I have been a user of Tony Kuypers luminosity masks for many years, back when they were just actions creating channels. Luminosity masks have come a long way since then and have been adopted by a large number of photographers now that they are more accessible with these advanced panels. I had heard of other panels and being a geek, I wanted to see if these other panels would potentially improve my workflow, but I found that there were no good reviews out there comparing the panels. Lumenzia and Raya Pro were the only other panels I knew of at the time; then I started down the rabbit hole when I learned of ADP and Zone System Express, at the same time Tony had just released version 5 of his panel, I was in for a lot of learning. I created a spreadsheet to track all the features, which I go over in detail in the video.
Note: The spreadsheet below is more up to date than the video after making revisions based upon comments from the authors of the panels.
For my testing I spent lots of time with each panel to learn the nuances, I watched most of the training videos so that I could judge the quality of the materials as well. The video review ended up being over 1.5 hours, which is kind of ridiculous, but it is thorough! I even edited out the silence when the processor was working, but it still ended up being absurdly long. I can almost guarantee that you will learn many techniques from watching the video.
Please see the notes below for a few updates on things I missed in the video.
TK Panel v5 by Tony Kuyper
The TK Panel is the most powerful panel out there; Tony continues to innovate making the panel faster and more powerful. I use the panel on every image I process and cannot imagine being without it now. The transition from v4 to v5 was painful initially, but once I understood how to utilize it I would never go back. Sean Bagshaw’s training videos are fantastic, the only issue is that the ‘Complete Guide to Luminosity Masks’ was recorded with the v4 panel. While you can still learn a ton from this video series, it will be a bit of a challenge for the beginner to translate the techniques to v5, watching the additional videos for v5 from Sean will be critical to translate to the new panel. I am beginning to work on my own series with the v5 panel, so be sure to sign up for email notifications below. For those of you already familiar with luminosity masks, I highly recommend this panel, especially if you are on an older version of Tony’s panel, this one blows them all away. If you are a beginner to luminosity masks, I do not necessarily recommend starting here unless you are committed to learning and want the best quality possible, then give it a shot.
Update: A few things I didn’t mention in the video; the speed of panel is incredibly fast, overall I believe it is much faster than all the other panels. The TK panel creates luminosity masks using Photoshop calculations rather than curves layers like ADP and Lumenzia, this does give you better results, especially for extreme adjustments, in most day to day processing you will not notice a big difference.
ADPpanel Pro v2 by Aaron Dowling
I was pleasantly surprised by this panel, Aaron has created a very clean and intuitive panel that I can highly recommend to users of all skill levels. The panel is not quite as powerful as the TK Panel, but it makes up for it with the training materials. Aaron has a fantastic set of videos that not only show you how to use the panel, but how to apply it in a workflow that is perfect for landscape photographers. Because the videos were based on the current version of the panel, and the ease of use, this is the panel I would recommend to those just getting into luminosity masking.
Update: Aaron gave me a tip to make the panel work much faster, keep the properties window closed. Because the panel runs through a bunch of adjustment layers during mask creation, it has to refresh the properties window each time which slows it down massively. Below is an image of Aaron’s recommended setup (click to see large) with ADP above the layers panel, and properties next to ADP. The panel is blazing fast now.
Lumenzia v3.0.2 by Greg Benz
This panel was beautifully designed, it is simple and elegant with great features. If you are not interested in all the extra features of the ADP panel and just want a simple panel for luminosity masks, I would take a long look at this panel. The way you can create luminosity masks using colors is much better than ADP but is very similar to TK. For pure luminosity mask creation, I believe Lumenzia is better than ADP overall.
Update: Somehow it completely slipped my mind that Greg does have a user manual that comes with the panel, in it is links to private YouTube videos (35 of them) which are fairly comprehensive. They were created with an older version of the panel, but it has not changed too much. With this update it is really hard to pick between Lumenzia and ADP for beginners, I would say the panel and training materials for ADP are targeted and better suited for landscape photographers, whereas the training materials for Lumenzia use many architectural photos.
Update 2: As noted above with ADP, if you keep the properties panel closed Lumenzia runs much faster!
