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Expressdigital vs Lightroom

Joey Davis , Nov 15, 2009; 09:17 a.m.

I have a few shopping mall Santa Claus photo shoots coming up. This is the first time I've done something like this, I usually shoot sports. I'll be shooting with a Nikon D3 tethered to a Windows based laptop and sending the photo's to a Sony Snaplab UP-CR10L printer for immediate sale. I've found a free software program to tether my camera to the computer, but I've yet to find a software program that will auto-import the images directly into the program for quick printing. I'd prefer a program that integrates a camera control feature with the auto-import feature, but will make do with two separate programs if I have to. I'm contemplating Adobe Lightroom and ExpressDigital Assembly. It's hard to find a comparison between the two. Considering my workflow, i.e. the need to quickly shoot photo's via the laptop, automatically import, and immediately print, does anyone out there have suggestions or a better workflow for me? Joey

Responses

Howard M , Nov 15, 2009; 09:36 a.m.

seems like ExpressDig. is more focused on the specific task although its not clear if you can get away w/ the Core edition ($500) or the Pro ($1400 (so there goes your profit ;) ))

LR has a 'watched folder, auto-import' feature so if your freeware or CameraControl s/w can dump the file to the PC, it should be able to do what you want. How *well* it does it in a production environment is another question.

Both have 30 day trials from what I see.

Jeff Spirer , Nov 15, 2009; 10:06 a.m.

I've done exactly what you want to do with Lightroom, using the Canon software that comes with the camera to tether, shoot and dump the files into the computer. With Lightroom's watched folder, the images are automatically imported into Lightroom, show up immediately, and can be printed. ExpressDigital seems to be an expensive niche product that doesn't have a plug-in architecture, integration with Photoshop, or a large community of users and instructors. It's also a lot more expensive.

Matt Laur , Nov 15, 2009; 10:47 a.m.

Joey: you might also try the free NX2 60-day trial. NX2 also has a watched folder behavior, and of course it likes and understands your D3's NEF files very well.

I've had good luck printing to a UP-CR10L from NX2, once I got things dialed in.

Joey Davis , Nov 15, 2009; 06:02 p.m.

Thanks everyone, here's what I came up with:

  1. For the camera control I downloaded DIYPhotoBits.com Camera Control 4.1 for FREE, and it works great. I'm able to tether my Nikon D3 to my Dell computer running Windows Vista 64bit. I have total control of my camera's features (ISO, shutter speed, aperture, white balance)
  2. I took your advice and downloaded Fastone Image Viewer for FREE and it works great too! I'm able to point the folder that Camera Control is using and it auto-imports with each release of the shutter.

Everything is fully automated and controllable via my laptop. I can now set the laptop next to my Sony Snaplab and perform all camera and print functions with a single click of the shutter, and a second click to print. I'll have my lovely assistant (my daughter) handle each cash transaction and viola!
My next quest is to find a way to incorporate custom borders for prints. The Snaplab has a built in feature to add custom borders but it only works when inserting memory media into it, but not when it is being used as a printer connected to a PC.
If money were not an object I'd be using the Nikon WT-4A wireless tether that comes with Nikon Camera Control and I'd buy Nikon NX2 to run with it for a whopping $1000. So, until then, I'll make do with my free setup.
thanks you guys....Joey

Thanks to all!

Chris Lingard Photographer , Feb 05, 2010; 10:57 p.m.

Express Digital AE all the way.

I work several Malls and at each we network several computers with that software running on all of them working together to provide a photo station, viewing station, and production/Server station.

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