DxO vs Lightroom vs Capture One

DxO vs Lightroom vs Capture One Pro – which is best?

Editor’s note: This was written back in 2013 and I know it needs an update. The broad conclusions still apply – that different RAW converters produce very different results – but I do need to re-test the latest versions to bring the results up to date. Rod Lawton

All RAW converters are not the same! I’m surprised at how many people use Adobe Camera Raw or Lightroom (it’s the same processing engine) as a default RAW converter and never think to check out their rivals. But I use and write about all image-editing tools, not just Adobe’s, and its clear to me that there are major differences between them.

I mention this from time to time in my posts on Life after Photoshop, but then I thought it would be a good idea to carry out a proper side-by-side DxO vs Lightroom vs Capture One Pro comparison, using three different RAW files which I think demonstrate exactly what I mean.

DxO Optics Pro 11 review

Lightroom CC review

Capture One Pro 9 review

I’m using the latest versions of all three programs: DxO Optics Pro 9, Lightroom 5 and Capture One Pro 7. I’m using the default conversion profile in each case, except for the first, where I start with an overexposed image and use each program’s exposure controls to try to recover the highlight detail.

In each case I display the full images side-by-side to give you an overall impression of their different styles of reproduction, but I add a close-up comparison underneath to show the differences more clearly. You’ll need to click on each image to see the full-size view to be able to judge the differences properly.

01 Colour rendition

DxO vs Lightroom vs Capture One

At first glance, these conversions all look pretty much the same, but if you look at the sky you’ll see some big differences in the way the blue sky has been rendered. DxO Optics Pro 9 has a hint of red in the blue, Lightroom 5 tends slightly towards cyan and Capture One Pro 7 – arguably – is the most neutral. I say ‘arguably’, because if you saw them individually you’d probably think they were all fine.

The colours in the rest of the picture are all remarkably close, though Capture One Pro 7 does deliver a little more saturation, particularly in the greens.

02 Highlight recovery

DxO vs Lightroom vs Capture One

The original image was overexposed by just over 1EV, which left the clouds in the top left corner right on the limit of what a RAW converter can typically recover. DxO says Optics Pro 9 has improved highlight recovery, and although my last test wasn’t conclusive, I think there’s a clear difference here. By adjusting the exposure value, I’ve been able to recover subtle highlight detail in the whole of the cloud, and where it’s right on the edge of clipping to a blank white, the transition is ‘graceful’ – there’s no sudden and obvious ‘blow-out’.

Lightroom 5 wasn’t as good. However carefully I adjusted the Exposure slider, the histogram showed a big ‘cliff’ at the end rather than a gentle tail-off and I couldn’t recover the cloud with the same subtlety. The Lightroom version is clipped in some areas and the transition is quite harsh, which makes the blow-out more obvious. It’s also showing some rather nasty blue fringing around the top edge of the cloud.

Capture One Pro 7’s result is better than Lightroom’s, and on a par with DxO Optics Pro 9’s. I didn’t really expect this result because I’ve always thought Adobe Camera Raw was just about the best there was for highlight recovery, but I guess its rivals have moved on.

03 Contrast and shadows

DxO vs Lightroom vs Capture One

One of the things that bothers me about Adobe Camera Raw/Lightroom is that its default RAW conversions, to me at least, look a little ‘gutless’. There’s plenty of shadow detail, but at the cost of low overall contrast and saturation. You can see the difference in this picture between Lightroom 5, DxO Optics Pro 9 and Capture One Pro 7. The other two have produced noticeably more dense and saturated images.

DxO vs Lightroom vs Capture One

You can see this more clearly with this blown-up centre section. The Lightroom version in the centre has more ‘open’ shadows, but lacks the clarity and vividness of the other two. That’s not the only difference. DxO Optics Pro 9 delivers slightly more clarity in the fine details, and Capture One Pro 7 tops them both with the sharpest results of all. This is far superior to regular software sharpening – I think it’s the way Capture One Pro demosaics the original RAW data.

The penalty for this extra contrast and richness is the loss of some extreme shadow detail, but personally I’d rather have punchy images straight out of the box, which is why I prefer DxO’s and Capture One’s rendition to Adobe Camera Raw’s.

Incidentally, you can get punchier default conversions from Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom by using their Camera Calibration panel. This more closely mimics the camera maker’s intended contrast and colours, and it’s a handy trick to know.

48 thoughts on “DxO vs Lightroom vs Capture One Pro – which is best?

