Making a decision about what camera system and what lenses within that system are going to be my go to image creation tools can be so very difficult because there are just so many incredible gear choices.
The same can be said for software. There are so many options besides Adobe Lightroom CC and in many cases they are actually better and free of the proprietary library. There is nothing wrong with Lightroom but it could be faster and finally Adobe has admitted to somehow fixing that but so many other programs have moved ahead with features, filing systems and speed that they for the first time are having to play catch up.
Here is what I have been dabbling in and with:
- On1 Photo Raw, Mac and Windows
- Alien Skin x2 Layers, Mac and Windows
- Luminar for Mac and now Windows
- Iridient Raw Developer
- Picktorial 3.0 Mac only
And here is what I have decided are the most stable and creative and yes correct in what they do:
- Picktorial 3.0
- Alien Skin x2
And after working with all of these programs here is what I have found:
- On1 Photo Raw – Very creative program but since the day it was introduced it has been plagued with bugs and up to the date I am writing this blog I still have too many intermittent crashes on three different Mac computers.
- Luminar – Lots of creative features but does not utilize any system that enables one to see a folder of files all at one time with the ability to cull those files and rate those files. It takes up to 50 or more seconds to load an image from a 24mp camera and some of the creative options such as noise reduction takes way to long to complete. So the program is slow not only on my three older machines but also on brand new Macbook Pro 15 inch loaded computers as well. It is just to turtle slow and maybe overloaded with to much stuff that most people will never need to get a got post processed image. If anything it has too many options.
- Iridient – This is an incredible piece of software and the owner of the company has endeavored to produce one of the best processing engines around, but it is pretty basic in what it does but what it does is excellent. While I own it, I needed a program that was more versatile but for a simple processing system you could not go wrong.
And my winners are:
- Picktorial 3.0 – This raw processor is very fast, uses the Macintosh system filing system, enables me to see a whole folder of images at one time and allows me to rate them and cull them as needed. It has all of the global adjustments one needs for processing and has the most accurate colors and file rendering I have ever seen and worked with. Besides the global adjustments I can use local adjustments with brushes and gradients for a full range of creative control over the most minute areas and at the same time let you visualize your masks and blending modes including an incredible Luminosity feature and skin retouching feature. It also has some pretty darn good presets if you are into those. Sometimes presets just make it easy to have a starting point. This is an inexpensive, highly creative program with the most precise tools I have ever used.
- Alien Skin X2 is my go to for special creative controls. It has a tremendous assortment of tools and its film presets are just outstanding. I can achieve my own personal look and style.
So what has made its way to the digital toilet.
- On1 Photo Raw