Posts Tagged ‘comparison’

Lightroom 3 versus Lightroom 4

Sunday, March 18th, 2012
Lightroom 3 versus Lightroom 4 by Tukay Canuck
Lightroom 3 versus Lightroom 4, a photo by Tukay Canuck on Flickr.

I just installed Lightrrom 4, and figured I’d give it a quick test. I found a photo that I took last year that was quite underexposed, to see what I can do with it. Right off the bat, when I made the process update to the LR4 “2012 process”, the photo was instantly much better. The ability to use the adjustment brush to selectively add noise reduction (to her skin tones only), and highlight and shadow adjustments (to the brick), in my opinion, make the photo much more pleasing. There aren’t many functional differences between LR3 and LR4, but my first impressions is that the technical aspects (the “algorithms”) used by LR4 is going to make my photos better and improve my workflow.

Nik HDR Efex vs. Photomatix Pro 4

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

Nik HDR Efex vs. Photomatix Pro 4

Originally uploaded by Tukay Canuck

HDRSoft’s Photomatix Pro has been the undisputed leader for HDR processing for years. Now Nik Software, which produces amazing filters for Photoshop, has released HDR Efex. I am a Photomatix user, and recently gave the Color Efex demo a whirl. I also recently upgraded from Photomatix release 3 to release 4.

These two images were created with what I considered my favourite presets from each of the applications.
I definitely like the presets available in HDR Efex better than Photomatix (and there’s more of them).

I’m sure you can get a picture of similar quality (saturation, tone and contrast) in Photomatix as you can in HDR Efex using the sliders, but the bottom line is – which of the two improves your workflow?

Photomatix Pro has 12 presets to choose from. These are divided in 3 methods of HDR tone mapping: enhancer, compressor, and fusion. The ability to see previews of the presets is a new feature in version 4.

The Nik Color Efex has over 30 presets, which are more than just HDR settings, but add effects like gradients, vignetting, and tonal contrast. Since these are things that I will typically add post-Photomatix in my workflow, this is a significant workflow improvement.

One key difference between Photomatix version 3 and 4 is the addition of (semi) manual ghosting handling. What version 4 does is allow you to circle parts of the image that have ghosting problems, and it will focus on those components. Nik Color Efex has ghosting handling too, but it only offers automatic.

I haven’t put ghosting handling to the test in these versions, but this blog has a great comparison of the different versions and how they handle ghosting, and clearly Photomatix handles ghosting better.

When I shoot, I try to avoid situations that lead to ghosting (i.e. people walking, animals, wind blowing vegetation, etc), so fixing ghosting is usually a non-issue.

In my personal opinion, although I’ve only just started playing with the HDR Efex demo, and I’ve just only started using Photomatix version 4 (having recently upgraded from 3), I  prefer the output from HDR Efex. I’m not sure if I like the difference enough to warrant shelling out US$150, as I do own the less expensive and still very powerful Photomatix Pro, but it is tempting.

Vibration Reduction / Image Stabilization

Friday, May 7th, 2010

No VR versus VR

Originally uploaded by Tukay Canuck

If you’re shopping for a lens, you may want to consider vibration reduction (on Nikons) or image stabilization (on Canons). These are marketed as “VR” and “IS” on the lens model name. Other brands have this technology too, and may have different marketing terms.

Image stabilization is a technology that stabilizes the lens even if your hand is shaking (your hand shakes – trust me). This allows you to shoot at slower shutter speeds and still get sharper images.

As a rule of thumb, you should shoot at 1/ (without using image stabilization). So if you are shooting with a 50mm lens, you shouldn’t shoot any slower than 1/50 of a second. If you are shooting with a 200mm lens, you shouldn’t shoot any slower than 1/200 of a second.

This is a rule of thumb, but you may be able to hold your camera more sturdier than the average person, and may be able to operate at slower shutter speeds.

Without image stabilization, if you are shooting at slower speeds than you can hold and keep the camera stable, then you will need to lower your f-stop (increase the aperture size), or boost your ISO.

Lowering the f-stop is a good option, as this will allow you to use a faster shutter speed. But if you are at your widest aperture (in this example, I’m at f2.8, which is as wide as this lens goes), then you are stuck.

Boosting the ISO is an option; this will also allow you to use a faster shutter speed while keeping the same f-stop. Boosting the ISO however introduces noise into the picture, and this may be undesirable. The more you have to boost your ISO to get the optimal shutter speed, the more noise you get. If it’s very low light, you may get a lot of noise due to a high ISO.

Vibration reduction/image stabilization introduces a new option – you can shoot at a slower shutter speed while keeping your f-stop the same and without having to increase your ISO as much (or not have to increase it at all).

In the example provided, I shot the freezer at f2.8, 70mm at 1/3 of a second, at ISO 200. Using my rule of thumb, I would need to quicken my shutter to 1/70s to get a sharp picture. Since I’m at the lowest f-stop number (2.8) that my lens will allow, I would have to increase my ISO to get 1/70, and the picture would get noisier (if I didn’t have VR).

In the second image, I have VR enabled. Note that even though I am shooting much slower than I should be able to steadily hold, the picture still looks reasonably sharp.

This is the great value from VR.

(Note: anther option in addition to boosting the ISO or lowering the f-stop is to mount your camera on a tripod. This is sometimes a good option, but a tripod is not always convenient, and sometimes not allowed.)