ON1 Photo RAW vs Luminar: Which Is Best?

Key Takeaways: Comparing AI-based Photo Editing Software ON1 vs Luminar

  • Both ON1 Photo RAW 2022 and Luminar AI are photo-editing software that use Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology.
  • ON1 Photo RAW 2022, a comprehensive editing program for professionals, comes with an improved Sky Replacement AI tool, advanced search utility, and Snapshot.
  • Luminar AI is better suited for beginners due to its quick and easy automated editing.
  • Performance wise, ON1 Photo RAW 2022 requires an 8GB RAM and a high-spec device while Luminar AI provided a smooth experience even with higher system requirements, though lag may be noticed while using the AI tools.
  • The interface of ON1 Photo is a bit complex as it is for professionals, Luminar AI’s interface is user-friendly making it quick to navigate.
  • ON1 Photo RAW offers a high-quality file management system great for managing large photo collections while Luminar AI’s file management system is much simpler.
  • Both software offer editing tools capable of transforming images, with ON1 offering a bit more precision and detail.
  • Luminar AI offers robust AI tools for photo editing including Enhance AI, Composition AI, and Sky AI and thus improves speed.
  • System Requirements: Both software call for relatively high-spec systems. ON1 Photo demands an OpenGL 3.3 compatible card with 2 GB of VRAM and 1.5 GB for installation, while Luminar AI needs an OpenGL 3.3 compatible card and 10GB for installation.
  • Pricing: Luminar AI is more affordable, offered at a one-off license fee starting from $46. ON1 Photo RAW 2022 offers both options of single-cost license fees and a new subscription plan, with prices starting from $99 for an upgrade and $123 for a full license.
  • Verdict: ON1 Photo RAW 2022 is recommended for professionals who need extensive file management and high-end editing, while Luminar AI is a better option for beginners due to ease of use and affordability.

These days, most photo-editing software uses AI technology in some form, and two popular software options that use AI technology particularly well are ON1 Photo RAW 2022 and Luminar AI/Neo.

In this ON1 Photo RAW 2022 vs Luminar AI comparison, we look at the features and performance of both programs to see if there is a clear winner.

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ON1 Photo RAW 2022 Overview

ON1 Photo RAW 2022
ON1 Photo RAW 2022
Great for advanced editing and photo management

ON1 Photo RAW 2022 is a powerful program perfect for high-end editing and file management of large photo collections.

Can manage and find photos easily
The editing tools give users full control
Has a useful range of AI tools like Sky Swap AI
Can be sluggish and requires a decent-spec device to run

ON1 Photo RAW 2022 is the latest version of ON1’s impressive software and it packs a host of new features. These include an improved Sky Replacement AI tool, advanced search utility, and Snapshots.

Related Post: ON1 Photo RAW 2022 Review

Photo RAW is a comprehensive editing program that is aimed at professionals. This is due to the detail and variety of editing tools as well as the ON1 Browse module. The latter is a complete photo-management module that allows you to organize, search for, and rate your photos in a variety of ways.

While Photo RAW is an excellent editing program, it is process-hungry and requires a high-spec device to run smoothly. Plus, some of the new tools are hit and miss in terms of usefulness.

Luminar AI Overview

Luminar AI
Luminar AI
Great for simple, quick editing

Luminar AI is geared toward beginners and is the perfect software for your first photo-editing forays due to its simple interface and AI tools.

It has a simple layout that is easy to understand
The AI tools make editing quick and convenient
Has limited file-management tools

Luminar AI is a standalone program that offers quick, simple, and automated editing. It relies heavily on AI automation, and the range of AI tools is high quality, produces excellent end results, and is easy to use.

For beginners, Luminar AI is an excellent choice. It can speed up your workflow and the AI tools mean that you do not need extensive knowledge of editing techniques.

However, Luminar AI does have its limitations and it certainly doesn’t offer the same level of depth and control over the editing process as ON1 Photo RAW 2022.

ON1 Photo RAW vs Luminar AI: Features, Performance, and More

To give a fair comparison of ON1 Photo RAW vs Luminar AI, we split the review into categories:


The problem with software that uses AI technology is that it is often process-hungry. This means that a device with a better processor, more RAM, and a faster HDD is required. And indeed, both ON1 Photo RAW 2022 and Luminar AI have less-than-perfect performance. Both also have higher-than-average minimum system requirements.

