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Thread: Is it better to use a lens filter to edit in GIMP or Photoshop?

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    Is it better to use a lens filter to edit in GIMP or Photoshop?

    I was wondering if it was better to use filters while taking the shot or to to edit them after but I am not too much of a fan of editing photos unless it can help make them a considerable amount better.

    Brian

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    re: Is it better to use a lens filter to to edit in GIMP or Photoshop?

    Hi Brian,

    You'll probably find some prefer one camp - some prefer another - and some (like myself) use both (to a lesser or greater degree). Also, some filters (like a CPL filter for example) can't be emulated in post-processing.

    The thing I like to draw peoples attention to is that if you're working on a high resolution image - to professional standards - then "doing it in Photoshop" isn't always as easy as it sounds; what might look OK in a 6 x 4 can really start to fall apart in a 30 x 20" image if you're not careful with paths - selections - feathering etc. My personal preference (shared by many) is to "get it right in-camera" as far as is possible, and then to use Photoshop for the rest; that way (I believe) you get a more natural result - with less work - and less image degradation (due to large manipulations) ... but that's just a guide, not a mantra. Also, issues like poor portrait lighting can be VERY difficult to fix in PP.

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    re: Is it better to use a lens filter to to edit in GIMP or Photoshop?

    Yeah I like to compose the photo on the camera and not have to do much else after, I had seen a set of filters today and had read the techniques tutorial about them so I was curious. It seems pretty complicated to do it in Photoshop or Gimp as I tried doing it tonight and couldnt get stuff to seem right to my eye. I think I would rather play around with filters on the camera but am trying to get a few opinions and feedback from people on both sides of it. I dont like doing image manipulation its like plastic surgery in a way.

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    re: Is it better to use a lens filter to to edit in GIMP or Photoshop?

    Quote Originally Posted by gtibri View Post
    I dont like doing image manipulation its like plastic surgery in a way.
    Brian

    I agree with your view that learning how to use filters on the camera is a skill which can produce overall better outcomes. However, as Colin has suggested and as you will read in numerous threads on here (and elsewhere no doubt), it is not an 'either/or', but a 'both/and' situation.

    Your comment suggests you feel that PP work somehow results in the creation of an artificial or false image. I don't think that's true at all. What it does is support and assist you create what you saw when you were looking through the viewfinder. PP has been happening ever since photography was invented. What's happened in the last few years is that the ability to do it has become available to us ordinary mortals. So, PP is, I would argue, a perfectly legitimate activity. However, it doesn't remove the pleasure and, sometimes, frustration of trying to master the skills of getting it as good as you can out there in the field.

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    Re: Is it better to use a lens filter to to edit in GIMP or Photoshop?

    Hi Brian,

    Could you be a little more specific about which sort of filters and the use they are for please? This discussion is a bit generalised and vague for me.

    As Colin says, some filters you cannot replicate in PP, the CPL (circular Polariser) being a case in point. So it has to be the filter option.

    Graduated Neutral Density (GND) is generally something you can have a go at with PP, either by blending two oppositely adjusted extracts from a single RAW, or by taking multiple exposures (subject and background permitting) and manually blending, or HDR tone mapping these for a realistic looking result. So the choice is yours and I think this is what you are talking about.

    Another possibility is for monochrome conversion; where you set the camera to mono and use a coloured filter to get a desirable outcome (e.g. dark effect from blue skies), OR you can shoot colour and adjust the channels mixing in the PP monochrome conversion. For this scenario, PP wins - so much more versatile.

    Just to ensure I have covered all the possibilities; if we are just talking of white balance, then the camera WB (manually set or on Auto) should do the trick, but if shooting RAW (most highly recommended over jpg), PP is the answer, not a set of old film era correcting filters.

    The other (fairly safe) assumption I have made is that we are talking about digital photography here, and not scanned film.

    One last thing, "filter kits" or sets are usually at the cheaper/lower performance end of the market and may best be avoided, but obviously what camera and lenses you have may make this more (or less) of an issue.

    Sorry if that appears a bit pedantic, but I hate for us to give duff advice because we are thinking one thing while you have something different in mind.

    oh, and one further 'last thing'; Welcome to CiC forums from ...

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    Re: Is it better to use a lens filter to to edit in GIMP or Photoshop?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    Graduated Neutral Density (GND) is generally something you can have a go at with PP, either by blending two oppositely adjusted extracts from a single RAW, or by taking multiple exposures (subject and background permitting) and manually blending
    Out of interest Dave, I'm finding that I'm doing a lot less of this since Adobe introduced the fill light control in CS3 ... that one control alone was worth the price of the package!

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    Re: Is it better to use a lens filter to to edit in GIMP or Photoshop?

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Out of interest Dave, I'm finding that I'm doing a lot less of this since Adobe introduced the fill light control in CS3 ... that one control alone was worth the price of the package!
    I have to say that although I have it, I rarely use it - am I missing something good?
    Do you use the one in ACR at all? (You mentioned CS3)

    STOP PRESS:
    I just looked it up in 'the ACR bible' and then tried it on one of my climbing images and I think I have been missing something good
    I was using the grey slider in Levels to do that king of thing, doh.

    Thanks (yet again),

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    Re: Is it better to use a lens filter to to edit in GIMP or Photoshop?

    Hi Dave,

    I expect that by now I'm "preaching to the converted"

    By CS3 I meant ACR that shipped with CS3 (which they introduced it) - but of course it's carried on in CS4 and beyond. You'll get somewhat of a similar result using image -> Adjust -> shadows & highlights as well as the levels slider, but with ACR you're doing it in linear gamma and will get a much cleaner result. Not many things excited me as much as that little baby I can tell you
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 8th February 2010 at 03:42 AM.

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    Re: Is it better to use a lens filter to to edit in GIMP or Photoshop?

    Agree with Colin re Fill Light, it is available in Lightroom too and is a very usefull adjustment.

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    Re: Is it better to use a lens filter to to edit in GIMP or Photoshop?

    Thanks for the feedback guys, I was more or less curious as I have never done anything with a lens filter and I am new to actually editing a picture I have taken and never played with the filter set up alot in the editing programs. As for the camera and lenses I am using I have a Canon Rebel Xs, wanted a portable dslr that wasnt too heavy or bulky as and would be easy to use. The lens other than the standard one I have is a Sigma 70-300mm telephoto and macro lens. I am into mostly landscaping, macro and car photography at the moment. Also I am new to using the RAW format. Is there an extension to get it to work with gimp which is what I have access to at the moment

    Brian

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    Re: Is it better to use a lens filter to to edit in GIMP or Photoshop?

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    I expect that by now I'm "preaching to the converted"
    Absolutely; I feel I have just jumped out of a rut
    but will probably fall straight into another

    Thanks,

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