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Still Crazy
You say you want resolution? The whole world is watching these digicams.


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Old October 11th, 2006, 12:25 PM   #1
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Software for RAw?

Okay this is a newbie quetion for the digital Still world. Do you need a special software to work with Raw pictures? I just bought a Nikon D70 and planned to shoot weddings. I would like to shoot using RAW instead of JPEGs but not sure if I needed an additional software specifically for RAW files. Is Adobe Photoshop okay?
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Old October 11th, 2006, 12:41 PM   #2
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This is a difficult question; the right answer is a matter of style. Photographers who do a lot of retouching will want to own the latest version of Photoshop. Those who only make minor tweaks might be better advised to get something like Lightroom or Aperture.

Since you are a beginner, I presume you will not need the full power of Photoshop and, accordingly, will advise you to get Adobe Lightroom (especially since it is free right now!) if you have Windows, and Apple Aperture if you have OSX.
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Old October 11th, 2006, 05:47 PM   #3
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I still use RAWShooter. Unfortunately, Adobe bought and killed it.

Adobe Photoshop by itself processing raw I find slow in workflow. I guess that is why they brought in Lightroom -- which I have yet to try.
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Old October 11th, 2006, 08:51 PM   #4
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I should preface this post with a note: I'm not a pro photographer, although I have some decent gear and am trying to get into photography more (I do mostly video) I am all about RAW photos, I've used my D200 maybe once in JPEG, I love the ways I can change my picture with RAW with minimal loss in image quality.

I use Aperture for basic processing (the most recent updates to Aperture are VERY nice IMHO) such as exposure, sharpness, white balance, and some other very minor color stuff. Then I export my images into Photoshop CS2 for other more involved touch-ups. The really nice thing about Aperture is that it has full support for exporting directly into Photoshop and will instantly (well, almost) show the updates in Aperture so you can see a comparision to the original. I've used Lightroom (it is also available on OSX) and its good, just seems like very much a work in process.
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Old October 11th, 2006, 10:55 PM   #5
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I'm using Adobe Capture Raw's latest BETA version for my D80.
After I bring the files into ACR and make sure my settings are right, I tweak the image just enough to make it pop, occasionally adjusting the color temp. and subtle adjustments to the curves then save as a .psd, and from there do all the major mojo in Photoshop and not save as a jpeg until I'm going to the web with it, or if I'm making a small print. All other prints are flattened uncompressed tiffs.
I don't ever shoot jpeg anymore, unless I'm working with my little point and shoot, which only offers jpeg.
One complaint I have about ACR and Photoshop in general is that there is no real effective noise reduction in it. They give the option, but it's not nearly as good as the other programs that specialize in it.
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Old November 26th, 2006, 11:31 AM   #6
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Billy:
If you are gonna start doing pro work (weddings)I will advise you to get Photoshop CS2 right from the beginning.

CS2 is so good in highlights reproduction (whites...think gown) it gives you the BEST results even better than Nikon's own Capture 4 Software which overblowns the highlights when you want to have shadow detail as well. (dark faces,black tuxedo)...

I process thousands of photos a year and very seldom I need anything else than CS2...you cant go wrong with it.

Cesar Rubio.
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Old November 27th, 2006, 01:28 AM   #7
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As a Nikon user I'd suggest trying out as many as you can. I currently use: PS CS2, Nikon NX, Bibble Pro, & Aperture. I worked with Lightroom, which I liked but it's to far behind right now. I found the Aperture update is very nice if your on a Mac. Overall teh CS2 is a "go to"
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Old November 27th, 2006, 09:12 AM   #8
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I forgot to mention this:

Dont think that you can buy Photoshop Elements and "save" some money. (It can process RAW files too)

I have compared the output of both CS2 vs E3 and the results are much better in CS2...in Elements you get what you pay for...probably for a non pro person is OK.

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Old December 16th, 2006, 12:12 AM   #9
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Over in the dpreview.com Nikon D2 forum, the opinion is that Nikon Capture offers better color than CS2. I have both programs and prefer to do all NEF processing in Nikon Capture 4.4 (NC4). The program is simple for exactly the workflow required: adjust exposure compensation, white balance, contrast, sharpening and covert to TIF or JPEG. I shoot NEF+JPEG basic, cull/sort in JPG, then adjust each NEF in NC4. The simplicity of NC4 REALLY helps my workflow.

I wish NC4 had better cropping and resizing tools, so that's where Photoshop batch processing comes in.
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Old December 16th, 2006, 02:34 AM   #10
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Hi there

I just got a Canon 30D and it came with it's own software "Digital Photo Professional 2.2" to process RAW pictures (downloadable off their site too). I'm sure Nikon has an analogue software available.

While I have a version of Photoshop that will do it, this dedicated software is faster and easy to use.

However even for weddings IMHO you are better off shooting Hi Res Jpgs. RAW files take up loads of disk space and needs extra processing...At a given wedding you'll be shooting lots of frames... it all adds up to extra time, which is money, more CF cards to manage etc... for a public who won't notice any difference.

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Gareth
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Old December 16th, 2006, 10:49 AM   #11
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Gints:
I am not saying that NC4 is a bad program, I actually like it for the simplicity that you mentioned, but It has problems reproducing whites like for example brides dresses...they look to "bright" and with certain "yellowness" overall. I dont know if this is due to the RGB color space that I select for shooting my RAW files.


Gareth:
I can shoot more that 650 RAW+Jpeg images with a 4GB CF Sandisk Extreme III on my Nikon D70s and they are recorded pretty fast.
With a 6MP camera like the D70s I can make beautiful 20x30" prints....Thats why I don't buy the "more pixels are better" kind of publicity from camera manufacturers to sell at a premium price...
The D70s its NOT an "amateur" camera like some people say....its the photographer who is professional or amateur.

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