#561. The Adobe tithe

#561. The Adobe tithe

If memory serves, Adobe’s products have been sold in the UK and Europe at pretty much the same number as in the US, but with the currency symbol simply changed as appropriate. So, $49.99 became £49.99 and so on.

 

Those on the receiving end of this handy profit generator have complained for years, getting little more than disingenuous corporate speak in response to their grumbles.

 

And as if that weren’t enough, the decision a few years back to use/not use/upgrade software was summarily taken away and replaced with the so-called Creative Cloud. Now, you get brand new (but not necessarily bug-free) software, updated regularly, but not to any kind of schedule or standard, more it seems, at Adobe’s whim.

 

At that point, many friends and acquaintances simply dropped anchor and opted to stick with their existing versions of Photoshop and/or Lightroom, accepting the loss of additional features and software stability – or bloatware depending on your point of view.

 

 

 

Personally, I found the need to use InDesign and occasionally Illustrator alongside the photo apps sufficient motivation and signed-up. That subscription is currently £40-odd a month and following last week’s plaint that a few points change in the exchange rate was necessitating an increase, I confess myself shocked at its estimated 20% to 60% magnitude of Adobe’s response.

 

To be blunt, that’s taking the piss.

 

So, options. Photographically and still smarting from Aperture’s demise, this is all a bit soon for me to be wanting to start changing workflow, but I’ll do it nonetheless, just at a more leisurely pace this time.

 

As a Mac user, both Luminar and On1 PhotoRAW offer a halfway decent workflow, although the former lacks a browse module at this stage. They are both slow and PhotoRAW’s feature omissions are pretty much equal to its bug list. Both are however, on regular update schedules and later this year, both/either ought to be much more workable options.

 

The recently announced RAWPower is an Aperture-like tool that works either as a stand-alone RAW converter, or as a plug-in with Apple’s Photos. Hardly surprising as it’s been developed by one of the former lead developers who built Aperture. It works and is very new, with all the caveats that go along with such an app.

 

Speaking of Photos, it is a somewhat simplistic workflow container, but with the addition of a halfway decent plug-in like RAWPower, an entirely workable solution.

 

A Photoshop replacement isn’t hard. Pixelmator springs to mind, as does Affinity Photo, GIMP and offerings from Corel.

 

So far so good.

 

 

 

Now comes the tough bit; making the move.

 

Lightroom uses a catalog(ue) which contains the editing information, metadata, JPG thumbnail and preview of every image you’ve imported and/or worked on. And, while your image master files remain accessible, the Lightroom lock-in is how you access those edits once you’ve bidden Adobe farewell.

 

On1 PhotoRAW doesn’t use a catalogue as such and has a competent file browser, which if the feature set and bugs are sorted, might make a good alternative. File export in most major formats is available, including PSD.

 

Luminar doesn’t (yet) have the file browser, instead it prefers to write out a separate file in it’s own .lmnr file format, although PSD and several other format options are available.

 

Apple’s Photos follows the Aperture example of a library, into which your images are imported, each tidily stored in its own file sub-structure, where thumbnails, previews and edits are housed. The library contents aren’t readily accessible to the average user, probably because of their complexity and ease with which lasting damage to the library and its indices can be done.

 

So, that’s a quick look at what you might face as a Mac user, unwilling to pay Adobe any more of your hard earned cash/pension.

 

My move from Aperture to Lightroom was poorly timed – forced by Apple’s decision to abandon thousands of users, consequently bad tempered and entirely without options. And. it’s still ongoing as I slowly migrate photographs from a MacPro to my more current MacBookPro work set up.

 

Long planned and announced changes to MacOS will render those Aperture libraries inaccessible sometime in the not too distant future, so I’ve dealt with the essentials of migration with some urgency, while refusing the constant nagging to upgrade the version of MacOS I’m using, just in case.

 

I thought long and hard about how to make the move a reality and finally decided to select all rated images (1* and above) and export them as full size JPG files. I then exported all of the RAW files, intending to remove the rubbish once the migration is complete. It’s a simple solution and faced with a rated JPG that needs editing, it has meant I have the original RAW file to return to, albeit that I now have to edit it in Lightroom.

 

And, aside from lots and lots of disk space, it works pretty well.

