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Difference between lightroom and elements

Nov 16, 2012 10:27 PM

Hello,

I am a new photographer. I am looking to buy one of these softwares. I am wanting to know what the difference is between photoshop elements 11 and lightroom 4? Which one is better? Which one is recommended more? If you could help me in choosing which one to purchase that would greatly appreciated.

Thank you.

 
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 17, 2012 12:14 AM   in reply to cheer89fjh

    PSE11 and LR4 have a lot of similar (and overlapping) functions and at the same time significant differences. The result is that many users find they are complementary and work with both.

    Let's see the various tasks :

    - raw conversion : LR is the king, but PSE11 has a reduced version enabling 90% of your needs

    - Organizing : both use a sqlite database system. LR is said to be more powerful : I'd rather say it's much more flexibe with a lot of useful options. The Organizer in Elements offers a very useful backup command to backup not only catalogs but also your media files.

    - Editing : that is the originality and strenght of LR : it offers 'parametric' editing. You are not obliged to do copies of your edited files, you only save the changes steps. Note that when you use ACR in PSE11, the same is true.

    On the other hand, even if the new version of LR offers local edit tools, it's not as powerful as PSE11 which has a lot of powerful tools like masks and layers. For that reason only, most LR users also have another editing software like Photoshop CS6, but very often, PSE is the best companion.

     

    The main thing to understand is how Lightroom works. Note that the advantage of starting with PSE11 is that it can do all the tasks now, and be the best companion in the future if you decide to go with Lightroom. LR can easily convert your PSE catalogs, so nothing will be lost.

    For the comparison of prices, also look at the upgrade price policy especially if you think you'll get new cameras for raw shooting. You might have to upgrade to be able to use a new camera or simply to take advantage of new features in either LR or PSE.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 17, 2012 7:23 AM   in reply to cheer89fjh

    For the majority of users, the main strength of PSE is as a pixel editor, while LR excels as a raw converter and asset manager. Many people use LR to convert their raw files and manage their photos, while use PSE as a supplemental editor when they need more than LR can do that way.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 17, 2012 8:50 AM   in reply to MichelBParis

    MichelBParis wrote:

     

    Let's see the various tasks :

    - raw conversion : LR is the king, but PSE11 has a reduced version enabling 90% of your needs

     

    I spent an entire day last week trying to figure that out because I needed the tools to support a new camera.  Adobe takes or makes the code to handle each camera model and their lenses.  The product is called Adobe Camera Raw or "ACR"  They make that data available to several of their software programs, including PSE 11 and LR. 

     

    In LR they configure the interface so that all the ACR controls look like the rest of LR.  In other words, you don't see ACR.  It is hidden under the hood.

     

    In PSE, when you open a RAW file, ACR as a plug in program pops up with it's own set of silders and controls.  According to an Adobe instruction I read somewhere (?) it says the only difference is a little variation the names of the sliders.  The rest is the same and comes from the same source.

     

    Bill

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 17, 2012 9:00 AM   in reply to cheer89fjh

    cheer89fjh wrote:

     

    Hello,

    I am a new photographer. I am looking to buy one of these softwares. I am wanting to know what the difference is between photoshop elements 11 and lightroom 4? Which one is better? Which one is recommended more? If you could help me in choosing which one to purchase that would greatly appreciated.

    Thank you.

    I'm an old photographer, but new to Adobe stuff.  I bought both with Premier Elements for a new computer.  I'm devoting retirement to learning how to use all of it. 

     

    I have a group of photos where the camera was set for indoor light and I was shooting outdoors.  In LR I can fix them all at once.  In PSE I can fix them one at a time.

     

    I have a shot of a young eagle in a tree across the street with a power line in the way.  I will use PSE to get rid of the powerline.

     

    PSE comes with Organizer and it is very good but runs separately.  With LR it is built in.  (Integrated?)  You don't switch back and forth. 

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 17, 2012 9:21 AM   in reply to whsprague

    whsprague wrote:

     

    cheer89fjh wrote:

     

    Hello,

    I am a new photographer. I am looking to buy one of these softwares. I am wanting to know what the difference is between photoshop elements 11 and lightroom 4? Which one is better? Which one is recommended more? If you could help me in choosing which one to purchase that would greatly appreciated.

