Lightroom alternative

Howard2k

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Mar 10, 2016
2,777
2,015
I'm running the non-subscription version of Lightroom. I have no issues with it at all, everything is currently working great.

But it's 32-bit, so when 10.15 comes out I'll need to stick to 10.14 I suppose, or replace LR with something else. In addition, with the current state of Apple's MacBook's, I guess I need to at least consider the idea of picking up a Windows machine.

I'm an amateur photographer, not a professional. I shoot RAW and do some tweaking, but nothing crazy.

Given the demise of 32-bit, and the risk of having to move to Windows, I'd really like to find a couple of options that are either macOS, or available on both macOS and Windows.

Free is also good, I'm an amateur. So I suppose:

+ Good app to catalog photos.
+ Basic tweak functions.
+ macOS/Windows compatible
+ Cheap/free
+ LR migration tool (ha!)
- Subscription based.


No major issue with LR aside from the fact that it's set to sunset very shortly and I don't like the subscription idea. Again, not a professional.


I'm thinking Rawtherapee and am going to try it out. Just wondering if anyone has any "wait, I can save you a bunch of pain and instead recommend..." ideas?
 
Last edited:

stillcrazyman

macrumors 68030
Oct 10, 2014
2,544
17,569
In Exile
There are a lot of alternatives out there to try. I was in a similar place a few years ago.
Aperture to Lr. When I heard that Lr might go to a subscription, I started looking.
I tried the following:

ON1 Photo Raw (started with the Photo Suite)
Capture One Pro
DxO Photo Lab (used to be Optics Pro)
ACDSee -
Luminar
Alien Skin Exposure 3 and 4

I'm currently using just ON1 Photo Raw 2019 - It's much more stable and robust than previous versions.

- Capture One Pro is very good for pro level work, but it's a bit awkward and expensive.
- DxO Photo Lab also has very good tools, but seems to lack the creative edge. For me at least.
- ACDSee - for the Mac, it isn't stable enough in my experience. It has potential, but it's developers seem more Windows focused.
- Alien Skin Exposure 4 - Very nice program. I just didn't care for the interface.
Luminar - Very decent program. If it improves in it's newest version. The new release is not ready for prime time. I still use the 2018 version.

There are more programs out there, so I'd encourage you to look around. Many of them are available for free trial.
 

MCAsan

macrumors 601
Jul 9, 2012
4,542
413
Atlanta
Luminar 3 with Libraries should be a "good enough" stop gap to replace Lr Library and Develop. It will also let you use Digital Camera Profile (dcp) files. Be sure to save the DCP files for your camera from Lightroom. If your copy of Lr does not have DCP files, then ask someone you know who has Lr subscription version to copy the DCP files for you.

Skylum should have another dot release out this week or next. I suggest you at least try a trial copy.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Howard2k

smirking

macrumors 68020
Aug 31, 2003
2,202
1,605
Silicon Valley
Just wondering if anyone has any "wait, I can save you a bunch of pain and instead recommend..." ideas?
If you're a former Aperture user, I found Capture One Pro to be the closest thing to Aperture. It's a bit daunting straight out of the box, but with a few customizations of your tool panels, it ends up looking a lot like Aperture.

That said, be aware that while Capture One Pro isn't subscription based, they do require you to buy an upgrade every year if you want to get the most current features. They release a new major version every year. You can stay on your version indefinitely though and if you're pretty amateur, there's more than enough in it now for you to go on for years.

It's not cheap though. It's a pro tool and priced accordingly.

Whatever you do, avoid Corel AfterShot Pro at all costs. It's cheap, but it performs even cheaper.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Howard2k

v3rlon

macrumors 6502a
Sep 19, 2014
567
222
Earth (usually)
How much tweaking do you do?
How much cataloging do you need?

Lets start with easy:
Apple Photos, when you expand all the edit options, does a fair bit of tweaking. It's free. Its already installed on your Mac. It offers keywords, geotagging, search by date, and AI categories (like "Bridge") that happen automatically for you. You have to try this and experiment a bit, but it is a fun way to look at photos. It has faces, favorites, and smart albums. There is no "dislike" or star rating, though there is a work around if you REALLY want to. Where the editing comes up short, you can "Edit in another application" like Affinity Photos and bring back. Apple photos is REALLY fast, and it syncs nicely with other Apple devices. It is FAR better than it gets credit for, but it isn't perfect either. For one, "all photos" is in order or import, not order of capture date, and there is no easy way to change this.

On1 Photo Raw 2019: As noted above, it is much improved over the 2018 version. You do not have to import. It reads photos from whatever directory(s) you point it at. It features built-in HDR merging. It has layers and all of your raw layers are still raw. That's kind of a big deal when you need it.It has nice editing features, including lens corrections. I find the interface not quite as friendly as Photos as it requires you to move from one side of the screen to the other, but it does have the most powerful editing features of any on my list out of the box. It has keywords, colors, stars, likes, dislikes, geotagging, and supports tethered shooting on Canon and Nikon. It includes a LR Migration assistant.

Luminar with Libraries: Organizationally, you'd be better served with Finder. For as long as it took them to release that, it is EXTREMELY underwhelming. Keywords are "coming soon." That's right. No keywords. Like On1, there is no importing. Point it at the directories you want to use. If you move photos with Finder, Luminar automatically knows what happened (unlike Lightroom). Editing is good, but prioritizes presets. The "Sunrays" plugin is really fun, but I do not like their editor as much. Thumbnail generation is slow. I believe the LR migration tool is also "coming soon." Skylum's definition of "soon" does not match mine. I suspect it is ran by geologists or astronomers.


both Luminar and On1 are in the $100 US range.

