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Lightroom vs Capture One: which photo editor is the best for you? | TechRadar

Capture One offers many of the same preset options as Lightroom and also lets you apply them in bulk, but its ecosystem of existing presets and those made by others is much narrower at this time, which means more legwork if you need something very specific. Take a look at this pros and cons comparison of the latest versions of Capture One Pro 20 versus Lightroom Classic, to help you make your mind up about how to edit and organise your images this year. All Tools can be used at any given time. Capture One just takes one step further with the functionality to use any and every tool in a mask or local adjustment. They will be transferred to the Adjustment Clipboard which is probably more familiar to you as a Lightroom user. A major complaint I hear from Lightroom users is the limited ability to adjust every desired aspect with a Lightroom mask. Local adjustments are specific changes.


– Capture One vs Lightroom | Which Image Editor is Best for YOU?


Shotkit may earn a commission on affiliate links. Learn more. Advanced photo editing similar to Lightroom plus powerful AI tools to improve images in less time. Affordable subscription-free pricing and easy to use for beginners. Free Lightroom alternatives also exist, and most of the paid software offers a free trial so you can experiment before you buy.

Out of all the Lightroom alternatives available this year, Luminar is still our number one recommendation. Those who have little interest in spending hours on complicated edits in Lightroom or Photoshop will love the most recent release of Luminar Neo. Complex editing tasks which would normally take experienced retoucher hours in Photoshop can be performed in just one click with Luminar by a complete beginner.

Replacing the sky, changing facial features or body shapes, removing powerlines and dust spots, adding sun rays that wrap around foreground objects — all this can be achieved in seconds with zero prior editing experience.

Even the latest version of Adobe Lightroom only offers one tool which takes advantage of AI in the form of image masking, which Luminar already has too. Much of the excitement surrounding Luminar has been centred around the AI photo editing features, but Luminar is actually a competent non-destructive RAW photo editor too, offering all the main tools required to get images looking better.

Luminar is particularly great for beginners or those not coming from Lightroom. All the features are user-friendly and simple to use, with virtually no learning curve. This means you need to spend time making further adjustments to meet your desired look.

You can even drag and drop images from your computer into Luminar. Overall, Luminar is better than all the other Lightroom alternatives in due to its simplicity, excellent core editing tools, powerful one-click AI features and affordable one-time pricing. ON1 Photo RAW is another of our favourite Lightroom alternatives, and the latest version brings in a number of new features which we examined in our ON1 review.

Like Luminar, it combines an image organizer, RAW file processor, layered editor, and effects app all in one. You can locate your images by searching by keyword, metadata, date, and even the time the image was taken. This is crucial to those of us who depend on our metadata for finding and managing our photos. You can also create custom camera profiles with the new X-Rite Camera Profiler.

The develop module is structured much like Lightroom, and is a bit more complex for those new to image editing. That being said, ON1 has all the photo adjustments you would expect from a Lightroom replacement, including various new AI features.

This is especially useful if you shoot in black and white or using custom film looks, as is common with Fuji cameras. AI Quick Mask is another impressive tool, saving you hours when making multiple selections. These work much the same as Photoshop and inPixio , with masks, blend modes, and an easy way to merge layers. Admittedly, not everyone uses these features, but if you do and want an all-in-one editor, ON1 has an edge up on the competition here. As far as portrait editing is concerned, ON1 has long been at the top of the field for its price point.

It comes with a number of templates, including various options for individual prints, contact sheets, and tiled package prints. It also lets you add watermarks before you print. Other new features include SmugMug integration, better noise reduction, an excellent map view mode, timeline albums, and a focus mask overlay so you can tell which photos are in focus.

Aside from the slightly complicated user interface, the only other small downside to Photo RAW is the sluggishness in performance of some of the processor-intensive AI tools — a pop-up loading dialogue is a common sight. Just about everything most photographers would ever need is here in one place. However, if you want the best photo management app on Windows, Mac, iOS and Android, keep on reading.

Mylio Photos uses local media storage and device-to-device syncing to allow you to connect multiple image libraries together and access them in one location — all without the Internet or the Cloud. Mylio also helps you find images faster via smart organisation and search features, as well as offering handy image editing tools too. RAW image processing is non-destructive and can be performed on any device — the mobile app is fast and responsive since all images are reduced, much like a Lightroom Smart Preview.

A key benefit of Mylio Photos is that it can be used across different platforms, meaning if your laptop is a Mac but your phone is an Android and your tablet runs Windows, you can still use it.

This makes it great for families and small businesses where people are using a mix of products and platforms. You can store and organise an unlimited number of photos and videos — the only limitations are the capacity of your devices. The user interface is well laid out and easy to understand, making it a great software for beginners or anyone who just wants a simple way to organise and edit photos. For anyone who values privacy above all else, Mylio is a great solution.

DxO is best known for its impressive RAW processing tools, which automatically apply lens corrections and all the default processing adjustments when you start browsing a folder of RAW files. A handy feature is how DxO can automatically look up any missing camera and lens correction profiles that are required to provide the best RAW processing, although most of these are already included in the software. The user interface is similar to Lightroom and can be customised to mimic it further.