    1. Excuse my English, it’s not my native language.. I Hope you understand some of the text under 🙂

      First example: I disagree. I’m using LAB color space, so I’m sorry if they are hard to understand. Clouds in LR is A0 and B0, they are therefore neutral in the white area. I do agree it’s too cyan in rest of the sky. It’s possible a draw at that point, but; greenery are more realistic (A-15 B30) in Lightroom, C1 probably got too much yellow vs green. C1 have more options to tune WB, so I guess it wins in the end.

      Second example: I somewhat agree with you. Although LR have apparent “depth” in cloud, it can’t compare with C1 and DxO in this case. Look at C1s details and color separation in the bricks. DxO managed to get more details than any other of competitors did out of the RAW file, but not “wildly” more than C1. Guess I perfer image from C1 in this example as well.

      Third example. I disagree that “gutless” is bad after import, if thats what you mean. If it’s after edit and export, I would put my money in C1, without a doubt. I tried this once; Export .tiff 8 bit aRGB and re-import before edit. Edit RAW and the .tiff with same values before export to .jpeg sRGB 8 bit. Ensure you’re sitting before comparing, in all of my tests, .tiff’s do better than the RAWs in LR. This is certainly strange since LR’s colorspace is linear (ProPhotoRGB). Nevertheless, in ex.3 – C1 did beat the competitors by a mile in terms of colors and contrast.

      I currently have all CC applications and take advantage of LR instead of Bridge. I’ve bought, aquired and made over 1000 presets for LR, so it’s though to throw those away now. LR do have a more appealing interface and easier workflow than other competitors – and it actually import from Photoshop when I’m done editing there. OTOH, I don’t suggest people should stick with “one” because the “second” might cost some work and grunts. Go with the best option to make workflow easier and faster with greater results.

      Because you posted these images – I might actually consider changing RAW processor. I’m having color issues with LR and do most of my work in PS, that slows down my workflow – and I don’t like that.

      Regards,

      Aleksander

      1. Thanks, Aleksander. I will go back and look at those results again. Don’t forget that all these programs can be downloaded as fully working trial versions to help you decide.

        1. No problem. I’m already trying C1 vs LR5. The separation of colors and the good contrast is just amazing in C1, but I still can’t decide since LR works great with PS and with all of my presets/plugins. C1 also seem to apply a heavy-handed noise reduction even when NR is off. (300-500% magnification, smudging)

  1. In the process of leaving Adobe as my sole photo platform, I am busily going through the learning curve with Optics Pro 9 for my RAW processing (I have gotten into the habit of shooting only in RAW). There are some features in the Adobe RAW platform I miss, but I am liking the results I am getting with the Optics Pro 9 – more so as I get used to how it works.

  2. I switched from Lightroom to Aperture after wrestling with massive Lightroom performance issues (and Adobe refusing to diagnose/fix the issue). The raw conversion is noticeably better in Aperture but still not as good as DxO. So I use Aperture to catalogue, keyword and bulk process but jump to DxO when I really need the quality. Now loving that my processing tools can keep up with me!

    1. My feelings exactly, Simon. Aperture runs so much quicker than Lightroom when you’re managing/viewing files in bulk, and I prefer the RAW conversions too.

  3. Have you taken a look at PhotoNinja? I’m finding that it does a very good job processing my raw files from Nikon, Olympus and Sony cameras. Does some special things with highlights that show up particularly well with landscape photos.

        1. Thanks, Dave. Following your tip, though, I downloaded it myself to try it out. It does look interesting, and I’ll email PictureCode for a trial code.

  4. Es cierto que algunos softwares destrozan a Lightroom en el procesamiento de Raws o en la nitidez… Lo dificil es adoptarlos, hacerlos parte de nuestro workflow, ya que lightroom y Aperture realmente golean en facilidad de uso y catalogado…

    Un saludo! Gracias por el análisis y por la profundidad.

  5. Thanks for the comparison, it’s exactly what I wanted to know at the moment. I’m still wondering how the local correction tools (brushes, masks etc.) compare in terms of quality, versatility and speed. I’ve got the impression that Lightroom shines in that department.

      1. I realized how valuable ease of use was when I tried the free Raw Therapee. It’s very technical and quite unstable but I was very impressed with its demozaicing power. You can even choose between multiple methods and adjust the parameters.

  6. I like the usability of LightRoom but am also growing more and more annoyed with it’s performance issues. I am currently working on a 2012 Mac Pro Retina with an i7 quad core and 8 megs of ram and feel like I am still on a Windows vista machine while working in LightRoom. Do either of these alternatives offer performance upgrades compared to LR. I might be switching back to Aperture soon.

