Change the Way You Edit Photos With Loupedeck+

I have to admit, when I first saw the Loupedeck on Indiegogo two years ago, I wrote it off, but after trying it, I now realize just how incredible this piece of hardware can be for photographers. 

What Is It?

The Loupedeck+ is a photo-editing "console" (keyboard with knobs) that was created to help you edit photos more quickly. It takes the digital sliders in Lightroom and makes them physical buttons and knobs. In theory, the Loupedeck+ should have everything you need to cull and edit an entire photography job without ever reaching for your keyboard or mouse. 

Build Quality

The biggest complaint users had with the original Loupedeck seemed to be surrounding the build quality. I never used the original, so I can't compare it directly, but the version I have, the Loupedeck+, has been significantly improved. Obviously, it's not going to compete with the build of other color control panels, but it's literally 1/50th of the price. The Loupedeck+ is plastic, but it still felt sturdy, similar to any midrange keyboard. Most of the knobs can twist and press in, and the keyboard keys have a satisfying feel.  

Setup

Setup could not have been easier. After going to Loupedeck's website, downloading the Windows driver, and then plugging it in via USB, the Loupedeck+ just worked. I had no connection issues, no glitches, no complex customizations. You just turn the knobs on the Loupedeck+, and it will change the corresponding settings in Lightroom.

Using It

One thing that keeps me from enjoying a lot of new tech is the learning curve. If I have to spend hours, days, or weeks learning something before I can actually start enjoying it, I'm probably just going to give up. I fully expected that to the be case with Loupedeck+, but once again, I was wrong. 

I rarely use Lightroom, and I personally have a really hard time finding certain options and settings scattered throughout the menus. The Loupedeck lays everything out right in front of you. Without watching a tutorial or reading a manual, I was using more features in Lightroom via the Loupedeck+ than I ever had with a mouse and keyboard before. Having everything spelled out right in front of you, encourages you to play, test, and learn. If you turn a knob and you don't like the outcome, you can just press the knob in to reset that option back to zero. 

After just a couple of minutes, I no longer needed to even look at the develop sliders on the right side of Lightroom, and instead, I focused exclusively on the photo I was editing. After about 15 minutes, I had already memorized where all of my favorite knobs were. 

Many of the buttons are also totally customizable. If you want access to a specific slider, you can put it right where you want it. If you have certain photo presets you love, you can always have them one button press away. 

There's no doubt that the Loupedeck+ will save you time right out of the box, but if you spend a little extra time learning what every button does and customizing it for your preferences, you'll be able to cut even more time from your edits. 

Price

When the Loupedeck first launched, it was $300. Today, you can buy the updated Loupedeck+ for $250. It's certainly not cheap, but it's actually cheaper than I expected something this specialized to be. If you're the type of photographer who could use this, $250 is an extremely small price to pay for the amount of time this thing can save you. 

Who Is It For?

If you're a commercial photographer, the Loupedeck+ probably isn't for you. You're most likely using Lightroom to quickly cull and then using Photoshop to edit very small batches of photos using a mouse or tablet. Even though the Loupedeck+ does now work with Photoshop, having another item on your desk might actually slow you down. If, however, you are shooting and delivering large numbers of photos, the Loupedeck+ is definitely for you. 

Loupedeck+ also works with Adobe Premiere, and if you find yourself tweaking the color on a bunch of different clips, this could also be a big time-saver for video editors as well. 

The biggest group of photographers that could benefit from the Loupedeck+ are wedding photographers. I was a wedding photographer for 12 yearsm and editing was the worst part of the job. The Loupedeck+ would have not only made the editing process more fun, but it would have actually cut my editing time by hours for every single job. I also think that the Loupedeck+ would have inspired me to do a better job editing. Little details like cropping or adding a vignette were just barely annoying enough that I might overlook them unless they were totally necessary. With the physical knobs right there, I'm encouraged to use more of the editing features in Lightroom, because it's so convenient.

If you're a wedding photographer, you should absolutely buy this today, but even if you don't shoot weddings, you still might find tremendous value in this product. If you're the type of photographer who is doing most of your editing in Lightroom, and you need to burn through hundreds or thousands of images as quickly as possible, you're going to love Loupedeck+

Log in or register to post comments

30 Comments

On my Mac I use the alt or ctrl key for adjusting my blacks and whites and also for selective sharpening and noise reduction. I see this has a alt and a ctrl key on the left, does this work the same by pressing one of those buttons and using the dials?
I hate editing with my macs trackpad and this looks like something I would enjoy using.

Eric Salas's picture

If they paid you guys to write these articles (assuming so since this is the second in a few days) at least get them to throw a discount code for us.

It only helps everyone...

I made my own but it’s a good tool to have.

Ariel Martini's picture

The biggest apparent downside for me is that when I look at a photo I know it needs around +5 shadows for instance. With a mouse, or with a wacom tablet which is what I actually use and is faster than a mouse, you can just click the bar at around the +5 position and go from there. With this, you have to twist the knob from 0 to 1 to 2 .. until +5.

I found my hands faster than any other device after working for so many years.

Inderjit
www.colorblindproduction.net

Rob Mitchell's picture

2nd article I read about this device that suggests you’re having fun editing because of it. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t loathe twiddling the knobs in LR to tweak and process, but fun? I guess I’ll have go buy one to find that bit.
Or maybe not, I’m still not 100% convinced it’s any quicker than my Wacom, programmed Wacom hot keys and keyboard shortcuts.

