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Saturday, 04 November 2017


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I'm still using Aperture and Nik Software plug-ins. I've got PS 7.0.1 that seems to do well enough.

For my last show, I used Lightroom to print from, because my Epson seemed to like it better.

So, my software is a bit old. But then, my main cameras are older and the files are supported, so what the hell?

For as long as I can I plan to stay with PS6 and LR6. I have no plans for new cameras, so that is not an issue. Any new cameras will be used OMD M1s. Like you Mike I put stuff in folders, then I use Media Pro to tag and sort (same app for at least 10 years, still works, used to be iView Media pro, then Expression Media2, I have the newest Capture One version but it is frustratingly slow)
Currently, if forced to change I am thinking Luminar, which has just changed its name. I also use Raw Digger and Fast Raw Viewer when precision is required. I will be interested to read the comments to this post. It seems to be an ongoing subject. Hate Change (love change)

Like you, I don't relish the idea of renting software, although the Uber-License probably amounts to the same thing, as you don't really own the software and have no rights to complain about it.

I stopped upgrading PS at PS6 and I have updated LR to LR5 to deal with my newer cameras. Mike's series of articles on this subject is interesting to me as I worry about my current technological cul-de-sac. Like Mike, I use Nik Silver EF-X Pro2 to do color to black and white conversions and don't want to change my workflow.

In my own case, the tail is wagging the dog -- heck the tail may have wrestled the dog to the floor, thrown the dog on his back, and grabbed him by the throat. What I mean by that is that I have been evaluating new camera purchases in light of what will work with my existing software.

What???! Yeah, if I buy the latest whiz-bang box then I have to upgrade almost everything else in my life in the digital daisy-chain to read the files, store the files and print the files. It is the part of the digital devil's bargain that I like the least/hate the most. I have griped elsewhere on TOP about how the photo industry is now more like the fashion industry with a new flavor of drapery every season rather than like the camera industry of old where innovation came every ten years or so, and usually with backwards compatibility. [I'm looking at you Canon EOS-mount . . . yeah, I never really got over that.]

I have tried the GIMP and never really liked it. So I will be watching this space with peaked interest.

I've been using Lightroom 5 since the day it arrived at my home on a DVD disc. I could upgrade to LR6, except it doesn't offer much to me based on my usage (I don't do panos, I don't do HDR, and I don't use a 4K monitor).

I expect that I'll use LR5 for a good long time. It still works great.

Still shooting my Olympus E-M5 (mark I version, mind). I don't expect that to change, either. Nobody has ever complained that my camera and workflow are both over five years old.

I switched to Affinity for handling the jpgs and other non-raw files. I'm stuck about the Raw file handler. I hear great things about Capture One and Iridescent. I hope to read more from others. The whole "put you stuff in the cloud" idea annoys me and I dislike Adobe's plans this way.

I'm upset.

Even though I taught the Creative Cloud versions to college students until I retired in June, I never upgraded past PS6 myself. There are a handful of newer features that I'd like to have in CC, but I found the idea of a monthly fee repugnant.

I also use LR pre-CC. Like a lot of others I probably won't upgrade it either.

The shame is that I know these two programs inside-out. Lightroom in particular led me to revise my cataloging to a suit it's style.

Now I'll have to start over again.

Oh well, I'm retired and have more time than money.

If your budget can stretch to it C1Pro is likely to suit your needs. Xtrans processing is regarded as probably the best outside of Fuji.

C1pro can work on files without the need to import into a catalogue. This mode is refereed to as "sessions".

C1's default conversion is usually very good in that it provides a starting point that is "reasonable", i.e. already has good saturation, contrast etc., much like DXO and the opposite of the flat image presented by Adobe defaults.

The tools in C1 are superb, it uses a more PS approach with layers (for local adjustment), levels and curves. It also has a Luma curve as well as the normal RGB. As you know curves adjustments in RGB change saturation at the same time as contrast. Luma mode changes contrast without changing saturation.

The UI is completely user customisable. You can have 2 instaces of the curve tool open, 1 for RGB, and 1 for Luma. You can pull the curve tool out, as in PS, so that you can work in a separate window and then enlarge the window to be able to make accurate adjustments.

Then there is a colour editor to die for:-)Make masks from colour selections, colour grade with the colour balance control; a 3 wheel Highlights, Mids and Shadows control. Change and smooth skin tones, and blend using the uniformity slider.

C1Pro is very powerful but actually simple to use. Often a default conversion and a tweak of the highlight and shadow controls and you are good to go.
You still need a pixel editor for serious pixel mangling like cloning, object removal etc and here Affinity Photo is very good. See this 2 min video:
InPainting & Cloning


C1Pro is expensive to get into but the updates, if you need them, are reasonable.

If you ever want a DAM the session work (key words, ratings etc. can be imported into a master catalogue at any time. So you don't need to use it but it is their if at any time in the future you need it.

Here is a link to a helpful thread on DPR. The thread has screenshots illustrating the steps involved:


Having been an Aperture user until Apple stopped developing it and as by then it was quite lacking in features compared to its rivals, I looked for an alternative.

I started with Lightroom but didn't like it, and as I positively hate the subscription model I am really glad I found something which I did like. That was Capture One 8.

I have stuck with this and having moved through version 9, I am now on version 10. I like it and as it can be bought as a purchase (or a subscription if you do prefer those - I don't) I am sticking with it. I guess version 11 will be out soon. The RAW engine is easily the best of all the RAW engines I have tried and I use a Fujifilm X-T2 with which it works beautifully. In fact it works very nicely with my other digital camera files (past and present) supporting all my RAW files, something which my version of Photoshop (CS6) does not do.

Adobe is the Microsoft of Photography and no, that is not intended to be a compliment!

So Capture One would be my choice.

"PS6 doesn't seem to want to open X-T2 raw (.RAF) files even though I installed all the updates." I do not know PS6, but does it make a difference whether the camera was set to store the .RAF compressed or uncompressed? Otherwise, you can try running the .RAF through Adobe DNG Converter then work on the resulting .DNG.

I use Raw Therapee (donation only) and Picture Window Pro (currently free). However, many .RAF files come out great from Fuji Raw File Converter 2, which is a version of Silkypix.

One note: You won't be able to use DxO's software for your Fuji RAW files. DxO won't support them because they don't use a standard Bayer color filter array.

I have purchased Affinity photo and I have had Capture One for quite some time. I have not tried the Affinity program yet but I have read good things about it and look forward to working with it in the near future. I do have light room and Photoshop but will not pay the monthly tribute being demanded by Adobe. I just upgraded to high Sierra for my Mac. Unfortunately, Apple has advised that it will be the last operating system that will support 32-bit programs. Since 64-bit versions of both light room and Photoshop will only be available through the subscription scheme of things, it looks like my days of using Adobe products are indeed numbered.

The subscription idea might make sense if I was a professional and could either write off the expense or if I used a number of programs from the Adobe creative Suite. But my occasional use of primarily Light Room does not make economic sense to me if I had to pay a monthly fee and risk loss of my photos if I did not regularly pay the fee.

I still use Lightroom 6 and Photoshop CS6 (both perpetual license). They work well for me and my current cameras (Sony RX10mk1 and Nikon D750) so I don't need to change at this time. In the meantime, I've been testing Affinity Photo and Luminar.

If I do change, I will start fresh; i.e., no need to convert previous images and libraries and use Lr/PS to access those images. New images would, of course, use the alternative software.

To me Adobe represents a combination of arrogance and management incompetence, combined with a lack of respect for their loyal customers. They could have had a good story to tell but blew it.

I have my fallback scenario in place already. Capture One, Photoshop CS6 full licence and then Affinity when I decide to abandon Photoshop. I have an advanced workflow, know exactly what I want to do and only need Photoshop for curves, masks and selective sharpening. I do not see a challenge finding an alternative to Ps for what I need. I would prefer Adobe gave Lr Classic a proper usability upgrade, but alas ... CCC will get all the love. I have no interest in a solution dependent on keeping digital assets in the cloud. My workflow is project based and organised by folders. I can live without Adobe.