All the basic editing functionality is there, with more advanced editing tools ready for you to take full manual control. Smart Lighting is another feature exclusive to DxO, applying highlight and shadows adjustments to a RAW file to produce a more balanced image with increased dynamic range — this is especially useful to apply to a series of images, and a real timesaver for landscape photography.

For editing particular areas of your images, the local adjustment tools are powerful and intuitive. Similar to Lightroom, you can apply them with a graduated filter tool and a manual brush. Unique to DxO PhotoLab, you can also try your hand with a control line and control point tool to make local selections too. The non-destructive editing is smooth and fast, and the latest versions bring with them a number of useful features, including:.

However, for professional photographers or perfectionist pixel peepers who want the best noise reduction and RAW processing, DxO is hard to beat. Capture One is a powerful software reserved more for professional photographers. With its latest release, Capture One offers exceptional RAW image file processing, image cataloging, layers, local adjustments, keystone adjustments, and just about all the features one would expect out of a pro image editing app.

Thanks to colour profiles which are tailored for every camera, any RAW file imported into Capture One will instantly look better than any other RAW photo editor. With Lightroom, for example, imported files have a more neutral starting point. Capture One has more ways to manipulate colour than Lightroom, allowing you to make colour balance changes to shadow, mid-tone and highlights, and a channel dedicated to skin tones.

Take a look at the video below to see how a talented portrait photographer uses the software to edit all his high-end fashion portraits. From there you can adjust the affected colour range, hue, saturation and lightness. The 3-Way option even lets you adjust the colour tint separately in the shadow, mid-tone and highlight areas. Need to smooth out skin tones? No problem. Simply choose the Skin Tone tab, select a colour range, and adjust the uniformity sliders. Instead, everything sits in one interface and you toggle through buttons to change functions — this mixed-asset management can be confusing at first.

There are tons of adjustment options, many of which the average photographer would never use. If you thought Lightroom was tricky to master, just wait till you start exploring the capabilities of C1! Tethering features in Capture One make it the obvious choice for studio photographers. This is no surprise since tethered shooting functionality is one of the main reasons the software was developed. Like Photoshop but unlike Lightroom, Capture One allows you to edit in layers. Lightroom only has adjustment points for brushes or gradients.

When you use layers in Capture One, you can make targeted local adjustments to your photos and still use the majority of the editing tools available, not just the ones in a given tool. This is a huge benefit for those who like a fine level of control over photo manipulation. You can also download a free day trial.

Darktable is still the best free Lightroom alternative, offering a full-featured non-destructive image adjustment suite and extensive library management options.

Alike Lightroom, the latest version takes advantage of GPU accelerated image processing, meaning most editing features are surprisingly fast. As far as the UI is concerned, Darktable looks a lot like Lightroom, but the grouping of the editing modules still take a bit of time to get used to. Once you get used to the user interface you can fully customize Darktable, setting it up for just the editing tools you want to use. You can set up automatic scripts in Darktable to streamline your workflo and make repetitive tasks fast and more efficient — a unique feature that Lightroom nor any of its alternatives offer.

Darktable offers a powerful image export system, which supports Piwigo web albums, disk storage, copy, and email attachments. It can even generate a simple HTML-based web gallery for simple online album creation. In terms of support, Darktable comes with excellent, multi-lingual documentation — even the app itself is available in 21 languages!

Most open source folks choose Digikam. Overall, Darktable is the most developed of all the open-source free Lightroom alternatives and is well worth trying out. RawTherapee has all the standard editing features needed in a RAW editor and even includes advanced color controls and lens corrections.

Among its strong points are exceptional demosaicing, multiple denoising methods, and batch processing,. Fujifilm RAW files are notoriously challenging to render well. RawTherapee is available in over 25 languages and will soon have more, thanks to a very active community of open-source developers who keep the software updated with the latest camera and lens profiles.

However, it lacks file management features and printing options, making it unsuitable for professional photographers. Photoshop Express is a freely downloadable mobile editing app and a worthy recommendation for anyone looking for a Lightroom alternative for iPad, iPhone, Windows or Android devices. Since Express is at its heart a Photoshop derivative, it also offers layer-based editing features such as a text editor, stickers, frames, a collage maker and even a handy watermark tool.

Photoshop Express offers a handful of suprisingly powerful editing tools, including face-aware liquify, selective edits, auto-masking and even a replace eyes feature that opens up closed eyes!

Another neat trick is the ability to generate scrapbooks and create custom stickers with your photos. For beginners who want to improve at photo editing, the new Discover feed lets you see how other users created a look, and then apply the same edits to your own photos.

Snapseed is a free photo editing app developed by Google, available for Android or iOS. Featuring 29 tools and filters including healing, brush, structure, HDR and perspective, Snapseed is remarkably comprehensive for a free app with no ads or paid upgrades.

Then there are all the various looks that can be applied to each image to get them ready to be shared on social media — grunge, grainy film, vintage, retrolux, noir, black and white and our favourite, the double exposure features that allows you to blend two photos much like in Photoshop. For selfie-lovers, the face enhancement and face pose tools are fun and useful for doing things like sharpening eyes, adding face-specific lighting or smoothing skin.

The only downside is the lack of updates, with the last version released back in April Over the years, the Photos program has evolved into a fully-fledged non-destructive editing program and photo management tool with both basic and advanced tools for all levels of photographers.


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