Low-cost alternative to Lightroom?
jrogers Registered Users Posts: 79 Big grins
Is there a low-cost alternative to Lightroom? For me, the LR subscription is well worth the cost, but my brother-in-law, who is an occasional shooter, was asking me about software. (He has a Nikon D7000)
Is there a lower-cost alternative that works well for adjusting photos similar to LR?
It's really important to know what Operating System and RAM, processor (CPU), graphics card/processor (GPU), and familiarity with photo software.
My situation is multiple computers, Windows (Win 7) and Linux (Mint, Cinnamon), 12-16GB RAM and i5 and i7 CPU (mostly second gen). (Nothing terribly special.)
For budget Windows machines I suggest:
Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
Great list from ziggy53. Some more ideas:
LightZone is another free Lightroom-like editor, you can probably compare it to DarkTable and RawTherapee.
On1 Photo Raw is another affordable Lightroom-like competitor similar to Skylum Luminar. On1 and Luminar are both working hard to take a piece of Lightroom market share.
Affinity Photo is more like Photoshop than Lightroom, but it does have a RAW editing module (similar to Adobe Camera Raw) that can be compared to the Lightroom Develop module.
If on a Mac, Apple Photos is actually not too bad, but the key is to learn how to expand the default editing controls to reveal the more precise advanced controls, then it kinda works like Lightroom.
I'm a daily Lightroom Classic user, and of the suggestions above, I only have direct experience with Apple Photos and Affinity Photo.
Thanks for the input! My B-I-L has Windows computers (currently Win 7). I've heard (recently) of On1. That might be a good one, since I've stumbled across a bunch of YouTube videos for learning it - which indicates that it's catching on, to some degree.
There's Polarr, web based. Free if you use version 4. Version 5 gives you one free download per day, or I think it is $3.99 per month. The bad news is that it doesn't play well with RAW files.
"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take" - Wayne Gretzky
If those are your priorities, you might look into these Mac applications that specialize more on the organizational side than the developing side:
NeoFinder - Asset manager that many use for photos.
GraphicConverter - Decades-old Mac workhorse graphics browser that has photo organization features.
PhotoMechanic - industrial strength, favored by photojournalists and high volume event shooters who all need to rate/pick/cull, organize, and send as quickly as possible under deadline. So it costs several times as much ($139) as the others listed.
The ON1 website also has free tutorial videos and customers also get emails about live webinars that are later available on the website. One negative is that they issue a new version every year. Small interim updates are included with purchase, but the new version isn't. But you don't have to upgrade, and if you decide to upgrade existing customers do get a $20 discount. Most software doesn't include upgrades to the next major version, but it isn't usually as frequent. You can also get a free trial, I'm not sure if it's 2 weeks or a month.
Simplest approach -shoot in JPEG. Really, especially for the novice or occasional photographer. Then rely on the OS supplied media application such as Microsoft Photos that comes with Windows .