Advice on photo editing software for my situation

Started Jan 3, 2012 | Discussions thread
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stevenmh
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Advice on photo editing software for my situation
Jan 3, 2012

I've recently picked up a G3 and have seen some threads/reviews where it was recommended to shoot in RAW.

So, I've been looking at Photoshop Elements 10 vs Lightroom to be able to process RAW files. I've seen it mentioned that PSE doesn't do "non-destructive" RAW editing, but I'm not sure what that means. My understanding is that a RAW file isn't an image file, it's a data file containing sensor data, so how could a RAW file ever be saved with edits? I thought that destructive vs non-destructive editing would only be relevant to the exported JPEGs... what am I missing?

Either way, I don't envision needing to preserve RAW files indefinitely for repeat processing. I want the RAW file only because people / reviews have stated that editing JPEGs produced internally by the G3 doesn't produce as good a result as taking the RAW file and exporting a JPEG. Once I've touched up a photo and exported the edited image to JPEG, I intend to delete the RAW files unless there's some other benefit to keeping them that I'm not seeing.

My other issue is that I don't want my photos rearranged or imported into some proprietary database. I store the photos on a shared network drive on a PC downstairs, and after putting them there, editing, and organizing, I rarely look at them again on that PC. I access them from other PCs and from the family room TV over the PS3. The photo directory on the storage drive is neatly organized into subfolders and I can find photos quickly just using Windows Explorer. My storage drive gets mirror synced locally and offsite each night, and if the storage PC (or my house) goes up in flames I want to be able to take that external (or offsite) drive and plug it into any PC and view native JPEGs without having to install software or extract them from a database.

In terms of post-processing, I'm interested mainly in basic touch-up... exposure, cropping, sharpening, maybe some color tweaking. Nothing major. I've been using MS Office Picture Manager, but could use something a little more robust with batch editing if possible.

Based on these requirements, would Lightroom or Elements be better for me? Or a different product altogether?

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