RAWTherapee vs. Adobe Lightroom

Home Forums Photography Q&A RAWTherapee vs. Adobe Lightroom

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 15 total)
  • Author
  • #11476
    Ezra Morley

    I’ve already posted a quick comparison on this thread, but I decided that I’d better start my own thread so I don’t hijack that one!

    This is the same RAW file processed with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5.7, and RAWTherapee 4.2.1. First, here’s an un-edited shot exported from Lightroom…


    (Click on any photo to open in Flickr, where you can view at 100%, or download to view at your convenience with your favorite software. You can use FastStone Image Viewer to compare 2 photos side-by-side if you wish.)

    Next, the edited photo from Lightroom…


    And finally, the edited photo from RAWTherapee!


    Now, if you compare this comparison to my last one, these two photos are a lot more similar. I did set the blue/yellow WB to be the same in both programs, to keep the color tint about the same. (I don’t know whether green/purple is the same, but I don’t think it is.)


    • Exposure: +0.50
    • Blacks: -15
    • Vibrance: +20
    • Sharpening (Amount): +100
    • Sharpening (Radius): +1.2


    • Exposure: +0.79
    • Blacks: +2454 (Don’t ask me what those numbers stand for, I don’t know!)
    • Vibrance: +35
    • Sharpening (Amount): +291
    • Sharpening (Radius): +0.63 (or +1.6, I’m not sure which slider value to put, so I’ll put them both. The +1.6 value is for “Edges” so I think it’s the one equivalent to Lightroom’s.

    (Obviously the 2 different programs use different methods, so you can’t really compare “numbers” when moving sliders) I rather like RAWTherapee’s sharpening better than Lightroom, maybe it’s just my method of sharpening, but Lightroom seems to create an awful lot of sharpening artifacts. Actually, compared side-by-side, RAWTherapee’s output looks slightly soft, but it looks a lot “cleaner”.

    James Staddon

    VERY interesting. The LR shot looks a hair brighter, which I like, but I find the sharpening to be something I struggle with in LR. What kind of sharpening options do you have in RAWTherapee?

    Ezra Morley

    @JamesStaddon, you’ve got 2 options for sharpening in RT, Unsharp Mask, and RL Deconvolution. I have very little experience with either one, as I am still using LR for everything… I imagine that the Unsharp Mask would be very similar to the tool with the same name in Photoshop, so you shouldn’t have much trouble figuring it out! 🙂

    Joshua Ong

    Does RAWTherapee offer similar functions as Adobe Lightroom?

    Ezra Morley

    @Joshua_Ong, yes, Adobe Lightroom and RAWTherapee offer similar functions — Non-destructive editing of RAW files.

    One of the main differences is that Lightroom is made to be easy to use. It’s tools are all laid out in a sequential way, in the order that most people would use them.
    RAWTherapee on the other hand aims to cover all the bases. There is often more than one way to do certain edits. Different algorithms give different results, depending on the situation. Consequently, RT has every tool they can think of. While that’s great, it does make it very confusing for a new user who is trying to figure out how to do a basic adjustment to a RAW file.

    James Staddon

    @Joshua_Ong, you might find this series of articles insightful if you’re really looking for details: http://www.addicted2light.com/2012/05/28/review-raw-converters-mega-test-part-i/

    Otherwise, this is a lighter read on some of the differences between LR and RT: http://www.softpedia.com/reviews/linux/RawTherapee-for-Linux-Review-440005.shtml

    James Staddon

    If you want to learn more about editing photos, there’s a really good discount currently running on these resources: https://us154.isrefer.com/go/UPB18JamesS/a13432/topic * You might find some specific things in there that are helpful for what you’re looking for.


    How do you guys find Raw Therapee’s cataloguing system as related to LR’s? I have briefly tried DarkTable and was seriously unimpressed. RT’s name is so cheesy it’s so hard to take seriously I’ve not even tried it yet. I may though someday. I will probably go to C1P someday, I have had three separate month trials. 😀 I was seriously impressed by the program, and just as depressed by the price.

    Ezra Morley

    @nasa, I don’t think RawTherapee has a cataloguing system, at least not nearly to the extent that LR does. I can fire it up and just start editing, no “import” necessary.

    Logan Lamar

    @buddingphotographer, what do you know of Affinity Photo’s RAW Developer? Does it even compare with LR and/or some of the other ones you are talking about here?


    So is there no referencing of files within the application? all handled by sidecar files and one navigations the OS’s file system?

    Ezra Morley

    @loganlamar, I honestly have no idea, I’ve never used the RAW capabilities of it, since I still own a copy of Lightroom. You can get a free trial of Affinity and try it for yourself if you’d like! (Beware, if you’re anything like me, you’ll end up buying after the free trial is over. 🙂 )

    @nasa, I can’t say 100% for sure, but I think that’s the way it is. (I prefer that method personally, but I’m sure others like the database cataloguing system better.)


    Thanks 🙂

    Boris Cheredinov

    You guys always have cool themes for those who love taking photos!

    Boris Cheredinov

    This is an interesting topic, I’m also looking for something like that.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 15 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

Would you like to participate?

Create an Account!

Are you sure you already know the secret?

Your ebook is sitting in your email inbox!

Pin It on Pinterest