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Looking for photo editing software recommendation

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#1 ultrainfra

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Posted 10 January 2021 - 10:09

Hello all,

Not sure if this is really appropriate to post here or not, but it's the closest to an 'off topic' section I see. Lately I have become rather frustrated with the software I have for photo editing. Each is missing one or more features that I'd like to have as part of my workflow. I would be using it for more than just UV photos

Darktable
- Lacks DCP profile support. If DT had this, it'd be perfect for my needs.

Rawtherapee
- Lacks any sort of masking features or layering.

Skylum Luminar 4
- This software is kind of a joke, in my opinion. While it has masking, layering, and DCP support, it often doesn't recognize raw files as raw which prevents applying one. In other words, it acts as if undemosaiced raw files are demosaiced. This holds true regardless of whether or not it is in the DNG format, and it's not specific to a particular camera. I'm not the only one to experience this, and Skylum has kept promising to fix it in an incremental update but never do. There are other bugs as well, and the program is just slow doing basic things even when your computer exceeds the recommended specs. If anyone uses this software and has encountered and somehow fixed this, let me know what you did please!

ON1 Photo Raw 2021
- Actually really like this, but it lacks DCP support. If it had DCP support it would be a happy median between Luminar and Darktable.

Lightroom
-I won't pay for software subscriptions.

Does anyone have any recommendations for an editor that supports dcp files?

Edited by ultrainfra, 10 January 2021 - 10:48.


#2 colinbm

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Posted 10 January 2021 - 10:46

Most of us use Photo Ninja for processing UV photos....

#3 nfoto

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Posted 10 January 2021 - 11:17

Photo Ninja, either on its own or working in an ecosystem including Capture NX-D, RawTherapee, and others, plus either a version of PhotoShop or similar will suffice most needs. Various camera brands typically provide their own (scaled down) versions of conversion software, often for free.

Photo Ninja can often process RAW files from cameras unknown to the actual program version. I utilise this convenient "feature" (whether it's by design or serendipity) a lot running by older PN versions on my Linux boxes. That way I don't use up licenses from the latest PN installed on my Windows computers.

PhotoShop versions up to CS6 are still available, if you search for them. They require no subscription.

#4 Bernard Foot

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Posted 10 January 2021 - 11:48

And don't forget GIMP, a freeware product that is similar in scope to Photoshop Elements. You can link it to things like RawTherapee and DarkTable, so that they handle the initial RAW processing and then you can use Layers, etc., in GIMP. (I believe Photoshop Elements does a similar thing.)
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#5 nfoto

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Posted 10 January 2021 - 11:54

I long shied away from GIMP as it was 8-bit only, but the new version 2.8(?) is now capable of handling larger bit depths.However, the learning curve is *steep*. For now I keep to PhotoShop.

#6 Cadmium

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Posted 10 January 2021 - 12:00

Photo Ninja is what I white balance with and adjust other things with.
I use to use CNX2 and NX-D, but I have gotten more use to Ninja, and I find it gives me the best results.
I still use Photoshop too, but everything goes through Ninja first.

Edited by Cadmium, 10 January 2021 - 12:01.


#7 ultrainfra

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Posted 10 January 2021 - 14:17

View Postnfoto, on 10 January 2021 - 11:54, said:

I long shied away from GIMP as it was 8-bit only, but the new version 2.8(?) is now capable of handling larger bit depths.However, the learning curve is *steep*. For now I keep to PhotoShop.

GIMP now handles 16 & 32 bit files, both as floating point and as integer. The current verison is 2.10.22. I have been using GIMP for a while and have several plug ins (GMIC, NIK Collection, Darktable, Rawtherapee, and many more as well as various scripts and other user-created plugins). The GUI is very close to Photoshop's own, not sure what it used to be like but when I've seen Photoshop videos on youtube I generally feel like I could jump straight into photoshop without skipping a beat. That being said without all the add ons I have it would be much more limited, but I think it would be easy for a photoshop user to use.

From what I am seeing it doesn't look like photo ninja takes DNG profiles (DCP), correct?

It may be that I use Rawtherapee for the demosaicing and assigning a DCP, export to TIFF, and edit those in darktable, luminar, or gimp as needed. I just want to settle on a consistent workflow. Was hoping to just use one program but oh well. The reason I am particular about the DNG profiles is that they are a lot more flexible than ICC. They look better, too. I got a color checker for Christmas, and I am fond of Lumariver Profile Designer, and I have to say it's been interesting going back to old visible light photos and revisiting them with the calibrated colors. Anyway, thanks for the input everyone

#8 dabateman

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Posted 10 January 2021 - 15:34

Try Art, a fork of Raw therapee that has local editing:
https://bitbucket.or...o/art/wiki/Home

Luminar 3 is much better than Luminar 4 if you can get a license.
https://robertreiser...ed-photography/

I will later read the rest of the above. But these are my first 2 suggestions.

