Jun 22, 2010

Get it straight

One the most anticipated new features in Adobe’s Lightroom 3.0 is the Lens Correction capability. I am reasonably impressed by what we got so far. Not all that many lens profiles are available at this time, but the ease of use of a built-in facility alone will be more than enough reason to make this a ‘standard’ step in my workflow. So much for my trusted PTLens plug-in…

While waiting for more of my favorite lenses to be covered, I decided to do some tests with fish-eye corrections. Most of the time I will go to that lens for its specific distortion: when applied carefully I consider it a valuable creative element. But how good would Lightroom be at turning a fish-eye into an ultra wide angle?

Not too bad, it turns out. The de-fishing doesn’t always work as well as one could hope: even software cannot perform miracles all the time. But with a proper subject, like landscapes, the outcome is surprisingly acceptable.

Next: architecture. That’s where manual corrections beyond the lens profile come into play, for perspective compensation. Things do get a little tricky of course when starting with such an extreme distortion at the start, but nevertheless… Other than the expected loss of sharpness in the corners, the results are not bad at all. Judge for yourself!

There’s one PTLens feature I miss here, one that will make me turn occasionally to the ‘external’ option: the ability to move the corrected image left/right and up/down within the frame for more control over the parts that will have to be cropped. But other than that – and certainly for non-fishy shots – LR3’s Lens Correction is a straight winner!

Gear notes: D700, 16/2.8D – D300, 10.5/2.8G

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