Robin Hood’s Bay

This is Robin Hood’s Bay village, near Whitby in North Yorkshire.

The photo was taken as a single RAW file at 3:30pm on the 1st August 2017 and developed with On1 Photo Raw in the December of 2021.

Yes, I’m back using On1 Photo Raw – my favourite photo processing software!

Summer Software Struggles

After a very frustrating summer with my photography, having had to ditch Luminar AI and having trialled various other applications, I decided that On1 Photo RAW is the software for me.

It’s very comprehensive and does everything I could ever want for my photography – all in one application.

But having used Photo RAW on and off since 2019, throughout that time it had rarely ran well on my Windows laptop – a 2018 Lenovo Yoga with an 8th generation Intel i5, 8gb RAM and integrated graphics processor. This was why I had moved to Luminar.

Why On1 Photo RAW?

Lets look at the alternatives:

Capture Ono is complicated and far too expensive to represent good value for money if you’re not the pro studio photographer for whom it seems to be designed.

DxO PhotoLab was my first Lightroom alternative, but the world of photography software has moved on at a pace since then, and it’s not kept up. The full package is rather expensive for what it is too.

Exposure X7, despite some clever new features, still doesn’t process tones properly. The highlights and shadows sliders just aren’t effective enough. It was also rather buggy on my Windows laptop.

Luminar: The 1.4 update not only made the program unusable because of lagging and crashing on my Windows computer, but the structure tool hasn’t worked since, despite bug fix releases.

Skylum never finish a software application before starting from scratch with a new one. Luminar 4 was never finished before they prioritised work on AI. And AI not only fell short of what was initially promised before they started work on Neo, but it became unusable.

Maybe it works well on Mac?

Lightroom: Over-priced and underwhelming. I don’t think I would ever subscribe.

Both Affinity and ACDSee commit to pixels before all editing options are explored – or from the outset in the case of a HDR blended bracket set. This one-directional workflow means that once beyond a certain point, there’s no going back. You’d have to start over.

Working with pixels and adjustment layers just seems old fashioned and restrictive to me.

Also, editing tools I’d become used to, such as structure, glow and others were simply not present. There were complex processes to achieve some of these effects, but they were cumbersome and hard work, and it all seemed very inefficient to me.

Affinity didn’t even have a movable vignette! But there were lots of complicated work-arounds to achieve this basic necessity.

On1 Photo RAW has everything and does it all non-destructively with the RAW data. You can go back and alter anything, at any time. There are no pixels until you export. It also has exceptional selection/ masking tools, as well as image layers, HDR, export upsizing and more.

But all this can place a high demand on your computer’s resources. In addition, the photography world mostly runs on Mac, not Windows.

So what was I to do?

I’d tried all the above applications, and those that ran well on my Windows laptop weren’t satisfactory to me.

This situation was putting the future of my photography – now my only hobby and creative interest – in jeopardy.

Solution

In late October, as soon as it was released, I invested in a new 14″ MacBook Pro (2021 version with the M1 processor), and I can report that Photo RAW runs very well on it!

The new 2022.0 version of Photo RAW had occasionally hung on me, but it has never crashed. And it was a first release. Bug fixes in 2022.1 seem to have sorted that. I never expect perfection from rapidly developing software, just for it to be usable, and on my new MacBook, it performs very well indeed.

You actually see adjustments directly in sync with slider movements!

The photography world mostly runs on Mac. All the affiliates use Mac. So if I were ever to move away from Photo RAW, other photography software will most likely run better on Mac too.

I can now finally continue with my photography.

Comments welcome below:

Published by Peter Finch

I have been an electrical draughtsman, a retailer and, for 12 years, a photography tutor. In 2019, I took a job as an electrical technician and closed my tuition business. Am I now photography tutor emeritus ...?

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