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Saturday, 04 November 2017

Comments

I'm definitely in the minority, but I noticed several other people who are sticking with Lightroom and the subscription model. As long as genuinely useful things are being added regularly, I'm fine with the $10/month I spent. In Lightroom Classic CC, the range mask is definitely genuinely useful.

Way more importantly though, I'm only interested in a non-destructive workflow, and I make use of Lightroom's DAM features (collections, smart collections, keywords, etc.) Lightroom's integration with the photo hosting service I use (SmugMug) is absolutely first rate (thanks to SmugMug doing a good job on their plug-in).

Also, I have zero desire to figure out how to transfer all the adjustments I've made to my RAW files into some other system. I'm always going back to images I like and applying new skills and tools. Good luck doing that if you've baked your changes into the file you happen to have in your folder.

The other thing to remember is that RAW developers are constantly improving. Lightroom doesn't make me happy with the way it handles my Fuji X-T2 RAFs. Iridient X Transformer (IXT) on the other hand is fabulous. And IXT is getting better as the developer works away at it. The way I use IXT also improves. I just replaced a set of DNGs created with my "Version 1" IXT process with my new improved "Version 2" process. In Lightroom, it's dead simple. I keep all my source files for each catalogue in one folder. It's a simple matter of copying the new DNGs created by IXT into the Source folder. Done. Next time I open the image in Lightroom it's using my new Version 2 development settings.

Anyway, the good news is there are tons of choices out there for people who are not interested in Adobe!

Mike, you've dragged all the Adobe haters out of their basement and darkroom hidey holes. In traditional fashion those who are happy with a product will say nothing, those who are not will howl, and howl they did.

I am not an Adobe fan boy but I suspect the unhappy commenters here are a microscopic portion of the users of the Adobe programs, those who do not want to simply pay a reasonable fee for a product used by more photographers than any other in the marketplace.

As someone above said, there are an awful lot of software companies that are no more, small and large. What chance do these other companies, each of whom will fight over a smaller and smaller segment have of surviving long term? I have used LR and PS almost since their inception. Nothing I've seen is more comprehensive or better. Yes, LR could be faster, they could add more features, PS could be less complex, but really, does anyone think there's another program out there that can do even a fraction of what one can accomplish with the Adobe suites. Perfect, no, workable, yes.

I'm a retired bum and do some photography almost every day. $120/year, $0.32/day for something so important in my life is a pittance. How much do each of us spend on cell phones, cable, internet, even latte's? Photography is important to me. Amortize a decent new digital camera over its expected life, e.g. a $2,500 camera and lens combo over 5 years, 1825 days, it's $1.36/day!

End of discussion.

[In fairness, I did ask for comments from people who were auditioning for replacements for Adobe products or had migrated away from Adobe products. Maybe one day we will do a thread for people who love LR and PS and are perfectly happy with them and don't want anything else, and then the comments will have a different tone. --Mike]

One thing I did not see mentioned. The monetary charges for anything Adobe are in U.S. currency, which makes the costs extremely expensive for this Canadian, account our dollar keeps dropping in value compare to the U.S. Greenback. Plus there is the 13 percent harmonized goods and services tax on top of it all.
Had used the iCloud backup on Mac at one point, it too was charged in U.S. dollars, plus a service charge plus the 13 percent harmonized sales tax. And as the Canadian dollar dropped in value, the storage charge increased. Found it simpler use a modified R.A.I.D. system for my backups and erased the Mac iCloud account.

I've used Picture Window Pro (from dl-c.com) for years. Mr. Sachs has made the most recent version of it available for free now. The Adobe thing it doesn't do is adjustment layers, but it has better mask creation tools than Lightroom.

Since I am a Creative Cloud subscriber, I have always used Lightroom and Photoshop. Lightroom is my "contact sheet" for organizing my work. I also do basic corrections and then I move it into Photoshop where for years my go-to software was Silver Efex—that is until my latest upgrade to High Sierra which rendered it useless. It still works in Lightroom but I feel my days are numbered so I have been looking for a new Photoshop Plugin which would allow me to make small local corrections. So far I have not found anything that comes close in ease-of-use and accuracy. I am looking at DxO, Alien Skin., Luminar and Affinity but nothing yet. Sometimes progress is a bitch.

When it comes to DAM, I agree with Rhett Butler, Frankly, my dear, I don't give a pun intended.

Work-flow means different things to different people. When I was getting paid my definition was I shoot it, then my paid retoucher did her job. That worked well then, but since I retired I've tried various editing software. Below is a list of things I've tried, with comments.

