Matt, I can’t speak f64 elite, I have never used used any of Blake Rudis’ software or videos. On a couple occasions I looked at information on his Zone System. It seems like his panels are somewhat similar to TK, perhaps with more emphasis on color correction/adjustment. He does market it as an “approach” and not just a software, and I assume the f64 elite package gets you deeper into that approach, albeit at a higher cost.
If you primarily use photoshop now and want to take your processing up a notch, then the TK panel plus Bagshaw videos are a very logical next step used by many. TK plus Bagshaw videos do have a steep learning curve. I found that I didn’t really “get it” until I tried to reproduce what Sean was doing in the videos step by step using the images he used in the videos. My guess is that you would need to do the same with the BR Zone System, although the f64 Elite package may buy you a little extra personalized attention. I have nothing to back this up, but it seems like more landscape shooters use TK, and thus over time there may be more TK resources out there from multiple people.
I think Bagshaw is a good teacher, and his videos do a great job. But in my opinion they spend more time on the individual TK tools, what they do, how to use them, the Luminosity mask theory behind them, etc., and they spend less time on start to finish application of the tools on specific images, ie the global approach. To be fair to Sean, the TK panel has undergone numerous significant changes/upgrades in the past 4 to 5 years, and Sean’s videos had to spend a lot of time on what was changing, and how to use the new panel functionality. I think you need education on both the “approach” and tool function/theory.
To supplement Bagshaw’s videos, I ended up learning a lot from the videos of Aaron Dowling, who sells his own LM panel, ADP Pro3. Aaron’s LM panel is similar to TK, about 75% the same. TK has more buttons that automate Photoshop commands, and ADP has some stuff TK does not, like the Heat Map concept, which I think is a good tool for beginners to understand which mask is best for the job. But I found Aaron’s videos to be very good, and his style is to spend more time on start to finish application. After I spent time watching both Bagshaw’s and Dowling’s videos, I felt like I had a much better understanding of using LM’s. Yes, I had to buy 2 sets of LM panels and videos, but that is still less expensive then the f64 Elite package. In practice I use the TK panel for a lot of my processing, but also frequently use specific tools from ADP that TK does not have. ADP Pro does have some good functionality specific to B&W processing, which I also use a lot.
I had the time and patience to watch and re-watch both sets of video’s until I “got it”. If you don’t, then seeking some individualized 1 on 1 teaching might be worth the extra cost. My only suggestion would be to try to learn the basics from videos like Bagshaw’s first. Then you could pay extra for 1 on 1 instruction at an intermediate or advanced level, and not pay that extra cost for LM’s 101, the video’s should be able to give almost anyone that.