Macphun has recently released their photo editor, Luminar. When I heard about it I got immediately interested in. When I went through their Luminar web site I was sold. I am so excited about Luminar that I can say that this photo editor is the first one to really consider as a Lightroom substitute in my photographic workflow. So, here you are. If you have tried to find a nice Lightroom substitute look no further but download the trial version and see by yourself.
First of all, Luminar has no asset management (yet). So you have to use it as a Lightroom plug-in or as a Photos extension (as I am using it). I use Photos to manage my shots and Luminar to adjust them. Works quite smoothly. If you want to do batch processing, there is none (yet). As you see there are few ”yets”. This means that people at Macphun are working to provide updates for asset management and batch processing and much more.
I really love the UI of Luminar. Very simple and easy to use. They have developed nice Workspace concept which the user can modify. Their filters (i.e. adjustment blocks) are very nice and you can easily add and remove filters from a Workspace. There are also about 60 presets which suit for many kind of uses. What I really like about the presets is that you can modify the overall strength of the preset and also that you see the effect of the presets in their preview windows.
There are lots of possible adjustments. Not much is missing and as I stated before, there will be updates quite soon. Luminar has a very nice layer system with masking options. That’s very professional feature and it is working very well. What may sound a little thing is that Luminar has proper before/after buttons but for me this is a very much needed feature. There are many quite much more expensive programs not having this simple feature. Luminar has also a very well implemented history panel which makes going back in the adjustments an easy task.
Only one word is needed to describe Luminar. That word is WOW.
Here are few shots adjusted by Luminar as Photos extension.
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA. Great B&W shot from my long-time Flickr contact David Renwald. He is one of my first Flickr contacts.
I have been trying to find a viable RAW converter substitute for Lightroom for quite a long time. What irritates me in LR is that it seems they are ignoring the standalone version and all people should take the whole web-based CC package. I would prefer the standalone version which I have had for many, many years. I do not need Photoshop at all, LR is fine for me. But it seems that standalone LR is not even having to whole feature set the CC has.
I have tested many RAW converters during my digital photography years. I am not going to mention them here but just say that there are some good (and expensive) ones and some quite bad ones. Seems to be quite tricky job to find a good one with a reasonable price. And I want to have a program which has also digital asset management in addition to a RAW converter. I want to have one program to do all.
LR has many things done right. That is why it is not easy to find a replacement.
Corel announced recently a new version of their AfterShot RAW converter – AfterShot Pro 3. I have tested it for few days. It seems to be quite nice RAW converter which has digital asset management properties. They claim that it should be fast converter. And it really is. Huge difference when compared to LR. Import and export both are much faster, maybe also some of the adjustments too. Results are good if you have quite nicely exposed RAW file to start with. Corel says that AfterShot Pro 3 has a new improved highlight recovery system. It is quite effective but it adds a nasty magenta tone to the white areas if you have to make heavy corrections with it. I was quite disappointed actually. If you have to open up the shadow areas you have to use the fill light slider which unfortunately adds some haze-like fill light. It really can’t beat LR’s shadow adjustment.
AfterShot Pro 3 seems to have reasonably effective noise reduction with moderate ISO but when you apply it more with higher ISO (say in ISO 3200-6400 range and above) the noise reduction introduces a mushy appearance in noisy out of focus areas. Not good as I need to shoot with high ISO during winter time when shooting indoors.
Above things are big things against AfterShot Pro 3 as compared to LR. But there is one more which really annoys me even more. The lack of proper Before/After button or hotkey. They have introduced History module (you can go backwards in adjustments nicely with it) but no Before/After! Should not be that tricky to implement.
Summa summarum, it seems that I will stay in LR camp. Sigh.
A JPEG shot adjusted with Corel AfterShot Pro 3.
I have had Canon G5 X now for some time and I decided to share some of my initial impressions on it. I got interested on it because of its 1” sensor combined with 24-100mm equivalent lens. That should make it nice all-round camera. It also has an electronic viewfinder which was one of the decisive things too.
When you open the package you will immediately notice the very good built and finish it has. Just a wonderful thing. It feel so solid yet small. You can easily put it in your jacket pocket. It is delivered with a normal neck strap but I think it would work nicely with a wrist strap too. Would be worth of testing at least especially with some nice and small bag where you can put the camera when not in use.
The control G5 X has are nice. Big enough and responsive. It has a front dial and nice dial around the lens barrel. Exposure compensation dial is there where it should be. Dials and buttons are very much customizable too. That’s nice because everyone can tinker the camera to suit their own needs. EVF is great. Very good for a point-and-shoot camera. But I have not been using it so much because of the very nice back LCD (which is fully tiltable). The LCD is also touch-sensitive. You can set the focus point or even operate the shutter by the touch screen. I have used these features quite much actually.
I am now using the G5 X in Av (Aperture priority) mode and I have assigned aperture to the front dial and ISO to the lens barrel dial. Works very well, I think. To the back wheel I have assigned the step zoom which I like because I can change zoom quickly between 24-28-35-50-85-100mm. Very handy. The camera has also nice customizable Q (Quick) menu which you can operate easily through the touch screen. And there is in-camera ND filter for those sunny days and wide apertures too.
The only real gripe I have at the moment is that the lens is quite soft in the wide end with large apertures. This is not a problem if you shoot landscapes at 24mm with f/5.6 but if you want to use f/1.8 it can be irritating property of the lens. This is not a problem in the tele end of the lens which is of course good news.
I still have somehow mixed feelings about the G5 X and I am not sure yet if I am going to keep it. I have to shoot with it more in different situations to find out if it may be my all-round camera.
Some shots with G5 X below.
Now that temperature is decreasing and light diminishing, I really miss summer and especially the sauna at our summer cottage. Last summer was the first one at our very own summer cottage, and that made it somehow special. Next summer, please, come soon! But it is great that we have sauna in our home too…
Tiitus wanted to have some punk attitude for his birthday party.
Ricoh GRD IV is a fantastic tool to shoot close-ups. It will focus to 1 cm in the macro mode, and its in-camera high-contrast B&W produces rough but pleasing results. Here are two flower shots to show how it performs.
Two very different mushroom shots by the Ricoh GR. I love them both. Which one I love most depends on my current mood. At the moment I am quite much in a color-mood because of the fall colors surrounding us.