Athentech's LUCID and Perfectly Clear LUCID was a pre-set program that allowed you to tweak the pre-sets. Great for quick blemish-removal and curves adjustment, etc (I'm colorblind, first-class auto color and auto tint is a big deal). I installed Perfectly Clear v3.5 at about 1:00am today so I haven't used it yet, They have added many new editing features. Looking good. Mac, Windows. BTW Great Customer Service http://www.athentech.com/assets/perfectlyclear/

Pixelmator I've used it from v1.0. It does both photo retouching and painting. Pixelmator Pro is a lot more than an iteration. Mac and iPad only http://www.pixelmator.com/pro/

Affinity Photo I've also had Photo from v.1.0. I like it a lot. Affinity Designer is also a good alternative to Adobe Illustrator. Mac, Windows and iPad https://affinity.serif.com/en-gb/photo/

As portrait pro RDKirk frequently says There is no such thing as a free lunch. Cory Doctorow (Creative Commons), who promotes the idea that information wants to be free doesn't give-away his sci-fi novels 8-) Why should any company be expected to forego profits.

I gave up on Lightroom several versions back, because I did not like the results, so the forced subscription policy will not affect me. I use a multi-program workflow that I find to be very smooth and fast:

1. Photo Mechanic for file ingestion and management

2. Photo Ninja for basic editing and raw conversions. It is still the best raw converter that I have ever used or tested. If PN ever goes away, I will probably use DxO for raw editing. Iridient can be excellent, but it fails badly in the noise reduction area. I am curious about Luminar 2018, but it is priced so low that I worry that you get what you pay for.

3. On1 Photo RAW for fine tuning and local adjustments. This has largely replaced Photoshop for me.

4. ImagePrint for printing. Oh so good.

There are rare occasions when I use Photoshop CS6, just because I can, but I am pretty sure that I could do without it entirely. If I were a professional retoucher, it would be a different story.

I use DXO as my RAW converter for my Olympus OMD-Mk 2. What's not mentioned much is Film Pack 5, which is used in conjunction with DXO. If your camera is supported, when you click on your camera model, the color snaps right for your camera sensors measured specs. Great way to start. DXO also knows your camera/lens combo and will make the best lens correcting and sharpening in the photo editing universe. Also lots of useful tools, including world class noise reduction. I then import the file as a dng. into Camera Raw and then Photoshop CC 2018. As for the subscription fee, I can't walk out of my apartment for 31 cents a day. Photoshop has made me a fair chunk of jingle, and really changed my relationship to photography, It's a keeper.

The issue with switching software is the difficulties encountered because a user is accustomed to how the software he has always used operates. Even if software has controls with the same name they may operate differently because the “philosophy” behind how the creators designed the software is different. Also, some controls behave in unexpected ways because “intelligence” is used to try and improve the results. For example, the shadows control in ACR may, as you boost the shadows also increase contrast to avoid a “washed out” look to the shadows.

So if one goes into software evaluation with the natural mindset of “ I will open the file and move the sliders as I always do and then evaluate the result”, this will almost certainly lead to the observation “this is not as good”. For example, if you evaluate DXO (out because it does not support Fuji) then there is a slider called “highlights” and so people use it like ACR/LR and find it not as good at recovering highlights. A correct observation, but if you have a difficult file in DXO the approach is to lower exposure to recover the highlights and then boost the shadows. DXO’s excellent PRIME noise reduction helping to deal with shadow noise.

Then there is the interface or UI. This, almost inevitably leads to an initial “what the hell is going on here” because it is a different UI. Again, to use DXO as an example most people and reviewers comment on the cluttered and duplicated controls in the default UI. The key here is “default”. If you come from an Adobe product the concept of a “user configurable UI” is just not known. So, in order to get “comfortable” with new software you need to first realise you can change it.

Given some of my observations above, wouldn’t this situation make for a nice series of articles where you trial any software you are interested in and readers could “help” you learn to use the software? The insights they provide you could benefit all your readers as they grapple with looking at alternative software. You would need some rules on comments to ensure that they were “positive” in helping people use the software and not negative software bashing. This exercise should be seen as a positive one where the software manufacturers might gain from seeing the feedback.

This would be a radically different approach to software reviewing as it would “crowd source” the knowledge needed to evaluate the software.

Ian

Thank you, Mike, for rousing the rabble.

I had never even heard of Darktable, and had no idea that several other products had become serious tools. I may go ahead and upgrade to LR6, then wait and see.

