Verdict: 4.5 stars DxO Nik Collection 4 is the latest version of an evergreen plug-in suite that’s as good today as ever. There are improvements, but the new look for Silver Efex Pro and Viveza put them a little out of step with the rest.
Life after Photoshop software reviews
Choosing the right software isn't easy and you often have to try quite a few different applications to find the ones that suit you. We're all looking for different things, and quite often a single piece of software won't do everything that we need.
Some people simply want a Photoshop replacement without the subscription payments, some want an image cataloguing tool that can also carry out photo enhancements, some primarily want an image effects tool for crafting a very particular 'look'. Most of us want a bit of all of these things.
• Always download the trial version if there is one. My best guess at what photographers need is not necessarily right for you.
These reviews are designed not just to see whether the software out there is any good or not, but to explain exactly what it does and how it might fit into your workflow.
I don't review every program out there, only those which I personally consider add something significant to the image-editing process. There are some notable and quite possibly very popular programs not in my review list but that's because – and I don't want to upset any publishers out there – I don't think they're different enough, interesting enough or just plain good enough.
The name is the same, but despite the apparent similarities, these are two very different programs. So what are the key differences between Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic CC, and how do you choose which one to use?
Verdict: 3 stars: DxO FilmPack 5 is an analog effects tool that has not had a version update since 2015. It’s all right in its own way, but it now looks both basic and expensive at the same time.
Verdict: 4.5 stars Lightroom Classic has had some worthwhile updates since 2020 and it’s that little bit faster and more powerful than before.
Verdict: 4.3 stars ON1 Photo RAW 2021 is a terrific all-in-one photo organizing, editing and effects tool with just about the widest scope of any single program. It’s not perfect in every respect, but it’s great value and has some terrific presets.
Verdict: 3.8 stars Viveza is a great tool for making fast and effective adjustments to colour images, but even with the improvements in version 3 it still feels less useful than the other Nik plug-ins.
Verdict: 4.5 stars For fans of black and white photography, Silver Efex Pro is just superb. Version 3 improves the Control Point masking, but moves the sliders to the sidebar, which isn’t necessarily an improvement.
Verdict: 3.5 stars Luminar AI has some spectacular AI effects, but it also has performance issues and a disappointing template AI workflow that’s less than inspiring.
Verdict: 4.6 stars Capture One 21 has important new features and is really starting to put Lightroom in the shade. It’s expensive, but you get what you pay for!
Choosing the best image editing software is complicated, not just because there are so many alternatives, but because they all do different things. It all depends on what you look for most in your photo editing software. Here are ten programs with ten different approaches.