LightZone Photo Editing Software is Now Open Source and Completely Free

ScreenHunter_16 Jul. 09 11.27

Photographers still irked about about Adobe’s decision to make Photoshop rental-only have a new alternative with the re-release of the pioneering LightZone application as a free, open-source program for Windows, Linux and (eventually) Mac OS.

LightZone, initially released in 2005, was one of the first programs to offer 16-bit. non-destructive editing of RAW images, plus the ongoing ability to selectively withdraw adjustments and innovative batch-processing options.

Light Crafts Inc. sold Windows and Mac versions of the program until 2011, when the company abruptly shut down. Within a few months, fans had formed the LightZombie Project to keep the software going, and Light Crafts released its code under an open-source license.

Windows and Linux flavors of the new version 4.0 were released a few weeks ago.  Mac users can download a beta version of 4.o or stick with 3.9.2, the final commercial release. The new version includes all the old tools users relied on, including detailed tonal adjustments, plus a slew of new RAW profiles.  Check here to see if your camera is supported in the RAW profiles yet.

ScreenHunter_17 Jul. 09 11.27

The commercial versions of LightZone drew consistent praise from serious photographers, including a Macworld review that compared it favorably to Adobe and Apple competitors and concluded: “If you long for simplicity in photo editing in an un-bloated piece of software, give LightZone 3.0.6 a try. Its unique visual approach to editing, time-saving Styles, and well-designed help system will aid the learning process.”

LightZone: Open-source digital darkroom software (via PDNPulse)

  • Mike

    It’s quite nice.
    It’s REALLY good for freeware.

  • Mantis

    Sweet. Now if it still works with Lightroom plug-ins i’m in.

  • Frode Hegland

    Cool. Chuffed means happy in British English though. :-)

  • fdefewfd

    open source is great.
    the program is not yet a real competition to soft from adobe or apple etc.
    but if the open souce scene will be behind this it could be a great program one day.

  • noisejammer

    Yep… that caused more than a little bewilderment for me too. Last time I looked, the photographic community was certainly not chuffed with Adobe. I’d be astonished if that had changed…

  • Renato Murakami

    Oh man, not to offend anyone, but that… french? accent was hilarious.
    Anyways, looks like a very good product.. will definitely check out!

  • David Becker

    There goes my credibility right into the wheelie bin. But that’s one handsome chicken in the screenshot, isn’t it?

  • trialex

    How does it compare to other free open source products such as RawTherapee?

  • Jason

    I was assuming you were being a bit sarky – that would have worked.

    Nice chicken indeed.

  • Perceptivelight

    This is a rooster or cock not a chicken, which is appropriate in this instance because once a cock has mated with a chicken he inflates all his plumage and shakes. At this point the cock is said to be chuffed. So related to the human experienced of the same act he might be happy or relieved. Do cocks ever feel happiness. Hmm perhaps they do. But with regards to Adobe’s cloud solution I’m not thats after years of paying inflated Australian prices…

  • the_gator

    Downloaded it and it works really well. Being open source it’ll probably keep being improved often.

  • 9inchnail

    You think a lot about cock, don’t you? Why? Do you love cock that much? Where does your obsession with cocks come from?

  • Greg

    Does ‘Chuffed’ mean something different in America? (first line) In the UK it means happy.

  • salvadhor

    Works great on Linux. Maybe it’s not advanced as Darktable or Rawtherapee, but good enough to get fast and nice results (styles). It’s also worth to get familiar with zone system, to work efficiently on LightZone.

  • Jim K

    As a longtime user of Lightzone and a purchaser of the ‘lifetime’ version, I’d like to thank Fabio Riccardi for allowing this program to go open source. For photographers interested in enhancing their photographs similar to a darkroom process, you’ll find a lot to like in Lightzone. Non destructive editing, masks are ‘automagic’ with each tool that you drag onto your ‘stack’—this software was the fastest way for me to take an image and get to print.

    It’s definitely not a ‘pixel pushing’ software package like Photoshop. There’s really no healing brush (clone and spot are OK, but clunky). Noise reduction is pretty rudimentary. But the relight tool and tonemapper, combined with the ability to easily mask and use blending and opacity on each tool—once you get it, you may love it. It’s great for doing B/W conversions and toning as well…

    Cheers to the team and user community for keeping this one alive!

  • LeedsAndDC

    You guys ever try GIMP?

  • IGnatius T Foobar

    Will this program be the Photoshop killer that all the bigots claim GIMP isn’t?

  • Max

    Now, add some slideshow plugin, and im in it