Just as a reminder to those who believe that standalone software is not financially viable, Adobe's financial performance in the last quarter showed "stellar year-on-year growth of 26%" and revenue was a record $1.84 billion. That's not viability, that's greed.

I've been a Lightroom user since v2, I think. I have no need for Photoshop, and I'm not paying £10 p.m. for Lightroom, much as I love it. I don't want to get locked into the Adobe subscrition model and I'm looking for alternatives. From what I read there is no lik-for-like replacement available yet, but I'm hoping that before too long there will be. Good luck to Adobe's competitors!

I wrote this back in 2008:
"I won't bore everybody with the figures - those who want to can just try visiting their respective Adobe sites and check the corresponding rip-offs concerning ALL PRODUCTS, against the US site - I'll just say that I've been grilling Adobe over this for some 5 years now and they've not bothered to do anything about it. I've told them time and again that their stupidity foments illegal downloading of their products to such an extent that I bet if Photoshop cost just a hundred dollars and everybody in the world who uses it had paid for it they'd be making more of a profit.

Only conclusion: they're great software artists but complete idiots when it comes to selling the stuff."

They still haven't got the idea after all this time! Affinity et al are the logical consequence.

A lot of the comments from legacy software users remind me of darkroom workers zealously hoarding their last stocks of a discontinued paper to avoid having to change their working methods. Ask not for whom the bell tolls...

You want alternatives? Try using Linux as your primary OS, you'll have no alternative but (partial) alternatives. I've done most of my digital work in Bibble, latterly AfterShot Pro. It's fast to work in (particularly when copying settings between similar images), some of the plugins are a godsend (although they obsoleted a whole bunch a couple of years ago by moving to 64 bit only) and the results are adequate if rarely stunning. But Corel rather shot themselves in the foot recently by taking so long to release support for my GX80 that I made a serious effort to use Darktable as a stopgap and discovered that the results were often better, even if it's not as easy to drive. DT seems to produce higher detail through better microcontrast rendering, at the expense of lower overall contrast by default. Also, its Perspective Correction tool is amazing. It doesn't properly support my GX80 for lens corrections either, but at least I can acceptably fudge it by setting GX7 as the camera type (and unlike ASP, it does have an entry in its database for the 12-32mm zoom). It also had a recent bug that caused it to crash on GX80 mono images, necessitating a wait for a new release. Right now, the biggest limitation of my workflow is that I don't have sufficient storage or bandwidth to archive full resolution JPEGs for all my finished images; producing anything smaller seems like a hostage to fortune.

For DAM, I use an obscure open source application called Mapivi that allows me to add hierarchical IPTC tags to all my files (I'm aware that this is not considered best practice for raw files but...meh). At least if I move to something else, the tags will all be embedded in the images, ready to scan and re-catalogue. (And no, Darktable won't append the original IPTC info to its output files, requiring a bit of tweaking using the ImageMagick command line tools to fix them up. You get used to this Heath Robinson way of working on Linux, and at least it gives you the tools to make it work.)

On the plus side, I was never snared in Adobe's tangled web and it saved me a lot of money at the expense of my time. On the minus side, I would have liked access to the plugin ecosystem, especially Nik Efex which extracts greater detail at less effort than anything I've ever achieved manually. (It can now at last run under WINE Windows emulation on Linux, but it's too slow on my system to be usable.) I sometimes think about throwing in the towel and splurging on a decent, 'normal' laptop to use Affinity, DxO, ON1 or MacPhun. This thread is making me realise that the hassles and compromises don't stop there either.

I use Photoshop Elements 9 (I only upgrade to newer versions when I get a new PC). It does everything I need in an image editor - dust cloning, unsharp mask, levels adjustment and image resizing. This is one - unanticipated - advantage of being a 100% film b&w photographer and darkroom printer, who only uses an image editor to prepare scans for online use.

I am a Fuji X-t2 and Lightroom user. I heard a lot about Iridient X Transformer which can be used together with Lightroom, so I bought it. Yes it is better but not so much that you will see a difference on an A3+ print. Pixel peepers beware.

Same story here. I've been a diligent upgrader for years with LR and PS. Annoyed by the 'tax model', I've switched to Capture One Pro and love it!

My oh my. The second I discovered that Adobe was going back on their promise to keep perpetual licensing for LR I panicked and started to investigate the alternatives. So far I have not found one that is as good as LR6 for my needs, although modest. A couple of good things about the LR6 package includes the book module and the integrated tools for image tweaking including simple pano tools and HDR. I especially like the incorporation of the pano tool that I use quite a lot with captures done using Shift on the Nikon 45 PC-E.

