Exploratorius

Old School Film Hack

Switching to Affinity Photo

34

Macro of a tiger lily
Central Maryland (May 2017)
Sony a6300 + Zeiss Sonnar 50/1.5 ZM

I’m done with Lightroom and Photoshop; Adobe doesn’t seem to use much quality control with their patches, and recent updates have rendered Lightroom almost unusable in my computing environment — even with extensive troubleshooting, including uninstalling and reinstalling their products.  Their customer support was dismissive and condescending in dealing with paying customers, and their follow-up attempts to fix the performance problem via product updates has failed.

Years ago, Photoshop was it.  There was no other choice.  That’s still the case if you use their very advanced features (fortunately my needs are far more simple).  Lightroom wasn’t necessarily the best product for managing your photo library, but Adobe kept it compelling by adding features that made it very difficult to say no to their product as the competition grew.

But now?  Now there are serious (and far less expensive!) competitors for both, and I’ve gone with Affinity Photo as my Photoshop replacement.  The image above is the very first that I’ve post-processed within Affinity, and I’m pleased with the results.

My Adobe subscription has been cancelled and all their products have been forcibly removed from my systems.  The king is dead; long live the king!


Update:  This post is generating all sorts of comments both online and offline, so I will add some additional detail:

  • Affinity Photo is a pixel editor; their non-subscription full desktop/laptop version is selling currently for $39.99; you can find the URL for Affinity Photo here.
  • Adobe Photoshop (a pixel editor) and Lightroom (an image manager) are bundled together or with additional packages as part of the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite; their annual (billed-monthly) subscription only desktop/laptop version is currently available for $120-$240 per year, depending on the Creative Cloud package you select; the URL for Adobe products can be found here.

Affinity Photo is NOT a photo image manager with editing tools, like Adobe Lightroom is.  Affinity Photo is truly intended to be a Photoshop replacement, which is serious overkill for most casual photographers.  If your post-processing needs don’t require the horsepower of Affinity Photo, then a different package may be better suited to you.

Affinity Photo is available for the MacOS, Windows, and iOS platforms.  Details are as follows:

  • MacOS:  Affinity Photo was first released back in July 2015 by Serif to the Mac platform (Lion, Mountain Lion, Mavericks, Yosemite, El Capitan, and Sierra), and they have been making rapid strides in creating a pixel editor that can go toe-to-toe with Adobe Photoshop, both in terms of feature set and performance.
  • Windows:  Affinity Photo was released to Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8.x, and Windows 10 back in December 2016.  Like the Mac version, the Windows version is very fast and stable.
  • iOS:  Affinity Photo for iPad was released to iOS on June 5, 2017.  It is intended to only be used on a few of the latest iPad models (my own iPad Mini 4 is not recent enough), and wowed the audience at Apple’s WWDC keynote presentation on the new second generation iPad Pro, introduced on the same date.  Early user feedback is indicating that the iOS version was rushed and needs lots of development work before it will be as stable and polished as the two desktop versions.  However, if this is your preferred platform of choice, Serif is offering it at a super discount — so now may be the time to buy it, then just wait for it to be updated to the point that it’s stable before using it.

As I get more familiar with Affinity Photo, I’ll share additional info about it.

34 thoughts on “Switching to Affinity Photo

    1. Mitch Zeissler Post author

      Sure thing.

      Affinity Photo is available for MacOS (desktop and laptops), Windows (desktop and laptops), and iOS (newer iPads only). The desktop/laptop version is stable and maturing rapidly, but the iOS version was rushed to make the WWDC presentation last week — so if iOS is the route you want to take, buy it now at the introductory price, but wait for a few months before using it while the developers get it clean and stable.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Graham in Hats

      Thank you. Already bought one for a new PC laptop and it works fine (with a few tweaks and getting used to a sightly different method). Love the price and not being trapped by a subscription. I’ve always used a an old Photoshop (buy it once version). Shocked and annoyed to find a subscription only service. Idiots.

      Thanks again. You saved me a lot of nuisance. 🙂

      Like

    1. Mitch Zeissler Post author

      Sure thing.

