Since 2013 Adobe has been pushing for a subscription based model for the Adobe Suite. At the time of the initial transition there was pretty substantial push back from the photography community as people were unwilling to pay a monthly or yearly fee for a product that they were previously able to buy outright. I have to admit that I was one of those people who strongly opposed the change, but like most people I eventually folded and bought into the Creative Cloud system. In general I was quite happy with the system, then Lightroom Classic was announced, bringing with it a new surge of push back from the community. This time the push back was with the possibility that a standalone version of Lightroom would disappear in favor of a cloud based editing system. Honestly, I had this same worry, thinking that this was just another transition that we would all have to bend over backwards for Adobe. Although these fears were addressed by Adobe’s product management director Tom Hogarty stating “No, we’re not phasing out Lightroom Classic and remain committed to investing in Lightroom Classic in the future”. But even with the statement that they will continue supporting the desktop version of Lightroom this change really got me wondering if the subscription based model is something that I want to continue paying into. I have created a list of my three alternatives to the Creative Cloud subscription.
Phase One Capture One Pro 10
Capture One Pro 10 by Phase One is not a new software to the field. Just to give you a bit of background on Phase One for those of you that are not familiar with them, Phase One is a digital medium format manufacture. They have been producing their own high-end digital medium format camera systems since the early 90’s and are generally considered some of the finest digital cameras ever produced. In the Mid 2000’s Capture one released their software to support their cameras, and although not an instant success, it did manage to capture the eye of the pro photography field. Fast forward to 2016 with the release of Capture One Pro 10 and many people are finally able to say that Adobe has a true competitor. Capture One Pro 10 has many of the features found in Lightroom, although still a little cumbersome to use if you have been part of the Adobe club as long as I have. Arguably this software shines at color rendition. From their raw processing to their filters, the colors that capture one is able to bring out in your image is unmatched (in my opinion) by anything Adobe has released. At $279 USD the software is not cheap, but this is a one time purchase and will allow you to use the software on 3 separate machines and does not require a subscription.
DXO Pro Optics 11
For those of you that read any major camera review website, your probably familiar with DXO mark, the company that reviews lenses and cameras and provides an objective mark/number that can be used to compare the quality of a camera or a lens. Well for the past few years DXO has be producing a line of software called Optics Pro. DXO has taken all the knowledge they gained from reviewing cameras and lenses and packed it into this software. I have used this software on and off for the past 3 years, and I can honestly say that the results are quite amazing. DXO prime, their noise reduction system is absolutely amazing, and the smart view system works wonders on removing haze (I would even say its better than Adobe’s system). But, there are a few things that need to be mentioned. It does not support all cameras (click here for the full list) and the organization system is a bit confusing, requiring a solid organizational system outside of the software. But it does come in at $199 USD for a standalone version.
Affinity photo blazed onto the market in 2015 with the bold statement that their software could replace both Lightroom and Photoshop. A bold claim, but one that many users have come to agree with. For the past few years I have wanted to try this software, but unfortunately it was only mac compatible for the longest time. That has not changed! The software uses a similar setup to Photoshop and states that it has a full cataloging system. I am in the works of giving it a try myself, so I cannot comment on the quality or workflow aspects yet. Best part of this software is it comes in at $69.99 USD, a steal if this software lives up to all its claims!
Although I mentioned three alternatives above, there are plenty of others out there! I’ve created a list of several other bloggers which have some great articles on the other alternatives to Lightroom. Head over there and checkout there sites for more info.
Thanks for reading everyone my article Time for a change? Three alternatives to Abobe CC. Make sure to leave a comment with your favorite alternatives to Adobe’s Lightroom and maybe leave a suggestion for what you would like me to cover!