I gave up on Adobe for photo processing a long time ago but when Apple stopped supporting Aperture, I have switched to Capture One 11 and could not be happier. I am still learning and sometimes go back to Aperture for finishing off or posting to Flickr.

Mike, I currently use the Adobe cloud with PS and LR. I plan on staying with Adobe with the classic version of LR. I normally use LR and use PS only sparingly. I will not release my photos to the cloud. They will always stay on my desk except my backups.
With that said, over a 35 plus year career in investment banking I had to change software 3 times. It is a painful process. I was younger at those times and do not have a desire to relearn a new software platform. Unless forced to change, I will continue with Adobe.
As an anology I rarely watch TV but still pay $150 a month for internet and cable so 10-20/month isn’t bad. My contribution to the good of the order.

From my previous post...

"Mostly out of curiosity I did a quick evaluation of the Capture One Pro and DXO Photo Lab. DXO did a wonderful job with implementing the Nik Upoint tech. It feels quite intuitive to use. Capture One has a slightly steeper learning curve for me, but it's good too. Still not ready to give up Lightroom/Photoshop, but if I had to, I'd likely go with DXO Photo Lab (and maybe spend $50 on Affinity for Photoshop type adjustments)."

I'll add that I've evaluated the open source Raw Therapee and Darktable as well. Both are very impressive and complex. Darktable has some surprisingly advanced local masking ability. But in the end, I like the way my photos turn out in Lightroom better. Totally could be my problem, nothing to do with the software. Probably mostly to do with years of use.

The Adobe photographers subscription is relatively easy to replace. If you work with other Adobe apps besides PS and LR things become problematic very quickly.

I'm now doing a fair amount of work in Adobe After Effects. I was trying to get by on the cheap by adding the AE subscription to my existing PS/LR photographers package. Saved twenty bucks and caused innumerable asset interchange issues.

If you want to do any kind of imaging/graphics beyond photography then Adobe has the only integrated solutions. As far as I know.

Capture One and Affinity Photo for me.

In recent years I've rarely used Photoshop (CS5) except to clone out parts of images (e.g., distracting bits like my niece's goofy ex-boyfriends in the back row of ritual holiday group photos) but I have enjoyed Lightroom from versions 2 through 6. Like you, though, I'm not pleased with Adobe's subscription model, so I'm out. Maybe.

The "maybe" is because the final update of Lightroom 6 (due before the end of the year) just might be able to work with my eagerly-anticipated new Sony A7R III*. If it does, I could continue to plug away with Lightroom as a familiar cataloging program that allows quick edits while using Capture One/Affinity Photo for the rare images that require more work.

*BTW, since I very rarely buy photographic equipment, I was really chuffed to order the Sony seconds after it became available at 10 AM on the B and H website—but late in the afternoon I realized that I'd neglected to order it through your affiliate link. Because I've enjoyed your comments since you occasionally posted on the old Pentax list, I canceled my earlier order and ordered again. I now look forward to the arrival of my new camera in time to take fireworks photos in July--but I did and do want to thank you.

[Wow--thank YOU Brian. I'm very grateful! --Mike]

I haven't used ACR since switching to Capture One some time ago. There's something about the color of C1's conversions that ACR can't quite match. The interface takes some getting used to, however.

Affinity looks like it might eventually be a Photoshop killer, but from what I've seen on the web forums, it has problems with NIK filters. When or if that is sorted out, a whole lot of Adobe tenants may be leaving the building.

I have to use the Adobe DNG converter first, then import DNG files from my Fuji cameras into Photoshop. I am *eagerly* anticipating Pixelmator Pro for OS X when it launches soon. http://www.pixelmator.com/pro/ It is supposed to handle raw file formats based upon Apple's RAW support which will simplify my workflow a little bit and avoid another conversion step that could impact images.

For me, learning a completely new software suite is more costly than the current 10 dollars per month that I pay for the Photoshop/Lightroom bundle.

But you make a good point and every time I see that charge from Adobe on my credit card statement I ask myself why I'm not using my existing CS3 and Lightroom 5 apps.

I will say that as a Fuji user you really should give Iridient X-Transformer a try. It's "only" about $50 and will give you .DNG files from your .RAF files that will move you to tears.

It's astonishing how much better this software is compared to Lightroom.

Once you have .DNG you can finish them in any old version of Lightroom and/or Photoshop (ACR).

I've been using DxO for a lot of my photography over the last year or so and really like the results I can get out of it for most pictures. The local adjustments in the new version should overcome one of its biggest shortcomings once DxO get them working properly. It's still a bit slow, though, in its interface (you'll drive yourself up the wall if you don't change the default set-up to something that better suits your own needs), its responsiveness (better now than it used to be) and in the time it takes to process each photograph. It can stress your computer, too – my MacPro's fans sometimes sound like an Airbus winding up for takeoff when processing a batch of pictures. It can do some editing on JPEGs, but generally refuses to open TIFFs, including the ones it's just generated. It will also tell you to go away if you try to open Fuji files. Did I mention that it can be buggy and that DxO's support attitude can be a bit "Parisian" at times? Still, it's my current favourite to replace ACR when CS6 dies.

I've also been using Affinity Photo more and more of late, even though it's very much still a work in progress. It's a bit of a wrench to adjust when you've been using Photoshop as part of the day job since version 1, but it's definitely getting there (it soaks up disc space and its raw conversions are fairly ordinary, though).

A big plus for me is its tight integration with Affinity Designer: with semi-retirement coming up I can justify – just – the cost of Adobe's photo deal, but not the price they want to charge non-US users for Photoshop + Illustrator + InDesign.

Also worth a look is the German Photoline. It isn't pretty and it has quite a learning curve, but it's very capable.

Mike: I recently licensed Affinity for both the iPad and desktop, mainly because I’m prospectively curious about being able to do more light post work on my iPad Pro 12” and then integrate that back to LR. I have only skimmed Affinity and waded through some of their very good tutorials. I cannot offer a useful opinion yet but it definitely seems to be a solid base product.

As I noted earlier I have absolutely no plans to leave the LR/PS CC product set. I have invested heavily in learning this system over many years. The cost for the photo package is, frankly, very modest and the subscription model makes far more sense for both Adobe and users than the old update / release model.

I will also note that tonality/content editing is only one facet of my overall image processing and management complex. And, frankly, it’s not even the most important. Asset management and cataloging is by far the most valuable facet to me. Being able to almost immediately locate all my images that meet some arbitrary criteria is priceless and something that I do relatively frequently. A simple file folder organization is fine...and I use one myself. But it’s simply no match for LR’s extremely powerful keywording/indexing/smart-collections subsystem, an area that I suspect 90+% of LR users never learn or exploit.

That coupled with the growing number of “publishing” service add-ons that tremendously smooth integration with various online services has made LR quite indispensable for me.

Image manipulation and management is not where I prefer to devote my creative time. Making and evaluating images is where I want to be. So to that end, abandoning a system that works perfectly for me and migrating from-scratch to another with my 70,000 images to save ~$10/mo.(???) would be idiotic (aside from the fact that there is no other equivalent system) for me.

But perhaps others have different priorities than I do.

I have just switched to Affinity Photo. I have a bunch of raw images I shot at the beach yesterday which I have already processed in Lightroom (I rarely use Photoshop) and today I intend to try the same in Affinity to see how they turn out. There are a swag of tutorial videos from Affinity on Vimeo, and they look pretty good, so... *takes deep breath and pushes button*

I intended to cancel my LR/PS subscription immediately, but they were going to charge me a $68 early exit fee (my subscription ends in Aug 2018); however, on the up side, when I tried to cancel Adobe offered me two months free to stay on. I guess I'll hang on to it until I work out the least expensive time to leave.