 

 

 

If I’d opted to move to Photos, I could have converted and imported my Aperture libraries as is (were?), but I didn’t. I drank the Adobe Kool-Aid, accepted the designed-by-a-drug-addled-committee interface, less than optimal performance and stability and ponied-up my cash.

 

Despite several updates, Lightroom remains a mess* and I’m now planning yet another migration. If I kick Adobe to the kerb, I won’t have a choice, but to export every rated Lightroom image to be stored as a JPG alongside its RAW master file, in amongst the thousands of formerly Aperture files I’ve already shifted.

 

It’s do-able, but a major hassle, which is probably why Adobe thinks it’s OK to simply hike their pricing by up to 60%.

 

Workflow? I don’t know yet. I’m thinking of buying a new high capacity disk(s) and manually setting up the directories as I want them and then moving everything into that environment. It’s all pretty well organised already, it’s just the time needed to set it all up and move the files.

 

Then I can use any one of a number of RAW converters, edit as I want and save a JPG, or if necessary, a layered PSD format file from any one of a number of non-Adobe alternatives.

 

I can’t say I’m looking forward to it, but I’m fed up with keeping a large jar of Vaseline at hand, for when the next software giant feels inclined to take out their developmental/maintenance, or profit issues out on my person.

 

* Mess? Try importing iPhone images into an existing folder, without Lightroom imposing a million unwanted, date-related sub-folders at the same time.

 

 

17 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Per Kylberg February 22, 2017

    I am in Windows, here we have an alternative to the elephant in ACDSee. Its cheap (40$)viewer is also a very competent data base (above LR). It imports LR catalogs 100%, a lot more intelligent than Capture One. There is also a very good RAW developer and bitmap editor, all in all 100$.
    All are available for IOS as well! Now called ACDSee Pro, there are also a number of apps available,some free. From ACDSee you can open any file in any software. Well maybe not any, but most…
    Now testing the developer and editor: Nice results, lots functionality, good performance, few hick-ups in the workflow (missing the LR virtual copy).

    • Avatar
      jean pierre (pete) guaron February 23, 2017

      Per – thanks so much for that – I hadn’t heard of ACDSee before, and now that I have, it’s a “must try”. If the demonstration video gives a fair representation, it overcomes many issues I have with other programs and offers features that are scattered BETWEEN various other programs – but that means using two or more of them, where the same result looks to be achievable in this single program.

      Can’t use Windows – it’s been nuked by Microsoft and is going to be removed from my computer shortly. But I see there’s a BETA version of ACDSee out at the moment, for MACs. I’ll fire up the iMAC this afternoon and try it out. 🙂

  2. Avatar
    Oliver February 22, 2017

    Dear Paul,

    a very valid post. Thank you. It’s the same for Windows users, but there are other possibilities, too.

    My route was sticking to
    1) a good/quick browser with basic editing tools (Thumbs Plus, later Zoner Photo Studio) and
    2) Adobe Camera Raw plugin
    3) 2-3 external Raw converters for different jobs/looks (Raw Therapee, DXO, Capture One)
    4) Keeping my 12 year old & logic photography file structure and working with sessions (e.g. with Capture One) within this file structure. C1 in session mode unfortunately also doubles Raws and always creates 4 in my workflow useless folders.

    Regarding your catalogue: I think Capture One can import it and save you a lot af time. Furthermore the surface is highly customisable, therefore you may rebuild/imitate your current workflow.

    Good Luck !

  3. Avatar
    jean pierre (pete) guaron February 22, 2017

    ROTFLMHAO 🙂 Oops – that’s vulgar – sorry folks ! Well, anyway, if I was behaving nicely I’d be sorry !

    This subject is near & dear to my heart. I hope you don’t regret opening it up for me Pascal. Do you really want my comments here, or would you prefer that I keep my earlier promise and send you a draft article?

    1 – I have absolutely had it with other people’s ideas of a catalogue. Just to be different, it wasn’t Apple’s fault (even though it happened on Apple gear) – it was the fault of the stupid people at the shop where I bought my original iMAC. And as a result of their stupidity, I had to shift all my stuff off that, onto the present one. What came through was a nightmare, because all my photos (thousands & thousands of them) had been “catalogued” on Apple’s “Photos” and what arrived was a complete mess, with duplicates all over the place and no structure to sort it out. I am STILL (6 years later) sorting out the mess. I will NEVER give an outside organisation control over the cataloguing of my photos, ever again. I will not use the Cloud, for similar reasons – someone in the US with a Cloud based storage system filed for Chapter 11 and all its customers lost everything.

