Dec 2016 - Digital Group - Lightroom

Meeting Notes March 2009 to 2018.
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Dec 2016 - Digital Group - Lightroom

Post by spb » Sat Dec 03, 2016 7:51 pm

I don’t usually cover camera news because there is so much of it, however there have been a few camera-related items this month that have caught my eye;

The Sony RX100 has been lauded by every review of tiny enthusiast compact cameras since it first appeared in 2012. There have been five models since then and remarkably all are still on sale by Sony. The feature-set has increased incrementally and so has the price. Image quality has remained exceptional and the earlier models are now very good value. DpReview has recently documented a comparison of the five models. They have also detailed 5 Reasons To Buy and 4 Reasons To Re-consider the latest model.

If you need a self portrait now and again but are horrified by Selfie Sticks, the Air Selfie is a remarkable solution. Smaller than a smartphone, this neat little drone can fly up and take your selfie with it’s 5Mpx camera. It will be launched early next year and if it works, it seems like a format that could fly.

Nikon are reportedly expecting to lay-off 10% of their workforce in Japan as the market for cameras continues to shrink.

I have demonstrated extreme brand disloyalty over the years owning cameras from nearly every manufacturer. My Nikon D7100 kit has remained in the cupboard for 18 months since lugging it around New York and the Sony RX100 M3 has become my camera of choice. Feeling the need for a little more lens range, I have researched the Compact System Camera (CSC) market and selected the Olympus OM-D M10 ii as a camera that has every feature on my list yet is very small. It was in a short list of two, the other being the Panasonic GX80. Interestingly Olympus completes my list of brands owned over the years! Incidentally, if you want to handle virtually every current camera model, they are out on the counters at John Lewis and Jessops in High Wycombe where they are also competitively priced. I will be reporting back on my thoughts on this camera in coming meetings.

APS member, Geoff Walker kindly volunteered to demonstrate how he uses Lightroom to us - especially the Organise and Develop modules.

We have covered Lightroom several times before and notes are elsewhere in this forum eg here.

Should I be using Lightroom? The answer to this question depends upon your photographic preferences;

Adobe Photoshop Elements (£80) is my recommended photo editor, both for the extensive facilities it provides and for the huge benefit of shared learning in our meetings. However, if you are a photographer who prides him/herself in always taking the picture ‘in-camera’ then you may not need a Photo Editor at all and you can save yourself the Photoshop learning curve. In this case Adobe Lightroom (£99) is the recommended tool for organising, adjusting and presenting your images. The fact that Adobe refer to this software as ‘Adobe Photoshop Lightroom’ adds to the confusion. Photoshop and Lightroom are distinct and different applications.

Adding further confusion, the Adobe Creative Cloud provides the professional version of Photoshop CC and also includes Lightroom for a subscription of £100 per year. This is a reasonable deal but don’t assume that Photoshop CC is ‘better’ than Photoshop Elements which is aimed at enthusiasts. It is a professional tool and therefore offers you little or no help or guidance. If you need a photo editor, Photoshop Elements is the best choice for most people. There is a lot of snobbery associated with Photoshop CC but trust me - you only need it if you know why you need it! The Mac and Windows versions of all of these Adobe products are virtually identical. There are many other photo editors out there and many of them are very good, but you’re on your own with them.

Photoshop Elements also comes with the Elements Organizer and Photoshop CC comes with Bridge. What are they and do I need them? Sophisticated database/organisers such as the Photoshop Elements Organizer and Lightroom provide the capability to compare, select, keyword and present their images but require a high level of commitment. You must also do all of your subsequent organisation and filing from within your chosen program. These contrast with image viewers such as Adobe Bridge and other free viewers such as Faststone (PC) and XnView (PC/Mac) which allow a more casual browsing approach which can be combined with a simple program-independent folder-based hierarchical filing system of your own making. Recently I have also been finding XYplorer Free (PC) to be a powerful casual image browser cum Windows Explorer alternative.

Although the interfaces are rather different, Lightroom roughly equates to the Elements Organizer plus Adobe Camera Raw. It stops where the Photoshop editor begins. An image editor is necessary for making significant changes to the original image, combining images, making creative changes, distortions, adding text or making many detailed corrections to image components. Just two of the big hitters not included in Lightroom are Selections and Layers. Once you have become familiar with these you are unlikely to ever forego them! The most sophisticated users will use both Lightroom and Photoshop or Photoshop Elements together, moving their images seamlessly between the two, but the two programs have very different origins and different ways of working so I would recommend learning one or the other to begin with.

If you are going to invest a lot of time in learning one program it's important to make sure it's the right one for you!

Cheers, Steve Brabner

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