So far I have investigated:
- ACDSee Pro
- Capture One Pro 10
- On1 RAW
- Aftershot pro
- Photo supreme
- Dxo Photo Lab
- DigiKam
- Darktable (alpha version for Windows)
- RAWTherapee

Planning on a test-drive of PhotoNinja and Photo mecanic also, and naturally the Luminar DAM when it becomes awailable. Also hoping that the Affinity DAM project becomes available sooner rather than later.

I must say that what have impressed me the most is how good the open source alternatives (Darktable and RT) have become. Even the alpha version of Darktable for windows is quite impressive, and in my eyes it is the closest one to replace LR6 for my own use (combined with Affinity Photo that I already own, witch is quite excellent in my opinion). I still have'nt done much printing with the alternatives yet, but I guess I will come around to that to given some more time.

Do we really need any more metadata for our images than what can be stored in EXIF and IPTC in a sidecar file. Should be easy enough to find specific files based on that, no? I don't understand why people want to integrate metadata in the RAW file either, the soundt thing to do is to have all metadata in the sidecar and leave the RAW alone? This also makes it easier to handle digital decay (http://blogs.getty.edu/iris/preventing-digital-decay/).

I found Affinity Photo's tiff to jpeg for web conversion engine horrible. I asked for, and got, a refund. So I'm still stuck on PS 6.

I have been using Capture One Pro since version 6. People should be aware that Capture One has that 'upgrade tax' which is quite steep. Also, every new release is a bug-laden nightmare for some upgraders for the first few weeks.

Whichever converter you use, you need to know it well and for that, it helps to like it.

I’m not a disinterested party here: though I have no link with any of the software companies, I do teach Lightroom, Capture One and Photoshop. I also use RPP and others to get alternative takes on raw file output.

What I’ve found is that Lr/ACR is still the most approachable converter for most people – if you know it well, it will deliver. In particular, many photographers would benefit from making their own colour profiles for their cameras, for consistency between different types of camera bodies. (The ColorChecker Passport colour chart is good for this – it will work with X-Rite’s own free s/w or with Adobe’s DNG Profile Editor.)

It also helps to know how to sharpen FujiFilm X-Trans files (note: very small radius, very high detail, low-to-moderate amount for global sharpening). Capture One is great for commercial studio work but not for managing large portfolios (reliability is still poor in those situations, in my experience) or for poor light. I also find myself desaturating images and finding false detail in the default output.

From the sample here it seems like Aperture had about 80% market share. Have I woken up in some strange parallel universe where Trump beat Hillary?

There is little discussion on the DAM side, but one application which might be worth looking at for people seriously into editing (as opposed to manipulation) is PhotoSupreme. It has a vertical learning curve, is extremely eccentric, but as a Plan B to say, shadow Lr, it is worth looking it. It can, to some extent, interpret Lr and Capture One edits, and it has versions/stacks, and more organisation tools than you'll ever need. But... it is seriously weird.

Mike:
I'm sure you know that DxO doesn't support Fuji files, so unless you are moving away from Fuji…

I was a Lightroom user from the get go, and ACR before that. I saw the writing on the wall a few months back. I was angry with Adobe, they promised us lots of feature upgrades because we were paying on a regular basis, and we got almost nothing.

And despite the naysayers, there is still, three years down the line, an open case at Adobe acknowledging sub-optimal Fuji processing. With this latest version, again, nothing has improved.

I moved to Capture One. I couldn't be happier, it's a GREAT product. THe first few times I opened older images and processed them, I was just astounded at the difference in quality of my Fuji files. It's not just the default rendering, it's the ability to sharpen, the colours, a whole lot more.

The irony is that I decided a few years back to stop using filters to process my images. I found that I could do 99% of my adjustments in Lightroom itself, occasionally foraying into Photoshop for a sophisticated clone or heal. I also did not want to keep huge PSD files on my system in case I decided to make changes down the line.

Now, I can't make any changes anymore, but it's okay. It's okay because, for me at least, I can do better with restarting my processing in Capture One.

A product like the upcoming Luminar software might work for me, but again, if the adjustments are not saved in a relatively small file, I don't think I would move from Capture One. I have layers, and way more powerful adjustments than Lightroom.

I also really like the Capture One sessions feature. Like you, I don't need a catalog to find my images, I use my own folder structure.

Sessions let you package your original files, adjustments, and output (if you want it there) in subfolders. You just move the top folder into your folder structure, and everything moves with it. If you want to re-edit you open the session and it's done. And if you're a space freak like me, you can delete the cached previews in that session and save space - Capture One regenerates them if you ever go back to edit.