    2 – Adobe has a perfect right to offer for sale whatever it chooses – at whatever price it chooses. I have similar rights – to completely ignore them, if I want to. At one point, they apparently tried to offer their “full” Lightroom/Photoshop package for sale, like the old LR and what they patronisingly & dismissively call “Photoshop Elements” are sold outright – but the price tag was apparently a wapping great sum like $4,600 – and I presume that must have been US dollars! Go figure! With periodic updates? – maybe? – for how long, before they came back for more blood & told everyone it was time to buy “the new edition”, the way they do with the versions of LR and PSE that they sell outright? If I wanted to blow that kind of money, I’d spend it on something useful, like a tilt-shift w/angle or a telephoto bazooka for bird & astronomy photography – certainly not on enriching Adobe!

    I suspect Adobe of having a master plan, like Donald Trump, to take over the universe. As a consequence, its “better programs” cost a lot more and involve using the Cloud, which I won’t go near – and they have peculiarities that might make some people’s lives, but drive me nuts.

    So – where does that leave me?

    Obviously being on an iMAC, I have Apple’s “Photos”. I just don’t use it. And I dislike the way it tries to poach, when I’m downloading images onto the computer.

    Fooling around with all sorts of stuff, and leering enviously over the fence at you guys with Sony cams, who can access Phase One’s Capture One Pro 10 for 50 Euros (it used to be free for Sony cams, but nothing lasts forever these days), while Phase One’s promoters of wishful thinking expect the rest of us to pay nearly 300 Euros or around AUD 400 for it.

    As far as I’m concerned, that’s way out of the ball park. It must be the most expensive post processing system on the planet, and despite the promo, I don’t see it as the best. But it is certainly a quick and powerful system, and if you have the time and inclination to wrestle with it, I noticed it has at least one feature that I have yet to uncover on any of the other systems

    On hand right now are:
    – LR5 (stand alone – purchased)
    – PSE 9 & 14 (version 9 still has functions they no longer provide on more recent versions, which come in handy when post processing other people’s photos – not everyone has cameras as nice as the ones in this group)
    – DxO’s Optics Pro 11 – which (if nothing else) helps feed photos into LR
    – DxO’s ViewPoint 3, which I’d happily recommend to anyone – it’s BRILLIANT at correcting horizon lines, converging verticals, distortion etc.
    – Luminar, which cost peanuts – OK it’s a bit funky, but it has fixed one problem for me, and none of the others I’ve tried could or would do it for me – some “helped”, but that’s a bit like saying a crutch helps a cripple to walk again – having had polio as a kid, I know what that feels like and if it’s all the same, I’d rather do without the crutch and have both legs working properly – Luminar did that for me, so I thank them nicely and sneer at their competitors on that particular issue.
    – on 30 day trial, just started – On1 Photo Raw 2017 (I tried it before – got nowhere & the trial ran out anyway – shouldn’t have started it just before Christmas, I don’t know what I could have been thinking of to do it then)
    – also on 30 day trial, just started – Corel AfterShot Pro 3

    So – what’s the score card like?

    Too early to say, for Corel. It looks “interesting”. I don’t like their catalogue system, but il va sans dire, as Pascal and Philippe might say – since I don’t like any of the others either. I also hate that you get “full screen” or nothing – I like to reduce the screen any of these systems use, so I can still access my desktop – it’s infuriating to have to flick Corel off the screen while I do, and then rummage around in the (crowded) bottom right corner, to fish it out and re-open it up, back to full screen, to continue. So I haven’t really successfully used it on anything just yet.

    Both Luminar and On1 Photo RAW have features I have not been able to find on other post processing systems. I can’t say I’m delirious about Luminar’s presets, but I guess they could help if you’re in a mad rush – not that I’m certain of that, either, because they have so many and it takes a while to try them out on a particular shot.

    Luminar cost about AUD$100 (I think – not sure I didn’t score a discount on that one). While On1 is “tempting”, they show symptoms of Adobe-itis; hungry for more. The minimum is for their basic model, at USD$100 – next level is slightly more comprehensive (I suppose – haven’t tracked down a comparison yet) at USD$120. You can download guides for both, and of course there are endless chat pages and occasional training videos splattered all over the net for products like this.

