Loupedeck Photo Editing Console Review

Loupedeck Photo Editing Console Review - The Loupedeck Console can be used to edit images in Lightroom with buttons and dials and we've got our hands on it.

 Add Comment

Loupedeck Photo Editing Console in Lightroom

Features
Performance & Handling
Verdict

 

1/13 sec | f/7.1 | 33.0 mm | ISO 800

 

Late 2016, a Finland-based team started a crowdfunding campaign for a unique tool that soon got fans of Adobe Lightroom talking. The tool causing all of the chatter was the Loupedeck and it didn't take long for the team to reach its goals so the photo editing console could be put into production. Fast-forward to a few months later and a brand-new Loupedeck has arrived at ePHOTOzine HQ so we can practise our mixing skills and find out if the Loupedeck really does speed up the photo editing process.

 

Loupedeck Features

 

1/15 sec | f/7.1 | 19.0 mm | ISO 800
 

The Loupedeck has the appearance of a mixing desk with its various buttons, dials and wheels waiting to be pressed, turned and adjusted. It's about the same size as a PC keyboard and is ergonomically designed so it's comfortable to use.The dials, knobs and sliders are on a surface which measures 156mm by 400mm and it weighs approximately 1kg. The top has a matt black finish and controls are clearly labelled with their function. Some of the tools are already assigned functions but there are several which are customisable so you can add the presets you use regularly to the device. 

Loupedeck is fully compatible with Apple and Windows operating systems and currently, it's the only photo editing hardware that's specifically designed to be used with Adobe Lightroom. 

The Loupedeck is available for pre-order now for £325 and will be shipped to customers from 28 July 2017. 

Loupedeck Key Features

  • Makes editing faster & more creative
  • Ergonomic, intuitive, easy to use
  • Control command functions & settings
  • Customisable preset buttons
  • 1-year limited hardware warranty

 

Loupedeck Performance & Handling 

 

1/5 sec | f/7.1 | 33.0 mm | ISO 800

 

The Loupedeck is the same shape as a keyboard so if you want to keep your keyboard plugged in along with the Loupedeck (which you are more than likely going to do), you're going to need a bit of room on your desk. I have a wireless keyboard so didn't find space to be a problem but the USB cable you use to connect the Loupedeck to the computer could do with having a couple of centimetres added to it. 

As for build quality, the Loupedeck feels well constructed and solid. It's ergonomically designed and once I got used to what dials did what, it was really easy to navigate, even when I wasn't looking directly at the controller. 

It connects both to PC and Macs via a standard USB 2.0 interface and you just need to install the configuration software to make the Loupedeck compatible with Lightroom on your computer. 

Once the software is installed, you have to open up Lightroom and you're ready to start twisting dials and pushing buttons. If you're anything like me, you'll be straight in and messing with all of the dials and buttons before you realise it would be a good idea to read the provided guide. This isn't a bad thing, it just means that the Loupedeck does the job it was designed to do which is make photo editing fun and, eventually, intuitive. 

I say 'eventually' as when I first started working with the Loupedeck the below diagram was really useful to have on my desk but I soon got to grips with the console and I was making adjustments really easily. 

Each of Loupedeck’s buttons, dials and sliders correspond to Lightroom's interface quickly and without any delay; as soon as I turned a dial, the corresponding slider moved on screen. 

All of Lightroom's common functions and settings can be adjusted via the console and there are also buttons that can be customised so you can use your own personalised presets and actually, you can use them a lot quicker as instead of going through Lightroom's interface to find the presets' window, you just click and move one of the 8 preset wheels available. There are also 3 dials that can be customised or, if you're a beginner, you can leave the dials and buttons with the functions the Loupedeck team assigned. If you need even more controls, you can use the fn button to select/set a secondary set of functions which can be assigned to the various dials and buttons via the Loupedeck software. 

If you decide to change the Loupedeck's functions while you're working on an image, you just need to open up the Loupdeck software and assign new functions - simple. 

The option to assign personalised presets to buttons is something, I think, pros will particularly benefit from as they can go through a series of images, applying a preset with the click of a button before adding finishing touches with a twist of a dial. 

 

Loupedeck Software

 

There are seven modules found in Lightroom but the Loupedeck works with the Libary and Develop sections. The Libary is where you add images to Lightroom so they can be organised and this includes tagging / attributing images ready to be put into collections. To speed this process up, Loupedeck has pre assigned buttons you can use to apply stars, flags (picks) and colours to your images. The process wasn't exactly slow before the Loupedeck came along but having the option to simply click a button with the number of stars you want to apply assigned to it and using arrow keys to navigate between shots definitely speeds the task up. 

Another time-saving feature is the ability to copy adjustments/edits you've made to one image and paste them onto another with the click of a couple of buttons. You just need to select a photo that you have edited, and press Copy once to copy the adjustments (edits) of that photo to the clipboard. Once you've done this, select the photo you want the edits to be applied to and hit the Paste button once. There's also an option to apply adjustments to multiple images at once (think of it as batch processing). 

In the Develop module, the main tools are for making common edits such as adjusting lighting, contrast etc. There are also colour managements tools (white balance) as well as the personalised functions mentioned earlier. Common functions such as exporting images, selecting brushes, zooming and previewing before/after comparisons can also all be done from the Loupedeck, again, speeding up workflow as a result. 

