Poll: What Processing Software do you use primarily? And...why?

  • Lightroom

    Votes: 23 51.1%
  • Capture One

    Votes: 8 17.8%
  • On1 RAW

    Votes: 4 8.9%
  • Luminar

    Votes: 1 2.2%
  • DxO

    Votes: 4 8.9%
  • Darktable

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Photoshop (Camera Raw, no cataloging)

    Votes: 10 22.2%
  • Affinity Photo (Internal RAW, no cataloging)

    Votes: 2 4.4%
  • Other?

    Votes: 10 22.2%

  • Total voters
  • Poll closed .


CR Pro
Mar 28, 2012
On lots of threads there's been a good bit of talk about Adobe vs other vendors' software.

I thought it might be fun in 2020, to see who all uses what....and why....

I'm talking primary about the applications you use to import your images from your camera/card to your computer for work....more specifically bringing in RAW images for processing, things like Lightroom (classic or the other one)...Capture One...On1 RAW, Luminar...etc.

If you mostly just use Photoshop (with Camera RAW)....and maybe Affinity Photo and its RAW processing....speak up. If you ONLY use these, why just these and not the others that more offerings for meta data, cataloging, and all?

Please ONLY choose the PS/AP options if they are your ONLY RAW processing method, and NOT the cataloging apps....don't select if you use PS/AP in addition to the RAW cataloged apps....I think most of us use both at some point.

Are you mostly for business or pleasure/hobby or a bit of both?

Tell why you use what you do...if you have switched over time...from what to what and why.

If you have time...describe your workflow.

With all the lockdowns, I have to think many of us have had more time indoors to fiddle with this stuff...maybe even doing deeper diving into it to learn more about the tools we use.




1-DX Mark III, EOS R5, EOS R
CR Pro
I used to use Lightroom Classic and Photoshop but as cameras got better in time, I found less and less reasons to go into Photoshop to do anything.
I played with every version of CaptureOne, since it was beta. It never convinced me until version 12. Since then,I kind of switched from Lightroom to CaptureOne.
They're both great tools, each with its own advantages but for me what mattered most was that CaptureOne gave me the results I wanted more quickly.
Of course you can have presets and recipes and all that jazz but if I like the look of CaptureOne (and DPP, for that matter) raw conversion, why would I spend any additional time in Lightroom to match that?
I'm very comfortable in Lightroom and the transition to CaptureOne was as smooth as possible.
The second reason for me was layers. They're missing from Lightroom and they work great in CaptureOne.
Third one - masking. This is connected to the second one, because you need masks for layers.
It has been greatly improved in CaptureOne 12 and now 20. I think for this reason Lightroom is a bit behind.
What I hate about CaptureOne is that star rating is their own thing, they don't "translate" to Lightroom or DPP.

For example, if I rate a photo one star in DPP or Lightroom, I'll see that rating in CaptureOne but not the other way around. For this reason, I import my photos through DPP.
Unfortunately DPP became very slow with the 1DX Mark III files, for some reason. CaptureOne is way faster.

I love Lightroom for its DAM capabilities,it's just awesome!
I like Canon's DPP because it works so well with Canon files and you can see everything, like AF points, etc.

Pro's and con's for each of them; none is perfect for me.:)
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I post too Much on Here!!
CR Pro
Jan 29, 2011
Lightroom, 80% professional use and 20% recreational use.

Primarily because it just works, I started with Apple Aperture before Lightroom was a thing because it was the first real photo DAM, at some point Lightroom overtook Aperture and Apple effectively dropped Aperture years before they did officially so I moved to Lightroom. Half of my work needs very little processing that can be done pretty effectively with presets and the other half is very Photoshop intensive and nothing touches the capabilities of Photoshop/Bridge/ACR and Lightroom, throw in Lightroom Mobile and auto syncing and there is just nothing to touch the Adobe workspace for my use.

