Originally Posted by golfinz
Nice read! ... Now I just need a strong editing software to perfect the pictures.
I've got Photoshop CS4, and it's really good for heavy editing, BUT I find DxO's Optics Pro superior for RAW conversion and batch process of hundreds of images at a time. DxO has camera-specific and lens-specific correction at each focal length and each aperature, making a good zoom look like a set of prime lens. It does dynamic range expansion (highlight recovery), geometric correction and allows for tuning saturation, contrast, etc., etc., all in a batch mode.
With DxO I'll spend an hour setting up maybe 200 images, straightening horizons, adjusting saturation to taste, dealing with brightness issues, etc.
Then I run the batch while I'm doing something else as the program spends about a minute each on each image.
I use PS for cloning out unwanted components, making more dramatic color changes or even combining images. The things that I do with DxO in one-hour would take many hours in PS, but PS does have a much larger palette of possibilities. I really recommend both, since they work together seamlessly. The two programs are at the ultimate ends of the spectrum in ease of use, with DxO being very user friendly and PS being incredibly complex, requiring serious training time.