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Thread: Lightroom - Version 4

  1. #1
    Glenn NK's Avatar
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    Lightroom - Version 4

    I've been using LR 4 (actually 4.1) for a month or two and had a feeling that I was getting much better results than I did with LR3 (3.6).

    I quite often review old files taken in the past six years (when I switched from film to digital). This is done on the premise that my processing skills are getting better. Well that could be part of the solution, but I felt there was something else going on - particularly in the darker areas of an image that at times tempted me to try HDR. (I even have an exposure setting programmed into my camera that automatically takes three consecutive shots - one underexposed, one proper exposure, and one overexposed with the intention of combining/blending them.)

    As some of you know , I'm keen on ETTR - which means that I push the exposure as far as I can to result in either no clipping, or minor clipping of the highlights (there is no method to preserve specular highlights and still retain a reasonable exposure - with one image). There are images however where the left (dark) side of the RGB histogram is still in the shadows with little visible detail.

    Recently while reprocessing a number of sunset shots taken a year ago on the Oregon Coast, I felt that LR4 was doing a considerably better job than LR3. Until this morning, this was just my impression, albeit a firmly held one. This morning, I blundered onto this:

    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/te...htroom_4.shtml

    Reading this, the light came on - literally. Actually the lights came on when I learned how to use the SHADOWS slider (and the HIGHLIGHTS one too), but the SHADOWS one is dramatic.

    Not only does LR rescue the shadows, the author also states, "gives slightly more highlight headroom, and can do a better job of rescuing overexposed images".

    There is much more to the article, which I've barely gotten into, and will spend some time digesting, but the bottom line is that I'm very pleased with the increased power of LR4 over that of LR3.

    Glenn

  2. #2
    davidedric's Avatar
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    Re: Lightroom - Version 4

    Thanks for the link, Glenn. I've just been using LR4 (first version I've had) for a few weeks, so very useful.

  3. #3

    Re: Lightroom - Version 4

    Thanks for the link Glenn! I too am hung on LR4.1 and it is probably the biggest reason I have such a hard time wanting to learn how to use PSE 10.
    I have just started using ETTR and must say I like it too.

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    Re: Lightroom - Version 4

    Hi Glenn, very informtive link.
    Thanks

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    dje's Avatar
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    Re: Lightroom - Version 4

    Glenn I've recently upgraded from Photoshop CS5 to Photoshop CS6. I've long been a fan of the Shadows/Highlights adjustment in Photoshop. The RAW plug-in that comes with Photoshop is ACR and it is the same engine as Lightroom. So the version of ACR that came with CS5 was the same as LR3 and the ACR version with CS6 is the same as LR4. It was the replacement of the Fill Light adjustment in the earlier version with the Shadows adjustment in the latest version that had a big influence on me upgrading to CS6. I can now do most of what I want to do for many images in ACR (aka LR4), although I still prefer PS for some aspects of sharpening.

    I also did a very simple comparison with a few other RAW converters recently and came to the conclusion that ACR/LR is the best around in terms of image quality.

    Dave

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    Re: Lightroom - Version 4

    Be careful of over-doing the shadows. I've noticed that using this over exposure increases noise. There's a fine balance to this which is why adobe positioned the controls in the order on the screen. (which is mentioned on that link btw). I was addicted to using shadows when I noticed an increase in noise in a few of my photo's. I went back and re-did a photo at 100% zoom and noticed there was a difference in noise increase when using shadows over exposure. This effect is noticeably stronger on higher ISO.

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    Cantab's Avatar
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    Re: Lightroom - Version 4

    Quote Originally Posted by dje View Post
    Glenn I've recently upgraded from Photoshop CS5 to Photoshop CS6....

    I also did a very simple comparison with a few other RAW converters recently and came to the conclusion that ACR/LR is the best around in terms of image quality.

    Dave
    Dave, I've just upgraded from Elements 9 to Photoshop CS 6. Up till now I've used Canon's DPP for RAW processing then exported the result as a TIFF file. Did your comparison of RAW processors include DPP? I'm used to DPP but am wondering if I should now switch to ACR since it would make workflow a bit simpler.

