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The more I use the Tamron 18-250mm lens on my Samsung GX-10 the more I like it. These pictures were taken in really sunny conditions and I think the detail captured is excellent for this type of zoom lens. For the pixel peepers out there I’ve added a 100% crop of the eye from the first picture which I think shows just how good this combination is.

Image hosted on Zenfolio – click to view larger version.

Image hosted on Zenfolio – click to view larger version.

And finally the 100% crop from the first picture.

eye_100_crop

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My new Samsung GX-10 uses DNG as it’s native RAW image format so I’ve been looking at how I’m going to process these. I use Idimager to catalogue my image files and this can make use of the full size JPEG previews contained in the DNG files. The question is how do I get these previews updated to match the settings applied to the RAW data in the DNG?

If I had the full Adobe Photoshop package it would be easy as Bridge/ACR will regenerate the previews. However, that’s out of my price range at the moment so I’ve been looking to see what my copy of PSE4 and ACR 3.7 will do.

From reading the Elements forums I was under the impression that all the RAW adjustments made in the Elements hosted ACR were stored in the ACR database rather than in the DNG file. I thought that the only way to get the DNG file to reflect the changes was to use the Save As function in ACR to create a new DNG file. I was wrong.

It turns out that it’s really easy to update the DNG preview without having to create a new file. In the Camera RAW Preferences dialog set the “Update embedded JPEG previews” option to “Full Size”. Now when you have applied the RAW settings as you want press the ‘ALT’ key and the “Open” button changes to “Update”. Click “Update” and the current settings are saved to the existing DNG file and the preview file is updated!

Just what the doctor ordered! I’m not sure if this was possible before ACR 3.7 but it certainly works now. All I need now is for Adobe to give us access to all of the ACR functionality when it’s used with Photoshop Elements. 🙂

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I’ve been considering treating myself and buying Adobe Photoshop CS2. That was until I realised how Abobe’s pricing policy rips-off UK buyers! The software is purchased as a download so there are no shipping costs involved. You should also be aware that there is no UK import or excise duty on software purchased abroad, just VAT at 17.5%. So this means a UK resident should be able to buy a download from the United States for the dollar price + VAT @17.5%.

Lets take a look at the Adobe Photoshop CS2 pricing.

In Adobe’s US on-line store (for residents of US and Canada only) the price is listed at $649. This converts to £339.91 and then VAT bumps this up to £399.32. So what’s the price on Adobe’s UK on-line store for exactly the same download – £569.88. This is a mark-up of 30% above the US price adjusted for VAT. What do I get for that extra 30%? That’s right, absolutely nothing!!

Other US and international companies seem quite happy to let me buy their downloadable products at the $ price + VAT using my credit card so why not Adobe? All I can think is that they charge what they feel they can get away with and we’re daft enough to go along with it.

I did raise a customer service case with Adobe to ask them why I couldn’t buy from the US site and despite the automated response saying I would be contacted within 24 hours I have had no real response for a week.

The above is not just restricted to the full Photoshop CS2. Similar mark-ups can be found for the Photoshop Upgrade package and other Adobe products. This means we can probably expect similar price differentials when Adobe Photoshop Lightroom hits the shelves next year. It looks like if I want Adobe products in the future I’ll have to get someone in the US to purchase it for me and put it in the post!

Update: I finally recieved a response from Adobe and it makes great reading.

We apologise for the delay in responding to your query.

The US Store is only for customers in the US and Canada, so you will
need to place your order on the UK Store.

Although Adobe Europe and Adobe US are different parts of the same
global company, European Marketing strategies and pricing are not
directly related to those used for the US. The prices are not simply
converted from the dollar pricing used for US products, therefore, the
pricing used for each country in the EMEA region may vary.

Kind regards
Adobe Customer Services

Another way of saying we’re going to rip you off!

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I’ve tried Lightroom and while it will probably a great product one day I don’t need it now. I’ve got a DAM, I can create slide shows, I can produce web galleries, and I have a pixel based editor. I just want to be able to process DNG format RAW files. Adobe have designed and championed the DNG format and I really want to use it. The DAM system I use supports DNG and will make use of the full size JPEG preview that is embedded in the file which speeds things up considerably. This JPEG can be used for the rating, web galleries, previews, etc, without the need to generate another file. I can create DNG files from my RAW Fuji RAF files using the free Adobe DNG converter. So all I want to do is to be able to edit the RAW image in the DNG file, save the changes to the embedded XMP, and recreate the embedded full size JPEG preview to reflect the changes.

This is exactly what Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) does now, or it would be if I could use it. I’ve got a copy of Photoshop Elements 4 which as a pixel based editor does everything I could possibly need, e.g. layers, masks, cloning, healing brush, etc, all for £50 (actually the DAM functionality of Elements is better than Lightroom at the moment). It also acts as a host for ACR but this is a crippled ACR not the full version available in Photoshop CS2. Only the first couple of ACR screens are available but this would be enough for me except for one major problem. It doesn’t allow you set preferences or to save the ACR changes back to the DNG file (or as an XMP sidecar file for RAW files). All the changes are stored to an ACR database that only ACR and Photoshop Elements can make use of. Actually that’s not quite the whole story. I can save the changes from ACR but only as a NEW DNG file. I cannot update an existing DNG file and I don’t want to create and have to manage a new version of the DNG if I just tweak the settings slightly.
So how can I run the full version of ACR? There’s only one choice, the full Photoshop CS2 package. There’s one big problem with this, it’s listed as £569 ($1073) in the Adobe UK store! Now this may be worth it if you want to use Bridge and make use of the all the other functionality of the full Photoshop but I don’t, I just want ACR and and paying out over £500 for that seems a tad excessive.

I’m sure there must be thousands of hobbyist photographers who have similar requirements to me? If Adobe are not prepared to let Photoshop Elements users access the full ACR (I’d happily pay extra for this but not £500!) how about a new standalone application that just hosts ACR or alternatively just the Develop module from Lightroom, i.e Lightroom without the fluff?

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Just downloaded the new beta 4 and things are looking up. First impressions are that some of the performance issues have been fixed as it seems to be running pretty well on my 2.5GHz Mobile Celeron with 1GB RAM.

It’s going to take a bit of playing around to work out how things work as it’s quite different from using ACR and Elements 4. The first thing I tried was using the White Balance controls on a JPEG and it works brilliantly. If Elements had this I would be a very happy bunny!

Not so impressed with the “Auto Adjust Tonality” as it seems to be making my images look very over exposed. On the few I tried it on I had to drag the Brightness level way back down to make it look correct and stop everything getting pushed way to the right in the histogram. However, I need to try this on a few more different images before I right it off.

Update: It seems that  “Auto Adjust Tonality” works fine with the RAW images from the S5600 but not the JPEGs. I thought the idea was that Lightroom was not supposed to care what file type you  were editing but at the moment that does not appear to be the case.

There are a few other things that are different from Elements that I need to get my head round. I can’t find a Levels dialog yet, only a Tone curve, and instead of USM there is just a Sharpen slider. I’m sure once I get the hang of it things will be easy but it’s very different to what I’m used to. Perhaps it’s time to start watching the Lightroom tutorial videos?

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