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Forums > Digital Art and Retouching > Lightroom 4 vs. Bridge and Camera Raw? Search   Reply
Photographer
Nico Simon Princely
Posts: 1,751
Las Vegas, Nevada, US


I have used both but I still feel like Lightroom 4 is a quick fix which is good for some situations but if I'm really going to work on an image I think Camera Raw...


Any opinions? Upsides or downsides?
Nov 11 12 03:12 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
CR-PHOTO
Posts: 53
Tannersville, Pennsylvania, US


I personally love what I can do in camera raw under CS6. I've used lightroom but for what I do my workflow is faster using bridge/camera raw/then photoshop.  I use camera raw for noise reduction if needed, adjusting contrast down, and correcting highlights that are too bright. I personally wish camera raw was within CS6 itself in the sense that you wouldn't have to open from raw to photoshop, but camera raw would be part of the workspace all ready in photoshop, so from start to finish you could do everything in one interface.
Nov 11 12 03:24 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Image Magik
Posts: 1,067
New Orleans, Louisiana, US


It's really two different things. LR is like a stand alone camera raw but with more options. It's much faster to do tweaking and quick fixing in LR than camera raw. You can see all your images and roll over presets to see different looks on the fly, have other images follow your changes in real time in the image your editing and then export as many files as you want straightaway. Photoshop and camera raw are more for tweaking, editing and polishing one image at a time. I use cs5 and lr3n4.
Nov 11 12 03:45 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
SSR Designs
Posts: 471
Bartlesville, Oklahoma, US


I use lr4 and cs6 master suite. Bridge really shines when you are sharing assetts across applications...like going from ps to ae to edge to dw for web design. LR really shines in a photography only workflow. I use lr to manage photos do any exposure adjustments then edit in ps. LR allows me to stack the raw with the ps so i can do a/b comparisons. There was a video on adobe's website that pointed out these differences and since i have started using this workflow things are much much easier.
Nov 11 12 05:24 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Michael DBA Expressions
Posts: 3,164
Lynchburg, Virginia, US


(sigh)

Bridge and Camera Raw are the tires upon which the Ferrari of Lightroom is built. To return to using Bridge/CR after using LR on an image is to throw away the Ferrari in order to drag those tires from here to there: it's great for building upper arm strength, perhaps, but silly in the final analysis. Just sayin'.
Nov 11 12 06:43 am  Link  Quote 
Digital Artist
Koray
Posts: 6,686
Ankara, Ankara, Turkey


Michael DBA Expressions wrote:
(sigh)

Bridge and Camera Raw are the tires upon which the Ferrari of Lightroom is built. To return to using Bridge/CR after using LR on an image is to throw away the Ferrari in order to drag those tires from here to there: it's great for building upper arm strength, perhaps, but silly in the final analysis. Just sayin'.

bweheh...worst analogy ever big_smile

Nov 11 12 07:03 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Eye of the World
Posts: 763
Corvallis, Oregon, US


The rendering engine is the same (assuming you are current in both programs). http://forums.adobe.com/message/4770810

As a database program Lightroom is designed to operate faster, expecially if you have large numbers of images.
Nov 11 12 07:37 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Gulag
Posts: 1,233
Duluth, Georgia, US


in ACR the RGB info readout gives actual numbers that Photoshop uses while in LR it's expressed in %, which is useless to me.
Nov 11 12 02:27 pm  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
Mike Needham Retouching
Posts: 369
Cheltenham, England, United Kingdom


Bridge is just a file browser.
Nov 11 12 03:51 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Ruben Vasquez
Posts: 3,104
Puyallup, Washington, US


Koray wrote:

bweheh...worst analogy ever big_smile

+1 Yeah that kinda made me laugh a little.

Lightroom is good for light retouching work on large volumes of images such as weddings or events. For those of us do a lot of heavy editing on only a few images at a time, there's no need to spend the extra $150 for Lightroom when Bridge and Camera Raw already does everything we need.

Nov 11 12 05:07 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Leighthenubian
Posts: 2,793
Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Nico Simon Princely wrote:
I have used both but I still feel like Lightroom 4 is a quick fix which is good for some situations but if I'm really going to work on an image I think Camera Raw...


Any opinions? Upsides or downsides?

LR uses the Camera Raw engine...it just combines other features/functions. If all you want to do is tweak a file the processor that your camera manufacturer includes is good..like DPP for Canon.

