range, or perhaps much higher if you have a lot of TIFs and PSD's.

You do NOT want to test a cataloging app against your "live" image repository because in many or most cases the app can or will be updating at least any XMP files you have, and if you use PM you probably have those sidecars. At the time I last eval'd LR I didn't have 3TB to spare for that.

Unless you are the kind of guy that spends a couple evenings reading manuals before trying a new app, you might be updating those files and not even know it!

I would then try to import as much of the collection as you can in the eval time you have, watching to see how the general performance holds up. That includes the ingest itself as well as basic queries over the catalog.

In most or all cases the performance is related to the average image file size (in addition to hardware issues, including any networking required). PSD's are really tough, then NEFs, and JPGs, especially web size, the easiest. That is why you need to do this yourself rather than relying on anecdotal reports.

In your case you want to look carefully at your D800 raw files, and surely the PSD and TIFs that come out of that. Having spilt much blood over this, starting with the D2h (which was actually the worst, oddly enough), the idea of wildlife volumes of D800 files scares me . (seriously).

The D800 is Parkinson's Law at work. Actually, it's Parkinson's run amok!!!!

You should also think about an exit strategy before you get into this, at least in a general way. It is impossible to think through an exit strategy without knowing where the exit leads but you only want to do this once.

Mainly, any extensive time you put into cataloging needs some sort of interface to get it back out if things don't work. Otherwise you are buried deep with your catalog app vendor, deeper than you might want to be.

This is very different than our other apps although the LR/CNX2 decision was the crucial one that few of us thought about up front (assuming we had a lot of options at the time). In that regard LR is the more problematic decision, in a certain sense, because there are more solutions that can deal with a Nikon edited NEF than the one and only one solution that will ever deal with 100,000+ LR XMP edit files. This is another thing that gave me pause for switching to LR but they are all evil in that way.

I call LR "The Grand Seduction"

Such a simple solution to everything but I don't think there is any way out so you really have to love Adobe to get into serious volumes with that.

If you like PM as much as I do (I just love it!) you then need to think about how you will browse your catalog and edit and output working images long after the main shoot/edit sessions. This is where my iMatch workflow has always fallen apart.

iMatch has some good solutions for that, and in principle I should not use PM except for pre-catalog initial culling and rating work. But iMatch does not support soft crops and that alone always tempts me back to PM when I am doing more than a solitary image here or there. PM is just so easy and intuitive. You know all about that.

I solved part of the problem with my versioning scripts- how to get those new derivative files (created outside the cataloger) cataloged without slogging through them all by hand.

People solve that different ways. Some people only keyword their originals, for example, but I find that original un-cropped wildlife images are not useful alone. In most cases the bird part is just too small (I shoot mostly small songbirds now). So I want all the images keyworded and rated. It is my only viable path to sanity.

The part I never solved is how to crop (within iMatch) and as a wildlife shooter virtually everything gets seriously cropped. On the other hand, once the images are in a catalog it is very tricky, if not impossible, to go back to something like PhotoMechanic because that is "cheating on the cataloger", which really demands to be in control of all that.

That last part is the most critical part and the hardest to figure out up front, and easy to ignore until you are buried pretty deep in your cataloging effort. Don't ask me how I know .

And I did not find a solution to that in LR either. In fact, I found far less flexibility simply because I could not script my way out of the problem, as I am doing with iMatch.

_________________________________
Neil


my Nikonians gallery.

  

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PAStime Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Feb 2009Sun 19-Aug-12 12:49 AM
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#15. "RE: Fork in the Road"
In response to Reply # 10
Sun 19-Aug-12 10:16 AM by PAStime

Kingston, CA
          

>In that regard LR is the more problematic decision, in a
>certain sense, because there are more solutions that can deal
>with a Nikon edited NEF than the one and only one solution
>that will ever deal with 100,000+ LR XMP edit files

I am not sure I agree

I consider my collection of edited NEFs to be vulnerable because only Capture NX2 can read those NEFs. Not even View NX2 can export a JPG out of these NEFs! If Nikon/Nik discontinue Capture NX2 (quite plausible given what we've seen over the past couple of years), what is one to do? I'd hate to try and use the clunky Capture NX2 batch processor to create TIFFs out of all NEFs I have across all folders...

It is hard to imagine that files modified by LR (sidecars, database, etc.) hvae a less stable future than Capture NX2-edited NEFs. There are many more LR users out there and I would therefore guess many more options and positive eventualities.

Cheers,
Peter

  

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dohearne Silver Member Nikonian since 07th May 2007Sun 19-Aug-12 01:46 PM
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#16. "RE: Fork in the Road"
In response to Reply # 15


Ludlow, US
          

While I think your point about the future accessibility of edited NEF files being better with LR than NX2, PM does offer a solution. From within PM, I can generate both jpgs and tiff files based upon the NX2 edited NEFs. Admittedly, the quality of these files are probably lower because they are generated, I think, from the updated embedded jpg preview that NX2 writes when saving after an edit. I am not sure how NX2 generates tiffs but I have done some "pixel peeping" comparing PM and NX2 generated jpgs and tiffs. Unless one was viewing images at 100% or making very large prints I doubt anyone would see a difference. I would appreciate someone else's input with more knowledge than I on how the image quality compares when generating tiffs from within NX2 and those generated from PM on NX2 edited files.

  

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PAStime Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Feb 2009Sun 19-Aug-12 10:47 PM
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#17. "RE: Fork in the Road"
In response to Reply # 16


Kingston, CA
          

>WFrom within PM, I can generate both jpgs and tiff
>files based upon the NX2 edited NEFs. Admittedly, the quality

That's a good point. A year or two ago we had a lively thread where we closely examined the quality of the embedded preview. It is very good and in many ways indistinguishable as compared with viewing the NEF.

Having said that, it is a compressed lossy JPG of reduced overall pixel size and bit depth and all of one's edit history is not carried through to the JPG in any way (e.g., via a sidecar file).

Cheers,
Peter

  

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robsb Platinum Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his expertise in CNX2 and his always amicable and continuous efforts to help members Laureate Ribbon awarded for winning in the Best of Nikonians 2013 images Photo Contest Nikonian since 23rd Aug 2006Tue 21-Aug-12 12:38 AM
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#20. "RE: Fork in the Road"
In response to Reply # 15


San Jose, US
          

Peter I am not sure I buy your counter argument. I use 64 bit CNX2 and do not find the batch process "Clunky". Nikon makes Nikon cameras and unless they went out of business, highly unlikely, they have no competition in the manufacture of Nikon cameras. Since the ability to process NEF's is key to them selling the cameras, I cannot see how they could abandon the task of reading and processing NEF's. Is CNX2 a bit behind the times, maybe for some? I find it meet all my needs. I don't have to fool with XMPs or keeping my NEFs in the Adobe data base or converting to DING and all the other processes that I think have more risk. If Nikon stopped making updates to CNX2 tomorrow, I still have a fully working version of CNX2 that will continue to process all the NEFS I have ever taken from my D200 and D700. While I also don't expect Adobe to go out of business, they have to work with all the DSLR brands out there so the risk of problems in their code I believe is much higher than continued updates for bugs and new cameras that CNX2 has to contend with. All that said, each person has to make their choice of what work flow they want and what features are most important to them. For many that choice will be LR. For me it is primarily CNX2 with an occasional visit to Photoshop CS6 Extended.

Bob Baldassano
My Nikonians Gallery

"Nikonians membership - My most important photographic investment, after the
camera"

Retirement is a gift of time - Don't waste it!

  

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JonK Moderator Awarded for his high level skills and in-depth knowledge in various areas, such as Wildlife, Landscape and Stage Photography Nikonian since 03rd Jul 2004Tue 21-Aug-12 02:02 AM
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#21. "RE: Fork in the Road"
In response to Reply # 20


New York, US
          

The problem for you in the future, Bob, is eventually you will have a new system — Mac OS 13 or Windows 11 or whatever — and CNX2 will no longer load nor run. It;s not the NEF format that is the risk, it's Capture NX2. But as I said, that's a future problem.

