Photolemur – Too Good To Be True?
Photolemur is a fully automatic batch image processor, working with most image file types and RAW formats. Is it too good to be true? Find out below…
Let’s face it, image processing takes time. Often, too much time. So software tools add batch processing and presets to speed things up a bit. But the time savings are often lost with poor results.
It’s true that a set of very similar images should all process well using the same settings. But it still takes time to create the right settings for that image set and, quite often, subtle differences between them prevent the presets from working very well.
If you work with RAW images (and you should be!) then there is RAW development and post processing to perform. It’s fine if there’s a small number to process but what if you come back from a trip with hundreds or even thousands of images? Even after rejecting sub-standard photos, you may well be left with hours and hours of work ahead of you…
What if there was a tool that could process all those images and get it right 80 to 90% of the time? Automatically? With absolutely no need for you to intervene other than to select the images to process and set the location to save the image files?
Most of us would take that option! Even if only 50% to 60% of the processed images were acceptable, it’s still a huge saving. So 80% or better is almost unbelievable.
You’d expect such a solution to be either impossible or to cost hundreds of dollars.
And this is a one off purchase – no subscriptions!
The tool is called Photolemur and this review will simply demonstrate what it’s capable of, along with sample images.
Photolemur runs on Windows 7 or above or Apple Macs from 2010 onwards.
Used standalone, it’s just a case of opening one or more images into Photolemur and then telling it to process them. The latest version prompts for a target folder, allows the images to be renamed and resized. All the usual file output types are supported so it can be used to generate JPEGs suitable for viewing on screen or posting to the Internet or it can produce 16 bit TIF files, which can be further edited. It also allows you to save these settings as presets – another time saving feature.
Once you press ‘Done’ Photolemur does its stuff while you go and do other stuff. Now, it’s not the fastest image processor around, especially when working with RAW files, but it’s doing all the work for you. I just leave it to do its stuff…
What it does
Each image is processed intelligently. Photolemur analyses each image and determines what processing is needed. If you what to see what it’s doing, it tells you – Enhancing Sky, Balancing Exposure and so forth.
Each image is given individual attention. And that’s why it works so well.
How I Use It
After some experimenting I have found the following workflow to be effective for RAW images:
- If the camera/lens combination is supported by DXO Photo Lab, then I process the RAW images allowing it to:
a) Perform lens corrections (distortion, chromatic aberrations, selective sharpening)
b) Add a small amount of DXO Clearview (setting of 10) – I do this as a batch process in DXO and save the results as DNGs;
- I then run Photolemur and import all the DNGs (or the original images if DXO doesn’t support my camera/lens combination) into it;
- Tell Photolemur to do its stuff, whilst I drink tea or watch a film, or whatever.
- I then review the results and do any further enhancements that I want to. I usually do further sharpening using Photomatix or Topaz Detail, or both. And I often do that in a batch as well.
I do step 1 because nothing competes with DXO’s camera/lens corrections and I like its Clearview option. But step 1 is entirely optional, as the results show:
The theory is all well and good but how well does it work in practice?
Here’s some before and after samples:
Photolemur has done a particularly good job of recovering the shadow details without washing out the sky. The extra zip that the combination of DXO and Photolemur produces is subtle but noticeable.
Again Photolemur has produced a very balanced image. It works particularly well on clouds, recovering detail in washed out areas. This was taken with an older Canon dSLR that had far less dynamic range than modern cameras. So Photolemur has made a really good job of this image.
A rare selfie! Photolemur really did well bringing out the details without overdoing things.
Photolemur does an amazing job processing RAW and regular images.
- Fully automatic image processing that is often as good (or even better) than manually working on each image;
- Batch processing – no need to spend time monitoring progress. Just let it do its thing;
- Consistently good results;
- Really integrates well with other tools – can be used standalone or as a very valuable part of a RAW development workflow.
- Lightroom integration – all images to be processed can be sent through from Lightroom. Photolemur does its thing and imports the results back into Lightroom;
- Photoshop plugin;
- Lack of manual controls may put potential users off. This is an illusion, the whole purpose of the tool is to eliminate the need for manual intervention.
- Not every image suits the tool. I haven’t yet determined a certain way to identify which will work well and which wont, so some images need to be reworked;
- Good results still need extra processing to make them ready for printing or screen display if professional results are desired.
- It can’t read your mind – if you want to do something unusual or unintuitive with a photo then you’ll have to do that manually in another tool.
Photolemur is an amazing tool. Although it is aimed at non-professional users, I find it produces professional level results more often than not. If you are producing images for Instagram/Facebook or Ebay (etc) then you’ll probably be happy to use the results straight out of the tool.
For more serious uses the photos will need further processing. Nevertheless, it still saves huge amounts of time, automating the initial RAW processing and much of the post processing. As it doesn’t know if the resulting image is to be printed or simply viewed on screen, it cannot perform the final sharpening step, which is very much dependant on the intended use of the image.
The price of Photolemur is insanely low. Even if only used occasionally, it is worth having in your toolbox.
Please support this site by purchasing this excellent tool using the following link – I do get a small commission for each purchase made.