Any Lightroom 4 alternatives that cost less?

Started May 7, 2012 | Discussions
Henry Richardson
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Re: ACDSee Pro 6 questions
In reply to Glen Barrington, May 14, 2013

Glen Barrington wrote:

Cool! Thanks,  I have downloaded a copy for evaluation, and I will be giving it a thorough going over and comparing it to both Lr3 and Lr 5.  When complete, I will share my conclusions in the retouching forum if anyone is interested.  It will be a couple of weeks, I suppose, to do a thorough eval.

Yes, please do.  I am definitely interested.

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Henry Richardson
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ACDSee Pro 6: lens profiles?
In reply to Antlab, May 14, 2013

antlab wrote:

Ronald A Yorko wrote:

How does ACD Pro 6 do on highlight recovery and chromatic aberration correction?

It handles them very well.

I use ACDSee Pro as my main DAM and raw developer, and I learned to appreciate some very good tools, as the spectacular LCE (Light and contrast enhancement).

You can read something about it here:

http://www.acdsee.com/en/lce

Do you know if it has lens profiles for automatic corrections?  Also, does it read the lens profile info in m4/3 raw files to do automatic corrections?

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Glen Barrington
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Re: ACDSee Pro 6: lens profiles?
In reply to Henry Richardson, May 14, 2013

From the Help file, no formal lens profiles, as such, seem possible.  However, there are manual adjustments in the geometry section to correct for barrel and pincushion artifacts produced by many lenses.  These settings can be saved as presets and applied to many photos.  I'm not sure yet how that affects the overall workflow and if the presets are as easy to deal with.

In truth, I may not be the best judge on this one.  I never used Lightroom lens profiles much, I never felt the ones available for my Zuiko lenses made that much difference.  And making my own seemed like a lot of work, so I didn't worry about it much!

It seems that many, if not all, manual adjustments even the ones for chromatic aberration can be saved as presets.  I really liked the presets in Lightroom, the allowed me to create a consistent look and feel to a group of photos.  I'm looking forward to seeing how these presets are implemented in ACDSee.

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Glen Barrington
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Re: Darktable
In reply to Henry Richardson, May 14, 2013

I used the Linux version about a month ago.  I have a strong interest in moving to Linux completely, so I have Unbutu loaded as a dual boot on my photo workstation.  It has the look and feel of Lightroom, but not anywhere close to the functionality.

Actually, as a raw processor, it isn't too bad.  It uses DC RAW which seems to be the default raw development engine for all open source and many commercial products.  It doesn't do dng, of course but the quality for my ORF files was first rate.

I found it a strange mix of advanced and primitive functionality.  I also found I had a hard time getting used to it, I didn't think its organizer functions were quite where I wanted them to be.  I didn't like it much.  BUT it IS free for the download and available for Windows, you have nothing to lose by trying it on your own.

Overall, I've reluctantly come to the conclusion, that I need to stay on Windows for a bit longer.

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MisterBG
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Re: Any Lightroom 4 alternatives that cost less?
In reply to T Evergreen, May 14, 2013

T Evergreen wrote:

I had no problems buying Lightroom 4 from SnaggStuff.  I did have some reservations given the price, but got the license key the same day after paying and the activation code allowed me to register the product with Adobe.

Regarding After Shop Pro, despite all the clamor on the Corel forum about the development team being fired,  Corel not fixing bugs, etc., the latest update was issued April 4, 2013, so it's clear that Corel hasn't abandoned ASP.  At $60, it's quite good especially when you add all the free plugins available at http://aftershotpro.com/plugins/  You can always download the trial version, add the plugins, and give it a spin.  It seems they're always running specials on ASP, so you likely can get it for less than the current $60 price.  If you already have Lightroom (or Paint Shop Pro), you qualify for the upgrade price of $50.

There is weakness in highlight recovery compares to LR4 as has been mentioned, even though the latest update claims to improve that capability.  Also, LR4 beats it hands down regarding removing purple fringing which can be problematic when using legacy lenses.  On the other hand, ASP has Auto Levels and Perfectly Clear, so you have a nice starting point in raw development.