But let's look at the incremental development of features. You say CNS2 is fully working and imply that it keeps you happy. That's fine, it kept me happy for a long time, too. But here's the key: WHen I left CNX2, Lightroom 3 kept me happy. Lightoom 4 makes me happier. It does is a better raw processor than LR3.

Some years ago you probably read that one great advantage of the RAW file — the digital negative — was that in the future, as software improved, you'd be able to go back and re-develop your older RAW files and obtain better results. That is now happening with Lightroom and various other RAW converters. They have improved over time. Capture NX2 has not improved core processing; it is years old and CNX3 is not in sight.

Just my humble opinion…

Jon Kandel
A New York City Nikonian and Team Member
Please visit my website and critique the images!

  

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PAStime Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Feb 2009Tue 21-Aug-12 03:05 AM
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#22. "RE: Fork in the Road"
In response to Reply # 20


Kingston, CA
          

Hello,

Good points!

>Peter I am not sure I buy your counter argument. I use 64 bit
>CNX2 and do not find the batch process "Clunky".

Hmmm... I think LR batch processing is light years ahead! Have you tried it on, say, 100 images from a shoot? There are quick menu picks and a history editor and presets during import that can be tied to camera serial numbers and selective copy and paste of settings, and the Synchronize function and the ability to run multiple jobs at once, and the ability to keep working during batch processing, and more...

>I cannot see how
>they could abandon the task of reading and processing NEF's.

Hmmm... I don't see why not.

>I find it meet
>all my needs.

That is important!

>I don't have to fool with XMPs or keeping my
>NEFs in the Adobe data base or converting to DING and all the
>other processes that I think have more risk.

I don't worry about these things either. I just use LR and Photoshop. I found with Photo Mechanic and CNX2, I did have to worry (a bit at least) about those things.

>If Nikon stopped
>making updates to CNX2 tomorrow, I still have a fully working
>version of CNX2 that will continue to process all the NEFS

Well, until Windows gets some security patch or an new version of the Mac OS is released or you run into a color management or soft proofing problem or want to use Nik Color Efex 4...

>code I believe is much higher than continued updates for bugs
>and new cameras that CNX2 has to contend with.

Yes, agreed.

Cheers,
Peter

  

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dohearne Silver Member Nikonian since 07th May 2007Fri 17-Aug-12 09:52 PM
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#11. "RE: Fork in the Road"
In response to Reply # 0


Ludlow, US
          

After a fairly extensive trial of Lightroom (unfortunately Aperture cannot be trialed any more), I have decided to stay in my PM/NX2/NIK workflow. I was quite impressed with Lightroom and it can do, I think, most anything that I do with my present workflow/software. However, I don't believe I can do better and I am definitely faster because I know the software. One question I had to ask myself is how much I might use of the PP world that Lightroom opens up. All of the filters and presets are seductive but I realized that I would rarely use all that is available. What I want to do is shoot the best image I can and edit it as quickly as possible. I am not opposed to filters (love NIK) but I want to use a few and move on. I think the day will come when Nikon Capture disappears, but I am staying in that camp for now just because it fits my workflow better when accompanied by PM.

  

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JonK Moderator Awarded for his high level skills and in-depth knowledge in various areas, such as Wildlife, Landscape and Stage Photography Nikonian since 03rd Jul 2004Sat 18-Aug-12 12:15 AM
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#12. "RE: Fork in the Road"
In response to Reply # 0


New York, US
          

This is a very interesting and enlightening discussion! I'll stay out of the catalog debate — my meager library is around 8200 images, and many shoots were specific, standalone events so the manual folder system still works well. General landscape, cityscape, and wildlife images w=are (I think) reasonably well key worded, so I can generally find what I want.

Four four years I used a PM/CNX2 workflow, augmented with Nik filters and with Photoshop lurking int he background. Last year I decided (with help from an Image Doctor!) that Lightroom had caught and surpassed CNX2, so I made the jump.

