PHOTOGRAPHY: ON1 Photo Raw vs Lightroom, initial thoughts.

So, the potential saviour of us Fujifilm X Series/ Lightroom users has become available this very morning, On1 Photo Raw, downloaded and briefly tested.

Now, I love the workflow of Lightroom, it’s easy to use and is familiar if you, like me, are used to the Adobe range of products.

What I don’t like is the cataloguing element of Lightroom, I copy the images, say of a wedding shoot, then I import them into Lightroom, and here’s the funny thing. If I shoot Raws from the Nikon D800’s they whip across, literally, an entire wedding copied in less than ten minutes.

However, I’m a dedicated Fujifilm XT and Xpro user and ain’t nothing gonna stop that, but with Lightroom, that same import process would take over an hour!!

To put this into context, Nikon Raw files = 200mb each, or there abouts, Fujifilm Raw files, around half that.

To me that doesn’t logically equate, so I have to put this down to Lightroom not liking Fujifilm Raws.

And here’s the first thing that has excited me about On1’s Photo Raw, you don’t need to import, you don’t need to catalogue, just copy your images to your hard disc and work on them from there.

Hell, I’ve just grabbed back an hour or more of post-production time.

Thanks guys.

The second thing I don’t like, which is related to the first point, is, what I like to call, hard disc space unnecessary overusage. Ok, so I’ve copied my master files to my hard disc, then Lightroom has imported then again once it catalogues.

Now I’m no expert in what happens when Lightroom catalogues, how much space it takes up compared to your master files, but all I know, and all I care about, is that having simulated a complete switch to Photo Raw by deleting my Lightroom Library (it’s backed up twice so don’t feel sick at that last comment), now I have almost 50GB of free space.

50GB that Lightroom took away from me, for no real reason, I also don’t have ‘scratch disc full error’ either.

The third thing I don’t like about Lightroom is the way it handles Fujifilm Raw files, they seem to take a well exposed, well colour balanced raw file and, hey presto, it completely screws them up applying odd (burned out) highlights, and luminescence/saturation off the chart, particularly in the skin tones.

And these are files created using a dedicated Fujifilm colour profile for each and every job using SpyderCHECKR.

Well, I’m pleased to say that ON1 Photo Raw doesn’t, it seem to like Fujifilm Raws, thank you very much.

Colour definition seems to be what I’d expect from Raw files, a little off, a little shadow details missing, a little flat etc, the odd highlight missing, but isn’t that what a Raw file is for? For us professionals to tweak those anomalies in a skillful manner in post-production, not to have to correct for something that has been overcooked, however how well meaning it was applied.

So after playing with this pre-release version, it all looks rather promising, yes, it’s a little flaky around the edges, and some of the basic features are not yet available until launch proper in December, but for now it looks rather promising indeed.

And as it’s Black Friday (Wednesday, oddly), it’s down to $99 for the full blown copy and $79.00 for the upgrade from all other On1 products.

I’m getting excited about this new product. To me, initially anyway, it’s what Lightroom should have been all along, and that is great news for us X Series users.

One of my last blogs ‘Cheap Chinese Copies‘ is all about manufacturers taking their eyes off the ball and allowing others to come in and steal their business because of their complacency.

This, I believe, might be what Adobe have just done, and well done ON1, glad you were listening.

I think On1 Photo Raw might, just might, be the answer to my post-production woes.




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