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    Glenn NK's Avatar
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    Re: Lightroom - Version 4

    Quote Originally Posted by orlcam88 View Post
    Be careful of over-doing the shadows. I've noticed that using this over exposure increases noise. There's a fine balance to this which is why adobe positioned the controls in the order on the screen. (which is mentioned on that link btw). I was addicted to using shadows when I noticed an increase in noise in a few of my photo's. I went back and re-did a photo at 100% zoom and noticed there was a difference in noise increase when using shadows over exposure. This effect is noticeably stronger on higher ISO.
    Orlando:

    I'm wondering a few things:

    1) does it actually increase the noise, or just make the existing noise more visible?

    2) does this actually show up in a print?

    Glenn

  9. #9
    dje's Avatar
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    Re: Lightroom - Version 4

    Quote Originally Posted by Cantab View Post
    Dave, I've just upgraded from Elements 9 to Photoshop CS 6. Up till now I've used Canon's DPP for RAW processing then exported the result as a TIFF file. Did your comparison of RAW processors include DPP? I'm used to DPP but am wondering if I should now switch to ACR since it would make workflow a bit simpler.
    Bruce it was by no means a rigourous test, just on a couple of images (including my Lake Louise shot) and did include DPP. I thought DPP was pretty good but ACR a bit better. ACR has more adjustments available too, including perspective correction. I know you can do this in PS but I prefer to do all my cropping, rotation and perspective correction where required in ACR as it's all non-destructive. Also, because I don't have Canon lenses, I can't use DPP for lens correction.

    I prefer the workflow process with Bridge/ACR/PS but I think you can avoid saving the file as a TIFF in DPP if you invoke the Tools/Transfer to Photoshop option.

    I suggest you have a play with a couple of your images to compare yourself.

    Dave

  10. #10
    dje's Avatar
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    Re: Lightroom - Version 4

    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn NK View Post
    Orlando:

    I'm wondering a few things:

    1) does it actually increase the noise, or just make the existing noise more visible?


    Glenn
    Glenn and Orlando, I think this would just make the existing noise more visible but it's hard to say for sure - how could you tell whether some extra noise was being introduced by the adjustment algorithm or not ?

    Interesting point.

    Dave

  11. #11
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    Re: Lightroom - Version 4

    Had to go back and find a photo that'll repeat the effect. I went through a few and didn't find one until I looked for one that was unexposed and had noise to begin with. As most of the ones I've tried wasn't producing my finding, I should just stop now and give up. But I wanted to find out what condition would this occur so I must continue

    It's not an increase of noise but rather it make noise more visible. Shadows brings out features but it also brings out noise. Exposure alone doesn't help with shadows much so I had to test using combination of adjustments. In the case where the photo is noisy to begin with, a combination of exposure with shadows would reduce the noise. What I did was make a virtual copy of the image and adjusted so that both photo's appeared the same but adjusted differently. One with mostly exposure and the other leaning towards shadows. As I typed this, I wanted to see how noise reduction would work and as you might already predicted, you'll need more noise adjustment with the one leaning towards shadows than with exposure. It's a matter of preference at that point. Would the increase in shadow reduction offset the amount of noise you need to reduce? btw, the photo I played around with was at ISO 3200 so I may have rang an alarm that should have been a whistle!

  12. #12
    Glenn NK's Avatar
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    Re: Lightroom - Version 4

    Quote Originally Posted by dje View Post
    Glenn and Orlando, I think this would just make the existing noise more visible but it's hard to say for sure - how could you tell whether some extra noise was being introduced by the adjustment algorithm or not ?

    Interesting point.

    Dave
    Yes, difficult to really measure - perhaps a bit too subjective. In any event, seeing noise in an image on the screen doesn't necessarily translate into noise on a print does it? At least this has been stated many times by people who's opinions I respect.

    Glenn

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    Re: Lightroom - Version 4

    It's not an increase of noise but rather it make noise more visible. Shadows brings out features but it also brings out noise.
    That makes sense. Lower exposure means a lower signal/noise ratio: the signal is weaker but the noise is not. Boosting shadows should increase all variation, including noise. That is the rationale for ETTR.

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