With the final nail in the coffin for Lightroom standalone licenses - it's time to start considering what alternatives are out there that offer similar power / features while still being cost effective.

What experience / recommendations are there for alternatives (Windows based)? For example, On1 Photo Raw, Affinity Photo Raw, Core Aftershot etc.

I'm moving from LR5 and am happy for a paid product (upto say USD $150 maximum) that has good features.

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    Why put this question on hold when other users have asked software based questions and recommendations within the photography section. Need some consistancy here. I think its perfectly valid asking this sort of question with the photography section as post processing is a large part of the creative process and go hand in hand with taking of photos
    – LMP2016
    Oct 25, 2017 at 1:11
  • Due to the high number of LR users who are going to be looking for answers to this same question in the near future I think we should try to find a way (community wiki?) to make this an acceptable question. Raw development in postprocessing is no different than darkroom work with film. You don't have an image until you've processed the raw data, whether in camera or on a computer. It is part of the process of creating a photographic image.
    – Michael Clark
    Oct 25, 2017 at 3:22
  • The other factor that I think makes this a bit different is the ubiquity of LR in the last few years among photographers. It's not just a raw development software. It is the defacto raw development software for a vast majority of photographers.
    – Michael Clark
    Oct 25, 2017 at 3:26
  • @MichaelClark my person perception is the admins here are a bit quick to shoot peoples questions down, often these admin people are the ones that dont actually make any post themselves, therefore dont need to follow the rules they enforce. I think its a perfectly acceptable query that wont be short lived and if others are in a similar boat and want opinions on software alternatives I'm sure they would find them very helpful.
    – LMP2016
    Oct 25, 2017 at 19:12
  • If you wonder why there aren't more choices of really good photo management software, or why Adobe has switched to a subscription model, consider: upto say USD $150 maximum
    – Caleb
    Oct 26, 2017 at 14:09

4 Answers 4


I have been contemplating the same move. I have not chosen a new home yet but here is the list I created to start my evaluations (these are in no particular order):

ON1 Photo RAW



Capture One Pro

Exposure X3

Affinity Photo

DxO RAW conversion

ACDSee Photo Software

Corel AfterShot Pro 3

PhotoDirector 8 Ultra




I only just started looking for people's reviews and thoughts but here are a few. These are not always dealing with the latest version but I am more interested in people's overall thoughts and experiences.

Darktable vs Lightroom

Lightroom vs RawTherapee

Moving to Capture One

  • I see this was migrated. On this site, a list of things to try is not a valid answer. Nov 9, 2017 at 20:34

Take a look at SILKYPIX, a RAW development product originally from Japan. The workflow is a bit different than the Adobe way of doing things, and it comes in three different levels.

It is non subscription and there is a full featured 30 day trial, so you can see if it suits you are not.

There is an upgrade path from the many OEM versions bundled with digital cameras (it is bundled with a lot of cameras). The only feature missing in the transition is a photo organizer. The RAW engine is quite good, and the PRO version has some specialized tools for underwater photography and monochrome photos. It also gets upgraded about once a month with new camera support (it seems a lot faster than Adobe for this, but they seem to be much tighter with the hardware makers).


As a follow up to this - I made the jump onto Affinity Photo - as an alternative to my existing main editor which is Photoshop Elements. Initial thoughts it is more fully featured & comparable to PS ie Actions, Channels etc which is quite the bonus and you arent tied into a subscription & get free updates.

The downside is that photoshop plugins - in my case NIK software and Imagenomic Portraiture plugins (mostly work in NIKs case) and dont work in Portraitures case - so for skin smoothing I may need to finish a photo off in Elements until Affinity improves.

Next step is an alternative to LR - so far I've been looking at On1 Photo Raw and Luminar - initial advise is that Luminar is good for quick raw edits (doesnt have photo management YET - but is coming) with Photo Raw being the more advanced of the two and more comparable to LR. So I think I might go down the On1 track at some point.


I must say Luminar 2018 with its recent updates to Luminar 2018 Jupiter Offer is a good alternative. I must say during checkout apply discount code. The discount code I found is here https://www.madestuffeasy.com/macphun-luminar-2018-discount-coupon/ Luminar 2018 Jupiter Offer

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