If you don't need the cataloguing etc then stick with Camera Raw and Photoshop...personal matter I think.

Nov 11 12 06:13 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Nico Simon Princely
Posts: 1,751
Las Vegas, Nevada, US


Koray wrote:
bweheh...worst analogy ever big_smile

I agree. Light room does not have near the capability of Camera Raw from what I have used of both. Maybe I don't know it will enough I'll admit that. But there is not nearly as much control as in ACR from from what I have seen in personal use.

For large volumes of correction  for photography without extensive retouching and manipulation I think Lightroom is great and especially for resizing in batches and controlling the out put of dpi. Which is why I started using it.

I think it's great as a cataloging program also. But I still prefer the ACR for fine tuning. Maybe there is a setting I'm missing but I can seem to zoom in very close in Camera raw. It seem to have only 1 level of zoom or am I missing something?

Nov 11 12 08:19 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Jose Deida
Posts: 1,144
BLANDON, Pennsylvania, US


C1
Nov 11 12 08:25 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
iPro Pictures
Posts: 184
Tempe, Arizona, US


My workflow is that I'll bring in all my images into BRIDGE, sort out which ones to I'm going to edit, you can then select all the images and press ctrl+r or APPLE+R to open all your images in camera raw. After going thru my levels and color correction in camera raw I'll open each image in Photoshop to touch up and export via JPG.

Remember editing in camera raw is non-destructive with jpg or raw files. They usually make sidecard xmp files that saves info for each picture.

The Bridge+Camera Raw+Photoshop is far superior than Lightroom
Nov 11 12 09:39 pm  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
Krunoslav Stifter
Posts: 3,850
Santa Cruz, California, US


mshi wrote:
in ACR the RGB info readout gives actual numbers that Photoshop uses while in LR it's expressed in %, which is useless to me.

I think I understand where you are coming from and I can relate, but I think it's important to explain what is going on since Lightroom does work in a bit of a different way and for a good reason so it's not really a handicap, but rather a personal preference ...as you said.


The ACR & Lightroom internal editing space uses Pro Photo RGB primaries with a linear 1.0 gamma (to match the linear capture of digital camera sensors). So when you are editing the editing space itself actually the same in both application, the situation changes from one application to the other when you compare the way they handle histogram and readout numbers data as you mentioned.

In Adobe Camera RAW (ACR), the histogram is converted on the fly from the internal editing space to one of the four hard wired output spaces. (ProPhoto RGB, Adobe RGB 1998, ColorMartch RGB or sRGB) and you can't change them. The on screen image preview changes accordingly. So in ACR you can think of it like a semi soft proofing option, although it's limited to only those four RGB working spaces. No custom ones, no printing profiles and no CMYK. I would advise use of Photoshop for that.   

In Lightroom, the histogram is based on an sRGB tone curve with the primaries still being Pro Photo RGB, (nicknamed Melissa RGB) as a linear histogram would confuse most users. Unlike ACR, the Lightroom histogram is not mapped to an output space, which means that the histogram that you see in Lightroom is not the same as the rendered/exported image histogram - even for sRGB.

However if you are for some reason dependent on the RGB info readout numbers that Photoshop uses (0-255) even though you are still actually in 16 Bit/Channel mode so technically it's just a read out not actual numbers until you specify an exact 8 bit output. But Lightroom 4 does offers soft proofing option, and you can choose your desired output RGB space as you would in Photoshop, for example sRGB - and than you can read the familiar (0-255) scale, just like you would in Photoshop or ACR. ACR and Photoshop do offer sample points if that is what you said Lightroom is useless to you.

The only reason I can think of why you might want to have an (0-255) scale in Lightroom or ACR is because that is how we are used to thinking about color and tone in Photoshop. But you are not really working with the same numbers when editing RAW files anyway, so it's not technically accurate it's simply a familiar feature giving you a better sense of what is going on, perhaps based on what you are used to.

The reason why it's a problem to see the (0-255) numbers in Lr is because you have to tell the application what is the working profile you are going to be working in. If you plan further editing in an application like for example Photoshop, that is. And if you plan to print directly from Lightroom that it would not matter and you would do you soft proofing for the output printing space.

