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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 16 Oct 2010 (Saturday) 16:03
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Adobe Lightroom 3 vs. Photoshop CS5

 
Aviation ­ Junkie
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Oct 16, 2010 16:03 |  #1

I'm thinking about purchasing one of these. I recently learned that adobe has a student/teacher store where I can get the software 80% off as I am an aviation instructor at an accredited state college.

Pros and cons of each? I mostly do aviation photography but I'm also starting to get into some people stuff. I currently use a photoshop elements 5.0 and not really sure what questions to ask. I do want something that I can use to work on RAW images.

Input appreciated.


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Ugly ­ Joe
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Oct 16, 2010 19:40 |  #2

I've used Photoshop for a number of years, and can tell you that it is highly versatile - CS5 handles .CR2 files without having to download any plugins (I had to install a plugin for CS4 to handle .CR2's from my T1i - not so with CS5).
The Adobe site says Lightroom 3 handles RAW files, and it looks like most, if not all, of Canon's current line of DSLR's are on the supported list.

I believe anything Lightroom can do, Photoshop can do as well - not necessarily the same in reverse. I haven't used Lightroom yet, so I can't tell you if it's simpler than Photoshop to get the results you'll be looking for - but, as you've been using Elements, I'm guessing the learning curve won't be too steep for either one, for you.

Photoshop CS5 has some new tools that make very quick work of tasks that used to be a real pain to accomplish - for me, some of these have made it very well worth the price of the student purchase (I get the student discount).

Personally, I'll choose to use Photoshop over other processing softwares, but that's more than likely due to my familiarity with it than anything else.


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ssim
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Oct 16, 2010 20:57 |  #3

Ugly Joe wrote in post #11110104 (external link)
I've used Photoshop for a number of years, and can tell you that it is highly versatile - CS5 handles .CR2 files without having to download any plugins (I had to install a plugin for CS4 to handle .CR2's from my T1i - not so with CS5).
The Adobe site says Lightroom 3 handles RAW files, and it looks like most, if not all, of Canon's current line of DSLR's are on the supported list.

Lightroom and Photoshop share the same RAW engine. What really differs is their presentation of the functions. Photoshop's Adobe Camera RAW (ACR) is pretty straight forward and doesn't have the fancy UI that Lightroom does. This really boils down to user preference and either one will do a fine job of RAW conversion. Near the end of the life of CS5 you will also see the same thing that Ugly Joe is referring to where Adobe will not provide updates for ACR to support new cameras that are released by the various manufacturers. Up to now Lightroom has continued to provide these updates. If one does choose to go only with Photoshop there is a way around this. Adobe provides a free utility called the DNG converter which allows you to convert your CR2 files to the DNG format which any version of Photoshop/ACR can read. It is really not a big deal, easy to use and then once you have your DNG files the rest of the process is identical.

Adobe is not the only game in town when it comes to RAW conversions. I personally use Capture One Pro by Phase One. It doesn't come cheap but I feel it gives better color (particularly in skin tones) than the Adobe products. However, choosing a RAW converter is a personal choice as the leaders of the pack are all close to each other. It boils down to the user interface and how comfortable you feel with it. If you did a Google search for RAW converters you will see the wide variety of choices.

Ugly Joe wrote in post #11110104 (external link)
I believe anything Lightroom can do, Photoshop can do as well - not necessarily the same in reverse. I haven't used Lightroom yet, so I can't tell you if it's simpler than Photoshop to get the results you'll be looking for - but, as you've been using Elements, I'm guessing the learning curve won't be too steep for either one, for you.

I don't necessarily subscribe to this theory that if Lightroom can do it, Photoshop can. This would be true in the grander scheme of things but not 100%. One of Lightroom's strengths, imo, lies in its cataloging capabilities. This makes finding an image a day, a week, a year from now very simple and efficient. Photoshop's browser, Bridge, can accept key wording but is not a cataloging system. There are many people that feel this is a waste of time, particularly when they first start out in the digital world. After you have tens of thousands of images one certainly appreciates the ability to go and search your database of images to find something that you might have shot a year ago. As with RAW conversions Adobe is not the only game in town though Lightroom does work reasonably well. This chart (external link) provides a good comparison of cataloging systems available and a high level snapshot of what they do.

Lightroom does a number of other things such as being able to produce web galleries, a print module, watermarking your images, etc. All of these can be done with Photoshop and/or complimentary plug ins. I spend most of my time in Photoshop as I don't use Lightroom for conversions. I have a set of actions I developed that will watermark my images and I don't have the requirement currently for the web gallery creation. I find printing from Photoshop to be satisfactory for my requirements.

There is only one person that can tell you which is best for you and that is you yourself. You know your work habits, how much you shoot and if that is in CR2 or JPG format. Both products have trial download periods and I would seriously suggest that you take advantage of this when you have the time to commit to the evaluation.

You will get a number of different opinions here. They will all be accurate and correct for that person. The question is are they are right for you and only you can answer that.


