I’ve used Adobe Photoshop Elements until now, but Elements don’t work as well with RAW so I need to upgrade. The 2 obvious choices (I use Nikon) are Nikon Capture NX and Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. They both allow you to non-destructively improve your photos. This is what I’ve found:

In my opinion Lightroom’s organisation and workflow capabilities are fantastic. They have used and improved on much of their already good product, Photoshop Elements. Lightroom also is very good when it comes to improving RAW photos. The vibrancy and saturation sliders are very quick to use.

Nikon Capture’s organisation and workflow capabilities are quite limited. But Nikon Capture is astounding when it comes to improving RAW (.NEF files) images. And it is so quick to do. Half-a-minute with Nikon Capture is enough time to optimise white-balance and improve your tones.

Both these products can improve your photos so much that it positively makes YOU feel great. The improvements really are astonishing. If I could afford both products I would have them both, but I can only afford one so a winner must be named! I choose Adobe Lightroom. Nikon Capture’s RAW conversion is just slightly better, but Lightroom’s workflow and other goodies are much better than Nikon Capture.

Update: As I’ve already mentioned, Lightroom is a great product, but the one gripe I have is its speed. On my Dell with 1GB of RAM Lightroom is sluggish. Crawling the web suggests this is an issue. If I look at how crisp Photoshop Elements is I am disappointed that Lightroom is so slow.

Another update: Lightroom addressed this issue in subsequent releases. The sluggishness is gone gone gone.

Another update: It is now 1 year later (April 2008) and now I am a die-hard Lightroom fan. The product has now matured nicely to version 1.4.1 with Beta 2.0 already released. This product is unbeatable despite its hefty price tag (especially for South-Africans).

I host my photos at Attie Heunis Photography.