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Thread: Elements v Lightroom

  1. #1
    Peter Ryan's Avatar
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    Elements v Lightroom

    Hi guys, yes I am still around but interent in country locations in Australia is marginal at best.

    I am very busy in retirement with markets, lectures and workshops. Best thing I ever did - this retirement is great and I am loving having time for my photography pursuits.

    I use Photoshop but I am often asked what is better - Elements or Lightroom.

    I did have a look at an older version of Elements (V8) but it did not seem to have a Curves function (just Auto Contrat) and the RAW convertor looked like something closer to the CS2 version.

    Can anyone give me a comparison between the two and does the latest version of Elements have a Curves function and a reasonable RAW convertor?

  2. #2
    dje's Avatar
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    Re: Elements v Lightroom

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Ryan View Post
    Best thing I ever did - this retirement is great and I am loving having time for my photography pursuits.
    Couldn't agree more Peter !!

    I started with Elements 9, moved on to CS5 and have recently upgraded to CS6. I also had a look at Lightroom 4 a while ago. I haven't used Elements 10 but I suspect it's not too different to 9.

    Basically the editing functionality of LR4 is the same as the version of Adobe Camera Raw that is built into CS6 (ACR v7 I think it is). The screen views are different but the functionality is the same. It has changed a little since the version of ACR in CS5 (and LR3) eg on the Basic editing tab, Fill Light and Recovery have been replaced by Shadows and Highlights. Also the Curves adjustment tab has been modified.

    With Elements 9, ACR is a cut-down version of ACR in CS5 - it only has three editing tabs - Basic, Detail and Camera Calibration. I think these are the same as the full version.

    The main Photoshop part of Elements 9 is a cut-down version of CS5 but it has most of the same adjustments including Levels, Curves, Saturation etc . It is a pretty powerful editor. It can open 16 bit images but you can't do much editing on them, only 8 bit. It can do layers but the functionality is less than CS5. Most people could do most things they need to do though. It cant do Smart Objects and you can't create Actions (although I think you might be able to use Actions created in CS5).

    That's probably the crux of it I think. I can understand people asking the question you pose. For me, I would probably choose Elements rather than LR if I was starting out but I know there are many others out there who would think the opposite. One thing about LR is that it's all non-destructive editing. The main reservation I have with LR is it's limited options for Sharpening.

    Hope this is of some help. If I've slipped up somewhere with this summary, I'm sure there are others out there who can set me straight !

    Dave

  3. #3
    Peter Ryan's Avatar
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    Re: Elements v Lightroom

    Thanks Dave.

    It is too hard and expensive to buy and try all these programs first hand so this type of input is invaluable. Many thanks.

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    Re: Elements v Lightroom

    Hi, I use L/R 4 now and am still learning (you never stop do you) I have PS CS5 but now only use it if absolutely needed, I think LR has been sculptured round photographers where as PS CS? was made for a far greater audience, LR is IMO easier to learn than PS CS?, some say LR does not have curves or does not have this or that compared to PS CS? but what it does have for the beginner or the enthusiastic amateur is a price that can be afforded, as for PSE again for the price it is good value. What one should a person be advised to buy? I think the best answer to that is download the trials, I believe you get one month free trial, give them a serious try out see what you best get on with and stick with it, if you jump from this software to that you will never learn to use them successfully IMO.
    Russ

  5. #5

    Re: Elements v Lightroom

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Ryan View Post
    It is too hard and expensive to buy and try all these programs first hand so this type of input is invaluable.
    Cost shouldn't be an issue to try them as they all have a free 30 day trial.
    Basically Lightroom is for developing RAW files and organising your images.
    Photoshop is primarily for pixel editing (but can develop RAW files using ACR).
    Photoshop elements is a cut down version of both as it has limited pixel editing and a cut down RAW development engine.

  6. #6

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    Re: Elements v Lightroom

    When I went through this same process I did all the research and read everything I could get up on my PC. I am not a prolific shooter that needs an organizer to figure out where my photos are nor do I need to edit large numbers of similar photos like a wedding. These days I am a somewhat busy amateur shooting nothing in particular.

    I chose Elements 9 as the best package for what I foresaw as the one I needed for the direction I wanted to go. Fixing photographs, changing sky's, fixing skin tones and other actions I saw in the videos is what I wanted to be able to do. As I learned more of the processes I also added Elements+ http://simplephotoshop.com/elementsplus/ and Nikon's ViewNX2.

