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danpass

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Jun 27, 2009
2,693
482
Glory
The native Mac app, Photos, is only ok (the iOS 6 era Photos was GREAT).

Thanks.

(let's see how many gloss over the non-subscription part ....)
 

mollyc

macrumors 604
Aug 18, 2016
7,849
47,782
I do primarily use subscription based photoshop but I also have Luminar and think it’s pretty good. I’d use it if I had to give up adobe.
 
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Apple fanboy

macrumors Ivy Bridge
Feb 21, 2012
55,512
53,367
Behind the Lens, UK
The native Mac app, Photos, is only ok (the iOS 6 era Photos was GREAT).

Thanks.

(let's see how many gloss over the non-subscription part ....)
Capture One do a none subscription version.
Affinity Photo is okay to use.
DXO I found a little awkward, but my friend loves it.
Most have a free trial period. Give them a try and see what works for you.
 
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regular_mac_user

macrumors newbie
Sep 12, 2020
1
1
Last edited:
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AlaskaMoose

macrumors 68040
Apr 26, 2008
3,519
13,373
Alaska
DOX Photo Lab 3 + the NIK software bundle is my favorite, but also use OneOne's PhotoRaw.

Also, PS Elements is not bad, and the NIK apps work well with it.
 

bhtwo

macrumors 65816
Dec 31, 2012
1,189
1,431
Oxford UK
I used to use PS (CS5 stand alone) but since upgrading to Catalina none of my Adobe apps work.

I will NOT go the subscription route.

I use Pixelmator - it's okay, not PS but okay.

The NIK apps still work.
 

kenoh

macrumors demi-god
Jul 18, 2008
6,506
10,850
Glasgow, UK
Luminar is an option

Also, depending on your camera, you may be able to get access to the free version of Capture One (Fuji or Sony)

Also Photoshop Elements is still a license rather than sub.
 

AlaskaMoose

macrumors 68040
Apr 26, 2008
3,519
13,373
Alaska
I used to use PS (CS5 stand alone) but since upgrading to Catalina none of my Adobe apps work.

I will NOT go the subscription route.

I use Pixelmator - it's okay, not PS but okay.

The NIK apps still work.
I use a standalone CS6, DXO/NIK, and PhotoRaw 2020 on a 2019 iMac. I decided not to upgrade OS-X to Catalina because of the lack of support from Apple. My plan is not to use CS6 once I have mastered both DXO PhotoLab 3/Nik, and PhotoRaw 2020. I don't want to "ever" subscribe to the Adobe-nor any other online services.

By the way, there is another app that is relatively inexpensive, and quite powerful. This app is Graphic Converter (an app found in Lemke Software). A few years ago, graphic Converter was called "the poor man's PhotoShop."
 
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bhtwo

macrumors 65816
Dec 31, 2012
1,189
1,431
Oxford UK
I use a standalone CS6, DXO/NIK, and PhotoRaw 2020 on a 2019 iMac. I decided not to upgrade OS-X to Catalina because of the lack of support from Apple. My plan is not to use CS6 once I have mastered both DXO PhotoLab 3/Nik, and PhotoRaw 2020. I don't want to "ever" subscribe to the Adobe-nor any other online services.

By the way, there is another app that is relatively inexpensive, and quite powerful. This app is Graphic Converter (an app found in Lemke Software). A few years ago, graphic Converter was called "the poor man's PhotoShop."

Yes... I have Graphic converter... I use it for Celestia textures (DDS support). It's a bit clunky tho.
 