    I did try SilkyPix – it was “interesting” but the logic of it left me behind. It looks good, but it was beyond me.

    So what do I normally do?

    Well, for a start, I try to take photos that are technically OK from the outset. This is the best possible way forward – it can reduce post-processing enormously. But of course, none of us can swear on our grandmother’s grave that all our shots are “perfect in every way” (Donald Trump excluded – apparently he alone is always perfect).

    DxO Optics Pro is mostly used as a gateway into LR – LR USUALLY only takes a few minutes, before I can flick the shot to “retouched”. From there it will normally go through DxO’s ViewPoint – depending on the subject (it’s quite pointless for something like a shot of a flower, where horizontals, converging verticals or distortion are basically irrelevant). For my own photography, I rarely used PS in all its various forms these days – mostly only when doing a Lazarus act to resuscitate old analogue photos that I’ve scanned to digital.

    PS is useful for a couple of things – it’s generally the easiest way to crop images, if you need to – it can be handy, if you want to correct distortion (but ViewPoint does most of that for me) – and if you want to change pixel counts, it’s all there (although I don’t see much point in it – but I can’t rule out the possibility it might be useful).

    And I REFUSE to have anything to do with the cataloguing systems on any of them. They make things worse, not better. On my iMAC, I can find practically anything in nano-seconds, if it was properly labelled in the first place. And building your own cataloguing system isn’t hard, if you prefer to do that.

    And there are reasons for taking a step back, and NOT overdoing post processing.

    You may not see it at once – but if you try “sharpening” your shots, you may end up regretting it. Most sharpening programs actually generate noise, and the way they “sharpen” is at least partially “smoke & mirrors” – OK at a superficial glance, but if you try enlarging it the result might make you shudder. Especially if you enlarge the photo just before you try sharpening – so you can see on screen exactly what sharpening is doing to your photography.

    Ditto with “noise reduction” – it can end up having a worse effect than getting hold of one of those old lenses (which were soft enough to start with) and smearing the front element with vaseline, to get a softer image when photographing an elderly lady, to get rid of all the wrinkles.

    As for Adobe’s attempt to give you a function to get rid of camera shake, in PS or PSE – take a stiff swig of brandy before you try that one – it’s ghastly!

    So – I took the plunge – I do use post processing software – on some photos I do it for, for friends, it’s very necessary – on my own, nowadays, it’s no longer so important and I try to limit it, and to use it sparingly. That actually gives better photos, when you get the other bases covered.

    For the record – I saw a survey earlier in the day, of several thousand photographers. Roughly 20% DON’T post process, at all – and of the remainder, hardly anyone spends more than10 minutes on any single shot. Of course some do, and there are always occasions that warrant it – but the fact remains, the vast majority of photos get very little and a substantial proportion of them have none at all. BTW – that was a survey of “photographers”, not everyone – I suspect that if the broader community had been included, they would have found the VAST majority of photos never see post processing – they’re just circulated by SMS or email, or shown around on tablets – flung around the internet or on chat sites – and then forgotten, most of them.

    Before door knocks from the Avon Lady and the Jehovah’s Witnesses, we used to struggle to find excuses to miss out on Kodacolor slide evenings, remember? – and this endless stream of pictures on the internet is simply the modern substitute. Thank God for the various “delete” functions.

    Think about it – why spend thousands of dollars on your gear, and end up having to spend countless hours fixing your mistakes, on your computer, when you should be spending prime time at home with your family? Modern sensors & processors achieve miracles for you – “film” speeds have opened up enormously, with little or no noise penalty – HDR isn’t exactly obsolete, but with DR controls on many cams these days, and the advantages of keeping an eye on your histograms when you’re shooting, it’s no longer quite what it used to be – if you don’t improve your photography, you’ll be overtaken by screaming hordes waving cellphones at you, on selfie sticks, which I find about as appalling as watching one of those Hollywood zombie movies.

    • Avatar
      jean pierre (pete) guaron February 23, 2017

      Sorry – the stats on that post processing survey are roughly this:

      23,000 respondents
      NIL post processing 19%
      under a minute – 16%
      total – less than a minute – 35%

      1-10 minutes – 47%

      more than 10 minutes – 18% (half of them, 10-20 – the other half, more than 20)

      And of course that ignores the zillions of snapshotters who wouldn’t know post processing exists.