Update 3: I mentioned the zones were pixelated or had artifacts, but I realized that I was comparing to the TK panel which works differently, TK is not as targeted and only partially selects a zone while feathering it out quite a way, whereas Lumenzia is more targeted and feathers less, but is still effective. I do not consider this a negative anymore. For Photoshop shortcuts Greg has his Basic panel which is free that adds many of the shortcuts that the TK panel has, plus some additional tools. Lumenzia also has a ‘Live’ mode which is similar to the ‘Auto-Apply’ in the TK Panel, this immediately applies a clicked mask or zone to the selected layer so you can immediately see the results of changing a mask.
Lumenzia also has tools that none of the others do that I failed to mention:
- Split Screen Masking allows you to see the mask and the image at the same time which is very useful.
- Lighter/Darker Masks lets you select tones based on the tones that surround it, click the link and it will make more sense, this is an extremely powerful tool!
With these revisions, I find it exceptionally hard to pick between TK, ADP, and Lumenzia. If Greg can better organize his training materials he may be able to hold the top spot, this is really a fantastic panel.
Raya Pro 2.0 by Jimmy McIntyre
I had high hopes for Raya after hearing from many people how much they enjoyed using it, but I was disappointed. If these other panels were not available, I am sure I would put Raya to good use, but I now know the difference between a good panel and a great one. Raya is good, but the prior three panels are great. Using Raya feels like stepping back in time before panels became refined, it simply feels clunky in its design and programming. Jimmy does have great tutorials that you can learn a lot from, and the panel does have some useful tools that may help some people with exposure blending. Personally, I cringe every time I open the panel knowing I have to go on a mission to find what I am looking for, wait for all the channels to be created, not being able to visualize what the masks look like, etc. I am sorry Jimmy, but I cannot recommend the panel. See major update below about InstaMask…
Update: Jimmy has let me know in the comments that I missed a few things. Raya does have general sharpening under the Finish tab called ‘Sharpen Full Size’ and ‘Sharpen No Edge’ which work decent. It also has a blend if function under Blend>Quick Blending>Rapid Blend If, this is a pretty basic way of exposure blending using Blend If, Lumenzia still has a much more powerful implementation of Blend If. It also has a gradient mask (different from the gradient in ADP), which is a simple way of using a gradient to exposure blend two images with a flat horizon. There is also a tool to find dust spots which works well. Jimmy mentioned that it does have a live preview of masks, but as I showed in the video it is very limited and you have to turn it on and off every time you make a change. Jimmy does include free updates for life, so when you purchase the panel that will be your last purchase ever. I still cannot recommend it even though Jimmy is obviously a great guy, I hope that he can re-design and catch up with the newer technology to make Raya a viable competitor.
Update 2: Jimmy has stated in the comments that the Luminosity section is now considered legacy and superseded by the Precision Masks. The precision masks are really only intended for exposure blending, which is obviously the direction he is taking the panel. The Precision masks are a slight improvement as they do not leave channels behind, but they are very limited. Again, you can achieve the same thing with the other panels in a more elegant refined way, if you know what you are doing. The Raya Pro panel is for the beginner to exposure blending that does not want to dive too deep into luminosity masks and wants the process fairly automated for them.
Major Update: Jimmy has released InstaMask which is an all new panel that he is including for free with Raya Pro. This panel is a vast improvement over Raya Pro for creating luminosity masks. It is much faster and only creates one channel, masks are visualized in a black and white manner just as many of the other panels do, with sliders to refine the masks (which is just a different way to show the levels dialog like the other panels use to refine masks). You can also start with the Red, Green, or Blue channels similarly to the TK panel, unfortunately these require you to create all of the channels, so they are a bit slow and bloated. You can also start with colors similar to the other panels, along with a unique feature to combine masks by adding and subtracting other masks to create highly complex selections. This is a very well done panel that many Raya Pro users will greatly appreciate, I still would not recommend it over the TK panel which it most closely resembles. The functionality is quite similar, but the the TK panel is simply faster and more refined.
Zone System Express v3.6 by Blake Rudis
If you are considering this panel, I would not base your decision purely on this review. It was a bit unfair to include this panel considering it is not based upon luminosity masks, Blake agreed to have it included as it is often mentioned when talking about luminosity mask panels. Blake has created a unique workflow that you must adapt to in order to use his panel. It is very specific to his style of processing that uses a lot of color grading and slightly grungy HDR looking styles. If you are looking to re-create a film-style look, etc. then I would highly recommend this along with Blake’s fantastic video series. For the traditional landscape photographer, I would not necessarily recommend this panel because the training videos are targeted towards a specific look using color grading, etc. The panel could certainly be put to good use by a landscape photographer, but the training is not targeted towards landscape photography in the way the TK or ADP panels are. Blake is certainly a master of Photoshop, and you should definitely check out his videos at f64 Academy, even if you do not like his style there is still plenty to learn from him.
