Adobe CC and Lightroom ALTs

I’ve used Adobe apps since Photoshop 1 and Illustrator 3 (1991) so they’ve had a fair amount of dosh from me over the years.

I like their apps but last November they started charging me double for my Adobe CC subscription. After three hours on the chatline and phone I finally got through to an Adobe agent who reset my account and gave me a refund.

Then in March this year it happened again - double billing on my account, no prior notification. Again a tortuous +three-hours on the chatline to telephone loop until I got to speak to a knowledgeable human, who I must say was very helpful and polite. They are not the problem. But I am reluctantly dumping Adobe.

Which in a longwinded way leads me to a solution and a question…


I have been using a 30 day trial of Affinity Universal 2 (Design, Photo and Publisher) and it seems to be a perfect alt to Abdobe AI, PS and ID. Even better, no monthly subs and a reasonable price at £160 (equivalent to three month’s Adobe CC subscription).

I’m minded to go for it unless anyone has a smarter solution.


As a keen photographer, I will very much miss Adobe Lightroom, so looking for an alternative.

I’m wobbling between Capture One and Skylum Luminar Neo. I’m not a novice and won’t need an app hand-holding me through its process. Is there a better solution?

I have their trial apps and will test each over the next few days. But I wondered if anyone had been through a similar situation and had any personal experience to help smooth my path through Adobe cold turkey 🤔

Cheers guys!

I have dumped Adobe the minute they announced their subscription mode, so my last version is CS6 Production-Premium. I miss Lightroom, because for my use it was the best app available. I still use that old version of Lightroom (and Photoshop) on my old computer running Mojave, though.

For illustration, I use Affinity Designer. I am not an illustrator, so that app is more capable than I really need.

As far as photography goes, I’ve been using Luminar’s app for a while, but I found it rather amateurish. However it’s quite capable for a casual use. I dumped it.

Right now, I am using CaptureOne. It is a very good professional app (has its quirks) but in my opinion, it is overpriced. They make very small incremental updates which are definitely not worth the price. In reality, their system is very similar to a subscription system.

I am seriously considering dumping CaptureOne and instead using either Affinity Photo or dXO PhotoLab. I have no experience with either one.

This is a very difficult decision for me, especially so that I need a strong cataloging facility within an app along with a pro-grade editing capability.

Are you guys familiar with Adobe’s Photography plan? As a full-time employee, I have the privilege of using the complete Adobe suite provided by my employer. However, I can’t help but acknowledge the incredible value that Adobe’s Photography plan offers.

For just $10.00 a month, the plan includes Lightroom for both desktop and mobile, Lightroom Classic, and Photoshop for both desktop and iPad. This comprehensive package is an absolute bargain in my opinion. Details here:

On a related note, I also own all three Affinity products and have had the opportunity to compare them with Adobe’s offerings. While I find myself much preferring Publisher 2 and Designer 2 over InDesign and Illustrator, I have to admit that Affinity Photo 2 doesn’t measure up to the capabilities of Photoshop.

One feature that has truly impressed me is Adobe’s recently released Generative Fill. It is simply amazing, and I believe Adobe got it right on their very first attempt. The tool not only delivers exceptional results but is also incredibly user-friendly.


That’s very interesting - I’m testing CaptureOne and Luminar Neo now with the same raw images to see which is handling the data quicker, better - if at all.

Initial impressions are that Luminar Neo is winning on both fronts. At first glance, I was not impressed by its simplistic interface - it doesn’t have the look of a pro app. However, getting under the skin it is actually very powerful and has some really useful unique features that I like - sky replacement is seriously clever for example.

Coupled with the fact that it is cheaper than CaptureOne, it is top of my list at the moment. If you get a chance, try it out.

(btw, I shoot in camera raw and neither PS or AP have the comprehensive tool set to handle raw files so they are never going be considered.)

Thanks @dave, I didn’t know that the Adobe Photo plan was so cheap. I probably wouldn’t have considered alternatives had I bothered to look that up for myself 😂

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I have tested Luminar’s app a couple of years back (probably some of the first versions they offered), so I imagine they improved their app since.

I don’t know what camera brand you are using. I use Canon which has their own RAW processor that comes free with their cameras. I don’t use it because of its simplistic workflow and unfamiliar interface, but I hear that it does an excellent job if given a chance.

I can’t see myself going back to Adobe, even if they’d dropped their subscription plan (which is not going to happen). They are a greedy company that pays more attention to profits and shareholders than to users. That’s my impression.

I am more inclined to try dXO PhotoLab, when I get some free time. It does not have a subscription plan and I like their users forum which seems very helpful.

I agree. Whilst I have affinity suite and rate it highly, the Adobe photography package is a no brainier. Also gives access to Adobe fonts.

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Hi @fapkogi,

I’m using Nikon kit (since 1989!) and I know that like Canon they have their own RAW processor - both much like the very basic Photoshop version.

I should have been clearer on my RAW requirements: To take either portraiture or landscape images and losslessly enhance them in a natural way, usually selectively on only parts of an image. (Never will I use global HDR tools resulting in unnatural over-saturated and sharpened results.)

Anyway to update this thread, I have bought a year’s licence for Luminair Neo (LN) based on its exceptional AI object detection and ability to mask for tweaking. LR is pretty good but LN is almost flawless every time. A huge time saver when dealing with 100s of images.

There’s no doubt that AI is going to have a massive effect on how we process images - as well as everything else! So for a year I’m sticking with both LR an LN to see how it all pans out.

If you’re interested in seeing the results of a shot I took very quickly and needed some serious tlc - and was processed in both LR and LN, let me know.

@Geoff, Sure, if you are inclined to do so, please, post before/after versions of your shot – either in this thread, or send me a PM, please.

As it turns out, that was not only my own impression. Here is some additional food for thought:

I don’t think Adobe is unfairly priced. You get a lot of bang for your buck. Plus it’s an across platform app. As much as I like Affinity I also need to edit video and sound and nothing comes close to Adobe, plus Acrobat is an app I use daily.

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I’m a fan of Affinity Designer, I love it and I think it’s better than Illustrator.
For photography, since I started using Ai tools in lightroom (smart selections and denoise) and photoshop (selections and generative fill) , I recommend getting the subscription for photographers.
If you work with many photos, the work is much faster and easier, for anything else other software is fine, dXO PhotoLab or CaprureOne

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As a Commercial Product Photographer, despite the ludicrous cost, Capture One is the only game in town for tethered shooting, but we use Lightroom & Photoshop for post-processing because they blow it away (for our needs, anyway). At £10/month for the Photographers subscription, it’s great value, and the Black Friday offer usually saves 40% off that for the annual sub.

I’ve played with Affinity and Luminar Neo, and they’re not in the same league (YMMV, obvs).

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