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Lightroom Doesn't Have Lens Profiles For All The Popular Wide-angle Lenses

Published: 10/02/2012
By: larry

I've been working with a new ebook author the last couple of weeks on a new PFRE ebook on real estate photography post-processing. In the process of comparing all the possible photo-editing software for correcting barrel distortion, converging verticals and horizontal alignment I became aware of an issue that I'd not realized before. It's this:

When you are choosing a wide-angle lens for shooting real estate you better pay attention close attention to which photo-editing software has lens profiles for the lens you are going to buy. If you don't you are liable to find yourself doing a lot of manual distortion correction or switching photo-editing software.

The good news is that PTLens  ($25) has profiles for almost every lens on my list and the planet! The developer Tom  Niemann has done a fantastic job of making lens profiles available. This video illustrates how easy it is to use. You can use PTLens with Lightroom, Photoshop, Photoshop Elements and Aperture.

For example, if you decide to purchase a Tokina 11-16mm wide-angle lens (according to the poll on my lens page roughly 8% of PFRE readers use this lens) and you expect to use Lightroom or Photoshop CS5 you have a surprise in store for you because they don't have a lens profile for that lens. So you'll either need to use PTLens or DxO Pro to correct lens distortion.

To clarify this issue I'm in the process of adding columns to the lens page that show which of the popular photo-editing software has profile for all the popular wide-angle lenses. I have columns added for Lightroom/ACR but realized while I was writing this I probably need to add a column for DxO Pro too. Frankly, I'm a little surprised that Lightroom/ACR don't support all these lenses. Tom can do it in his basement in Portland so it can't be that hard!

Oh, here are the details if you want to checkout exactly which lenses are are supported by Lightroom/ACR, PTLens and DxO.

16 comments on “Lightroom Doesn't Have Lens Profiles For All The Popular Wide-angle Lenses”

  1. I am not hardcore enough to create my own profile...
    I have followed Larry's previous advice to contact Tokina and their distributors about creating a Lr profile for the 11-16... but nothing.

    Does any PFRE reader have a Tokina 11-16mm profile for Lr that they could share?
    I am shooting witha Nikon D90


  2. I think once you know your gear well enough it's not a huge issue to correct distortion or perspectives. I shoot with the Tokina 116 Pro DX, and I use the Photoshop lens correction filter. I know that when I shoot at 11mm I have to set my barrel distortion correction between +3 - +3.5. It's just become part of my workflow. I also use the lens correction filter to correct my straightness, horizontal and vertical perspectives.

  3. My lens isn't supported either, but I would never consider that as a factor when choosing a lens or software. It's a minor issue easily addressed by previous commenter suggestions.

  4. I am not a Lightroom user, however, will the PT Lens plug-in for Photoshop work in Lightroom? PT Lens has the most lens profiles. I use a Tokina 16-28 on a Canon 5DII and PT Lens has that profile built in.

  5. Not a huge problem for us. We prefer lens quality over post processing correction inclusions. In our lightroom workflow we have some custom lens profiles and we also use DX/O and other correction methods when required. The idea is to get the picture right in the camera and that usually means a more expensive glass usually made by Canon or Nikon to start with. Lightroom doesn't have a 24 T/S correction, but then again, our shots from 24 T/S rarely need correction.

  6. I find PTLens more accurate than any of the LR3 or PS CS5 corrections. It is also the only one that I know of that can handle T/S lenses (haven't tried DxO much to check if it can handle T/S but they're not on their supported list). It's not fully automatic for those, but does a good job. I know T/S lenses are pretty good, but they can still have some barrel distortion (see the PTLens site for an example). Only downside is that I wish it would do automatic vignette and CA corrections like LR/PS does.

  7. Guess that's what I get saving a little money and buying 'offbrand' I have a Promaster 12-24 (think it is made by tonika) but NOBODY has a profile for this lens

  8. @KH - Most of the UWA lens reviews on the net rate Tokina as the best (for crop bodies). I shoot with the 11-16 and it's amazing. Mine is crisp, fast, and has very little distortion or CA - the CA is mostly on the magenta/purple channel so it's very easy to deal with... I don't think you're cheaping out on glass with a Tokina lens (if that's what Promaster is).

  9. I haven't pixel peeped to confirm the accuracy of this workaround but Pentax lenses are Tokinas, (or vise versa) so the included Pentax profiles may work for matching Tokinas, ie try the Pentax 12-24 f4 for the Tokina 12-24 f4.

  10. @Joshua- From the research I've done Pentax and Tokinas are in general NOT the same thing. According to: Pentax and Tokina are business partners and jointly developed six lenses. The 12-24 f/4 is one of those 6 jointly developed lenses so the profiles for the Pentax 12-24mm f/4 and Tokina 12-24 f/4 MAY have a similar profile but as the wiki article says even though the lenses have the same design they have different "structures and coatings" meaning they were manufactured in different places.

    A key point here is that the most popular Tokina lens, the 11-16 f/2.8 was NOT a jointly developed lens.

    @Barry- yup, you can always do manual correction. Where that becomes a drag is in speed. If you have a profile in LR the correction is automatic and fast. Again, the good news is that PTLens can do the correction in batch mode and is very fast.

  11. Thanks for the info Larry. The article mentions that the Tokina & Pentax share the same optical designs, but as you noted, different barrel structures and coatings. I went ahead and installed the profile downloader that Anton noted, and found a high-rated profile for my 12-24. It's my backup lens, but next time I pull it out I'll see how the profiles match up.

  12. I purchased the Tokina 16-28 for the 5DII after using the Canon 16-35 L lens. Several websites tested the Tokina as superior to the Canon and I can testify that the Tokina lens is sharper with less distortion and very low CA. The lens is as sharp as the Zeiss 21 that I tested about a year ago. I like the "snap" of the images I've been creating with this lens. The 16-28 covers most of the focal range I typically use when shooting architecture. The fact that PT Lens had the profiles is icing on the cake.
    Thanks again,

  13. PTlens is really a great piece of software and supports much more lenses then DXO. but then it doesn't have colour correction and other features... I always use PTlens but I always have to complement it with other softwares.

  14. I have been using the Tokina 12-24 f-4 for many years, as I couldn't afford the Nikon 12-24.

    I found it to be an excelent lens on my D-300, but am considering shooting with my D-700. At this time, I use my Nikon 20mm f-2.8 which is very sharp, but would
    like to have a wider fast lens. I have a 15mm f-3.5 Nikon which has no distortion, but it is very prone to lens flare and has low contrast and a bit soft.

    If I start shooting with the D-700 (haven't seen a remarkable improvement over the D-300) I was considering the 16-28 Tokina.

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