Our Great Photo Processing Shootout!

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McGregNi

Link Posted 18/10/2012 - 20:03
Welcome everyone to our Great Photo Processing Shootout! What's this?

Well, I've been a fairly lone voice around here in promoting the Pentax Camera Utility 4.0 software as a higher quality option for us Pentax people, and I also have advocated a pick and choose approach to processing - ie: use the best quality features of different softwares to get the most out of your shots.

But more often that not we get an alternative view - mainly along the lines of 'No! Use Photoshop! Its the best' or 'Just use Lightroom, do it all in one program!'

Well, David Storm has risen to my challenge to put this all to the test. We have chosen one of Davids lush lakeside views, all deep shady shadows and hazy highlights, to put our programs through their paces!

David has run his through ACR and Photoshop, the industry standard, while I have started with the outsider PCU4, then run the shot through my favorite editor, Sagelight 4, followed by final fine tuning in PS Elements 8. Which will give the highest quality output??

You will all be the judge! Please examine closely and give your heartfelt opinions. But remember - its not all about what image you prefer artistically, although that comes into it - we need to find out which software has produced the finest technical quality, and extracted the very best from what David's K5 could muster!

Watch out now, as soon David will post both shots - you will not be able to tell who has produced which image. May the best Photo Processing Software approach win!
My Guides to the Pentax Digital Camera Flash Lighting System : Download here from the PentaxForums Homepage Article .... link
Pentax K7 with BG-4 Grip / Samyang 14mm f2.8 ED AS IF UMC / DA18-55mm f3.5-5.6 AL WR / SMC A28mm f2.8 / D FA 28-105mm / SMC F35-70 f3.5-4.5 / SMC A50mm f1.7 / Tamron AF70-300mm f4-5.6 Di LD macro / SMC M75-150mm f4.0 / Tamron Adaptall (CT-135) 135mm f2.8 / Asahi Takumar-A 2X tele-converter / Pentax AF-540FGZ (I & II) Flashes / Cactus RF60/X Flashes & V6/V6II Transceiver

davidstorm

Link Posted 18/10/2012 - 20:37
Okay, so here are the shots. they are simply named Image 1 and Image 2. I will not be telling you which was processed by Nigel and which by me (of course this also means I won't be revealing which is the Photoshop version and which is the PDCU4 plus other software version).

The results of the processing have been fascinating for me. One RAW image, two very different results. Please choose your favourite image by voting. You are of course very welcome to leave your comments too, but what we are most interested in is simply, which image do you like the best, which do you find the most attractive and which do you ultimately perceive to be the best quality? This is a difficult one for me as I know what the scene looked like at the time, clearly Nigel and yourselves do not.

Without further ado, here they are:

Image 1



Image 2



Thanks in advance for your comments and votes!

Best wishes
David
Flickr

Nicola's Apartments, Kassiopi, Corfu

Some cameras, some lenses, some bits 'n' bobs

bwlchmawr

Link Posted 18/10/2012 - 20:50
It's hard for me to assess ultimate quality on my lap-top which accounts, perhaps for the mediocre quality of my own shots!

The two have a very different "feel". The top one appears sharper (look at the foreground reeds). There is also more subtle detail in the cloud reflections. The colour is more "realistic" and warmer in no.1 and much more to my taste.
Best wishes,

Andrew

"These places mean something and it's the job of a photographer to figure-out what the hell it is."
Robert Adams
"The camera doesn't make a bit of difference.  All of them can record what you are seeing.  But, you have to SEE."
Ernst Hass
My website: http://www.ephotozine.com/user/bwlchmawr-199050 http://s927.photobucket.com/home/ADC3440/index
https://www.flickr.com/photos/78898196@N05

steven9761

Link Posted 18/10/2012 - 20:59
I agree with Andrew - No.1!!.. Image 2 is too blue and a bit "un-natural" for my liking.

Gwyn

Link Posted 18/10/2012 - 21:06
Me too.

InFESTation

Link Posted 18/10/2012 - 21:26
One that could maybe answered after it has run the course, has there been any lens correction applied to the 1st image?

I prefer 1 for its sharper detail, I get the feeling No2 has lost something in the compressing and the blueness is carried a bit too much into the trees on the right but still prefer the colour in the 2nd.

But by judging on the detail and sharpness of detail has to be 1
Pint o' rough & a game o' darts anyone

DrOrloff

Link Posted 18/10/2012 - 21:41
It's no contest, number 1. The second is way too blue, just looks wrong. Both, however, suffer from a lot of haloing around the trees on the right.
You can see some of my photos here if you are so inclined

Jumbo48

Link Posted 18/10/2012 - 21:54
Number 1 for me, the colours look more natural with a nice warmth and subtleness to them. I find the blue of number 2 a bit overpowering.
Regards John/Jumbo

ronniemac

Link Posted 18/10/2012 - 22:21
Image 1

johnriley

Link Posted 18/10/2012 - 22:26
No contest for me either, but is that the processing that has done it, or simply the choices made within the different programs by different photographers?

I think it would have to be the same photographger using both sets of programs to attempt to produce the same result, to see which gave the better outcome.

techno-terminator

Link Posted 18/10/2012 - 22:27
I'm in on #1 as well.

Colour , to my mind is much better , not as harsh

techno-terminator

Link Posted 18/10/2012 - 22:36
johnriley wrote:
No contest for me either, but is that the processing that has done it, or simply the choices made within the different programs by different photographers?

I think it would have to be the same photographger using both sets of programs to attempt to produce the same result, to see which gave the better outcome.

John - you have expressed what I was feeling . The only snag as far as I can see with your comment is that if you ask that it's the same person using both sets of programs , you would need to find a photographer who is happy and comfortable using both sets .

Then we also have Nigel's comment
Quote:
David has run his through ACR and Photoshop, the industry standard, while I have started with the outsider PCU4, then run the shot through my favorite editor, Sagelight 4, followed by final fine tuning in PS Elements 8. Which will give the highest quality output??

There were too many variables for a true test to my simple mind - we are asked to compare results from ACR and Photoshop [ 2 processes ] and PCU4 Sagelight4 and Elements 8 [ 3 processes ]
let the education continue

proud owner of a couple of cameras and a few bits and bobs

Pentaxophile

Link Posted 19/10/2012 - 09:22
johnriley wrote:
No contest for me either, but is that the processing that has done it, or simply the choices made within the different programs by different photographers?

Exactly. Plus I think when comparing software, it's not necessarily the results that count, but the ease / enjoyability of getting there. Different software may suit different people's 'thought process'.

This test is a bit like comparing different spreadsheet software, e.g. Excel, OpenOffice, and iWork - by looking at finished spreadsheets!

Stuey

Link Posted 19/10/2012 - 12:27
Shot 1 for me

The kind peeps above make some valid points IMHO
K10D, K5 plus plenty of clueless enthusiasm.

My Flickr site link

MattMatic

Link Posted 19/10/2012 - 12:39
Hmmm...

Image 1 has a much better balance of colour, but looks like it's got some haloing going on around the trees (top right).

Image 2 is far too blue, and though there is no halo top right, there's some very odd bluish haze over the trees.


Difficult to judge at these resolutions...

TBH, it looks more like a test of taste, rather than workflow
(Reckon I could achieve either look in LR without much bother)
As has been said, it often comes down to personal preference. There are times that I find Silkypix much easier and quicker, but equally times when I can only tease out the detail and lighting in LR.

Horses for courses really

Matt
http://www.mattmatic.co.uk
(For gallery, tips and links)
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