Catalog functions in Lightroom,ON1 and Luminar 3

Post update on 20.Feb.2019

Luminar 3 and their library function caused a lot of fuss at the end of the last year. Therfor this blog post will compare the different catalog functions.


Catalog functions in Lightroom,ON1 and Luminar 3Luminar 3 fullfilled their promise with version 3 and added library support to their raw processing tool. But we must state that the implmentation was poorly done and version 3 has a couple of other bugs, so Skylum did get a lot of stick for this version. But they already promised to do an error correction version by the end of this month. Anyway we now have 3 image processing tools with catalog functionality and both Luminar 3 and ON1 Photo RAW 2019 regard themselve to be compeitots to Lightroom.

This post is not about the image processing capabilites but to list the main differences in the catalog functions. But anyway i want to modify one main issue because for both ON1 Photo RAW and Luminar most of the comparism state out the both programs can do layers and Lightroom not. Basically this is right but in the subscription model like in Adobe’s Photography plan you also have Photoshop CC which of course is able to handle layers.

I did a little video which shows the differences in the 3 programs:

Exif data

Even in the basic Exif-data there is a difference:

Catalog functions in Lightroom,ON1 and Luminar 3

While both Lightroom and On1 Photo RAW deliver a complete set of the Exif-metadata you can see the basic data in Luminar 3, but Luminar 3 so far cannot filter by any of these parameters. So it is not possible to filter the displayed set of images on the used camera or used lens for example. A filter according to the capture dates is done very much comparable to IMatch, where the program defines such filters automatically.


Lightroom Classic offers adding keywords to your images just like ON1 Photo RAW.

Catalog functions in Lightroom,ON1 and Luminar 3

But so far we must realize that Luminar 3 isn’t capable of adding keywords zto your images. According to the published roadmap this is supposed to be implemented by mid of the year. At this time this is the main handicap besides the missing filter option by any sort of Exif metatdata in Luminar 3. Another difference is there bteween Lightroom and ON1 Photo Raw, Lightroom implmented a hierarchical keyword list.


A good image mangement allow the user to add certain images to an album or an collection, like for the last vacation or other hilights.

Catalog functions in Lightroom,ON1 and Luminar 3

Manual collections where the images are manually selected by the user and added to the collection or an album are implmented in all 3 programs. But essential is the option for smart-collections where an image is automatically added to one or more collections by applying certain keywords or a co,bination of the Exif metadata. But smart collection can be dfined only in ON1 Photo RAW and Lightroom.

GPS Data

If you collect GPS data by an external logger like the Holux M-241 or if your camera has a modul to log GPS data only Lightroom and ON1 Photo RAW display this data as part of the image meta data. And Lightroom is the only program in this comparism which offers a seperate map modul.

Catalog functions in Lightroom,ON1 and Luminar 3

This not only displays the position of the selected image but also the locations of all images captured nearby. At least in ON1 Photo RAW there is button besides the GPS data which opens Google Maps in your favorite browser.

Catalog functions in Lightroom,ON1 and Luminar 3

Luminar 3 is lacking these functions.

But Lightroom can also tag selected  images by using a GPS track file, a function which is missing in ON1 Photo RAW so far. But maybe it is possible to tag the images with GeoSetter or other tools.

What Lightroom isn’t able to do

Just like shown in the video both ON1 Photo RAW and Luminar can edit edit an image without the need for a formal import process like in Lightroom. This is a function which comes in very handy in some situations. In addition both programs sync the content of a already imported folder automatically. Adding an image to such a folder the image will show in the cataloged files without the need for a manual sync like in Lightroom Classic.

Catalog functions in Lightroom,ON1 and Luminar 3

In Lightroom you have to select the folder and start a sync process for adding an image typically an HDR or panorama image rendered by another tool to the catalog.

What is missing in the other programs

Both ON1 Photo RAW and also Luminar 3 don’t have stacks implemeted, a very convinient function in Lightroom

Catalog functions in Lightroom,ON1 and Luminar 3Stacking images is a good choices every time you have more images of the same scene, like as HDR or panorama base images. After processing those base images most of the time the final result only should be visible in the catalog.

And another feature the virtual copies is a very convinient way to play arround with b/w or high contrast versions of a certain image.

Catalog functions in Lightroom,ON1 and Luminar 3


We now have the situation that 2 programs like to be a direct competior to Lightroom, but the gap between Lightroom and On1 Photo RAw and Luminar 3 is pretty big. ON1 Photo RAW 2019 is closer  even though a couple features are missing. But Luminar 3 is far behind on a third place.

But still i use Luminar 3 as a Lightroom plugin because of the Sky Enhancer and some filters, which get good results very quickly.

ciao tuxoche

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *