Category Archives: Software Review

Why not give ON1 Photo Raw a spin for free

So I’ve written a couple posts about the new (ish) ON1 Photo RAW 2017. Really a great set of Photo Editing software that can be everyting you want it to be.

But why just trust me and my opinion? Try it for yourself!

ON1 Offers an Month long full Function Copy for free. So download it for yourself, try it on YOUR photos. See how easy it is to organize and get to the final image YOU want quickly and completely

Just Click  thru HERE

 

 

 

 

And guess what.

They have MORE free stuff?

Want some Free Lightroom Plug-ins?

You can Get them HERE

 

 

 

 

 

 

AND, Want a Free Full Version of their popular ON1 Photo Effects 10

That’s right HERE

 

 

 

 

That’s a LOT of good free stuff for your After 4th Fun!

 

ON1 Releases big update to Photo RAW 2017

ON1 Photo RAW 2017.5ON 1 releases Photo RAW 2017.5

ON1 Software announced today the release of ON1 Photo RAW 2017.5, the first major update to their new and exciting RAW Photo editing system.

The update contains 6 added features as well as 2 program updates

What’s New in This Build

LENS CORRECTION — The new Lens Correction pane will automatically detect your lens and reduce distortion, chromatic aberration and peripheral fall-off.

COMPARE MODE — Select a series of photos and zoom and pan each of them at the same time.

DETAILS PANE — Sharpening and Noise Reduction is improved and has been merged into a new Details Pane for global corrections on raw photos giving better results in both areas.  Continue reading »

ON1 Photo RAW 2017 Review – Part 1 – Why do I want this over LR-PS

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ON1 Photo RAW 2017 Review

Part one: The Why

Full disclose per FTC. I am an affilate for ON1 Software

If you would like to see a quick video showing an overview of ON1 Photo RAW 2017 before proceeding, click this great video by ON1’s Dan Harlacher

I want to start this review of ON1 Photo RAW talking about… Adobe

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Let me state this upfront, Personally (and of course arguably), I think the combination of Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop is the most powerful photo editing combination you can use. Especially when you have to go beyond the norms that the average photographer needs and into some of the thing even few professionals may need. Other working spaces (CMYK), Graphics needs (integrating Bitmap with Vector) and a host of other things. It’s  the best and most powerful. I’ve been user since Photoshop 2,  and Lightroom before it was Lightroom (Raw Shooter). I know most of the ins and outs. I like using them.

Okay, wait. Why say that in a ON1 review? Are you saying it’s better? Then what is even the point of a review?

The Problems with using Lightroom and Photoshop

Here’s the problem(s). Not many people are are me (not saying that in a heady way) but the majority of photographers are not (i’ve been at this 50 years). Add into this the fact that when Adobe moved to a Subscription program, that turned off a lot of photographers – I actually think it is fine – but I’ve heard the complaints and the calls for something instead, I get it.

But going back to what I said about people not being me. Here is the real rub with using the LR/PS combo. And this comes in two important parts. Part One: The Learning Curve. I’ve been using them a long time. I know quite a bit but still learn new stuff all the time. Photoshop has a very steep and long learning curve to get past the basics and actually use ALL the power that it has. Lightroom on the other hand is pretty intuitive to use as an editor – it’s why it’s almost universally liked – but what throws people into a tizzy is the “Catalog” most people are used to file browsers and don’t really understand how a catalog differs from a browser and most people are even confused at where their images actually are.

So problem one is: The Learning Curve

But there is also another problem that isn’t talked about: Editing Vision. A lot of photographers may have good Photographic/Artistic vision. This enables them to Pre-visualize what they want from a photo. But there is a secondary step. Editing Vision. This is knowing where you want an image to go or be in the edit. A lot of people haven’t a clue about that (not saying it as a bad thing, just what is) So while they may understand a software product, they know what the sliders do. They don’t know where they want to go, so how do you know what to use to get there?

This is where enter, ON1 Photo RAW

Problems Solved

Now of course, as with all things new to people, there is a learning curve. So you will need to learn some things and become familiar with ON1 Photo RAW. Luckily they have a ton of Training Videos on their site and also a lot by big time users of ON1. That helps you get off to a quick start. But using ON1 Photo RAW is more akin to using Lightroom, which most photographers like better because it’s more intuitive and easier to navigate than Photoshop.