First, I want to confess that I never used LR: I was an Aperture user, though I also had DxO Optics Pro and (please don't scream) SilkyPix, plus of course Photoshop CS3 (and then CS5). DxO Optics Pro was too limited as a photo editor (although it was an excellent raw developer), so when Apple stopped updating Aperture (but some time before they announced that they were sending it to the land of bit-rot), I bought Capture One Pro. Once you're used to its workflow (which makes perfect sense when you understand it), it produces absolutely superb results. It's limited in various ways (like having very few lens profiles for Pentaxes, for example), and there's no plugin mechanism like Photoshop (so no hope of the Nik plugins ever working with it). If Phase One, rather than DxO, had bought NiK from Google, Capture One could have become the ultimate image editor with the addition of the U-Point technology.

I've bought DxO PhotoLab, and the way that U-Point etc. are implemented is crap. Basically, it's the DxO Optics Pro raw developer with a half-hearted photo editor bolted on top.

As for SilkyPix, it's rescued raw files taken in a witches' brew of lighting types, with the common-or-garden editors struggling and then producing garbage. SilkyPix is actually a superb raw developer, handicapped by a UI designed by a photographer-hating programmer in the throes of an acid flashback (at least it seems that way).

I use Alien Skin Exposure X2 (3 has just been released, but I haven't upgraded yet.) It does a good job with Fuji Raw files, though I sometimes resort to Silky Pix for files that exhibit some CA I get from the Fujinon 18/2. Exposure is a fairly complete package, but others may have more needs than I do.

I must be some kind of jinx. I finally succumbed and moved from Aperture to Lightroom a few months ago. Now look! I now see two alternatives (as I continue to refuse the monthly subscription model... hate the idea):
1) Move to something new. I'm going to wait until I see what people think of the stand-alone competitors. I'm interested in Macphun's Luminar, but it doesn't have an asset management module yet. I like the asset management to be built into the image processor, thus avoiding the hassle of importing and exporting every image I work on. Or..
2) Freeze system I'm using now (Mac computer, Lightroom, recent Fuji cameras)... stand-alone system disconnected from the web. Buy laptop for web stuff.

Hi Mike
I still haven't forgiven Apple for Aperture

I’m probably in the minority since I really like Lightroom... except for how damn slow it is. It takes longer now to import now after 8 versions with “performance improvements” than when it was first released. How does that happen? I’m even using the same cameras (D300, EM-5).

I’m eagerly awaiting some gold in the comments for this post, because I’m all about switching.

RawTherapee. Silver Efex Pro2 runs standalone, you don't need it as a plugin.

I refuse to rent software from Adobe. I think what they have done is abusive and disrespectful of their customers. I have CS6 and still use it occasionally for tweaks, but I use two other programs for most of my work:

1. I discovered ACDSee in the last century and have used and loved it ever since. I tested Lightroom and could not see any reason to switch to it. I'm now using ACDSee Ultimate 10. It is great for organizing my photos and also has some editing tools that work better for me than anything in Photoshop. And it works with my file system...none of that obnoxious importing required.

2. DxO Optics Pro. This is my RAW processor. When I first got it I did a lot of tweaking to the automatic conversion that it does. I soon learned that I was just screwing things up. The auto conversion usually produces an excellent file that I can then tweak at bit in ACDSee or Photoshop. Pretty much the only adjustment I make in DxO to most files is to increase the highlight priority when it is needed.

I can upgrade these programs when I want to and when it fits my budget, not when Adobe decides it wants to disrupt my workflow. I'm glad to see that there are so many alternatives to Adobe and I have to say, I wish Adobe ill and hope they suffer the effects of treating their long-time users so shabbily.

I switched from LR to DxO Optics Pro a couple years ago. I also prefer as Mike does to not use a DAM and I set up folders on my Mac to suit my purposes. In fact, that was one of the primary reasons I changed to DxO - I did not care for dealing with LR's DAM and I felt the two programs were equivalent, at least for my usage level. And well, mostly I did not want to go to the subscription payment model and be locked into any particular photo editing program.

Recently I have updated to DxO Photo LAb. I also (very rarely) use Pixelmator although from what I read online I think Affinity might be superior, however I don't do much of the kind of editing that programs like Pixelmator and Affinity provide - they both get good reviews so I chose the least expensive one, which was Pixelmator. Anyhow, DxO provides 99% of what I need in regards to editing photos.

As an aside, I use Google Photos as a kind of cloud-based back up and for web album-sharing. I copy my photo folders from my Mac to Google Photos which creates a web album. You can store unlimited high quality JPEGS in Google Photos for free. Good deal. My original files are stored on a mirrored external drive connected to my Mac, although I'm not sure how long to keep them, but with storage so inexpensive I end up not worrying about it. I suppose Google Photos is my DAM, but the pictures end up in web albums in Google Photos at the end of my workflow, such as it is. In fact, all photos that I make/keep end up on Google Photos as I have my iPhone set up with Google Photos as well, and all my images upload automatically. It's a nice feature in that I don't clog up the iPhone with photos and I have a single place that I go to view photos (i.e. the Google Photos iPhone App or web site on my Mac).

Probably more information than you asked for, sorry for the over-share. As to DxO I really like the interface, it's easy and intuitive to use. I had to customize some of the export features, but once that was set up I was pretty much good to go. With DxO you can batch edit, set up presets, and things like that, with Pixelmator (and maybe Affinity, I'm not sure) you work with one photo at a time.

I too am unhappy with Adobe and its CC policy. I have been using PS for many years but when I bought my Olympus E-M5II found that I could no longer open raw files in my PS5.
I am from the generation which doesn't trust cloudy corporations, they change the rules to suit themselves.
I have looked at a few alternatives and purchased ON1 which does pretty much what I need and I also downloaded stand alone versions of NIK software in case it vapourised.
I am, however, beginning to get very annoyed with the constant bombardment of emails from ON1 exhorting me to download more stuff and/or buy updated to the point where I am considering buying Affinity Photo.

I use GIMP and darktable. Adobe doesn't support Linux. That works since 10 years very well for me.

Hi, I have numerous issues with LR over the past year. When editing a gallery of RAW images, I typically am able to edit 20-25 images and then LR becomes insufferably slow. A quick exit and re-start makes things bearable for another 20-25 images. As this is not an ideal workflow, I have looked for alternatives and have settled for Capture One at this time. Like LR, I am able to create catalogs of photos (in my case, one per event photographed), edit the photos and export them in a variety of formats. Capture One is able to handle the 500-1,000 images I am typically editing in one session without fail. There is even a 'workspace' that provides LR users with a familiar user interface. I have found I have been able to do everything I was able to do in LR and more (especially with respect to colors and layers/local edits). There are a couple of things I miss from LR such as plugins (though, you can use 'edit with' in Capture One). I also believe LR's noise reduction is better/more aggressive. I believe that many companies are sensing a 'weakness' in Adobe at the moment and are rushing products out the door to compete with LR. Examples include Luminar, ON1 Photo RAW, Affinity Photo and others. This is an exciting time to be a photographer if you, like me, enjoy using programs to enhance your images.

I view this somewhat differently—I've been looking for a replacement for Bibble Pro image editing software since Corel bought them out. Lightroom is not a good contender here, being slow, and having the exceedingly annoying trait of insisting on dealing with things only through its own catalog. LR also makes copying settings from photo to photo much harder (I mean, nearly an order of magnitude more effort), and although it's made some huge strides at some point since I first tested this, I still think it doesn't measure up in noise elimination software, a crucial feature for me in a lot of cases. It is, in other ways, rather more powerful; they're just ways that aren't key to the important way I use it. Yes, I can now do some things in LR that previously needed PS, but I only do those things on a tiny proportion of the photos I process, and meanwhile LR makes working on every single one of those other photos slower twice.

