Monday, 10 November 2008

Black and white shootout: Lightroom and Lightzone

At Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin, October 2008
from Lumix LX3 RAW file converted in Lightzone

As I mentioned at the end of this post, I've been using Lightzone as my main black and white conversion software for sometime. It produces really pleasing results with lots of control and minimum effort. This is where the underlying linear colourspace and the ease of the Zonemapper come into their own.

With the funky new tools, I thought I'd take a crack at using Lightroom in a sort of shoot-off. This won't be a long post because, quite frankly, there was no contest. Lightroom is very clunky and fiddly to use in comparison. Sure, it's got all the fine tuning possibilities in every part of the spectrum and masking etc. But with Lightzone I get that same power, with far fewer clicks. Plus I can stack tonal adjustment layers in Lightzone, which isn't possible in Lightroom (limited to a single curve tool).

Even for tweaking monochrome scans, I find Lightzone better, largely because I'm so tuned into the Zonemapper, but in these cases it's a closer call. I'm using Photoshop for scans mostly, anyway.

So for black and white, Lightzone wields the single stone that slays the Lightroom Goliath

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