I use LR6 and CS6 in stand alone versions. I won't be moving to the subscription model. For processing I'm quite sure I can find what I need (basic corrections, grad filters, curves, dodge and burn, convert to B&W, invert tones etc.) in several packages. Affinity would be my first place to try, but CS6 works for now. Bigger problem:

In spite of having all my pictures in an intuitive file structure (like Mike), I very much need a DAM system to organize and search my files: What if I want to see all the pictures I ever took in say California, or that I have of my mother over her life, or that I shot on Tri-x with my GF 670, or how my vision changed over time as I used the Olympus 45 f/1.8? All very simple questions to ask with LR. My LR catalog is something I built myself, and I can't tolerate the idea of not having access because I stopped sending money to Adobe. My system works for now, although LR6 is slower than LR5, but I will be on the look out for DAM software soon. Hopefully something that can import my LR catalog. We will see what comes during next year.

[Have you looked at PhotoMechanic? --Mike]

I've moved to ACDSee Ultimate for organizing my images, some RAW development, and layers, if I need them. It can also use Photoshop plugins.

For most of my RAW development I now us Photo Ninja which produces excellent results with Nikon NEFs.

Apple lives in the future and many live in the past. When Apple makes a decision, the hidebound are befuddled. They rile against Apple's stupid decision to change the status quo. Stopping development of Aperture and replacing it with the Photos app is a good example. Now, through Photos extensions you can use other editing programs inside of Photos. Here's Apple's tutorial on using extensions https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT205245 You can also use Open In - External editor support for Photos.app https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/open-in-external-editor-support/id1054519713?mt=12 Here's Perfectly Clear's tutorial on using Open In http://www.athentech.com/Videos/using-perfectly-clear-photos-mac

Apple's clever/stupid decision now lets you use Photos as a DAM for any photo editor, including Adobe's PhotoShop.

Check-out Swift https://swift.org a simple, easy to learn and easy to use programing language. Learn Swift and write a LR converter to use you DAM LR files with any DAM program.

I haven't been particularly pleased with Adobe's cloud push, but I do understand the business case for it. Their Photography Plan bundle has been a good fit for my needs to this point. That said, this latest move of their's has made me start looking at alternatives. I don't plan to switch right now, but I do think it is prudent to educate myself as to the the state of the various Lightroom and Photoshop competitors.

Oddly enough it is Lightroom's DAM features that I have found the most useful for me. The RAW development controls are now comfortable, and ingrained. But, the DAM functionality has become a huge asset to my image workflow. Any potential Lightroom replacement will have to match Lightroom's Smart Collection functionality to tempt me to switch. I would prefer that a competitor could import my Lightroom database structure directly in addition to improving my image processing results.

Thom Hogan talks about so-called "leakers", and "samplers" in his writings about the state of the camera industry. It looks to me that Adobe's disconnect with their customers is having a similar effect of prompting long-time customers to "sample" competitor's products, thereby risking some of those customers leaking away from Adobe.

Just to represent the "rest of us" here, I'm a simple photographic hobbyist, taking photos largely for my own entertainment, sharing some of the best online and now and then printing one or two. I'm mostly interested in "realistic" photography, not turning my photos into something they're not through dramatic manipulation.

I just shoot JPEGs and use Apple Photos and am quite happy. I've had Aperture available alongside iPhoto and now Photos for a long time and have used it briefly now and then to do something the other products couldn't but to be honest, for me, Photos is fine. I'll probably remove Aperture someday as it's mostly just consuming space now.

When I print I just use Apple's online print service, which compares well with the custom printing I've had done locally. Why wouldn't it? I'm sure Apple printers are quite sophisticated and robust as are the Apple algorithms that feed my images to them.

There is a lot of intelligence built into every important piece of digital photography hardware and software these days. Yet it seems the "serious" photographers bypass much of that in favor of their own judgement and effort. That's fine, but to be honest I think with 99% of my photos, my gear and software know more than I do, so I rely on that intelligence, freeing me to focus instead on "seeing" and "composing," where I can make the biggest impact on my photographs and where there is always ample room for improvement.

I use exclusively Olympus MFT cameras and lenses along with my iPhone, now an 8. Both Olympus and Apple have gone to great lengths to produce excellent JPEGs right out of camera. And Photos, now that it has matured a bit, actually has quite a bit of ability to adjust from there.