My life is like one big RAW file....way too much post processing needed.
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kingdaddy
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Oct 16, 2010 21:22 |  #4

Lightroom is a database for organizing and doing medium corrections, for a lot of photos it's all you need. PS5 is a serious edition tool for in-depth creative editing, the two are meant to go together and form a pair that does all most ever need or want to do. There in no comparison between the two because their meant to do different things with a good overlap.


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hollis_f
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Oct 17, 2010 06:14 |  #5

I'd go for LR3 and Elements 9. LR is an excellent raw processor and will be able to do over 90% of what you need to do. PSE9 will be able to handle the other 10%.


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JeffreyG
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Oct 17, 2010 07:24 |  #6

I agree with hollis. Unless you are doing heavy pixel level editing on most of your files there is very little reason for most photographers to own the full Photoshop software.

I use LR for my work and 99% of the time it does everything I need.

And when I need to apply some layers to make a major adjustment (mostly when I'm making a poster) I just use Elements.


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lespaulowner
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Oct 17, 2010 08:20 |  #7

I've been working for a studio for the past couple months. What I notice is that L3 is the absolute best for events with NUMEROUS photos. CS5 I've noticed is for people who push the extra mile for their photo and have the extra time. All in all great photo editing programs. If you have the cash, get the CS5, if not, L3 is great!


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bheard1836
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Oct 17, 2010 08:50 as a reply to  @ lespaulowner's post |  #8

I LOVE LR!
I am currently using LR and PSE.
LR does 99% of what I need in PP.
The biggest benefit for me with LR is the workflow. I shoot events frequently and when I brought LR into the picture the time required for my PP was nearly cut in half. LR is a workflow and organization dbase tool that fits my needs like a glove. When I need to do some pixel level editing PSE is just a keyboard shortcut away.




  
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itzcryptic
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Oct 17, 2010 10:22 |  #9

I've used both, and I prefer photoshop. I don't edit large numbers of files heavily, and if I do need to do a lot of photos, I just use DPP that came with the camera.




  
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JWright
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Oct 17, 2010 13:55 as a reply to  @ itzcryptic's post |  #10

Aviation Junkie wrote in post #11109210 (external link)
I'm thinking about purchasing one of these. I recently learned that adobe has a student/teacher store where I can get the software 80% off as I am an aviation instructor at an accredited state college.

Pros and cons of each? I mostly do aviation photography but I'm also starting to get into some people stuff. I currently use a photoshop elements 5.0 and not really sure what questions to ask. I do want something that I can use to work on RAW images.

Input appreciated.

If you are just starting out with processing RAW files, I'd spend some time with Digital Photography Pro (that should have come with your camera.) Then decide if you want to get Lightroom, Photoshop or both.


John

  
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Sparky98
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Oct 17, 2010 19:34 |  #11

I agree with JWright about using DPP, the software that came with your camera, for a while if you haven't already been using it. After installing DPP go to the Canon site and download the latest upgrade and you may find that this is all you need. I use DPP and Photoshop Elements 8 and that serves all my needs but if you need the cataloging abilities of LR3 then that is the way to go.

When shopping for software check out some of the teacher sites, Journeyed.com, is one my wife has used. I don't know what the Adobe prices are but Journeyed has LR3 for about $90 and PSE9 for about $70. I don't remember the price on CS5 but it is heavily discounted.


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JWright
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Oct 17, 2010 19:43 as a reply to  @ Sparky98's post |  #12

Some more observations about Lightroom and Photoshop...

The two do different things. Lightroom has nice features that go a long way towards keep your image collection organized. There are some processing tools built into LR as well, but it doesn't have the power Photoshop does. For instance, you can't make selections or use layers and masks in LR like you can in PS. Photoshop, on the other hand has really cool features, such as the content-aware healing brush, fill and scaling.

The two work together seamlessly. You can go directly from one to the other with a minimum of fuss.


John

  
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neilwood32
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Oct 18, 2010 07:58 |  #13

My personal choice was using CS4 (not worked up to CS5 yet).

I decided that LR was too much for organising my photos - I shoot as a hobby so don't have such a huge catalogue that I need specific software for organising it (bridge in CS4 does quite an adequate job for me)

I made the decision that I wanted the image editing with a bit of organising (CS4 with bridge) as opposed to organising with a little editing (LR). Buying both just wasn't an option financially.

DPP is a very good starting point for a cheaper (free) alternative though


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Mark_Cohran
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Oct 18, 2010 09:56 |  #14

I actually find the two programs complement each other. Lightroom provides me with cataloging funtionality along with terrific search and retrieval capability. I use Lightroom for my global corrections - color, sharpening, cropping, raw conversion, and some retouching. If that's all I need, then editing is complete and I can export the image right then. But, if pixel level retouching is required, which is usually is since I primarily do people photography, then CS5 is a must since Lightroom simply doesn't have that degree of capability.


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hollis_f
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Oct 18, 2010 10:59 |  #15

Mark_Cohran wrote in post #11118706 (external link)
But, if pixel level retouching is required, which is usually is since I primarily do people photography, then CS5 is a must

CS5, or another pixel-editor. I'm sure for most people CS5 is total overkill and that something smaller and cheaper would suffice.


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Adobe Lightroom 3 vs. Photoshop CS5
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