Over the last few months I’ve upgraded my computer and all my software basics.
So which updates are worth making?
Windows 7 : Windows Vista was a real disappointment to me but I’m glad to say that Windows 7 is great and the ability to run in 64 bit mode means that my PC can now use as much RAM as I can afford to put in it - - 32 bit systems can only “address” (make use of) about 3.4GB of memory regardless of how much you actually fit. As the speed and quantity of memory is one of the biggest factors in how quickly programs like Adobe Photoshop will run on your PC, upgrading, and making sure you install the 64 bit version is worthwhile for all serious digital photographers. By the way almost all of my older 32 bit applications still run just fine, only a 6 year old version of Quicken finance software caused any problems, and an hour or so on the web found an answer for even that.
Capture One v5 : As a very happy Capture One user over the last couple of years I was initially quite happy with this fairly mild update. However the launch of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 has changed all of that. Lightroom 3’s RAW processing and noise reduction are now just plain better than even Capture One. Lightroom 3 is more expensive to buy and slower to use but for my Canon files it’s now the best option. Phase One has some very serious competition. Capture One 5 Review
Canon DPP Update Available: Canon DPP v 3.9.3 is now available, and apart from support for new Canon DSLRs it also adds an “unsharp mask” option to the the usual “sharpness” option. It just keeps getting better.
Adobe Photoshop CS5 : Of all the camera and software updates I’ve made over the last few months this is the least impressive. Yes the new RAW processing, using the same core as Lightroom 3, is a big step forward, but other than that, day to day there’s little I’d miss if I had to go back to CS3. The new layout and a few new tools are possibly more important to graphics professionals than photographers, but having missed out CS4 altogether I expected more. Adobe Photoshop CS5 Review
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 : This is a very different story from Photoshop CS5. Lightroom 3 is to me a must have update. Although Lightroom has always had many excellent features, it’s poor RAW processing compared to Capture One and many others made it an interesting aside rather than the main event in my working life. I was obviously not alone and Adobe have finally cottoned on to how important this part of the process is to working pros and serious amateurs alike so they made a decision not just to upgrade the existing RAW processing engine by adding support for new cameras, but to redo the whole module from scratch. The results are spectacular. Noisy cameras like my Canon EOS 50D are transformed. Adobe Lightroom 3 Review.
If you haven’t used Adobe Photoshop Lightroom - now’s the time to try it.