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What do people use for editing?

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I have very recently moved from Pentax to Sony. 

When I introduced lossy compressed and full fat RAW to my rather old version of photoshop they really didn’t get on and had a big falling out. 

in short it didn’t recognise either. 

reading some articles even the newer photoshop doesn’t like Sony files. 

what do people use?

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Ask 10 people and you'll get 20 answers.  There's a ton of software to choose from -- from free to expensive.  You can take the advise of the first person that suggests something, or you can do your own research.

You're pretty much asking "What car should I buy?".


Edited by XKAES
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  • 2 weeks later...

Rawtherapee. huge number of options, including great editing capability for ARW files. Some of those options are sometimes not available at (some) expensive software packages (microcontrast, for example). It has extended learning curve; but, it's really great application.

Fusion Free HDR; editing few (or even single one) photos, which is having useful aligning process for multiple photos, then great number of options for HDR or SUM dynamic range editing. Of course, number of photographers hate HDR (screaming and yelling against it), anyway; I must say that I am (having fun) usually suggesting to them to use just B&W.

I am using some other software packages as well.

Capture One Express (for Sony) is good one.

Edited by Aldowski
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  • 1 month later...

Further to Wolfgang2's answer, Capture One offers a free version of their software for Sony cameras: Capture One Express for Sony - it is really free, and it was among the first to support the A7RV camera. I had to install it and then update it to get A7RV support, but it only took a short time to do.

Then, if you like the interface, you can upgrade to Capture One Pro (which isn't too expensive).

I also have DxO PhotoLab installed (mainly for noise reduction).

And I have the Adobe photo subscription so I can use PhotoShop (and LightRoom, but I haven't installed that). Older Photoshops don't get updated as new cameras are added - I'm guessing that's what happened to the OP. The subscription means you get updates as they are released.

So there's THREE answers from one person.

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I use Lightroom Classic. It is really easy to use (at least much easier than Photoshop), can do nearly anything I need for editing my photos and also has great options for organizing my photo collection.

Only downside for me: De-noising isn't very good, DxO Photolab can do this much better.

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I think the answer is more about what you want/need to do. Some people do very little post processing and for that Apple Photos works fine.  If you're not an Apple user... I can't help.  Otherwise, as stated already, there are myriad programs you can use, depending on what you want it to do.  So, I would start comparing some of the many programs and see what does what you want, is in your budget and works for your workflow. 

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For a long time I was a Lightroom user, then when Adobe went to a subscription model I spent a lot of time and money trying to move to all of the various other software packages out there that didn’t require a subscription.  Bottom line is that nothing is as complete of a solution and as good of a value as the Adobe photographer subscription. And especially since Lightroom received the new masking features last year, it is just awesome in what you can do so very easily and so very quickly. 

Edited by MikeInMI
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Adobe managed to alienate a lot of photographers who used to use Lightroom classic (now Lightroom CC) by switching to a subscription a few years ago, but $15/month is less than I used to spend keeping up with the annual upgrades to Lightroom standalone.  So don't over-react to "Adobe is a rip-off" comments here - make a rational economic decision.

I have my issues with Lightroom (who doesn't), and it has a pretty high learning curve, but I've played with most of the other tools mentioned here, and not found a reason to switch.

You asked about "editing", but most photographers also need to organize and catalog their work.  You can do that with folders in the filesystem, but that doesn't really deal with keywords, collections, ratings, flags, etc. all that well.  Lightroom, as well as Capture One and On1 both have pretty similar capabilities.  Many of the other tools here are strictly editing tools, no cataloging capability.  I personally find that a gap.

But if you do choose a catalog system, beware, once you have invested in bringing your collection to any of these systems, the switching cost to move to another is very high.  YES, they all offer "import from X" functionality.  But the details matter, and if the "import" function deals with 90%, that's still tens of thousands of photos that need to be fixed by hand.  (I'm talking about things like Virtual copies, stacks, edit history, hierarchical keywords, etc.).

My advice is to commit to spending a month trying several, really learn the details, and figure out which you really like.  If your collection isn't yet hundreds of thousands of photos, imagine when it is.  Read a bunch about managing a catalog and organizing effectively.  Think about backup.  Add consideration of costs, time to support new cameras and lenses.  Ask what your colleagues are using (and from whom can you learn tricks and techniques), and recognize that no solution is perfect.

I picked Lightroom CC (Photographers' subscription):

  • I don't worry about $15/month (I figure I spend much more than that on computers and cameras).
  • I shoot nature, landscapes, documentary, record-of-life, with some product and work stuff.
  • I publish minimally
  • I use Lightroom classic for most of my work, and sync selected collections to the LR cloud ecosystem for sharing and use out-of-home.


  • Catalog of everything, plus sub catalogs for portability.
  • Syncing to the LR mobile ecosystem
  • Keywords (hierarchical), collections, sharing.
  • Raw processing, good for new models of (mainstream) cameras and lenses within 6 weeks of release
  • Integration with Photoshop (for sophisticated layer-based editing) - LR does everything I need for 99% of my work.
  • Scripting with Lua for automation

I dislike:

  • Performance (need a big computer)
  • Syncing bugs and occasional corrupted catalogs
  • Slideshows
  • Printing
  • Scripting with Lua - missing APIs and disfunction
  • Dealing with timezones (it works if you are meticulous with your camera clocks)
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