 

Photo Editing Console

 

The Loupedeck couldn't be any easier to use; turn the dial to set a value, press the dial to return the value to 0 (or the camera's 'as shot' value') and turn the dial very quickly to move fast from end-to-end. As for buttons, you click to activate them and buttons which have multiple modes, such as the colour/black & white button, are toggled between the same way. You press the Hue, Sat, or Lum button to activate each colour channel for adjustments and these can be further edited with the colour wheels found to the side of them. The wheels are reset the same way dials are, with a satisfying click, and you can also scroll quickly with them. 

The only dial that was a little tricky to get to grips with was the rotate / crop tool but after some practice, I did figure it out. Although, I do think the old-fashioned method of clicking a mouse is still easier to use. Over time, perhaps this is something that will improve. I didn't really like the zoom button either as you still need the mouse to move around the photo. There was also the odd blip when I turned a dial and nothing happened but this only occurred a couple of times and a reboot soon fixed it.

The rest of the dials, buttons and wheels are, really, a doddle to use and do make the whole photo editing process a lot quicker (even for someone like me who knows a lot of keyboard shortcuts). Another massive positive point is that the Loupedeck makes editing photos fun. Twisting dials and pushing wheels instead of clicking and pointing a mouse button is definitely a novelty and it makes, what can sometimes be a mundane task, much more enjoyable. 

I particularly like the way you can quickly compare your before/after shots, switch between full-screen mode and the way you can undo a function with the click of one button. It also seemed easier to make finer adjustments to photos while clicking, twisting and pressing all of the buttons the Loupedeck has to offer. I'll be honest, I soon forgot about my mouse and as adjustments were so easy and quick to apply/undo, I made tweaks with tools I might not have thought of using if I was relying on a mouse and keyboard. This fluid way of working also means that if you often open an image and just see where the editing process takes you, rather than having a plan, the Loupedeck could be very suited to you. Once you get used to where specific dials and wheels are, it's also very easy to get lost in your photo rather than having to look away all of the time to open a new window or find a different slider to position your mouse over. Even if you're familar with keyboard shortcuts, I reckon the Loupedeck is still quicker in operation. 

 

1/20 sec | f/7.1 | 19.0 mm | ISO 800

 

Value For Money

The Loupedeck, which is priced at £325 direct from the company, is actually something that's a bit unique as there's not much out there, currently, to compare it to. There is the Palette which was introduced last year but it doesn't offer the same all-in-one practical design the Loupedeck does, however, it is customisable should you prefer to build your own. Prices start at $199.99 for the Palette starter kit but the price does creep up much higher than the Loupedeck when you start putting ad-ons onto it. 

You could, perhaps, compare the Loupdeck to video editing consoles but these won't allow you to edit images in Lightroom unless you know a way to hack them and they're a lot more expensive. Some comments on the internet also suggest you can adapt DAW controllers and use them with Lightroom and these start at around £130. There's also a Lightroom keyboard available for £99.99 but you're, obviously, still using a keyboard which doesn't have all of the bells and whistles the Loupedeck does. 

 

Loupedeck Verdict

When I heard a Loupedeck was coming in for review I was actually excited about it and when it arrived, it didn't disappoint. It's just as much fun to use as I anticipated it would be and it couldn't be any easier to work with. I was sceptical if it would make the photo editing process any quicker but it actually does and I think it makes the process a lot easier for those who may be new to the game. I mean, turning dials and pressing some buttons to make changes to a photo couldn't be any easier. 

Yes, I did have the occasional blip and I'm not the biggest fan of the crop/rotation wheel or the zoom tool for that matter, but the rest of the tools on offer and how simple the Loupedeck is to use make these issues minor. 

Loupedeck describes the console as 'hands-on and intuitive' and I'd certainly agree with this because as soon as you unpack it, you want to start playing with all of the dials, wheels and buttons on offer.

Will you be able to pack away your mouse and keyboard when using Lightroom? No, you won't, as you still need to be able to type when using different sections of Lightroom and your mouse is needed to navigate you to them but it's a fab additional tool that speeds up the editing, and image sorting processes, impressively.   

It's a shame the console is, so far, only compatible with Lightroom as if photographers could use it with other editing software, it would make it much better value for money. As it stands, if you use Lightroom all day, every day, you might think it's worth the asking price as it will help in speeding up your editing time but for the everyday amateur, it might be priced just out of reach. 

 

Loupedeck Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Speeds up the editing process 
  • It's a lot of fun 
  • Intuitive 

Loupedeck Cons

  • Price might be high for some 
  • Alongside a keyboard, it's a squeeze  
  • Only compatible with Lightroom 

Features4/5
Handling4/5
Performance5/5
Value4/5
Overall Verdict

 

System Requirements 

- Adobe Lightroom 6 or later
- Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 7
- Mac OS 10.12, Mac OS 10.11, Mac OS 10.10
- Internet connection needed for Loupedeck software download
- USB 2.0 A

Join ePHOTOzine and remove these ads.

Explore More


There are no comments here! Be the first!


Sign In

You must be a member to leave a comment.

ePHOTOzine, the web's friendliest photography community.

Join For Free

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more.