The interesting parts for me (quoted from website above):
"Lightroom is NOT an alternative to Photoshop CS3 or Photoshop Elements. It has no ability to edit multi layered images, use adjustment layer masks to enable localized editing, apply filters or convert images to CMYK for press, so its definitely one short of a six-pack in this department. Lightroom can optimize the appearance of an image but it does this globally. You want the whole image darker – fine, you want the bit in the bottom left-hand corner to be darker - forget it. You can target individual colors or tones within the entire image for special attention in Lightroom but you have no selection tools to allow you to target your adjustments to a localized area within the image."
Not good for me - I have Elements which will target localized areas, and do layers, etc.
However, a further quote from the website:
"...Lightroom actually is – a database with extras...A good photographic database will let you locate and see a full-screen preview of any image you have ever taken in seconds – even if the image file isn’t on your computer... To put it simply Lightroom is a database that can work with images spread across multiple discs and hard drives (internal or external)"
Now you have my attention; if one has only a few hundred images taken over a brief time period then organization of the files isn't too much of a task. But thousands of images taken over several years...that can lead to some issues in finding that photo of the tree on the hill that you took in 1998..or was it in '96?
I'm quite happy with Elements as my photo editor - but I'm gonna have to check Lightroom out.
Thanks for the lead! .
"Basically, I'm for anything that gets you through the night - be it prayer, tranquilizers or a bottle of Jack Daniels.” - Frank Sinatra
"When the last Blackhawk helicopter goes to the boneyard, it will be on a sling under a Huey." - Every Huey pilot that lived through it.
I haven't really used LR's databasing. I simply load my pics onto my external drive and arrange them by folders. I don't need another program to organize pics any other way.
So I simply "upload" them into LR (meaning, putting them into the database, LR doesnt copy the image into another folder) and edit. I then save the edited pic as a JPEG into an edits folder inside the main picture folder. For instance, say I have a folder titled "castle pics 1.20.2008." those are all my RAW uploads. In that folder theres an edits with all the JPEGs that are retouched.
Also, if you open the RAW image in LR after editing it, it opens with all the edited parameters from the previous edit. You need to delete the image from the "database" to start fresh. Or simply, set everything to "default."
And it definitely is NOT a replacement for Photoshop. I can start in LR, then simply open up the pic (either edited, RAW, or both) in PS through a command in LR.
When doing just photos, I prefer LR over PS. That is, until I start doing more crazy stuff, or adding text. The only thing I wish LR had was a burn/dodge tool. Otherwise I think its an awesome program.
Shooting sometimes between 400-800 shots a day, yeah, you'd better believe I like Lightroom's databasing. I have nightly backups to an external drive and let it manage everything else for me. Where in other programs I'd be digging through dated folders trying to find a specific shot I love how I can select to look at my entire library, very quickly scroll through the thumbs until I spot the set I'm looking for, and select a specific shot to work on from there.
Also, I do concede that Lightroom isn't for heavier photo manipulation. My workflow is camera-lightroom-photoshop-print. Someone who needs a program for, "all I want to do is convert the file format, do some croping, and adjust tints, color, balance and etc." will find that lightroom does these things. If you shoot RAW it's a perfect extension of your camera's processing.
Also, because of the nature of RAW, the editing data is stored non-destructively within the RAW file so that you can revert back to the original shot at any time, even weeks later after mutliple saves. The same process would be a little convoluted in layered files.
So Lightroom and Photoshop are two different animals. Ultimately with enough plug-ins you could use Photoshop to arrive at the same results of what you do with Lightroom, but for ease-of-use and for the databasing feature I prefer running the two seperately. Also, for someone not looking to retouch photos but simply take advantage of the additional control RAW allows, Lightroom helps avoid some of the huge learning curves a newbie to Photoshop would be facing.
I consider myself fairly proficient with Photoshop, but lately if my photo is close to perfect already and I don't need the retouching, I've found that tweaking in Lightroom and going straight to print has given me stellar results. I even did my own wedding photos this way and everyone was perfectly delighted with them.
So I would say shoot RAW and use Lightroom, and for lots of folks it's a good solution. Powerusers, commercial editors and people who want to play more will find Photoshop is the next logical step.
Actionplant, you have sold me on giving Lightroom a second chance.
"Sandstorms inflict damage of about $540 million per year, and losses of crops and forests due to acid rain amount to about $730 million per year. More serious are the $6 billion costs of the "green wall" of trees being built to shield Beijing against sand and dust, and the $7 billion per year of losses created by pest species. We enter the zone of impressive numbers when we consider the onetime cost of the 1996 floods ($27 billion, but still cheaper than the 1998 floods), the annual direct losses due to desertification ($42 billion), and the annual losses due to water and air pollution ($54 billion). The combination of the latter two items alone costs China the equivalent of 14% of its GDP each year." - Jared Diamond, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
OUCH!! Look around on the net and you'll see a lot of Nikon v. Canon wars with the occassional interjections from the Minolta/Sony/Pentax/etc crowd.
Depends on how much "the money" really is, and even then you'll find stiff competition that really all comes down to personal preference.
Not trying to cop-out, just saying they each have their own strengths and weaknesses and depending on the day of the week, hour of the day, and who happens to be around when you ask you could get a dozen different answers.
The field narrows if you ask for the best camera, period, but even then you'll get arguments from people shooting Mamiya (like me), Hasselblad (also like me), Leica (can't afford it), Rollei, and others.
The thing we gearheads tend to lose sight of is this: put the most expensive camera in the hands of an average shooter and you'll get average shots. Put the cheapest camera (and yes, I do shoot a Holga occassionally, and love it) in the hands of a visionary and you're likely to get something amazing.
In other words, as much fun as the toys are, it's really not about the gear.
EDIT - I realize that still looks like a cop-out so I'll just list the Hasselblad H3D as my dream camera. Right now my two favorites are my Mamiya 645 and my Hasselblad V-series, though both shoot film, not digital.
I'm looking around for a reasonably priced (sub-$6000) used digital back for the Hassy.
I wonder if a better approach would be to find a line of lenses you like first and then pick a compatable camera.
That's kind of the route I went. I already shot Mamiya 35mm for years and know the older M-42 screw mount was Pentax, and easily adaptable (with a ring) to the Pentax K-mount bayonette. I loved my older Mamiya glass so a Pentax DSLR made sense for me, and that's the route I went. It's slightly more obscure, but you CAN find newer Zeiss optics with K-mounts and since optics are really where it's at (sensors change from year to year, glass is where you want to invest) I had no qualms buying one of the smaller brands.