But even at that I find the "automatic" adjustments in Photos often do as good or better a job than I can do. For me probably the most useful "manual" tool is cropping and rotating, which can affect the composition, giving me a second chance at what I might have gotten wrong in the field. Any of this software can crop and rotate.

To me this is all analogous to Mike's recent posts about "image quality." When is enough enough? For me these "consumer" tools are enough, keeping the process simple for my aging mind.

I love the Lightroom, plain and simple. I use it for DAM and image development of both raw Fuji image files and scanned film.

+ I love the concept it that Lightroom stores my underlying raw images and scans along with their development changes, so I can always roll back to an original image as shot and re-edit it--I do this all regularly.

+ I use keywording and captioning extensively and regularly use keywords and text-searches of the caption data to find images I am looking for. The Mac file system, while elegant, does not meet my organizational needs as well.

+I love that LR's ability to make JPG copies of edited files to my specifications and upload them automatically to FLIckr and my online image storage site.

I still use Photoshop for some tasks, in particular clean-up of dust and spotting on scanned film-based images--LR does not as yet do this as well.

For the moment, I am sticking with LR Classic, which is included in my Adobe subscription. But I am wedded to this program and will go where it goes for as long as is meets my needs as completely as it does.

I'd like to register another vote for Fuji's wonderful JPEG's (and Panasonic's too, for some purposes). They're usually good enough for me with occasional minor adjustments (of exposure etc.) in Silky Pix.

Bearing in mind that there's 'no such thing as image quality' -IQ criteria being dependent upon genre- that I'm not a professional, that I dislike post-processing partly because I'm partially colour blind and spend too much time doing other things on a computer, that I often like my p/p output less than the original Jpeg, and often feel the same way about other people's output, I'm beginning to wonder whether this quest for perfect image manipulation software is becoming a tad obsessive. Its the content of the image that matters, after all, isn't it?

That said, I've used Photo Ninja, and found it helpful, especially with noise reduction, but had to be careful to stop it imposing its inappropriately sunny palette on my lovely cloud-muted upland landscapes.

As a photographer, I don't use Lightroom, but I do use Photoshop and the Photoshop ACR RAW converter.

For me, RAW conversion is just the beginning of processing a photograph. Every one of my photographs are processed in in Photoshop with multiple layers and masks. And this is not to make it less of a photograph, but in Photoshop are all the tools of the traditional darkroom, plus many more.

Photoshop is a big application and takes a while to really learn. I'm not really happy about needing to rent it now, but I don't really see a full featured alternative.

I subscribed to the whole CC suite as I was occasionally using Premier Pro, SpeedGrade, and built my website with Adobe Muse. But now, SpeedGrade is dead (they never finished it after buying it from Iradas and gave up), Davinci Resolve does much of what I used Premiere Pro to do, and Adobe Muse has created my website with defective code that causes my web host to block ISPs thinking they are in attack mode. So I need to build a new site with different software. (any suggestions?)

So, when my subscription expires, I'll probably change it to just Photoshop. Or just go back to the last, pre-subscription, Photoshop if it still works...

But, for me, right now, there's no substitute for Photoshop for complete processing the photographs. And I don't really understand serious photographers who stop processing after RAW conversion.

Comment over :)

I do most work in RawTherapee these days, price is right, free! I used and enjoyed Lightroom's organization and editing, but tried RawTherapee when I needed to fix white balance under some truly awful LED lighting; Lightroom just didn't let me go far enough. Rawtherappe is good software, but has typcal sketchy documentation of FOSS. Rawtherapee lets me work on Sony ARW files without a conversion step, which I consider a plus.

When I turned to Fuji system I tried several developers and the best for me was Capture One. The pros are fast and easy corrections during editing and the best files you can get from a raw file. The cons are the catalog management, very slow and is not easy to work with. As I read from others commenters it has not a good clone or retouch tool for dust marks or scratch scanned images.
A friend told me that one of the good things he found in the new LR is the search images that can found include fotos for the color.

I've shifted from Elements 10 to PhotoDirector 8 and so far I'm happy with it. I used two plugins for curves and generic HDR effects, and PD8 includes both. I needed something with catalog abilities so my test-drives of DXO and a couple of others did not pan out. I also have Polarr Pro app for Win10 which can convert my Lumix GX1 files; some tints definitely look different between the two but now that I know that I can adapt. A bit more about that on my link.

I'm also an Aperture user (still). I've investigated other options, but there are 3 things that go into Aperture: DAM, image editor and RAW developer. I've messed around with RAW development, but I find that the Olympus Jpegs are always better than I can do (unless I'm trying a black & white conversion).