Since you are working in 16 bit/channel mode in Lightroom in order to display the numbers of an actual histogram it would have to use not (0-255) scale but (0-65536) so your numbers would be something like; R - 65506, G - 35336, B - 55536. That would not be very useful would it? On top of that Photoshop works more closely to 15 Bits/Channel mode even when you actually choose 16 Bits/Channel  giving you an actual scale of (0-32768). That would be even more confusing. And you can't really have a histogram that can display 0-32768 in pixel per tone scale like you can with 0-255. So Adobe simplified the visuals buy fitting everything into an 8-bit (0-255) histogram.

...and when you are seeing percentages for R,G,B values in Lightroom that is because showing 16 Bits/Scale is not helpful and it sill doesn't know what your output is so it can't convert on the fly until you tell it when soft proofing your image. With ACR you already have basically a limited version of soft proofing already built in. When you choose your output settings you tell it what the output is so it knows.

Nico Simon Princely wrote:
I have used both but I still feel like Lightroom 4 is a quick fix which is good for some situations but if I'm really going to work on an image I think Camera Raw... Any opinions? Upsides or downsides?

There has been numerous articles and forums discussions about it online already so I won't go in depth I will simplify it.

One is not better than the other. One is better than the other when you define the context you are working in.

So one potential scenario might be. You are a retoucher and you get 10 images to work on. Most of your editing is done in Photoshop. Firing up Lightroom which greatest strength is the organizational features and database approach, makes little sense.

But if you consider scenario where you are photographer shooting hundreds or thousands of images per each photo shoot than sorting, filing, backing up etc is where Lightroom shines. And makes little senses to go to ACR when you have it in form of a Develop module in Lightroom already. Especially if you do little or no editing in Photoshop.

These are just two examples but there are many scenarios where one is more appropriate than the other. So it really comes down to personal preference and the context you are in. Context is everything. Context is always everything.

Nov 11 12 09:53 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
richy01
Posts: 153
Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands


Still looking for the best workflow but I tend to the use of both according to what Kruno states and with help of Helena..wink....Working on individual images or small number of images I am using ACR and with my weddings I am using LR these days.
Nov 12 12 01:15 am  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
bobbydolan
Posts: 167
Boston, Massachusetts, US


Jose Deida wrote:
C1

+1

Nov 12 12 07:07 am  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
Kristiana-Retouch
Posts: 289
London, England, United Kingdom


If I had to choose first one I would sacrifice would be lightroom smile
Nov 12 12 08:55 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
M Pandolfo Photography
Posts: 12,116
Tampa, Florida, US


I always had trouble getting the hang of LR and started using it less and less. I thought it was just me (and it probably was). I heard so many glowing reviews I thought I SHOULD be using it but it just never took.

Recently I tried the Trial for Capture One Pro 7 and I'll never look at LR again.
Nov 12 12 09:06 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Gulag
Posts: 1,233
Duluth, Georgia, US


Michael Pandolfo wrote:
I always had trouble getting the hang of LR and started using it less and less. I thought it was just me (and it probably was). I heard so many glowing reviews I thought I SHOULD be using it but it just never took.

Recently I tried the Trial for Capture One Pro 7 and I'll never look at LR again.

Are there any differences between the trial version and full retail one? Since I can't use C1Pro7 to open any of my Hasselbald H4D files. Am I missing something?

Nov 12 12 11:45 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Innovative Imagery
Posts: 2,815
Los Angeles, California, US


Nico Simon Princely wrote:
I agree. Light room does not have near the capability of Camera Raw from what I have used of both. Maybe I don't know it will enough I'll admit that. But there is not nearly as much control as in ACR from from what I have seen in personal use.

For large volumes of correction  for photography without extensive retouching and manipulation I think Lightroom is great and especially for resizing in batches and controlling the out put of dpi. Which is why I started using it.

I think it's great as a cataloging program also. But I still prefer the ACR for fine tuning. Maybe there is a setting I'm missing but I can seem to zoom in very close in Camera raw. It seem to have only 1 level of zoom or am I missing something?

Yep you are missing something.  CR vs LR, LR wins hands down.  Especially if you have LR 4 and only CS5 PS.

Do yourself a favor and increase your understanding of both tools.  I think a good resource would be the Jack Davis DVD's.

Of course you still need Photoshop to do the rest of the editing that requires layer ability.

Nov 12 12 12:00 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Nico Simon Princely
Posts: 1,751
Las Vegas, Nevada, US


Krunoslav-Stifter wrote:

mshi wrote:
in ACR the RGB info readout gives actual numbers that Photoshop uses while in LR it's expressed in %, which is useless to me.

