Luminar complete review a photo of a girl edited in luminar before after

Skylum Luminar 2018 Complete Review

Skylum Luminar 2018 is the latest tool for photographers who are looking for a better editing alternative for their photos. Luminar has been around for some time and it’s available for both Macs and Windows computers.

Luminar 2018 costs $69 and you get your license for a lifetime, so whether you’ve used Luminar in the past or not, this deal is quite a steal. 

That’s why today I want to review the app in depth so you can understand exactly how much value you’ll be getting for your money, which is quite a lot because you’ll be getting a lot of use out of this editing tool.

Luminar 2018 Overlook & Features

Before after image after manual tuning in Luminar
Editing photos with advanced controls is effortless and gives a beautiful result

Luminar 2018 is a program that photographers will find very interesting, but it’s also very simple, intuitive, and user-friendly. Once you download and install it, the interface will allow you to choose between editing one image or several. 

Batch processing allows you to apply filters and presets to many different photos at once, set parameters, and do anything else you need to make sure the photos look exactly the way you want them to look. 

Batch processing in Luminar
Batch processing has a number of nice options

Other than that, batch processing is very straightforward. Beginners will find this very useful, but more experienced users might find it limiting. Photographers who are happy with adding a bit of saturation and clarity will find Luminar’s batch processing adequate, but not all photographers are like that. However, you can always find use for this kind of feature. 

When editing with Luminar 2018, you have to understand the meaning of workspace, filters and presets. 

Applying basic filters in Luminar
Basic filters allow you to get a nice picture with just no work at all

Workspaces are where you will find several different filters. It’s kind of like a development panel where you can add or subtract sections. Filters are all the features that allow you to make adjustments, so that includes clarity, sharpness, HSL, and everything else. Finally, presets are editing adjustments.

Luminar 2018 provides many different preconfigured presets that allow you to edit your photos very easily. These presets can be super useful for some users, but for others it can be limiting. However, Luminar 2018 can suit all kinds of users. These preconfigured presets can be cleared so that you can create your own workspace with the editing apps and looks that you find most useful for your work. 

You can customize your workspace very easily and save it, so that each time you upload a photo you’ll be able to access the workspace and start editing the way you want. Uploading your workspace can get annoying, but at the same time this option will allow you to edit your workspace however you see fit. 

One of the many interesting features Luminar 2018 has to offer is that it will allow you to edit almost any RAW file out there, including Sony a7r III RAW files, Fujifilm GFX 50S RAW files, Fujifilm XE3 RAW files, and more. This program performs incredibly well with RAW files and it’s faster and more robust than other tools out there. Luminar 2018’s approach to color channels, saturation, and luminescence, among other options make this evident. 

Image quality in Luminar 2018 is fantastic and it creates wonderful images provided that you’re careful and methodical with your editing. This program offers everything you need in order to edit your photos wonderfully and it does so beautifully, with a super useful interface that’s easy to navigate and understand. Especially if you’ve already used other tools similar to this!

Luminar 2018 Pros and Cons

A picture of the road with filters applied in Luminar
Extensive use of advanced controls can make your picture a blast

Now that we’ve discussed Luminar 2018, let’s take a quick look at all the pros and cons separately. 

Pros

  • The workspace is generous and comfortable
  • It can covert RAW files and edit them
  • It features a selective brush for each area of the image
  • It works in layers 
  • Different export options available
  • Custom presets can be changed very easily
  • It features a clone and healing brush

Cons

  • Batch editing is not super effective
  • There’s no metadata management
  • Massive use of RAM

Luminar 2018 Performance

When you’re looking at editing tools, it’s important to consider performance. Luminar works as fast as Lightroom most of the time, and the changes are applied instantly. One important thing to keep in mind is that uploading images can take a bit of time and the app uses a great amount of RAM per image. To give you an idea, Luminar uses around 2 GB of RAM per file. This means that it’s not a good idea to upload more than one image at a time on Luminar. 

Applying multiple filters in Luminar
Here’s a quick pick in how many different filters Luminar has. This, for example, is Sharpening filter’s description

Luminar 2018 doesn’t have any bugs and it performed fairly well on our tests. The only thing we found is that there’s the occasional hiccup, most specifically when it comes to undoing changes. Of course, the hiccup is barely noticeable and the app gets the job done immediately, but it’s not exactly instant sometimes, so it can seem a bit strange. 

The biggest drawback in Luminar 2018’s performance is that the waiting periods for images to upload can be a little annoying. Processing changes also takes a few more seconds than normal, but it’s not such a big deal. 

Overall, there’s nothing truly deal-breaking about Luminar 2018’s performance and it does well in every respect. Like I said, you’ll only have to be a bit patient with waiting periods, and for most people that’s not a huge issue.

LUT usage in Luminar
LUTs are here for some nice details and gentle colour correction

Final Words

Skylum’s Luminar 2018 is a true competitor to all editing tools out there, including Lightroom. It offers all the features you need in one place and it allows you to create sublime images with very little effort on your end. 

The app performs incredibly well and the few drawbacks are very manageable, which means they don’t take away from your editing experience at all. This is one of those tools that you should definitely check out because for as little as $69, you get a tool that can be with your for a lifetime and help you do your job as best as possible. 


To download Skylum Luminar follow this link to the official website.

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