Top 10 Best RAW Photo Editors in 2021 [Windows/Mac]

Written By TheTechTop10

Every article is rigorously researched & written by a Tech Expert and reviewed by Two Editors.

Editing those non-processed RAW images is a time-consuming process. But, when you have a good raw photo editor with you, it becomes pretty easy to edit these photos with minimum efforts just like other sorts of images.

Because no information is compressed in the RAW images, these files could be heavy in size. So, to edit them, you must have a system with decent configurations along with a good photo editing software.

Having an intuitive and easy-to-use photo editing software can assist you to edit your photos quickly and take them to the subsequent level. So, in this article, I am going to discuss the best RAW Photo Editors which you can use in your Windows and Mac system.

Because RAW editors are sophisticated software that needs an extended time to develop, you will hardly find free RAW photo editors. Nevertheless, all paid RAW photo editors on this list offer free trials that allow you to check them before buying.

I have also published an article discussing the best photo editors for Mac. Read it too.

1. Luminar 4

Luminar is one of the most amazing and user-friendly RAW photo editing software. Its AI-powered tools are highly impressive when it comes to editing your desired sorts of HDR or RAW images.

You can use its interactive editing features such as smart contrast, refined editing module, and LUT mapping.

luminar 4 image

Luminar may be a relative newcomer to the photo-editing scene but it is made an enormous splash already. If you wish the thought of an all-in-one photo-editor which will both organize your images and edit those with a non-destructive workflow, then you are within the right place!

It even supports image layers, masks, and montages. It also introduces the thought of custom workspaces which you will found out for specific image types, like Black and White or Portraits.

Primary Features of Luminar 4 as a RAW Photo Editor

  • Dodge and Burn
  • AI-powered Sunrays feature
  • Batch processing
  • The Orton effect
  • Easily customizable and adjustable gradient

Price of Luminar 4:

  • New User: US$89
  • Existing User: US$69

2. Capture One Pro

Capture One Pro is one of the most popular RAW photo Editor that supports RAW file formats and has dedicated versions for Fuji and Sony camera users.

It is a fully-packed photo editor that suits well for any sort of RAW editing task.

Capture one pro image

With the new 2021 update of Capture One Pro is offerings some additional tools such as clone brush, heal brush, lightroom export, and Nikon profiles.

It offers exceptional RAW image file processing, image cataloging, layers, local adjustments, and keystone adjustments, also as almost all the features one would expect out of a professional image editing app.

For RAW editing works, you can use its amazing detailing features and lens profiles. Custom lenses are there to make your editing works much smoother.

Features of Capture One pro as a RAW Photo Editor:

  • Different software packages for Sony, Fuji-film, and Nikon
  • Color control options
  • Sharpening and Noise-reduction tools
  • Output Proofing
  • Lens correction and Keystone
  • Moire
  • Simulated Film Grain

Price of Capture One Pro:

  • Monthly Plan: US$20/Month
  • Perpetual License: US$180

3. Corel PaintShop Pro

Corel Paintshop Pro is another impressive RAW photo editor which you should try in 2021. The software comes along with numerous advanced editing features which makes it best to editing RAW and HDR images.

Numerous AI-powered tools, 360 degree photo editing, plugin support, and various other features makes this software suitable for professional editing tasks.

Corel Paintshop pro image

Corel continues to create on its low-cost Photoshop competitor, adding some fun new tools and improving the speed of some operations. Photographers who value simplicity will adore Corel PaintShop Pro (and if you continue to grind to a halt, you will rest assured as there are learning tutorials available as well).

Corel Paintshop Pro has a separate feature for RAW photo editing which is known as RAW Lab. Here, you will find before and after view, and other preview options which are backed by advanced editing tools.

Features of Corel Paintshop Pro for RAW Photo Editing:

  • Basic RAW editing tools such as White Balance, Highlight recovery, and Noise reduction
  • Lens correction
  • Preview tools to see before and after outputs
  • RAW Support for more than 650 camera models

Price of Corel PaintShop Pro 2021:

US$ 55 Approx.

4. ON1 Photo RAW

ON1 Photo RAW is an entire solution that has photo management functionality, a strong RAW processor, and various advanced tools for professional photo editing.

The 2021 version brings several improvements, including AI auto adjustment and AI match options, four new ‘weather’ filter effects, new effects presets, and – coming over the subsequent few months – cloud sync and a mobile app.

On1 photoraw image

This new versions has enhanced decoding capabilities for raw files especially for Fuji-film. You can create custom camera profiles too.

All you have got to try to do is download it to your device and install it to unlock countless custom presets, borders, textures, and stackable filters. All things considered, it is a comprehensive photo editing tool that permits you to enhance your photos quickly.

In other words, using this advanced RAW photo editor, you can get amazing outputs for any sort of RAW editing task.

Features of ON1 Photo RAW for RAW photo editing:

  • RAW processor and layered editing interface
  • SmugMug Integration
  • Noise reduction features
  • AI Mask, AI Match, and AI Auto tune features
  • Support for more than 800 cameras

Price of ON1 Photo RAW:

  • Bronze Package: US$49.99
  • Gold Package (Updgrade): US$63.99
  • Gold Package (New): US$79.99

5. Darktable

Darktable is an open-source, free RAW photo editor available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. It is designed to be a virtual darkroom and allows you to look at negatives through a zoomable lighttable.

Rather than being a raster graphics editor like Adobe Photoshop or GIMP, it includes a lot of features for amazing RAW editing tasks for photographers.

darktable photo editor image

Darktable allow you to improve your digital photography experience by creating excellent images using its versatile offerings. The non-destructive editing and a smart workflow makes this software suitable for any sort of professional photo editing.

Darktable has a GPU accelerated image processing feature that makes editing tasks fast and efficient for the users.

Features of Darktable For RAW Photo Editing:

  • Advanced color management
  • Zoomable user-interface
  • 8×32-bit floating point pixel buffers supported core functions
  • Various Demosaicing methods
  • Enhanced basecurve presets

Price of Darktable:

Free and Open-Source

6. DxO PhotoLab

DxO PhotoLab is another highly impressive RAW Photo editor preferred by the professionals. DxO PhotoLab matches the rendering of over 60 camera models and provides optical corrections and custom lens profiles.

You can use it easily to convert RAW file formats into JPEG and others. Managing colors in this software is pretty easy using its HSL tools.

DxO Photolab 3 homepage

DxO PhotoLab is that the replacement for the old DxO Optics Pro, adding local adjustment tools from DxO’s acquisition of the Nik Collection software to form it a more powerful all-round photo-editing solution.

Using its advanced refining tools, you can get amazing results to edit and optimize your RAW files. You can easily adjust the lighting and effects that suits best with your photographs.

You can try its trial version and check whether it suits with your RAW photo editing requirements or not.

Features of DxO PhotoLab for RAW photo editing:

  • DxO Smart Lighting
  • Spot Weighted Correction
  • Batch Processing
  • FullScreen view and customizable interface
  • Moire Removal

Price of DxO PhotoLab 3:

  • Essential Edition: US$129
  • ELITE Edition: US$199

7. Aurora HDR

Aurora HDR is the primary Skylum solution for RAW photo editing and is one of the foremost appreciated HDR photo editors. Its AI-powered tools are highly impressive to edit both HDR and RAW images.

Aurora is capable of stunning results, producing images with artistic flair but with natural tonal and color gradation. Aurora HDR allows you to use its 80 different looks and customize your RAW images in your desired manner.

Aurora HDR Raw editor image

It has the tone-mapping innovation for single and organized pictures with the Quantum HDR Engine. LUT Mapping filters for creative color and tone adjustments are available in Aurora HDR.

For RAW editing purposes, Aurora HDR is equipped with amazing tools and features including batch processing. Also, it support most of the popular camera brands and intelligent processing engines for impressive results.

Features of Aurora HDR for RAW Photo Editing:

  • Use as standalone or Plug-in
  • Advanced Noise removal, clarity, and smart structure features
  • Layers, blending modes and masking features
  • Quantum HDR Engine
  • Bracket Merging

Price of Aurora HDR:

US$90 Approx.

8. PhotoDirector 11 Ultra

With PhotoDirector Ultra, Cyberlink aims to deliver a photograph editor that accumulates the functionalities of Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom at a far better price. PhotoDirector Ultra supports RAW file formats and provides AI-based tools for image retouching, layer editing, and presets.

Premium photo editor PhotoDirector ultra is not hugely different from its predecessor – and that is no bad thing. Amazing layer editing features and AI-powered deblur features make this software great for photographers.

Photodirector 11 raw editor image

Photo workflow and editing program PhotoDirector ultra offers a smooth interface and powerful capabilities.

AI Facial recognition, move & clone, Dehaze & Defringe, 360 degree photo editing are some excellent features of this software which should try once.

Features of PhotoDirector 11 Ultra for RAW photo editing:

  • HDR, HSL, Preset and other photo editing tools
  • Content aware editing and AI-guided tools
  • Premium plug-in supported
  • Masks, Blend, Text, and other layer editing tools

Price of PhotoDirector 11 Ultra:

US$99.99 [Trial Period is available]

9. Adobe Lightroom

Adobe Lightroom is another highly advanced cloud-based HDR Photo editor. Yes, Lightroom will allow you to edit your RAW images on the go using any device.

Lightroom is one of the most suitable photo editor software for Photographers. So, you can expect some amazing features for RAW editing too.

Adobe Lightroom image

It also allow you to organize your photos at one place and access them from anywhere and anytime you want. Its in-app tutorials makes it much more easier to learn for the beginners.

Most impressively, Adobe Lightroom is not so much complex as compared to Adobe Photoshop. Also, getting help related to any feature inside the app is pretty easy.

Features of Adobe Lightroom for RAW photo editing:

  • Customizable presets and profiles
  • Easy to enhance photo using in-built effects
  • Use sliders to edit images
  • Sharpen photos and shift focus
  • Healing brush and background removal tools

Price of Adobe LightRoom:

  • Lightroom (1TB): US$9.99/Month
  • Photography (20GB): US$9.99/Month
  • Photography (1TB): US$19.99/Month

10. AfterShot Pro

AfterShot Pro is another amazing RAW photo editor offered by Corel. Designed to compete with Adobe Lightroom, AfterShot Pro focuses on increasing processing speed while delivering high-quality editing and refining features to the Photographers.

Aftersho pro raw editor image

AfterShot Pro uses its proprietary algorithm to render raw images. With its powerful RAW processing engine, it offers extensive features that you will not get with any other software in this domain.

It has a vast preset library, recover tools, and highlight recovery options always ready for the users. You can also add watermarks to your work using its separate watermarking tool.

Features of AfterShot Pro for RAW photo editing:

  • Lens Correction Development Kit
  • Supports popular camera brands including Nikon, Canon, Panasonic, Sony, Kodak, etc.
  • Lots of camera profiles
  • Blemish recover tool
  • Lots of free and paid plug-ins
  • Multi-version editing
  • Noise reduction by Athentech

Price of AfterShot Pro:

  • Full Version: US$79.99
  • Upgrade: US$59.99

Final Words:

Thank you for reading this article. I hope you have liked it. So, do not forget to share it with others too.

The Tech Top 10