Thinking of kicking Adobe into touch - advice please.

spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,136Moderator
Hi Guys,

My PC is running out of resources and once again in need of a lump of money spending on it which has given me an opportunity to make some decisions regarding how I work and what I use. I am not seeing upgrades to Lr that justify Adobe swamping my PC and incurring these upgrade costs.

Firstly some facts on current useage: I do 95% of my processing in Lightroom and 5% or less in Photoshop. When I use Photoshop, I do not make use of its more complex abilities.

So, I am thinking - at this time I have to at least do a fresh install of Win 10 following upgrade of my M2 drive, and I know from @Ton14 that getting the Adobe products out of your PC's is very hard so why not do it now? All I have to do is decide which package/s to get to replace Adobe Lightroom and preferably one with some of Photoshops lighter features. I use the develop module fully in Lr, and make some pretty huge HDR Pano's. That's it really.

This is where you guys come in:

I would like your advice on alternative packages. Please don't just say the name of a package and suggest I download a trial of it as I already know I could do that, but I would like a your opinion (based on your experience) on the pro's/con's of the package over Lightroom given my typical usage.

My thanks to anybody replying to this. :)
Always learning.

Comments

  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,051Member
    edited January 11
    If you are looking to duplicate all aspects of LR, there isn't much out there. Some are trying, but few are really any good. Maybe Capture 1? Tried it once years ago, but not enough to give any meaningful opinion. If you want good RAW conversion there are a lot of choices. I'm also wanting to kick Adobe to the curb this year when my term ends in February, tired of paying them nearly $200 a year.

    Might just go open source with Darktable or RawTherapee. Two very similar programs, and since they are cross platform that gives my multi-OS life some freedom. While they lack some features or the DAM of LR, the RAW conversion is good enough for how much photography I do now. Might also use them in combination with Nikon's RAW converter as well, even if it is somewhat lacking. I don't use Adobe's catalog system or other disk management features, so that's going to be easy for me. Also Darktable and RawTherapee both also use XMP files, so some, but not all, edits from LR will carry over with no effort on the users part; if you have LR set to save data to XMP files that is.

    Cannot help with PS, don't use it much even though I have it. Maybe 1-1000 images get touched in PS, so I hate paying for it.
    Post edited by PB_PM on
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,136Moderator
    PB_PM said:

    Cannot help with PS, don't use it much even though I have it. Maybe 1-1000 images get touched in PS, so I hate paying for it.

    Yeah, I hate that too.

    You are considerably younger/more geeked up than I so open-sourced whatever is out for me, I just want something off the peg like Capure One or similar.

    My PC is just a tool to me which I just need to work for me - I don't need to have an intimate relationship with the thing!
    Always learning.
  • ggbutcherggbutcher Posts: 281Member
    I post a lot at pixls.us, where both RawTherapee and darktable are discussed, to include ID of bugs for fixing. Quite a few "LR refugees" have shown up looking for alternatives, and they sometimes are flummoxed at not getting a "good" image for a starting point like they did in LR. We have just such a thread going on right now; a few weeks ago something similar with a Capture 1 user.

    I'd say of the two, RawTherapee would provide the easiest transition from LR. Excellent algorithms, more attuned to providing a decent starting point. Particularly, it has an "Auto-Matched Tone Curve" option that takes the JPEG embedded in the raw and calculates a curve that approximates the JPEG, a good way to get a starting point that looks like what you're used to.

    darktable just released 3.0, which introduces a different alternative in the processing workflow, "linear-preserving", if that resonates with your understanding. I understand it has better DAM than RT (second-hand information to me).

    Disclaimer: I don't use either; I wrote my own raw processor. It's available for download, but I don't recommend it generally - akin to driving a manual-transmission, double-clutch truck...

    For a Photoshop equivalent, I use GIMP. Probably same as you, not very often, but as of 2.8 it provides sufficient bit-depth to make quality edits, and the tools are fairly parallel to what PS has. Me, clone and heal are all I really use...

    Hope this helps a bit...
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,051Member

    PB_PM said:

    Cannot help with PS, don't use it much even though I have it. Maybe 1-1000 images get touched in PS, so I hate paying for it.

    Yeah, I hate that too.

    You are considerably younger/more geeked up than I so open-sourced whatever is out for me, I just want something off the peg like Capure One or similar.

    My PC is just a tool to me which I just need to work for me - I don't need to have an intimate relationship with the thing!
    I cannot say I find the open source photo editors to be any more geeked up than LR. Most of the same tools, just with different names sometimes, which is true of all programs I've used over the years. By far the best Photo Editor/DAM I have used was Apple's Aperture, sad day when they let that die, I wish they'd sold it to someone else who could have actually done something with it, made it cross platform so it could grow.
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • retreadretread Posts: 541Member
    edited January 11
    I have never used photoshop except PSE. I recently got capture one and am trying to learn it. Before I was ready for photoshop they went to the monthly payment and that just was not for me.

    I talked to an instructor at a community college and he said some things capture one does better and others photoshop does better.