And I'm quite happy that I did. Lightroom is almost all of what I need; I'm still using Nik (more than ever); I use Photoshop less. (Full disclosure: my day job is graphics and print production and I use most of Adobe's apps. Adding LR was the easy choice. Also, Adobe will be the last company standing…)

But here's the irony. I can't kick the PM habit. I still use it for initial screening (kill the baddies), key wording, and for some clients immediate export of JPGs. PM is just so easy but so powerful, and so fast. I just love it, and maybe down the road I'll try their (future) catalog.

My issue is backup. At work, i'm used to a fast wired hookup to the (RAID) server. At home, I'm entirely wireless and, not happy ingesting and developing a few hundred images after a shoot, I work locally and manually copy to multiple backup drives. I'm also still searching for backup drives/software/etc. that will reliably work on a wireless Mac system.

Jon Kandel
A New York City Nikonian and Team Member
Please visit my website and critique the images!

  

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dohearne Silver Member Nikonian since 07th May 2007Sun 19-Aug-12 12:26 AM
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#13. "RE: Fork in the Road"
In response to Reply # 12


Ludlow, US
          

Jon, I am not sure I understand exactly your home setup but here is what I do. I organize my files by year and the present year I keep in a Dropbox folder and I subscribe to the 100 GB service. I have 3500 images (D300 raw) thus far this year which are continuously backed-up wirelessly. My macbook pro harddrive and and my older images on an external harddrive are backed up by Crashplan. Thus the MacBook harddrive is backed up continuously wirelessly. I also daily connect my MacBook to a Time Machine external drive. Thus I am constantly backing up my images to 2 places in the cloud and on a daily basis a 3rd copy is being backed up to Time Machine.

  

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JonK Moderator Awarded for his high level skills and in-depth knowledge in various areas, such as Wildlife, Landscape and Stage Photography Nikonian since 03rd Jul 2004Sun 19-Aug-12 12:34 AM
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#14. "RE: Fork in the Road"
In response to Reply # 13


New York, US
          

What I was dreaming about was having the primary drive be an external RAID (and further backed up) rather than using the MacBook drive as the primary. But I find developing images via wireless is too slow.

So I'll probably automate my backup procedure as you have. Thanks!

Jon Kandel
A New York City Nikonian and Team Member
Please visit my website and critique the images!

  

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cliddell Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Oct 2006Mon 20-Aug-12 03:23 PM
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#18. "RE: Fork in the Road"
In response to Reply # 14


Pietermaritzburg, ZA
          

I do not think that CNX2 will "disappear" any time soon. However, once it is installed no-one will force me (or anyone) to delete it from our computers - I still have Nikon Capture 4.4 installed mainly to use the Camera Connection teathering feature but the actual editing side still works as well as it ever did...

Regards,
Clive Liddell
Pietermaritzburg
South Africa

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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pencho Registered since 19th Jun 2012Tue 21-Aug-12 12:00 AM
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#19. "RE: Fork in the Road"
In response to Reply # 0


Roswell, US
          

I am one of the few that doesn't use adobe in my workflow. I use idImager for just about everything except raw editing or heavy JPG editing. For RAW I use capture nx2 and for heavy JPG editing I use paint shop pro. I also use the OnOne Suite as standalone applications. I have put a lot of hours into learning idImager and Capture nx2 and think it was worth the time.

idImager has a very powerfull downloader (Nikon Transfer x 10), batch processor for just about anything you want to do, excellent culling, rating and comparison options, good editing capabilities, versioning, archiving, RAW editor, and a lot more. It's strength is its catalog and search capabilities. It supports multi-user catalog access which Lightroom and many others do not. Even for home use, I see mult-user access as a must. We maintain our photo's in a central location so it's not uncommon for my wife and I to be browsing and editing photos as the same time from different pc's. idImager also pics up the changes I make to my RAW files. You have to manually refresh the thumbnail after you make your edit in capture but it works perfect.

Everyone has their own requirements but this setup seems to work for me. I agree capture nx2 is a little stale but it still meets my needs. After all, the things I do today in post process are not much different than what I did 2-3 years ago.

John

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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