Though there is still quite a bit of hype going around about Adobe Lightroom 4, it’s nice to know that there are other options available tailored to the styles of different editors. We previously went hands on with Nevercenter’s CameraBag 2 while it was in beta and have been testing the now fully released version of the software for quite a while and over many different shooting sessions.
In a nutshell, the software is perhaps what every enthusiast photographer that doesn’t want to spend a ton of time in the editing stage may want to get their hands on.
The software hasn’t changed much since the beta version, or at least I haven’t been able to find any major changes.
Editing images in CameraBag will be familiar to users of Adobe software and those that used the beta of this program. More advanced users may either love or hate some of the program’s more advanced but extremely powerful features.
You’ll see most of this in the video walkthrough above.
First off, you’ll need to load an image into the software. It can edit TIFFs, JPEGS and some raw files. In my tests, only Canon and Nikon’s raw files worked and unfortunately the software couldn’t open Sony or Olympus files. Additionally, on my 4 year old Macbook, it was a bit slow to load images up.
The software puts an emphasis first on using its various picture styles (placed on the right hand side): which are pretty much the equivalent of Lightroom’s presets. It offers you quite a bit too: from rendering your images to look like they’re from the 1950s, cross processed in the labs of a Lomography store, and a whole slew of others. They’re fun to play with and if you have a client that demands those looks, this program will make it a bit simpler for you to render them.
After this, you’ll have the adjustment panel (on the right hand side as well.) This allows you to make lots of more traditional adjustments such as as cropping, straightening, adjusting curves or shadows, etc. It does this in one of the most interesting ways I’ve seen that is a great workaround for Adobe’s patent on layering. Let’s say you want to color balance an image: you can adjust the color levels of specific channels in the image and then adjust how much your changes affect the look of the image. Oddly enough, this is also where you resize the image if you’d like.
If you want to after this, you can add borders to your image. The borders are a nice aesthetic touch, but they’re not adjustable. So unless it works for your photo right out of the box, you’re probably just better off creating them out of scratch in Photoshop afterward.
Like what you’ve done to an image? You can save your edits as a favorite if you’d like.
Don’t know what to do? The quicklooks option allows you to have multiple renderings of your photos so that you can choose exactly which one you want with ease.
Here’s the best part: want to undo any of this? Simply click on the X on the action you chose using the icons on the bottom of the screen.
Ease of Use
My major problems with the software was that I wasn’t able to edit anything except for JPEGs, TIFFs, and Canon and Nikon raw files. I shoot so many images that I love with my Olympus micro four thirds cameras and shot lots that I adored with the Sony NEX cameras, yet my heart was broken by the fact that I couldn’t apply the same editing characteristics to those files.
To be very honest, I barely use CameraBag 2 anymore. I’m often opting for Lightroom instead due to just ow much simpler the overall interface is and the fact that it lets me get to the settings that mean the most to me. CameraBag 2 is very fun though, and when I’m all done editing my images in Lightroom, I sometimes will bring them into Camerabag to get a different look. Some of the people I photograph love the Hipstmatic and Instagram looks; so I will render photos of them like that for them. In that case, it’s often easier to use CameraBag 2.
What CameraBag 2 does well is serves as a replacement software for the person that wants to do something Instagram like on their computer while also having some more versatility. But for most people, it won’t replace Lightroom and plugins you may own.
CameraBag 2 is available now for Mac and PC. A single cross-platform license is available at www.nevercenter.com for $29 (launch sale price: $24), and a Mac-only version is available via the Mac App Store for $24 (launch sale price: $19). A free, fully-functional 30-day demo is included in the download from www.nevercenter.com, where more info, tutorials, and videos can also be found.
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