During my last webinar I was asked what i used for processing raw files from Photographers.

The easy answer would be to say whatever software I am feeling is a favorite at the moment. BUt of course that would be a bit arbitrary and not always the best choice.

I currently have several applications that I use. ACR and Lightroom are two of them. Even though Lightroom is based upon ACR and ACR is pretty easy and straightforward to use, I tend to lean more towards Lightroom. I love the ability to go backwards in time with the image whenever I want. Or to make virtual copies of an image to see side by side comparisons of various corrections. There are really a lot of reasons to use Lightroom and not to many not to.

Occasionally I will get a few files that just don't seem to work all that well coming out of ACR or Lightroom. For whatever reason. At those times I move over to another piece of software that has been around for awhile and has caught up with Lightrooms flowing workflow.

Capture One 5 has come a long long way and has some exceptional controls for color correction and sharpening. It handles pretty much the same amount of raw files that its competition uses, but it invariably handles Phase files a lot better. Lightroom opens some of these files and handles them fine, but sometimes there is a new release that Capture One handles better... for instance the new P65+. Fantastic images. ACR and Lightroom open the files but you can see a huge difference when placed side by side with the output from Capture One 5

For the last year or so I have also been utilizing a great piece of software called RPP, or Raw Photo Processor. It is a pretty advance processing application that is a bit confusing to get used to. But it offers some qualities that no one else on the market does.

Its free for one.... always nice!

RPP handles nearly every camera on the market and is constantly updating profiles and adding new ones for new cameras. There are two version, the free one, and the version where you make a donation that gets you some added capabilities. Both versions give you a very film like output and are capable of sending to Photoshop a 32 bit image. It also does 8 bit or 16 bit, along with a variety of colorspaces.

But the 32 bit capability to me is what makes this application shine. It is very valuable for images that are rather dark and you need to bring out shadow detail. Used with Photoshops ability to open and adjust the 32 bit images there are a world of corrections opened to you that you never had. This application also takes into account BOTH green channels that a sensor has. And while you can adjust that second green channel, its not recommended. Let the application handle it.

Ok.... there is one other capability here that really shines. Probably more important to most people even over its 32 bit capability. It has the nice function of being able to push exposure while protecting Highlight. Its really quite nice to push an exposure up 2 steps and not worry about blowing out the highlights etc in an image.

RPP does not process noise.... meaning there is no remove noise capability. A problem I have yet to run into with any image coming out of it.

Here is a link to the website for info and a download link:

http://www.raw-photo-processor.com/RPP/Overview.html

Try all of the processing software you can get your hands on. They all work differently and all have their quirks. But you never know when one of them is going to come in handy and possibly save your.......

Chris