Capture1 Pro: Widely considered to be the best RAW importer out there, period. This is quite often the one you see in Adorama videos when doing tethered shooting (Canon, Nikon, Sony, and others). It is a better editor than LR but less powerful organizer than LR. Again you will have keywords, stars, likes, dislikes, and so one. You have catalogs and sessions which pro users mix and match when working with customers. I find the retouch/clone stamp procedure a bit clunky, but it does offer support of third party controllers like Palette Gear or Loupdeck to speed your workflow from that end. It is currently the only one on this list to do so. No LR migration tool here. It is also the most expensive on this list. If you shoot Sony, there is a discounted version, but the only RAW files it supports are Sony's.
 

Donka

macrumors 68030
May 3, 2011
2,761
1,390
Scotland
+1 for Photos.
Not saying it is the tool for you but I would give it a thorough test before trying to find an alternative. It looks basic on first viewing but is much more capable than most people give it credit for. Other editing apps integrate nicely for when you need some additional editing ability.
It has its flaws but it is what I use today and extend out to the likes of Luminar, Nik Collection and Affinity Photo when I need to.
 

allan.nyholm

macrumors 6502a
Nov 22, 2007
984
256
Aalborg, Denmark
Bundlehunt.com recently held a $5 unlock with Corel AfterShot Pro 3 for additional $5 - claims to be faster than Lightroom and what not. So worth keeping an eye out for that should the deal resurface.

Link to Corel's website on the matter: https://www.aftershotpro.com/en/products/aftershot/pro/

Not entirely sure about the +'s and -'s

There's a Corel sanctioned website here that allows you to obtain Corel AfterShot 3 and then upgrade within the app to the pro version according to the website here: https://www.ephotozine.com/article/there-s-still-time-to-get-corel-aftershot-3-free---30997

Note: the pages might be a bit old so that is something to keep in mind when taking up on this offer from Corel. Though I still believe the AfterShot Pro 3 serial number to be valid. I'm going to try it myself this minute. Update: the serial number and activation works 100% and there's now an upgrade path to the Pro version for $19.99 in the bottom left hand corner of this Standard version of AfterShot 3

Direct link to the Corel AfterShot page with the serial number attached(ephotozine is added as source in this url when I pasted the link): https://www.aftershotpro.com/en/pages/giveaway/?utm_medium=PMM|MelH&utm_source=ephotozine&utm_campaign=freeas3&utm_content=editorial
 
Last edited:

robgendreau

macrumors 68040
Jul 13, 2008
3,316
238
I'm running the non-subscription version of Lightroom. I have no issues with it at all, everything is currently working great.

But it's 32-bit, so when 10.15 comes out I'll need to stick to 10.14 I suppose, or replace LR with something else. In addition, with the current state of Apple's MacBook's, I guess I need to at least consider the idea of picking up a Windows machine.

I'm an amateur photographer, not a professional. I shoot RAW and do some tweaking, but nothing crazy.

Given the demise of 32-bit, and the risk of having to move to Windows, I'd really like to find a couple of options that are either macOS, or available on both macOS and Windows.

Free is also good, I'm an amateur. So I suppose:

+ Good app to catalog photos.
+ Basic tweak functions.
+ macOS/Windows compatible
+ Cheap/free
+ LR migration tool (ha!)
- Subscription based.


No major issue with LR aside from the fact that it's set to sunset very shortly and I don't like the subscription idea. Again, not a professional.


I'm thinking Rawtherapee and am going to try it out. Just wondering if anyone has any "wait, I can save you a bunch of pain and instead recommend..." ideas?
Which "non-subscription" version? Lr 6? if so, that's 64 bit. So is Lr 5. Dunno about versions earlier than that.
 

Howard2k

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Mar 10, 2016
2,777
2,015
Which "non-subscription" version? Lr 6? if so, that's 64 bit. So is Lr 5. Dunno about versions earlier than that.
Yes, LR6. I get a pop up from the Adobe Application Manager Utilities, but you're right, LR6 itself appears to be 64 bit. Any idea if LR6 will work without this utility? Perhaps we need to wait for beta versions of 10.15.
 

mofunk

macrumors 68020
Aug 26, 2009
2,405
156
Americas
For some reason I've had problems logging in to Adobe and downloading the $$ apps... so my Lightroom stays in tack. I can't access any of the subscribed versions. But what I'm doing until I can't use LR6 is backing up my images to an external drive and DVDr. Caption1 looks promising. I've downloaded it but haven't used it yet.


Adobe Elements would be my last resort. Or just going back to iPhoto aka Photo. Although I do enjoy using the Print Module in Lightroom, I really would miss not using it.
 

robgendreau

macrumors 68040
Jul 13, 2008
3,316
238
Yes, LR6. I get a pop up from the Adobe Application Manager Utilities, but you're right, LR6 itself appears to be 64 bit. Any idea if LR6 will work without this utility? Perhaps we need to wait for beta versions of 10.15.
I dunno. You could try killing it and see if Lr 6 runs OK. Since Lr 6 isn't getting updates, AAM might not be necessary, although I think it does more than upgrade stuff.
 

someoldguy

macrumors 68000
Aug 2, 2009
1,901
5,133
usa
I dunno. You could try killing it and see if Lr 6 runs OK. Since Lr 6 isn't getting updates, AAM might not be necessary, although I think it does more than upgrade stuff.
Sadly , AAM seems to have something to do with enabling your perpetual license . I tried to kill it and got a notification on Photoshop CS6 that it couldn't find my license .

Screen Shot 2019-02-11 at 6.15.32 PM.jpg
 
Last edited: