Home Features Image Processing: Affinity Photo, Adobe, the way forward for Fuji fans

Image Processing: Affinity Photo, Adobe, the way forward for Fuji fans

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It took me several years to learn how to use the features of Photoshop (PS) well enough for effective image editing. Like so many others, I considered the end results well worth the effort required.  I used Adobe Camera RAW to “develop” my RAW files before editing in PS. I was in a happy place.

Then Adobe announced that purchase of PS outright was to end and that they were introducing a new subscription pricing model. The advantage, they claimed, was that customers would always have access to the latest features via rolling updates. It was also claimed that customers would have access to the whole range of Adobe products within their Creative Cloud subscription.

Photographers all over the world, including myself, pointed out that many Adobe products are not used at all by many photographers so why should we pay for them? After initial denial that an issue existed, Adobe eventually introduced the photographic bundle of Photoshop and Lightroom for under £10 a month. This meant that continued use of PS on a temporary basis was possible but left the fundamental questions around the acceptability of the new system unanswered for many photographers including me. 

This episode on its own was enough to demonstrate to me that Adobe are primarily focused on design professionals in a corporate environment. They have not put the needs of ordinary enthusiast photographers, nor even those of some professionals, high on the list of their priorities 

Accordingly, I decided to sign up for one year of Adobe’s Creative Cloud but determined that I would immediately start a hunt for a PS replacement. I also took the decision at that point to save no more layered files in PSD format until I had found a way forward.

  Guarding Goslings, Fuji X-T2 and 100-400mm
Guarding Goslings, Fuji X-T2 and 100-400mm

Reasons

There were three reasons:

First, I prefer to own software outright rather than take on yet another monthly financial commitment.

Second, if at some stage into my retirement I needed to retrench financially, what would happen if I stopped paying my subscription to Adobe? I would lose access to Photoshop because keeping PS6 going on an old computer would be no long-term answer, since Adobe would undoubtedly no longer bother to ensure PS6 compatibility with frequent Mac OS upgrades.

Thirdly, although one could always store PSD layered files away from Adobe’s cloud, one might be faced with being unable to re-work such old PS files because of future inability to access an appropriate version of PS itself.

My way forward came with the purchase of Affinity Photo and some time spent learning how to use it and then to do virtually all the things that I used to do in Photoshop. For those with some reasonable knowledge of PS, transition to AP is straightforward. From that time too I managed my images by using folders on my computer labelled by year, date, location and shoot, all backed up via Time Machine.

I also purchased Iridient Developer as a back up RAW developer in case AP was unsatisfactory. Iridient had very good reviews for the development of Fuji RAW files. It is indeed very good but I have found that AP is also very good and much more intuitive to use. For a professional photographer’s take on Affinity photo with Fuji RAW files in particular, I suggest a visit to Thomas Fitzgerald Photography.

Many of the good points he makes in relation to Affinity Photo and Fuji RAW files are also applicable to using it with  other brands of RAW. I can confirm satisfactory experience using it for development of both Canon and Nikon RAW files. 

Lightroom

At the same time, I had trialled Lightroom for a month since I was looking to replace Apple’s Aperture which I had been using not for RAW conversion but as an asset manager. As Lightroom incorporated Adobe Camera RAW, with which I was already familiar, this seemed an attractive option since Apple had stopped developing Aperture and Lightroom had already drawn well ahead of it in features and capability. However, despite these attractions, I decided against the idea. It made no sense to leave one Adobe module (PS) only to start up with another Adobe product in Lightroom.

Now I see that Adobe have just announced the end of Lightroom as a standalone product – Lightroom 6 will not be followed by a Lightroom 7 for purchase. You must now subscribe to Creative Cloud to get Lightroom 7, or whatever it is now called by Adobe. In my opinion, this further vindicates my decision to leave the Adobe camp.

So when my first year on Adobe CC ended, I was pleased to terminate my subscription and say goodbye to Adobe for ever. 