I think I understand where you are coming from and I can relate, but I think it's important to explain what is going on since Lightroom does work in a bit of a different way and for a good reason so it's not really a handicap, but rather a personal preference ...as you said.


The ACR & Lightroom internal editing space uses Pro Photo RGB primaries with a linear 1.0 gamma (to match the linear capture of digital camera sensors). So when you are editing the editing space itself actually the same in both application, the situation changes from one application to the other when you compare the way they handle histogram and readout numbers data as you mentioned.

In Adobe Camera RAW (ACR), the histogram is converted on the fly from the internal editing space to one of the four hard wired output spaces. (ProPhoto RGB, Adobe RGB 1998, ColorMartch RGB or sRGB) and you can't change them. The on screen image preview changes accordingly. So in ACR you can think of it like a semi soft proofing option, although it's limited to only those four RGB working spaces. No custom ones, no printing profiles and no CMYK. I would advise use of Photoshop for that.   

In Lightroom, the histogram is based on an sRGB tone curve with the primaries still being Pro Photo RGB, (nicknamed Melissa RGB) as a linear histogram would confuse most users. Unlike ACR, the Lightroom histogram is not mapped to an output space, which means that the histogram that you see in Lightroom is not the same as the rendered/exported image histogram - even for sRGB.

However if you are for some reason dependent on the RGB info readout numbers that Photoshop uses (0-255) even though you are still actually in 16 Bit/Channel mode so technically it's just a read out not actual numbers until you specify an exact 8 bit output. But Lightroom 4 does offers soft proofing option, and you can choose your desired output RGB space as you would in Photoshop, for example sRGB - and than you can read the familiar (0-255) scale, just like you would in Photoshop or ACR. ACR and Photoshop do offer sample points if that is what you said Lightroom is useless to you.

The only reason I can think of why you might want to have an (0-255) scale in Lightroom or ACR is because that is how we are used to thinking about color and tone in Photoshop. But you are not really working with the same numbers when editing RAW files anyway, so it's not technically accurate it's simply a familiar feature giving you a better sense of what is going on, perhaps based on what you are used to.

The reason why it's a problem to see the (0-255) numbers in Lr is because you have to tell the application what is the working profile you are going to be working in. If you plan further editing in an application like for example Photoshop, that is. And if you plan to print directly from Lightroom that it would not matter and you would do you soft proofing for the output printing space.

Since you are working in 16 bit/channel mode in Lightroom in order to display the numbers of an actual histogram it would have to use not (0-255) scale but (0-65536) so your numbers would be something like; R - 65506, G - 35336, B - 55536. That would not be very useful would it? On top of that Photoshop works more closely to 15 Bits/Channel mode even when you actually choose 16 Bits/Channel  giving you an actual scale of (0-32768). That would be even more confusing. And you can't really have a histogram that can display 0-32768 in pixel per tone scale like you can with 0-255. So Adobe simplified the visuals buy fitting everything into an 8-bit (0-255) histogram.

...and when you are seeing percentages for R,G,B values in Lightroom that is because showing 16 Bits/Scale is not helpful and it sill doesn't know what your output is so it can't convert on the fly until you tell it when soft proofing your image. With ACR you already have basically a limited version of soft proofing already built in. When you choose your output settings you tell it what the output is so it knows.


There has been numerous articles and forums discussions about it online already so I won't go in depth I will simplify it.

One is not better than the other. One is better than the other when you define the context you are working in.

So one potential scenario might be. You are a retoucher and you get 10 images to work on. Most of your editing is done in Photoshop. Firing up Lightroom which greatest strength is the organizational features and database approach, makes little sense.

But if you consider scenario where you are photographer shooting hundreds or thousands of images per each photo shoot than sorting, filing, backing up etc is where Lightroom shines. And makes little senses to go to ACR when you have it in form of a Develop module in Lightroom already. Especially if you do little or no editing in Photoshop.

These are just two examples but there are many scenarios where one is more appropriate than the other. So it really comes down to personal preference and the context you are in. Context is everything. Context is always everything.

Being that you are so knowledgeable what would you suggest?

I take hundreds of pictures so light room is good but from that I I may chose only a handful to fully finish and all will be finished in photoshop. I just don't see as many option is LR 4 as in ACR and I'm using CS 5.5 but will be moving to CS 6 very soon.

Nov 13 12 12:53 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Nico Simon Princely
Posts: 1,751
Las Vegas, Nevada, US


Innovative Imagery wrote:

Yep you are missing something.  CR vs LR, LR wins hands down.  Especially if you have LR 4 and only CS5 PS.

Do yourself a favor and increase your understanding of both tools.  I think a good resource would be the Jack Davis DVD's.

Of course you still need Photoshop to do the rest of the editing that requires layer ability.

I'm using CS 5.5 but will be movie to CS 6 soon. I want the best possible workflow that gives me the most creative flexibility. I think LR is great if you're not going to into PS from there.

Nov 13 12 12:56 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Camerosity
Posts: 5,110
Saint Louis, Missouri, US


I use Bridge, Camera Raw and Photoshop CS5.

An Adobe rep told me several months ago that Lightroom (3) is ACR minus one feature (don't recall what it was; something I've never used) plus a better user interface.
Nov 13 12 01:20 am  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
Krunoslav Stifter
Posts: 3,850
Santa Cruz, California, US


Nico Simon Princely wrote:
I take hundreds of pictures so light room is good but from that I I may chose only a handful to fully finish and all will be finished in photoshop. I just don't see as many option is LR 4 as in ACR and I'm using CS 5.5 but will be moving to CS 6 very soon.

If I understand you you correctly are you saying that the ACR that comes with Photsohop CS 5.5 has less options than Lightroom 4?

Lightroom develop module and ACR providing that they are the same version have the same exact processing engine and almost the same options. 90% is identical, but not when it comes to sliders and interlayering processing engine - they are identical and compatible.

If so that that is not the case. Photsohop CS6 and Lightroom 4 have the same architecture, CS5.5 is using inferior version of ACR than the one you find in Lightroom 4. The processing engine alone is worth the upgrade because it a lot better in terms of images quality when processing and as for the number of options they are greater in Lightroom because it's a newer version of the same program that is ACR, plus some other advantages you get from Lightroom.

I think if you are using Lightroom for sorting and organizing than use it for the other function of editing and simply continue your edits in Photoshop and go back to lightroom and you are done. It's the most common workflow that works very well and it's very flexible.

If you don't own Lightroom and only have ACR, Bridge and Ps than you can use that combination as well and save a  little bit of money, but if you are working on more than 10 images per shoot and that includes organizing and picking images than Lightroom might be a good investment. Because it is easier to expand workflow in the future if you are using Lightroom and Ps than if you are using ACR, Bridge and Ps. They do simple things like you mentioned very well, but ofer limited options if you choose to expand your workflow.

Ultimately those are you options. What will you use and what works best for you that is something It's hard to say since I don't know all the details of your workflow and your personal preference.

Nico Simon Princely wrote:
I'm using CS 5.5 but will be movie to CS 6 soon. I want the best possible workflow that gives me the most creative flexibility. I think LR is great if you're not going to into PS from there.

Actually Lightroom and Photoshop work beautifully together. You can think of Ps being a plug-in for Lightroom really. A very powerful plug-in but ultimately it's the same principle as any other plug-in.

You can go back a forth with great flexibility if that is what you want. If you own Lightroom it would be a shame not to use it but that does not mean you have to stay exclusive to it. It is very easy to use Bridge and ACR with Lightroom and PS if you wanted to, but simply using Lightroom and Ps together is probably the most common workflow.

P.S.
If you tell me exactly what you would like to accomplish in your workflow and what you are comfortable and what you plan to expand on it the future I will be happy to give my recommendation to meet those needs. smile

Nov 13 12 01:23 am  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
Krunoslav Stifter
Posts: 3,850
Santa Cruz, California, US


Camerosity wrote:
I use Bridge, Camera Raw and Photoshop CS5.

An Adobe rep told me several months ago that Lightroom (3) is ACR minus one feature (don't recall what it was; something I've never used) plus a better user interface.

It's one thing if you never use the Lightroom features that it offers but it's hardly an ACR on steroids. It's a lot more than that and it's ultimately a completely different program serving a completely different purpose.

At the end of the day, PS is also a very big program but if you only use ten tools and someone comes up with Ps lite version that only has does ten tools you would not miss a thing. But it would not mean it's the same version of the program only with slight difference.

So it comes down to how you use the application and for what purpose that is the criteria you should focus on because not everyone is going to use all the features off any of the programs mentioned. There are far to many options designed to accommodate very wide variety of users and their specific needs.

Nov 13 12 01:28 am  Link  Quote 
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