If I was a high end portrait retoucher then maybe I'd take a more serious look at Capture One for the infinitesimally small differences some people see, but for so long it was an industry joke that it wouldn't run for more than ten minutes before it crashed and it's foibles created an entire industry of the 'digital tech' needed on a photoshoot I never took the potential benefits seriously. For me a very robust DAM is worth more than the last 2% of IQ.
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I started using ON1 Photo RAW in Nov. 2017 and left Adobe in early 2018, never regretted it a bit. I was never a "heavy" photoshop user so everything I ever need to do I can do in ON1 PR.
I also use Topaz Studio (for AI Clear) and also DeNoise AI for cleaning up high ISO noise only that ON1 can't handle. 99% of my processing though is done with ON1.
Between ON1 and Topaz I haven't felt the need for any other RAW processing software in the last 3 years.
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Photos/Photo Book Reviews: www.thecuriouseye.com
Jul 20, 2010
Springfield, IL
I use Camera Raw because I just don’t like the way Lightroom stores and catalogs files. I’ve tried to like it, but it’s not for me and as far as processing goes, Camera Raw does everything that Lightroom does and in fact it handles smart objects better than Lightroom.
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Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
CR Pro
Mar 25, 2011
I had a tough time when I first tried Lightroom, it was version 1 or 2, I can't remember, but I just tried to learn it without reading up on how to use it, so I kept using ACDsee as I had since the early days of the internet where Linux commands were used. It has a database for DAM, but I never took advantage of it. I still use it for quick edits of jpeg images.

Eventually, I kept seeing photographers recommending Lightroom so I did a little reading and tried the free download. That convinced me to buy Lightroom as well as a manual by Martin Evening which really helped. I upgraded almost every time a new release came out. I was also upgrading photoshop every other release, so a lot of $$ was being spent on upgrades.

Learning to use the catalog and DAM was the key, I can do so much now in terms of finding various things that I could not possibly find among my 100,000 plus images. I probably resort to Photoshop about 2% of the time, it has some great features but I'm not into a lot of them. I remove backgrounds, add Text, do panoramas, focus stacking, and use content aware fill. There are some other functions that I rarely use, but Photoshop is the only software I have that can do them.

I have tried the other popular editing software programs. What I don't like about them is the creation of sidecar files. I much prefer the database.
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Nov 3, 2014
I use Lightroom classic as a DAM as well as for editing most images that aren't going to get printed on paper. I use Photoshop for anything that needs layers, heavily edited "photo ilustrations" and anything that is going to end up on paper. I prefer the Photoshop print engine and I think I get a better outcome printing from Photoshop. I like to render final locked print files that I won't go back and fuss with later. Non destructive editing can be a problem for obsessive types. I tried Capture One when I started shooting some Fuji X because it was supposed to handle xtrans better but I didn't see enough of a benefit to justify creating a seperate workflow.

Edit: regarding Lightroom vs Photoshop; in my mind everything that comes out of Lightroom I still consider to be a photograph. I don’t do anything in Lightroom that I think renders the image editorially invalid or whatever term they are using these days. Once I have an image in Photoshop that’s not necessarily the case and that can be an important consideration.
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EOS 5D Mark IV
CR Pro
Feb 25, 2015
The Netherlands
It has been greatly improved over the years, and is serious editing software now. It lacks a DAM, but does a credible job otherwise.

I'm using DPP4 to create TIFFs that I import into Lightroom for editing and cataloging. As privatebydesign pointed out in another thread, I should invest in a colour checker since Adobe refuses to add colour profiles for recent Canon cameras.
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Deleted member 378664

I'm using Lightroom fpr developing my RAW photos.
But I do not use Lightroom to import from SD-Card to PC.
I do this via a cardreader and Windows explorer.
Then I use Faststone Imageviewer to get rid of the nonkeepers.
Only when the good photos are left I will import these photos into the Lightroom catalog.
For me Lightroom is too tempting to just start developing the photos before I got rid of the non keepers. So I decided to use another SW where I'm not tempted at all to do any developing stuff.