Almost everything you need is in the right hand panel and it’s modules. So then why is ON1 Photo RAW easier to use than Lightroom. Well because it eliminates the one thing that confuses and confounds people in Lightroom: The Catalog. ON1 Photo RAW does not use a catalog to select images. It simply use a File Browser that more people are accustomed to. Know where you have those pictures of that fall trip? Navigate to that folder, open and begin working.

ON1 Photo RAW can be quicker to do that also, because it just uses the embeded thumbnails to generate previews. In Lightroom, First, you must import the images into the catalog, then Lightroom – depending on how you set it in preferences – will generate Thumbnails. Depending on the quality  and quantity you choose, this can take some time for the full previews to be generated completely.

So, you start off with a file system you are more familiar with and it usually will load up a lot faster.

Then once you have an image to work on, like Lightroom, you have your Right Side panels and different modules to work with. But unlike Lightroom that only has Develop Modules, Photo RAW takes it beyond that and also has; Effects, Layers and Resize (plus Browse) All of which can be switched to at anytime without the need to export the file. So instead of like Lightroom, where you work on an image in Develop, but if you want to add an effect like those in ON1 Photo 10, or the Plug-in effects of your choice, you have to export that image as a Psd/tiff to that editor and then reimport that file to Lightroom. Photo RAW you can just click on effects, add effects and then jump back to the develop module and continue working there  or any other module. ALL, in a non destructive workspace. Meaning at any time you can go back and modify those adjustments or even eliminate them. Nothing is baked into the image and un-doable

Within each Module you can add varying tabs for the develop or effect needs you want to use and not add those tabs if you never use them. Less clutter, less confusion to the user. Develop has 11 different Tab choices. Every one of them can be applied globally or locally (via brushes, gradients and luminocity masks ) and every one fully adjustable with adjustable opacity.

In the Effects Module there are 24 sets of Effects that are available and again all of which you can apply globally or locally AND in Layers. Which of course you can’t do in Lightroom but would instead need to export the RAW file to Photoshop to do.

So as you can see, On1 Photo RAW has the ease of using Lightroom with the added power of most of what Photoshop has. All in one place, all non-destructively.

This means that ON1 solves almost all of Problem One. Ease of use with a much shorter learning curve compared to the LR/PS combo

Solving Problem Two

Like I said earlier a lot of people have a problem pre-visualizing what they want out of their edits. It may just be simple corrections of exposure, contrast and saturation or, of course, it could be things far beyond that. But they are just not sure in their mind’s eye what they want. BUT, they may know it when they see it. This is why Plug-in are so popular….Presets

If a person can press a preset, they can have an ACTUAL visualization of what they want or an approximation of what they want. For most people preset are a starting point or even the end point. This is why Nik Silver Effects Pro was so popular. Most people didn’t even know what their B & W’s should look like. A preset gave them an idea.

This is where ON1 Photo RAW has it all over Lightroom and Photoshop: Presets and… some really good ones.

You can start by going though the presets till you find a look you want. And either just  burn that in (on Export) or you can take it one or many steps further by customizing that preset and even adding more layers and tabs to it. What’s great is, when you select a preset, It opens all the Modules and Tabs that are used in that preset. And doesn’t show you the ones that aren’t. You can then go into each module and make further adjustments or even just turn on or off that tab/module/layer to see what it added to the image.

This is huge because it gives everyone equal footing. Whether you can per visualize or not you can use the software to get to your end game.

And, I’ll say it again. ALL non destructively. Everything is changeable and not baked in (until export)

So this segment answers the Why: Why would I want ON1 Photo 1 and not get Lightroom/ Photoshop?

Please note that ON1 Photo RAW is also completely integrate-able  with Lightroom and Photoshop. So if you want the best of all world, that is possible too

Beyond the above. if you look at it from a price perspective, the regular price for  SINGLE SEAT LR/PS would be $120 for a Year of the Photographer edition Creative Cloud subscription. ON1 Photo RAW Regular price is $119.99 ($99.99 Upgrade), but that is for a 5 Seat License but it’s an outright license, not a subscription so if you never want to upgrade and just use the software as long as you want, you can. 