How does Serif’s Affinity Photo (AP) stack up as an alternative to Adobe Camera RAW and Photoshop? Very well as it turns out, although it is still a work in progress and cannot yet completely emulate Photoshop in all respects. It is however immensely capable and I think a very worthy leading competitor for Photoshop. On November 2nd 2017, Serif have just released version 1.6 with a number of updates which further enhance the programs professional features.

On the plus side, AP was designed from the ground up by Serif with photographers in mind and with Photoshop clearly in their sights. It works on both Windows and Mac, supports all standard file types including PSD and works in any colour space: RGB, CMYK, LAB and Greyscale. In the UK, it costs a one off payment of £48.99. Since introduction of AP, Serif have made several major free upgrades with significant increases in functionality. As evidenced by their user forum, these improvements resulted from a happy blend of listening to customer “push” and Serif’s developers “pull” with improved and new features.

  Young Robin, Fuji X-T10 and 100-400mm
Young Robin, Fuji X-T10 and 100-400mm

Modules

AP has a set of modules (rather like Lightroom) but which are called “personas” namely, Develop, Photo, Liquify, Tonemap and Export, each representing a separate workspace with its own individual set of tools.

AP’s develop “persona” is broadly equivalent to Adobe Camera RAW and has similarly comprehensive RAW editing capabilities. There are various tabs and under the Basic tab is included adjustment of exposure, blackpoint, brightness, contrast, clarity, saturation, vibrance, white balance, shadows and highlights and more.

  • Under the Lens tab,  correction facilities include distortion, chromatic aberration, remove lens vignette, post-crop vignette and defringe. 
  • The Detail tab,  headed detail refinement, includes noise reduction and noise addition. 
  • The Tones tab covers Curves, Black and White and Split toning. 
  • The Overlays tab is ingenious since it allows one to selectively edit the RAW image in Develop persona. This for example works well in lightening exposure of a dark foreground.

In my experience AP has done an excellent job in developing Fuji RAF files from my X-T10, X-T20 and X-T2 cameras. Since I know that until fairly recently there have been significant continuing issues around Lightroom and the development of Fuji RAW files, this further emphasises AP’s solid capability.

Those transferring from Photoshop should be aware of two areas where AP is not yet up to speed with PS:

First, once you develop the RAW file it is a destructive edit since, unlike Photoshop, AP does not yet have an equivalent to smart RAW layers enabling one to return to Adobe Camera RAW for further RAW editing if desired. It is to be hoped that this capability may form part of a future upgrade to AP. It should also be stressed that once the RAW file has been developed into Photo module, from that point on all future layer operations in AP are entirely non-destructive.

The second point which will be of concern to some users is that there is also no way currently for all your settings, set up for the development of one RAW image, to be easily transferred to a batch of other RAW images. (AP currently only has a batch function for the export of finished images to other file types and sizes.) AP does however allow the saving of RAW development presets for use on subsequent individual  RAW images which meets part of this need.

Once the RAW image is developed, it is sent as an editable layer to the highly capable Photo module.

In this module, adjustment layers enable the enhancement of images with Levels, Curves, Recolour, Black and White, Brightness and Contrast, White Balance, Posterise, Vibrance, Exposure, Threshold, HSL, Shadows and Highlights, Channel Mixer, Gradient Map, Selective Colour, Colour Balance, Invert Colour, Set Balance, LUT, Lens Filter, and Split Toning. In addition, there are many auto options, including auto levels, auto contrast, auto colours and auto white balance. 

  Boiling Water, Fuji X-T20 and 56mm
Boiling Water, Fuji X-T20 and 56mm

Tools in the Photo module are available in a tool strip down the left of the workspace. Single use tools include View, Move, Colour Picker, Crop, Selection Brush, Flood Select, Flood Fill, Gradient , Paint Brush, Paint Mixer Brush, Erase Brush, Clone Brush, Undo Brush, Blur Brush,

Other individual tabs enable choice of many tools: For example clicking on one tab offers choice of the Rectangular Marquee, Elliptical Marquee, Column Marquee, Row Marquee and Free Hand Selection tools. Another tab offers choice of Burn, Dodge and Sponge Brush tools. A further tab offers choice of Healing Brush, Patch, Blemish Removal, Inpainting and Red Eye Removal tools. Another tab offers choice of Pen or Node tools. Yet another tab offers choice of twenty one tools of various shapes ranging from Rectangle to Heart. A further tab offers choice between Artistic Text and Frame Text. Another offers choice between Mesh Warp and Perspective tools.Finally there is a Zoom tool. Overall, this is indeed a well specified tool kit even by Photoshop standards!

Inpainting tool

A special word of praise for the context-aware Inpainting tool which is remarkably good at removing unwanted objects such as dustbins and signs from an otherwise attractive image and intelligently filling in the void. Subjectively, it seems to me to work better than the PS equivalent but then I haven’t used PS for a couple of years so I would expect that PS contextual awareness has improved as well.

Each adjustment layer has its own mask so that all these changes can easily be applied selectively by painting overlays and custom gradients. You can adjust, re-adjust and drag and drop onto any layer, group, mask, or in any place in a stack to control how they’re applied. A full range of thirty blend modes are also available, all of which preview in real time for maximum ease of selection.

Filters are best applied as live layers so that they may be edited, erased and masked after application. There is a large range of filters including lighting, blurs, distortions, shadows, glows and a very easy-to-use live perspective filter. This is of course very useful to correct converging perspective or apply perspective for creative effect. A new half-tone filter has just been added in version 1.6

Making selections is an integral part of much image editing, whether in the cutting out of objects, creation of masks or selective application of adjustments. Happily, AP incorporates an advanced selection algorithm to assist such selections even down to individual strands of hair and fur. In my opinion, AP is as powerful but easier to use and  more accurate in this type of work than PS6 used to be. Other AP modules are Liquify, Tone Mapping and Export. The Liquify model  has its own array of tools enabling

  • Move
  • Zoom
  • Push Forward
  • Push Left
  • Twirl
  • Pinch
  • Punch
  • Turbulence
  • Mesh Clone
  • Reconstruct
  • Freeze
  • Thaw tools.

Tone mapping

The Tone Mapping module in AP works in much the same way as other standalone HDR programmes such as Aurora HDR and Photomatix. Although it has fewer preset options to choose from than these two alternatives, the end product from AP is every bit as good in my opinion. When I do use tone mapping, I aim to produce as natural and realistic an image as possible with the smallest possible hint of HDR excess. AP does this well as illustrated by  the following image of the inside of a Scandinavian chapel. This image comprised a seven-image exposure bracket from +4.5 EV to -4.5 EV and was handheld.

The Export Module in Affinity Photo is a hard working function since the normal Save command is used only to save the layered AP file which is Serif’s equivalent to a PSD file. In order to save other kinds of file in different sizes, like jpeg, tiff, png, gif, OpenEXR, HDR, SVG, EPS, PDF or PSD then you must use the Export module to save out of the AP environment, in either 8-bit or 16-bit colour depth. A layers panel within the export module enables the targeting of layers, groups or selected objects that you specifically wish to export.

AP does not currently have any asset management capabilities so in this respect is not currently competitive with Bridge or Lightroom. However, there is real expectation on the Affinity forum that some such functionality is likely to appear.  At present, it is unclear how far Serif will go in offering digital asset management (DAM) but it seems very likely to join in the trend towards the introduction of DAM which is being followed by other image editors, including On1Photo RAW, who are trying to compete with Adobe. Skylum are saying that their asset management capability for Luminar is due in 2018.  However,  it is not clear  yet whether Serif will build in asset management capability directly into AP or, perhaps alternatively, offer a separate DAM application to work with AP in the way that Bridge and Lightroom work with PS?

  Chatsworth Steps, Fuji X-T2 and 16mm
Chatsworth Steps, Fuji X-T2 and 16mm

Asset management

My folder-based asset management system is clearly only a temporary makeshift. I have been tempted by Photo Mechanic which is highly recommended by professional photographers for asset management but unfortunately it is somewhat expensive. I will therefore wait for the arrival of the Serif alternative.