When I click "Check for updates" on my copy of ASP it returns a message that says "You are running the latest version, no updates available"
My version is 1.1.0.30
Where is the April 4 2013 update located and will it open my EOS 6D files?
The most recent update I see on the Corel site is the one I have, dated December 2012.

Highlight recovery and chromatic aberration removal in LR 4 is vastly better than ASP.

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MisterBG
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Re: Aftershot Pro - competitive upgrade price
In reply to Glen Barrington, May 14, 2013

Glen Barrington wrote:

I saw last night that there is a competitive upgrade price for ASP of $49 for Lightroom users.

I'd call that a downgrade, not an upgrade.

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IanW
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Re: Any Lightroom 4 alternatives that cost less?
In reply to ohcello, May 14, 2013

I am an enthusiastic, hobbyist photographer with a relatively small catalog of imges (around 5000) using a Canon 5D Mark II and working in raw on a 21.5" iMac.

I have been a long-time user of Lightroom (since the original beta release) and for the most part I've been content with it, however, the recent events with Adobe have cast doubts on the long term availability of LR as I will not change to a subsciption service.

Whilst Adobe's statements assure that LR5 will not be exclusively cloud based and that "there are no plans" for LR to be cloud only; they have said that the cloud based LR will have additional functionality.

This all creates doubt in my mind and of many others.

Adobe are also progressing towards a 12 month upgrade cycle for LR which means smaller, more frequent upgrades and costs.

LR5 does not contain any significant added functionality for me and so this would seem the time to consider the alternatives, namely Aperture and Capture One.

I already have Aperture (£55) and it is cheaper than Capture One (£228) and so has a head start in that respect.

One aspect that attracts me to Aperture is the ability to store the original images inside the library and via the Vault to keep them up to date. LR of course offers no means of backing up the original images other than on initial import, thereafter leaving the user to manage them. The same is true of Capture One. This is a major selling point for me with Aperture.

The negative side to Aperture has always been that I could not emulate the results I could achieve with LR in image development but in recent days I seem to be overcoming this and now feel that, with further understanding of, and practice with  Aperture, I can emulate my LR processing.

There are a few things which are not available in Aperture which I would miss, mainly the gradient tool. The lack of lens/perspective distortion could be overcome by using Canon DPP or the PTLens plugin, which would both require exporting the image to Tiff or jpg of course. Alternatively I could accomplish these corrections and apply a gradient mask etc in my external editor Pixelmator.

Capture One certaily has perspective correction via it's keystone tool and lens distortion correction though this is "greyed out" in my trial version. CO7 also has a gradient mask tool.

The DAM aspects of all three seem perfectly good in all three applications and will present me with  no real difficulties other than learning them.

There are other parts to all three applications such as Book creation, Geotagging, Web creation, Slideshow creation and publishing directly to Facbook etc. I don't need any of these functions and in fact in LR I just turn-off those modules and panels. I do not even use the print module in LR as I do not have a printer and if I do print images then I send them to a commercial print supplier, namely Peak Imaging.

Aperture allows me to round-trip to my chosen external editor (Pixelmator) which CO7 does not appear to do.

Finaly I find myself peferring the "lighter" interface of Aperture rather than the dakness of CO7 and LR and I prefer the non-modular approach of Aperture and CO7 to that og LR.

All in all at this moment in time I am strongly favouring Aperture mainly because of the backup facility and the cost. That is not to say that I won't change my mind as Adobe seem to have thrown everything into a state of flux.

A statement of intent in respect of future additional functionality in Aperture and an indication of time-frame for the next major release from Apple would go a long way to consolidating my thoughts but I doubt this will be forthcoming. It would seem that this is a golden opportunity for Apple.

I hope this post may prove of interest to someone, somewhere and I, in turn would be very inerested in any thoughts you might have.

regards

Ian

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T Evergreen
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Re: Any Lightroom 4 alternatives that cost less?
In reply to MisterBG, May 14, 2013

MisterBG wrote:

T Evergreen wrote:

I had no problems buying Lightroom 4 from SnaggStuff.  I did have some reservations given the price, but got the license key the same day after paying and the activation code allowed me to register the product with Adobe.

