About Thomas Fitzgerald

Thomas is a professional fine art photographer and writer specialising in photography related instructional books as well as travel writing and street photography. 

Macphun Luminar now available

Macphun Luminar now available

Last week I wrote about the upcoming release of Macphun’s new Raw editing software, Luminar. The software was still in beta, but it’s now released, and you can also get a trial version. I’m still working on my full review of the software but I do have some more thoughts on it since the last post I wrote about it.

The thing that struck me about it when I was using it, is that it is very similar in my mind to how I had imagined Aperture could have evolved had Apple not killed it. It works in similar ways to how Aperture’s Adjustments engine had worked, only with a lot more features. You can add multiple adjustments, and you can re-order them. You can add a mask to each adjustment, much like you could in Aperture, but unlike Aperture the masking options are much more sophisticated, and you can copy and paste masks, which was one of the most requested features for Aperture.

Perhaps the way it’s most like Aperture is that it uses a 32bit engine. I wasn’t sure about this at first. It appeared as if it was, because certain operations weren’t clipping the histogram. I checked with the developers, and sure enough it does use a 32 bit engine. This was one of the things that made aperture so special, and it’s not exactly the same. You don’t have extended range curve for example, but it’s a really interesting approach.

Luminar is by no means perfect, but it’s a 1.0 product from a small independent developer, so I’m impressed that it’s as good and as comprehensive as it is for a version 1.0 application. There are some key missing features (some of which are slated for inclusion in a future update according to the developers) such as chromatic aberration reduction, and sophisticated lens correction (It does some automatic lens correction, but there’s no real control over it as far as I can see) and a few things that don’t work the way I would like them to. I’ve also noticed a few issues with conversion of files from certain cameras (Sony A7), but I have been using a beta version, so I won’t go into that in too much detail until I’ve tried the release version.

I think it really has potential, and I’m curious to see where they go with this. It lacks a companion asset manager (apparently it’s in development), but I’ve managed to get it to work quite well with Mylio, as well as Lightroom and Photos where it works as a plug-in. With this release and the upcoming release of On Oe Raw, it’s looking like it will be a good time for choice when it comes to raw conversion and editing software, and hopefully that will put the pressure on Adobe to fix or improve the long list of issues with Lightroom.

Luminar is available now directly from Macphun and they also have a trial version available.

Ethics note: I’ve signed up with Macphun’s affiliate programme, but they are not direct advertisers, and the opinions and thoughts expressed in anything I write about Luminar or their other products are entirely my own and not in any way solicited or managed. As always, I’ll do my best to be as straight forward as possible when it comes to reviewing products, and I’ll call out issues wherever I see them, and so I’m putting this notice here for added transparancy.

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