So what tools do I use for various photographic jobs:
- I take RAW images from the D100. These have been processed in Phase One's Capture One LE. Pretty good and very reasonably priced. It does all I can ask of it for RAW processing. No library features, and is a straight RAW editor. Has a very good feature to do a rough conversion to jpg. Very useful when the wife wants to see what pictures I've taken.
- Recently though I have started to use the Adobe Lightroom, just coming out of beta now, this has a very good interface. Browsing images is very nice, and can work not just with RAW but other formats we well. Not quite got to grips with the curves here, and I think it needs some reasonably procesing power.Capture One seems better at doing bulk image handling. No difference in output quality as far as I can see.
- Image manipulation, and I only do very basic stuff realy was done in Photoshop Elements 2. Now that I use Lightroom/Capture One, all that Elments does is to crop, rotate, compression of JPGs for web use, and converting formats.Elements 2 is missing 16bit support, plus curves and the channel mixer. Something that is offered by Earthbound Light
- Recently I was given as a present PaintShopPro X. Not used this a lot, but is looking good. I need to adapt from the Photoshop terminology and interfaces.
- For output, I use QImage. A great little program for solely printing. It's interface does take some getting used to, but after that it is great for getting things exactly where you want them, and the exact size. Please do work with this program and read the tutorials. Not be put off by the interface!
- For catloging images, and keeping a track of what I've got IMatch DB is great. Nothing else quite comes close; it has the ability to handle a massive collection of images. Plus it handles the ability to take a set of images, say from one shoot and move them to offline storage.
- I will confess that I am also now using Picasa to browse the images that are on my harddrive. It is set to only look at the RAW images, so it is great for looking at my recent work. It is fast and slick. Also it is great for other members of the family to browse the images I have recently taken.
- Some landscapes really do have to be taken with a panorama to do them justice. Not having a X-Pan to hand I use Panorama Factory - A great program that produces some stunning results
- To produce DVD images, ProShowGold is pretty good.Very easy to use, and work through. Have found a couple of defects in this, and it doesn't have short-keys for the functions. Means a lot of mouse use for a large presentation, but the options within it are unrivaled.
- For web galleries JAlbum is brilliant. It has produce mh-white.com for example. It is very easy to use and has some great submitted skins for to generate some good sites.
- Flickr is now starting to appear in my list of tools (look up Calanais as a user and that's me)
Any planned changes? Well Paint Shop Pro may well take over from Elements. I have tried to use GIMP, with the Photoshop look and feel. But it just not worked for me. Picutre Window Pro was looking promising, but never got the time to do it justice.