Photo editor that is "easy" on the pictures

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by jaktho, Apr 20, 2010.

  1. jaktho macrumors newbie

    Mar 23, 2010

    I am a amatuer photographer looking for photo editor for my mac.
    My needs are quite basic. The most important thing i want to do is to make colurs jpegs into great looking black and whites. - I want to be able to change exposure, contrast, highlights and shadows and such.
    If it is possible i would also like to be able to remove and add noise/grain.
    I also want to be able to do basic things like crop an image and change colours. What i could not care less about is -

    - "Smart" functions like "send with mail" and "upload on facebook", "Maps" "Faces" or whatever.
    - Ways to organise my photos. I do this in folders and in iPhoto.

    What i really do care about is that the application is "gentle" on my pictures. I shoot mostly jpegs from my small digicams and i also do some scanning of 35mm. For example i tried to make a jpeg into a black and white in the application Seashore and it turned out useless.
    I did not expect much from the application but the dynamic was all gone.

    For example. If i change the exposure in my picture i want it to be made with the smallest possible "artifacts" in types of noise and loss of dynamic.
    If i say that this is really the only thing i care about in my choice of photo editor, which one should i try?

    I appreciate any help! If something is unclear please tell me and i will try to explain.

    I am using a Macbook with integrated intel graphics.

  2. Gold89 macrumors 6502

    Dec 17, 2008
    If you are adjusting the exposure of JPEGs there is very little that you can do to adjust the exposure without noise (unlike RAW).
  3. jaktho thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 23, 2010
    Yes. RAW gives more possibilities i guess but it is too cumbersome for me.
    I have noticed that there are differences between different applications when doing this types of adjustments and i am looking for the program that gives me the least degredation of the picture.
  4. emorydunn macrumors 6502


    Jun 5, 2006
    Austin Texas
    First off, there will always be some degradation in the image. This happens no matter what you do. But professional editing software should give you better results than iPhoto. So, here's what I would do.

    I think you really would be best off shooting in RAW and then choosing a non-destructive photo editing programme (Lightroom or Aperture). Shooting in RAW, while it is more cumbersome and requires more tweaking of the photos than JPEG, isn't too different than what you said you wanted to do.

    The other option (if you don't want to use software like Lightroom or Aperture) is to just get Photoshop and have a three part file structure.

    • Original files
    • Edited PSD's
    • Final TIFF's

    Also, reading through your post a second time you really can't expect to be able to do much with JPEG files. You want the editor to "go easy" on the images and reduce the number of artifacts and you won't get that with a JPEG.
  5. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

    Mar 25, 2009
    Folding space
    You're in kind of a bind here. jpeg is a file format that will lose detail in the photo every time it is opened and closed. It's called lossy. The best way to be "gentle" on the image is to save it in tiff format and only convert it to jpeg when you have to. As for editing software, PhotoShop Elements would be your best bet. It will give you the basic tools from PhotoShop and provide the option to work on RAW files if you ever decide to go that direction.

  6. jaktho thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 23, 2010
    Thanks a lot for your response. My main issue with RAW is not the editing time at the computer - my Ricoh GRD needs to think for a long time while saving them.. =)

    For now i am stuck in jpeg capture and possibly scanned tiffs.
    I guess my main question is if making adjustments of things like exposure and contrast of a jpeg has anything noteworthy to do with the application doing it, or is it all in the format? I dont expect any miracles, but since i am stuck in jpeg for the moment i would appreciate any input.

  7. stagi macrumors 65816


    Feb 18, 2006
    Photoshop elements should work very good for you. You can edit a jpeg fine as long as exposure is good in camera there should be little degradation in doing a basic black and white convert
  8. tamasvarga67 macrumors regular

    Sep 29, 2007
    Check out Acorn. It has 14 days fully functional trial period so you can play with it. If you don't buy it after 14 days it will disable some advanced functions and you can use it as free version.
    Nice and simple UI, compatible with RAW, not heavy on CPU and memory. Worth the try and cheaper than PS Elements.
  9. pdxflint macrumors 68020


    Aug 25, 2006
    Oregon coast
    That's not quite true... .jpeg will only lose detail if you open it, then save it (like with a "save as" to a new file,) or make some change to it and then "save," which will then re-compress the open file into the new version.

    If you just view a .jpeg file by opening it, it doesn't change the file. You can keep your 'original' .jpeg by never "saving" the changes, but always doing a "save as" when editing it, thereby making a new file. At least you can only suffer through one extra re-compression that way for each edit, but don't ever just "save" the changes to the original .jpeg file or it will definitely start losing quality.

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