Author Topic: Multiple image processors which one and why  (Read 2164 times)

Stefanjan

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Multiple image processors which one and why
« on: August 05, 2021, 05:35:58 PM »
Many of you like me I'm sure have multiple applications for processing your photos. I'm interested to know what influences which software you use for a specific photo.

As a previous Lightroom user, I switched to ON1 when Adobe went to a subscription model.

I mainly used ON1 for processing and as a DAM occasionally using Topaz Denoise and Photoshop CS6.

More recently I started using DXO Photolab (and NIK) as ON1 had been promising for years to fix a bug which prevented me using my Panasonic TZ200.

For most of my photography I am now using Photolab as it seems to do a better job for most things although I occasionally use ON1 for things it can't do like layers and focus stacking.

I'm also finding that Photolab Deep Prime renders Topaz Denoise redundant.

Currently I am trialling Affinity as a replacement for CS6 because my graphics tablet does not work well with CS6. I'm impressed with Affinity and will almost certainly buy it.

iMatch has been a steep learning curve for me (it's richness makes it not easy to learn) but I'm liking it very much and getting comfortable with it. Being able to send images to multiple applications using selections and favorites is brilliant. And being able to have Visual Versions makes my workflow so much easier.

I'm now working through my digital photos back to 2004. Culling, adding meta data and naming folders. Why did I keep all those awful photos? Encouraging to see how much my photography has improved!

sinus

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Re: Multiple image processors which one and why
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2021, 06:18:08 PM »
I use only IMatch for DAM and Photoshop (CS6) for "develop" my raws (nef) and edit my jpgs.

I do not use other software for this, because I personally think, use  more software or changing it often enhances the risk for problems.
"Never change a winning team"  ;D
Best wishes from Switzerland! :-)
Markus

JohnZeman

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Re: Multiple image processors which one and why
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2021, 10:08:08 PM »
For many years I used Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop exclusively to process my images.  For awhile I also used Topaz Studio but gave that up because the end results were sometimes unrealistic which is a deal breaker for me.

When Adobe went to a subscription model I also balked at renting their software even though it may have been cheaper for me in the long run.  I just don't like being held hostage so to speak to any software.  The lone exception to that for me is Microsoft 365, that really is a bargain but that's another story.

I switched from Adobe to DxO PhotoLab in 2019 and shortly after that purchased Affinity Photo.  The two work very well for me and I don't miss the Adobe products at all.  I process my raw images in PhotoLab then export them as 16 bit TIFs which I open in Affinity Photo.  Final optimized exports are high resolution JPGs which are sent to IMatch to complete my version/stacking needs.

IMatch is my DAM, end of story.
The only metadata I pay attention to in PhotoLab is the camera and lens metadata so I can make sure I have PhotoLab set to use the proper modules for color rendering and lens corrections.

As a side note for use with PhotoLab I've found the Color Fidelity Color Profiles (https://www.colorfidelity.com/) are well worth the small investment required to get the exact color profile for each camera I use.

Stefanjan

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Re: Multiple image processors which one and why
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2021, 08:40:14 AM »
I use only IMatch for DAM and Photoshop (CS6) for "develop" my raws (nef) and edit my jpgs.
If it wasn't for the subscription model, I would have probably stuck with a simple approach using Lightroom (upgrading) for almost all photos with occasional use of CS6 or Photoshop Elements .

iMatch with CS6 not really an option for me as Adobe Camera Raw non subscription does not support CR2 without conversion.

Stefanjan

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Re: Multiple image processors which one and why
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2021, 08:46:30 AM »
I process my raw images in PhotoLab then export them as 16 bit TIFs which I open in Affinity Photo.  Final optimized exports are high resolution JPGs which are sent to IMatch to complete my version/stacking needs.
That's interesting. Do you take all your photos into Affinity or just those which require something that Photolab can't do?

I'm working through Affinity tutorials and an option for me is to develop in Photolab and take a few photos into Affinity where necessary getting rid of the other software.

JohnZeman

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Re: Multiple image processors which one and why
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2021, 04:48:58 PM »
That's interesting. Do you take all your photos into Affinity or just those which require something that Photolab can't do?

Essentially all of my photos end up in Affinity Photo.  If for no other reason than to do final sharpening since I only do capture sharpening in PhotoLab.

Plus a few years ago when I was still using Photoshop I learned a lot about using that software from this web site: https://www.photoshopessentials.com/

Most of the tutorials there for Photoshop also apply to Affinity Photo, and yes, I can achieve results by using those procedures that I cannot do in PhotoLab.

Stefanjan

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Re: Multiple image processors which one and why
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2021, 11:44:35 AM »
Essentially all of my photos end up in Affinity Photo.  If for no other reason than to do final sharpening since I only do capture sharpening in PhotoLab.
Thanks John, I'm currently working through Affinity tutorials, Anthony Morganti and Robin Whalley. The more I learn  the more excited I am by Affinity.

At the moment I mainly do all my processing in Photolab but this could well change as I understand Affinity better.

Do you think that Photolab / Affinity can also render NIK software redundant. I'm thinking especially Silver Efex (B&W), Colour Efex and Output Sharpener.

I infer from your replies that you do not use the RAW processing engine in Affinity (because Photolab is better?)

I'm unable to process DNG files from my phone in Photolab so have no choice but to process these in ON1 or Affinity.

Really pleased to have discovered imatch which makes it possible to pull everything together but accept that I need to figure out best and most simple workflow. I'm an enthusiastic amateur not earning money from my hobby so looking to keep things fun but straightforward.



loweskid

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Re: Multiple image processors which one and why
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2021, 12:06:00 PM »
Only Photoshop for me - I pay the subscription.  I still have CS6 on my system but never use it now - when I replace my ageing computer it won't be installed on that.   Photoshop/ACR has improved a lot since CS6, especially noise reduction (and the new 'Sky Replacement Tool' is amazing).

Lightroom is included in the subscription but I only ever use it with the LRTimelapse plug-in.

Stefanjan

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Re: Multiple image processors which one and why
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2021, 12:48:53 PM »
Only Photoshop for me - I pay the subscription.
When I used Lightroom perpetual, that's all I used with very occasional CS6. More often I used Photoshop Elements.

I purchased every Lightroom upgrade and Photoshop Elements upgrades when I thought the upgrade was worthwhile.

The subscription model would have probably worked out cheaper for me in the long run but I am stubborn. I did not like the idea of Lightroom stopping working if I ended the subscription. I've also got used to not having to import photos so even if Adobe offered perpetual licenses for Lightroom would not go back.

A large proportion of the members of our camera club subscribe to Lightroom / Photoshop and I have to admit it is good value for what you get but I doubt they will ever regain me as a customer in the future.

JohnZeman

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Re: Multiple image processors which one and why
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2021, 04:14:33 PM »
Do you think that Photolab / Affinity can also render NIK software redundant. I'm thinking especially Silver Efex (B&W), Colour Efex and Output Sharpener.

I do not use the NIK software however DxO, the company who makes PhotoLab, has now taken over NIK and offers it as a plug-in for PhotoLab.  So if you still want to use NIK and purchase a DxO license for it, it'll likely be built into PhotoLab like their ViewPoint plug-in is.  I use ViewPoint and love it for it's automatic lens corrections.

I infer from your replies that you do not use the RAW processing engine in Affinity (because Photolab is better?)

I do prefer to use PhotoLab for raw processing, not because the raw engine in Affinity Photo is really inferior, it's quite decent, but because there are no ways to save your raw edits in Affinity Photo.  You have to develop your raw images and then they are no longer raw images.  To me that's the #1 weakness of Affinity Photo, the only way to revert a raw back to its out of camera state is to start all over again with the original raw.  With PhotoLab, like most other raw developers, you can click a button to reset the raw image back to its out of camera state.  This reason alone is why I much prefer to process my raws in PhotoLab whenever possible instead of Affinity Photo.

I'm unable to process DNG files from my phone in Photolab so have no choice but to process these in ON1 or Affinity.

I have the same issue as you do with raw images from my iPhone XR cell phone.  PhotoLab won't process those raw DNG images but Affinity Photo will so all of my cell phone images are edited in Affinity Photo.

I'm an enthusiastic amateur not earning money from my hobby so looking to keep things fun but straightforward.

And I'm also an amateur, for several years I supported my photography hobby, mainly with camera and lens purchases, when I had a second job as a webmaster.  I've since retired from that and what was my primary job at the time so I've cut back drastically on my camera gear purchases.

That said, this Monday UPS will be delivering a new toy to me, a Canon EOS M50 Mark II with a EF-M 15-45mm Lens.  It'll be the first point and shoot camera, actually the first camera of any kind, that I've purchased in almost 10 years.

Stefanjan

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Re: Multiple image processors which one and why
« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2021, 09:01:10 AM »
So if you still want to use NIK and purchase a DxO license for it, it'll likely be built into PhotoLab like their ViewPoint plug-in is.  I use ViewPoint and love it for it's automatic lens corrections.
I did buy Nik Collection 3 shortly after buying Photolab 4. That was possibly a mistake as much of the functionality is already in Photolab 4.

By the way, sending to Nik from Photolab creates a TIF, it's not really that integrated.

I was a bit disappointed to find that you had pay a lot more money to DXO to get functionality which is included in other software (ON1). Missing big softy vignette and to a lesser extent perspective correction. So far resisted buying Viewpoint as same functionality in Perspective Efex and Photolab seems to handle lens correction well for my cameras (Canon 80D and Panasonic TZ200).

I didn't really feel I needed Film Pack for my photography.

I probably won't be upgrading future versions of NIK, Nik Collection 4 just released but it has very little additional functionality over Nik Collection 3 and seems to have lots of issues.

I'm hoping the next upgrade of Photolab will add missing functionality, I did receive an email with lots of questions from DXO as a user coming from ON1. There was an implication in the subsequent exchange that they would address quite a few of my concerns in a future release.
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there are no ways to save your raw edits in Affinity Photo.
Yes, that makes absolute sense. So one area where Affinity Photo not as good as Photoshop where I believe you can go back and make changes to the Raw in Adobe Camera Raw. Did you find a workaround for this? If you made lots of changes in Affinity and want to reedit the RAW have you found a way to keep the Affinity changes and replace the RAW?
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PhotoLab won't process those raw DNG images but Affinity Photo will so all of my cell phone images are edited in Affinity Photo.
Maybe DXO will fix this in the next release.
Quote
This Monday UPS will be delivering a new toy to me, a Canon EOS M50 Mark II with a EF-M 15-45mm Lens.
Sounds a great camera, I'm envious. Enjoy!

JohnZeman

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Re: Multiple image processors which one and why
« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2021, 06:18:05 PM »
No I haven't found a good way to save my raw edits in Affinity Photo.
So when I need to re-edit a raw image I have to start all over again with the original.  Fortunately that doesn't happen very often.

I was hoping DxO would address the lack of support for cell phones issue when they released version 4 last October but they didn't so I'm not very optimistic about our odds.  On the other hand I believe there will be one more version 4 update released before version 5 comes out this fall so who knows?

Carlo Didier

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Re: Multiple image processors which one and why
« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2021, 08:14:10 AM »
I was hoping DxO would address the lack of support for cell phones issue when they released version 4 last October but they didn't so I'm not very optimistic about our odds.  On the other hand I believe there will be one more version 4 update released before version 5 comes out this fall so who knows?
I also considered DxO at some point but their stupid stubborness about DNG files not being raw files, i.e. only an output format for them, they were immediately out of the game for me as I already had >50000 DNG files at that point (I always converted my raw files to DNG to deal with a single file instead of raw+xmp).
I can still open all my DNG files (converted from various proprietary camera formats) with any other application I tried, except DxO ...

sinus

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Re: Multiple image processors which one and why
« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2021, 08:31:47 AM »
No I haven't found a good way to save my raw edits in Affinity Photo.
So when I need to re-edit a raw image I have to start all over again with the original.  Fortunately that doesn't happen very often.

I was hoping DxO would address the lack of support for cell phones issue when they released version 4 last October but they didn't so I'm not very optimistic about our odds.  On the other hand I believe there will be one more version 4 update released before version 5 comes out this fall so who knows?

Sorry to ask again, but I have trouble to understand this.
Affinity Photo, what I do not know, but this software has been recommended relatively often here in the forum.

Meaning:
I develop a raw (in my case a nef from Nikon) and create a jpg.
A day later I want to process the raw again similarly but still differently (change contrast, colour ... ) to create a second jpg that I have to start again?
I can't build on the one I developed first?

If this is really the case, then for me personally this software is unusable.
Best wishes from Switzerland! :-)
Markus

Jingo

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Re: Multiple image processors which one and why
« Reply #14 on: August 09, 2021, 03:49:17 PM »

Sorry to ask again, but I have trouble to understand this.
Affinity Photo, what I do not know, but this software has been recommended relatively often here in the forum.

Meaning:
I develop a raw (in my case a nef from Nikon) and create a jpg.
A day later I want to process the raw again similarly but still differently (change contrast, colour ... ) to create a second jpg that I have to start again?
I can't build on the one I developed first?

If this is really the case, then for me personally this software is unusable.

Correct.. I believe AP is really only a RASTER editor with some RAW capabilities available..but - it doesn't save the instructions in a sidecar file or catalog so you cannot go back and tweak things.  Also a non-starter for me even though I hardly ever go back and re-edit a RAW (but nice to know I can without starting over in C1 or PhotoLab).