    Thank you.

    I'm an old photographer, but new to Adobe stuff.  I bought both with Premier Elements for a new computer.  I'm devoting retirement to learning how to use all of it. 

     

    I have a group of photos where the camera was set for indoor light and I was shooting outdoors.  In LR I can fix them all at once.  In PSE I can fix them one at a time.

     

    I have a shot of a young eagle in a tree across the street with a power line in the way.  I will use PSE to get rid of the powerline.

     

    PSE comes with Organizer and it is very good but runs separately.  With LR it is built in.  (Integrated?)  You don't switch back and forth. 

    Good points,

    Note that in PSE you can open several raw pictures at the same time, and apply the same correction to all opened pictures. Or that if you have a particular setting you want to apply to several pictures individually, you can apply the 'last settings' to the next picture. That's something only the ACR module can offer in PSE.

    If you are not shooting raw but you want to use ACR to develop jpegs, you can do it in PSE, but without limitations : you can only open them in the editor, not from the organizer. In LR, there is no difference : big advantage.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 17, 2012 5:27 PM   in reply to cheer89fjh

    cheer89fjh wrote:

     

    Which should I buy?

     

    Sent from my iPhone

    Lightroom 4

     

    Sent from my ASUS Republic of Gamers G75VW-DS72 17.3" Notebook Computer

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 1, 2013 4:51 AM   in reply to whsprague

    If I'm not mistaken, lightroom doesn't allow you to use layers. Then also there is the prohibitive cast of lightroom 4 (I wish I coulkd afford it) as compared to photoshop Elements 10-11.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 1, 2013 7:43 AM   in reply to cheer89fjh

    cheer89fjh wrote:

     

    So which program is better? Which should I buy? I still have no idea.

    So, based upon your description of what you want to do ... there is no program that is "better" ... because you haven't told us what types of things you want to do with your photos, and that in turn will identify features you need. You need to tell us more about what you want to do with your photographs, and then perhaps we could say that one is "better" for you than the other.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 26, 2013 12:26 PM   in reply to cheer89fjh

    Hi cheer,

    If you are a new photographer probably your best choice would be Elements. This program combines all the necessary features you would need todo photo editing at your stage. Lightroom is usually for more advanced photographers who usually use it at the begining of a photo editing session. They use lightroom to open RAW files and then catagorize them and do whatever editing possible. Then if the situation calls for more detailed editing such as using "Layers" etc then one would open up Photoshop CS and finish off the work. Elements was designed for photographers who require some of the features of each of the other two. Lightroom does not have layers where as Elements does. Photoshop CS does not have some of the neat bells and whistles of lightroom, like sending photos to facebook but Elements does.

    So they took just the best basic features of both pro programs and combined them into a neat package called Elements, which also has a Photo Organizer for cataloguing all your photos. The new Elements 11 has a nicer look than #10 to me. Less clutter. What you should do is download the 30 day trial and try a few photos.

    Adobe did a lot of thinking when they made Elements. Sometimes I listen to people complaining. I started in photography 43 years ago using 4x5 and 8x10 cameras and chemical processing, big difference. That was something else to complain about. Elements also has the ability to select more precise parts of a photo and apply changes such as exposure or white balance to just those areas. Plus it's cheaper. When you turn pro you can buy the other two, ha.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 26, 2013 12:47 PM   in reply to Jim1sheba

    Jim1sheba wrote:

     

    Hi cheer,

     

    Did you notice that cheer's 2nd and last post was on Nov 17?

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 31, 2013 10:37 PM   in reply to whsprague

    I still cant tell which one is for me.

    I want to be able to process RAW files, do perspective correction (tall buildings etc), stitch panoramas, fix blemishes and do HDR merging (I currently use photomatics pro which Im happy to keep using if need be).

    I mostly shoot achitecture and landscapes but get asked to do the odd wedding for friends, nothing hugely manipulative.

     

    Thanks, Tim

     
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  • 99jon
    12,821 posts
    Jan 6, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 1, 2013 1:28 AM   in reply to AussieTimbo

    You would probably be best with Lightroom plus the PSE Editor set up for external editing. Lightroom can also process 32 bit images and I believe there is a Photomatix plug-in for Lightroom. That may be free or cheap if you have the pro version for tone mapping.

     

    Lightroom 5 has a new transform tool. Why not download the beta version from Adobe Labs and use it free until  final release in July.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 1, 2013 5:25 PM   in reply to 99jon

    Thanks for your reply Jon.

    When you say "best with Lightroom plus the PSE Editor" do you mean I simply need both ?

    If I could choose just one funtion I would choose to be able to stitch panoramic shots together which I simply cant do at the moment, would this be lightroom or elements ?

    The remaining stuff I can do now with the software that came with the camera, just not as nicely as I would like.

    I think you are right re the photomatix plugin, Im 99% sure it is included for no charge with photomatix pro.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 3, 2013 2:09 AM   in reply to AussieTimbo

    Lightroom is a tool for photographers, Think of it as a slide sorter and digital darkroom - all in one.

     

    Elements is a cut down version of Photoshop which is a tool for digital artists and compositors.

     

    both programs have their own strengths and weaknesses, but unless you are intending to work with layers and original artwork it is unlikely that the full photoshop is really required, but the addition of Elements to a Lightroom workflow can enhance your abilities to process your images, luckily the two programs integrate almost seamlessly

     

    For HDR work Photomatrix Pro is acknoledged as one of the best, and my be integrated into Lightroom either via the plug-in or the "Edit with... " option.

     

    For panoramic stitching, as a windows user, I have used an old program from Microsoft labs -  I.C.E (image composite editor), which is totally free and may be integrated into Lightroom "Edit with... " option.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 17, 2013 4:18 PM   in reply to Nigel Desmond

    How about some specific examples?  Are the following features that are in PSE also available in Lightroom?

     

    - "Touch up Scratches and Blemishes" which nicely removes garbage in a photo

    - "Recompose Photo" to move pieces of a photo around

    - a Smart Brush to do things like Blue Skies or Cloud Contrast

    - a Brush Tool to do pixel changes like adding a white reflection on an eye

    - cropping and resizing.

     

    Thanks.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 18, 2013 3:49 AM   in reply to Dave_Tr.

    Removing dust spots and small scratches is catered for within lightroom - It's not quite as advanced as the tools in Elements but handles all the basic needs  - It also has the advantage that if you have a batch of images all shot with the same blemishes these may be dealt with as a batch, using the copy / Paste develop settings option.

     

    Lightroom 4 does not have the facilities to re-compose images as these type of "destructive" compositing functions are beyond it's scope, It also does not have the pixel level editing functions to add reflections, or otherwise warp or modify images at a pixel level. (it is possible to add basic catchlights in a subjects eyes in a portrait using the develop brush), This is of course covered by the tight integration with Photoshop, Elements or other pixel editors.

     

    I understand that more refined pixcel edit options are available in the newly released Lightroom 5, ( I've not had the time to actually test the new version as yet.).

     

    There is the Adjustment brush in Lightroom which covers the needs to apply any develop settings to a specific area of the image. In addition there is a Graduated Filter function that may be used to apply develop changes to skys, ( this allows you to retrospectively add a graduated ND or coloured filter to a landscape).

     

    Due to the way that Lightroom is designed, all the above options are non-destructive, In addition the Virtual copy system allows you to create multiple versions of images with very little overhead.

     

    Lightroom has full featured cropping tools in the develop module, and additional tools in the publishing sytem used for output.

     

    Using the workflow I have developed, (integrating Lightroom 4 with Elements 11), I find I can process a days shoot, (anything upto 500 images), in a few hours, the vast majority of images need nothing more than a slight adjustment to process parameters and full annotatoion in metadata.

     

    I do not see Lightroom and Elements as competing applicatons but as complimentary ones, I think that the full Photoshop is probably not required by the majority of Photographers, as opposed to Digital artists, but Elements fills in the gaps in lightroom nicely for those images that need more complex editor.

     
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