I moved from ACDSee to On1 - Some thoughts

I have long been a strong advocate of ACDSee. And I still am, sort of. I think it still has the fastest, most complete DAM on the market. But, I admit, I was looking for new challenges. I was getting bored, I think.

After trying several products DXo, Capture1, and a few others, I settled on On1 Raw 2023. Primarily, the price was right compared to the others, though I would have happily spent whatever money it took to get what I was looking for.

My Thoughts:

  • I miss ACDSee’s Light EQ tool. It is an easy and fast way to squeeze out all the DR your camera is capable of.

  • On1’s user interface is awkward and clumsy in the sense that it tries to nest normal everyday tools into an automated, but not quite,“filters” paradigm. It requires a new way of thinking about what makes a good UI experience. I don’t think this is a ‘wrong’ approach, but it does require an open mind.

  • On1 seems fast, even on my relatively modest PC. Though the ‘boot-up’ time is somewhat slow.

  • The noise control and sharpening tools are significantly faster than the Topaz tools. And the quality of results wen compared to Topaz and DXo Pure Raw are similar. All three have strengths and weaknesses, each in different areas and in types of photos. I think. At any rate, it’s good enough most of the time, and I"m not going to get rid of my Topaz tools.

  • On1 Doesn’t really have a true DAM, it’s more of an ‘enhanced’ photomanager. It appears to be a relational database model, as opposed to a hierarchical model, which makes “not” logic a bit easier to implement.

  • Like ACDSee, it uses the LensFun optical correction tools. Which is a fairly reliable open source system. However the User interface hides the lens correction source data in order to make lens correction as automatic as posible. ACDSee, uses LensFun more directly and even allows users to access the LensFun lens/camera datafiles; So one could even add custom camera/lens combinations to the file. (NOT for the unskilled!)

  • On1 has both iOS and Android versions of On1 Raw, though, like Lightroom, it’s only marginally useful without a subscription. But many other software publishers can’t say that!

  • On the whole, I like On1 Raw 2023, in spite of my discomfort with the UI. That is one of the reasons I left ACDSee, and Lightroom before that. I want a learning experience that will shift my vision a bit. It works well with ORF files, and I think in time, it will greatly speed up my post processing efforts. I’m thinking of trying to figure out a way to integrate it with an ACDSee DAM front end though.

I have been through this in reverse order. Having tried all that parallel sortware for post production (ON1, ACDSee, Luminar, etc) I am back with an Adobe Photographer’s bundle subscription plus the Topaz AI plugins.

Lightroom works fine for me and has started to add some AI gimmicks (Denoise AI) in the latest version.

Photoshop works fine, too, but it gets more and more redundant except for interventions at the pixel level. Oh, you can change the skies now like in other apps.

The price seems right so I won’t go back either… :wink:

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Yes, been there, done that. As I said in another thread Adobe does the right thing by not forcing users to re-learn the UI every major version like many of the others. Lr (and to a lesser extent Ps) have evolved with few revolutionary UI changes so all the old ways of working are still valid along with the new.

How well this approach works depends on how good the original design was, and Adobe seem to have made really good design choices in Lr from the start. On the other hand with Ps… well, not so much; all the old stuff still works but the tools and settings are often obscure and confusing as a result of having to glue new features on top of a base never designed to extend that far. A bit like the Olympus menu system :wink:

I’ve been using ON1 more and more. Never cared for Lightroom. Don’t use DAM either as I do not store any images on my computer (Separate independent drives by year and job.). Wish there was a way to shut off all DAM controls, especially Capture One which is a slow drag get into and use.

In ON1 I do not select the ‘Tack Sharp’ or ‘Both’ in the “Noise & Sharpening” pane, but just use the ‘NoNoise AI’ part. It can over-sharpen too much for me, and if I use ‘Tack Sharp AI’ I dial it back to maybe half.

I also found their Linear RAW method they use to make ICC/ICM color profiles off a ColorChecker a lot better than using the Adobe DNG Converter. I think Adobe does too much of a mid-tone boost and that affects the colors, while the linear method may not so colors seem better, imho. Capture One also uses the linear method.

ON1 does seem to be pushing ahead faster than Adobe with the AI stuff. Adobe got lethargic in their subscription model and others have used that to their advantage to move ahead. Their other software like ON1 Sky Swap AI 2023 and ON1 HDR 2023 are also good and keep getting improvements fairly rapidly. I get less HDR ghosting with their HDR software.

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I do believe that the second tier software titles seem to be much more aggressive in their R&D. I place On1 and ACDSee in this category. Smug self satisfaction kills, eventually.