I made a comparison of Luminar Neo vs Lightroom vs Capture One with no affiliate links, sponsors or brand bias.
Luminar gets advertised as the easy editor. But most reviews are affiliate or even sponsored videos. We need smaller devs and competition, so I don’t want to ignore them. Today we’ll compare Lightroom Vs Luminar Neo and even bit of Capture One in a real world test.
My video (watch on my channel here) + a Free Luminar Preset below.
I admit, comparing Lightroom vs Luminar Neo surprised me!
Both in that Luminar Neo does a lot of things, but also I expected more. I feels like Skylum has been focusing on fun features that advertise, rather than refining the app and making it pro tuned. With things like UNDO not even working as of March 2023 (v1.7) this app is not ready to be a photographers daily driver.
In general Luminar Neo gives a broad suite of editing tools for RAW files. It actually has more tools than Lightroom, even if some are a bit gimmicky, many are quite useful.
Luminar is trying to bridge the gap between photoshop and Lightroom. And to a point, it does that with fun add on’s, AI tools and some basic layer control. But it’s still nothing close when it comes to the layer based editing to Photoshop or even Affinity Photos. This like LR and C1 is is a RAW style editor first.
How well does Luminar Neo vs Lightroom Process your files.
Overall it’s honestly good. Masks are clean, selections are nice if a bit slow. AI seems to work more of less Ai-like.
BUT as I showed in the video and below, Luminar falls apart in more difficult shadow and highlight situations. Instead of giving a smooth roll-off in clipping, it bands. Something Lightroom used to suffer from, but these days is maybe even a bit ahead of Capture One.
Is it worth using Luminar Neo vs Capture One vs Lightroom?
Not exactly. Neo is a powerful tool but it’s just as expensive and Lightroom and Photoshop Combined. So while it might be easier to learn and get started (for sure it’s easier than Photoshop) it’s also far more limited, has lower quality Raw processing and it’s lacking a lot of basic pro grade features.
Skylum is treating Luminar more like a mobile app than a serious pro photography tool. It’s many tools are in disconnect with interface problems, lack on expandability and they try to sell extras and instead of fixing slow or buggy features.
While importing is fast, even basic tools like resetting a photo, cropping and exporting are slow and drag when compared to Lightroom and Capture One in general. But the results of the many tools do work well.
Is Luminar really the easy Photo Editor?
That’s how Luminar Neo vs Lightroom. is promoted. The easy, cheaper one click editor. In a sense it’s easy. The learning curve seems straight forward and it can do some things you would normally need Photoshop for.
On a learning scale of 1-10, I would rate Luminar a 4, Lightroom a 5, Capture one a 6 and Photoshop an 8 in it’s learning curve.
While this won’t replace Lightroom, Capture One, Photoshop or Affinity for pros, you will get a lot of tools and if you’re looking for a new app to play with, Luminar Neo offers a lot in one package but it’s more expensive than both LR and PS, combined!.
That said the problems and inability to do simple things any pro app should do make things not so easy of you operate by those standards. Here’s looking at you UNDO, come on Skylum.
You can do a lot here from replacing skies (do very many of us do that) to great portrait edits. It’s just important to separate marketing from realty and then decide what you like best. Luminar Neo vs Lightroom.
A decent jack of all trades is Luminar Neo vs Lightroom
I hope with feedback like this, Skylum can raise the bar and make Luminar a real contender against Lightroom and Capture One. Because we need contenders.
I’m still rooting for it and will give the Skylum team a chance to listen and take action. I want to be clear in all of this. It’s a good app. But when comparing to top pro apps we can’t pull any punches and we have to compare apples to apples, dollars to dollars.
In the battle Lightroom vs Luminar Neo this year, Lightroom + Photoshop gives you more bang for less buck. But Neo has a lot of potential and I really hope that by 2024 the scales start tipping.
Tell me your thoughts in the comments. Will you use Luminar Neo, or stick with Lightroom / Capture One in 2023 — Gavin Seim