Exposure X5 a Lightroom alternative

Last week Exposure Software released version X5 of their image processing tool, which is called “the best editor for creative photography”. Such a statement make curious.


Exposure X5 a Lightroom alternativeExposure, formerly knwon as Alien Skin software, unveiled with X5 a image processing tool which looks a lot like Lightroom. All standard processing tools are available including layers. Exposure X5 offers functions to manage your images. With these features Expsoure X5 Exposure is at the same level like for example ON1 Photo RAW.

Exposure X5 is available for Windows and Mac OS and costs  $ 119,– (Upgrade $ 89). I can’t say if this price includes the german VAT or if this tax comes on top of the price. I used the 30-day trial version.

The supported cameras are listed here and the lens can be found here.

I did a little video on Exposure X5


Starting Exposure X5 the surface and the arrangement of the different tools looks very similar to Lightroom.

Exposure X5 a Lightroom alternative


But this ture on first sight only. On a second look the differences are more than significant. There are no different modules like in Lightroom all items (grid view, keywords,presets,developement) is in the same window. There is a solo-mode available but there are also a lot presets or development settings.

Exposure X5 a Lightroom alternative

And with this the solo-modes reaches its limit pretty fast and all seems a little bit overloaded, even though the side panels can be hidden. In my opinion a seperate view/keywording and a devlopment modul would make a lot of sense.

No import

And to work with folders and images there is no need for importing first in Exposure X5.

Exposure X5 a Lightroom alternative


On every development all settings are stored in a seperate sidecar file in a subfolder of the image original sorage.

If you want to switch from Lightroom to Expousre X5 it might be interesting to know, that Exposure X5 offers a migration function. This exports metadata and keywords and some other settings via a Lightroom plugin to Exposure X5. Information about settings not migrated can be found here.

Customize panels

The panels can be customized to your needs:

Exposure X5 a Lightroom alternative


You can arrange the histogram or the navigator to the right hand side or move some development settings to the bottom of the list. Too bad that there is no opportunity to reduce the enumerous presets to those you really need.

Exporting images

Exposure X5 offers a couple of different export presets and the ability to define your export presets. Besides this all needed options for the export are available including watermarks, resizing and to filter out some of the meatdata in the exported image.

Exposure X5 a Lightroom alternative


Compared with Lightroom a sample export of 20 Tiff images was a little bit slower, but i don’t overrate this.

Smart Collections

Besdies the regular manual collections Exposure X5 supports smart collections, where a pirece of metadata determine the inclusion in this collection.

Exposure X5 a Lightroom alternativeOverall the queries are not as sophisticated as in Lightroom, but more sufficient to manage your images.

Is Exposure X5 a alternative?

Exposure X5 a Lightroom alternativeTo answer the opening question yes with some limitations. On the other hand Exposure X5 is no Lightroom competitor and i guess the software company shares  the same view.

I don’t need a seperate modul for photo books or another modul to generate web sites out of the application. But what i’m missing is a function to stitch panoramas or merge HDR images. With panorama you could use the open source software Hugin.

I’m not actual missing the map modul, even though it is convinient, but i’m missing GPS data not to show up in the metadata display. And it should be possible to handle over these data to a webservice.

I’m wondering why Exposure X5 doesn’t offer a GPU support and extending functions with plugins is another point.

Do you already use Exposure X5 as you image processing tool and if so because you’re convinced or you don’t like Adobe’s subscription model? Let me know in the comments.

ciao tuxoche



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