FastStone is fine as an image viewer but is totally out of its league as
a raw converter. Getting the Adobe subscription is certainly the best
way to handle your photos but if you don't want to spend that much (USD
120/year in the US) you might also consider Photoshop Elements (PSE)
which also includes Adobe Camera Raw (ACR).
Last year I taught a photography course for the residents of our 55+
community. Since then I have been receiving requests to teach an
editing course. Several of these have specifically requested that I
teach PSE since they already own a copy but don't know how to use it
well. I have a copy of PSE but it's so old that I don't how to use the
more modern versions myself. Consequently, I've downloaded the PSE help
files from Adobe and also purchased an extensive PSE 14 streaming video
training course to teach myself. I've not yet bought another copy of
PSE as PSE 15 will likely be released in a matter of weeks. Because PSE
15 is imminent, PSE 14 and related training materials should be at
reduced prices. The streaming video course I bought yesterday for $50
is normally $100. You can find the same offer here
Note the this is streaming video with unlimited access and not a
download. It might not work well if you have slow internet access.
However, towards the bottom of the page there are free previews to all
of the first 2 lesson chapters and previews of subsets of the other...
roughly 2 hours of free video. That will allow you to evaluate the
instructor (good) and your own internet access speed.
For the people (senior citizens) who attended my photography course I
think PSE is the right choice based on function (automatic or guided
editing modes if you choose) and especially because no other editor is
as thoroughly documented as all of the Adobe products are. You can find
the extensive PDF help files for PSE 14 here:
Photoshop Elements 14 Editor:
Photoshop Elements 14 Organizer:
(these same links will likely point to PSE 15 as soon as it's released)
However, despite excellent overall coverage of editing there are only 4
pages devoted to ACR. And while the video course above is very well
done is gives no information at all about ACR except to mention at the
end that ACR has not been covered as part of that particular course.
Fortunately, there is a near boundless universe of Photoshop training
materials within Adobe and elsewhere.
Note that ACR in PSE operates the same as in Photoshop but has fewer
features. It does, however, have the most important features necessary
for converting raw files. The other features of ACR not present can be
found within the non-ACR editing environment and should work just as
well if those functions that alter pixel brightness level work on 16 bit
images. I haven't investigated yet which, if any, features of the
non-ACR editor operate on 16 bit images.
Get ACR one way or the other.
On 9/20/2016 6:37 PM, Moose wrote:
If you really care about resolution, follow AG's advice, shoot Raw, get
the Adobe subscription and learn to use at least LR in place of
FastStone for Raw conversion and editing. Anything less renders your
Themed Olympus Photo Exhibition: http://www.tope.nl/