Luminar Neo, a Complete Raw Editor?

It’s been a long time coming but Skylum Software has finally released Luminar Neo, their brand new version of the software that incorporates a ton of new features, is faster, and is simpler, but also offers more depth.

The photo editor is aimed squarely at the beginner and intermediate market. I have been testing it out and have been impressed by what I have seen so far. So is it faster? Well yes, and is it better than previous software from Skylum? Again that depends on what you are after from an end-user point of view. Personally, I prefer it as it gets the results quicker for me. I don't use it as a full editing package, only as a plugin, but so far it seems more than capable of producing the results as a full-blown editing package. If you are a Luminar 4 or Luminar AI user, then the software will be an easy adjustment. If you are new to photo editing and you want quick and simple edits without the kerfuffle of layers or subscription packages, this could also be the software for you.

If this is your first foray into editing, then you may be quite impressed with what the software can do with your images. One of the great things about Luminar Neo, however, is that it gives much more experienced users a chance to see what changes in workflow and editing techniques can be implemented. Even if you are not convinced about using Luminar Neo for your image processing, it could still open up some new options for you. 

In this video, I take a look at the results of working with Luminar Neo with a raw file, as opposed to processing it within Lightroom first or Photoshop. With a few clicks, I am able to make big changes quite quickly. This means that even beginners can get good results from the start and in turn experiment with different looks, effectively cutting out the need for multiple raw processing solutions like Lightroom and Photoshop.

What I found was that Luminar Neo worked well with the raw file. The panels were intuitive and easy to use and had a lot of useful editing tools without being overwhelming. If you use Snapseed for mobile editing you may find a similarity with the editing panel. The way this works may, I think, be the reason for the speed upgrade compared to previous software from Skylum. Once you apply your edit, the panel then resets the slider allowing you to build upon the edit at a later stage and allowing you to add and subtract adjustments dynamically as you see fit. 

So is the new software worth taking a look at? If you are new to editing and want a quick and easy solution to your images, with tonnes of features to enhance your journey, then yes. If you are an experienced user and just want to see if there is anything in the tools panel that would fit into your workflow to enhance your images, it's also worth checking out.

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10 Comments
Jerry Hayter's picture

It's a dreadful bit of software. It doesn't install properly, and LOADS of users have got this problem. Check online if you want!

Luminar haven't yet found a fix, nor will they process a refund for something that is already months late, incomplete, and clearly not fit for purpose.

Honestly, this is the worst software I have ever purchased - by MILES!!!

Steve Powell's picture

I have not found that to be the case. It loaded fine for me, and works with no glitches.

Juan Isaias Perez's picture

For the past 2 years Luminar 4 has been my full raw editor. Still very happy with it, except that it will probably never handle the raw files from my R5 correctly. Because I was/am quite pleased with 4 I decided to purchased a license of Luminar AI for my son. Lamentably it never installed correctly. They did reimbursed the purchase price.

So some good and some bad…and waiting for NEO to be fully debugged. A man can dream!

Gary McIntyre's picture

Agree some good and bad points Juan. I mainly use it as a plugin for certain features it has, and that speed up my workflow. With recent events I think we will be waiting a bit longer for the updates, which is insignificant to what they are currently enduring. Thanks for reading.

Keith Batchelor's picture

I've tried out both the pre-release and up-to-date full version. I really want to like this software, as it has a lot of potential. However, the thing just won't stay upright! Crashes out after crawling to a halt.

Gary McIntyre's picture

Thanks for reading Keith. This edit was completed on the pre-release and I've had a few bugs with the full version but I'm sure it will be corrected in time. Sorry to hear yours is crashing.

Brendan Kavanagh's picture

I have yet to encounter a piece of Luminar software that was anything other than useless.

Thomas Reddish's picture

I agree that both AI and NEO are better used as plugins for Adobe LRC & PS. Too mamybugs and not all features are ready. I will withhold final judgment until they get it debugged

Don Bright's picture

What’s with the tonal color cast?

Toma Paunovic's picture

How good is demosaicing with this new Luminar? I'm previous version, I was never able to get as much details as from Lightroom, on my A7R III. Lightroom images very always sharper at pixel level.