Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Software choices

I shoot only in RAW. My workflow consists mostly of cropping (when necessary for improving composition), exposure correction, contrast adjustment (using the tone curve for a finer control) and, when converting to B&W, color tuning (making blue sky darker, for instance). I don't have much time (or interest) for heavy Photoshop-like processing, so I decided to go for a simpler software.

I've been using Silkypix 3.0 for RAW editing and conversion for over a year now. I chose it after comparing it against Bibble pro and DxO. I liked the straightforward interface and the quality of the results. I've also tried a Lightroom 2 demo recently. It's packed with fancy features, some quite useful, like a dodge/burning tool or a healing tool for dust speck removal. However, I found it sluggish and prone to crashes on my old trustworthy portable (Pentium 4, 3.2 GHz, 1 Gb RAM), so I'm sticking with Silkypix.

Silkypix 3.0

A major limitation with Silkypix, though, is the primitive photo management capability. To overcome that, I'm using Photo Mechanic 4.5 as image browser and cataloger. It is extremely fast sorting and previewing RAW files and Silkypix can be configured as an external editor.

Photo Mechanic 4.5

I know that most people are probably using Lightroom these days, but hey, I like being different (as long as I get the job done properly). I'm using a Pentax, remember?...

Oh and I almost forgot! For backing up my photos to an external hard drive I use Clone 2.1. It's a very simple little program that allows me to keep an updated backup copy of my RAW files.

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