I've never seen anything that had the slightest hint of being an actual PS competitor.

Not a frequent commenter here, but this one is something I recently dealt with.

Darktable. It's brilliant, and free. As a bonus, I don't need Windows anymore just to run Lightroom. I thought I'd be switching back and forth between operating systems but the transition was instant and painless.

I'm thinking of tinkering myself, maybe that brand spankin' new Luminar thingie debuting this Nov- the price is right and don't have to sweat the cloud...

I have been becoming increasingly unhappy with Lightroom and particulaly Adobe over the last three years. Ever since the whole CC thing launched. It's clear that Adobe has completely lost any sense of customer-centricity and they've become the classic corporation, very internally-focused, emphasizing record profits while completely forgetting about what really matters: providing value to to customers. Just like Apple of late. I'm pretty close to telling Adobe to go f*ck themselves.

Capture One 10 has become REALLY good, and ironically enough, faster for DAM functionality than Adobe LR (though that is not saying much for the last 3 years). I'll grant that their catalog functionaltiy and stability leave something to be desired, but their Fuji X-Trans RAW conversion has always been excellent, and *nobody* does skin tones like C1. Their B&W conversions have also become really excellent, and their keystoning correction is the best in the biz. The only issue I have with Phase One is they need to be able to make the fonts in the interface larger and easier tor read (they are ridiculously small) and they tend to have a rather passive aggressive sensibility about certain things (like not supporting any MF format cameras other than Phase One cameras; this comes across as a willingness to cut their nose off to spite their face that I simply do not understand).

Also, Skylum (aka MacPhun) is scheduled to do big things in 2018, once they launch DAM support, they are really going to get a lot of migration from folks presently using Adobe, and the product is VERY affordable, they are very customer-centric and release meaningful revs on a regular basis. These guys have been on a white hot run streak, and virtually none of the pros I know that use their products have anything negative to say about them. Definitely THE company to keep an eye on for 2018.

Please note that DXO Optics Pro does not work with Fujifilm raw files with the exception of the original X100 as far as I can tell. Their algorithms are based upon standard Bayer array sensors and they appear to have made a decision that adapting their software for X-Trans sensors is not worth it. I really like many things about Optics Pro, but, since I switched to Fuji X series cameras a few years ago I have been unable to use it.


Slightly OT, here is a compilation I've kept of Lightroom's file size with time -- a classic example of software bloat. The executable is now just under 40 times as big as Version 1. If you do the math, size has doubled about every 17 months.

Version - Size (Mac) - Release Date

1 - 65.2 MB - 2/19/2007
2 - 80.3 MB - 7/29/2008
3 - 100.9 MB - 10/22/2009
4 - 1.01 GB - 3/5/2012
5 - 1.26 GB - 12/2/2014
6 (CC) - 1.51 GB - 4/21/2015
Classic CC - 2.58 GB - 10/26/2017

LR does a lot more than it did in 2007, of course, but I never use Map, Book and Web, and rarely use Slideshow. If I remember correctly, Version 1 came as an .exe file. No installation was necessary, just copy the file to disk. Those days are gone.

I happily use RawTherapee these days. It's not only FREE, but is updated and improved frequently by volunteers around the world, and for my tastes, it does the best job of converting my A7R and RX1 raw files into 16-bit .tifs (which I post-process in PS CS6) of any software I've used to date.

That said, the learning curve has proved a bit steeper than I would have preferred, but did I mention it's FREE? For me, FREE buys a lot of patience, especially when the end results are so good!

A long time age (before 2008), I used CorelDraw and PhotoPaint in Windows. I got totally pissed off at Microsoft when I couldn't activate Win XP after a hardware upgrade, and I started experimenting with Linux. My "Photoshop" equivalent is the Gimp. I've never had the experience of

being able to do something I've wanted to do.
I use Corel AfterShotPro for raw file conversion, because it was a cheap upgrade from Bibble, and because there's a Linux version.

Switching from Lightroom may be premature, with little immediate impetus unless one buys a new camera not yet on the market and thus not yet supported by LR 6.13. It might be better to await developments and testing for a few months before deciding upon a major change.

Even you later buy a new, unsupported camera, Lightroom 6's ability to natively use DNG files provides some short to intermediate term flexibility. DNG Converter can do a generic DNG conversion while DXO Photolab can do a camera/lens specific DNG conversion.

In a word, no! LR I can do without, but not Photoshop for serious fine art printmaking. Layer and mask sophistication, luminosity masking, the photoshop Info tool for critical evaluation of highlight and shadow reproduction final numerical values, etc., are not equaled by any of the new image editing newcomer software (and I am constantly evaluating each and every one of them!).

At $11 per month, I'm OK with Adobe's subscription model for PS, LR, and Bridge bundle. If adobe wants me to move files to its cloud, it will have to offer 1tb at less than $10 per month. $10 per TB per month for cloud storage is a bridge too far for me at this point in time, but the market keeps evolving, so we must constantly re-evaluate.

My photo editing needs are pretty modest, not much more than what we did in the darkroom.

I learned basic procedures on Adobe Photo Deluxe, a predecessor to Elements. It was Bundled with my first (1997-98) digital camera, a 2 megapixel Minolta Dimage V that had a crazy tethered lens that you could remove from the camera and shoot around corners or stick it down into a confined space.*
I also noodled around with Paint.net, and together they made a very crude version of Photoshop.
Then I tried Photoshop, and for my needs found it too complicated.
I tried GIMP, which I found to have no soul-it was like kissing your sister- and it was just as complicated as Photoshop.
All of this was before the debut of Lightroom.

As I looked into my next editing software, I learned that some of them offered asset management, and because I lack the Organization Gene, this seemed attractive.
ACDSee Pro 5 seemed to fit my needs, was modestly priced, and the tabs and keyboard commands were what I was used to in Windows. For an old dog, not having to learn new tricks was a good thing.
For my purposes, this software does a very good job. I particularly like the Light EQ feature, which, like an audio equalizer, breaks the dynamic range down into sections that can be adjusted with individual sliders.

It seems that the screen on my new laptop has such high resolution, that the Version 5 display gets squeezed down, so I upgraded to Pro 10.

* https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGakD-Xj7PA

Shortly after you mentioned it, Mike, and because you mentioned it, I purchased Affinity Photo, and I've been using it ever since. The one thing it's lacking versus Capture One, which I was using previously, is image management. Admittedly, that's a bit of a pain, but I somehow get by. For everything else, I've found Affinity Photo to be a true pleasure every time I use it. Truly intuitive, with (nearly) everything I want, and nothing I don't. The fact it's just $49, including lifetime upgrades, is fantastic. Affinity Photo definitely stands on its own merits, and I love using it -- but the fact it's not Adobe is, I confess, an additional point of great satisfaction.

For some reason that I still haven't taken time to investigate, Capture One Pro stopped working after I installed Affinity. Probably it's coincidental and I just need to reinstall C1 Pro, but I haven't bothered with it yet because I'm so happy using Affinity. The Affinity tutorials on Vimeo are great, by the way.

I've used COne since around 2003, with a brief interlude of something called "Raw Shooter," which Adobe bought and disappeared. I don't use the DAM view, just the "sessions," since my cataloguing suits my memory processes just fine. Things that Adobe won't let you do, like modify the degree of distortion correction provided for a lens, COne can do. Things that used to require Photoshop, like local corrections on layers, COne Pro now does. There's a paid upgrade roughly once every two years, but the old versions keep working on everything released by that date if you don't upgrade.

I love Photoshop and ACR and have no need for Lightroom, their subscription model is beautifully done and a bargain.

All technology companies (web hosts are notorious) grow greedy and incompetent over time. Once you fellows beta test a few years of upstart competitors maybe I’ll switch to the best one. But I’m tired of paying to provide testing services to start ups.

