Photo Editor Software and Lens Filter Suggestions

Joe

Well-Known Member
I just picked up a MacBook Pro with Retina and am trying to figure out which photo editor would be best for me. What I basically need is something that allows me to adjust levels and lighting, brightness and contrast, color, straighten and crop, resize and sharpen. I typically don't go artsy (HDR, vignetting, RAW processing), but I would like to have the capability for it. Until now I've always had Windows PCs, and for years I've been happy with Ulead (now Corel) PhotoImpact, but there doesn't seem to be a version available for Mac.

iPhoto seems okay for managing photos and making adjustments, but it doesn't give me the amount of control PhotoImpact did. Aperture looks to be a step up from that, but still doesn't look like it'll do everything I want it to (at least the way I want it to).

Other options I've been considering are Adobe Lightroom ($150) and Photoshop Elements ($70). Photoshop CS6 at $700 is out of the question. From what I've read, Adobe is working on updates for CS6 and Lightroom to support the Retina display, without plans for Elements in the immediate future, which is steering me towards Lightroom.

I've also come across Gimp and GimpShop, which are free, but I figured I'd see if anyone here has used them before I install. Lastly, I could always use BootCamp or Parallels to run Windows and install PhotoImpact there.

On another topic and probably deserving of its own thread, I'm looking into trying lens filters for the first time... mainly ND (neutral density) to be able to use slower shutter speeds during the day (for prop and motion blur) without having to use a tiny aperture (and deal with diffraction as a result), but I'm also wondering if anybody here uses UV or polarizing filters and has any recommendations.
 

bike21

9-5 Ruins Lives
Lightroom all the way. Covers probably 90% of my editing.

All of the above for filters. I have a variety of polarizers and ND filters. Start with ND4 or 8 for good all around effects. Also if not already, I buy a UV filter for every lens I get. Cheap protection and minimum loss of quality for most of my shooting.
 

deadpixel

Well-Known Member
I would second the new version of lightroom, great software with a bunch of great tools. I have a UV filters for all of my lenses for cheap protection, but I'm planning on getting some ND filters quite soon!
 

Murdoughnut

Well sized member
A third for Lightroom. Are you a student anywhere? Sometimes they give a student/faculty discount. I got it for $80 using my faculty discount.
 

drunkenbeagle

Gang Member
Filters are a necessity to get what you want out of a camera. Polarizer, Grad ND, ND are a must. You can get away without the warming/cooling filters with WB, but gels to color correct flash are still a must. 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4 CTO, CTB & UV, you can get the "strobist samle kit" from Midwest Photo Express pretty cheap, cut them up and velcro to you flashes.

I personally use GIMP (layers/curves/color temp), it does most of what PhotoShop does, though the interface is a bit different. It is free though, and I like free.
 

ShyFlyer

CAP Member
I've been using Photoshop Elements for quite a while. I'm happy with it though since I'm largely self-taught, I'm probably not using it to it's fullest potential.

I've also used PhotoScape. It's free and does a good job as well.

A UV filter is a must have item. Think of it as safety glasses, but for your lens. Cheap protection. I have a circular polarizer too, but I forget I have it most of the time and it's stayed in my camera bag for a long time. Actually, I'm not even sure I have it anymore.
 

PositionAndHold

Well-Known Member
While I haven't been into it long at all, I'm digging aperture so far. I just make small adjustments to WB/exposure/contrast etc. It takes a while to get used to but didn't seem as complicated as the times I've tried to use PS. I have no experience with Lightroom.
 

moxiepilot

Well-Known Member
Im a Gimp man myself. Been using it for years, has all the functionality of Adobe Photoshop and it's free...
 

Joe

Well-Known Member
Thanks for all the advice... I'm using the 30-day trial of Lightroom right now and still getting the hang of it. It seems to be doing what I want it to, but I'm missing PhotoImpact. I'll be trying Gimp before I fork over the cash for the real version.
 

TUCKnTRUCK

That guy
50$ a month gets you access to all of adobe's software... ( creative cloud). Color filters on a digital camera are nearly worthless unless you are setting custom WB. Just shoot raw.

Use the minimal number of filters you can. I'm not a proponent of UV filters. I keep lens hoods on mine, and I've never lost a lens because of it - but I also carry insurance on my gear-

For graduated filters get square sheet /panel versions. Do not get screw in ones, otherwise your filter will dictate your framing.

I use b+w mrc screw in filters, and lee filters for everything else.

Lightroom is a waste if you are not shooting RAW... (Fix that!)
 

drunkenbeagle

Gang Member
50$ a month gets you access to all of adobe's software... ( creative cloud). Color filters on a digital camera are nearly worthless unless you are setting custom WB. Just shoot raw.
You can make WB (Color) changes on JPEG's too.

While setting WB on the camera largely replaces the need for filters on lenses to balance lighting, you still need them on flashes (called gels in that case)
 

TUCKnTRUCK

That guy
You can make WB (Color) changes on JPEG's too.

While setting WB on the camera largely replaces the need for filters on lenses to balance lighting, you still need them on flashes (called gels in that case)
on jpegs you can only make temperature changes, its not quite as easy to work with mixed lighting. New digital cameras tie the metering results to AF modes, esp. in servo to assist the focus system in object tracking, lots also use full color metering now, and will sometimes bump the results to match the even palate that the camera wants. If you shoot AWB with a color filter now, you will end up with almost no change to the image, with greater possibiliy of noise in the color bands opposite of the filter color. ( I.E if you put a orange filter on, more noise may be present in blue shades).

not sure what you shoot, but, the new canon 600ex-rt, and to a similar extent, the canon 580exii, and 430exii will transmit flash color data to the camera which helps in auto WB modes... but, if you use a warming cto to match tungsten, or sunsets etc, can throw off the WB setting of the camera, and skew the results slightly ( the camera is expecting flash light to be a different color than it is)

If you are going to use color filters on a digital camera, I STRANGLY reccomend shooting a grey card, or using an expodisk to set a WB temperature you want. This way, the CTO/filter will produce the results you want, consistently. I never use direct flash, so i carry white,silver and gold panels for the flash rather than CTO's, but then i can use the panel as a reflector - makes it a bit dual purpose.

Whatever you do, don't use cheap best buy filters. If you spend $$$ on a lens, putting a $0.30 piece of glass in front of it will destroy the results, indroduce artificial glare, and kill contrast.

Really though, once you get used to editing raw, the additional level of control it gives is awesome, and you will almost hate going back to jpegs.
 
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