Has LR surpassed NX with LR3 beta?

Started Nov 8, 2009 | Discussions thread
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Augusto Amatori New Member • Posts: 13
Has LR surpassed NX with LR3 beta?

I am a BIG fan of NX2. Over the last couple of years I would say that at least half of the fun I have been getting out of photography (as an amateur) comes straight from optimizing my various RAW shoots in NX after the fact. I tried ACR and various other 'digital darkrooms', but IMHO nothing could even come close to NX2 in simplicity, accuracy and end results - without convoluted and time consuming acrobatics.

Then Lightroom 3 beta became a free download a couple of weeks ago and I have had a chance to play with it, comparing its output with NX2's - off the same picture. Wow. It is easy to use, intuitive, and it elegantly solves some of the most frequent everyday problems in amateur photography (at least the ones I have). To the point that I am starting to wonder if I shouldn't forget my beloved NX2 and switch to LR for all my future processing (Nik and Nikon, are you listening?).

For example, three features that I am starting to have difficulty doing without in NX2:

1) Photo import, selection and organization is easy and well thought out in LR3. It happens in a single, fairly automatic step. In NX2 on the other hand I import with Transfer NX, select with View NX and develop with Capture NX: three programs versus one, cumbersome and time consuming.

2) The brilliant Adjustment Brush. Nothing could beat NX2's U-point technology for speed and convenience of localized selections. Enter the Adjustment Brush, with its auto mask feature: just as intuitive as U-points to apply and almost as quick. You can only change the main parameters with it (Exposure, Brightness, Contrast, Saturation, Clarity, Sharpness and Color), but you do so through an easy to use control panel, with all the controls right there in front of you.

Did I mention EXPOSURE? How many times have you gotten a picture where the sky is properly exposed, but the foreground is, say, 1.5 EVs too dark (or vice versa)? No probs. Bring up the exposure of the whole picture 1.5 EV, then paint quickly over the sky with the Adjustment Brush in Auto Mask mode, and dial in -1.5 EV for that. Done: now the sky retains its beautiful original color and detail while the foreground is correctly exposed. I figure this feature alone will improve/save a gazillion pictures and reduce the desire to shoot multiple-picture-HDR by 90%.

3) The Clarity and Vibrance controls. These controls apply contrast and saturation intelligently: they really make a difference when you are trying to add a little zest to a picture a bit on the flat side. I really miss these two controls in NX2, and 'clients' (my wife and daughter) prefer pictures processed with them in side by side comparisons.

NX2 still costs half as much as LR and has its strengths: I wish several of its features were in LR3 (we'll leave that subject for another post). However, my objective in using a post processing RAW converter like NX2 or LR is to produce the best pictures possible from my shoots quickly and easily. Picture quality at the end of the day is paramount, and in my opinion NX2 has always been tops. But with what I have seen in its latest beta, when it is released, LR3 may well surpass NX2 in terms of overall ease of use AND picture quality.

Cheers.
Augusto

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