tizeye

macrumors 68040
Jul 17, 2013
3,097
34,071
Orlando, FL
In my quest to dump Adobe tried many but found that I still need Photoshop (and unfortunately, now inDesign requiring the full CC) for that one feature I need and others can't do. The big one is working in layers involving multiple photographs. Most refer to layers as a tonal adjustment layer of the same photo. Having tried...and using for specific features...following summary, in order.
1. Affinity Photo. Very full featured and excels in one feature - in addition to being the least expensive @$49, doesn't mine its customer base with annual upgrades usually around $100 which is the same as simply subscribing to Photoshop/Lightroom. By their policy, only upgrade will be wen they go a full model number from the current v1 to v2 and every decimal upgrades, currently v1.7 I think, is free. The other weird thing about Affinity is that they use non-standard terminology that have to get use to.
2. Luminar 4. Good with limitations but nothing better on sky replacement. I have found though that the sky will introduce a pale blue/cloud mask impacting other areas (white eaves of house, etc) and now use it as a plug-in in Photoshop and make a duplicate layer that can later bring in to paint back with low opacity impacted areas.
3. On1 - This probably ties with Affinity Photo as Luminar is special use as primary feature. On1 one is relatively full feature and give you an option over Lightroom - don't have to import into catalog (which it also offers) and can work on photos where they are on the hard drive, not throwing a fit if you move or re-name them.
4. Capture 1 - borderline useless. "Free" version is very limited so immediate upgrade to full (camera specific or very expensive universal). I had/have the Sony version originally paid $49. Not only do they have annual upgrades but annual price increases for the upgrade where I think it is now $125. Hasn't had the cataloging feature (didn't check to see if added) so work individually like in Photoshop without Lightroom. Fuji/Sony sounds good at the low price until reality hits and you realize need the expensive full version. Reality - Unless Fuji/Sony is your first camera, you probably have a hard drive full of Canon, Nikon, iPhone or other photos that it will not touch. Likewise in the future wanting to touch up an iPhone photo, downloading a stock photo or something a friend emailed as an attachment, or even scanning a physical photo/document to a jpg. It is not Fuji/Sony.
5. Adobe Photoshop Elements - I haven't used it but know people who have. It is actually a very good program, and given the history, more feature rich than Adobe wanted but competition pushed. Adobe needed something in the $99 pricepoint to compete with Photoshop's main competitor, Paintshop Pro, but had to walk a tightrope an not scavenge their Photoshop customers with it being too good. I had Paintshop since it was one of the original 4 "must have" shareware programs. Developed a year or two after Photoshop and marketed as doing 97% of what Photoshop would do. Still does. Owned it as it made the jump to a commercial program, first JASC and now Corel, adding the "Pro" to the name. While it is feature rich, Corel has "improved" it downgrading the interface to make it look toyish. Biggest problem after all these decades - PC only, no Mac version...and while I have Parallels, I refuse to use it under that program as Corel suggests. To make maters worse, when Corel released version 1 of their Lightroom equivalent in a Mac version, they still kept Paintshop Pro as PC only.
 

iMi

Suspended
Sep 13, 2014
1,624
3,200
In my quest to dump Adobe tried many but found that I still need Photoshop (and unfortunately, now inDesign requiring the full CC) for that one feature I need and others can't do. The big one is working in layers involving multiple photographs. Most refer to layers as a tonal adjustment layer of the same photo. Having tried...and using for specific features...following summary, in order.
1. Affinity Photo. Very full featured and excels in one feature - in addition to being the least expensive @$49, doesn't mine its customer base with annual upgrades usually around $100 which is the same as simply subscribing to Photoshop/Lightroom. By their policy, only upgrade will be wen they go a full model number from the current v1 to v2 and every decimal upgrades, currently v1.7 I think, is free. The other weird thing about Affinity is that they use non-standard terminology that have to get use to.
2. Luminar 4. Good with limitations but nothing better on sky replacement. I have found though that the sky will introduce a pale blue/cloud mask impacting other areas (white eaves of house, etc) and now use it as a plug-in in Photoshop and make a duplicate layer that can later bring in to paint back with low opacity impacted areas.
3. On1 - This probably ties with Affinity Photo as Luminar is special use as primary feature. On1 one is relatively full feature and give you an option over Lightroom - don't have to import into catalog (which it also offers) and can work on photos where they are on the hard drive, not throwing a fit if you move or re-name them.
4. Capture 1 - borderline useless. "Free" version is very limited so immediate upgrade to full (camera specific or very expensive universal). I had/have the Sony version originally paid $49. Not only do they have annual upgrades but annual price increases for the upgrade where I think it is now $125. Hasn't had the cataloging feature (didn't check to see if added) so work individually like in Photoshop without Lightroom. Fuji/Sony sounds good at the low price until reality hits and you realize need the expensive full version. Reality - Unless Fuji/Sony is your first camera, you probably have a hard drive full of Canon, Nikon, iPhone or other photos that it will not touch. Likewise in the future wanting to touch up an iPhone photo, downloading a stock photo or something a friend emailed as an attachment, or even scanning a physical photo/document to a jpg. It is not Fuji/Sony.
5. Adobe Photoshop Elements - I haven't used it but know people who have. It is actually a very good program, and given the history, more feature rich than Adobe wanted but competition pushed. Adobe needed something in the $99 pricepoint to compete with Photoshop's main competitor, Paintshop Pro, but had to walk a tightrope an not scavenge their Photoshop customers with it being too good. I had Paintshop since it was one of the original 4 "must have" shareware programs. Developed a year or two after Photoshop and marketed as doing 97% of what Photoshop would do. Still does. Owned it as it made the jump to a commercial program, first JASC and now Corel, adding the "Pro" to the name. While it is feature rich, Corel has "improved" it downgrading the interface to make it look toyish. Biggest problem after all these decades - PC only, no Mac version...and while I have Parallels, I refuse to use it under that program as Corel suggests. To make maters worse, when Corel released version 1 of their Lightroom equivalent in a Mac version, they still kept Paintshop Pro as PC only.

