Torsten Wolf 5:31pm, 12 April 2010

I tried to register to the LZ forum, but didn't get a response so far, hence I'm starting my quest for enlightenment here :)

The long story:
I'm a Linux-only user and have been using rawtherapee to process raw files (Nikon D700), save them as 8bit jpegs and finally process them in gimp (latest version, still 8bit only). When comparing my workflow and the available features to the windows users (e.g. Capture NX, photoshop) I really miss the following functions: editing in regions, 16bit workflow and working in 'adjustment' layers (not the brutal way of duplicating a layer in gimp, adjusting something and never be able to change this later). A few days ago, I had a look at Lightzone again and felt that it would solve some problems and purchased it.

What I have now is a powerful raw converter, which allows me to do almost all necessary adjustments with only minimal refinements in gimp (which I can safely do in 8bit). The only things which bug me at the moment is the lack of C/A removal but more importantly a seemingly limited ability to recover bright/almost blown areas.

The following example of a river running through a gorge shows clipped highlights in LZ whereas the highlight recovery function in rawtherapee regains some detail in the water. I know, these shots look exposed differently, but please feel ensured that I played with the exposure slider in LZ's "R" tool and the zone mapper but never could achieve a result close to rawtherapee. Note, that w/o the recovery tool in RT, both shots look equally blown.


What confuses me is that according to, LZ seems to be top in recovering higlights.

My current workaround is to convert the raw file in rawtherapee with basic exposure & curve adjustments, C/A removal as well as the highlight recovery, save as 16bit tiff and do the rest in LZ. This also has the advantage that I can use rawtherapee's demosaicing algorithm, which according to RT's homepage is the best... of course ;-)

So how do you recover blown regions in Lightzone?

jbinpg 9 years ago
RawTherapee is my main tool as well. Note that you have various methods for highlight recovery to choose from in RT. I haven't really used LZ for recovering blowouts. But I do use it to overcome the lack of an easy Photoshop equivalent of adjustment layers in Linux. LZ brings this to the table and the tonemapper does wonders for many shots.

Torsten Wolf 9 years ago
It seems we have similar views. Today I got an answer from the LZ forum admins. I'm curious what the folks over there will recommend.

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