Luminar 3 – With Libraries. First looks

Luminar 3 With Libraries was released recently and I’ve been playing with it for a while. Here’s my first impressions:

The Good

  • A reasonable image browser with a unique layout
  • It keeps itself up to date after you have told it the folder(s) where your images are
  • The RAW conversion is high quality, although it is not the best
  • The interface is easy to use
  • Price – currently £47.

The Bad

  • The image browser is not really configurable
  • The browser is slow, often painfully so
  • It doesn’t show any information about the image – not even the name or file type
  • The image browser treats RAW+JPEG as two separate files and doesn’t indicate which one is being displayed
  • Minimal EXIF/IPTC information displayed and only in the Edit screen
  • IPTC cannot be edited
  • External Applications cannot be launched from the Browser
  • Folders added to the browser after the initial import appear at the bottom of the browser tree

To be honest, I was expecting more from Luminar. This update has been a long, long time coming and it offers little more than a basic browser. I have experience with both using and writing Digital Asset Management software. I wrote PFS Manager (which received an 87% rating in Amateur Photographer magazine) and PFS Image Darkroom. I didn’t have a team of developers. It was just me. And my software was faster and had more features.

The Browser

Here is a screen shot of Luminar’s browser and also Photo Ninja’s and Exposure X4’s:

Luminar's Browser Luminar’s Browser
Photo Ninja's Browser Photo Ninja’s Browser
Exposure X4's browser Exposure X4’s browser

Photo Ninja’s browser is lightening fast and Exposure 3’s browser is no slouch either.


Luminar is a very good RAW processor, but it is not the best in class. I would rank Photo Ninja as better, followed by DXO Photo Lab 2. Luminar’s browser is nowhere near as good as Exposure X4’s and Photo Ninja’s is also better.

Hopefully Skylum will enhance the browser over the coming months. Their published roadmap  addresses some of its shortcomings. At the moment it is worth the price, but only as an investment for the future. But this is a highly competitive market and to compete you have to offer something compelling…

1 thought on “Luminar 3 – With Libraries. First looks”

  1. Great short review, thank you ! Just reading the cons is enough for me – a major disappointment on my side, since i was being prepped for a little DAM revolution coming with Luminar 3.. I would also add the lack of local search – if such is absent – to the cons list. How could one leave this out when we talk about DAM / file management is beyond me. And this search should be able to search the exif, eg ISO, aperture, etc – a separate item in the cons list ..

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January 2019
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