From my earlier comment:

"I absolutely hate the idea of software suscription and will abandon LR as soon as my perpetual copy doesn't support my cameras. I also own Capture One Pro 10 and the results are great but... the fact that they refuse to include an Edit History is out of my comprehension.

I also archive my pictures using the file system but a good DAM helps search and analyse your work; just don't import the originals to the catalog. Buying Media Pro together with Capture One makes Phase One combo too expensive, though."

After reading many comments, I'd insist that a filesystem-centric archive is not incompatible with a good DAM. I keep my files into an autosorting network of folders that works perfectly to my needs and taste. They are not ingested into the DAM, but linked. This way I can tag, search and analyze my work without modifying the colection structure. Aperture couldn't do that at first, but it could later. LR can do it as I expect any other DAM worth its name will.

Switched to corel's Aftershot Pro and Paintshop Pro yearsago and never regretted it:much cheaper,less resource hungry, great utube learning videos, easy to use and do everything I need!

I've read the various comments, here and in many other places, about this issue and I'm surprised by the vehemence - obviously, many people feel much more strongly about this than I do.

I have a subscription to the Adobe Photography plan and I use Lightroom a lot. I use Photoshop very little, although I did have fun recently playing with focus stacking. Since the change late last month I've decided that I will stick to Lightroom Classic rather than CC, but i am still exploring ways of integrating an iPad into the workflow when on trips, and that would require use of Lightroom CC.

I'm just one of those people who doesn't object to the subscription model - music (I'm an Apple Music subscriber), Adobe, my broadband, etc. I'm happy with the model.

As an avid DARKroom worker, LIGHTroom was the obvious way to go when the digital tsunami came.
I stared with LR1 and now it's LR6, all the way, for the time being although...

I am absolutely not found of that so called monthly Adobe Cloudy Tax! It feels like an open access for BigBrother (=Adobe) to run around in our 'workspace' and (mis-)using our work/inspiration/initiative/creativity as a pool of information to improve their products they then sell to us.
In other words: we are feeding Adobe with free elementary information, via the cloud, which they distill into 'new' business.
By this, we are paying twice, once for the rent and then again for the 'improvements' (updates)...

But, on the other hand, LR is a very efficient tool allowing me to earn my daily bread, and I am hooked!

So, I am hoping that Adobe's Overpaid Self Glorified Managing Wolfs will soon or later realize that by taxing us, they will loose the confidence and trust of their clients.
And to anticipate this 'crisis of confidence' they will have to make us happy with an ever lasting LR(7) stand alone, they must do; remember 1789 and the guillotine!

But: am I to naive?



It seems that their are two separate groups interested in this topic- professionals who are working with hundreds or thousands of files and the former darkroom junkies such as myself who work on a few at at a time for creating fine prints. I currently pay the subscription for LR and use the NIK plugins using olympus OMD cameras. I spend more time taking pictures (and other life pursuits) than evaluating imaging software. However when I read about how different image processing software works better for converting RAW files from various cameras I get totally lost. Is there a resource anywhere online where I can read reviews of these various options and decide if there is a better option for small batch fine art photography editing and processing?

At US$10 a month, the price of having PS alone was cheaper than upgrading it every other version for me, and to me that has value, regardless of the model: Licensing mean the software never truly is yours, and outdated software isn't very useful; Adobe's tying of ACR to PS versions aside, OS updates means running old software has an ever-increasing chance of not working with each iteration. I still don't really understand the resistance to it past a purely emotional and "principled" level; on a pragmatic level, it makes no difference to me, and in fact worked out better.

What does make a difference for the worse is the change with the new Lightroom, and having the old Lightroom being renamed to Lightroom Classic. I expect Adobe eventually will shift to a true cloud-centric model and sell a combined PaaS instead of just paying a lease on software. Now that to me has a real difference in practice as I'm not keen on having terabytes worth of files in the cloud even with a 1 Gbps connection, and I'm not paying all that money when I can get it done so much cheaper (US$10 a month for 1TB dedicated solely to Adobe programs? I'd rather give that same amount to Dropbox). That's my pragmatic take.

So while I'm not in urgent need of moving off Lightroom as I expect LR Classic to be around for a couple of years at least (Photoshop is still too indispensable)/ I'm looking forward to a new DAM/mass-editor that's at least as fast as the new LR Classic, if not faster, and hopefully cheaper in the long-run too.

For Nikon users Capture-NXD is a surprisingly good option. It is updated (latest on Sep-2017 !!) and gives very good colors and details. The latest version is also much faster than I remembered. You don't have to wait and wait to see real-time adjustments on screen.
What I miss most from Lightroom is the gradual filter. It is such a great tool.
Also, the sliders in LR are easier for me than using all the curves.
But Capture-NXD is very powerful and gives maybe the best image quality for Nikon.
p.s. it's free :-)

For a while now, many have been resigned to paying a monthly subscription fee for LR/PS. But then Adobe renamed LR to LR Classic and introduced a new Lightroom CC with cloud storage, and people started freaking out, feeling that they will eventually be forced to use (and pay for) cloud storage. Whether or not that will happen remains to be seen. Personally, I don't think it will; Adobe would not want to see an exodus from their brand. Even if it was on their minds, the recent firestorm should be enough to extinguish that notion.

I'm going to stick to the non-cloud versions of PS and LR as long as I can on my iMac. But Apple has warned that they will remove all support for 32-bit programs in a future MacOS release. While the main LR and PS programs are 64-bit, there are side programs that are 32-bit. So at that point they may well break.

At that point I'll just bite the bullet and subscribe. It's a pittance compared to all my other subscriptions (cable/internet, Neflix, cellphone, landline).

In the home computer industry, we have come to expect software support for free. That's not how it works in commercial world. Most IBM customers rent their software. Otherwise you pay 15-20% of the purchase price every year for support. However, our "free" support is so often so bad as to be worthless.

The only company with "free" support that's good is Apple, and it's not really "free." It's part of the "white tax," you're paying for it in the much higher up-front cost of the hardware. I think it's a fine deal.

I was an Aperture user for many years. When Apple orphaned it, I switched to Lightroom, but even after several years of (amateur) use I could never get used to its cluttered and unintuitive UI. Its tools are great and I didn't see performance problems, but it just never felt right.

About six months ago I gave Capture One a try because I could get their Sony version for $50.00. I've found it very easy to use, and its UI is comfortable.

It has some plusses compared to Lightroom. Its highlight/shadow tool is better as are its color tools. It also has a much better adjustment layer system than Lightroom.

On the downside, it does not have stacks and it doesn't have a way to automatically upload to services like Flickr or Amazon Photos, and I don't find its sharpening tools as easy to use. It doesn't have built-in HDR or panorama, but I have Affinity for that.

While NIK tools would not work as a plug-in, it does have an "Edit with" command that works with stand-alone software.

I think Capture One plus Affinity and some specialized packages (maybe for HDR) are my path going forward. When Capture One updates to v 11 I'll probably get the full version so I can edit my old Canon files.

I am new to photography and from what I have read and researched, it seems like there are two types of editing software, ones which include file management and have good enough editing tools and those which do not have file management and have advanced editing tools. I wonder why we can’t have advanced editing tools and file management in one package.

I use LR and PS because when I bought my camera about 6 years ago that is what most people were talking about. I also have DXO Photo Lab which I like for somethings, NIK which I like for other things and Luminar which I want to like. My editing eye is not yet as discerning as the other more experienced photographers here so my criteria is different, which editor is easiest to use and do what I want.

I find Lightroom easy to use, Photoshop is not. I like DXO for many things but even with the NIK integration, I am not sure it will be a replacement for Lightroom. It seems like Camera One is more software than I need. Based on the feedback in this post, I should give Affinity a try.

2018 is the year I choose and stick with an editor which has file management tools and an editor which does advanced editing. That is unless someone comes out with an editor that does both. I hope not, I’m tired of thinking about it.

There are a couple of things worth mentioning about the Affinity range from Serif Software. First is that all Affinity products are fully cross platform, Mac/Windows, and the feature set is identical. Also, the file format is the same for both Photo and Designer so you can switch back and forth between pixel and vector editing. Last is that "lifetime" upgrades are not free; upgrades within the 1.x range are no cost, but the upgrade from 1.x to 2.x will be a paid upgrade.

Full disclosure: I have been an Affinity user since Adobe introduced Creative Cloud. There have been the usual problems with a new platform, but I am satisfied with my decision. And, no, it won't work for everyone.

It's nice to see so many others ticked at Adobe for the subscription scam. The math may work for pros and others who regularly jump at the major updates but I've avoided that. Still using LR5 for DAM and basic raw conversion and CS5 for virtually all image processing because of its essential tools such as Info for critical examination of color and level values and its colorspace options (I do a lot of work in Lab). These programs do plenty even though I ceased updating them years ago when the subscription scam started. All my digital cameras produce DNGs. When I owned Fujis I used Silkypix a little and then Capture 1 (never liked C1's user interface but otherwise it was good). I'll need something for DAM when Lightroom turns into a pumpkin finally but I don't know what. I have Affinity and will probably turn to that if CS5 is also crippled due to a future OS update. But learning Affinity has been a chore and I'm avoiding the switch. One reminder for all -- I don't recall where I first learned this but it seems more important than ever: never save files in proprietary formats like psd because someday someone like Adobe may hold you up just for the right simply to open your own files.

Grayscale Management

I'm currently experimenting with piezography digital negatives for kallitype printing and it seems one requirement is for Grayscale management with a Gray Gamma working space of 2.2 in order to see the image properly prior to printing.

Unfortunately I haven't been able to find an editing package other than Photoshop that has any ability for Grayscale management.

If anyone knows of another package, please let me know.


I've been using the standalone Lightroom 6 for about 2 years. I started using it around the same time I bought a new iMac and my first Fuji camera. Prior to this I used whatever software came bundled with my cameras for Raw conversion and basic adjustments then I used Picasa for a few touchups to print. Obviously I'm not a big photo manipulator. I'm also not much interested in the technology so I muddle through rather than engage in deep study of procedures. I've been happy with LR6.

At present, I'm inclined to forego any subscription software. I don't need or want most of the features already available to me with LR6 so why complicate things and pay more in the process? I certainly don't need or want Photoshop. I've had several versions of PS Elements in the past and I never used them after a few months. Too complicated, too involved. I also don't really care to learn new procedures just to accomplish what I'm already accomplishing.

Like many, I've been looking at potential replacements for LR. Thus far, Iridient looks most promising and it's affordable. I might give it a try.
But I hesitate to learn another procedure and invest the time involved only to be forced to chuck it and start over at some future point. Too frustrating.

So I guess I'm gonna stick with LR6 until such time as I absolutely must change. That will come when Apple no longer supports the program or Lightroom no longer supports the camera files I use. Maybe I'll eventually just switch to out of camera JPEGs only and not sweat it.

Post and conversion tools are the worst kind of rabbit hole. Each is slightly different and yet it's hard to put your finger on precisly what that difference is. Sure, the color science and sharpness is different from one to another but if you start heavily tweaking you can get very close. It ends up being highly subjective.

For my part I've gone back to Photoshop because I realized that its approach works best for me--given that my target is a classic, unmanipulated straight photo. But I don't often use ACR for conversions. I prefer Raw Photo Processor (RPP) and Color Perfect. That is, if I exposed well. If I need to recover highlights I'll use Capture One or ACR/Lightroom.

I abandoned Lightroom a couple of years ago for Capture One but am back using Lightroom. On my machine it's a lot faster, especially after the latest update. It's much better as a DAM tool (again on my machine and for my needs).

Capture One is very good. But I discovered that I was fighting its tendencies. There is a reason why it is used in fashion. It creates a very meticulous file that has a "commercial look", but that's not always what I'm going for. It's expensive to rent, more so than the the Adobe offering. Plus, as I said, it's buggy on my machine and very slow as a DAM.

I still shoot film and the workflow that I found works well is producing a raw scan and running it through Color Perfect ( a plugin for Photoshop). You end up with a very flat file that is easy to work with. There is a similar workflow for using Color Perfect with Raw files. It also works very well for certain kinds of images.

The above reintroduced me to the Photoshop-centric workflow. The basic tools in Photoshop are, to me, still the best. Curves with eye dropper read-out so you can both accurately set black and white points and color correct middle, quarter, and three-quarter tones are easy to use and very precise. I might push an image in a certain direction after this initial correction but it gives me a solid foundation. I never feel like I have this strong base when I use other tools (C1 has eye-dropper readouts but I hate the way they work). It's always push it around until it feels right, and then your eyes trick you. Also, luminance masks have been added to Lightroom but they are still much more powerful in Photoshop.

OK, I'll stop here. See, a rabbit hole.

Forgot to mention in my previous post that I've moved back to film (4x5 & med format) and scan the negatives to get a digital negative for printing out to a larger negative for kallitype contact printing. I'm too old to be carrying a 17x20 camera around (can't afford it either).

Piezography gives me a workflow but needs the grayscale management.


It strikes me that a lot of people are in denial. I've been in and out of the software business for over 40 years. It's brutal. If you asked me to start naming software that disappeared, companies that went out of business, products that were abandoned due to OS changes, you'd still be listening to me hours from now.

Look around. The products that have long and deep histories and are likely to continue to do so have transitioned (or started to transition) to SaaS (Software as a Service) structures. Adobe, Microsoft, Oracle, Autodesk, Filemaker, and more. A few, like the Apple stuff, are subsidized, but because of that you get odd things like Aperture being dropped because the company saw smartphone photography as more important.

Follow the money. The companies promising "for life" updates (there are still a few) have high hurdles in generating revenue streams that keep them going. They all hit a ceiling of new users and then begin a decline that eventually means they're gone. Others are hiding SaaS fees in annual update fees. If they don't get enough takers on an update because it's considered lame, the coffers dry up.

Look, I don't like Adobe. I think they're terrible at customer support among other things. Their installers are a mess, and they try to communicate way too much private information to the mothership. But they've found an ongoing revenue source that allows them to commit to ongoing development. They're not going away, though we should insist that they develop better customer practices.

At Last, a file system that has given credulity to me all of these years
" because I keep files in folders according to the quirky way my brain. remembers them"......Thanks for the quote Mike.

One concern that I haven't seen addressed is what to do with your existing catalog? I have several thousand images that are all tagged (I do depend on Lightroom's asset management) and the good ones have been developed, mostly in Lightroom. If I move to another DAM/development program, I don't want to lose that work.

Do any of the Lightroom alternatives understand the metadata that Lightroom uses for asset management and image manipulation? If I move to a new program, will I have to re-develop the several hundred photos that I keep in my portfolio?

I've been using Lightroom since Apple stopped supporting Aperture. Recently I added MacPhun's Luminar to use as a plug-in, and I like it enough that I'm going to give that platform a try as a Lightroom substitute once they get their act together for file management.

I know that, having a faultless memory (that’ll change ;-(), you are not interested in DAM, but ACDSee has a Mac Beta version currently which may be worth a look for some. I’ve seen it recommended a lot over the years by Windows users so seems to be a mature product.

I'm also exploring giving up the Adobe tax and have found Capture One to be an incredibly capable, but not overly intuitive program. (There are great tutorials out there though).
I installed it alongside LR and simply go back and forth between them. I find I like the results of Capture One processing a bit more than results I get with Lightroom, even though I'm extremely adept at Lightroom processing. I process by feel, so my comparisons are in no way scientific. YMMV.
BTW, don't compare Capture One to Photoshop. Compare it to Lightroom. A better app to compare against Photoshop would be Affinity Photo.
For the price it's got to be one of the best photo software values out there. I find myself using it more and more in place of Photoshop and it supports all of the plugins I use.
So far, with the results I'm seeing, I think a Capture One/Affinity Photo workflow is probably in my future.
Another package that deserves a look IMO is Photoninja from PictureCode, the same folks who made Noiseninja. I was quite impressed with the results, but already owning LR and Capture One, I couldn't justify adding it to my workflow.