Update: Blake was gracious enough to comment despite a bit of a harsh review, I have updated the description above to better reflect my opinions on this panel. I have also updated the spreadsheet to reflect some of his comments, there is a color zone picker, but no luminosity zone picker. You can use the color zones to change the saturation of colors, but this is not quite the same as the saturation masks in the other panels, as they select only the most saturated colors to adjust them specifically, with the color zones you would have to work with each color individually. I was mistaken in that there is a live preview, you do have to turn it on first, but then when you adjust the blend if it will update in real time.
MASK Equalizer 1.1 by Know How Transfer
I received a request to add this panel after I had done the video review, they were kind enough to send me the panel to review. It is well designed and simple to use, and cheap at $33, it is a bare bones way of creating luminosity masks that could be great. I cannot recommend it because of some severe limitations; first you cannot create a mask on an adjustment layer, you must first create the mask on a duplicate layer and then move the mask to your adjustment layer, a painful workflow. You cannot create a selection directly from the panel either, you would have to create the mask on a duplicated layer and Ctrl Click the layer mask to activate the selection. They only have a simple user manual with four basic videos for training. I cannot recommend this panel based on these major downfalls. Portrait photographers may consider looking at their full suite of plugins.
Would love to hear what you use and why in the comments!
Update: I forgot to mention in the video another factor, support and adoption. Do these guys get back to you when you ask them a question? I have heard Tony and Sean are extremely responsive and helpful when posed with a question. Aaron has been very responsive with me on the ADP Panel and has a private group on Facebook to share images and ask questions which is currently around 500 members and fairly active. I have heard Greg is very helpful with Lumenzia, and he has a group on Google sharing/support which is currently over 1500 members and fairly active. From what I hear Jimmy only provides short answers to questions, but this may be an isolated incident. Blake seems very helpful but I have no experience beyond that.
The other consideration is adoption, what are the vast majority of people using? My guess would be the TK Panel by a long shot, all of the well known photographers I know use some version of it, yet I know of nobody personally that uses any of the other panels. In my workshops I demonstrate using the TK Panel, and my next video series on luminosity masks will be based upon TK.
The bigger question I have is for Adobe: why on earth haven’t your engineers designed built-in, simplistic tools such as those compared above ?
I would guess Adobe could almost double its subscription business if it continued to make PS almost as simple as LR has become. And less time consuming.
ADP Pro 3
Lumi 32 1.0
Raya Pro 3
I would vote for the tool that gives the best results in the least amount of steps… which in my opinion is TK7.v2. There are outstanding videos from the others, however Tony Kuyper himself gives the most direct explanation of his panels with examples.
They ‘all’ suffer from over-feature-itus, and ‘all’ have a learning curve due to each Author’s different style. TK7.v2 gives me the most clean, smooth masking right away, and combined with the ease of adding and subtracting other masks makes it a winner.
I found Lumi32 to be capable of producing higher technically precise masks but the lack of finese in adjusting the masks kills the equation for me. Jimmy McIntyre’s techniques of combining different exposures with Raya Pro/Instamask is best explained and simplest for multi-exposures blending but can be done with the other panels once mastered.
I found all Panel Authors produced beautifully seamless photography that would be next to impossible to do without luminosity/color masking (Check their galleries).
They are all reasonable and competitive in price.
Selective color masking in combination with luma masking is a must for me and I find it easiest to do before the mask is finalized with TK7.v2. If you never have used lumanosity masking, any of these panels and corresponding videos will accelerate your quality. I also would like to mention a young self taught super star that occasionally will show you how to acomplish similar masking techniques without a panel ( Unmesh Dinda: https://www.piximperfect.com/ ), but the panels are definately faster once mastered.
Hello, would it be possible to have an update of this review now that TK 6 and ADP Pro v3 are out, same for Raya Pro v3 and Lumenzia 7 ?
I wish I had the time to, but it won’t be for a while. I have looked at all the new panels, while there are a lot of new enhancements, I would say the overall functions haven’t changed that much. My original evaluations still stand and I would still make the same recommendations. I will say that the free version of the TKPanel has improved a lot and will be quite useable for many people. Again it all comes down to the training material. Aaron does a fantastic job for ADP, Lumenzia is a great panel but Greg still needs a comprehensive video series, and the TKPanel has Sean Bagshaw’s videos. I still use the TKPanel and love it.
Jimmy has also released Luma32 which is a major, 32bit addition,n to his luminosity mask collection.
With TK V6, I think the top spot is claimed.
The link to the spreadsheet appears to be broken. Do you have a new link to the spreadsheet?
It is fixed now!
Maybe a little late to the game but would appreciate some feedback relative to landscape photography. I saw Blake Rudis on CreativeLive and was intrigued. I purchased ZSE 5 and learned a lot but it did not translate well for landscapes. ADP Pro V3 also has great teaching videos but it focuses more on landscape photography so I found it more useful. TK Panels seemed overly complicated. If someone could show me videos where ZSE 5 and TK Panels used landscape photos, I would very much appreciate it.
I would recommend Sean Bagshaw’s tutorials for the TKPanel https://www.outdoorexposurephoto.com/video-tutorials/the-complete-guide-to-luminosity-masks/ they can be TOO in-depth at times, but you will learn a lot. Once you know how to use the TKPanel it is quite simple actually.
What a great review…
The progress those panels have made lately is amazing.
Though for most users I prefer much simpler product which is intuitive to use.
I tried ADP Pro (Liked its Sharpening feature) and very liked it.
I also tried Know-How Transfer Mask Equalizer.
Though it doesn’t have all the rings and bells of ADP Pro I find myself use it again and again.
It offers a different approach to the mask generation which allows me get better results.
I am thinking on grabbing NBP Lumizone as well once it is discounted.
Could you please review it as well?
Thank you Eli, I’m afraid I will not be doing another review for a while with so many projects on my plate. Lumizone looks decent although fairly simplistic.
Thank you for sharing and introducing plug ins. I use canon 5D mark4 and process my photos on photo shop. I need more advanced extension to edit photos. So, Could you suggest me which is excellent for portrait, horse and wildlife photography?
Any of them would work well for this. Lumenzia seems to be the easiest to approach for most people, it all depends on the person though.
The Zone system express is highly underrated here. It has a league of its own, the other tools like lumenzia, tkpanel try to help with luminosity masking techniques while ZSE follows a workflow developed by Blake following Ansel Adams techniques.
So do better research before publishing something like this which might hurt a person’s business.
I think I was pretty clear that it was not quite the same and that it shouldn’t be considered a comparison. I was actually quite complimentative of Blake’s videos which I watched in full.
Thanks for the comparison, David, really interesting.
Would it be possible to add my panel to the list of contenders?
(there is a special discount attached)
Free trial is available for 1 week, you can get it on the website
You can also find some tutorials and videos on my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQQ8fj8da81XA-DHANFUBcg
Hi Anton, I may add it if/when I do an updated review. It looks very clean and simple but I will have to dig in more.
David, thank you so much for this great review. I just started playing with luminosity masking, and I was looking at a few of the different pannels but I was confused by what they offered.
This was very helpful, but I am still not sure which will work best for me. I am thinking the ADP or Lumenzia will work best for me.
Thanks again for this review.
Irrelevant. Please give “as of date” SOMEWHERE.
Oops, the post date was turned off for some reason, I have fixed it and this was published in March 2017. I plan to do an updated version of this soon with the new panels but essentially my findings are the same
Very nice and detailed write-up & video, David! Without a doubt the most comprehensive reviews of Luminosity Panels I’ve seen.
Must admit that I’m quite surprised by the negative review of Raya Pro, though! I switched from the TK Panel to Raya about a year ago and find it much more suitable for my workflow. That being said, I only use a few functions in the panel so I found the TK Panel to be too large/confusing with all the buttons & colors.
Lumenzia is one I’ll test out, though. Heard about it from many fellow photographers and judging by your video it does look interesting!
Thanks Christian, there really needs to be a simplified tutorial for using the TKPanel, once you get over the overwhelm of all the buttons it’s quite simple and very powerful. I tried and tried to like Raya but it just wasn’t my cup of tea! I agree that Lumenzia is still one of the better options for those that don’t want to dive super deep into luminosity masks, but want to get the benefits easily.
did you know about this one By Ian Barber?
thank you so much for this thorough review. I would like to further my knowledge of basic masks and understand in detail what these panels really do under the hood, and more importantly how. I am all in favour of automation, but I’d feel more confortable holding the knowledge of their inner workings.
Would you be so kind as to recommend any reading or resource ? Any help would be greatly appreciated!
Hi David, Great Review! Appreciate all the good information. I am new to luminosity masks i had one particular panel in mind but after your review I’m not sure which one will be for me. I guess just overwhelmed. Could you make a recommendation based on you’re experiences. I would like to get up and running quickly with a panel that offers good instructional info for the beginner. Thank You
Hi Charles, I believe ADP has the best instructional videos, which puts it high on my list for beginners!
Hi Luca, to really get to know the inner workings I would recommend Sean Bagshaw’s videos along with the TKv5 panel. This is the most advanced panel and Sean’s videos go extremely in-depth!
Thank you so much David, very much appreciated! Have a good day!
I saw this review last week and found it interesting. I just downloaded InstaMask coz I was a Raya Pro customer from the past. Gotta say, I love it, especially the two select (eye dropper tool ones), with +/- buttons. With Raya Pro this is now the best panel I own.
Hi, first: thanks for the monumental job that you did for the making of this really great review. I’m creasy about luminosity mask, just love that way of making selection. But was looking for a solution to simplify the process and make it(if possible) more precise. SO I was going to grab the ADP-V2 but now (after your review) i’m not shure: ADP-V2 or TK. compare with TK-V5 even if I dont need the top panl contrÃ´le, i suppose it can be close out of the way ? I really like the B&W option of ADP-V2, With TK can it be manually added in the workflow, even if TK dont have it ? Also. May I ask your advise ? for architecture(need the option to do precise selection without feather), and for complexe composithing and least destructive. witch one will you recommand : ADP-V2 or TK.
Yes the top panel can be turned off in TK, it’s very customizable. The B&W adjustment option would be hard to add to the workflow in TK, although I have not found it to be necessary with the selections that TKv5 creates, if this is really important to you I would actually look at Lumenzia as I feel it is the better option after learning more about it. TKv5 creates the best selections in my opinion, they are the most precise because they are based on Photoshop calculations. I would recommend getting TK and Lumenzia to have the most flexibility!
I went with Lumenzia as it seemed to be more directed at what I’m looking for.
I do appreciate you taking the time to review the panel , David. It was interesting to see your opinion stacked up with the others. However, as you mentioned it is rather different from the others. I think with a bit more time with it and reviewing the material you would find that it is in fact helpful to landscape photographers. But I also understand that, just like software applications, the panels have to map well with the individual using them and that time is our most valuable resource.
There are reasons why the masks feather and why blend if is incorporated with each adjustment. The zones do not just use blend if, the zones are selections for the area of tone, they feather the mask to blend well with others, but then use Blend If to ensure the feathering does not create a bleeding effect. You can see that in your use of the Green Color Zone.
I think your spreadsheet is a little off in reference to the ZSE, though. There are some things you have given red marks on that are in the panel.
The panel does have a “zone picker” as you call it. It is the Eye Dropper Tool in the Color Zone module as it targets the zone with the “Color Range” tool. It also creates a Zone Mask to your specific selection so it feathers and does not bleed with Blend If.
The Radiance Action is more like a Glow than an Orton Lights and actually has a ton of control when used appropriately.
While there are not “Saturation Masks” you can use the Color Zones to modify the saturation of any given color through the principles of Color Theory and the Curves Adjustment. When working with them that way it is not necessary to have a “Saturation Mask”. Maybe that should be “limited”.
It does have a Live Preview option. For any mask one could simply press Alt or Option to preview the mask, or there is a button on the panel to preview anything with either a mask or Blend If Layer Styles. I prefer to keep that as a separate button that the user can press whenever they want a preview. Maybe another “Limited” or “Yes”.
Many of the things that show up as Red are really not necessary in every workflow for every image. The use of red and green makes it appear worse than it actually is. You were correct in your review that this is a workflow driven panel and not necessarily a tool. Many have adopted this workflow and seen great success. To say that this panel is used for “Instagram style effects” is just an insult as you can use it for many advanced techniques.
