Processing 7D RAW Files

Started Feb 10, 2010 | Discussions thread
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Processing 7D RAW Files
Feb 10, 2010

Just got a 7D not too long ago, I would like to start shooting RAW and doing some post processing. Just too lazy before with my 40D, so only shot JPGs..didn't have time to do any post processing. I want to take full advantage of the 7D's image quality. The JPGs look good straight out of the camera, but i think they can be better. So, excuse some of my questions regarding PP if they seem dumb.

I was thinking of getting Photoshop Elements 8 to do the PP..until I started reading all the other posts in this forum mention ACR (Adobe Camera Raw?), LR (Lightroom), DPP (Digital Photo Profess.), Aperture, CS4, etc.

So what's the difference between all these pieces of software. I was under the impression that PSE8 was capable of doing all the PP (ie. correcting white balance issues, color correction, sharpening, noise reduction, touch-ups/editting, etc). I think I'm wrong on this based on the threads I've read. Basically I have 3 questions then:

1) What specific purpose and the advantage/disadvantages for each of the software titles used for?

2) Which is the best one(s) to purchase? I don't want to spend a lot of money on new software..DPP is obviously free and if it can do everything that ACR/LR/Aperture can do, then I would like to know this. CS4 is definitely out.
3) What other software should/can I consiider.

Go easy on me..and don't be too technical if possible..I don't know anything about masks, layers, levels, curves, etc.

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