I really like the DAM. Tagging my photos makes it a joy to filter them on different categories later. It seems that Photo Mechanic is the old master at this.

RAW development doesn't interest me. I've tried and it brings me no joy.

But I do also need an image editor. Crops and straighten (!), dust spot fixing of some scans, but also non-global adjustments. Something simple, but no simpler. (Of course.)

I think PS and LR for $9.99 a month is a bargain, and I have purchased it yearly for as low as $89. I require a DAM system and LR has been there for me for ten years now.

I have Capture One because of my Phase One back, but use it sparingly and their upgrades have cost me $99 each time. I use Phocus for LCC processing on my Hasselblad files and find it pretty good and simple.

I tried Affinity and watched their videos, but some of what I was trying to do that I currently do in PS Affinity could not do well enough. I ran out of time and was not going to give them $59 to keep trying it out.

I have purchased Luminar Neptune because I like their presets and UI. It is made by the original programmers that developed the NIK software so many of us enjoy.

I am very happy with Adobe and have been using their products since I purchased a brand new Mac 512k many years ago. To each their own.

When Aperture dissolved, I switched to Lightroom 4; when Lightroom 6/CC appeared, I saw the writing on the wall and decided it was time to switch again.

I tested nearly a dozen raw convertors. I shoot on film mostly, and scan with my DSLR, so I have a rather unique use case, and need a good curves tool (at minimum), and robust levels and color editing tools are a big plus. I tried Darktable, Rawtherapee, Lightroom, DxO, Capture One, and a bunch of others that didn't make the cut. RPP was a particular favorite, with great results and an interesting, quirky interface, but it had no DAM. In the end, I went with Capture One, and I haven't looked back.

I started with C1P 8. C1P 9 and 10 have been great, very solid, with decent improvements in something every year that made the upgrade worth it for me. I keep Lightroom around, mostly for my old catalog. I should spend a couple of evenings converting all my Lightroom SmartFolders to regular collections, and exporting tiffs of my favorites. C1P can import keywords, collections, and some settings from Lightroom, and I'd love to get everything all in one, rock solid program, and get away from Adobe, though I'll keep Photoshop/Illustrator/InDesign CS6 around as long as they still work on whatever machine I have. They're useful to me once or twice a year, and I haven't found the need for replacements, yet.

I'm coming late to this thread - which has a lot of useful suggestions - but I would still like to make a very general point. Your headline "LR replacement photo editing software" is missing the reason why many people use LR and why it is so hard to replace. For me, LR is a tool which handles everything from the organisation of my photos, metadata, editing, printing and uploading to services like Facebook and Flickr, as well as preparing files for emailing. It's obviously possible to find other applications which can handle the editing part; it's less clear which ones could really take over the organisation of my photo collection. And the chances of finding a new tool which can import the complete metadata and editing from LR are slim.

That being said, I think people who have stand-alone LR don't need to panic. I am still using LR 3.6, which runs fine. And LR 6 is still available for sale on the Adobe website (follow "view all products" and search on "Lightroom 6") - I bought the upgrade a couple of weeks ago as a precaution. There is no reason why LR 6 should not still work fine (apart from processing raw files from newer cameras) years from now.

I would also like to correct some misinformation which has appeared here. LR does not ingest your image files into a database; the files are stored in the filesystem and you can structure the folders and filemenames any way you like. The LR catalogue contains the information about the files, including the metadata and the edits, but the files themselves are not "in the database" and remain perfectly accessible to other applications and to normal file management operations.

I bought LR6 back in June. I'll use it for years to come, I hope. I do not like the idea of a subscription for my editing software. When I have to upgrade, I'll look elsewhere.

I'm another who really values the DAM aspect of LR. I use the CC version, but I think I'll change to the Classic subscription and hope that I can go on not using the cloud. I'll give Affinity a try.

I use PSCC when I've got to, but find it hard pounding. I usually need to go for help to Martin Evening's book or Julieanne Kost's tutorial videos.

I'd be interested if there was a good way to port the LR keywording to an alternative with a non-cloud future. As a plan B.

For the time being, I will stick to LR. Personally, I really need the DAM. It is my only way to find back specific photos. The other reason is that I know how to use it. I've taken the time to learn it. I don't have the time nor the interest to learn another program. I prefer to take photo then to learn new software.

Yes, I pay for the subscription. But, to my point of view, I get a lot with it. I have two powerful software (LR and Photoshop), I can see my photos on my computer and on my iPad and my iPhone, all that very easily. And I will be able to have a very decent website with Portfolio (https://www.myportfolio.com/photography) when I will take the time to do it and that way, I will spare $$ on the Squarespace I pay for right now. And, it will be easy to maintain.

