My review of Luminar 3
Updated: Aug 20, 2019
Like every photography enthusiast I've always been curious to try different softwares to keep myself updated. So being said, actually I'm using Lightroom and Photoshop from Adobe. Lately I tried Phase One's Capture One but even though I enjoyed his demosaicing algorithm I didn't enjoy at all the user interface and I ended up never using it.
Recently I've heard about Skylum's (formerly known as Macphun) Luminar 3 so I decided to try it!
Once installed this is how the software looks:
Let's now see how it compares against Lightroom!
Price: at 70$ Luminar is cheaper than Lightroom (which is now available subscribe-only with Photoshop at 9.99$ per month.
Clone and stamp: definitely way better than Lightroom's basic and frustating one. There's a clone and stamp function and a very useful "delete" function that lets you paint over the object to remove, then the AI will do his job deleting the undesired object. It does works really well! Furthermore all these changes are applied into a new layer.
Layers: unlike Lightroom, in Luminar there are layers: very convenient and it's possible to use manual masks, gradients and there are also luminosity masks (even though very basically implemented)
Workspaces: it's possible to personalize all the tools and filters needed to modify the images into a workspace. There are many workspaces available and you can create you own ones from scratch.
Looks: they're kinda like Lightroom's presets , many are already in bundle with the software and you can buy more in the Skylum's store (many of them from famous photographers). The main difference with Lightromm's presets is that these changes are applied into a new layer so you can tune the opacity.
Filters: the filters are the true power of this software. Skylum claim to use advanced IA and machine learning in many filters and the results are really great! Out of the 50 filters that comes with this software I want to highlight the Accent AI 2.0 filter, which smartly enhance pictures: it's smart enough to identify faces in a portrait and modify only the background. There's also a "Sky enhancer" which automatically recognize the sky. But the most incredible one is the "Sunrays generator", really great!
Performance: it's slow. Maybe it depends on the hard drive you work with but the impression is that the software it's laggy and also with lot of bugs: I've had more than one crashes.
Interface: even though the interface it's simple and clean, you can still notice it's still not refined enough. I've had many problems finding an important tool like the history. Also dialing accurate values with the sliders it's kinda difficult and I miss the convenient function of the Adobe suite where you can simply hold the shift key to slow the dials down.
Virtual copies: unlike Lightroom, there aren't virtual copies to have different versions of your images.
DAM: the digital asset manager it's very basical and for this Lightroom it's another world, period.
Ok, after analysing pro and cons, let's see the results of my quick test. Here's how it looks the raw without any editing applied:
This is the file developed into Lightroom:
And this is the final image after a quick 5 minutes edit in Luminar 3:
As you can see there's no competition! The sky it's more saturated, the colors are better (especially the greens thanks to the foliage filter) and with Luminar I was able to clone and remove everything I wanted to while with Lightroom I simply couldn't!
I've been really impressed with this software to the point that I decided to include it into my workflow. Unluckily it's still too young and unrefined to completely replace Lightroom so I decided to use it only as a Lightroom plug-in. Yes, I didn't tell you yet but it's possible to use it like a plug-in and I'll do so.
Skylum also recently announced that in next few months they will release Luminar 4 which will feature an auto Sky replacement! Here you can watch it in action!
If you're interested in this software, Skylum offers a free a 60 day money back guarantee, here is their website:
A little tip:
A last little tip: if you're going to use Luminar as a Lightroom plug-in, you must know that as default Lightroom export the file as a 16-bit TIFF file. Is it possible though to work directly on the raw file to be able to use every bit of information from the original RAW file! To do so, just open the file this way:
That's all for now, I'm planning to release more reviews so don't forget to check out! I'm open to questions so feel free!
If what you read was useful or you enjoyed it please buy me a beer! Bye :)