On1 Photo Raw 2020, First Impressions

Back in May of 2019 I made the decision to drop my Adobe photography plan and jump to ON1 Photo Raw 2019. Adobe had bungled a “test” of raising their price to $19.99 a month and, seeing the writing on the way, I just said, “No.”

ON1 Photo Raw 2019 was a powerful application, and I was able to create some very good photos using it’s tools, but it always felt a bit “almost there.” Photo’s loaded slowly, an application update messed up how my previews looked in the grid view, and any time I was editing my MacBook’s fan sounded like it was about to take off from a runway. After coming from the sheer quiet of editing my photos in Lightroom CC on my iPad, it was a bit of a frustration. Not enough to ever consider running back to Adobe, that ship has sailed, but still a bit of a frustration.

Last month, however, I was invited to download the beta for ON1 Photo Raw 2020. I’m happy to say I’m no longer frustrated. The biggest difference is ON1 Photo Raw 2020 is able to make use of integrated graphics chips to accelerated the application, which was not possible in the 2019 version. This means photos load much faster, and when I’m editing the fan on my MacBook barely runs. It’s a remarkable change, and it makes me want to explore some of ON1’s more powerful features in depth 1. ON1 Photo Raw 2020 also has an integration with SmugMug, which means I don’t have to export my photos from the app before sharing them online. I like that. Even before the first beta had expired I paid for the 2020 upgrade.

The initial release of the application, after two betas, happened this past week. It’s been a joy to use, as I no longer feel as though I’m fighting my tool to get my work done. I’m as fast with ON1 now as I ever was in Lightroom Classic. And, given that ON1 is coming out with an iPad app later this year, I’ll even be able to bring back my iPad into my photography editing work flow 2.

Between ON1 Photo Raw and the Affinity Suite, I’m one happy post-Adobe user.

ON1 Photo Raw 2020 Interface
If you are comfortable in Lightroom Classic, you’ll have very little difficulties jumping in with ON1 Photo Raw.

  1. ON1 Photo Raw has perhaps the best masking tools I’ve ever used. And now that the app is accelerated in 2020, these tools are usable
  2. If ON1 manages to bring their masking tools to the iPad version, it will be a game-changer. The combination of their fantastic tools and the Apple Pencil will be all but unbeatable.