So, for my, it's a no-brainer.

A very lazy photographer.

I am a Fuji-X RAW-only shooter that uses Iridient X-Transformer (IXT) to convert Fuji RAWs to DNGs for import into Lightroom 6 (LR6). LR's DAM capabilities are important to me and I have invested a lot to time in learning to use the Develop module properly.

However, I will not buy a subscription-based app. Currently, I do not need any of the added features of the LR suscription-based versions and have no plans to stop using LR6. So long as IXT continues to support future Fuji X cameras, LR6 will be able to import IXT-processed DNGs and I will be able to use all of the LR6 DAM and Develop features.

At some point, a full-featured (i.e. w/DAM and Develop capabilities) non-subscription app will be available that is superior to LR6 for my purposes. If/when I buy this new app, I am planning to continue using LR6 for my past image files and use the new app for new files.

Well, this thread is a useful and interesting read, and has generated a to do list. Thanks to Mike and all the commenters.

Two options I haven't seen mentioned here are LightZone, which is now free/open source, and GimPhoto, which is GIMP with a more Photoshop-like UI. Haven't tried either yet. Both are on my to-do list now, along with RawTherapee and Darktable, which have been mentioned.

I'm still on LR 4.4., but already have files it can't read. Should have started looking for alternatives years ago. One of my long-time LR peeves is lack of network support. Hoping one of these alternatives addresses that.

A few months ago I decided to do an experiment and exported my “selects” from Lightroom and pulled them all into Apple Photos. I have to admit, it’s a pretty good take on DAM software, at least with a relatively small library (3,711 as I write). There’s something to be said for having all the photos I might want to look at or show somebody else on whatever device I have with me. And some of the AI advances with facial and object recognition are a big help (and it helps that I trust Apple more than some other big tech companies on privacy issues, at least for now).

Photos doesn’t do much editing, but the OS-level extension system allows you to use any of a number of other programs for that. I bought Pixel,actor years ago; now I’m comparing that with Affinity Photo to figure out which one I’m going to stick with for now. (The nice thing about separating editing from asset management is I don’t have to pick a “forever” editor.)

I’ve been reading with interest the comments here as I too was looking at other options now that Adobe are no longer offering a standalone Lightroom. Many people are unhappy with Adobe and not without some good reasoning. I like many have been using Adobe products for a long time as a customer, both privately and commercially. Photoshop, (I think version 2) was the first bit of software I ever used, which was on a Mac Plus. I’ve used Lightroom from the very beginning too. Adobe are ‘raking the money in’ at the moment and I think, if nothing else but from a customer PR point of view, could have kept many happy by continuing to offer the stand alone version of Lightroom. Many people’s perception of their customer relations, isn’t good at the moment and this would have gone a long way, even if they, as with the last version, kept some features for the CC version.

For me, I’ve been using been using Affinity Photo for the past year, which at first was difficult being so used to Photoshop for so long but got to a certain point where it just clicked and now I couldn’t go back to Photoshop. I still, however use Lightroom 6 along with DxO but since recent events, started to look at personal alternatives to Lightroom. I’m trialling out ON1 which I quite like.

For the meantime, I will probably continue with my current setup as it still works. Long term I’m hoping for an Affinity comparable to lightroom which they have said is planned. If it's anything like Affinity Photo, they will be onto a winner. As for those happy to pay a monthly subscription for Adobe products, go for it if it works for you. I have no problem with that.

Apple killed development of Aperture, but it still works and I still use it every day. I've not seen anything yet that will replace it... but I guess I haven't looked too hard. Kept my Mac on Yosemite to keep it in tiptop condition for Aperture, too! However, I'm getting too worried about lack of security updates, so High Sierra will be on the ToDo list soon. As far as I know Aperture still mostly works in HS. I'm eyeing up C1Pro as a replacement.

I also have PS Elements... 9 or 10 or something, came with a printer. Used it a few times but don't like it. I bought Affinity Photo partly to support them, and I find it about as un-intuitive as PSE... but there are lots of videos which generally tell me how to do the few things I need to do that Aperture can't.

Layers make my brain hurt; Aperture's non-destructive editing seems just right to me. I want a DAM that will integrate with something with equivalent capabilities (that's not LR). Aperture's albums are the dogs dangly bits for me, so I can have my images in film-by-film (yes) folders and also topic-related albums at the same time. And it don't matter which I edit in, yeah!

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