Halide, Spectre

Halide is an iOS photo app from Lux Optics LLC (a.k.a. Chroma Noir LLC) that offers many features absent from Apple’s default Camera app, including manual control over ISO speed, focus, exposure and white balance; shutter speed and live histogram displays, Raw (DNG) capture (or JPEG), and minimalistic, built-in help. Halide also embraces Apple’s computational photography trends.

Unlock the power of any iPhone with dual cameras. Halide packs blazing fast Portrait mode with no waiting, as well as robust depth tools like Depth Peaking, a Depth Map view and more. When you’ve shot your photo, view your photo in Augmented Reality.

Halide Camera 1.16.2 is priced at $5.99 for iOS 11 and later. The latest version brings support for the iPhone SE 2020.

Spectre is another photography app for iOS from Lux Optics/Chroma Noir, billed as “an AI-powered shutter for your iPhone, letting you create amazing long exposures” with the help of “AI Stabilization”, “machine learning”, “computer vision”, and “tripod detection.”

Spectre’s intelligent computational shutter takes hundreds of shots over the span of a few seconds, and saves them in an accompanying live photo.

Spectre Camera 1.1.8 is currently priced at $2.99 for iOS 11 and later. The latest release also adds support for the iPhone SE 2020.

Spectre’s smart Automatic Scene Detection requires iOS 12. AI-based stabilization features are available on iPhone 6S and later.* For the best experience, we recommend iPhone 8 or later.

RAW Power

RAW Power is photo processing software from Gentlemen Coders LLC (Nik Bhatt) that’s packaged into a plug-in for Apple Photos and also as a standalone app, “like Aperture’s RAW Fine Tuning, but real-time, and with more controls.”

Features include GPU acceleration, histograms with clipping indicators, curve adjustment, white balance, recovery and “complete control over RAW processing”, including noise, sharpening, etc., plus adjustments for chromatic aberration, perspective, vignetting, and monochrome mixing, as well as batch processing.

The new Version 3 brings a number of improvements, including the ability to browse the Apple Photos library (on macOS Catalina), Finder folders, and iCloud photos; plus rating, flagging and filtering of images; a new “auto enhance” tool; LUTs and presets; and a “refreshed, configurable Editing interface.” (See the support page for user manuals, FAQs, and additional details.)

RAW Power 3.0 is priced at $39.99 for macOS 10.14 and up with a demo version available: “The trial is full-featured, except that exports and output from the Photos extension are watermarked.”

RAW Power for iOS 3.0 is priced at $9.99 for iOS 12.1 and later. The latest release offers a choice between Apple Files and Apple Photos libraries.

When RAW Power first opens, it asks if you want to start by viewing the Photo library or Files.app. Most features work the same whichever you pick, so it is your preference. The key difference is that Photo Library changes are visible to all apps and work with iCloud Photos. When you work with the Files app, all changes are stored on your device and do not sync over iCloud. However, just as with Photos, you can edit non-destructively and rate, flag, and filter images. You can also easily switch between the Files and Photos storage areas by tapping a button at the bottom of the screen.


Luminar is photo editing software from Skylum (née Macphun) that works as a standalone app, an Apple Photos extension or as a plugin for Aperture, Lightroom or Photoshop. Features include support for raw and PSD files, plug-ins and extensions; noise reduction and object-removal tools; layers, blend modes, and masking; brushes, filters and presets; batch processing and more, positioned as a subscription-free Lightroom alternative. (See FAQ and user guides for more details.)

Luminar 4.2.0 is priced at $138 (currently $89) with a 2-computer, cross-platform license for macOS 10.12 and up and Windows. A trial version installer is available in return for supplying an email address. The latest release includes “Face Features Detection Network, Shine Removal Technology, Slim Face 2.0 Technology”, etc.

Version 4 brought “several tools informed by extensive machine-learning” (apparently similar to Apple’s iPhone 11 image processing):

AI Structure in Luminar 4 automatically identifies objects like people and their faces, skin, sky, buildings and more, and improves them intelligently, instead of globally across the photograph. It adds detail and clarity to areas that otherwise wouldn’t have much, boosting the structure and making for a much more pleasing image. What this means is that instead of adding Structure to an entire photograph, it selectively does so, meaning photographers no longer have to mask or brush out the effect.

