Hands-on with new Loupedeck+: The quickest way to get faster with Adobe Lightroom adds Skylum and others

Hands-on with new Loupedeck+: The quickest way to get faster with Adobe Lightroom adds Skylum and others

Adobe Lightroom is an amazing product. However, since the original interface was built for a simple RAW converter, more and more functionality has been squeezed into limited space. Lightroom Mobile, and to some extent the cloud-first Lightroom CC, have started to deal with this situation, but for traditional users of Lightroom Classic CC, it is just painful to find and adjust the endless variety of tiny sliders. Loupedeck aimed to fix that with a custom input device that was pre-mapped to allow instant access to dozens of popular Lightroom functions. The initial version was lauded for its functionality, but dinged by some for build quality and lack of support for other applications. The new addresses both of these shortcomings. I’ve been lucky enough to get a pre-release version to use, and so far I’m impressed…

Lightroom begs for a custom input device

Lightroom has two attributes that make it ideal for a custom input device. First, it has a large number of palettes full of sliders, and it can be very hard to find the one you want. Even if you memorize keyboard shortcuts, you still need a quick way to adjust the value. Second, Lightroom has a monolithic Develop mode. Basically, once you are editing an image, all adjustments are available, so it is useful and possible to have keys or dials mapped to those adjustments and have them do what you’d expect.

The delivers exactly this. With a large array of dials and buttons pre-mapped to the most popular adjustments, and a few left over that you can use anyway you want, it is much faster and less annoying than having to play hunt and peck on Lightroom’s many sliders with your mouse – or to memorize an array of keyboard shortcuts. You can even “take over” the controls on the , and map them to whatever you want. Note that you will need at least version 7.4 of Lightroom, and Windows 8.1 or better, or MacOS 10.12 or later.

improves on setup and build quality

The original Loupedeck was dinged by some reviewers for clunky software setup. In my case, the was trivial to setup and get running with the default settings. I simply downloaded and installed the software and then plugged in the . It worked out of the box with Lightroom Classic CC. One quick note is that if you try (on Windows) to launch Loupedeck’s setup software directly after it is already running, you’ll get a spooky-looking error. You need to find the little icon in the taskbar and right-click on it to get to the device’s setup software.

Build quality is also excellent on the new version. It is solid, and the dials and buttons feature mechanical switches. I’ve only had one for a day, but it certainly seems like it is built to last.


now works with Aurora HDR and Capture One

The original Loupedeck was pretty much useful just for Lightroom. The new version has added support for the latest version of Skylum’s Aurora HDR 2018 (version 1.2). I tried out the integration, and had some success with simple tasks like changing the screen mode, but so far not much more.

UPDATE: As of June 20, Loupedeck has updated its software and it now includes a set of custom keys for Aurora HDR. Current users just need to go to the Loupedeck support site & download and install the latest beta version.

(The current software doesn’t have a customization tab for it the way it does for Lightroom and Capture One, for example). However, it is a new feature, and I’m sure will continue to improve. As additional support for Aurora and Capture One (now in beta), as well as the company’s planned support for Luminar, roll out, we’ll be adding articles about our experience with them.

At $229, it makes a great addition to your desktop workflow

You can get a for $229 from B8H, although they are still getting their first shipments. For anyone who uses Lightroom for serious photo editing, that amount could pay for itself in time saved fairly quickly. The company is also offering $50 back for owners of the original Loupedeck if they purchase the new version.

You might want to add a lamp to your monitor

If you work in a dim environment, you may want to add some way to light your LoupeDeck+. The labels are nicely printed in an easy to read white font, but they aren’t backlit. I’ve been using the excellent mounted on top of my 32-inch 4K photo monitor.