Why Lightroom and not one of the other possibilities?
I'M too much used to Lightrooms workflow and am too lazy to try and understand another SW. I do not have a problem with the subscription as I do use Photoshop as well and in the end it is cheaper for me than byuing a standalone SW and upgrade them on a regular basis.

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EOS R3, R5
CR Pro
Apr 1, 2020
I've used Lightroom since it first existed. I've stood pat on LRv6 until just recently as the old perpetual license version was fine until now. Had planned/budgeted for a 5D MkIV replacement this year so with new camera's in my future I caved and got a subscription for a year. Most recently, I've been playing with DXO and C1 Pro. I'm liking both for processing, especially C1, but will likely continue with LR for cataloging even if I drop the subscription after a year.
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CR Pro
Mar 28, 2012
I've been using On1 RAW now for a few years and I like it, the latest couple of releases have really helped with great features, filters, layers...I love how their masking tools work.

But I just got a GFX100....and I need to tether to it and On1 doesn't work with Fuji cameras.

So, I'm looking into Capture one right now. It doesn't do everything I want on tether, but does have a live view for when camera is suspended above the subject and getting up to change settings isn't practical.

I liked On1's cataloging and all...I'm watching many a video for C1 trying to get down how I want to approach it....sessions vs catalogs....

I think I about have my workflow there...likely use a catalog, but I'll do most of my organization and naming on the filesystem....so if I change again, I know where my images are, etc....and I"ll use the virtual things for searching and smart albums.....

Anyway, always to learn a new tool. C1 seems to have all the controls I need and want, but they do have. a different arrangement and work paradigm than I"m used to...coming from LR and On1.

I do see that C1 seems to be somewhat integrated with Affinity Photo....I'm going to have to investigate what the roundtripping is like between those two for when I need some compositing, focus stacking, etc...

Interesting poll so far...

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Mar 28, 2013
DPP. I switched when my version of Photoshop/ACR wouldn't support newer camera models. DPP is slower than ACR, and the interface leaves a lot to be desired, but I feel it's flexible and powerful and does a pretty good job. I've tried other RAW converters and there's just too steep a learning curve just to tweak and convert RAW files.

I use Photoshop for everything else, except HDR merging (Photomatix die-hard here), with plug-ins by Nik, Imagenomic, and Topaz. I should learn LR for DAM, but trying ACDSEE for RAW conversion and DAM really turned me off of learning new software--ACDSEE came heavily recommended here, but it was completely unintuitive for me, and I need software to be easier to use, not harder.

90% amateur hobbyist here; was going to go live with selling my stuff this summer, but the pandemic has put a kibosh on the art festivals I was going to use to break into business.
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CR Pro
Jul 6, 2017
Davidson, NC
I use Photoshop for almost everything. Raw files are stored in folders, and I use Bridge to sort through them, usually and then open via ACR. The sidecar files wind up in the same folder as the Raw file, as do the .dng files from merging panoramas and HDR in ACR and the .psd files I create from them. Exported JPEGs may reside there and/or in places where they will be used, such as the website files.

Why do I do that? I've used Photoshop for about 25 years. There may be better or cheaper options, but I am not motivated to look for them.

All of my photography is for personal use and for non-profits for whom I do web sites as a volunteer.

I put together a photo book this spring from slides I took on an Eastern Europe trip in 2000. They have faded over the years, mainly the green layer. I ran tests with VueScan to see the best way to capture the images. I wound up with TIFFs that I edited in Photoshop and then exported JPEGs for the web. For the book project, I selected pictures and made a folder of copies of the PSD files and imported the folder into Lightroom Classic. I had watched Scott Kelby's series on using Lightroom to produce books, and found the process rather slick. I did some tweaking in Lightroom and got rid of a few more magenta casts and touched up some spots and reduced grain in the skies. I rather liked working in Lightroom, but don't think I'd go there for my regular work flow. If I were a pro shooting weddings every weekend or the like, I'd probably appreciate its database approach and use batch processing.
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