It should also be mentioned that AP, unlike Lightroom, does not currently have Fuji film simulation profiles built in to apply as desired. This does not affect me since I tend to shoot RAW plus jpeg and therefore create my favoured film simulations straightaway using the RAW engine in camera. If necessary I can use other film styles as desired by returning RAW files to the camera. However, I can see that Lightroom does offer a real advantage for Fuji shooters if the Fuji film profiles within it are as good as the Fuji in camera ones. I have not so far heard that they are indeed quite as good as that.

AP has further capabilities including macros which are like PS actions, panorama stitching, focus merging and stacking.  In panorama stitching, AP combines accurate automatic alignment and perspective corrections with full control over each image and boundary in the composite picture. Stacking is of course the ability to create non-destructive image stacks for the purpose of exposure blending or for special image effects such as removing people from a series of images taken over a period. 

For photographers requiring retouching tools, AP has an extensive selection:Dodge, burn, clone, patch, blemish and red eye tools and also the excellent inpainting brush. Frequency separation capability and a full set of liquify features are also built in. 

Just added to AP is a major improvement in professional brush capability, with wet edge support with customisable ramp profiles. It is also now possible to enable Stabiliser for super smooth bush strokes with two different modes, named rope and windows, for different smoothing behaviour.

The latest version of AP also has “edit in” capabilities within Apple Photos for: Develop, Haze Removal, Liquify, Miniature, Monochrome and Retouch.

The speed of AP in action is also worthy of note. On my ageing 2010 iMac 27”, adjustments are lightning fast, as are live filters and the effect of blend modes. Subjectively, AP is faster in operation than PS6 was on this same computer and it is this speed of operation which I can see as a real bonus for all users. 

  Norwegian Chapel, Canon 6D and 16-35mm
Norwegian Chapel, Canon 6D and 16-35mm

The latest version of AP has further boosted operational speeds of operations like live filter layers with optimisation for Mac OS High Sierra. Finally, speed within workflow has been improved by enabling the use of custom keyboard shortcuts to toggle panel behaviour.

Another important enhancement to AP is the further support for Photoshop plugins including most Nik plugins.

It is also worth noting the latest version of AP brings improvements in user interface customisation, flexibility of the Inpainting brush, 360 degree image handling, 3D relocations, improved text handling, better font and glyph management and more.

Before concluding, a final word on Lightroom in case current users are unhappy about what I have said or not said about it. I am quite clear that for many photographers who do not require advanced editing and, importantly, can avert their eyes away from Adobe’s subscription business model, that Lightroom is a substantial all-in-one product with a great workflow. 

However, I view the advanced editing features which Lightroom lacks to be essential and I am not prepared to accept Adobe’s subscription model, so it is for these reasons that Lightroom is not for me. Happily, developers of alternative editing programmes including Serif Affinity Photo are all moving to grab market share from Adobe by improved features and workflow. Other products moving in to this space are of course ON1 Photo RAW, Luminar  by Skylum  (previously MacPhun) and others. There is also Capture One Pro which is highly praised by professional photographers. Options are opening up!

   TABLE NOTES     1. Broad comparisons only. The features list in each column are illustrative not comprehensive    2. Adobe Camera RAW essentially works inside Lightroom but in tandem with Photoshop    3. Serif use their own RAW Engine within Affinity Photo but you can choose alternatively to use Apples Core Image RAW by selection in the  Develop Assistant.    4. The workflow champion for now is Lightroom. Its basic editing options are excellent but mostly limited to global adjustments.    5. Photoshop is the advanced editing champion but even with Camera RAW and Bridge alongside is much clunkier to use than Lightroom alone.    6. Affinity Pro is comparable to Photoshop in advanced pixel and graphic editing and additionally incorporates RAW
TABLE NOTES 1. Broad comparisons only. The features list in each column are illustrative not comprehensive 2. Adobe Camera RAW essentially works inside Lightroom but in tandem with Photoshop 3. Serif use their own RAW Engine within Affinity Photo but you can choose alternatively to use Apples Core Image RAW by selection in the  Develop Assistant. 4. The workflow champion for now is Lightroom. Its basic editing options are excellent but mostly limited to global adjustments. 5. Photoshop is the advanced editing champion but even with Camera RAW and Bridge alongside is much clunkier to use than Lightroom alone. 6. Affinity Pro is comparable to Photoshop in advanced pixel and graphic editing and additionally incorporates RAW