    I also use DXO photo lab and the NIK collection. The NIK collection works in PSE, photo lab and in capture one. As I learn more things may change.

    I am getting things lined up to fully retire and then go back to school to learn what I am doing wrong. Trying to make the photographer better.

    Post edited by retread on
  • Ton14Ton14 Posts: 517Member
    edited January 12
    When Lightroom 6 was the latest version as a stand alone program I looked to other programs I could use. The extra trigger for me was the split in Lightroom Classic and Lightroom CC, which Adobe made as incompatible, unusable and difficult as possible. Every "upgrade" took too much of my time to figure out what they want, how it should work, but never got what I wanted.

    AI in photography is not for me, there is too much plastic in this world already.
    The first usable program for me was Exposure X4 (Alien Skin), with this program I could do everything I did with Lightroom.

    I used Lightroom from version 1 till CC 2019, which made it very difficult for me to switch to another program. Last year I bought Exposure X4 (€ 89) and used it instead of LR. One of the most important factors for me was the use of "luminosity masks" in a quick and easy way. This function is more or less available in Lightroom and also now in the latest Exposure X5 version.

    I found the Lightroom catalog system increasingly difficult and less useful for me. I no longer used the Adobe cloud system anymore, because my own Synology NAS system works simpler and faster and I am also not dependent on all kinds of grins that someone makes up, sells it as a great update which are useless to me, but are automatic in the update. Only to make more cloud revenue.

    Furthermore, all the functions that I had in LR, I can also do in Exposure X5, with a learning curve of a week. They responded very clearly and quickly to my email questions, if I couldn't find something. The biggest advantages for me was that no catalog and internet connection was needed, so I can also easily organize my photos in Windows using that structure.
    Note: Exposure X5 also has a plugin for PS-CS6 and PS-CC 2015 or newer.

    I only used Photoshop to make compositions.

    I also tried Capture One for 30 days, but € 349.- was too expensive for my normal use, but during black friday it was € 244.- including a free upgrade for version 20, which came 2 weeks later.

    I removed Adobe from my system, which is unfortunately very complicated, took me half a day (Photographylife has a description how to do it). I only work with Capture One version 20 now. For Photoshop-like edits I use Affinity (€ 59.-), currently only combining HDR and panorama photos.

    Briefly my findings from Capture One 20:

    My first step was making a backup on an external 4tb USB drive, it still is stored unused and I made a plan for step by step implementation, but that is the Dutch way, always planning.

    Capture One has the ability to work with a catalog, but you can also work with sessions, I use sessions. The advantage of sessions is that you can copy them and continue on your laptop.

    1. My learning curve was 2 weeks for all the basic actions I did in LR.
    2. I started with "C1 sessions", I always wanted this kind of system.
    3. The C1 interface can be created as you wish, everybody makes his own.
    4. The RAW converter is top.
    5. The luminosity and color masks are amazing and very easy to do on own layers!.
    6. Layers !!! yes, for every detail you want.
    7. Everything is there, curves, levels etc.
    8. They split the "Ëxposure" tab and created a "High Dynamic Range" tab, much better system to manage shadows and highlights, blackpoint and whitepoint are in levels.
    9. Noise reduction is very good, but I hardly need it, due to my Nikon Z6.
    10. Catalogs works simular to LR, you can migrate, my advice learn the system first.
    11. Good and short tutorials available on YouTube, also long ones.
    12. No subscription needed !!, one license for 3 computers.

    After 2 more weeks learning, everything works as I want and for other things I have the rest of my life.

    For my workflow I only use fast SSD's, last year the SSD prices decreased about 50% and it is so much faster. I have what I want, the sessions on my desktop and / or laptop are automatically synchronized with my NAS, so that I can continue working on both and also have backups.

    If you have a IPAD, you can learn "Affinity" on that thing, because there is a IOS version for (don't panic) €18.- , there will be an Android version, but they said that already 2 years ago. Affinity has many things simular as Photoshop, you can use a trial version first.
    Post edited by Ton14 on
    User Ton changed to Ton14, Google sign in did not work anymore
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,136Moderator
    Thanks guys, I appreciate your time and effort replying.

    I like the sound of Affinity and Exposure X5 @Ton14 - do I need both or if one, which one?
    Always learning.
  • Ton14Ton14 Posts: 517Member
    edited January 14
    Exposure X5 is a replacement for Lightroom. I should do the free full working trial for 30 days.

    Affinity is a alternative for Photoshop, but the open source "Gimp", @ggbutcher mentioned is a good alternative for Photoshop, for sure the things we do with Photoshop, maybe it is the best for us, because this open source program is already available for a very long time..
    Post edited by Ton14 on
    User Ton changed to Ton14, Google sign in did not work anymore
  • mhedgesmhedges Posts: 1,368Member
    For "basic" editing I like the Nikon software - it does everything I need it to, and supposedly is the best option for NEF conversion. And it runs well on my fairly low-specced PC.

    It does not do panoramic stitching AFAIK, so you will need something else for that.
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,136Moderator
    OK, thanks guys, I think I have enough info to make my decision now.
    Always learning.
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