Remember you can “Try” ON1 Photo RAW 2017 with the free trial to see for yourself. Or you can buy it. As an added Bonus for my readers you can use coupon code HDRIG17 at checkout for 20% off your purchase

ON1 Photo RAW 2017

ON1 Photo RAW 2017

 

 

Luminar – New Photo Editor from Macphun – Release and Review

Luminar – The new Photo Editor from Macphun (Mac OS ONLY)

Today, Macphun software introduced Luminar their new all in one photo editor. (sorry Mac OS only)

The key features are the ability to design the Workspace to how you work, Adding or subtracting Modules (filters) to show only the ones you find necessary and work with often but always having those other modules  available. The other key feature, if you want to call it that, is simply…price. At $69 normal price (there are some savings I will talk about at the end of the piece) That’s pretty darn inexpensive in the world of editing software especially when you consider how much power and versatility is built into Luminar. Now I’m a big Adobe fan and have been a user of Photoshop since Photoshop 2. so that’s quite a long time. And currently a membership to Photoshop CC/Lightroom is $9.99 a month. Now for a professional like me that’s a small expense relative to the other expenses of running a business. Not everyone is a professional but what if you could get software that offers Pro level performance at a price that’s greatly affordable to people that don’t do this to earn money. That’s where Luminar comes in and very strongly. Even a Pro may find the feature set to be everything they need. Continue reading »

Aurora HDR Pro 2017 Performance Review

Macphun Software last week released the newest version of Aurora – Aurora HDR Pro 2017 a MUCH improved version of their Mac Only HDR Software

Now you may have noticed something, I never did a review of the Original Aurora HDR Pro, which may seem odd for a site dedicated to HDR. The reason was, it simply was not up to my standards and not ready for prime time. This really is not that unusual for 1st releases. The same was true when Nik Software released HDR Efex Pro. It just wasn’t good but when they ramped up to do release  2 and they consulted with the HDR crowd including me, they released a great, for the time, HDR software. So the fact that a first version wasn’t that good is pretty normal. Aurora certainly had the feature set right, but for me the only thing I am interested in is performance and it was there that it lacked.

All that has changed with the release of Aurora HDR Pro 2017. Continue reading »

New From Topaz Labs – Texture Effects -Coupon Code

Topaz Labs is a very cool company. They have the most extensive lineup of plug-ins and effects around. Now I’m a very Old School Shooter so I’m pretty traditional in my editing. So they have a lot of Plug-Ins that I “think” won’t interest me. but then I start to play with them and I find, I’m wrong. They are a ton of fun. I found that with Topaz Restyle and Simplify and I defiantly found that wish their newest release – Topaz Labs Texture Effects Continue reading »

ON 1 PHOTO 10 Review

ON1 Photo 10 Icon/banner 300x300In Late October, ON 1 Software will release PHOTO 10, thier replacement and upgrade for their Perfect Suite (9,5 latest version)

The new PHOTO 10 offers a number of improvements not only to performance but even the ergonomics of use. Simplifying things into a structure that makes a lot more sense considering how people edit their images.

I’m not going to go in depth into each of the new specs because ON 1 has a treasure trove of videos on their blogs delving in in detail to each of the new features. So I will give you an overview of the features that I find to be the most important and improved. **Please note that I have been working with the Beta versions of the software so the absolute final release may differ slightly and actually should work even more bug free

So lets take a look at some of the changes.

Continue reading »

Photomatix Pro 5.1 is Still King

On September 5th. HDRsoft introduced it latest update to it’s always popular HDR Program: Photomatix Pro. Version 5.1 has a few improvments over v5.0 and they are:

Main updates in version 5.1
  • Added support for recent camera models such as the Nikon D7200 and Canon G7X, EOS M3, and 750D/760D (T6i/T6s).
  • Ability to mark presets as Favorites (by clicking on the ‘star’ icon to the left of each thumbnail) and filter the preset list to only show those favorites.
  • Fusion/Real-Estate renamed into Fusion/Interior and now includes a Brightness setting.
  • Addition of “Architecture” category to filter Presets.
  • By default, the preset name or method name is now appended to the file name of the final image. You can also adjust the suffix in the Preferences panel.
  • On Batch of Bracketed Photos, addition of Base Exposure option for deghosting.
  • The alignment is now done with one alignment method for all cases. The alignment settings (perspective correction option and maximum alignment shift) can be pre-selected via an Alignment Preset pull-down menu.
  • “License Information” panel shows the license status, as well as the license key if a Photomatix Pro copy has already been registered on the computer.