I have tested a whole bunch of software.

My newest test is iWE:
https://www.dpreview.../thread/4545128

Which breaks a photo down to its individual wave components. Extremely powerful, but very fine changes has significant impact.

Lightzone breaks a photo down into the lighting zone system and is great. I even bought it way before it became free. But can introduce errors in demosacing.

#9 Andy Perrin

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Posted 10 January 2021 - 15:52

View Postultrainfra, on 10 January 2021 - 14:17, said:

GIMP now handles 16 & 32 bit files, both as floating point and as integer. The current verison is 2.10.22. I have been using GIMP for a while and have several plug ins (GMIC, NIK Collection, Darktable, Rawtherapee, and many more as well as various scripts and other user-created plugins). The GUI is very close to Photoshop's own, not sure what it used to be like but when I've seen Photoshop videos on youtube I generally feel like I could jump straight into photoshop without skipping a beat. That being said without all the add ons I have it would be much more limited, but I think it would be easy for a photoshop user to use.

From what I am seeing it doesn't look like photo ninja takes DNG profiles (DCP), correct?

It may be that I use Rawtherapee for the demosaicing and assigning a DCP, export to TIFF, and edit those in darktable, luminar, or gimp as needed. I just want to settle on a consistent workflow. Was hoping to just use one program but oh well. The reason I am particular about the DNG profiles is that they are a lot more flexible than ICC. They look better, too. I got a color checker for Christmas, and I am fond of Lumariver Profile Designer, and I have to say it's been interesting going back to old visible light photos and revisiting them with the calibrated colors. Anyway, thanks for the input everyone
Photo Ninja has its own profiling built in. I don't think you need DCPs.

#10 dabateman

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Posted 10 January 2021 - 16:38

You didn't say what camera or cameras you have. That will impact the best raw converter. As Sigma's own painful software is still the best for their sensors. Photivo comes close, but not the best.
https://photivo.bouc...s/Download.html

Nikon and Canon raws are easier to develop than Fuji, Olympus and Panasonic.

I haven't used photo Ninja yet. But pretty much every other software to the point where I don't edit anything and just typically resize straight out of camera images in IrfanView, as overwhelmed by all the options.

Photoscape X might be my favorite though.

Update, just read the newest lightzone verslion 4.2.2, can be installed on my Raspberry pi camera. I have to test that out.

https://software.ope...ckage=lightzone

Edited by dabateman, 10 January 2021 - 17:16.


#11 UlfW

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Posted 10 January 2021 - 20:26

It is also important to know what operating system you are running as some programs are only available for a specific OS
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#12 ultrainfra

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Posted 10 January 2021 - 20:29

View Postdabateman, on 10 January 2021 - 16:38, said:

You didn't say what camera or cameras you have. That will impact the best raw converter. As Sigma's own painful software is still the best for their sensors. Photivo comes close, but not the best.
https://photivo.bouc...s/Download.html

Nikon and Canon raws are easier to develop than Fuji, Olympus and Panasonic.

I haven't used photo Ninja yet. But pretty much every other software to the point where I don't edit anything and just typically resize straight out of camera images in IrfanView, as overwhelmed by all the options.

Photoscape X might be my favorite though.

Update, just read the newest lightzone verslion 4.2.2, can be installed on my Raspberry pi camera. I have to test that out.

https://software.ope...ckage=lightzone


I have a canon point and shoot using CHDK and an olympus, though the quality of the conversion isnt my issue.



View Postdabateman, on 10 January 2021 - 15:34, said:

Try Art, a fork of Raw therapee that has local editing:
https://bitbucket.or...o/art/wiki/Home

Luminar 3 is much better than Luminar 4 if you can get a license.
https://robertreiser...ed-photography/

I will later read the rest of the above. But these are my first 2 suggestions.

I have tested a whole bunch of software.

My newest test is iWE:
https://www.dpreview.../thread/4545128

Which breaks a photo down to its individual wave components. Extremely powerful, but very fine changes has significant impact.

Lightzone breaks a photo down into the lighting zone system and is great. I even bought it way before it became free. But can introduce errors in demosacing.


I have lightzone as well, it was kind of slow and I don't think it had dng profile support, but otherwise was pretty neat.

Edited by ultrainfra, 10 January 2021 - 21:23.


#13 dabateman

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Posted 10 January 2021 - 21:20

Reading the newest color checker software it may produce either ICC or dcp files:
https://www.xrite.co...ibration_v2_1_0

That would allow you to use Affinity photo or Capture one as options.


I have many Olympus cameras and find RawTherapee/Art to work the best with the raws. As the two green channels are different. But I might prefer the work flow of photoscape x. I also own Affinity photo and need to learn it.

So many software options just put the breaks on editing. I need to just settle on a work flow too.

#14 ultrainfra

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Posted 10 January 2021 - 22:48

View Postdabateman, on 10 January 2021 - 21:20, said:

Reading the newest color checker software it may produce either ICC or dcp files:
https://www.xrite.co...ibration_v2_1_0

That would allow you to use Affinity photo or Capture one as options.


I have many Olympus cameras and find RawTherapee/Art to work the best with the raws. As the two green channels are different. But I might prefer the work flow of photoscape x. I also own Affinity photo and need to learn it.

So many software options just put the breaks on editing. I need to just settle on a work flow too.

I was just thinking, the extra flexibility in raw files comes from the higher bit depth + the ability to adjust the color profile via ICC or DCP, right? I am thinking after the image is demosaiced, color profile assigned, and white balance set, one would not lose out on the afforded flexibility by exporting to a 16 bit tiff once those are set and continuing editing in a different program.

The choice of software really is overwhelming. Darktable and Rawtherapee really are fantastic. Darktable especially I find to be extremely competitive with paid options. Just wish it had DNG profile support, but it seems that Darktable has its own color calibrating system built in much like Photo Ninja. However in the middle of typing this I tried it out, and am less than impressed. May be due to bad lighting as I lack access to a D50 or D55 light source at the moment. Seems every bulb in the house is around 2800K-3200K except the fluorescent tube bulbs in the kitchen ceiling

#15 Andy Perrin

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Posted 11 January 2021 - 04:40

I don't think you can use any kind of LED or fluorescent as a color calibration lamp because the distribution of wavelengths is wrong (they have very spiky spectra). Much better to use an actual tungsten bulb at least, or genuine sunshine.

#16 Cadmium

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Posted 11 January 2021 - 06:49

I think you will be very happy with Photo Ninja, if you want to spend the money on it, once you get use to it, like any software.
I recommend it, White balances great!
If you want something free, and you have a Nikon camera, then use NX-D. It will not sample as large of any area for WB, but it works.
If you don't have that already, and you have a Nikon camera, then just get it first for now.
If you have Nikon, then those two programs, no question.
I would get Ninja, and be done with it.

Edited by Cadmium, 11 January 2021 - 06:50.


#17 Stefano

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Posted 11 January 2021 - 11:51

View PostAndy Perrin, on 11 January 2021 - 04:40, said:

I don't think you can use any kind of LED or fluorescent as a color calibration lamp because the distribution of wavelengths is wrong (they have very spiky spectra). Much better to use an actual tungsten bulb at least, or genuine sunshine.
I don't think he has one, I am just saying it, but if you have a very high CRI LED, like 95 or even 98, can you use it for that kind of calibration?

#18 Andy Perrin

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Posted 11 January 2021 - 18:04

Stefano, yeah, that would probably work, but I doubt anything around the house would do it!

Actual blue sky sunny days are not so rare in most locations that you can't use the cheap low-tech solution, though.

Edited by Andy Perrin, 11 January 2021 - 18:05.


#19 ultrainfra

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Posted 11 January 2021 - 23:42

View PostAndy Perrin, on 11 January 2021 - 04:40, said:

I don't think you can use any kind of LED or fluorescent as a color calibration lamp because the distribution of wavelengths is wrong (they have very spiky spectra). Much better to use an actual tungsten bulb at least, or genuine sunshine.

Currently the bulbs in the house are tungsten, except for the kitchen ceiling light. Accidentally picked up tungsten bulbs last time I bought some. I actually didn't realize it until I turned on my camera and was like, "huh, these LED bulbs sure do make an awful lot of near infrared light compared to the old ones". Then I looked at the box of bulbs and see "incandescent". I had meant to get LEDs, but I must have put the wrong box back on the shelf. I know, interesting story right

View PostAndy Perrin, on 11 January 2021 - 18:04, said:

Stefano, yeah, that would probably work, but I doubt anything around the house would do it!

Actual blue sky sunny days are not so rare in most locations that you can't use the cheap low-tech solution, though.

It's been cloudy a lot lately where I live. Of course I can make dng profiles for any lighting condition, be it tungesten, fluorescent, cloudy, etc, but still waiting for a clear sky day so I can go out when the color temperature should be approximately 5000-5500. For the StdA lighting condition the tungsten bulbs should work, but still need a proper daylight shot. Of course, for UV photography and infrared this is not so important but I still would like to have good profiles for VIS photos.

#20 dabateman

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Posted 12 January 2021 - 06:12

I too have a colorchecker, but I haven't dived into making profiles for all my cameras under all my various lights using all my various filters and different lenses, as that matrix already seems uncontrollably large.

However, I think this series of websites will be extremely beneficial for you:
https://www.babelcol..._v192_CCP2_data

From page 3 the only free now software that seems to do a match reference calibration is Picture Windows pro. Old version 7 became free and the new version 8 is free:

https://www.dl-c.com/

Might be worth looking into. The interface reminded me of Windows 98.

Actually version 8 has some very powerful IR correction tools:
https://www.dl-c.com/Downloads.html

Edited by dabateman, 12 January 2021 - 06:36.