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Author Topic: ACR or Lightroom ?  (Read 4770 times)
ron ritcher
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« on: August 05, 2013, 01:04:11 AM »
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Hello,

I know this has been hashed-over many times already, but now that you have chosen one or the other, how would you advise me?  I'm just a hobbyist who shoots a very modest number of images (<1000 a year).  Deal mainly with landscapes, and usual end-products are 16x20 prints for my walls and an occasional exhibit.  Currently use a Canon 5dII, but caught the Sigma bug and have been trying a DP3M, which is pretty amazing.

Used to use C1, but have switched to ACR/PS5.  I barely scratch the surface of what PS offers, but with simple layers and a few local adjustments, I get results that please me.  I am not terribly tech-aware and don't have the patience to spend long hours learning new things -- which leads me to:

I bought LR4 several months ago, but am so ingrained in the ACR/Bridge/PS routine that I've barely opened the program -- and found it daunting the time or two I tried. 

So, should I just stay put, OR is there some compelling benefit to LR that would pay big dividends with a bit of effort?  Obviously, the CC issue will need dealing with at some point, but that's not my concern here and now.  Does ACR do the basic processes as well as LR (or C1, for that matter)?  Should I stay with the familiar, or hike up my retiree-jeans and learn how to make LR work for me?  Thanks a bunch for your suggestions . . .

Ron
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Bryan Conner
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« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2013, 02:04:53 AM »
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I suggest moving to Lightroom.  The raw processing engine of Lightroom and ACR are the same.  So, no image quality difference.  But, Lightroom is still offered as a one time purchase software and is not "only" available on the cloud.  That is the biggest advantage in my opinion.  You can process your images in Lightroom, export them to Photoshop CS5 as a Tiff and do any pixel editing that you deem necessary.  I used to be a diehard ACR/Bridge fan until I purchased Lightroom 4 when it came out. I was always very reluctant to try it because, well, I was used to Bridge/ACR.  But now, I wish I would have made the switch years ago.  Once you get used to the Lightroom way, I think you will really like it.

Lightroom 5 is an improvement over LR4 in my opinion.  Especially the 5.2RC.
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Schewe
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« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2013, 02:09:28 AM »
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So, should I just stay put, OR is there some compelling benefit to LR that would pay big dividends with a bit of effort?  Obviously, the CC issue will need dealing with at some point, but that's not my concern here and now.  Does ACR do the basic processes as well as LR (or C1, for that matter)?  Should I stay with the familiar, or hike up my retiree-jeans and learn how to make LR work for me?  Thanks a bunch for your suggestions . . .

Well, first off, ACR 6.7/LR4 is already old school, right? The current state of the art processing is in LR 5.2 and ACR 8.2 (which are both at RC, not final GM versions).

If you care about the latest processing potential, you need to stay current with the state of the art tools.

If you know what you are doing, you can get the same potential output from either ACR 8.2 or LR 5.2. But that requires having the most recent versions of both LR and Photoshop.

As far as C1, that all depends...if you really understand the processing capabilities of C1/ACR/LR you would realize the differences in image quality is negligible...which requires a high level on competency on all three apps (which very few people have).
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Tim Lookingbill
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« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2013, 03:04:13 AM »
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Quote
I bought LR4 several months ago, but am so ingrained in the ACR/Bridge/PS routine that I've barely opened the program -- and found it daunting the time or two I tried.  

Same here but I've just got into LR4 after post processing around 3000 Raws in the past 7 years in CS3/ACR 4.6. I upgraded to CS5 but never had the time or gumption to get to know it once I discovered PV2012 Raw engine in LR4/CS6.

I've found so far I can duplicate some basic routines in LR4 like Bridge's "Image Processor..." which is handy at quickly downsizing my 6MP 16 bit ProPhotoRGB Raws to 8 bit 700 pixel long end sRGB jpegs with two hits to the "return" key. In LR4 it's a saved Export setting I can call up on any image using the Control/Click drop down menu including automatic placement of a custom watermark which I had to do manually in Bridge/PS. You may not need this feature.

Don't know how you use CS5 so it's hard to give advice on how LR4 would be better for you.

Since you mentioned printing at 20x16 poster size I can tell you for sure that LR4's uprezzing of my 6MP PEFs to 36x24in.@ 240ppi gives better results with the least amount of sawtooth edges than trying to work it in Photoshop and especially what I used to get in CS3 ACR/PS. It's also automated on export in LR4 with output sharpening set in the same Export dialog box.

Now I should add the main reason why I get better upscaling results is due to LR4's capture sharpening algorithms along with noise reduction viewed at 1:1 previews are quite more refined giving better results so that the upscaling to huge poster size with output sharpening looks much better. I'm sure the same results can be achieved in CS5 Photoshop but doing it in LR4 is so much faster and convenient.

LR4 also has a more user friendly interface with regard to thumbnail and main preview layout where just hitting the keyboard space bar zooms the main preview instantly to 1:1 while with one click to the sides and top menu bars and side columns collapse and expand the main preview to almost full screen. Can't do that in ACR.

LR4 is truly designed to allow the user to work quickly in managing and editing a lot of photos. I suggest you read up on the Preference settings and Catalog Settings in how they work. There is no "Export Settings To XMP" that you get in Bridge at least I haven't found it. You invoke a regular "Save" command in LR4.

Because of that I started out creating a Lightroom test folder and dropped copies of my CS3 Bridge edited Raws because, once I got into learning LR and clicked on the PV2012 mismatch icon-(!) (turning it on) and started editing, found I couldn't get back the original xmp edits I created in CS3 Bridge or at least I haven't found an easy & less confusing way of getting them back.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2013, 03:09:18 AM by Tim Lookingbill » Logged
b2martin
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« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2013, 07:05:46 AM »
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I use Photoshop CS6 and ACR to process all my RAW files.  I downloaded and tried Lightroom 5, but I don't need a database manager and don't like having to import my images into Lightroom to adjust them - I use Bridge in CS6.  Since you own CS5 you might consider upgrading to CS6 since you can purchase an upgrade from the Adobe site - upgrades to CS6 are only available from Adobe.  Adobe is supplying Camera RAW upgrades for CS6 that will support new cameras and lens, but no new features for Camera RAW in CS6 - they have released ACR 8.x versions for CS6.  If you want to do Panoramas of landscapes in the future you will need Photoshop since Lightroom does not support Panoramas - I use it all the time for panoramas.
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k bennett
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« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2013, 07:57:22 AM »
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I used ACR for years, in combination with Photo Mechanic for initial edit and metadata, and the Photoshop for any final tweaks. Didn't think I needed Lightroom, as I was very happy with the ACR combo.

Then I got Lightroom at home and realized how much easier it is to create and use presets, especially for output, than ACR. So I got LR at work as my raw processor, still using Photo Mechanic for edit and metadata (it's faster, at least for me), and rarely take a photo into Photoshop. The Develop module in Lightroom is, for me, significantly easier to use than ACR -- all the tools are on the same page, no clicking between panels, and my presets are all right there, too. That makes it faster, and speed is very important to me.

I've also been using the Print module at home with an Epson printer, and now that I've figured out how to use it properly Smiley I've come to prefer it over printing from Photoshop.
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Tim Lookingbill
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« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2013, 11:25:07 AM »
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I use Photoshop CS6 and ACR to process all my RAW files.  I downloaded and tried Lightroom 5, but I don't need a database manager and don't like having to import my images into Lightroom to adjust them - I use Bridge in CS6.  Since you own CS5 you might consider upgrading to CS6 since you can purchase an upgrade from the Adobe site - upgrades to CS6 are only available from Adobe.  Adobe is supplying Camera RAW upgrades for CS6 that will support new cameras and lens, but no new features for Camera RAW in CS6 - they have released ACR 8.x versions for CS6.  If you want to do Panoramas of landscapes in the future you will need Photoshop since Lightroom does not support Panoramas - I use it all the time for panoramas.

I considered upgrading to CS6 through Adobe's site but tried to download the trial version, a 2GB download, which was going to take over an hour on my 1.5mbs DSL connect. LR4 was a far more smaller download and I still got the PV2012 and sharpening/noise improvements plus the other workflow conveniences ACR 8.x lacks.

Wish Adobe staff could burn CS6 upgrade to CD/DVD and just mail me the discs.
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ron ritcher
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« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2013, 11:52:32 AM »
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THANKS, everyone, for the thoughtful and complete set of answers so far!   Lots of fat to chew on here . . .

I SHOULD have mentioned, now that I've read your responses, that I'm used to printing through IP, while doing my output sharpening with a PS plug-in, PhotoKit.  These are very familiar to me, so unless I'm giving away quality and/or functionality, I will likely stay put in these two areas.  Up-rezing, however, I've done with PS.  And i will attempt more stitching in the future . . .

Again, my needs are NOT for speed or multi-file handling abilities, and I'm not producing prints for picky clients; that said, I don't want to overlook an obvious way to improve MY workflow and quality of output.  Again, thank-you for sharing your thoughts and opinions!

Ron
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PhotoEcosse
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« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2013, 01:21:21 PM »
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As always in this chatroom, Ron, we can only advise on the basis of our own experiences. I was lucky - after 50 years of shooting film and developing in a "real" darkroom, I changed over to a digital SLR just as the first version of Lightroom was launched. So it became the "hub" of my post-exposure processing.

Now I do probably 80% of all my processing completely within Lightroom but use CS6, ColorEfexPro, SilverEfexPro, HDREfexPro and a raft of other Nik and Topaz products in the other 20% - but always from within Lightroom and always taking the resultant image file back into Lightroom for final polishing and printing (or export if digital images are required for any reason).

Basically, after a lifetime in conventional photography, I just find the terminology and methodologies of Lightroom so much more familiar and intuitive than other packages.

(But if I'd got into digital photography before Lightroom was there, who knows???...)
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Vladimirovich
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« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2013, 01:43:41 PM »
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Currently use a Canon 5dII, but caught the Sigma bug and have been trying a DP3M, which is pretty amazing.
if you have Sigma DP3M then you shall probably try the software where the author at least does support it like Iridient Rawdeveloper... ACR/LR even for supported (old) Sigmas were not using the same code (process 2010/process 2012) as for the regular cameras.
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ron ritcher
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« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2013, 02:46:17 PM »
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I suggest moving to Lightroom.  The raw processing engine of Lightroom and ACR are the same.  So, no image quality difference.  But, Lightroom is still offered as a one time purchase software and is not "only" available on the cloud.  That is the biggest advantage in my opinion.  You can process your images in Lightroom, export them to Photoshop CS5 as a Tiff and do any pixel editing that you deem necessary.  I used to be a diehard ACR/Bridge fan until I purchased Lightroom 4 when it came out. I was always very reluctant to try it because, well, I was used to Bridge/ACR.  But now, I wish I would have made the switch years ago.  Once you get used to the Lightroom way, I think you will really like it.


Lightroom 5 is an improvement over LR4 in my opinion.  Especially the 5.2RC.

Thanks, Bryan,

So far, your thoughts seem most appropriate to my particular situation, history, and preferences.  Good to know I'm not leaving much/any quality on the table by sticking to the ACR/PS process, BUT your enthusiasm for LR has convinced me to give it a fair trial run -- and with my limited patience, that means a couple hours each for 3 or 4 days.  We'll see!!

Thanks again to all who have responded!

Ron

PS:  And regarding the Sigma, I just give the images a quick SPP look, turning down the sharpening and noise control, then ship as Tiffs to ACR -- seems to work just fine.
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Isaac
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« Reply #11 on: August 05, 2013, 03:29:35 PM »
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I barely scratch the surface of what PS offers, but with simple layers and a few local adjustments, I get results that please me.  I am not terribly tech-aware and don't have the patience to spend long hours learning new things -- which leads me to: I bought LR4 several months ago, but am so ingrained in the ACR/Bridge/PS routine that I've barely opened the program -- and found it daunting the time or two I tried.

Good to know I'm not leaving much/any quality on the table by sticking to the ACR/PS process, BUT your enthusiasm for LR has convinced me to give it a fair trial run -- and with my limited patience, that means a couple hours each for 3 or 4 days.

LR should be perfect for you, except that you've already got into a different groove and that kind-of gets in the way.

Maybe import one image and play with the techniques Charles Cramer described in this LuLa essay --  "Tonal Adjustments in the Age of Lightroom 4".

(Was there something specific that you found daunting?)
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ron ritcher
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« Reply #12 on: August 05, 2013, 06:39:19 PM »
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Thanks, Isaac,

I had seen the Cramer article, but re-reading it has been very helpful.  I see the value of the improved LR tone sliders, BUT doesn't the PS6 version of ACR have the same setup (as opposed to my PS5's "recovery" sliders, etc)?  If so, maybe I should just remain with the workflow I'm used to.  (Didn't I read somewhere that ACR gets all the updates that are designed into LR, but maybe in the next generation?)

As far as what's daunting, my giving examples would just show how little a chance I've given LR so far. But, for example, resizing an image is something that didn't jump out at me when I gave a quick look. Also, just closing an image and moving on didn't reveal itself in blinking lights either. This silly, little stuff isn't "deal-breaker" material for sure, but you asked  Embarrassed

I think my bottom line is: will ACR keep up with LR in terms of image-quality functionality?  My familiarity with the ACR/Bridge/PS package -- and the fact that it's meeting my workflow needs -- will likely keep me where I am . . . pending the answer to that question above.  Thanks again . . .

Ron

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madmanchan
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« Reply #13 on: August 05, 2013, 07:47:37 PM »
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I think my bottom line is: will ACR keep up with LR in terms of image-quality functionality?  My familiarity with the ACR/Bridge/PS package -- and the fact that it's meeting my workflow needs -- will likely keep me where I am . . . pending the answer to that question above.  Thanks again . . .

Yes, ACR and Lr will remain in sync in terms of image quality and adjustment tools, as long as one is using matching versions (for example, ACR 8.2 matches up with Lr 5.2).  For ACR, also note that to use the new tools going forward requires Photoshop CC.  ACR will continue to work under CS6 but will only provide new camera & lens support and bug fixes, not new features.
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ron ritcher
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« Reply #14 on: August 05, 2013, 10:15:57 PM »
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Yes, ACR and Lr will remain in sync in terms of image quality and adjustment tools, as long as one is using matching versions (for example, ACR 8.2 matches up with Lr 5.2).  For ACR, also note that to use the new tools going forward requires Photoshop CC.  ACR will continue to work under CS6 but will only provide new camera & lens support and bug fixes, not new features.

Thanks for the clarification, Eric. And while I intended to leave the whole CC-thing out of this discussion, I see how it must be dealt with.  And from my perspective (65 years old, non-pro, very limited catalogue of images to worry about, etc.), the subscription makes sense to me -- particularly after computing my coffee-out-per-month spending (and that's NOT lattes, just coffee and cream) at EIGHT times the cost of CC, at least the first year.

It's the younger ones who earn their living in photography who I am concerned about in terms of CC; many tough questions for them to ponder . . . For me, a pretty simple call, IF I decide to continue with my ACR/PS workflow.

Thanks again, everyone!

Ron
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texshooter
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« Reply #15 on: August 05, 2013, 10:54:37 PM »
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I use Photoshop CS6 and ACR to process all my RAW files.  I downloaded and tried Lightroom 5, but I don't need a database manager and don't like having to import my images into Lightroom to adjust them - I use Bridge in CS6. 

Ditto.  For me, the most popular feature of Lightroom, its database management, is what I hate about it. I don't shoot a zillion frames per project, So I find Bridge much easier to manage my collections. Lightroom's cataloging routine is way overkill for my needs, which slows me down. As long as ACR continues to improve, I'm happy with that.
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kim
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« Reply #16 on: August 06, 2013, 07:15:26 AM »
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I use both LR 4 and CS6. For me the user interface of LR 4 is much better than any version of ACR particularly the controls for  Undo, creating and editing masks and clone / heal. You can export an image from LR into Photoshop (or any other program). If you export to Photoshop as a .PSD file you can optionally add it to the Lightroom catalog and then edit the PSD in Lightroom for cropping. The big time saver is using LR to finish the editing of the PSD file using LRs export routines with functions such as automatic layer flattening, colour space conversion, 16 to 8 bit conversion, resizing, output sharpening.
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b2martin
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« Reply #17 on: August 06, 2013, 07:42:51 AM »
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Tim, I ordered an upgrade for CS6 from Adobe and they shipped me a disc.  I assume this option is still available, but I think Adobe has made it difficult to find on their site.  You can only upgrade to CS6 if you own CS5.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2013, 07:46:01 AM by b2martin » Logged
buckshot
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« Reply #18 on: August 06, 2013, 09:46:13 AM »
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...does ACR do the basic processes as well as LR (or C1, for that matter)...

Once upon a time there would have been no question in my mind that for my P1 files, C1 was my go to application - and it still, straight out of camera, renders a better 'initial' image - but once you start adjusting that image, LR 5.x is clearly it's equal - and in some images with very fine detail I find LR is actually more capable; the way that DR and sharpening is handled in LR is particularly impressive. Combined with the cataloguing abilities of LR, it's just a great place to work right now.

OT: It's good to see that MR/KR are producing a C17 video - always been amazed by the lack of 3rd party support for learning this app (maybe got something to do with P1s program of workshops, who knows) - but when you can buy books on how to use eBay or Google, it's amazing there's nothing for C1. And no, the woeful Capture-U doesn't count.
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Isaac
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« Reply #19 on: August 06, 2013, 12:24:09 PM »
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BUT doesn't the PS6 version of ACR have the same setup (as opposed to my PS5's "recovery" sliders, etc)?

Thank you for the gentle reminder that I've already forgotten how I used ACR ;-)

More to the point: for you wouldn't the relevant differences be between LR output sharpening and printing, and PhotoKit; and between LR selective edits and the kind-of PS selective edits you actually use. iow Would one-stop-shopping work better for you.


resizing an image
File/Export "Image Resizing"

just closing an image and moving on
Non-destructive and the processing instructions are automatically saved, so just click on the thumbnail of the next image you want to work on, or just File/Exit.
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