RawDigger, FastRawViewer

RawDigger is a cross-platform app from LibRaw LLC, billed as “a microscope of sorts that lets you drill down into raw data” recorded by digital cameras. Features include “the real raw histogram of the raw data, which greatly differs from the in-camera histogram, as well as histograms presented by most of the raw converters”, plus under/over-exposure stats, and statistical calculations by channel or for arbitrary rectangular selections.

RawDigger 1.4.0 is priced from $19.99 to $89.99, depending on features, for macOS 10.12 and up with a demo download available. The latest version includes support for the Nikon Z60, D780, Canon EOS M200, and more.

FastRawViewer is another app from the company, priced at $19.99 – it is designed for “extremely fast culling and pre-processing of RAW images: i.e. display, visual and technical analysis, applying basic corrections, sorting and setting aside or directly transferring the selected ones for further processing.”

Iridient Developer

Iridient Developer is a Mac app from Iridient Digital Inc. that offers high-quality conversion of raw and other images from a large collection of supported cameras, with lens correction, color management, customizable tone curves, noise reduction, demosaicing and multiple sharpening options. Other features include drag and drop batch conversion, chromatic aberration correction, advanced histogram views, monochrome processing, hardware optimizations, support for IPTC, XMP and EXIF v2.3 metadata, high-quality resizing and more.

Iridient Developer 3.3.10 is priced at $99.99 for OS X 10.7 and up. The download functions as a fully functional demo but adds a watermark to images. The latest release brings support for CR3 images from the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III, HIF images from the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III (currently on macOS 10.15 Catalina only), NEF images from the Nikon D780, RAF images from the Fujifilm X-T200 and X100V, and DNG images from the Leica M10 Monochrom.

Iridient “Transformer” software is also available, priced in individual $36 editions for specific camera families (e.g. Canon, Nikon, Fuifilm, Sony, etc.) to convert their raw files to DNG format:

Transformer provides some of the high quality, early stage RAW processing algorithms from Iridient Developer in simple, easy to use utility that can be combined with existing photo workflow programs like Lightroom to quickly improve RAW image quality.

DxO PhotoLab

DxO PhotoLab is cross-platform image-processing software from DxO Labs that includes features for non-destructive editing, raw conversion, denoising, moiré removal, exposure and color correction, “smart” exposure optimization (with face detection), haze removal, and selective tone controls, batch processing, distortion correction based on profiles for thousands of lens/body combinations, local adjustments via “U Point” control points, “smart assistants”, a “DxO PhotoLibrary” for organizing and searching images, and more. (See DXO tutorials for more details.)

DxO PhotoLab 3 is available in Essential and Elite editions for macOS 10.13 and up (or Windows) priced at $129/$199 (with two/three activations), respectively, and there’s a 30-day trial available. The latest updates include a new repair tool.

Capture One 20

Capture One Pro, from Phase One A/S, is a cross-platform photography app designed with professional features that include optimized profiles for individual cameras and lenses, raw conversion, digital asset management (DAM), tethered capture, extensive image processing tools, plus performance optimizations (including OpenCL support), Photoshop “round-tripping” (with layered PSD files), masking, annotations, user interface customization, extended AppleScript support, and more. (See user guide and tutorials for details.)

Capture One 20, a new version, brings even better high-ISO noise reduction, a new High Dynamic Range tool, layer and mask copying between images, DNG file support, a new color editor, a variety of other improvements and support for additional cameras and lenses.

Capture One Pro 20.0.1 is priced at $299 for macOS 10.13 and up (or Windows) with a free 30-day trial, or as a $24/mo. subscription. Upgrades start at $159. (There are also $129 versions ($16/mo.) specific to just Sony or Fujifilm cameras, plus free Capture One Express versions for Sony and Fujifilm with fewer features.)