• Ingo Schobert

A Brief Software Review

I think it’s time to write about my software choices and the ups and downs I experience with them. This is not going to be an in-depth review of individual software packages, but more of an overview of all of them together, in the order I started to use them.

First and foremost, there is of course my core processing tool Adobe Photoshop. Every photo I publish runs at least through Photoshop, some seeing very minor cosmetic updates, others need quite some work before they are ok to show (if at all). I don’t use Adobe Lightroom as I never understood how it works and my proficiency in Photoshop is adequate enough not having to use Lightroom. At least not for my needs. This whole Export/Import business from Catalogs only confuses me and seems to create, once again for my needs, unnecessary files that only take up disk space.

In addition, I have been using the NIK Collection now for a while, I got it first when it was still free and purchased the latest version when I got my new Laptop. I often use its Dfine 2 part for Noise Reduction and its Silver Efex Pro 2 for Black & White conversions, and occasionally Viveza 2 for general Image Enhancements. I don’t think I ever used the other features in the NIK Collection.

A couple of months ago, after my trip to the American Southwest, I added not one or two software packages, but three. They are Luminar 4 and Aurora HDR 2019, both from Skylum Software, and ON1 Photo Raw 2020. So far, I got the most usage out of Aurora HDR as I shot many locations in the Southwest in bracket mode with 7 exposures each. Initially, I was concerned that the results would be these typical HDR-ish photos, but when used with restrain then the results are “normal” looking photos with excellent updates to the light and shadow regions. Occasionally, I use Luminar 4 as a Photoshop plug-in, once in a while I play with its excellent sky replacement feature, but mostly I scroll through its image presets and finetune them if needed. Equally, I use ON1 for its presets, but it is the software that most of the time sits idle on my laptop. I have to confess that I never invested much time to actually familiarize myself with these three software packages and I am certain they can do so much more than what I use them for.

Lastly, today I finally downloaded the Topaz DeNoise AI 30-day trial software as I have heard so many positive comments on its denoising ability. First tests confirm these comments, although NIK’s Dfine 2 give it a run for its money. I will simply have to use it on more of my pictures to see if it is worth to be purchased. And on that note, the entire suite of Topaz software bundles is very tempting.

And that is it for now, if you have any information or comment that you wish to share with me then email me at and put “Software” in the subject line. Thank you for reading,