I need some help...
I went to Italy a couple weeks ago and have a collection of images to process from my D3x where I want outstanding quality. I am a LR user, and just upgraded from the 2.3 beta to the full 2.3 today. I also have NX2, RPP, Raw Developer, and a trial version of CO. However, I only know how to use LR and ACR well. Quick explorations with the other programs convinced me that it is a significant time investment to learn how to use them well, although I had some good success with my D3 images and near default settings from RPP.
Many of these new images require some sort of processing to leverage the D3x dynamic range: The histogram in LR develop is pegged at both ends, but I can pull it in with the exposure and recovery knobs. If I were going to stick with LR and ACR I will use HDR to get bright skies and dark mountain shadows all within the dynamic range a print or screen could handle.
1. Invest time in learning more about one of these other conversion programs, maybe insert Photomatix, and then follow the tiff flow in LR?
2. Stick with LR and Photomatix when needed?
Any advice is welcome. I have quite a few images to process, so if you tell me to use NX2 I will not be happy...
Thanks very much,
I envy you, I use a D3. This is what I have found with D3 files and, from what I hear, it is no different with D3X files.
I find CO1 Pro gets more shadow detail than LR2. So, I've added CO1 Pro (now using V4.6.3) to my workflow: CO1(export as tifs)>LR2>PS/plugins/Photomatix. I prefer to print out of LR2. LR3 is suppose to add color proofing, so, that will be one less round trip to PS. Adobe just released ACR 5.3 and LR2 ver. 2.3, so, I need to see if these handle D3 files any better.
CO1 is a learning experience. I used ver 3 years ago, so, ver 4 is different, but, not overwhelming. The problem for new users is the lack of documentation (books like you find for PS or LR). There is a Capture U blog that has training courses, but, I think it cost over $100 to join.
Will you be happy? That is the question. I think you will be frustrated in the beginning with CO1 until you get its workflow and you will need to invest some time learning it. I guess the answer to your happiness is whether the frustration and time is worth the image quality gained. I prefer CO1's handling of D3 images better than LR2, but, using a single program would be sweet. On the whole, I'm happy with my choices.