    There are lots of overlaps in Elements and Lightroom. I've found it helpful to remember that Lightroom is primarily an organizer with the full ACR capability while Elements is an editor/manipulator with partial ACR capability. Lightroom can still edit photos and Elements has a good organizer but neither can outdo the other in what each was built for. As it has turned out for me, at this time, I am actually doing a huge majority of the work in ViewNX2. I'm finding the capabilities of Nikon's free raw converter is where I should have started. I rarely go into Elements at this time but again, I'm still learning and am sure I will venture into some other aspect of photography, as we all do, and may find the priority of my work reversed. Who knows?

    As I indicated, most of my efforts at the moment are being taken care of with ViewNX2. The raw converter allows me to make the majority of changes I need. Exposure to fine tune my first one in the camera, Contrast to perk up the lighting, Sharpening to address characteristics of the camera and Cropping to get the right balance. I'm done. A limitation on that package is adjustments are global. I started looking at Lightroom to change that but have found that perhaps CaptureNX2 is a better choice, at the moment. Those NIK designed control points are something else. I'm still working on that decision.

    What I'm hoping to get across is you too will need to try and imagine where you want to take your skills or just play around with in the future. Not long term. Maybe a year or two. Who knows where you'll want to go by then? You may be doing graphics and need the full suite by then. If you haven't already got one, first get the free raw converter for your camera. It does a lot and as you learn and see what it does may help you decide where you want to go for the next year, or until you look for new challenges and need something else. Whatever your choice, you'll find lots in it to keep you busy for some time. It's a bit like camera bags....it certainly wont be your last one.

    Good luck.

  7. #7

    Re: Elements v Lightroom

    I think everyone has to find the software thats right for them as stated above. I like LR4.1 it takes care of me for what I do. I also have Nik's Complete Collection for LR. Between the two I am very satisfied. I picked up PSE10 for free along with the wacom tablet but have not used it to this day. Maybe later on I will expand to include PSE10 in my workflow so I will keep it to that end. You have some of the best advice above to download the software for the free trial and see what you like the best although I think it will take some time to learn PSE10. I found LR4.1 easy to learn and I am not that good with most software. I do still have lots to learn with it. Whatever you decide I wish you all the best with it.

  8. #8
    Ronny's Avatar
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    Re: Elements v Lightroom

    I must agree with all the earlier some very important comments. Each person uses his camera for a certain purpose and the software has to match that. Most of my work is shooting homes for Realtors. For that work I can live with E9. But I also just bought TopazLabs plugins and the stand alone photoFXlab program, which I am very happy with.

  9. #9
    davidedric's Avatar
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    Re: Elements v Lightroom

    I have had PSE9 for a while, but it contains a lot of stuff I will never use, and I really don't like the Organiser. Anyway, after asking the Lightroom / PSE question on here, I downloaded the Lightroom 4.1 trial and had a go. It took me about 48 hours to decide that this was the way to go. I now use LR for about 95% of PP work (love the non-destructive editing, for example, and the ease of making virtual copies). I just occasionally move an image across into PSE. I suspect that I will do less in PSE as I learn more about LR's capability (I think I sometimes go into PSE just because I know how to do something there, even if I suspect LR can do it, too). The fact that the PSE and LR user interfaces are quite similar definitely helps with the learning curve.

  10. #10
    kdoc856's Avatar
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    Re: Elements v Lightroom

    Hi, Peter

    I have both PSE 10 (started with PSE5- it's been hugely improved) and LR4.1. I wouldn't be without either- they are complementary, not substitutive. I use the organizer and do all initial post-processing in LR, but 10-20% of shots I pop over to PSE for layers, composites, more involved pixel manipulation, more extensive sharpening capabilities, etc. I love Lightroom and wish I had started using it earlier, but it just cant do all that PSE or CS6 can do. There are excellent video tutorials easily available for both (photoshop.com). I occasionally read about a plug-in here or there, but my search for basic processing is over. I am well, well satisfied with LR and PSE. Good luck

    Kevin

  11. #11
    Scott Stephen's Avatar
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    Re: Elements v Lightroom

    I have LR3 and also PSE 10. I bought both of them about 6 months ago (right before they released LR4). I loaded both into the computer and I started first with Lightroom. I have to admit I have not even bothered to get proficient at PSE10 because LR does everything I need it to do, plus it is totally non-destructive editing, and it really is nice for the organization function.

    Photoshop Elements does have a few things I do intend to get into using (heck, I did pay for it!), like detailed masking, but it would be a pain in the butt to have 10 different saved copies of the same photo, and editing on that level is just much more tedious than I care to get for 99% of my shooting. A lot of photoshop seems to be so extreme that it is more like "tricks" or "special effects", like adding people into photos that were not there, making someone's face look skinnier (or look like Gollum), or putting a bananna peel on an orange, etc... and I just would not ever need to do much of that very often.

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