Two New RAW Converters

This month we have the first shipments of two promising, new raw converters promised: Macphun’s Luminar (macOS only) and on1’s new Photo Raw.

Macphun is the publisher of Aurora HDR and Creative Kit, one of my favorite—and recommended—Photoshop plug-ins. Their new raw converter, Luminar, is available for pre-order at a discount (US$59, including two free bonuses, or US$49 for previous Macphun customers). Regular price is listed at US$69, which will be the price when the product ships on November 17th.

Luminar has filters, layers, blend modes, masks, as well as the full array of things you’d expect in any raw converter. There’s workspace customization, a history panel, presets, and a host of other useful touches, as well. Curiously, Luminar can also function as a plug-in to Aperture, Lightroom, and Photoshop. It also is a Photos extension. Meanwhile, Luminar can also use the Creative Kit plug-ins in standalone mode. There’s a bit of interesting workflow complexity available with the program. And yes, it supports social sharing for output. 

Meanwhile, on1 (onOne Software) is promising a non-destructive raw photo editor (US$120, or US$80 for upgrades from onOne Photo 10.5. The new raw photo editor (macOS and Windows) is expected to be fast, and includes all the previous on1 app abilities (Layers, Resize, Portrait, Effects, Browse, etc.). Like Luminar, it can be used standalone, or as a plug-in for Lightroom or Photoshop, and offers an Apple Photos extension capability. 

No date is specified for onOne Raw Photo, other than “November.”

What’s interesting about both these new raw editors is the ability to “skip Adobe.” Both of them will edit-in-place. That means you can use a manual method, e.g. file folder hierarchy, to organize your images on a drive, and convert them in place. It also means that people using products like Photo Mechanic in their workflow might not need Lightroom.

I should mention that if you don’t want to buy or rent Lightroom, there is an interesting free alternative that’s appeared and matured recently: Darktable (macOS, Linux, Solaris). It’s nowhere near a perfect Lightroom replacement—a number of Lightroom features aren’t there, and the develop capabilities are on the weak side—but if you’re trying to match up some sort of browser/light table type of application with one of the standalone raw converters mentioned above, it might be worth a look.

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