Lenzy Ruffin's picture

The fun factor of buttons and dials is definitely a thing. When I switched from Canon to Fuji, setting exposure using a dedicated dial for each setting somehow became more fun than what I was accustomed to doing.

There is something to being able to make an adjustment physically rather than virtually. Probably not the same thrill for everyone, but there is something to it.

I have a Wacom that I was never able to get comfortable with, but I think this device or one of its competitors will be able to speed up my editing and make it more fun.

It just way more natural to use knobs or even real sliders than focusing your eyes on your mouse pointer hovering over a virtual slider.

Eric Raeber's picture

Another alternative which I am very satisfied with is the ShuttlePRO v2 by Contour design: controller in the left hand and the Wacom pen in the right hand.

I love my Shuttle Pro and use it more in Premiere. The jog dial is very pleasing when adjusting a slider.

duesudue wedding's picture

The idea is amazing but at the end loupedeck get lightroom slower. So I prefer the spped of my hands!

ale

www.duesudue-wedding.com/en

I'd need 3 or 4 extra custom knobs that could be used for anything to be really useful. For landscapes, I really would need a dehaze knob. Vignetting knob would be good as well, and same thing for sharpening/denoising.

Lenzy Ruffin's picture

There's a pricier option from a company called Palette Gear that lets you buy knobs, buttons, and sliders a la carte, assuming one of their preconfigured packages doesn't have what you need.

Hopefully, LoupeDeck will fully support Capture One soon because their system is much more affordable than the Palette Gear system.

Jeroen Bouman's picture

Lenzy, how does LoupeDeck+ work with C1 right now for you?? PLS share your experience.

Lenzy Ruffin's picture

Jeroen Bouman, I don’t have one. Loupedeck currently has beta support for C1 and I’ve seen a couple of people in the comments section of other similar articles say that it’s not ready for prime time yet.

Jeroen Bouman's picture

Thanks Lenzy, that's what I've been reading on PhaseOne forums as well.

Get a MIDI Controller like the Behringer X Touch Mini and you can have all this for a fraction of the price. Actually my configuration provides vignetting and all controls for sharpening.

Ian Oliver's picture

D1 is Dehaze by default and Fn+D1 is Vignette. D2 is Lum Noise and Fn+D2 is Details. But yeah, a couple more knobs would be nice.

I've been playing with it a bit. In some ways it's good and in some ways not. I'm thinking I'll keep it but still have a week to decide. From a build quality standpoint my primary complaint is the button travel is about 5 miles. Much shorter travel and a slight bit more back pressure on these would be good. I've still not got use to the color wheels but we'll see. Backlit keys would be nice

It took some fiddling to figure out where to put it on my desk. I finally placed it above my trackpad (iMac pro) and tilted up slightly.

I'm a big fan - I like how you can make simultaneous adjustments - if you know where you want to go, it's definitely faster. Been using it for a year in both LR & C1.

David Pavlich's picture

My son's a wedding photographer and bought the first iteration and is still using it today. He tried to sell me on it, and while it's a way cool gizmo, for my sort of shooting, it wouldn't help much.

Jay Jay's picture

You've got several typos in your story (including misspelling the name of the product itself). Whether this article is a paid advert or not (you did provide a link to the product no less than 6 times, after all), it would be fair and balanced to suggest alternatives, such as the Behringer X Touch Mini, which is vastly superior to the Loupedeck due to its massive banks of button assignments and rotary dials, when paired with the freeware Midi2LR app. Also much smaller and because everything is laid out close to each other, allows you to navigate everything by touch alone, so you never have to take your eyes off the screen when editing. And it's small, small enough to sit next to your computer without taking up room, can be set up horiz or vert, and can be tossed into a laptop pocket easily.Rotaries are much more precise than using sliders as well. The X Touch is only $50 on Amazon and plenty of youtube videos of how to configure and use it for LR.

Also Pfixer from Pusher labs is designed for many common midi controllers. Excellent software and customer support. $99, but lets you bring your own device to the party and switch as needed.

Jim Bolen's picture

I got the newer version about a month ago and really like it. Editing time came down, which of course is a big plus. My only complaint is that I wish the color dials were actually knobs. That's the only thing I would change.

What type of work do you use it for mainly?

Jim Bolen's picture

Architecture, real estate and portraiture.

Seriously considering this. It will shine when doing large amounts of repetitive editing such as weddings.

Jim Bolen's picture

I use to do lots of weddings, and I can't imagine how much faster it would have been with the Loupedeck. I have the C5 button set up as a delete permanently action. That, and quickly being able to flag photos is a big time saver.

wish it had it's own editing software or that it supported other editors.

Saad Khan's picture

Does it work with Adobe Camera Raw? That's what I use to edit. Flame me later for it, but if it works and will cut down on editing time I am all for it. Unless other suggestions and options for something similar but works as well or better. Thank you!

If Adobe Camera Raw can be controlled through keyboard shortcuts you can use MIDI controllers with Bome Midi Translator Pro.

I am currently running a series on using MIDI with Lightroom.

Part one contains a comparison of MIDI vs. Loupedeck and Palette Gear: http://www.aperturized.com/essays/2019/01/controlling-lightroom-through-...

Part two focuses on the MIDI hardware: http://www.aperturized.com/essays/2019/01/controlling-lightroom-through-...

And part three will be released next Sunday releasing my complete configuration for the Behringer X Touch Mini.

Depending on the controller MIDI can be way more flexible than Loupedeck and even much, much cheaper (~70$). However the initial configuration can be a pain. But in the end you have the configuration that is optimized to your personal needs.