Armand Niculescu, BEng, MSM, is a 34 year old Art Director at Media Division. and he enjoys working with visual arts for film, web and print. You can see his photography gallery.

9 responses to “The Best 3 Photo RAW Converters of 2013”

  1. Madge Burks

    So for most things I use LR4 (CS5.5 if I need more layering job). For my best portrait I have to go into View or Capture NX and export the 90mb tiff file then add it to lightroom since LR4 features are the best (faster then going into photoshop too). I still hoping Nikon release capture NX 3 with improvement so I don’t have to use LR, but since google bought Nik I doubt it will be anything great. Either Nikon share its nef code or have an option to save in dng like pentax, and a few others, so I can just use LR4 straight up.

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  2. Rebecca N. Dickerson

    So for most things I use LR4 (CS5.5 if I need more layering job). For my best portrait I have to go into View or Capture NX and export the 90mb tiff file then add it to lightroom since LR4 features are the best (faster then going into photoshop too). I still hoping Nikon release capture NX 3 with improvement so I don’t have to use LR, but since google bought Nik I doubt it will be anything great. Either Nikon share its nef code or have an option to save in dng like pentax, and a few others, so I can just use LR4 straight up.

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  3. Christopher

    I have read and enjoyed all of your articles on RAW processing software over the years, but I completely disagree with your comment about ACDSee at the top of this review.

    Let’s not confuse ACDSee with ACDSee Pro – In my opinion, ACDSee Pro is every bit in the same league as the applications you have reviewed. Historically, it is priced in the same range as the other products which themselves vary quite a bit from cheapest to most expensive. Then if we look at each of your main sections, we see again that it compares very well.
    INTERFACE: yep, remarkably similar to the other three.
    FEATURES: Ditto except that it also has real DAM functionality, including geotaging, smart filtering and reviewing, which puts it right up there with Lightroom only, in my opinion, with a more intuitive implementation of those features. Oh yes, and version 6 includes a localized corrections option using a brush, once again trumping DxO.
    IMAGE QUALITY: I have compared ACDSee Pro to Lightroom 4, DxO 7, CaptureOne 6 and the latest version of Bibble. Frankly each has its strengths but when push came to shove, I found ACDSee Pro generally performed at least as well and sometimes better, than the other three, and while I felt that Lightroom offered the best overall image processing results, it was nowhere near as convenient in use so I kept ACDsee. I haven’t tried DxO 8 or CaptureOne Pro 7 so I can’t speak to those.
    The same goes for pretty much all the other categories including speed, colour, noise reduction, optical corrections and detail enhancement.

    I realize that ACDSee Pro for PC doesn’t seem to attract the same attention from reviewers but I think it is an oversight based on perception rather than the actual capabilities of the application.

    Nevertheless, I continue to enjoy your reviews and the information you have collated on the other apps.

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  4. Joerg

    Great review, with the writing locked down to the real differences, and Pictures to compare!

    Regarding CaptureOne, following the vendors website, a asset-management has been added compared to the previous version (but it seem not at the Level of Lightroom).

    Regarding Lightroom, as a side note. Adobe has changed it’s concept to Cloud-only/monthly subscription for many Products (but not yet for Lightroom). Unfortunally Adobe has announced that the “Cloud” will also offer Lightroom in future with additional features (in comparison to the packaged version, which will also be sold in “future”). So for me, who is looking for a long-term Solution, I’m currently not keen to switch to Lightroom, but from this (and other review’s) I will put CaptureOne much more in focus as possible choise.

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  5. NaturePhotoFelix

    I’m a “prosumer” photographer (read: my photos are not good enough to sell but I can’t keep myself from creating my own art), having spent countless hours in nature, but also did some basic portrait work.
    Given the size of my photo library (250K mostly RAW exposures, many of them due to multi-exposure bracketing), I determined Lightroom to be the only one of these tools to be even capable of organizing my base of photos properly (ue to its DAM features), and made some valuable additions (eg. the folder publisher plugin from Jeffrey Friedl for automatic low HD quality exports to NAS/home network). The optical quality of edited shots in Lightroom 3.6/5 can be pretty amazing, though when I make some key large poster prints, DxO 8 is almost always my choice. The fine detail (noise/sharpening), color rendition capabilities, and optical corrections make it the better choice for me for most of the high-profile shots. Using the two in tandem (Lightroom for all shots, and exporting to DxO for maybe 100 of my photos for large prints so far), seems to strike the balance I need. On the other hand, DxO-standalone would be totally lost with the amount of data given.
    I also found it necessary to beef up the hardware, in order to process fast amounts of Lightroom shots and some intense DxO processing in time: 4-disk RAID 0 array (with allway sync backup solution) for fast access to large amounts of data (up to 700 MB/s), i7 2700K quad core water cooled 4.8GHz for CPU power in LR and DxO, and an extra GPU using OpenCL to speed DxO processing further (raw-convert 1 shot/4s instead of 1 shot/7s in CPU-only mode). The combination does all I wanted, but it was a long way to get there.

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