This is to be expected with an application with this many features, but if you’re just looking for image cataloguing/adjustments and/or you want something that’s easy to learn, maybe skip this one as a lightroom alternative. But it can be pressed into service for raw editing and layering single images, especially by beginners. There are over 60 great editing features of Luminar 4, but what about image management? Lest you think that’s a “walled garden” created by “evil Adobe,” keep in mind that the same will be true of the image formats and catalogs that all the contender programs produce. I mainly us Capture One (C1) and DxO along with Photoshop CS6. Also, if English is not your strong suit, RawTherapee is available in over 25 languages and will soon have more – very impressive, especially considering this is a completely free app – something not offered by Lightroom. There is no dehaze control, which can be useful for snapping up even clear night skies. While it has an image browser, PhotoLab does not create a catalog, so this isn’t a full Lightroom replacement, but it is a superb raw developer. Its noise reduction was excellent, with its PRIME option producing by far the best results of all the programs, better perhaps than Camera Raw, plus with hot pixel suppression. OS: Windows and Mac. One thing we haven’t even mentioned yet is the attractive price of Luminar 4 – depending on when you read this guide, you may even be able to get a Luminar 4 discount. If you want to invest further, there’s even a new ON1 cloud sync service and mobile app – ON1 360. Luminar did the same. Photos even has the ability to hide duplicate images, and ignore random screenshots and receipts that most people photograph using their iPhones. Then there’s the ‘bokeh tool’, which allows you to apply various shapes of out of focus area to your image, to simulate shallow depth of field. Indeed, it is promoted as a low-cost Photoshop replacement. It’s also continually being updated, with many talented open-source programmers working on it. I don’t feel any can fully replace Adobe products for features and image quality. You cannot layer images to create composites or image stacks. Its local adjustment brush is very basic, with no edge detection. Only Affinity Photo (above) successfully read a complex and very large Photoshop .PSB file correctly, honoring at least its adjustment and image layers. I tested a trial copy of v3.2. These are just the photo-specific features. This comparison is based around … The Raw processing in RawTherapee is spectacular for a free app, and the program has a strong, devoted Fujifilm user following. It simply has A LOT of tools, and as a result the interface ends up feeling a bit cluttered and confusing to a first time user. use a single slider), but if you’re wanting full control it has more options than Lightroom. The purpose of this article is to pit Luminar vs Lightroom, but this assumes that you’ll be choosing one software app over the other. Cons: It’s costly to purchase, and more expensive than Creative Cloud to subscribe to. I use open source like RawTherapee and Darktable. Another issue is that Darktable’s DAM can’t handle libraries with tens of thousands of photos – at least on its own. Some programs have an HSL panel (Hue, Saturation, Lightness) or an equalizer-style control for boosting or dialing back specific colors. However, it lacks any library or cataloguing function, so this is not a Lightroom replacement, but it could replace Photoshop. Other notable assets in Chasys Draw IES Artist include free-style layering, tablet/pen/stylus support with pressure control, image stacking for noise reduction and super-resolution, advanced printing options, and extensive plugin support – features that aren’t even present in the latest version of Lightroom. One unusual element of IrfanView, when compared to other image editors at least, is its small size. However, a Creative Cloud Photo subscription doesn’t cost much more than buying, then upgrading Elements outright, yet gets you far, far more in professional-level software. DxO Unveils PhotoLab 3. mberg2007. Over the years, the Photos program has evolved into a fully-fledged non-destructive editing program and photo management tool with both basic and advanced tools for all level of photographers. Despite all its options I could never quite get as good looking an image using Capture One, compared to DxO PhotoLab for example. (There’s no one-click solution, other than presets, but these don’t change based on the image.). Take a look at the video below to see how a talented portrait photographer uses the software to edit all his high-end fashion portraits. Subscribe to Creative Cloud. While it has some nice functions and produced a decent result, it took a lot of time and work to use. And 4 untracked exposures for the ground. Like Topaz Studio, below, it cannot copy and paste settings to a batch of images, only to one image at a time, so it isn’t useful for time-lapse processing. The ability to customise your tools and workspace is a great feature. But worst of all, as shown above, its noise reduction left lots of noisy patches in shadows, no matter what combination of settings I applied. Understanding what makes them similar and what distinguishes them from one another will help you make the informed choice of Lightroom equivalent satisfying your needs. OS: Windows and Mac, Of all the contenders tested here, this is the only program that can truly replace both Lightroom and Photoshop, in that ON1 has cataloguing, raw developing, and image layering and masking abilities. The extensive support for RAW files in Chasys Draw IES Artist come from a fully integrated Camera RAW plug-in, with a number of different options for high-speed processing. But all five have a Library or Browser mode with easy-to-use Copy & Paste and Batch Export functions needed for time-lapse preparation. Open Darktable, on the left side under Import, click scan for devices. It's possible to update the information on darktable or report it as discontinued, duplicated or spam. Yes, you can save out flattened TIFFs that any program can read in the future, but that rules out using those other programs to re-work any of the image’s original settings. Pros: Affinity supports image layers, masking with precise selection tools, non-destructive “live” filters (like Photoshop’s Smart Filters), and many other Photoshop-like functions. However, Adobe offers a free Lightroom trial which lasts for seven days, and the Lightroom CC app is free for mobile users. Available for Mac and Windows for $150, this Lightroom competitor offers a good browser function, with the ability to “copy-from-one and paste-to-many” images (unlike some of the programs below), and a good batch export function for time-lapse work. This is not a Photoshop replacement. However, a number of contenders offer excellent features and might replace at least one member of Adobe’s image processing suite. Nor can you copy and paste settings visually, but only apply a user-defined “macro” to develop images en masse upon export. Photo Lab by DxO is the third professional software editing program, behind Lightroom and Capture One. The most recent release of Luminar 4.1 here in January 2021 is quite frankly mind-blowing. Both have a file management system, and both include image processing tools. MrSteveVee. If you’re a fan of using layers to edit, LightZone will be a breath of fresh air. In summary, while viable alternatives do exist, there are usually some sacrifices to make – there’s a reason why Adobe Lightroom has been the industry standard program for users worldwide for so long. We also include the top free Lightroom alternative options for photographers who aren’t ready to invest in paid software. Affinity Photo – approx $54 USD – They do have a free trial available. Cons: Despite promising automatic lens detection and correction, ON1 failed to apply any vignetting correction for my 20mm Sigma lens. The main place IrfanView is lacking is in its UI, which will seem outdated to most of us. The wide-angle lenses we typically use in nightscape and time-lapse imaging suffer from vignetting and lens distortions. The user interface isn’t as simple or as streamlined as Luminar and there’s definitely a higher learning curve, but ON1 comes with a number of features that advanced users might appreciate. It is fast to render previews in its “Fast” mode, but in its “Accurate” mode ON1 is no faster than Lightroom. Above, I show Luminar working as a plug-in, applying its “Soft & Airy” filter. Opening the RAW file in DxO PhotoLab. This is the image I threw at all the programs, a 2-minute exposure of the Milky Way taken at Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park in southern Alberta in late July 2017. While Topaz Labs previously offered only plug-ins for Photoshop and other programs (their Topaz DeNoise 6 is very good), their Topaz Studio stand-alone program now offers full raw processing abilities. That being said, ON1 has all the photo adjustments you would expect from a Lightroom replacement, including excellent AI auto options for tone. DxO PhotoLab 3: DxO PhotoLab is a replacement for DxO Optics Pro and is an advanced photo editing software that is designed keeping professional standards for photographers in mind. Compare this to Lr, where any movement from the Library to Develop module is accompanied by an annoying delay, and you’ll quickly fall in love with the single-module set up of X6. 2 DxO has LRGB and clipping black (moon) clipping highlight (sun) and it shows the RGB numbers 0-255 per channel when you hoover over the image but you don’t see a crosshair in the histogram where this point is in the image and correspondences in the histogram. If there is one flaw with the software I’d have to say that it boils down to its learning curve. What’s ideal is a function such as ON1 Photo RAW displays here, and that some other programs have: the ability to inspect a folder of images, work on one, then copy and paste its settings to all the others in the set. This can be a bit confusing if you’re used to Lightroom, as you’ll probably expect things to be in the same places. Pros: ON1 is the only program of the bunch that can: catalog images, develop raw files, and then layer and stack images, performing all that Lightroom and Photoshop can do. I look in to it to see if it’s UI is easy and intuitive. If serious and professional time-lapse shooting is your goal, none of the Adobe contenders will work. However, any local adjustments like those will be feasible only for still images or time-lapses where the camera does not move. Absolutely essential is effective noise reduction, of luminance noise and chrominance color speckles and splotches. If you’re into image creation, there are way too many features to list here. ACR does apply such a hot pixel removal “under the hood” as a default, but often still leaves many glaring hot specks that must be fixed later in Photoshop. Exposure X6 is an advanced image editing app that rivals Lightroom Classic, with powerful features, intuitive controls and ease of use, all for one affordable fee (i.e. (It can also be used as a plugin for Lightroom, but we recommend ditching Adobe completely in favour of X6, to save on those monthly fees.). As I stated earlier, this review expands upon and updates mini-reviews I included in my Nightscapes and Time-Lapses eBook. Performance depends heavily on the size of the original file, and your computer hardware. But, with more functionality comes more complexity. Like the Pro version, Capture One Express still has exceptional Raw image rending (the best in the business if you ask me). As for its interface, you can configure it to be quite similar to Lightroom, but there’ll still be quite a steep learning curve – this is a software intended to be used by professional photographers, after all. 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