Shop Talk

Top 5 Alternatives to Lightroom

Adobe Lightroom has quickly become an essential part of many digital photographers workflow. Is it not only a very capable image processor, but helps to organize images as well. From being able to process RAW images, connectivity with the Creative Cloud, and access to an endless supply of presets, it’s easy to see why Lightroom is so popular. However, there are still reasons why you might want to look for an alternative. So here’s a list of alternatives that we think are worthing checking out.

"Beyond Firs" by danielcoulmann

1. RawTherapee (win, osx, linux)

This open source program is often considered one of the best alternatives to Lightroom. The community maintains a wiki that can teach everything about the app. The interface can be a little challenging, and often new camera models aren’t added as fast as some of the other applications. However, some great results can be yielded with this program.

Notes: Non-destructive editing, advanced color handling, batch-processing, can send images to Gimp

2. Capture One Pro 10 (osx, win)

Developed by Phase One, this Raw converter and processing software is aimed for “professional photographers”. It has support for more than 400 cameras, a high performance engine, and very robust color editing. This program is a little on the expensive side, and while it does have a subscription plan, it can be cheaper to just subscribe to the Adobe Photography Plan.

Notes: Tethered capture, presets, asset management. 

3. DxO Optics Pro (osx, win)

This award winning app boasts best in class noise reduction, haze removal, geometry corrections, and more. While Lightroom might be better for workflow, and Capture One better at raw conversion, DxO excels in image enhancements and corrections.

Notes: 300+ cameras and 950+ lenses supported, smart lighting (automatic exposure optimization). 

4. AlienSkin Exposure X2 (osx, win)

Stated as the only “RAW editor designed from the ground up for accurate film emulation and gorgeous creative photo effects”, Exposure X2 is a great alternative for those that want powerful editing, and an efficient storage system that is much easier than Lightroom’s. Exposure has a “catalog free” approach, and uses a folder structure similar to the one on your computer’s OS. Alien Skin also did a comprehensive study and developed presets that simulate analog film.

Notes: Non-destructive editing, PSD support, infrared tools, lens distortion correction, can also be used as a plugin in Photoshop. 

5. Darktable (win, linux)

Along with RawTherapee, Darktable is another popular open source raw developer and processor. Stated as a darkroom and virtual light-table for photographers, this app has a clean interface and is divided into modules, much like Lightroom. This program is a perfect alternative for those photographers using Linux.

Notes: Tethering, map images to GPS, Non-destructive editing. 

Know of any other alternatives? Link to them in the comments below.

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