#529. Luminar. Does it work?

By Paul Perton | Review

Nov 19

Yes, it does and I’m beginning to like it a lot.


For a V1.0 release it’s pretty good. No crashes, interfaces with Lightroom, Aperture, PS etc.


I’ve not tried all the options and have done little more than fiddle so far, but as an editor, I’m impressed. The browser/workflow tools are still in development; promised soon.


It edits in studio make-up mode; splash the filter/effect on and then refine to taste. Sounds a bit extreme, but I don’t do Xmas chocolate boxes, calendars and/or “awesome” landscapes for Facebook, so the toning-down option is pretty welcome.


The interface is good, but not intuitive (yet) – I’ve still to get used to it.


The sliders do. They don’t jump around like Lightroom’s do when you release the mouse.


Edits and visuals are not that fast yet – LR is definitely still quicker.


Plug-ins aren’t really available yet, so these are samples – just RAW images re-worked in Luminar to see if it does the basics. It does.


Pretty well too, much more user-friendly than LR, although that could never be difficult.


More soon. Promise.


Here are two images I shot yesterday in Osaka:


Bikes. Lightroom processed image first, using a Velvia plug in. Luminar second, no plug in, just an approximation.






Woman in izakaya. Lightroom processed image first, using in-camera Acros emulation. Luminar second, processed to produce a good image.





  • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    None of these systems are “perfect”.

    Lightroom’s cataloguing system may suit some people, but I have no use for it whatsoever (I can catalogue my own photos, thanks very much all the same, Adobe !!) and to me, it’s a complete pain. And, as you say, the sliders are hard to control – I generally insert a numerical value instead. However, once a shot is in the “develop” section, I can make quick progress. Not, unhappily, all that’s needed – but a fair jump towards the finishing line.

    Photoshop – hmm – well if I get close enough to the finish in Lightroom, I have little use left for this, except for spotting. (Some of the stuff I post process for other people suffers from the odd missing pixel – and then of course there are things like power lines, which are more amusing to power companies than to me). And when I DO want to play around in Photoshop, I frequently find I’m using an older version – Photoshop 9 or similar, instead of the current Photoshop 14.

    DxO – Optics Pro doesn’t seem to add a great deal, but ViewPoint is a great program & I feed practically all my stuff through this one. The version just released (ViewPoint 3) is a leap forward for several reasons – but its much vaunted automatic correction of perspectives only works if you produce the original shot as well, and to be honest, running a couple of test shots through it this afternoon, I found my own “manual” correction of perspectives through ViewPoint 2 were more suitable. That’s unfair, I admit – because I only tested it on a couple of shots, and I do see the advantages of the new auto system.

    Anyone interested in stack shots? – I went with Zerene, and on some subjects it produces astounding results – others, not so flash. All the stuff with hard edges (jewellery, watches, that kind of thing) were fine.

    With flowers, the edges of the petals seemed a bit “feathery”, and lately I’ve been using a prime of one kind or another, on flowers – getting the DoF to do the job that stacking might otherwise have achieved. That’s OK with flowers etc – not as easy with subjects like insects, though – they don’t take to having measuring tapes thrust in their face 🙂

    Luminar? – only just got it a day or so ago – very quick to get a result approximately like the one I already had with Lightroom. That said, two of my pet hates are pre-sets and that cloud thing – and I do feel that, whatever the extra time & effort involved in using Lightroom, I will probably rely more on Lightroom than Luminar. However, Luminar IS fun, and it performs extremely well for the kind of product it is. And since this “early days”, I’m 100% with you Paul, I sense that it will improve dramatically with a bit more support from the public. God only knows how much it cost them to get it this far, and a bit of funding should help them enormously.

    The cloud? Sorry Adobe – the devil will arrive at work on ice skates, before I give any consideration to making use of the cloud for storage. And as for monthly subscriptions, forget it – PS9 suits me at least as well as PS14, and LR “as is” will suit me fine for years into the future, without even bothering to read about any “improvements” that are introduced along the way. There is a point at which I want to get back to my cameras, and my printer, and produce photographs – old fashioned though that might sound. Too much computer technology just gets in the way, if it’s not bridled & kept in its stall.

  • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    Update – haven’t pushed too many shots through Luminar yet, but one that has troubled me for some time went through Luminar & came out the other side with flying colours !!! Literally !!! Although many of the pre-sets produced much the same result as I’d previously obtained from Lightroom or Photoshop, several of them produced a result which is close to ideal and MILES more accurate than the other two could come up with.

    On a different but – I guess – related note, I’ve upgraded my DxO ViewPoint to ViewPoint 3. Trying its automatic perspective control, it’s an “almost”, not a “100% fix”. Certainly gets very close, and narrows down the work to finish it off. But each shot I’ve used it on so far still requires a small amount of fine tuning, before the verticals are spot on. And to be fair, it IS only a “small” amount. That said, I am a devoted fan of ViewPoint – practically all the shots I push through post processing are checked and/or corrected with ViewPoint before I finish them off with one of the other programs I use. (They aren’t all mine – but even if they are, I can’t be sure to get the horizon line 100%, or the verticals 100%, in every single shot I take – usually very close, but over 99% of my stuff is hand held, so I push mine through ViewPoint as well).

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