Continue reading »

Noiseless Pro from Macphun now available

 


I had a chance to test the new Noiseless Pro for Macphun Software against a lot of the competition and I can say without hesitation that it is the best Noise Reduction software on the market (Sorry Mac OS only)

The Noise reduction Algorithms used just seemed to best accomplish the goals of Noise Reductions Software:

A: Reduce Noise

B: Retain detail and clarity Continue reading »

Macphun Tonality Pro Black & White Review

Macphun Software’s Tonality Pro Black & White Conversiontonpro_icon92

Though not a household name (Yet) Macphun Software has been making quite a bit of buzz in the Photo Editing software market since their founding in 2008. They started off making mostly photography related iPhone apps and soon moved to full featured Software for Mac, besides their apps for iPhone and iPad™ use. Sorry, Mac only, which is OK since Photographers seem to be the most loyal Apple Fans Continue reading »

HDRsoft’s Merge to 32 Bit. A simple and effective Lightroom HDR workflow

logo_hdrsoftHDRsoft, the makers of Photomatix Pro 5  the top selling HDR software, also make a Plug-in for Lightroom that allows you to select your exposures in Lightroom and then Merge those files into a 32-bit Floating Point Tiff file and automatically re-import back into Lightroom for all your Tone-mapping and finishing needs The plug-in; HDRSoft’s Merge to 32 Bit, makes the whole process easy, effective and pain free. So let’s look at the plug-in and then follow through with some thoughts on a quick and easy yet thorough workflow using Lightroom only. Continue reading »

Photomatix Pro 5 Review

Photomatix 5 review

I’m a little overdue with this review but it’s given me a little more time to play.

In November, HDRsoft released Photomatix Pro 5, which contains one of the most important upgrades since changes to it’s De-Ghosting way back when.

It’s no secret that since the release of Nik Software’s HDR Efex Pro 2, I’ve used that for the majority of my HDR Image Processing. I found it was able to accomplish a more natural look easily and of course that’s the look I prefer. However Nik had some serious side effects, the worst of which, its alignment and Chromatic Aberration control. And while it’s de-ghosting was very good; it just didn’t have the power or the versatility of Photomatix Pro.

I would, on some difficult images, use the superior alignment capabilities of Photomatix to create a 32Bit Radiance file and then open that in HDR Efex Pro 2 to do my tone mapping. But with Nik acquisition by Google, I truly doubt that there will be any further releases or significant Updates to HDR Efex Pro 2 or any of Nik’s other software. Which IS very good but without support, I don’t see much future.

Continue reading »

OnOne Software solves your Adobe woes

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OnOne Software solves your Adobe woes

I don’t think anything has caused a bigger stir in the Photography World, then Adobe’s announcement they were going to a Subscription based Licensing (Creative Cloud) instead of their long standing Perpetual Licensing.

While subscription licensing makes sense for a lot of businesses, it’s not something that either small businesses or Hobbyists are used to nor do they like.

At first the cost was prohibitive, but that’s lessened a bit, but still for a lot of people that want to buy and then hold for a few product cycles it proved to be a thorn in their side.

I’m not here (nor will I) debate that subject. Nor am I here to do a full review of onOne Perfect Suite 8, which was released yesterday. I truly believe, it doesn’t matter much what I have to say about the software, they have a 30 day free trial so you have a whole month to take it for a spin and decide for yourself.

But I am here to tell you that onOne Prefect Photo  Suite 8 IS a replacement for Photoshop/Lightroom if you so desire one and a good one at that.  Continue reading »

Topaz Labs introduces ReStyle

ReStyle_box_clear-125x175Topaz Labs introduces ReStyle 
 
I’m sure most of the readers here are familiar with Tone-Mapping. Where we take a specific tone (lightness) and change it to a different tone (Lighten or darken). But what if we could instead do the same thing but with Color and Hue..In other words; Color-mapping. Taking something of a specific color or hue and changing bit to another.
 
Well, the good folks at Topaz Labs have brought that to you. With “Styling” apps all the rage for your Smart Phone Pics, why not take that idea to a professional level. Whether it’s a cross processed look or a dark and Smokey look to your image. Just about anything is Possible with Topaz Labs Re-Style

Software Review – Topaz Lab’s new -Clarity

Clarity_box_clearTopaz Labs Clarify – Get the Funk out of your HDR

Read to the end for a special Discount Code on Topaz Labs Clarity

Just released today is the new software from our friends at Topaz Labs – Clarity

Some of you may have read the article I wrote on “Why HDRs don’t look real” In it I went on about how what’s missing in a lot of HDRs is Midtone Shadow and Midtone Contrast. Controlling these two things either in the original HDR process or later in post can really do a lot to add photorealistic look to your HDR or actually any image.

Continue reading »