ON1 Photo RAW 2022

The performance of ON1 Photo RAW 2022 is improved compared to previous versions. However, it is still not perfect. The minimum system requirements include 8 GB of memory. We think this is not enough.

With 8 GB, you may notice lag on certain processes such as swapping between the different tabs and loading image previews.

Everything else was acceptable. We could quickly switch between images, and the edits were all applied in real time.

That said, our experiences were on a computer with 24 GB of RAM. We expect performance to be more of an issue on a device with only the minimum system requirements.

Luminar AI

Despite the higher system requirements, we experienced no performance issues with Luminar AI. It ran incredibly smoothly.

Navigating between the different top menus was instant. Switching between photos and folders was also incredibly quick.

The editing tools also provided a smooth experience with minimum lag. There was a slight delay for some of the AI tools, but it was hardly noticeable.

Overall, we were impressed with Luminar AI’s performance; it exceeded our expectations based on the minimum system requirements.


Depending on your level of experience, ease of use may – or may not – be important. ON1 Photo RAW 2022 is a more complex program, and it is geared toward experienced users. In contrast, Luminar AI is a simple program that makes editing easier.

ON1 Photo RAW 2022

This software has a more complex layout compared to Luminar AI. However, it is still usable regardless of your level of experience. The different toolbars and tools all have tooltips and explanations. The layout is logical and the editing process is separated into different tabs.

Some first-time users may find the number of tools and tabs overwhelming. However, if you have used any type of editing software before, ON1 Photo RAW 2022 should be easy to work with.

Luminar AI

Luminar AI has a simple, user-friendly interface. The layout and style look fantastic and the program is easy to navigate.

At the top, there is the main toolbar. This features Catalog, Templates, Edit, and Export. It maps out a simple workflow and gives you a logical editing progression: Start by managing files in the Catalog, switch to Edit to process the image, and finalize it by exporting the file – simple!

The editing pane is also user-friendly. Most of the screen is occupied by the image preview. On the right-hand side, you can find the different editing tools, and these are split logically into different categories.

If you’ve never used editing software before, Luminar AI provides a simple introduction.

File Management

Managing large photo collections is an important aspect of any editing workflow. ON1 Photo RAW 2022 is an advanced program and thus has a complete set of file-management tools. In contrast, Luminar AI is a basic program and offers more basic file management.

ON1 Photo RAW 2022

This software has the dedicated ON1 Browse module, a complete file-management module and one of the best aspects of ON1 Photo RAW 2022.

Using this module, you can manage entire photo collections with ease. First, you can create, edit, delete and organize your photo file structure. This is easy to do, and you can also import photo collections from other sources like Lightroom Classic.

Second, ON1 Photo RAW 2022 has advanced tagging and searching features. You can tag individual photos in different ways (with color tags, star ratings, flags, and keywords). You can then use the advanced search feature to find specific photos using different parameters like keywords or even metadata.

If you have a large photo collection, this software is your best option as its file management capabilities are excellent.

Luminar AI

This software lacks the detailed photo-management system that is present in ON1 Photo RAW 2022. Using Luminar AI, you can import photo collections and folders from other sources. You can also edit the folder structure, create new folders, and create albums.

Aside from this, there aren’t any other management tools. There is a basic search function, but you can only search for file names. There are no advanced search tools and only minimal tagging options. For example, you can accept or reject photos, and you can flag photos as favorites.

This is a disappointment and means that Luminar AI may not be suitable for editing and managing your large photo collections.

Editing Tools

The core editing tools are the most important aspect of editing software. How can you edit your images? What parameters can you change and what level of editing detail is provided?

ON1 Photo RAW 2022

Photo RAW 2022 has amazing editing tools. It is comparable to Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and other top software in terms of detail and control.

ON1 Photo RAW 2022 has a complete set of basic tools for editing images, including contrast, temperature, saturation, and highlights. It also has advanced local adjustment tools so you can edit specific parts of your photos.

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This software also has a range of excellent editing presets, and you can freely transform your images using the Crop, Alignment, and Resize tools. ON1 Photo RAW 2022 also supports hundreds of cameras and lenses and has automatic correction tools.

Bottom line: Photo RAW has everything you need to professionally edit your photos with as much or as little fine-tuning as required.

Luminar AI

Although Luminar AI doesn’t offer the same level of editing proficiency as ON1 Photo RAW 2022, it still provides enough to completely transform and improve your photos. The editing tools are split into different categories, including:

  • Essentials
  • Creative
  • Portrait
  • Professional
  • Local adjustments

The Essentials include basic editing tools like Transformations, Color, Light, Denoise, and Vignette. Here, you can quickly edit the basic parameters of your photos.

If you want to do artistic edits, the Creative toolbar contains a range of fun and useful tools. We particularly liked the Sunrays tool, which allows you to apply sunrays to your photos. They look incredibly realistic and you can even change the position of the sun and the strength of the rays.

Luminar AI also has a complete section dedicated to portrait editing. These tools are largely automated but allow you to quickly remove imperfections from faces, skin, and bodies.

It also has a limited local adjustment tool. You can add masks to your images and use them to selectively adjust temperature, exposure, contrast, and so much more.

Lastly, Luminar AI contains a series of templates. These are essentially editing presets. They are of excellent quality and cover a range of different photography types, such as sunsets, landscapes, waterscapes, portraits, and more. For each template, you can choose the strength of the setting and then edit the individual parameters afterward.

AI Tools

Both of these programs use AI tools. These are tools that are automated and apply different edits for you. Luminar AI has a far greater selection of AI tools available. ON1 Photo RAW 2022 does have some useful AI tools – such as Sky Swap – but not to the extent of Luminar AI.

ON1 Photo RAW 2022

Most of the AI tools in ON1 Photo RAW 2022 are dedicated plugins or modules. The following are the most useful AI tools available:

  • Sky Swap AI
  • NoNoise AI
  • Portrait AI

Sky Swap AI is an incredible tool that allows you to switch out the sky in your landscape photos. The tool creates an automatic selection of the sky, and you can then swap the sky out for a range of preset sky scenes or upload your own sky photos to use.

NoNoise AI is an intelligent denoising tool. You can use this to remove background noise and grain from your photos without degrading the quality of the image.

Lastly, Portrait AI is a separate plugin that is included in the ON1 Everything subscription. This uses machine learning to analyze photos, identify faces, and retouch them automatically.

Luminar AI

Compared to ON1 Photo RAW 2022, Luminar AI has a superior range of AI tools. The tools also appear to be superior in quality. These are the main AI tools:

  • Enhance AI
  • Composition AI
  • Structure AI
  • Sky AI
  • Augmented Sky AI
  • Atmosphere AI
  • Portrait Bokeh AI
  • Face AI
  • Skin AI

Enhance AI and Composition AI are fantastic tools that can greatly boost the quality of your photos. If you don’t want to spend time editing individual parameters, these two tools can replicate a basic editing workflow.

We also love the Sky AI tool. This appears to be better at creating masks than the ON1 Photo RAW 2022 Sky Swap tool. The software automatically creates a mask that selects the sky in your photo. You can then swap the sky out for a large range of preset sky images. The AI tool also changes the lighting and temperature of the photo to match the sky. It works really well and is quite impressive.

Luminar AI also has some interesting AI tools for portrait retouching. Tools such as Face AI and Skin AI automatically retouch faces to remove things like blemishes. The quality and accuracy of these tools are fantastic.

Using Luminar’s AI tools, you can really improve your editing speed and apply detailed edits without the need for extensive editing knowledge.

System Requirements

Performance is a vital part of any software evaluation, but it’s driven by the underlying system requirements. If you do not have a computer that has the minimum specs, you will struggle to run the software. Both ON1 Photo RAW 2022 and Luminar AI require relatively high-spec devices to run effectively.

ON1 Photo RAW 2022

ON1 Photo RAW is known as a process-heavy editing program. In other words, it’s not a program that will run smoothly on a basic device. The following are the minimum and recommended system requirements:

Minimum System Requirements
  • OS: macOS 10.14 or later, Windows 10
  • Processor: Intel Core i5, Xeon, or Apple Silicon
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • HDD: 1.5 GB for installation
  • Graphics: OpenGL 3.3 compatible card with 512 MB of VRAM
  • OS: macOS 12, Windows 11
  • Processor: Intel Core i5, Xeon, or Apple Silicon
  • RAM: 16 GB+
  • HDD: 1.5 GB for installation SSD
  • Graphics: OpenGL 4.2 compatible card with 2 GB+ of VRAM

The graphics card, memory, and processor are the most important items here. Essentially, you need something a little more powerful than a basic computer to run ON1 Photo RAW 2022 effectively.

Luminar AI

Luminar AI also requires a device with good specs. It’s a little frustrating as the software is generally marketed at beginners and those who may not necessarily have an expensive computer. The following are the minimum and recommended system requirements:

Minimum System Requirements
  • OS: macOS 10.13 or later, Windows 10
  • Processor: Intel Core i5, AMD Ryzen or better
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • HDD: 10 GB for installation
  • Graphics: OpenGL 3.3 compatible card with 512 MB of VRAM
  • OS: macOS 12, Windows 10
  • Processor: Intel Core i5, AMD Ryzen or better
  • RAM: 16 GB+
  • HDD: 10 GB for installation – SSD
  • Graphics: OpenGL 3.3 compatible card

As you can see, the memory, processor, and HDD requirements are all quite high. In particular, 10 GB of storage space is a lot in comparison to the 1.5 GB required to install ON1 Photo RAW 2022.


The price is an important consideration when looking at editing software. Some software is available for a one-off license fee, whereas other software comes for a monthly payment. ON1 Photo RAW 2022 offers both options and is more expensive. In contrast, Luminar AI is much cheaper but is only available for a one-off license fee.

ON1 Photo RAW 2022

ON1 offers a combination of single-cost license fees and a new subscription plan. This means that the software should appeal to everyone, regardless of how they’d like to pay. The following are the current ON1 Photo RAW 2022 prices:

  • Upgrade License: $99.00
  • Full License: $123.00
  • ON1 Everything: $111.00 per year

The full license may seem expensive at $120.00; however, this price is warranted. You get professional editing software and a complete file-management system. ON1 Photo RAW 2022 sits in the upper tier of photo-editing software, so an expensive price is expected.

The ON1 Everything subscription plan also offers great value. If you pay yearly, the cost is cheaper than similar software subscription plans like Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. For the subscription fee, you get ON1 Photo RAW 2022, 200 GB of cloud storage, and access to all the ON1 plugins, such as ON1 Resize.

Luminar AI

Luminar AI is a much cheaper option. The software is aimed at beginners and thus has a budget price tag. Luminar AI is only available as a one-off license fee and as part of two different bundles:

  • Luminar Standalone License: $46.00
  • Bundle 1 – Luminar AI and Aurora HDR: $72.00
  • Bundle 2 – Luminar AI, Aurora HDR, and Luminar Neo: $107.00

The reduced price in comparison to ON1 Photo RAW 2022 is warranted. This is because the software isn’t as complex. For example, it lacks extensive photo-management tools. And it doesn’t provide as much control over the editing process.

For what it does, Luminar AI is perfectly priced.

ON1 Photo RAW vs Luminar AI: Our Verdict

We hope you found this ON1 Photo RAW vs Luminar comparison useful. As you can see, these are two very different software options that both use AI technology. Due to their major differences, we can’t pick one as the superior option. Instead, we’d recommend ON1 Photo RAW 2022 for professionals and Luminar AI for beginners.

If you need software for extensive file management and high-end editing, ON1 Photo RAW 2022 is the clear winner. It has a superior range of editing tools and fantastic file-management capabilities.

If you want photo editing software for basic use or for fun, Luminar AI is the better option. It is much cheaper, it’s easier to use, and it makes photo editing quick and convenient via the suite of AI tools.

About the Author
Paul Skidmore

A seasoned content creator at PhotoWorkout, Paul merges his love for traveling and photography to craft insightful articles. With a solid grasp of Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, he enjoys testing new photo software, apps, and gear. His background in web development further enriches his photography endeavors.
Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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1 thought on “ON1 Photo RAW vs Luminar: Which Is Best?”

  1. I use Luminar 4 and Luminar AI which is quite difficult to me. I don’t know what are the main differences but Luminar AI is quite automatic which I do not like.

    Also, I find it controls me and cannot get the results I got when using other programs. So, it is very difficult to me to be able to find and editing program not difficult, neither complicate. Also, I do not like editing photos too much, but photos edited by other people I find them so beautiful! Please, do you have any advice? Thank you very much.