      • Avatar
        paulperton February 23, 2017

        Hi Pete, I’d reckon I’m in that 35%, with the occasional foray into 1/2/3 minutes tops.

        And thanks, this confirms an idea I’ve been developing for a while – see next week’s article.

        • Avatar
          jean pierre (pete) guaron February 23, 2017

          I’m looking forward to it, Paul – having tried so hard to “conform” and “do the right thing” with these post processing programs, the main thing I have gotten out of it is learning to swim backwards – back to basics, so the need for the programs is less apparent.

          Not always possible. And I have been VERY grateful to Pascal for guiding me to a source of a solution to a major problem I’ve been having for ages, with one of my favorite photos.

          But it’s great when you can feed a shot through a standard pack of four** of them, in a minute or two, with hardly any changes on the way through.

          ** [from a functional point of view, it’s really only two, most of the time – because the others aren’t normally engaged in changing the image – they have a more mechanical purpose in my life]

  4. Avatar
    PaulB February 23, 2017

    Paul

    I understand how you feel about Adobe and their evil plans to separate me from my wallet. Though I have a little different reasoning.

    In my case, when I got serious about working in raw, I started with Photoshop Elements. Then I had the opportunity to go to a Leica Akademy workshop which included instruction in using Lightroom 4, so I started using it. After about 1.5 years, I tried Aperture when Apple dropped the price and found it got a bit more image quality from my files, so I started to experiment with both. Then Apple abandoned Aperture and I was left with Lightroom. Which worked until I up graded cameras and needed a software package that could support them.

    Aside from Adobe’s attitude about you have no real choice but the subscription model, was the fact that my cable based internet service was terrible. It was off line more than it was on line for months. The service technicians could not make things work reliably for more than a few days at best. So what good is a subscription system if you can’t connect reliably and stay connected while you work.

    Fortunately for me, my new camera was a Sony A7II which included a free version of Capture One 9. Which proved to be a good trial, and provided incentive to upgrade to the full version. Though the learning curve can be steep, since it is different than Lightroom. Also, since I purchased the full version of Capture One 9, the upgrade to version 10 should be free. Which is something Adobe would not do; I originally purchased Lightroom 4 less than 3 months before Lightroom 5 was released.

    PaulB

  5. Avatar
    philberphoto February 23, 2017

    Great post, Paul! Amazing how people’s uses and preferences vary, including over time. I remember how I switched from LR to Capture One, and posted about it. The responses I got were basically “you may be right, but it is not worth the bother, considering how much learning and working a shift entails”. Fair enough, I thought. Except that, now, many people are (thinking about) changing, and I am watching from the sidelines, content with my spending less than 1mn per shot, unless it happens to be one that I find sweet, and not about to shift again…

  6. Avatar
    artuk February 23, 2017

    I have up on Adobe several years ago. I too had been tired of $=£ pricing, made worse by “upgrade” prices to reward loyalty being the same as the discounts available for new sales. Gee, thanks Adobe.

    Their initial implementation of Fuji’s X-Trans raw support was poor, because the nature of the format of the data actually needs them to do some work. With Bayer files their “implementation” of raw support involved reading the container file, since a manufacturers raw data inside the container is mostly the same from.different cameras, although colour responses etc nay vary. Adobe didn’t seem to let that worry them, and I an think of a few camera that got bad reputations because Adobes raw support was so badly implemented that colour was terrible or noise performance was unreasonably bad, and much worse than in other software.

    Adobe promised improved Fuji X-Tean raw support and in a moment of weakness I was suckered into buying it – only to experience turgid performance, horrendous softness (I though cameras without AA filters were supposed to be sharp?), and continued issues with demosaicing and pixel level detail. I simply gave up and moved on.

    As a Windows user I cant comment on the Mac options. Capture One Pro offers catalogues that can be imported from Adobe. I had terrible stability and performance issues with C1 v8 and abandoned it too, having started to use SilkyPix Pro v5/v6 at around the same time and liked it. It is a less full featured tool, though the latest versions allow spotting, local adjustments etc. It has no catalogue, which suits me as I work across multiple computers, and it is easy to move a directory with its SilkyPix sidecar files between machines. Ichikawa also offer generous discounts for users with licenses for older versions, including those versions of SilkyPix v3 that Japanese camera manufacturers bundle with their cameras. There is much hubris and huffing and puffing about it’s user interface, but Lightroom or C1 are hardly intuitive for the new user either.

