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Affinity Photo - m43 user experience?
  
 
galenapass
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Affinity Photo - m43 user experience?


Hi all, I am wondering how many m43 shooters are currently using Affinity Photo? The reason that I am posting here is that m43 post processing - having a relatively smaller sensor - often requires good noise reduction and careful sharpening. In addition, there are those of us that feel that Olys clumsy software is the best way to get the most detail out of an Oly raw file. Thus, the needs of a m43 user can differ from larger sensors and as such, I would like some input from the good people on this board who may have used it. I see that Wilbus is using it but I don't want to sidetrack his thread on sharpening with a question about Affinity Photo. Things that I am curious about: (1) Raw file conversion - good or bad? (2) Ability to stack photos for either increased DOF, higher resolution or lowering noise? (3) Ability to stitch photos? (4) How does the software handle noise? (5) Sharpening? Local sharpening? (6) Overall feel relative to PS? Thanks!


Oct 17, 2017 at 04:19 PM
mdmarcus
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Affinity Photo - m43 user experience?


This is not what you are asking, but this is my experience with GX8 raws. I have a couple of photos that have become test photos in my comparison of LR and ON1 RAW, as I described in a series of FM posts awhile back. What I found is that LR extracts detailed color in lichens on rocks in the foothills scene and in the beak of a diving pelican in delicate ways that I could not match with ON1 RAW, no matter how many approaches used to edit photos in ON1 RAW. ON1 failed to produce the resolution detail and subtle color detail that I got from LR. That series of posts resulted in other saying they had much the same unsatisfying finding with ON1 RAW, except with Fujifilm camera users. Next, I downloaded Affinity for a similar comparison some months back. In making the same photo comparisons I had made with ON1, I found after using several editing approaches, Affinity was giving me more or less the same unsatisfying result I was getting with ON1 RAW. So, I deleted the demo Affinity download the same day. Whether it would give better results in more recent updates to the program, I don't know and likely will not be testing this program again. I think this is a "fool me once..." thing. (Since I unfortunately bought ON1 RAW, I keep testing its updates hoping for a different result, which has not happened yet.) I have seen reports from others who seem to like Affinity. I look forward to seeing their responses here.


Oct 17, 2017 at 07:07 PM
Wilbus
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Affinity Photo - m43 user experience?


That's very respectful of you Galenpass

I haven't used Affinity Photo (AP from now on) for very long but I really enjoy what I have used of it so far.

I downloaded it for the first time when it was in Mac Beta and after that I have tried it on several occasions, both on Mac and Windows but I didn't buy it till a few weeks ago. The reason I didn't buy it was not that I didn't like it but simply that I already have PS in the Adobe Photography package. I still do but PS has never been anything I really enjoyed and for some reason, I enjoy experimenting in AP far more. It's just a more modern program, made from the ground up with modern ideas and hardware in mind not to mention the fact that they have added a huge amount of features in a short time that are not just simple gimmicks but really very good and useful features.

I can't answer all questions straight up now, just like the sharpening thread I need to experiment more with all the programs. I will continue to add to that thread but also this one if you like with my findings. It's important to understand though that I have used Lightroom as my main RAW processor since July 2006. Capture One on and off for about 3 years (mostly off, for some reason) and AP just for a couple of weeks. I know Lightroom very well, I know C1 good and I don't yet know much about AP.

I also have Olympus (slow)viewer installed but considering the UI I rarely use it. I could excuse the UI if the program was at least somewhat responsive but it's not. It's the worst RAW converter I have tried from any company.

ON1 RAW was a let down as well, @mdmarcus pretty much said what I have to say about it. This also includes other "new" RAW converters on the market (I've tried them all I believe, simply because I enjoy it and enjoy seeing alternatives).

Back to AP and to answer some of your questions.

1 RAW File conversion: It contains a good set of tools very similar to Lightroom/Adobe Camera Raw. It looks much the same as Adobe Camera raw when you open a raw-file in Photoshop, which means not as nicely laid out as Lightroom but somehow still better then Photoshop. But let's face it, this may be my opinion only but I don't think there is a program with better UI then Lightroom. It's simple and well laid out with easy "steps" going from organisation in a Library to the Develop module where you simply make adjustments going from the top and down.

The actual conversion, I have found, so far, is good. I haven't tried enough different files yet but so far I like it but I am required to quite a bit of more testing before I say if it's up to par with Lightroom. But like I said, so far so good, nothing to complain about. I will get back to this late next week though (this week is terrible, too many things to do and not enough time to do what I want).

2: Ability to stack photos such as focus stacking etc: Well, so far much better then Photoshop and AP actually has more dedicated options for just that, named for what they are suposed to do. Focus stacking works superbly, I've tried it with a few macro shots so far. I would say it actually starts to close in on the dedicated focus stacking programs such as Helicon Focus. With Photoshop I felt Helicon Focus was a must. With AP I feel I don't have to buy Helicon Focus as AP's ability to go in and adjust the focus stack and edit the different layers after the stack is very close to Helicon Focus. You see all the pictures after the stack is done, you can chose each and combined with the right editing tool you will see what you will hide or display from a different layer thus making a well stacked image far easier to achieve. It looks and feels very much like using Helicon Focus.

Two short videos on it:



Watch them, best way to explain it. Actually, when you're done with this (should be less then 10 minutes) check this link.

Also, stacking for noise reduction:



Stacking for exposure merging/hdr:



Stacking for star trails:



3: Panorama sticking is also available but I haven't tried it yet so can't comment.

4: Noise handeling: Also a work in progress but so far it's good. I feel the cleanest files I get is from C1 with their default noise reduction. This is where I find Lightroom to be the weakest showing a bit too much noise even in ISO 200 files with my E-M1, but I also feel the sensor is getting a bit outdated and as of lately I have a feeling I get much more noise when shooting high speed for a while, if that is the case it's of course got to do with the sensor getting warmer. I will get back to this as well but keep checking my sharpening thread there as I will include noise reduction there. Worth to note though, in AP you have normal noise reduction in the raw converter but you can also check a box which enables "extreme" results. This enables you do do go from noise reduction of a value of 100% to (from the top of my head memory) I think 4000%. This is for extreme cases of course but the ability is there.

5: Sharpening: Same as above as far as the pure RAW conversion goes.
Sharpening outside the raw converter. This is where things become more interesting since my initial thoughts are these. Affinity Photo is so far not quite as powerful a raw converter as Lightroom. And it shouldn't be, same as Photoshop is not as powerful pure raw converter as Lightroom.
AP, like PS, has several ways of sharpening an image. You can do it while editing the raw file but you can also do it after using layers and filters. What I find great about AP is the use of live layers which means I can add a live layer to an image, say a live unsharp mask and I can go back and change it any time I want unlike a "normal" unsharp mask where I need to make sure the other layers and created for non destructive edits.

Highpass filter is another live layer and you don't need to create any type of layer with 50% grey in order to to this. Add the highness filter as a live layer and the entire image goes grey as per usual. You can simply change that live layer to overlay and keep changing the value of it as much as you like after, or the day after etc. Or just go back and delete it. This is the beauty of the live layers in AP.

This leads to 6: Local sharpening which in most ways is far more powerful then Lightroom since AP is more of a contender to PS then it is to Lightroom when it comes to local edits. You of course simply add layers and mask these layers for local "what ever you want". Sharpening, noise reduction etc. A nice feature with AP is that if you create, say, a sharpening layer, first of all it is created with a mask so there is no need to add a mask to it. Second, if you invert it and want to paint in order to show it you will see a live view of the effect with the brush before you paint.

7: Overall relative feel to PS. So far, AP feels as if though it is created as a well designed app for 2016/2017. Well thought of UI with a lot of new smart ideas. PS feels very much as if their UI and many of their ideas stopped in 1990's. Things like the live filters and ability to see a filter shine through the brush you are about to paint with are just two of the things. Another great thing is there is no need need to choose a blend mode in order to see what it will do. You can simply open the blend menu like you do in PS and just hover the mouse over each setting and it will show a live view of what it does.

Sorry about the long post. I will add more to it when I know more though but will try and keep it a bit shorter






Oct 18, 2017 at 05:32 AM
takomaru
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Affinity Photo - m43 user experience?


Wilbus, thank you for the long and detailed post, as I've never considered this app at all! The videos you posted are also very useful and quite explanatory with the stacking process; I'll test some HiRes shots that I stacked and see how it handles that; the stitching I'd also like to test as I've been using LR exclusively for this. Regards, takomaru


Oct 19, 2017 at 01:40 AM
Wilbus
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Affinity Photo - m43 user experience?


My pleasure, glad you found it helpful!

Let me know how it plays out for you



Oct 19, 2017 at 07:47 PM
takomaru
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Affinity Photo - m43 user experience?


Wilbus, thanks. Downloaded a trial yesterday, a bit surprise only 10 days on the trial, which is not really enought to work complex scenearios, stitching and blending for example; no mention on GPU support, Open GL, RAM cache clearing, scratch disks behavior; so I'll just start with Photoshop based setting and the EM1 II on an Actus and do 3 row stitching with 3 shot blends in HiRes mode; it should at least give me an idea if it chokes with large files in comparison to LR, before testing for application adjustments, tools, layers, IQ and doing a thorough comparison. This will almost oblige me to buy a license unless it chokes on the 1st shot with poor management. Even though many photographers do prefer to switch to C1; I stayed with LR mainly for RAW stitching, I find it invaluable and esential in my workflow. I'm running a new i9, 128 RAM with a PNY P5000 so no mainframe slowdown here. I will report my findins here...it's good to have alternatives for all, preferences are personal.

I am thrilled and liking very much m43's, not as much before when I bought my EM5 II a couple of years ago and HiRes had difficult walkarounds for too many artefacts, now HiRes mode is terrific with EM1 II, and wish it would combine with exposure bracketing and focus bracketing, hopefully in the future. I also use HiRes stitching mode for copying slides and negs on a copy platform, 4 x 5's & 8 x 19's, fast and very good quality, so don't have to do scans unless needing a full ultra quality drum scan then go to a bureau. I print all in an RA4 Chromira station, so my goal is always the print, not on screen pixel peeping, and I am very satisfied with all Olympus is offering, but find it difficult to learn all tools available and long to master; in comparison very easy with my A7R btw, not much to it but nice files and all 100% manual everything!

Regards, takomaru



Oct 20, 2017 at 12:40 AM
kimknapp
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Affinity Photo - m43 user experience?


Looking forward to your reports, Takomaru.

Kim



Oct 20, 2017 at 02:35 PM
takomaru
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Affinity Photo - m43 user experience?


Kimk, initially had no glitches, but my computer is powerfull and smooth running with a 10 core i9...just tested a couple of 3 row vertical stitches, boring stuff but working fine all in a room before testing some outdoor shots...my biggest problem is going through all the videos and understanding the interface, my eyes can barely follow the pointer and too much concentration required; but will up load a link to Prodibi so 100% views are easy, if any particular tests wanted please do let me know, regards, takomaru


Oct 21, 2017 at 12:20 AM
takomaru
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Affinity Photo - m43 user experience?


If anyone interested in taking a closer look on documentation, the PDF for download available here https://forum.affinity.serif.com/index.php?/topic/34556-affinity-photo-pdf-manual-for-your-enjoyment/#comment-169136

On forums, downloadable trial vs 1.5 and beta tester 1.6 noncompatible files, but quite a lot of regular glitches addressed in the newer non comercial update. So far looking good, as normally some cloud files do dot work in LR here they mounted correctly, but only linear stiches need to try 3-5 rows of vertical but these not HiRes files so very easy to test...the biggest issue for me is the new Luminosity Masking feature just available in new LR version, in RAW editing that would put LR ahead of anyone for me, but will test Affinity as deep as possible and as a paralel app, not a substitute for LR, so depends on what you need and what you are looking for. So far I have been doing my luminosity masks with 2 separate panel in PS, B&W Visions panel and the Lumenzia, though others also use RayaPro or some sort of actions; after testing the new Luminosity Masking feature in LR after watching a short video on it, it blew me away as I've been begging for this for the past 2 years. Will Affinity development catch up and listen to customers, to be seen...I've just registered in their forums and will need to see any king of customer/developer interaction...1st day so give me a bit...regards, takomaru



Oct 21, 2017 at 12:57 AM
Wilbus
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Affinity Photo - m43 user experience?


takomaru wrote:
Wilbus, thanks. Downloaded a trial yesterday, a bit surprise only 10 days on the trial, which is not really enought to work complex scenearios, stitching and blending for example; no mention on GPU support, Open GL, RAM cache clearing, scratch disks behavior; so I'll just start with Photoshop based setting and the EM1 II on an Actus and do 3 row stitching with 3 shot blends in HiRes mode; it should at least give me an idea if it chokes with large files in comparison to LR, before testing for application adjustments, tools, layers, IQ and doing a thorough comparison.
...Show more

Indeed the 10 day trail is too short! No they don't mention much as far as performance goes, apart form it being "faster" and more build or modern standards. Truth or not I don't yet know. Looks like your system should be able to handle about anything and then some!

Yes m43 is great, I've had a little low time with it though as the E-M1 has failed me quite a bit with action shots and I have considered adding a Nikon D500 but I'm trying to fight that thought. Just ordered a GH5 in order to test how it performs. Love the lenses, love the size, love the build quality etc of the system, just need to focus on what I have and use it as I can! High res for slide copying is one very useful function I imagine, I did the same a few times with an older body, no high res and even that worked OK.

It is quite hard to get to know all the features with Olympus, there are many and the menus aren't always the greatest although I don't think they suck like many others do. Also I do miss physical controls from my Nikon days and this is something the GH5 does have.

As far as AP goes, I haven't had any time this week to test and learn it more. Next week might be a bit better and anything after that should be no problem. I bought it a couple of weeks ago, money well spent even though I might only use it from time to time if I don't learn it well.



Oct 21, 2017 at 06:25 AM
 

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Wilbus
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Affinity Photo - m43 user experience?


@takomaru Luminosity blending, have you seen this?



Don't know how it compares to PS as I have little experience with it and understand you are miles more proficient with it but might be worth a check.
LR new Luminosity feature looks very nice though!

C1 has got Luminosity curves build in as an alternative to changing master/RGB curves which makes contrast changes very nice (something LR doesn't have) but the luminosity masking looks very very nice in LR.



Oct 21, 2017 at 06:57 AM
takomaru
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Affinity Photo - m43 user experience?


Wilbus, thanks for pointing it out, I just started going thru their videos, quite a bit to catch up before running Affinity, but it's getting more and more interesting, I was also testing my LR. I don't use C1 that often these past months, as I've been shooting mostly events and mostly LR catalogues; some features in C1 are quite appealing so is image quality, just LR is easy from the start to PP'ing in PS after, to printing...I output directly to the Chromira RIP and roll print easily, I test all images in 10 inches wide into Kodak Metallic, rather than screen viewing; it's easy, cheap and very fast, and box all tests. Regards, takomaru


Oct 21, 2017 at 02:28 PM
takomaru
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Affinity Photo - m43 user experience?


Wilbus, I think the gap to the EM1 II was quite wide, the reason why I started with the EM5 II as it was the newer sensor but lacked some features of the flagship, so it was easy to dump and upgrade to the EM1 II; love the camera and functionality, didn't know half of what it did until reading a few reviews here in FM forums, I would never bash any Oly product, though some people's opinion the FF is it and smaller doesn't count is not my cup of tea. My prints in color and b&w with the digital enlarger are terrific to 16 x 20. A lot of friends shoot Phase and Hasselblad but for comercial work which I have quit, but they don't print. I print daily and Oly files are perfect for daily shooting. I shoot studio once or twice a week at most. If shooting a DSLR probably Nikon would be my choice also, like their glass range and their easy support and interaction with all flash systems. The Oly is difficult, complicated menus, but terrific results. Profoto now supports Oly, but I use Bron. The GH5 is amazing for what it does, my friends shoot video with it, I use a different system for 360 degree virtual walks and panos; I just see their work as I've also seen the comparisons with RED for a lot more money, hard to beat. Very curious as the newer GH5 iterations have been anounced on higher quality for stills, I think a lot of people are waiting also. I've never shot any Lumix.

In the Affinity website it seems like support is more to Mac vs PC on their spec sheet. I did get lucky in just upgrading a computer as 2011-3 INTEL boards are no longer available here in Thailand where I live, so the new boards took i7's and i9's, so I went for the 10 core cpu, which is terrific for 3D work, no phoblems with photo imaging whatsoever...I'll start running the Affinity solid this week and will post what I find. That PDF file was done and uploaded by an Affinity member, terrific job, so there are photographers dedicated in that forum, which is good news. Regards, takomaru



Oct 21, 2017 at 03:02 PM
galenapass
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Affinity Photo - m43 user experience?


Wilbus wrote:
That's very respectful of you Galenpass

I haven't used Affinity Photo (AP from now on) for very long but I really enjoy what I have used of it so far.



Hi Wilbus,

I have been working long hrs this week and finally got a chance to check my post. Thank you for taking the time write a detailed, thoughtful reply. I will check out the videos you posted, but so far I am intrigued.



Oct 22, 2017 at 06:12 AM
Kit Laughlin
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Affinity Photo - m43 user experience?


Posting here to hear more; thanks Wilbus for bringing this software to my attention.

A bit OT, but I too have C1Pro 8 but find myself hardly using it, and Phase One want another 99 Euro to update me to the latest version, and saying that they will no longer "support" version 8.

