November 4th, 2009
Several recent questions and comments from readers made me realize that the posts I have on PTLens are several years old. Ever since I’ve been doing this blog I’ve been recommending PTLens as an alternative for fixing verticals and barrel distortion but as of the summer of 2008 Tom Niemann released a version of PTLens that to me made it the top choice for correcting verticals, barrel distortion.
Here’s why I think PTLens is the ideal real estate photographers tool for using with Lightroom:
- It automatically fixes barrel distortion based on EXIF data. That is it recognizes which lens you used and knows how to fix barrel distortion for that particular lens. PTlens a huge database of the most common lenses included. If you have a lens that’s not in it’s database (not likely) you can create some calibration images, send them to Tom and he will add them to the DB for you. For wide-angle lenses Tom claims that it does a better job since PTLens uses up to 3 parameters to correct distortion where PS only uses 1 parameter
- It can fix converging verticals every bit as as nicely as the “Distort>Lens Correction…” in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements.
- The stand alone version has a batch mode that will do barrel distortion processing on all the images in a folder. The only other lens correction software that does this is DxO that costs in the neighborhood of $200 depending what camera body you have.
- It is available for Windows, Vista and Mac OS X 10.5.2 or higher (Intel hardware only) and can run on Unix using a Windows simulator.
- It works as a external editor for Lightroom ( version 2.0 and over), Aperture 2.1 and Photoshop, plus you get a stand alone version. In Lightroom you can make PTLens corrections and then come back into Lightroom and adjust RAW settings.
- It cost $25!
What all this means is that for most beginning real estate photographers Lightroom and PTLens is all the post processing software you need. The only area this combination doesn’t address is cloning out unwanted objects and using layer masks to control window exposures and replacing skies. These last three areas are techniques that take more time and are more advanced techniques.