Since you allude to the panel being so different than the rest it maybe should not have been included in your review at all. Either way, this was not an easy task to compare all of the panels. I commend you for taking on the endeavor. It has opened my eyes to a few things that I may take into consideration for future updates. As with Raya Pro, all updates are free to those who own it.
I’m glad you decided to comment, I have updated the post to reflect some of the things I overlooked, and to clarify that people shouldn’t base their decision of using your panel on this review alone since it is such a different product.
To be fair, the videos included are not focused on landscape photography, hence a good reason to not recommend it to landscape photographers which is my audience. I think if you want to tap into this audience you need to give more real world examples of how the panel can be used for this purpose, rather than one waterfall image. Like I said, the training materials are fantastic but they are not very specific to the panel. It’s like you go over all this great information, and then only spend five minutes explaining how it can be applied in the panel.
I do think the panel is well done and has lots of potential to be used in a powerful way, but it is very different and I think you need to spend more time on videos that show its potential.
Thanks for updating the post. But I still think you are a bit off in your judgement of the education using the panel.
There is over 2 hours of content (of nearly 4 hours) in the education bundle that shows you how to use the panel. The first several videos in the first 3 modules teach you things you need to know in order to use the panel. Then it shows you how to use the panel for those particular areas. The Workflow Module of lessons is all about how to use the panel for any workflow. The volume of content covering the panel (not to include the other supplemental content) is as follows:
Tone module lessons: 7 Minutes 19 seconds on the panel
Color Module Lessons: 5 minutes 26 seconds on the panel
Effects Module Lessons: 7 minutes 32 seconds on the panel
Workflow Module (all about the panel): 1 Hour, 40 Minutes, and 25 Seconds.
I am just curious, did you review all of the content? All four training modules to include the Workflow Module?
You seem to be very fond of TK’s panel and use it in many of your educational videos. That is great it has been around for a long time and has been refined time and time again. I get it, everyone has their preference.
As I said before, to do a review like this is commendable, there is a lot of content and each panel is very different. I don’t have any hard feelings about your opinion of the panel (except for the Instagram comments). However, I feel the need to clarify things that you have left out for those who may see this review and be swayed by your opinions.
This experience has helped me though and I thank you for that. The next time someone is reviewing Tangerines, Cuties, and Blood Oranges, I will refrain from giving them a Fuji Apple.
I do also want to thank you for realizing the value of the educational material, David. That means a lot to me and in a sense you are correct about what people are paying for, high quality education with a panel to go along with it. For those who are struggling to put together a concise and efficient workflow, this panel and education is a go-to (from what I have been told). But as a stand alone tool when you are used to Luminosity Masks, it may not be what you are looking for.
I still need to take that dagger labelled “Instagram Filter” out of my side. It has been sitting in me all day!
I can assure you that I did watch all the videos, and looking back I see there is more about the panel in the workflow section than I remembered, so I apologize for that. This was a daunting task, and in retrospect I wish I would have done it differently to better reflect the workflow of each panel rather than the individual tools. I may do separate reviews of each to give them all a fair shake since I don’t feel yours was fairly represented.
I’m sorry for the instagram comment, I can see how that knife could cut deep. I think it was the color grading and hdr sections that really stuck in my head and I couldn’t find a better way to describe that ‘look’, maybe a ‘film look’ would better describe it.
I can see what you mean about the color grading, but you have to understand how that resonates with the viewer watching the tutorial and reading this blog post. It is a negative connotation among professional photographers. I think that Color Grading is an essential part of the artistic process for any style of photography, it sets the mood for the viewer and can make or break a great photo.
I would say that this is less of a tool for popping in and out of and more of a workflow system that is designed to be used from start to finish with the occasional tool selection here and there.
Your comment about Adoption in the blog post is critical here. Many people have adopted this for the sake of having one place to work in an efficient manner. My subscribers and those who purchase the product know just how responsive I am. If I am at my desk I respond immediately and am always there to help whether they are a customer or just someone who needs help in Ps.
I would greatly appreciate a separate review, but time is critical and I want you to protect yours where you need to. If you ever need anything from me in reference to this or the educational material, I am open to Skype, G+, or even a Phone Call (I am still kinda old school).
Again, thank you, not an easy undertaking.
From someone that either uses or has used all of these panels, I will tell you that you gave the Zone System a piss poor review.
“For the traditional landscape photographer”, I would not recommend this panel.”
Might be the dumbest statement I have heard all day.. And today that is saying something.