Perhaps Photoshop Elements would meet your needs. You can still use ACR and Photoshop plug-ins with it.

One more thing to add, I don’t begrudge $10 a month for Lightroom and Photoshop. In fact, I’ve always thought it my best software deal. Capture One costs $15 a month to rent, and you don’t get Photoshop. However, I think many of us are reaching a saturation point with monthly fees in the $5 to $15 range. Everyone wants you to join in. So at some point I begin to pare down the less used, less crucial stuff. HBO gets cut immediately after Game of Thrones ends. Filmstruck, you were great, but I hardly watched you. In the end, I always keep Lightroom, Netflix, Amazon Prime, a music service (currently Spotify), Microsoft Office (painful, but needed), and a few Patreon subscriptions, including TOP.

I can understand some people not wanting any subscriptions, or as few as possible. It can feel like “death from a thousand cuts.”

And Adobe should have called the “classic” version Lightroom Pro. That would have helped alleviate fears.

For Nikon, capture NXD is good enough for me. No local adjustments, but good control of global stuff.

GIMP for local adjustments. It's 8 bit software, so get your values placed properly in NXD before you convert to tif!

After too many Lightroom issues, I switched to Darktable and GIMP three years ago -- and switched from Windows to Linux in the process. I've never looked back.

Though I was afraid the transition would be difficult, the initial challenge of post-processing with LR or any such product is figuring out what you need to do to your images. Once you understand that, figuring out how to do those things on other software is fairly straightforward.

Linux is also a vast improvement over Windows. It's simple and fast and easy to control.

For DAM I use DigiKam, which does a great job of handling tags and captions and helping me find what I want from my 60,000+ images.

All this is used to make 20x30 black and white prints that I sell. I've had far fewer problems since making the transition than I ever had with Windows and Adobe.

Finally, all this software is free.

I had some comments about this, but Thom Hogan basically said everything that I would say. Software is a brutal business and most people making blanket declarations of principle about not wanting to "rent" things or whatever have no real understanding of it works.

I personally continue to use LR and PS because I'm still convinced that I need masked adjustment layers (narrator: he doesn't really need masked adjustment layers). Once I get over that neurosis, or once they force me to store everything in the servers, I'll find another tool and re-process my 20 year old back catalog of keepers (a few thousand pictures). I don't look forward to that day.

Oh also:

>Do any of the Lightroom alternatives understand the metadata that Lightroom uses ... ?

The answer is not really. That's the main reason I'm not moving, for now.

My filing system is my own with folders named "yymmdd + key word(s)". Independence from software suppliers and their fiing system has proven worthwhile.

I keep the Cap1 catalogues in the corresponding RAW file folder and I have aliases of frequently used ones in a separate folder on my desktop. Simple.

I am a Sony camera user so the program was more or less free.

BTW I remember the good old days when Adobe was user focused, that was 20 years ago. I got acquainted with somebody at Adobe HQ and when he came to Hambug he came over for dinner one night. He was an ethnologist and visited the large magazine editorial offices here to see how the users worked with the program with a view to improve the interface. Their approach made me a Photoshop user, but it was long ago.

From all the above posts, it would be great to have a fairly simple choice. I notice that the Nik Silver EFX2 is hugely popular-me too, especially for IR conversions.
Let's face it- the bean counters are running Adobe and to hell with the customers.

My previous comment from your earlier article was for Corel's Paintshop Pro 2018. I forgot to mention Corel's Aftershot Pro. Corel originally worked really well, then for a few years it became quirky and problematic.
Last few years vastly improved. Like another poster said..pretty good youtube info.
I don't know if it supports Mac though.

I will never forgive Apple for dumping Aperture. I committed to it when LR was still beta and loved the interface, speed and integration into the Apple ecosystem. With all the cash they have on hand, they could afford to support things they should. Don’t get in to the “Pro” application business if you don’t intend to stay. I switched to LR 2 years ago and still hate how slow and clunky it is. I also miss the integration with the Apple ecosystem. I do like that the file structure is open and under my control rather than squirreled away in a proprietary database. I have Iridient for “difficult” file conversions but almost never use it. Aperture gave me the best of all worlds and was powerful, fast and easy at the same time.
I guess I should’ve known better. They have a history of consistency in creation of hardware and OS software but have always been irrational and unpredictable when it came to other software and web-based platforms (HyperCard, FileMaker, ClarisWorks, iWeb, etc). Heck, their integrated apps notes, reminders and the like have unpredictable behaviors. It’s almost as if on purpose to make room for independent developers. I have finally learned a lesson from all this and now dabble in using alternatives in case a program I like gets dumped by them. Unfortunately, I did not do so with regard to photography and suffered a step learning curve that I’m still hiking with regard to LR.

A big problem is that Lightroom is a single program that does two very different jobs: image editor and DAM (digital asset management).
This might be useful in the short term but it will cause problems in the long run, because those kinds of programs are very different.

Image editors change very often and they they are easier to replace: just learn a new interface and you are done. I am not saying that this is easy in absolute terms, simply it is easier than changing DAM software.

A DAM software is more static, if it has all the features you need there is no need to modify it, and adding new features is a rather simple task. So, if you use a separate DAM program, you are unlikely to change it.
The problem is that it took a lot of time to store info in your catalog, so switching is a big problem. This might be the reason why a DAM feature was added to Lightroom: lock-in.

I believe that a DAM program should be selected with decades of future life in mind. For this reason an open source program would be a natural choice:
- data are stored in an open format, so you will always be able to extract them;
- the source code is available so, if the author wins at the lottery (or dies...) and he abandons the program somebody else will always be able to pick up the code and add new features if needed.

I am a software developer and one of my toy projects is such a program: http://vvvp.sourceforge.net/
anybody can test it. Of course it does not have all the features of Lightroom but it does what I need and it is free. New features might be added if requested by a fair amount of users.
I hope that Mike will not mind for this bit of self-promotion: I do not make any money from this program.

Mike- PS6 (Own disk) and Photoninja. Tried many other, most have been already mentioned. Using Olympus Em 5 mark two and Pen F cameras. Use PS Bridge/Olympus to select, move to Photoninja for simple quick adjustments and finish fine-tuning in PS6. Finished work is used for web posting and printing (Epson machines).

It was after Google killed Snapseed for the computer that I was forced to find an alternative. Nik's U-Point system was the ultimate in darkroom style of image editing. So, I've gone the extreme route and have images ready to go straight out of camera jpeg+raw; also, I have gone back to some picture taking in the analog world via Instax and Polaroid/Impossible.

Does Elements count as not-Photoshop? I use that for most of my (.jpg) editing. Should they decide to make that Cloud-only, I'll get a copy of the last standalone version and use that. It'll probably last me out.

When I do need to use the raw files I shoot, I convert them into .dng files with Adobe Raw Convertor and edit them with ACR/Elements. It's enough for my needs.

I upgraded to LR6 after that guy in the parking garage whispered that it would be the last standalone version, and it should work well for the next couple of years. LR does everything I need with my pictures, I like the database function more and more, and I'm not exactly cutting-edge in my camera purchases. So I'll stick with what I've got for a while, and see what's available when that setup starts to creak.

I appreciate Adobe's desire for steady cash flow, and the cost of updating software. But, c'mon - not all that cash is going to care and maintenance of their propellor-heads -- their 8Q's are pretty upfront about their (up to) $2.5 billion stock buy-back program.