    1. I know exactly what you mean, but I’m surprised you’ve got issues with a quad-core i7 and 8GB RAM. How big is your library? Mine has around 45,000 images and runs at a tolerable speed, and that’s just on a 2013 MB Pro with a dual-core i5 processor (8GB RAM).

      Do you have an HD or an SSD? I found an SSD made a big difference – Lightroom now starts in 4-5 seconds and renders thumbnails much more quickly.

      It’s the speed factor that makes me prefer Aperture. Lightroom has the best editing tools by some margin, but Aperture is much faster at rendering and scrolling through thumbnails and I think it’s organisational structure is much better too.

      DxO Optics Pro is no substitute for Lightroom because it only has a simple browser and no proper cataloguing tools. My Capture One Library isn’t large enough to make a proper speed comparison with Lightroom, I’m afraid.

      1. Note, if you are using referenced files, then you could import all your folders in C1 Pro in just a few clicks and let it grind away, then you could do a proper speed comparison.

        I have the 45k image referenced folder library that both Aperture, LR and C1 Pro hit. I’ve separated the Aperture library (the database) from the images. The library is on an SSD and the images are on a Thunderbolt-attached 4TB spinning drive. Having the library on the SSD made a HUGE, HUGE performance improvement.

  7. To be honest my decision has not become easier. One is excellent for organizing and editing but is potentially slow (LR), one is good for high technical quality but not much else (DxO), one is good or very good at everything but is more expensive (COP). Am I exaggerating or seeing things too black-and-white?

  8. I have a dilemma. I have about 65000 photos in iPhoto and individual directories that I want to consolidate. For the last several years, I have used DxO Optics Pro to process my “important” images and have certainly ended up with a disjointed image collection where originals and processed images end up in a folder or contained in an iPhoto Library. I have Aperture and Lightroom and see the advantages of each but have not made the move to either one because I can’t decide on an efficient workflow. Do I import to Lightroom/Aperture first then “roundtrip” the images to/from DxO? I’d like to be able to keep the DxO sidecar files too for future changes.

    1. Sorry, Mike, but you can’t round-trip to DxO from any application, Aperture and Lightroom included. I think the only approach that would work for you would be to carry out your DxO conversions on your RAW files and then import them into Aperture (or Lightroom). It’s a little messy, but I’ve not found a better way to do it. What I would recommend, though, if you use Aperture, is to ‘reference’ the images in their original location rather than importing the masters into the library. If you do this, you’ll know where your master RAW files are stored if you want to carry out any further DxO conversions on them in the future.

      1. Not a perfect round-trip, but I’ve settled on using the Aperture plugin Catapult (http://brushedpixel.com). With that I can use Aperture for managing my library and for quick conversions and edits, but then get selected master RAW files straight to DxO for conversion. Catapult manages that step and then pulls the DxO edited TIFF back to the original stack in Aperture. It’s a bit too clumsy for using with more than the handful of keepers, but it works well once you get the hand of the workflow.

  9. Great article right on the spot !

    I have adopted CaptureOne Pro as my raw processor of choice 2 years ago for all the reasons you perfectly describe. There is no way back.

    I like DXO Optics very much, but I find the renditions have a reddish cast hard to get rid off later on. CaptureOne delivers the best results right from the start and requires minimal processing.

    If you find camera raw renders blues contaminated with cyan (skies), wait until you compare what happens to the reds and oranges … it flattens them to a dull brown !

    I also invite you to compare the effect of the vignetting tool. While CaptureOne applies the vignette as a luminosity mask, darkening or lightening the borders of the image in the same way an optical lens will do, delivering very natural results, camera raw seems to apply a black or white mask, blending the image to black or white !!!! what were they thinking !!!

    Finally … I’d like to encourage you and your readers to try (and review) the some free open source alternatives

    LIGHTZONE (http://lightzoneproject.org) is now open source and being developed again. Some unique tools and approach you won’t find anywhere else … and the ability to apply each tool as an adjustment layer with true selections and masks … as many times as needed … with blending modes. Available for Windows, MacOS and Linux !

    DARKTABLE (http://www.darktable.org) is absolutely impressive. This is a huge project involving hundreds of developers all over the world, they work hard and they work fast. It is the most powerful raw processor available today, and has the potential to compete even with Photoshop in most areas. It is the only software that has delivered renditions equivalent or better than CaptureOne, I’m still learning it. Available for MacOS and Linux (not for Windows)

    It think these two open source options may line up with the spirit of this website, showing and promoting the great software alternatives available today, delivering much superior results than the established standards.

    I have no ties with any of the softwares I mentioned. I hope I’ve been helpful. Thanks again.

    1. Thanks, Fernando. I remember Lightzone from years ago and I had no idea it had resurfaced. I have not heard of Darktable, but I will take a look.

  10. On a whole I believe that none of the “alternative” raw converters can match the camera makers version. Put aside ACR and concentrate on your chosen examples…

    DxO was my first experience at using a 3rd party raw converter way back when the 10D was released. It produced detail ACR could never find. Sadly since then, I find the use of raw converters unable to recover disaster shots to be of limited use. DxO can’t do that any better than ACR does.

    The supposed reason for using RAW in the first place is to give you enough headroom to recover a disaster shot. By disaster I don’t mean a totally ruined photo, just one where the dynamic range is greater than the camera can convert to a jpeg.

    Capture on has always surprised me in how it removes noise and does a few adjustments (all beneficial) out of the box but even this excellent program can’t process a Nikon Raw image as well as Nikon’s own Capture software. I just wish I could use the Nikon raw processor and Capture one together.

    Being a Nikon shooter and having one lone Canon 5D camera gives me the opportunity to experience the best (and worst) of both worlds. I don’t thing any of the 3rd party processors have yet reached to level of quality Canon and Nikon raw converters provide.

    Faced with that knowledge, I’d ask then which of the ‘Image processors’ can produce the best results from a Camera maker’s RAW conversion. If any of the programs reviewed here are intended to replace Photoshop.

    Every single (working Pro) photographer I know has Photoshop on their computer and knows how to get good results from it. If alternative software is going to be used, surely it needs to be assessed here (of all places) as an alternative to Photoshop, not a companion to it?

    1. I’m not sure I understand all of your points, but it does sound to me as if you are very happy with the software you’re using and don’t see the benefit in alternatives. Nikon’s and Canon’s own software does produce conversions which are entirely faithful to the camera makers’ intended renditions, and if that’s your priority, there seems no need to look further. There is much more to a RAW converter, though, than just dynamic range recovery.

  11. I agree entirely with you Rod but if you buy a Nikon or any other brand because you like the skin tones or whatever other feature you liked enough to buy it, why then would you want to endanger that by using a less than faithful Raw converter?

    Having said that, there is plenty that Capture one offers in the way of colour identification that (supposedly) allows you to fix incorrect colours.

    I recently used Capture one Pro to evaluate a set of camera brands intending the most suitable to be used for reproduction of paintings. This is an area that taxes a sensor’s ability to produce exact or extremely close colour match. I found inconsistencies in all three cameras but provided I used the Makers RAW converter, the colours were more accurate than any of the after market Raw converters I purchased (and updated/upgraded) over the past 5 years. Capture One is one such program. I dont think the time has come yet when any of the third party converters are faithful to a sensor. That was the point I was making.

  12. Hello,
    I use X-rite Colorchecker Passport for color correction within Lightroom 5. Have used it since version 3. I’ve grown used to creating the color profiles and am happy to take that extra steps. Is Capture One – color checker friendly for creating the color profiles and applying it to multiple shots at a time? In Lightroom I select a range of photos and apply the color profile

  13. Thank you for this in-depth comparison Ron. I’ve still yet to oust my PhotoShop CS 6.0 final overall output image quality that I obtain using curves, Neat Image noise removal, and High-Pass selective sharpening. I find the original ACR conversion settings to just be the tip of the iceberg, and I do tweak them a bit to fit my needs. Do you think I would benefit from some of the pre-capture settings like highlight recovery from Capture One, and then bringing the image into CS6?

    Thanks!

    1. I like Capture One’s RAW conversions myself, but it does mean adding an extra step (and expense!) to your workflow. I know other people find Adobe Camera Raw perfectly good, so there’s clearly a strong element of personal opinion and preference. I’d suggest downloading the Capture One 30-day trial to try it out: http://www.phaseone.com/en/Downloads.aspx

  14. Hi !
    I tested all those 3 and the amazing PhotoNinja, too.

    My first concern about RAW quality conversion is color.
    And on this point, LightRoom is the last one.
    I see ppl spending hours and hundred bucks on color tools, profiles and such with LR. I tried to go this way : LR still worst than others. There is always a lack of “punch”. And not related to contrast/saturation.
    DxO is better. And Capture One/PhotoNinja are first on this point.
    I use a little more color adjustment on PhotoNinja. Capture One is spot-on most of the time.
    I love my Olympus colors. And apart Olympus Viewer, only Capture One and PhotoNinja nail them 😉

    Second point : dynamic recovery. LR was first for years…it is no more. They are all good, but with some subtleties. Like Color recovery in highlights from PNinja.