This panel is the only panel I use to work on all of my landscape photos. It is the one I have used for the longest. It is the easiest to use by far. And has more power than the others.
Plus the education is second to none when it comes to Blake’s teachings.
I stumbled upon your site and this is the first review I have ever read by you. And it will be the last. You obviously have no idea how beneficial the Zone System is and what it can be used for.
I would like to call your review valuable but I cannot even come close to that. You should learn about the products you are reviewing instead of just using them for a short period then thinking you have the ability to review them.
I’m sorry you feel that way Jake, I can assure you that I watched all of Blake’s videos and spent plenty of time using the panel. It is simply my opinion that it does not stack up compared to TK, ADP, and Lumenzia. I see you created Blake’s website and are probably his friend so I can understand your vehement defense of his product. I am glad you find it useful, but I am looking out for the best interest of my readers, and I do not believe the panel has near the power of the others.
Great review. I’m the creator or Raya Pro, and would like more feedback. I’m always looking to improve the panel. The good news is, we are almost finished developing an Add-on to Raya Pro (free to Raya Pro users), which will be a complete mask generator. This will allows us to craft any mask we like. It will be a small, compact panel, with superb functionality. And Raya Pro customers get free updates for life. They don’t need to purchase again.
Could I also point out that there are a couple of small omissions from the Raya Pro chart. For example, the panel does have general sharpening tools (it has two). It also has a Blend If option, a Gradient option, and Reveal Sensor Dirt too.
In terms of live preview, it has that too with the 16bit Precision Masks.
Is there anything in particular that you see as vital to an exposure blending panel?
Thank you kindly!
Thank you for commenting Jimmy, I have updated the spreadsheet and added a note to the review reflecting the omissions. I apologize for the harsh review, but I wanted to be honest for my readers so they can make the best decision, I appreciate you being cordial.
Personally, I think if you are trying to make this panel about exposure blending, you should focus in on that and make it the best damned exposure blending panel out there rather than trying to compete with these luminosity panels. If you want to compete with the other panels you need catch up in terms of ease of use, especially with luminosity masks. You are still using an old method of creating masks by creating all the channels, which compared to the other panels is slow and bloated. The live masking you refer to is quite clunky to use having to turn it on and off each time you make a change.
Thanks David. The live masking I am talking about is on the Precision Masks. The luminosity masks on Raya Pro are considered legacy. Precision Masks are now the main form of exposure blending. By selecting the 1-6 numbers you cycle through the masks and see the differences live. And we can refine these masks with manual adjust or by colour. I left the old exposure blending methods in the new update, including the previous luminosity masks because some people may find it useful. But rest assured, updates are coming and any advice has been taken on board!
A very comprehensive review, and a great comparison between the different panels available on the market today. There’s no doubt that anyone who watches this will appreciate the valuable information you have provided. This would have been no easy feat, considering the differences in the way all of the panels work. Good job David, I hope to catch up in the Rockies this summer.
Thanks for chiming in Aaron!
Hi David, thank you for this panel comparison.
I’ve been looking at three of the different panels you mention for several years now, but never committed to purchasing one. The three I’ve been following are TK Panel, ADP, and Lumenzia. All have their pluses and minuses. I just want one panel to work with; to learn it and apply it as best I can.
Your spreadsheet makes it so much easier to understand what each panel offers. Thanx once again! I have always gravitated towards TK Panel, but as you mention, Aaron Dowling and Greg Benz both have video tutorials one can access for free which make understanding and using their panels so much easier and convenient.
Congrats, David! Tackling a review this size is a huge feat. Completing it in less than a month since most of these panels were released is all the more impressive. You cover a lot of territory here and really look at some of the differences between these panels. The length is neither ridiculous nor absurd,IMO. Given everything these panels can do, it’s amazing that you were able to cover as much as you did in 1.5 hours. The video is very watchable and speeds by quickly. Anyone looking to add luminosity masks to their workflow will very much appreciate this in depth review.
I’ll definitely be watching the discussion here and hope you don’t mind if I chime in if
anyone has questions/comments about my TK V5 panel.
Thank you Tony, I appreciate the kind words. A funny side-note; the whole reason this came about was my aversion to the new v5 panel, I loved v4 so much that I thought you ruined it and I started looking for something else! Here I am a month later as one of the biggest proponents of v5 haha. Thank you for the phenomenal work, and please do comment!