reading the RGB numbers. With which you agree. As do i.
I really don't care about numbers except 255 at least when I'm doing the initial web gallery processing.
I just finished processing 19,500 files shot with daylight, mixed light, strobe, hmi and various ambient lights, even mercury vapours with the 1ds3 50%, d700 35%, Lecia M8 10%, p30+ 5% and after testing and trying all the convertors from dpp, Nik, RD, Lightroom 2 and c1. 4.5 processed all the initial files to jpegs for web galleries using c1 4.5.2
Overall I have mixed feelings about 4.5. First it processes skin tone and the Canon Nikon files very well, once you change the default sharpness and noise reudction sliders (which are way, way off in default) and it processes very nice, very fast. Even under some very complex mix lighting, it holds up well. For the few high rez files I've processed for retouching at 300% it makes incredible files with a lot of depth and a great start for the retouchers to go to work.
The usability is somewhat cumbersome. It was stable though not rock stable like 3.7, as it seems to get sluggish after about a 1/2 day of work (remember these are huge sessions of 2,000 to 3,000 files each session) and the interface is somewhat overcomplicated compared to lightroom. Why there is no large Sync or Rest button on 4.5 is beyTond me. I assume Phase wants you to work with quick keys, but under deadline and working very late simplicity matters.
Also there is some other bugs like reading the default and shot to wb of the various cameras. Sometimes it reads what was shot, sometimes it doesn't and sometimes it requires a manual setting to revert back to neutral. As I've mentioned before the noise sliders are way too sensitive and on the Canon files especially, take sharpness down to almost nothing, because it looks liek 4.5 already has a lot of built in sharpening.
Processing to jpegs on 4.5 is ultra fast on an 8 core macpro, something like 1 second a file, if that for very high rez it's just a few seconds a file.
What 4.5 is really missing is single channel corrections, even made up colors like lightroom orange correction or the ability to change the rgb channels like Raw developer. Actually it needs both.
For almost every session I used the color editor and it works like semi works but ranges from global across most of the image, or if you move the smoothness sensitivity down it has little effect. Once again, I can't urge Phase enough to offer single or multiple color corrections that require less effort. The variations menu, kind of like Alien Skin or some of the other plug ins somewhat works, but really has no useful effect that I could tell.
Actually the process and preview of the variations works well, it's just the presets are kind of basic like color pop, or blue tone, but if someone wrote some real film looking profiles they would have a lot more use.
The skin tone thing honey warm or whatever they are called never worked with any of my files, except for one session of 10 files out of 19,000.
This project had a lot of files and a lot of different light sources with 4 different cameras (really most just the Nikon and Canon) but when you work 19,000 files you learn a lot. 4.5 does produce a very nice image but once again, you have to go all over the place to really fine tune it. Color editor, white balance, tint movement, expsoure, contrast all need adjustment and sometimes a lot of adjustment for every shoot session and you can never apply a setting from a Canon file to a Nikon file of vice-versa.
I also learned how different all of these cameras see a subject. You can tune them to match, but out of the box, the Canon to Nikon, to Leica to Phase are as different as night a day. You can almost be positive that if a file looks beautiful out of the can on a Nikon it will start out awful on the Canon and once again vice versa.
It also illustrates how these different cameras focus. I finally learned in shooting this project if the subject is completely stationary (and you have a truck load of light) use the Phase, if it's slightly moving use the Canon, if the subject is really moving, or even more than slightly moving use the Nikon (if the shot is just for me I used the Leica).
The Nikon focus is a trillion times more accurate than the Canons 1ds3's. Regardless of servo or one shot, manual or auto, the Nikons focus if off the scale accurate the Canons are almost a bracket focus type of shoot, especially if your close to wide open.
Also I learned that when it comes to focus megapixels just don't matter. All things equal locked down with a lot of light obvously the Phase will have more depth and detail than the Canons (though not that jaw dropping difference, but a difference), but going from 31mpx, to 21, to 12 to 10 (on the leica) a 12mpx nikon file in tight focus makes a 21mpx slightly soft canon file look challanged.
Same with low light and high iso noise. The Canons up to about 400 are quite good, but anything past that the Nikon looks more detailed in real world viewing. Shoot at Canon at 800 iso the Nikon at 1000 iso and the Nikon file and process them out to the same size and of the same subject the Nikon will look more detailed.
4.5 is good software, makes great skin tones, uprezzes well, but in the end of working this many files, it really needs some simple rethink of the interface and please Phase put in some single channel color corrections and a very large syn reset button that actually resets back to zero.
Also in close pixel peeping detail, the 4.5 does have a quote-un quote film look. In my late night haze I compared some Canon files to some scanned film I had on a drive and when adjusted, the noise sliders the files grain structure in 4.5 looks like film much more so than lightroom which either is very smooth or rough. I had one difficult but beautiful session we shot in almost total darkness and I never could get lightroom to work it without huge nosie issues or huge smoothing issues and 4.5 did it much better, though still took a lot of adjustments.
What I would really like to see is the interface of lightroom (and the stability) and the processing speed and skin tone color of 4.5 in one software.