For the past decade, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom has been one of the top standard photo processing and image organizing software on the market. The consumer had very few options—until now. Here’s why: ON1 Photo RAW 2018 may be the answer photographers have been looking for as a Lightroom alternative. (If you want to try the software out for free – click here.)

ON1 has had a standalone version since 2014

For years, ON1 has created great plugins for both Lightroom and Photoshop. The only problem—you still needed Lightroom or Photoshop to use the plugins. That changed in 2014 when ON1 introduced The Perfect Photo Suite. This was the first time photographers had a real alternative to Lightroom and Photoshop. In my article, I wrote, “Will onOne’s Perfect Photo Suite Replace Photoshop or Lightroom?” The conclusion? Well, I’m not going to spoil it—read what I wrote back in 2014 and see if it matches what I’m about to say today.

ON1 Photo RAW 2018 includes lightning-fast photo management

A Digital Asset Manager—DAM for short—catalogs, tags, and creates keywords that make finding your images fast and easy. This was one feature missing from the 2014 Perfect Photo Suite and really hasn’t made an impact until now.

Here’s what ON1 says about their new Accelerated Photo Management:

ON1 Photo RAW 2018 includes everything photographers need to both browse and catalog photos from the very beginning of the workflow. This hybrid system provides one of the fastest ways to manage and organize photos. The ultra-fast photo browser is perfect for quickly viewing and culling through photos without having to wait for an import process. Once the culling process is done, the ability to create and catalog those photos is the next step in most common workflows.

Is it really lightning-fast browsing?

Simple answer: Yes! I was amazed how fast importing and browsing was. I culled through my images in real time. If you haven’t heard the term cull before, fellow Photofocus author Lisa Robinson describes it as “That boring, obnoxious task of sifting through all the good, the bad, and the downright ugly in order to finally surface with a body of work worth looking at (or showing to the client)” in her article, “Culling Photos: Five Tips to Choose Your Best Images.” It may not seem like a big deal, but when you have major deadlines, a lightning-fast browser is critical to your sanity.

Is ON1 Photo RAW 2018 a Lightroom alternative?

The real question is: “Can ON1 Photo RAW 2018 be a replacement for Photoshop and Lightroom?” Hmmmm. That was the same question I asked in 2014 about On1’s Perfect Photo Suite. The answer back then was “yes” (especially with its new Browse Module). But I followed up with: “Will I ditch Photoshop or Lightroom?” That answer was “no” because Photoshop and Lightroom were too deeply ingrained in my workflow. But with the new Accelerated Photo Management, I can see where new users or users not buying into Adobe’s subscription model will flock to ON1’s Photo RAW 2018.

If you want to try the software out for free – click here.