Verdict: 4 stars Lightroom is Adobe’s bold vision of a cloud-based photo organizing and editing tool where all your images can be organised, edited and viewed anywhere on any device. For mobile users and content creators it’s a clever and effective proposition, but for regular photographers, while its editing tools now include AI masking, A lens Blur and the rest of Adobe’s latest Lightroom features, its restrictions, the closed nature of its editing ecosystem and its cost remain a major barrier.
Verdict: 4.5 stars Lightroom Classic is the traditional, desktop-based version of Lightroom. Its editing tools are powerful and versatile, aided by new and steadily improving AI masking tools. Lightroom Classic continues to be the professional cataloguing and editing tool by which all others are judged, though it’s not always the best.
When ON1 released ON1 Photo RAW 2024 it also switched around the products and license tiers. Previously, you could buy ON1 Photo RAW as a standalone package and individual components like ON1 Effects or Portrait AI as standalone ‘pro’ plug-ins. Now, though, these are all rolled into the Max edition so how does this work?
Verdict: 4.8 stars Capture One 23 is a professional Lightroom rival that offers a step up in both image quality and editing tools, and supports a greater variety of professional workflows. The RAW processing is excellent, the editing tools are powerful and the new Cull view, layered Styles and improved Variant handling alone make the upgrade look worth it. Capture One is not cheap, but it’s designed for professional, quality-orientated workflows.
Verdict: 4.5 stars ON1 Photo RAW 2023 is probably the closest thing there is to a photo editor that does absolutely everything. This version adds AI subject recognition and masking features. ON1 Photo RAW’s scope and ambitions are impressive, though the AI doesn’t always work perfectly and ON1 Photo RAW 2023 can sometimes feel sluggish.
Verdict: 4.5 stars Affinity Photo 2 is not a huge leap forward from version 1 for photographers, but more a major refresh and rebranding for Affinity. It remains an extremely powerful professional Photoshop rival at an exceptionally low price. Its tone mapping is superb, its RAW processing can now be applied non-destructively and its central Photo personal is hugely powerful.
Verdict: 3.3 stars $199 is a lot of money to pay for a simplified AI photo fixer and there’s not even a trial version, just an ‘unconditional’ money back guarantee. When it works, Photo AI is good, even spectacular, but the image and its problems have to fall within its window of fixability. Photo AI is also slow, over-aggressive with noise reduction and can only fix the right sort of blur.
Verdict: 4 stars Radiant Photo sounds like countless other ‘magic’ photo apps and plug-ins that use the power of AI to make your photos perfect. The difference is that it works. Not every image will be transformed equally, but the dullest, most difficult and downright impossible images are the ones that get the most benefit.
Verdict: 3.8 stars DxO ViewPoint 4 takes distortion and perspective correction to a new level, with Volume Deformation correction, a new ReShape local warping tool and more. But its core perspective correction tools will likely already exist in any host application you choose to launch it from. For ultimate perspective and distortion control, it’s hard to fault – as long as you do actually need what it does.
Verdict: 4.5 stars PhotoLab 6 has important improvements over version 5 which make it even better for quality fixated photographers. The PhotoLibrary organizing tools are catching up at last and the new DeepPRIME XD processing is superb. Add in the excellent editing tools and local adjustments, and you have perhaps the best RAW processor of all.