    @Pete – if you want help or tips with SilkyPix, I’m happy to help, I’ve been using it for 3-4 years and now it’s my primary raw development tool.

    There are plenty of editors out there – I settled on Paint Shop Pro by Corel which suits me for what I need – I do almost all my work within raw development software and only use a genuine “editor” for things like cloning and tone mapping.

    I’ve never understood the almost zealot-like reverence that some users give Adobe – I think many users are simply too lazy to learn another tool, maybe don’t understand how Adobe products work in favour of wrote-like repetition of tutorials they see online (what I call “wiggling the sliders around”, without much understand of what is happening beneath them), and an unshakeable belief that as market leader it simply must be the best tool.

    As an aside, does Adobe cloud still present issues for photographers working in the field for extended periods who may not have reliable connection to the internet?

    • Avatar
      paulperton February 23, 2017

      Thanks Art. In response to the question in the last par, yes. If CC can’t contact the mothership – Adobe tells us it only does that monthly, which is pure bollocks – you can’t run your software. The evidence is in how many reminders you get come and download new upgrades.

      Every few days, I get a reminder that I have four upgrades waiting, yet the CC dashboard only shows three – what a fine advert for well written and executed software.

      How does all that happen without communication with home?

      • Avatar
        artuk February 23, 2017

        I remember an anecdote at the start of “creative cloud” of a photographer working somewhere remote who lost access to his software and edits because he had no internet and it couldn’t access home. That they haven’t resolved such an obvious issue is pure rubbish but sums up the contempt Adobe have for their income stream… Sorry, “customers”.

        If their output was actually any good it might provide an incentive, but with such reportedly poor software and such terrible results from some cameras over the years, I cant see a compelling reason. Only the faithful persist based on some misguided belief that since they are market leader they must be the best – though it certainly doesn’t produce the best quality output.

        Would there be any merit in an article about SilkyPix, with perhaps some guidance on “how to use”?

        • Avatar
          jean pierre (pete) guaron February 23, 2017

          Hi Art – yes, I think there ought to be interest in an article on SilkyPix, with guidance on “how to use”. Once you get into one of these programs far enough, you learn to work it – but when you start with any one of them, they are ALL awkward. I think they must be designed by computer buffs, not ‘togs – that suggests you need a 16-year old on the premises, to show you how – but I don’t have one, so that won’t help either.

          I didn’t really give Affinity or SilkyPix a proper chance – by the time I got that far, I’d had it. Even now, there are over a dozen post processing systems on my iMAC, and I’m never likely to keep all of them.

          One of my pet hates is the programmers mostly seem to think everything goes in a direction THEY plan. It doesn’t work like that – sometimes, you want to open one file – try to do something on it – and then what? Keep going forward? – maybe. What if you decide it’s no use and want “out”? – too bad – with most of them, that means quitting the software, which is ridiculous.

          ALL of this would be easy to solve, if they wanted to. Instead of their rigid catalogue systems, why CAN’T we have the ability to simply open a file in the software? – you can, with PS – but you can’t, with LR – and since Adobe wrote both, I think that’s just silly. And in other programs, it should be possible to just “close file”, but it’s not – some you can, others you can’t. Do these programmers drive cars with no reverse gear? It’s such an obvious and basic thing to provide – an “on” switch, and an “off” switch – but in some programmes that’s simply not possible, which I think is absurd.

          • Avatar
            artuk February 24, 2017

            You’re final comments are one of the reasons I like SilkyPix – it is entirely unencumbered by catalogues, so you can just open a raw file or a directory and choose what you want to work on. When you want to work on some new photos, you don’t import them, you just point the software at the directory the pictures are in, and then you can browse them and work on some. If you want to move your work between computers, just copy the folder with the pictures in, or if it already exists on the second computer, just copy the SilkyPix filder of sidecar files to the same directory on another device, and all your edits and ratings etc go with it. It’s such a relief. I’ve worked in IT all my career and I still don’t really understand Capture One import and catalogues, in spite of reading some of their online help material! The online SilkyPix manual is excellent, and actually explains why you would use certain controls, but alas is very badly translated – you have to learn to understand how they use English and therefore what they mean!