Regarding After Shop Pro, despite all the clamor on the Corel forum about the development team being fired,  Corel not fixing bugs, etc., the latest update was issued April 4, 2013, so it's clear that Corel hasn't abandoned ASP.  At $60, it's quite good especially when you add all the free plugins available at http://aftershotpro.com/plugins/  You can always download the trial version, add the plugins, and give it a spin.  It seems they're always running specials on ASP, so you likely can get it for less than the current $60 price.  If you already have Lightroom (or Paint Shop Pro), you qualify for the upgrade price of $50.

There is weakness in highlight recovery compares to LR4 as has been mentioned, even though the latest update claims to improve that capability.  Also, LR4 beats it hands down regarding removing purple fringing which can be problematic when using legacy lenses.  On the other hand, ASP has Auto Levels and Perfectly Clear, so you have a nice starting point in raw development.

When I click "Check for updates" on my copy of ASP it returns a message that says "You are running the latest version, no updates available"
My version is 1.1.0.30
Where is the April 4 2013 update located and will it open my EOS 6D files?
The most recent update I see on the Corel site is the one I have, dated December 2012.

Highlight recovery and chromatic aberration removal in LR 4 is vastly better than ASP.

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MisterBG, sorry about the misinformation in my earlier post.  The last update from Corel for Aftershop Pro was in December 2012, not April of this year.   Thanks for point that out.

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irvcobb
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Re: Darktable
In reply to Glen Barrington, May 14, 2013

Glen Barrington wrote:

... free for the download and available for Windows...

A Google search for a Windows download finds nothing. Whereabouts is it available?

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Glen Barrington
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Re: Darktable - my apologies
In reply to irvcobb, May 14, 2013

irvcobb wrote:

Glen Barrington wrote:

... free for the download and available for Windows...

A Google search for a Windows download finds nothing. Whereabouts is it available?

I did a quick review of the Darktable website and it appears that a Windows version is not available.  I must have confused it with RawTherapee which does have Windows versions. (I've played with SO MANY software titles in the last 2 months or so!)

One of the problems with open source is that the developers often create the raw code and maybe the first rough Linux distro, and then leave it up to others to compile and package it for other operating systems. and if no one takes up the challenge, then it doesn't get done.

I can't blame them actually, it is really difficult to produce BAD software, and good software is several times more difficult.  The developers often just don't have the time for anything more if they aren't backed up by a big organization.

you can find the RT download page at: http://rawtherapee.com/downloads

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Robgo2
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Re: Any Lightroom 4 alternatives that cost less?
In reply to max2k, May 14, 2013

max2k wrote:

There are a few open source alternatives - both of these are excellent and the price is right (Free !)

DarkTable
RawTherapee

ohcello wrote:

Hello,

So I'm trying Lightroom 4 trial and it's awesome for NR and highlight recovery....but not sure I can plunk down the $150 for it right now.... any lower priced alternatives out there that can compete? Thanks.

Raw Therapee is buggy and overly complex, and the output is second rate, IMO.  I have not tried Darktable, but I will, just for fun.  I hope that it will run on my Mac.

Rob

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sanmaj
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Aperture for MAC Users.......
In reply to IanW, May 14, 2013

You are exactly right about Aperture being the editing software of choice for MAC users. I am an amateur/hobbyist too and have come to this conclusion also. I have been a Photoshop user for longer than I can remember but since I am not a pro I am not going to subscribe to Adobe CC. I have looked at a number of other alternatives e.g. Capture One, DXO Optics, ACDSee, Pixelmator, and After Shot Pro. While most of these are relatively good alternatives I feel most comfortable with Aperture because of:

1) Excellent DAM

2) Wonderful set of adjustment tools available

3) Robust set of Brush-on adjustment features

4) Excellent print function

5) Book making function is excellent (the best I've seen)

