While you are at it, it is pretty clear that 99.9% of all people should use Adobe. It is integrated and works well, but if you are a craftman, then you can try to roll your own with these separate tools. This works if you are a perfectionist and don't have that many photos to process. In many ways, Lightroom is like Microsoft Office, it is big and full feature and suite. The other approach is many small tools:
- DxO. Because the reviews are showing its distortion correction and perspective correction are the best.
- Focusmagic. I haven't tried in a long time, but it use deconvolution for increasing detail which theoretically should work better. According to Scott if you push sharpening in LIghtroom past 100% you get this deconvolution automatically. How is any normal human supposed to know that 🙂 Apparently, it is the normal unsharp mask settings as you move the Detail slider towards 100% that is all the way to the right you get more deconvolution and less halo reduction. Smart Sharpen in Photoshop also does doconvolution. It was apparently developed under contract by the folks who did PK Sharpener. There are four parameters there Amount, Radius, Detail and Masking.
- Photoninja. I've used Noise ninja before and folks always though it was the best at managing noise. Now it is a full raw converter so need to try it. Apparently the conversions are on par with Raw Photo Processor.
- Raw Therapee . This uses dcraw which is an open source converter. supposed to be good but doesn't have distortion correction.
- Raw Photo Processor. It is dsigned just for conversion with a focus on recoverying highlights etc.. It doesn't do sharpness, cropping etc.
- Lyn. This is a lightweight and fast browser. Actually I use Preview for most of this as it is normally very fast and organize with the underlying file system.