I also received an email a few days ago that there is a new version of Luminar. I was already about to buy the new version, but then I read the e-mail carefully and thought about it. Then I came to the conclusion, my Luminar story ends here. The following considerations, partly based on my experiences as a longtime customer, brought me to the very clear decision that I will leave the Luminar way:
1) An unacceptable early order price, which does not bring any advantage.
I checked what Luminar-AI would cost me as an early orderer and longtime existing customer. I had to realize that Luminar-AI costs 69 € for only one computer. If I wanted to have the installation on a second computer, the price increases to 79 €. And this is supposed to be the early order special price. Compared to the normal price of Luminar 4, which costs 89 € for the installation on two computers, this is a discount of only 10 €, which is 11.24 %. On the internet there are legal coupon codes worth 10 € for Luminar 4, then I get Luminar 4 for 79 € as well.
2) A price increase of 200 % for me as an existing customer despite the early order price.
Luminar 2018 and Luminar 3 did cost 89 € each in the normal price. The installation was possible on up to 5 computers.
Lumina4 4 costs 89 € in the normal price. But installation on only 2 computers is possible. Since I installed Luminar on 3 computers, I would have to buy two licenses, which means a doubling of the price. Fortunately, I bought Luminar 4 for the early bird price and got the possibility to install it on up to 5 computers.
For Luminar-AI, the Skylum page shows a normal price of 79 € for one computer and 99 € for two installations. To install Luminar-AI on all three computers I work with, I would have to pay the normal price: 99 € (2 installations) + 79 € (1 installation) = 178 €. This is a price increase of 200 % compared to Luminar 3.
3) The statement: "Luminar-AI is a completely new product.
This forum is full of complaints that show that Luminar 3 and Luminar 4 still need a lot of optimization to run reliably. Apart from that, image management is only very rudimentary in my eyes. I was also affected by software bugs of Luminar and lost many hours of image processing.
Luminar 3 was called a "completely new product" compared to Luminar 2018. Even now, almost 3 years later, Luminar - even with Luminar 4 - has not nearly "grown up". Instead, gimmicks were built in, e.g. the virtual objects in the sky, which I don't use.
I think that makes it clear that the statement "Luminar-AI is a completely new product" discourages me from buying Luminar-AI. To me it sounds like a software that is full of bugs we have to pay for and a long time of wait for bugfixes. Should I pay again for upgrades over years until the software really works? The price - including the early bird price - is far too high for that.
4) I do not know anything about the functions of Luminar-AI, but I should pay now without knowing what I get for my money.
I can only find relatively general statements about Luminar-AI. There is no concrete information about the functionality. But for a vague promise that a lot of AI is included, I should pay money now (at a not very attractive early bird price, see point 1).
I bought Luminar 4 for the early bird price, because it was promised that many improvements are included. There were indeed improvements, but the whole program was rebuilt and so there were new bugs and the whole workflow was new. There were indeed new features, such as the Portrait Enhancer and the possibility to change the sky. I have only used the Portrait Enhancer two or three times because I do not take portraits. I have not even tested the sky swap function because I am not interested in it. But with Luminar 4, I again lost whole catalogs with image processing. So I was disappointed with Lumiar 4. Of course it got better with time, but again I had to wait almost a year until stability and performance were acceptable.
Luminar 2018 ran relatively well for me, then came Luminar 3 and did not run reliably at all for a very long time. I also lost a lot of edits with it again and again.
Some functions were announced concretely for Luminar 3/4, but with Luminar-AI there is only talk about an "alternative way of image processing". Here in Germany we have the saying "buy the cat in the bag". This would be the case, if I would spend money for Luminar-AI now, because I would buy the cat in the bag. That means to spend relatively much money for a product of which I don't know which functions it has, what they can do, if I like it at all and if it is reliable and stable.
5) I cannot rely on the software company
Since I'm a Skylum (before that MacPhun) customer for several years now, I've seen how Skylum released different programs and how they were not developed further but replaced by new, unfinished programs.
Also the assertions of the Skylum staff here in the forum, that bug reports, complaints and feature requests are passed on to the developers and possibly considered for the future, I feel now only empty phrases.
Also, in the past, functions or improvements were promised again and again, but some of them have not been kept until today. Meanwhile I read here in the forum of Skylum employees that they would hold back with promises in order not to disappoint the customers (no comment ...).
Fortunately, photography is not my livelihood, but a wonderful hobby. So I don't depend on Luminar for my income, because building a functioning workflow on this program and then having a new unfinished software released after a year has nothing to do with reliability.
Please excuse the long text, but you can see from it that I have been disappointed from Skylum over the years. Therefore, during the wait for bugfixes of Luminar 3 and Luminar 4 I tried other RAW editors and worked with them beside to Luminar. Of course there is not the "one" software. Every toolbox has many tools, all of them have their own purpose. But Luminar has become the tool I use the least and I use another RAW editor as my main program, which has a really good DAM, what is one of the most important functions for me. Also because of the rare use of Luminar, the price offered to long-term customers is now too high for me.
Maybe in one or two years I will see again how Luminar has developed. In the meantime, I can use Luminar 4 from time to time as needed, but I am satisfied with the main RAW editor I am using now.
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