6) Support of 3rd party plug-ins e.g. NIK, Topaz, OnOne, Portraiture, Portrait Professional, PT Lens

7) It marries nicely/smoothly with my Apple MacPro hardware setup

Are there some things I would like to see in Aperture, sure:

1) More robust noise reduction tool (I compensate with NIK or Topaz)

2) Gradient filters

3) Lens correction tool (I compensate with PT Lens plug-in)

4) Addition of more external editing choices in "Edit In" menue

While the above concerns me now I am sure that Apple will step up to the plate eventually (hoping sooner rather than later) and deliver an update to Aperture 4 which cares for all of these. I currently use Aperture in conjunction with the RAW converter Photo Ninja. It's just a wonderful combination allowing me to do more than 97% of the editing work that I do. I use Photoshop CS6 (whiich I will keep and use until I can't any longer) very sparingly now, usually for some masking and liquifying (which I do less and less of over the years).

Photoshop CS6 is undoubtedly the "800lb Gorilla" in the photo editing world and has been for a long time. With that said though others have made significant inroads in this process and many can more than hold their own in today's editing world. I also think that most photoshop users don't come near realizing the full capabilities of Photoshop (including me). Those that do are usually professionals, design artist and so forth. For them creative cloud may just represent a cost of doing business and I can understand that. But, for me the amateur/hobbyist, APERTURE/PHOTO NINJA is my editing way of choice.

Good luck to all in making your decisions relative to this whole issue. In the end decide what is right FOR YOU and pursue that course of action.

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Robgo2
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Re: Any Lightroom 4 alternatives that cost less?
In reply to Robgo2, May 14, 2013

I downloaded Darkroom, but I did get a disk image.  There does not seem to be an application to open.  This is a not uncommon problem with open source software.  It is buggy and unstable.

Rob

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miketuthill
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Re: Any Lightroom 4 alternatives that cost less?
In reply to Robgo2, May 14, 2013

Robgo2 wrote:

I downloaded Darkroom, but I did get a disk image.  There does not seem to be an application to open.  This is a not uncommon problem with open source software.  It is buggy and unstable.

Rob

If you're on a Mac you just open the image and you'll get the usual app shortcut and Applications folder to drag it to.

If you're on a Win machine then I can't help you.

That being said; it's not going to replace Lightroom any time soon but it appears to be a start.

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irvcobb
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Re: Darktable - my apologies
In reply to Glen Barrington, May 14, 2013

Thanks for the clarification. I've played with Darktable in Linux, but not seriously, because I generally work in Windows for post. So I guess I'm still waiting/hoping somebody from the Windows side picks it up. 

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Marcin 3M
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PhotoDirector 4 Ultra
In reply to ohcello, May 15, 2013

From Cyberlink.

30 day demo available.

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MisterBG
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Re: PhotoDirector 4 Ultra
In reply to Marcin 3M, May 15, 2013

Marcin 3M wrote:

From Cyberlink.

30 day demo available.

Now that does look like it's worth a try!

Downloading trial now.

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Stakeouttoo
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Re: LR4 actually is the low-cost alternative
In reply to KDM, May 15, 2013

KDM wrote:

Aftershot Pro by Corel seems well regarded, though I am not sure that it works with 64-bit computers.
--
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I have Aftershot Pro on my Win 7 64 bit.. think I only paid $20 on a special for prior users when it first came out.. Corel seems to have left it behind after buying it up from Bibble then letting go the entire Bibble staff...

http://www.dpreview.com/news/2012/01/06/corel-buys-bible

Corel Aftershot Pro

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Ray
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Keit ll
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Re: Aperture for OS X - $80
In reply to Jacques Cornell, May 15, 2013

Try Scarab Darkroom , currently it's free !

www.scarablabs.com

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Keith C

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Jacques Cornell
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Re: Aperture for OS X - $80
In reply to Keit ll, May 15, 2013

Keit ll wrote:

Try Scarab Darkroom , currently it's free !

www.scarablabs.com

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Keith C

Mac version not coming until 2014.

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