If I were asked why I do not use it, I would have to say that although it produces better files than Aperture, I find its internal workings to be counterintuitive. Even just to output 1600 x 1600 images for (say) ebay or one of our Facebook galleries requires me to remind myself of how its Output module works, write a new recipe, etc., and I finds this need to think once more about how the software works to be too time-consuming.



Oct 23, 2017 at 12:20 AM
Wilbus
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Affinity Photo - m43 user experience?


galenapass wrote:
Hi Wilbus,

I have been working long hrs this week and finally got a chance to check my post. Thank you for taking the time write a detailed, thoughtful reply. I will check out the videos you posted, but so far I am intrigued.


Been working a lot my self this week and will be away from home in work till Wednesday evening. I haven't had any time to do any more experimented with it but if @Takomaru keeps using it I am sure he will be faster out with what's good or bad, or what he misses from PS as the impression I got from Takomaru is that he's very experienced with PS.

I haven't bought AP for Mac yet and won't have a good PC with me on the trip but might be able to try it on the slow-mo work PC and see how it works there, might be a good thing to do at the hotel in the evenings. Other than that I won't have much time until I get back home again on Wednesday.

My pleasure @Kit Laughlin I hope it helps

As for C1, yes the export system works but is really good once you have got it set up. You can export to several file formats or places at once for example. I was confused at first as well but give it a chance.

I am hoping for an asset manager from Affinity in 2018 to replace C1 and Lightroom.



Oct 23, 2017 at 03:23 AM
takomaru
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Affinity Photo - m43 user experience?


Sorry guys, was out in the mountains shooting for 9 days, we had a week full of the former King's funeral rites, a crowded town, too many holidays, and a good excuse to hit the mountains and shoot, ending the monsoon here and the last heavy rains, so I hitched my Zodiac and went to a big dam a few hours from here, from there the river is big but up smaller tributaries and hiking up the mountains towards the Burmese border is very beautiful, Karen tribes control the area, only Forest Department and Border Patrol, zero turism and been doing this for 20 years; small hikes from my base camp in a small but very nice Karen village up half a day from the river, a few elephants that can use for longer hikes and carrying equipment, plus high grass is scary with snakes, much safer in the back of an elephant.

I will start testing as soon as I settle down, I also had a few other software surprises like DxOptics new Photo Lab using the U technology from Nik's software they bought recently from Google, and I hope they do start to develop as a few years back it was a terrific plugg in suite to LR & PS, I also have been using Dxo in parallel to LR, more than C1, together with their Viewpoint for correcting geometrical distorsions; and finally the last Alien Skin Xposure X3 which I still have'nt run. So plenty of work before my next event ending November.

Started a trial vs on LR as I like the Luminosity Masking features but on opening did not like the format, omissions of pasting settings from previous frame, a few other glitches, so I will keep my old LR copy intact, but not sure I will accept this new format of LR for my workflow, also glitches in their Cloud system, very limited as I am used to a full Cloud private service.

So will start testing Affinity Photo seriously as I may need a good alternative to LR in the coming future; have plenty of material from my trip, will just have to sit down and work things out, regards, Takomaru



Oct 30, 2017 at 11:27 PM
Kit Laughlin
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Affinity Photo - m43 user experience?


Don't be sorry for doing what most of us wish we could do!

And I am looking forward very much to your Affinity tests. I have a little spare time myself, so will look at this software too. Thanks!

Edited on Oct 31, 2017 at 12:29 AM · View previous versions



Oct 30, 2017 at 11:48 PM
Kit Laughlin
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Affinity Photo - m43 user experience?


Am watching the tutorials now: excellent job. And in AUD, this program is less than $70. I wonder if Adobe will sue them for using the same keystrokes as Ps

I am liking the look of this program (Affinity Photo) very much.



Oct 31, 2017 at 12:28 AM
takomaru
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Affinity Photo - m43 user experience?


It wasn't an apology, but I was hoping to be somewhere by now, and just in the same spot!
Yes, the tutorials are pretty extensive, I am back there again, that's pretty reasonable, I thought you could pay directly in US$, as my link, no Thai division I guess. The whole app feels pretty solid.
Just had a problem with a LR trial in CC and didn't like their version; I have no idea why Adobe would do something so dumb, as been part off CC for a while, I just wanted to keep my old version as sometimes upgrades are not for the best.

Looking forward to this now...



Oct 31, 2017 at 06:56 AM
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