Stefanjan

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Re: Multiple image processors which one and why
« Reply #15 on: August 09, 2021, 04:36:34 PM »
I develop a raw (in my case a nef from Nikon) and create a jpg.
A day later I want to process the raw again similarly but still differently (change contrast, colour ... ) to create a second jpg that I have to start again?
I can't build on the one I developed first?
I've been using Affinity for less that two weeks so still very green but in my opinion it impresses me a lot and I am quite happy to ditch Photoshop CS6.

In practise I never used Adobe Camera Raw as my cameras were not supported in the version available to me. I always sent a 16 bit TIF to Photoshop on the rare occasions I used it. I suspect I will use Affinity a lot more as I'm determined to learn it.

I did find this thread on the Affinity forum which is quite interesting https://forum.affinity.serif.com/index.php?/topic/104644-workflow-of-raw-files-in-affinity-photo.

Not sure I understand all of this but they seem to be saying that the difference between editing in their Raw editor and their Pixel editor is very small.  Based on limited experience this does make sense to me. Most of the controls in the RAW module are also available in the Pixel module.

As the Affinity thread is quite old I will ask a question again on their forum.

Stefanjan

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Re: Multiple image processors which one and why
« Reply #16 on: August 09, 2021, 06:09:46 PM »
This is the best reply I received on the Affinity forum.
Quote
the mostly used workflow is to keep edits in Develop persona to the absolute minimum. This will reduce the chance that you have to "make further changes to the RAW image" to almost zero. Besides the technically required conversion from RAW to RGB pixel layer, almost all other edits can be made in Photo Persona (or Tone Map Persona), and non-destructively. This is the charm of Affinity Photo that most edits can be done nondestructively.

So use Develop Persona only for:

Initial exposure adjustments (including shadows & highlights)
Lens correction
CA correction
But nothing else.
Then use Photo persona for the rest. If required, you can simply re-edit in Develop Persona, but this might conflict to some later changes.

Stefanjan

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Re: Multiple image processors which one and why
« Reply #17 on: August 10, 2021, 12:15:43 AM »
Some more interesting responses on the Affinity forum.  Probably easiest if I post the link for anyone who is interested.  https://forum.affinity.serif.com/index.php?/topic/147341-raw-workflow/

I plan to experiment with the following workflow

1. Basic raw processing in Photolab maybe some healing
2. Send 8 bit tiff to Affinity
3. I Probably don't need to reprocess the Raw but if I did, send a new 8 bit to Affinity and swop the base layer.

sinus

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Re: Multiple image processors which one and why
« Reply #18 on: August 10, 2021, 08:59:58 AM »

Sorry to ask again, but I have trouble to understand this.
Affinity Photo, what I do not know, but this software has been recommended relatively often here in the forum.

Meaning:
I develop a raw (in my case a nef from Nikon) and create a jpg.
A day later I want to process the raw again similarly but still differently (change contrast, colour ... ) to create a second jpg that I have to start again?
I can't build on the one I developed first?

If this is really the case, then for me personally this software is unusable.

Correct.. I believe AP is really only a RASTER editor with some RAW capabilities available..but - it doesn't save the instructions in a sidecar file or catalog so you cannot go back and tweak things.  Also a non-starter for me even though I hardly ever go back and re-edit a RAW (but nice to know I can without starting over in C1 or PhotoLab).

Thanks, Andy

In this case I do not try Affinity Photo. I  mean, I have a "huge" raw, a nef.
I want to develop it once and create a jpg.
If I want have tomorrow or in a month (ok, what is in some years, I do not know) another jpg with other developments, I can work exactly from the first developments.

To start again from the beginning (raw), I find that very strange, just the right excerpt is sometimes not sooo easy.
Alternatively, to create a tif from it, then I would have two large files. And then I would have to make a jpg of it, because a lot of my customers don't want a tif, they want a jpg (for understandable reasons, tiffs are rarely needed anymore). Hence I would end with 3 files.
And even if I create not a tif, but a jpg ... this sound for me curious.
But I have heard good things from Affinity, specially from a "graphic part" of this software (create icons and so on).

But we have seen on this forum, users has a lot of different workflows and software, to find the own best workflow is the way and my workflow would not be good for others and vice versa.

Stefanjan, I hope, you find you best workflow and soft, it seems, you have almost found it. Very good.
Best wishes from Switzerland! :-)
Markus

thrinn

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Re: Multiple image processors which one and why
« Reply #19 on: August 10, 2021, 01:38:07 PM »
But I have heard good things from Affinity, specially from a "graphic part" of this software (create icons and so on).
Just as as side note, for icon creation Affinity Designer might be better suited. Affinity Photo is basically targeted at raster/pixel based editing, Affinity Designer at vector graphics. This said, if you buy both of them they are nicely integrated. Neither of them has a focus on RAW development.