After initially balking at the "subscription model" for software, I have come to believe that it is the best thing for both sellers and buyers of software.

Why? Because it aligns their interests with one another. As a user of Lightroom, I need to know that the software will continue to be updated to account for changes to the underlying platform, as well as new cameras and lenses. A monthly fee gives Adobe a predictable revenue stream and a clear signal of consumer interest.

The key here is to think of Adobe's software, not as a "thing" that I buy and thereafter have, but as an artifact of a four-to-six-way relationship between myself, Adobe, Apple, and manufacturers of cameras, lenses, and printers.

I doubt that this will convince anyone who hates the model, but maybe it will provide someone some food for thought.

I'm OK with Adobe's subscription model. It costs about the same as upgrading every few years. The advice I followed is that if you use a camera than stick with Lightroom Classic CC on your desketop and don't migrate to CC mobile. Lightroom collections synch with LR mobile on your phone (Albums on the phone).

Thus, I'm able to keep my photo folder storage naming process and incorporate my smartphone pictures all integrated in one processing program on my desktop.

While I think Adobe understands photography, I don't think it understands how to communicate with photographers neither camera enthusiasts or iphone only photographers!

Just ordered the MacPhun software: cheap enough to justify a comparison, plus it seems to offer some advanced techniques (and no subscription). Not adverse to subscription model, but wary of the push to make
adobe stuff 100% Cloud access.

After a somewhat obsessive search for an Aperture replacement, I narrowed it down to Capture One and DxO. I found them both to be quite capable programs, although doing different things. Capture One's learning curve is a little more daunting and, since I don't do a whole lot of post processing, I ended up using DxO Elite. This has worked really well for me but I'd have to say you would probably want something like Affinity if you do a lot post work. The recent add-on of Nik technology is a step forward, but DxO Photo Lab as it's now known is not a full replacement for Photoshop. OTOH, if you want a really great Raw developer and have less need for post, then DxO PhotoLab is great alternative (unless you use Fuji).

I'd say that if you can wait a little while (say 6 months), there's going to be a whole lot of new upgrades from Skylum, Pixelmator, etc. coming out that will be worth checking out.

I am still at LR 5 and have resisted the software as a service band-wagon. I have the Fuji X-T2 and have discovered the wonderful world of JPEGS straight from the camera. Smaller files, quicker editing (if any), and fast transfer.

I use folders to store my files and I do not use the DAM features of LR.

Of course, for professional use, I can see why someone would need the latest LR and PS so a subscription would make perfect sense. But, for a hobbyist like me, JPEG and the occasional DNG conversion is where it is at.

I use LR and PS. I'm subscribed and planning to continue. I like LR very much, everything is quite intuitive for me. For a while I tried Capture One 8, but I didn't like their catalog (sessions) system.

Mac user so this doesn’t apply to everyone. I’ve been using Photos as a DAM solution for a while for the family type photos. It stores and processes my raw files (although for those kinds of pics I never do much more than tweak a JPEG.) You can export your raw and JPEG combo if you have a photo you want to get serious about (or copy all images to your hard drive and see them as “referenced” photos much like aperture. I’ve been using the Nik software without it being a plug in for a while with my cameras raw converter (Olympus) and playing with Affinity as a PS alternative on stuff I’m more serious about. I’m a fan of Nik’s Upoint and need to explore Dx0’s newest offering. Apple photos is looking much more capable lately with the latest version having both plug ins (Extensions in apple speak) and the ability to Edit in an external app.

Somewhere out there will be an Adobe Product Manager reading these comments and cringing quietly. I really dislike the subscription model, mainly because I do not see any value in the monthly fee -- unlike Microsoft's Office 365 offer for example (with storage). Online storage being the only subscription value added service I'd purchase, I don't see how Adobe can offer that to me (since I know that online cloud storage is pretty much owned by Amazon and Microsoft these days)... Same goes for Apple with iCloud for example (they use AWS and Azure I believe).

So, I'm still stuck on Lightroom 4.4. And my cameras all shoot DNG. I'm not sure what I'm missing. Maybe I'm the equivalent of a modern day photographic cave man?


ACR in PS CS6 won’t open X-T2 files: See the list at https://helpx.adobe.com/camera-raw/kb/camera-raw-plug-supported-cameras.html

As for your comment about ‘believe your own eyes over what you are told, I agree. I tried two suggestions for RAF files and they are worse the CS6 or LR6.

Well, I still use Aperture for importing images onto a hard drive, using a referenced file system, in the event I want to move to another program. (Aperture still works on my computer running macOS 10.12 Sierra). I mostly use RAW files. When I have an image I want to print or upload to the Web, I use Nikon's Capture NX-D to do the RAW processing/corrections, and export a TIFF copy of the RAW file. I will do exposure and color corrections and other types of editing in Aperture, and often export from there. (I like Aperture's correction and editing tools better than those in other programs.) If more serious editing is needed I will use either Pixelmator or Affinity Photo to do that, and then export the final image with whichever of the two programs I chose to edit with. This system is a bit cumbersome, but it suits me for now.

Affinity is supposedly working on an LR-style DAM program. If I was going to jump off of the Aperture ship I might give Apple's Photos a try, with plug-ins. But I would more likely be satisfied with Luminar 2018 or Capture One Pro.

I agree with Thom Hogan; software offered for a one-time price is not sustainable in the long term. Affinity Photo is offered for $50 with "updates available as we improve." With a fairly saturated market, I just don't see them getting so much revenue that they could really do that much with it.

Having said that, I was inspired by these comments to download the trial and I'm very impressed with the software. Focus stacking (they call it "focus merging") is much faster than photoshop, is more accurate than photoshop and touching up has been easier than photoshop. $50 is cheaper than the standalone, focus-stacking applications I've tried out so I am going to pay for the full license while staying with my Lightroom/PS subscription as well.

I like the comments (above) by Matt O’Brien: “I have my fallback scenario in place already”

We should all have a “fallback scenario”. A plan B. A way out. If it’s one thing the digital age should teach us, it’s not to get to deeply ingrained with something your not prepared, or able, to walk away from.
Adobe change their business model. Apple ditched Aperture. Google acquired Nik. No company is immune to change, I’ve seen many. At any time changes could come to DXO, Phase one, Flickr, Facebook, etc, etc. You need to ask yourself occasionally, what happens if I lose access to this way of life / business that I’m accustomed too? Will it be a catastrophe or an inconvenience? Is the risk worth the reward.
Having said that, I should have made myself a ‘Plan B’ for Lightroom a while back. I’m not planning on switching just yet, but I have been reminded to review my ways and think to a future time when I may decide to leave Adobe. Strange that it should come to that - I would think companies should bend over backwards to keep us in their ecosystem, but from time to time, they find ways of encouraging us to leave. The current Lightroom fiasco is simply a reminder of that.

Currently on vuescan for film to 16bit tiff then Nik apps as standalone.

Have affinity - excellent. Use it for colour grading and film spotting, also profiling files for printing.

DCRAW command line raw converter for digital b&w - extract only luminance, no interpolation. Then custom macro in affinity to "join the dots" and tonal adjustment.

About to let Adobe sub lapse - just not using it and portfolio website development not able to use custom html, so migration to a new provider (cargo collective).

ON1 resize as digital enlarger, has a DAM built in now, but this new feature crashes on my old Mac. YMMV.

I started with Lightroom from v1.0 onwards. I used LR first on a PC and then on a Mac since late 2011. I switched to Aperture a few years later when Apple dropped the price. I loved Aperture. When Apple decided they were not going to support Aperture, I decided separate my DAM from RAW conversion and image manipulaiton. I switched to using Photomatix for asset management and DxO Pro, now DxO PhotoLab. I prefer it this way. I love the speed of sifting and tagging photos in Photomatix. DxO works fine for me. For the occasional time I feel like HDR or panoramas I use Photomatix & Hugin.

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