I always shoot in RAW + JPEG. For normal point-and-shoot vacation stuff I’m generally satisfied with the JPEG the camera spits out. But I would never shoot only JPEG. The additional information of RAW shouldn’t be underestimated, and to be honest I often tweak around. It makes a difference if you are working on the original RAW data, or if you are working on the JPEG copy the camera has already processed.
Up till now I’ve been post-processing my images with Adobe Bridge and Photoshop CS3. Since I was planning on post-processing a whole load of pictures I decided to see what software there is out there to streamline the work flow a bit (Bridge and CS3 do the job, and the raw converter in CS3 does offer a wide variety of options, but it is still tedious switching to be switching between both programs and working on multiple RAW images at the same time). While I was away, Adobe released Lightroom 3, so I checked out the reviews and it sounded good. I downloaded the 30 day trial version and to sum it up my experience so far … I’m impressed.
I haven’t worked with Lightroom previously, so I can’t say how much has changed in this version. But I really like the details that make life easier when handling collections of images. Being an Adobe product it also offers interfaces to various Photoshop functions (I only own CS3, I could imagine it offers more options if you have the current version CS5 installed). I could go on and on with things I like about it, but I’ll just sum it up and say: It really streamlines the work flow of post-processing photographs from import to print/upload/web/presentation and if you are shooting RAW it has a whole lot of fun stuff to play around with directly built in.
Since I shoot with a Nikon D80 that tends to produce a fair amount of image noise if I go past ISO 400 I liked the noise reduction features of Lightroom, both color and luminance noise can be reduced greatly with sliders for fine tuning.
It’s a good piece of software, and when the 30 day trial ends I’ll probably go buy it.