I used and continue to use Affinity suite, but recently went back to Adobe. I got a good deal on an annual subscription and bought several years worth. So, that’s that. It’s hard to replace an industry standard. Plus, there is no software out there that I can think about that would have more learning resources and support than the Adobe suite.

To provide a recommendation on alternatives, I would second your advice. I like Affinity Photos. It’s more of a Photoshop replacement and does not have the functionality of Lightroom. I asked them about that and they said they have “something in the works.” I’ll be interested in seeing what they release.
 

tizeye

macrumors 68040
Jul 17, 2013
3,097
34,071
Orlando, FL
I used and continue to use Affinity suite, but recently went back to Adobe. I got a good deal on an annual subscription and bought several years worth. So, that’s that. It’s hard to replace an industry standard. Plus, there is no software out there that I can think about that would have more learning resources and support than the Adobe suite.

To provide a recommendation on alternatives, I would second your advice. I like Affinity Photos. It’s more of a Photoshop replacement and does not have the functionality of Lightroom. I asked them about that and they said they have “something in the works.” I’ll be interested in seeing what they release.
Likewise. Affinity's favorite phrase in "In the works" that they said for years - not week or months - as people were demanding "Publisher" for their Affinity's announced planned trilogy of programs. And then they release Publisher without the capability to publish an eBook, that for over a year now has been "in the works" for a future version. For the one I am writing, tried with QuarkExpress but very weird/convoluted anchoring of photos for fixed format books. Gave up as too time consuming of both workflow and learning curve and went to tried and true inDesign.

Here is a hint on how to get the best price from Adobe. Current customers are second class and expected to pay full price at auto renewal (November for me) while the inactive account is offered deals to attract new and former customers. I am not second class! To beat Adobe at their own game, open two account with different emails. They will prospect the other one with deals and in negotiating the renewal of the active one, you know how serious they are as they try to 'save' the account. Changeover on your computer is simple. Sign out on the one account and sign in on the other. It recognizes all your previously downloaded programs attached to an active account.
 
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r.harris1

macrumors 68020
Feb 20, 2012
2,190
12,628
Denver, Colorado, USA
While I do use Adobe tools, my non-subscription tool of choice for my particular style and workflow is Capture One Pro. Note of course that “non-subscription” in my case (and most cases) doesn’t mean ”free upgrades for life”, as I have to pay an upgrade fee each year if I want the latest and greatest as far as features or bug fixes. In the grand scheme of things, I find it’s pretty small potatoes. Closer to “free upgrades for life” would be something like Affinity, but that’s mostly because they will go a couple of years without a major version release. Obviously the open source tools like Dark Table are no cost. Best advice is to try a handful of the excellent recommendations here and see what fits your personal style.

I forget if others have recommended it, but try Raw Power from one of the former Aperture developers from Apple. Superb software that integrates nicely with Apple Photos.
 
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OldMacs4Me

macrumors 68020
May 4, 2018
2,209
28,836
Wild Rose And Wind Belt
I'm with you, the subscription approach is absolutely obscene for those of us who don't make a living with their software.

I like Affinity, but it does lack the super useful 'select similar' feature. For that reason alone I often revert to Snow Leopard for photo editing where I can use my antiquated version of PhotoShop Elements. If I am in more of a hurry and am booted into ElCap, Affinity is usually up to the task. For some things even the tools in Preview are sufficient.

There are newer versions of Elements than mine but rather mundane improvements for the price.
 
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Clix Pix

macrumors Core
Years ago I used Photoshop, but pretty much stopped with CS3 and never moved on with PS after that; during that time is when I began doing my editing in Aperture. Now of course Aperture is totally defunct -- I still miss it! I use DXO PhotoLab 3 for my primary editing software, and still have Luminar 3, which I occasionally use for their nifty "erase" tool, but never moved on to Luminar 4. I think Luminar is releasing a new version of their software now -- I saw something about that somewhere recently. I use Topaz Sharpen AI when I need to add a touch more sharpening. Although DXO provides excellent de-noising capability, I also have Topaz Denoise AI. In addition I have the new NIK Collection 3, which I use as a plug-in with DXO PhotoLab 3, especially for B&W conversions. They have some pretty neat presets.

For culling I use Photo Mechanic, which makes that process go fairly swiftly and smoothly. I've got a couple other programs which I don't really use often but had bought them a year or two ago during my early exploration of alternatives to Aperture. Affinity Photo is one and Raw Power is the other. I never quite cottoned to Affinity Photo but have hung on to it nonetheless....
 

maflynn

macrumors Haswell
May 3, 2009
73,586
43,574
Exposure software, i.e., Alien Skin release Exposure X6. I'm trying this out, and this may finally be the app that causes me to drop lightroom :)
 

cSalmon

macrumors regular
Dec 18, 2016
197
93
dc
I would definitely recommend trying out Darktable (https://www.Darktable.org). Not only is it a very functional editor it's also Opensource and to me that goes a long way in assuring access for archival retrieval. If you need to do more robust retouching › Affinity.

One of the great things about leaving Photoshop is I rely more on taking the picture than what I can manipulate in a piece of software. (It's funny how we were so quick to get out of the darkroom only to get stuck behind a computer)
 
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Fishrrman

macrumors Penryn
Feb 20, 2009
28,469
12,591
danpass wrote:
"I lament the loss of Aperture from back when I updated my OS"

You can STILL USE Aperture, right up to and including OS Catalina.

The utility you need to make this work is called "Retroactive".
Google it.
 
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jxrxme

macrumors member
Nov 8, 2014
40
5
Exposure software, i.e., Alien Skin release Exposure X6. I'm trying this out, and this may finally be the app that causes me to drop lightroom :)
I’m curious what you think about Exposure X6.
I’m currently checking it out (free trial). Migration from Lightroom went ok. But while editing RAWs (.CR2) I’m getting crashes and some RAWs have green/dead pixels (not visible in Lightroom or macOS preview). I contacted support - which responds great so far (issues not fixed yet).
 

maflynn

macrumors Haswell
May 3, 2009
73,586
43,574
I’m curious what you think about Exposure X6.
Generally speaking I'm ok with it, I was playing with the trial myself. I had no issues with canon raw files, though I'm on a PC and not a Mac.

What still has me tied to LR is the fact that I can easily ingest new images, do some basic tasks on importing and do a quick scan of what to include or exclude. I suppose with Bridge being free, I could alter my workflow and use that, and as I type I may play with a combination Bridge/Expsoure.

Overall I found the tools provided to edit images to be great and if it wasn't for the "DAM" functionality in LR, I'd be more excited for Exposure.
 

Ray2

macrumors 65816
Jul 8, 2014
1,130
457
Beta releases, sold as post-beta software, that are so bad one ends up spending money each year for updates, are supposedly “non-subscription”. My suggestion is C1 or any of the free apps.

Yes, iPhoto on iOS 6 was very good. Unfortunately, that’s not Apple's user base anymore. One bucket for an endless pile of never culled, never edited images is where we're at.
 

AlaskaMoose

macrumors 68040
Apr 26, 2008
3,519
13,373
Alaska
It seems that the last version of Affinity Photo is quite a good application, although relatively cheap compared to several others. I understand the Luminar has a "portraiture" module that at least to me, can be useful. For portraits I use OneOne, but I am looking forward to Luminar, or even Affinity, as long as one of them has such a module. While DXO Photo Lab 3 , has some options for brushing the eyes and maybe skin, I prefer the one offered by OneOne because its ease of use. The problems is that I use OneOne only for its portrait module. Once I solve that issue, "goodbye Adobe" :)
 

Clix Pix

macrumors Core
DXO PhotoLab 3 has recently been updated to DXO PhotoLab 4.....

I've had Luminar 3 for a while but never upgraded to Luminar 4 and now Skylum is offering Luminar AI, which, as the name suggests, is going to be more about using artificial intelligence to work with images, while still also offering tools for the photographer to individually adjust as needed rather than accepting all the AI stuff.

I have Affinity Photo but haven't used it in a while, as somehow I never could quite "click" with it and I much prefer DXO PhotoLab 4. We all have our individual needs, preferences and working styles, so it's really a matter of finding one or more programs which really work for you!
 
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