AP suits my purposes admirably, providing most of the benefits of Photoshop without the disadvantages. It is likely that the areas in which AP currently does fall short, such as asset management and non-destructive RAW editing and transferability of RAW settings, will be remedied in future upgrades. 

I would encourage those who find Adobe’s subscription model oppressive to try out AP. I do accept however that those for whom batch processing of RAW files is a vital part of their regular workflow will currently find such a move too onerous. There is an immediate incentive to move to AP in that a valuable bonus pack is currently free with purchases. This includes a free macro pack, a fine art texture collection and a set of sky overlays. The offer is however time limited.

AP is already a professional- and enthusiast-photographer image editor of the highest class. The Serif developers have amply demonstrated they are highly customer focused, listening to what photographers want and then designing and improving their product to meet those needs. What they have already done is in my opinion an object lesson to many other software developers not least Adobe.

My rather obvious conclusion is that there is no one magic image management and editing solution which can meet all photographers’ requirements in all aspects of image editing. Nevertheless, there are encouraging signs that the choice available in the market is becoming ever wider and the competition for Adobe ever fiercer. Perhaps my thoughts on why I chose to do what I did may assist others to make up their minds on what is really important to them. and thereby chart their own way forward. Good luck!

______________

 

23 COMMENTS

  1. A great article, David. I am currently at the same stage. Having about 25 years of Photoshop experience (since version 2.5) under my belt I am now wildly determined to say good-bye to Adobe for good. I my case I also looked for a replacement for Lightroom 6 and I’ll switch to Capture One Pro. I lso do some desktop publishing so I’ll leave InDesign and switch to QuarkExpress. Thats a lot of new stuff to learn, but that will keep me off the streets and make me feel better.

    For starters I bought and installed Affinity Photo 1.6.6 last Friday and I have to say that I am pretty impressed by it. Meanwhile I (Monday) was able to reproduce most of my workflow on Affinity Photo.

    Without that Cloud I would have never left Adobe, but the new Cloud-only policy is absolutely no option for me. I made a few calculations (for a 3 year period) just to finsd out that buy Affinity Photo, CaptureOne and QuarkExpress is in fact cheaper than doing the Cloud thing with Adobe. Besides that I definitely don’t want my bank account to be permanently tapped by Adobe, and I don’t want (or need) cloud services. Period! Memory devices are cheaper than ever. I don’t want to be forced to buy things I don’t want nor being treated like an immature kid by some greedy company.

    • I will second the choice of Capture One and Affinity Photo.

      I switched outright to CO when Adobe first introduced the subscription model, and recently replaced Photoshop CS6 with Affinity. The only downside has bee the terrible catalogue performance with CO10 (bizarrely, editing is fine, but catalogue operations can be very slow with large numbers of images), but the upsides are much better rendering – and in the case of Affinity a much faster and smoother editing experience.

      • Mark

        Good to her of your positive experience overall in moving away from Adobe to Capture One and Affinity Photo. I envy you the image management capabilities of CO (which I have never tried) but as I mentioned I am waiting to see what Serif and Skylum offer in this field in 2018.

  2. Thanks David for the analysis and the table above. As of now, I am a ‘remainer’ with Adobe, particularly because of the asset management features. Adobe are not the only ones to push customers towards the cloud and to take stand alone features away. Apple, Google and Microsoft and others are also heading in the same direction. One problem may be that those of us who want stand alone features are in a minority. Also I feel that the vast majority of people who take photos around the world (on phones, of course) are not interested in editing and the feature they require most is the ability to upload to social media. This last feature is built into smartphones, of course.

    While I am staying with Adobe for the time being, I sincerely hope that Affinity and others succeed, if for no other reason than to keep Adobe and the other major software manufacturers somewhat in check.

    William

  3. Frank

    Delighted to hear you have transitioned so easily from Photoshoip to Affinity Photo plus Capture One and that you have substabntially the same opinion of Adobe as myself.As I see it, we are faced with a growing number of very competent alternatives.

    David

  4. William

    I understand your "remainer" position….for now! Asset management is a key factor which currently is best handled by Lightroom. However I believe 2018 will see both Serif and Skylum and others offer excellent asset management modules or addons which will offer you choices you will have to consider very seriously.
    Your point re the cloud and all the big corporations is clearly accurate. I do not accept however that because there are hundreds of millions of smartphone users (including me) that theirs are the only legitimate needs in the market. I know you didnt say that but I feel strongly that good marketing is supposed to be about meeting a variety of customer needs with customised solutions for differing market segments. The needs of camera (not smartphone) users are not identical to those of smartphone users. There is a segment of the camera market that does not want cloud storage or subscription pricing – it may only be a fraction of a few million camera users but it is still a market segment with different needs. In most other markets, companies try and tailor solutions to meet real needs.
    I think that Adobe are so far removed from understanding this approach that they are prepared to see camera users who don’t like their offering walk away because they have done their sums and see their future in the big corporate cloud. That’s why I think you should not expect to keep Adobe "in check" anytime soon.

    David

  5. Excellent article David and thank you for bringing it to my attention. As you know from our discussion at Heswall Photographic Society, my main concern was the prospect of Lightroom 6 becoming unavailable as a standalone piece of software in the future. I believe now that Lightroom 6 will continue to be available. (See https://www.lightroomqueen.com/the-future-of-lightroom/)
    BUT, for detailed editing I have been using Elements after my version of full Photoshop refused to operate on a Windows 10 system and regretfully Elements is rather limited in functionality. So I conclude that if it is true that Lightroom 6 is to remain as a standalone, and ideal solution for me (and many others) may be to use Lightroom 6 for workflow, organisation and bulk or quick-fix editing and Affinity for finer editing of individual images. I will let you know how i get on!

    Regards

    Ray Woolley

  6. Thank you David for a well-researched and presented article on a highly topical subject. Many photographers will be wrestling with alternative options to increasingly unpopular Adobe policies.

    One alternative you haven’t mentioned is Alien Skin Exposure X3. I do not have it but it is on my shortlist. I believe the latest version comes closest to matching Lightroom’s comprehensive capabilities, even to DAM which is critically important for me. Here is a link for anyone interested. https://www.alienskin.com/blog/2017/introducing-exposure-x3/?utm_source=Alien+Skin+News&utm_campaign=dc180731a7-Newsletter_Early_October_2017&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_01bac30e28-dc180731a7-75326&goal=0_01bac30e28-dc180731a7-75326&mc_cid=dc180731a7&mc_eid=e496677e4e

  7. Ray
    Thanks for the comments.

    After reading the article at lightroomqueen, I am not quite as re-assured as you seem to be. Adobe says that Lightroom 6 will continue to be available as a perpetual standalone version for those who don’t want a subscription. I ask : but for how long? To keep any software viable in the medium to long term, Adobe will have to invest money to keep it compatible with changes to OS, both PC and Mac. Are you sure they will do that? Also I doubt they will invest even more to add any new features to LR 6 to enable it to update capability. I suggest you will actually see neither support nor investment into LR6. I think that as with their other applications Adobe have alrready made the decision which market they wish to serve. That is not the standalone photographic user, its the corporate cloud user.

    Call me a prophet of doom if you like but I’m only saying what I have seen Adobe do in the last few years. They are at least consistent in their view that they know what is best for all customers and in not listening to what some of their customers say!

    Glad to help on any Affinity queries!

    David

  8. Thank you for this excellent article. I have been looking for an alternative to Lightroom 5 – which still works on my up to date Mac OSX, but can be cranky. I have been supplementing that with GIMP, which is free, for heavier work, or where I needed work that was beyond Lightroom.

    If nothing else this has explained what else is out there, and thank you to those who have commented, as I now know there is a list of readily available alternatives that in time will come to the capability of Lightroom.. and maybe surpass it.

    Dave

  9. Thanks for the interesting article. My main reason for sticking with Lightroom is not just the asset management, but the ability (if somewhat hindered by limitations) to sync between an iPad and Lightroom on my desktop. So far I don’t know of any other program that does this as simple as Lightroom. I often travel with only an iPad and need to be able to do some relatively simple editing and sorting, but then don’t want to have to re-do the work on my desktop. What would be nice is if Lirghtoom mobile featured local sync (e.g. via a cable to a laptop) without requiring the round-about-tour via the cloud (not everywhere has great internet…).

    If anyone has alternatives for that kind of usage scenario, please let me know!

  10. David A

    Thanks your reference to Alien Skin Exposure X3 which I have not used but will take a look at. Another alternative to Adobe!

  11. Dave Seargeant

    Thanks your input. I too find GIMP heavy going albeit surprisingly capable. Affinity Photo is far more intuitive to learn, easier to use and more capable than GIMP in my opinion.

    David

  12. Tom

    Understand your position. Yours was not the problem I was trying to address but it is of course another reason for the entrenched position of Lightroom. I note you are however definitely looking for alternatives. Good luck!

  13. Your "folder-based asset management system" need not be a temporary makeshift. Photo Mechanic will "read" your folders & search based on your criteria and display your matches. I’ve used it for several years with my folder-based organization. I am not a pro photographer(who are often thought to be the prime audience for Photo Mechanic).

  14. re
    Thanks for confirming what a good product Photo Mechanic is. It would undoubtedly help me but I have held off buying as it is expensive at USD 150. A second reason for my delay is that I want to see what Serif introduce for asset maanagement alongside Affinity Photo in 2018. It would make sense to use their product if it is good. If not, I can always get Photo Mechanic then.

  15. Personally I find that Iridient Developer does nearly everything that I want, which is not something other than what happened when I depressed the shutter button. I reckon that "inpainting" is the nadir of photography, removing some "unsightly" artefact from a picture is akin to HDR photography… It never happened. The only honest use for such a tool might be to remove dust from negatives or marks from a dirty sensor.

    The Iridient Developer does not do any inpainting, I did ask Brian Griffith if he had any plans and he said that it was unlikely, so the only time that I veer away from it is when I need to remove something that WASN’T in the original scene.

    I don’t seem to be able to move away from Apple’s "Finder", using tagging and all sorts of long file names, an absolute no-no according to my very clever systems designer friend. I don’t lose much though.

    As far as cloud rental goes, that seems to be a lot like the old IBM tactic of seat pricing, where a computer was sold with an operating system that could only be used by x number of people, depending on how much you had paid them. They probably still do it, but it wiped them off of the consumer market, the company that invented the PC disappeared from our collective conscience, as I fear, will Adobe.

    StephenJ

  16. Stephen J
    Three cheers for Iridient Developer and Brian Griffith. It is an excellent Fuji RAW convertor.

    I think that your negative remarks about "inpainting" must spring from a mistaken beflief that there is something "honest" and pure about just pressing the shutter button and that fiddling about in image processors is the work of the devil? If I am correct, you believe that there is one real truth out there and the camera records that truth and so anything else is taking away from truth?

    I actually believe the real situation is much more complex. What we see with our eyes is already the subject of our own beliefs, upbringing, expectations and values. Since these are different for each person, then what each person "sees" and feels when taking an image is different too. This already makes interpretation of a scene happen before the shutter button is pressed.

    Secondly, it is a incorrect to believe, if you do, that a amera is a neutral recording device which faithfully depicts eactly the same as a human eye sees. The human eye does not "take" one picture of a scene. It scans over a scene many times and the brain in real time stitches its varied input (near/far/ edge/centre/in focus/out of focus etc) into one coherent view which we call seeing. The eye can also cope instantly with about double the number of stops than can the camera sensor. The click of the shutter therefore in no way approximates to the process of seeing.

    There is a further layer of complexity. Every decision you take on camera settings is a futher interpretation of the scene whether it be of exposure, focal length, iso, exposure compensation, aperture and so on. Since none of this adjustment accurately mimics what the human eye does, it means that the final image we take is very much the result of what we choose to do in the making of the image.

    I stand unashamedly with the view that when I take a picture I am trying (by an obscure route) to convey the emotion I get from a beautiful/dramatic/terrible scene. If by good management and luck that is what comes out of camera, I’ve done well. If my image falls short of what I have experienced, then some work in an image editor may help to reduce that gap between what I saw and the image I have in front of me. (Incidentally that is exactly what you are already doing in Iridient which like other RAW processors is offering (brilliant) ways to manipulate the image).

    Both inpainting brushes and HDR are only tools which like any tools can be misused. They can also be used with integrity. I respect your right not to use them but I uphold the right of many more photographers to use them and other tools to give us images which they see as accurate reflections of what they "saw" and experienced at the time they took the shot. Photographers are trying to do a difficult thing and I believe that generally they are people of high integrity who use all the tools at their disposal : brain, eyes, cameras, lenses, RAW processors and image editors to produce images which make us laugh, cry and feel joy. Good on em, I say.

    • Well as I stated with the first word of my comment, this is my "personal" view David… I am not mistaken about my view on inpainting… it is just "my view".

      What I saw and what I made, rarely match, most of my pictures are rubbish, every so often I get a good one, and that pleases me, though others may disagree. My aim is to do as little to the picture after I press the button as possible, I will remove negative dust and sensor marks, and maybe darken, lighten, slightly crop…. aka "development". This is deliberate, there is no mistaken idea that there is one true image.

      As an example, during the last three years, I have been living near some woodland, and one of the distinctive parts is a stand of ash trees that are so close together that they have grown like a field of 50ft high wheat, thin stems topped off by foliage that is constantly trying to blow them over. There are these long thin, smooth grey stalks that sway and hiss in the breeze, I have made so many pictures from so many angles and with so many different cameras… almost weekly I take a few pictures… Some of them are quite nice, but NONE have yet captured the atmos, and I might die never having satisfactorily captured it, but I will have made the pilgrimage several times a month to that spot and experienced the look and sense of the place. Oh and no amount of after the fact processing will ever make me think that I have satisfactorily recorded what I saw on a given day.

      The main attraction to me is the doing of it, rather than sitting on my backside doing the "driving the Mac" bit. I will go out with a camera, especially on my own, and it becomes like Churchill’s game of golf… also known as a "good walk ruined". I am trying to do the best I can (composition) and then move on. Lots of little victories and losses and ten miles covered on Shank’s pony.

      William Fagan did a piece here a few days ago involving a simple exercise with his brandy new M10 and his ancient iiia, a commenter took him to task regarding the exercise, suggesting it was a bit dishonest… which of course is a bit of a laugh since William has bought both cameras, he is not saying that one is better than the other. It was just a bit of fun, though he does hint that straight out of the camera, the iiia produces the more complete pictures (not files).

      So (in my view), ultimately photography is a side issue of no consequence, after all, everyone on the planet is a photographer now, rather it is the bits in between that are interesting…. i.e. what made you stand there and press the button just then?

      StephenJ

  17. As an alternative to Photo Mechanic have a look at Apollo One (Mac only, I think). It will read your folders and load the images immediately. You can also rate them.

    The developer is constantly updating it as well.

  18. For those of you who may have an interest in Photo Mechanic, camerabits.com will have a 20% off sale from 24 November to 27 November, 2017. The discount applies to both new purchases and upgrades. The normal $150 price for new purchases will be $120. The coupon code to use is "SHOPSPEEDY17" (without the quotation marks). You add the coupon code after you click Add to Cart. For details, see http://www.camerabits.com/2017/11/15/the-camera-bits-black-friday-cyber-monday-sale.

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