            Regarding your earlier comments, I do think the Japanese are particularly bad at software design. I don’t know why, maybe it’s a cultural thing. As evidence, I would suggest looking at Japanese company websites with a .jp extension, and the design etc. can be a shock for us westerners. I’m not quite sure why this is – years ago it was because NTT DoCoMo was the dominant mobile phone network and offered handsets that could do online purchases etc years before Apple came up with the iPhone. As the Japanese system was a somewhat closed market (foreigners cellphones didn’t work in Japan as the entire system was different), their online solutions were specific to the capabilities of their handsets of the time, and therefore very different from the modern western version of mobile internet sites. Obviously, things there have moved on… but they still seem a little estranged in the world of the internet.

            I will email you about the idea of a SilkyPix “how to” article – I appreciate it’s not well used or liked, but I do find some of the criticism levelled at it seems unfair – “its hard to use”, “the colours are too saturated” – and I genuinely find the sharpness, pixel level detail etc unrivalled compared to other software. The latest input sharpening process introduced in version 7 was startling when I first opened a file, and if anything with quality lenses, often you have to turn it down a little! Please feel free to contact me if you want to explore the idea of a SilkyPix article.

            (I must say none of the above is intended to be racist or stereotype Japanese people in any way – over the years I have had many Japanese friends in the UK and love Japan very much – in many ways I see Japan and the UK as 2 island nations both united and separated by their respective cultures – but that’s a different article!)

  7. Avatar
    Oliver February 24, 2017

    @ artuk

    I had stability problems with C1 V 8, too. Amazing was that the Phase One customer service acted incredibly well and quick. They sent me a link to an interim version, before v8.35 was launched. That fixed this problem, which was caused by a Windows Update.

    Now using C1 V9.3 and still happy with it. The only dislike is that they do not update the lens database on older versions. Lens profiles are super and easily customisable (!). E.g. the mustache shaped distortion of the Zeiss 2.8/21 is fixed brilliantly, it is just getting used to pull the distortion slider to 100 % or integrate this in your personal profile ! Very important e.g. for stitching photos with this otherwise brilliant lens.

    • Avatar
      artuk February 25, 2017

      Thanks for the tip. I was running it on Windows 10 on a fairly low-power Ultrabook, and it was unbearably slow to load and then would constantly crash at random in the middle of work. In 2 cases I lost work and the catalogue became corrupted or lost. I did report problems to them via their support but got no meaningful help. I gave their UK sales manager my feedback and his advice was to buy an upgrade to Version 9, which I politely said I had no interest in. I may have been running 8.3.5 anyway (it’s the installation pack I currently have backed up), but can’t be sure as we are talking about 18 months ago on a machine I no longer use. Alas and stupidly the “express” version only supports the 1 default catalogue, thereby preventing previous “pro” users from accessing their catalogues – nice touch Phase One! 😉

  8. Avatar
    jean pierre (pete) guaron February 27, 2017

    UPDATE – I am having a tantrum over Adobe’s revolting cataloguing system. It has been driving me nuts, this afternoon. I have a dozen shots I want to fool around with for a bit, that I took last night**, so they are more evenly matched. And their fool of a system doesn’t list the photos by anything except the date & time at/on which they entered the Adobe software. Yeah – I know – they have other ways of getting your phots into their clutches, and as far as I’m concerned, they are so much “worse” than I abandoned them ages ago.

    WTH can’t I be the one who names MY shots? – who the hell in Adobe thinks they can do a better job and outguess what I want them named?

    And as if that isn’t bad enough, a story of tragedy crossed my desktop this morning. A pro with 60 thousand photos in Adobe’s Cloud lost the lot. There is a great deal to be said for retaining control over your own images, on your own computer, and using your own back up systems. And a great deal to be said for making prints, so it simply doesn’t matter if a thunderbolt blows your system to smithereens.

    ** I went on a night photography meet – starting at a delightful, casual restaurant in the hills, with lovely surroundings and views down the valley – wish I’d had a 300mm tele, the view down the valley had such extraordinary tonal separation that any half decent shot would have looked three dimensional in an ordinary print. After an early dinner we moved down the road to the State Observatory, so that when night fell, we could see all the telescope equipment and the museum, and take advantage of its superb location to shoot images of the night sky.

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