    Last point (to me) : clarity/sharpness. On this point, PhotoNinja and Capture One seems to have an edge from RAW demosaicing. When you get a sharper “base”, you can extract more details from it. Final result tell you they are just better on this point. You can try hard and even harder on LR or DxO, you will never reach what you get with C1 or PN by just moving two sliders.

    Thanks for this article !

  15. Thanks for a fantastic article.
    As a Nikon user I agree with Ryadia that Capture NX does a great job with NEF’s. Sadly CNX2 is being retired for the, frankly useless, Capture NX D.
    It’s time for Nikonians to find new software. I refuse to get ‘locked’ into Adobe’s Creative Cloud, so I think it’s between COP and DxO for me. Thank goodness we have trial versions.

  16. Rod, this is a great review and has helped me with most of my decision making. To all the commenters in this thread, thank you as well for you helped with what was left.

    I have Iridient, COP7, & LR5 and Aperture… I have to be honest, despite seeing the the advantages in almost anything but LR5 (BTW, I am a Fujiphile) I have grown quite used to, and perhaps spoiled by, the LR workflow and intuitive UI.

    I have decided to jump in with both feet to COP7… I know it file management might pale in comparison, but I think I can live with that as I don’t have as many files as those chiming in here, and maybe by the time I do they will have grown that element of their product.

    Thanks and well done all of you, you have done what most blogs strive to accomplish… you helped someone 🙂

    Bradley

  17. Yeah, I miss some of the of the conveniences of Lightroom but I’m liking the results I’m getting in Capture One Pro 7 Better. It really is just getting used to a new workspace. Every program has its flaw. Once you learn to get around it you forget it’s their. Overall I’m glad I switched from Lightroom to using COP 7. Really like the customer support through phase one also. They always address my problems. To be fair though I haven’t tried DxO or PhotoNinja.

    One Cool feature but not necessary that Lightroom has now though is a new analytics plugin of some sort that shows in graphs which lens you use the most, which focal length, ISO ect, what settings you apply the most, ect. Don’t know how useful that would be but something I wish I had now. For now I’m sticking with COP.

  18. Hi Rod,

    Very interesting comparison!
    I knew very little about Capture One but was familiar with DXO.

    I originally used Aperture 3 but for some reason found it very slow & buggy on my Mac. Changed to Lightroom 3 & even though its a bit of CPU hog seemed to work better for me. Though I always thought that LR’s RAW processing looked a flat & lacking something. I have also noticed the clipped highlights on some images as shown here – the recovery could be a bit better.

    I assumed that a software giant Adobe would be at the cutting edge of image editing, but it appears as though it’s days at the top are being seriously challenged.

    Some food for thought there. I’ll need to explore DXO & C.O’s compatibility with Nik software, Topaz, PTGUI Pro which i use for my panos, & LR/Enfuse which I really like using to process my brackets. I’m assuming these other two won’t play well with CS6. I like the ability to round trip images between LR & CS.

    Thanks for a great article!

    Cheers, Vic.

    1. Capture One and DxO Optics Pro come in trial versions so you could check them out quite easily. If you want to use plug-ins, though, you’re restricted to Lightroom and Aperture.

  19. According to my personal experience the CaptureOne 7 perform the best. However it is worth to remember that they don’t treat all camera owners at the same serious way. Saying that I mean that input colour profiles for some cameras are very well made and the colour reproduction is very fine but for some less “proffesional” cameras they doing messy profiles, that doesnt perform quite well. Good example is processing of NEF files from my Nikon D700 – exelance in all aspec – bot on the other hand when I try to process RW2 file from my new toy – Lumix GX7 I see clearly that colour reproduction has nothing to do with real live! I think it is big misteake from Phase One side because since they decided to support some camera (eg lumix GX7) they should do homework as carefully as for big brothers like Nk D3 EOS 1d etc.