      Affinity Photo is available for MacOS (desktop and laptops), Windows (desktop and laptops), and iOS (newer iPads only). The desktop/laptop version is stable and maturing rapidly, but the iOS version was rushed to make the WWDC presentation last week — so if iOS is the route you want to take, buy it now at the introductory price, but wait for a few months before using it while the developers get it clean and stable.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. S. MD Food & Drink (@SoMDfood_drink)

    Just read reviews for the iPad version of Affinity (because that’s what I’m using at the moment) and several folks report problems with bugginess and stability. So, good luck to you. I’ll stick with my Photoshop CS 5.5 (I don’t want to move to the subscription model) on my desktop machine.

    Like

    1. Mitch Zeissler Post author

      Sure thing.

      Affinity Photo is available for MacOS (desktop and laptops), Windows (desktop and laptops), and iOS (newer iPads only). The desktop/laptop version is stable and maturing rapidly, but the iOS version was rushed to make the WWDC presentation last week — so if iOS is the route you want to take, buy it now at the introductory price, but wait for a few months before using it while the developers get it clean and stable.

      Like

    1. Mitch Zeissler Post author

      Sure thing.

      Affinity Photo is available for MacOS (desktop and laptops), Windows (desktop and laptops), and iOS (newer iPads only). The desktop/laptop version is stable and maturing rapidly, but the iOS version was rushed to make the WWDC presentation last week — so if iOS is the route you want to take, buy it now at the introductory price, but wait for a few months before using it while the developers get it clean and stable.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Mitch Zeissler Post author

      Well, I don’t claim to be a Photoshop expert, though I can do a fair to middling job in Lightroom. Years ago I used to know a font designer from Adobe and she had absolutely nothing positive to say about working there for a long period. I always wondered about her perception, especially in recent years when Adobe seem to have stumbled so badly with some of their prize products.

      Glad you like the results. 🙂

      Like

  2. paula graham

    Interesting post, with a great looking result but…I have a fear that your results tend to look good, even if you used a brownie box!…I still use PS 6 and Silver Effects pro and colour effects , and refuse to go ‘into the cloud’ which means subscription for ever more… NO folk at PS.

    Like

    1. Mitch Zeissler Post author

      Ah — there is that. My wife says the same thing about my photo abilities, which is part of the reason I’ve been selling off most of my high-end gear… to wit, why keep the expensive stuff around when I can achieve the exact same level of results with cheaper gear. For what it’s worth, I tend to pick my own images apart and analyze them to death. The very best thing for me was to begin posting them online with a specific schedule, that way I’m forced to let them go and quit obsessing about them.

      I too am not comfortable with having my images go “into the cloud”, but I suspect they are already going there with WordPress and Flickr. I haven’t specifically read that they are doing that, but it’s probably the case.

      As one of my photo buddies observed recently, Adobe really seems to be “phoning it in these days”.

      Like

    1. Mitch Zeissler Post author

      ??? I thought I wrote it clearly by using brackets with each product…

      Affinity Photo is JUST $39.99 annually and NO monthly subscription.

      Photoshop/Lightroom is only available via monthly subscription and is $120-$240 per year, depending on the package you choose.

      Like

  3. Leanne Cole

    I’ve been trying some other software as well Mitch. I’ve been looking at Ultimate 10 by ACDSee which looks like a great alternative to Lightroom and looks like it could replace Photoshop as well and a lot cheaper. I think a lot of people are feeling the same as you and looking for other stuff.

    Like

    1. Mitch Zeissler Post author

      I used ACDSee back in the mid 1990’s and loved their product at that time.

      They stumbled for awhile in the early 2000’s and I moved onto more advanced packages from other vendors, so I have no idea what their current product is like. If it’s anything close to what it once was, it’ll be fast and have some compelling features (I used to be able to go from image import, to light post-processing, to exporting directly to a generic HTML website created on the fly by the software package — it was truly an all-in-one package back in those days).