Thorsten
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Mario

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Re: Multiple image processors which one and why
« Reply #20 on: August 10, 2021, 02:01:44 PM »
Quote
Just as as side note, for icon creation Affinity Designer might be better suited.

Yeah. I create all the IMatch app icons in Designer  :)

lnh

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Re: Multiple image processors which one and why
« Reply #21 on: August 27, 2021, 06:18:57 PM »
For many years I used DxO Optics Pro (later replaced with Photolab) and Photoshop CS5, but use neither anymore (my old CS5 refuses to install on my new PC). Like many I didn't want to be held hostage by Adobe so experimented with Affinity Photo and found it was OK for most uses. Sometimes lacking a feature here or there, or not as stable as Photoshop but it was affordable and has improved over the years. Actually one of my disappointments with Affinity Photo is that Serif has never asked for any money for an upgrade. I'd much rather see them have the incentive to bring Affinity Photo to a higher level by investing more in the product.

As far as DxO is concerned, a number of years ago I also started using the Fujifilm X-T2 which DxO will not support due to it requiring unique demosaicing because it's a non-bayer sensor layout. FWIW, DxO is the only major RAW photo platform which doesn't support Fujifilm. This led me to adopt Capture One Pro which I remain using. I just have a workflow where I avoid use of it's built-in DAM and instead use IMatch sucking in all the relevant buddy files. I also use an occasional Topaz product with varying levels of success. Some of their software can be useful, but the QA is just horrible and sometimes makes me wonder if anyone tried using the product before they ship.

Mario

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Re: Multiple image processors which one and why
« Reply #22 on: August 27, 2021, 06:43:14 PM »
Windows WIC was supposed to deal with all the "my sensor is different than yours" and "my RAW format is even more secret than yours".

Camera vendors provide a driver (WIC codec), which presets metadata and sensor data in a non-proprietary way - without violating camera vendor patents and secrets.
All other software would be based on that, working with the raw data returned by the WIC codec and optimize it.

Unfortunately, camera vendors could not be bothered to spend a few 10K US$ per year for maintaining and shipping a WIC coded for their models (except NIKON).
They have all the know-how and the code and could make the WIC codec produce superior results. But, no.

And their paying customers let them get away with it. Because they lack the knowledge or are just not interested in such technical mumbo-jumbo.
Well, Adobe and some RAW processors support the images your camera creates - so you're fine, right?

But, frankly, your RAW images are held hostage and you are no longer free in the choice of your workflow and software suite.
And, better get all your RAW files developed soon - in case the software that can handle them is no more. Or drops support for older RAW formats in order to streamline future developments.
There still will be Adobe, though, I guess. At a price...

kirk

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Re: Multiple image processors which one and why
« Reply #23 on: September 19, 2021, 04:54:53 PM »
For years I used only opensource darktable or RAWtherapy  because only those  could save un-clipped range  32 bit  images  I needed for  that soft  https://lightbrush.org/   They were $90 non-cloud  for some time     and Lightroom  just collected dust on my PC all those times.

But now with things like Agisoft deLighter    I seems no need in RAW/DNG  at all.     They just drain  my  camera batteries during  shooting sessions  and slowing buffer to card time.

That said Lightroom is so much speedier in RAW  processing  than anything I tried .





« Last Edit: September 19, 2021, 04:57:11 PM by kirk »

digedag

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Re: Multiple image processors which one and why
« Reply #24 on: October 22, 2021, 11:07:54 AM »

[...]

As a side note for use with PhotoLab I've found the Color Fidelity Color Profiles (https://www.colorfidelity.com/) are well worth the small investment required to get the exact color profile for each camera I use.

I have been following the community since version 3.4 and have been able to find a lot of tips and tricks for myself. I am a "long term reader" so to speak, writing (in English) is not really my strength. Now, however, I have a question that I really need to get off my chest:
John, in many ways we have a similar way of working with the same programs. FastRawViewer, IMatch (of course), Affinity Photo and DxO PhotoLab. But why don't you use the "built-in" camera profiles in DxO PhotoLab? What's better about the Color Fidelity Color Profiles to spend money on? Also, not all models have these profiles (e.g. your new Canon EOS M50 Mark II) - how is your workflow in this way?

I'm really looking forward to your answer, thank you very much in advance.  :)
« Last Edit: October 22, 2021, 11:16:28 AM by digedag »