  20. I”m shocked at the general ignorance about what a RAW converter should be used for: namely, converting raw data into usable images for processing. Unfortunately, these raw converters have over the years aquired so-called editing tools, mostly of the slider type, so as to encourage photographers to think of these programmes as image processors or editors, which they most definitely are not. Almost all the wizz tools and sliders in these programmes are vastly inferior and will destroy your much needed data at the point of conversion, if you are gullible enough to believe all the hype and sacrifice your data to such tools.

    A raw converter is not the place to edit (i.e. to process) images, or to correct or to retouch them. The most powerful tool for that, by a very very long way, remains Photoshop. Not ACR, but Photoshop proper. The attraction of lightroom and other such software for photographers is that it seems to make a shorter learning curve possible – but by actually ruining your precious RAW data. Why the hell would anyone buy a hugely expensive camera and lens system only to throw all that capture data away BEFORE converting the file for processing and retouching?

    The path of creating a sucessful photo is as follows: Capture – Raw conversion – Processing – Retouch – Output.

    A RAW Converter, no mater how attractinve its sliders and options appear to be, is not the place to correct images. That is the job of an image processor, PhotoShop being only the most powerful version. Most of its tools for doing this were present way back in version 4 and are still thankfully available in the latest versions – though Adobe would have you beive its latest CS versions with new bells and wistles are an improvement; with a few exceptions they are not. There is no shortcut to quality images using silly, slider bars. A good understanding of colour theory and the superior tools still to be found within PS that allow you to use that knowledge and apply it in a consistant way is the best grounding by far. Yes, not many peope want to hear that, but its true nonetheless.

    Of course, if you just want passable images, by all means use LR and etc. All you’ll achieve is a confusion of pathways through endless edits, which you will soon find inconsistant and unrepeatable, as each poorly understood modification subtracts from your data and has a knock-on effect to each sucessive destruction.

    1. I have to say, RAW really is pissed on too much.

      At the core, you should never demosaic until you export; demosaicing is a destructive process and removes information that is useful in photo-editing. BUT not all sensors and CFA’s are alike and if you don’t have native support for the new “formats” then you need to export into a “neutral” format.

      Why does this matter?
      The question is what data is removed or added rather than how the photos look.

      If the raws remain untampered, can you adjust settings to acquire similar colors / contrast; for instance. Sliders also have the effect of imposing upper and lower limits which should be taken into account.

      If the raws require exporting into a new format does using a different “conversion profile” offer similar characteristics that you desire.

      Why does this matter?
      What is the point of RAW if you’re just going to be treating it like a TIFF (16bit) or JPEG (8bit).

      RAW provides data BEFORE any tampering, the RAW photos are just “black and white” images usually 14bit or 16bit; all the colour data is added after conversion which means that converting first adds in data-losses due to rounding or clipping, dependent on the demosaicing algorithm and the CFA weights.

  21. I”m shocked at the general ignorance about what a RAW converter should be used for: namely, converting raw data into usable images for processing. Unfortunately, these raw converters have over the years aquired so-called editing tools, mostly of the slider type, so as to encourage photographers to think of these programmes as image processors or editors, which they most definitely are not. Almost all the wizz tools and sliders in these programmes are vastly inferior and will destroy your much needed data at the point of conversion, if you are gullible enough to believe all the hype and sacrifice your data to such tools.

    A raw converter is not the place to edit (i.e. to process) images, or to correct or to retouch them. The most powerful tool for that, by a very very long way, remains Photoshop. Not ACR, but Photoshop proper. The attraction of lightroom and other such software for photographers is that it seems to make a shorter learning curve possible – but by actually ruining your precious RAW data. Why the hell would anyone buy a hugely expensive camera and lens system only to throw all that capture data away BEFORE converting the file for processing and retouching?

    The path of creating a sucessful photo is as follows: Capture – Raw conversion – Processing – Retouch – Output.

    Of course, if you just want passable images, by all means use LR and etc. All you’ll achieve is a confusion of pathways through endless edits, which you will soon find inconsistant and unrepeatable, as each poorly understood modification subtracts from your data and has a knock-on effect to each sucessive destruction.

    1. Amen ! completely agree ( except I am NOT shocked! ). Unless high speed workflow on batches are Necessary, do NOT edit images in LR or any other raw image processor. Stick to PS CC and rely entirely on layer blending, masks, mage adjustments, and blend modes. Use Camera Raw almost never, and when employed stick the range -50:+50.

    1. Well, I read it Palo, and the author’s opinions don’t seem so very different to mine. That article uses different tests on different images and looks for different properties and includes a bunch of other apps I didn’t look at. Both are out of date, BTW, as the author’s note I’ve put at the top of my comparison points out.

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