      There are tons of image post-processing and management packages now… too many for me to keep up with, so I target just those with advanced features that will be able to accommodate my needs as my skills grow.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Marcus

    I’m annoyed by the monthly subscription to Lightroom/Photoshop because I don’t use Photoshop but I’m paying for it. I wish there was a Lightroom Only option. I like the editing part of Lightroom because it has just the things I need and the user interface is good. File management is not bad and there are some useful features such as Collections. Excellent when preparing for an exhibition or online gallery. The problem is, it’s a database and Lightroom doesn’t always keep your real folders in order. It erases photos with no problem but when you right-click a folder and choose Remove, it doesn’t remove the folder from your hard drive. I discovered this last year and had to spend a while going through my Windows folders to remove empty ones. It’s a pain in the arse but I guess a database is necessary if you want non-destructive editing. I’ve looked around for alternatives but can’t find one that does what Lightroom does so well. I guess I’ll keep looking . . . .
    What are you using to manage your files? Windows Explorer?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mitch Zeissler Post author

      I too am annoyed by Adobe for adopting the monthly subscription model, especially when it’s actually an annual subscription that they bill monthly for, as I found out when I stopped my subscription last week (I was required to pay the remaining balance on my yearly subscription, which came to $39… GRRRR!!!).

      I had remained a devoted Adobe customer until the performance of Lightroom began eroding over the past couple of years. Longtime readers of my photo tips (https://exploratorius.us/tag/photo-tips/) know that I really put Lightroom through its post-processing paces, which spilled more and more over to Photoshop territory as my needs outgrew what Lightroom was capable of supporting.

      I got pretty peeved when they attempted to dumb down the interface awhile back, to appeal more to new users, then had to wait until they fixed that stumble with an update.

      Then the latest Lightroom performance hit after they pushed an update — one that would render my post-processing computer completely locked up for as long as several minutes at a time. Initially, the system lockups only happened when Lightroom was running (I was able to isolate the problem and prove that it was just Lightroom); if I closed Lightroom and switched over to Photoshop, everything worked fine. But then another patch came out and whatever was affecting Lightroom also began to affect Photoshop. I read the “solutions” being offered up by Adobe staff on their support forums, and nothing worked — not even uninstalling and reinstalling the entire Adobe Creative Cloud installation (Photoshop/Lightroom and support apps) that was on my machine.

      And in the middle of all this pain, I received the automatic notice from my bank that the $9.99 monthly fee was being removed from my account. Talk about feeling I was being kicked to the curb! That — for me — was the final straw. I felt that my power as a customer was nullified by their subscription plan; that it didn’t matter what my user experience was like, they were going to continue squeezing me for money even as they continued to deliver a product that they hadn’t adequately tested before releasing it to their user base.

      Eff that. And penalizing me for more money as I cancel the service? Fine, take it; not only did you burn the bridge between us Adobe, but I’m NEVER coming back. Whatever good will I had toward Adobe and their products completely evaporated in that last transaction.

      As for your last question about what I’m using to manage my files — I’m moving over to Capture One Pro for now. I’ve heard rumors that Serif may be working on an image manager to work together with Affinity Photo, and if that’s the case I may switch to it for seamless integration all from one vendor.

      Like

    1. bullroarin

      Looks great…I downloaded Affinity. looks like it will be a bit of a learning curve but I’m excited to try it. Hopefully it will add a new dimension to my photo art. Thanks again Mitch. ~ Dave

      Like

  5. Susanne

    I was testing photo editing software some time ago, since I wanted something that I could just buy and then own it, not having to subscribe. I remember looking at Affinity but don’t remember how I liked it. I need something that can handle RAW well and where I can edit RAW contrast, shadows, highlights, colours and all that… I now use Photoshop and Lightroom because we bought the package for our business. I agree that the customer support is kind of non existing but I haven’t found anything that is good enough (also since I’m kind of dependent on Indesign too). But I’m looking forward to reading more about how you experience Affinity. Always nice to have a more lightweight option.

    Like

    1. Mitch Zeissler Post author

      Hi Susanne; thanks for stopping by and commenting.

      Affinity Photo isn’t “lightweight”; it’s a heavyweight with blazing performance and a much smaller footprint than Photoshop. It just doesn’t have the über-advanced features of Photoshop (heavy macro and action features are among those that are missing right now) — at least not yet.

      I’ll need to see if it can open some of my very earliest digital RAW files from a Canon G3, as Adobe was the only one that could do that with newer software packages. So far it’s been able to open and edit all of my newer RAW files.

      Like

Join the conversation!

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: