Currently, to accurately straighten and crop an image, I take the TIFF over to PhotoShop. That should not be the easiest way to do it.
I’d like the ability to set “Unconstrained” cropping as my default, or at least have the last cropping setting be persistent and applied to the next image I load. Why do I have to select “Unconstrained” every time I bring a new image into PL? (This is not a new issue – just a long-standing issue.)
In PhotoShop the corner handles are displayed differently and allow you to input rotation via mouse. By default, a smaller gird pattern is inserted and the cropped area adjusts to show you how the rotation changes the available remaining image area. This also allows a visual fine-tune which might be different that what the leveling bar indicates. This is especially helpful where there is not “true” horizon (in a lot of settings, a known – or assumed – vertical is a better reference for setting a horizon).
Yesterday I was also wishing that the crop setting would remain unchanged between photos. I was frustrated that "unconstrained had to be selected each time, even when a photo opened and “unconstrained” showed in the crop window on the bottom left.
I don’t have a desire to do that. Persistent state would overcome that. And it doesn’t solve the issue of free rotation. Popping over to PhotoShop is the workaround now, and also allows me to use some specific plugins.
First, always use the Geometry palette instead of the crop tool in the top tool bar, then:
1.) Set crop to “Undefined” in your favorite preset, resave and set this preset as your default in preferences.
2.) Open and activate both the Crop tool and the Horizon tool at the same time in the Geometry palette… While you can’t drag the corners, you can use the tool in Horizon to rotate in any manner that you wish. Goodbye Photoshop.
Everything that you asked for in your OP is already available in PL5. I pointed that out. If you wish to continue using your Photoshop “Kludge” then that is your choice, but why bother asking for a feature in PL5 that already exists if you don’t really want to use it? Just taking the opportunity to complain I suppose.