Finnish company Loupedeck released the second iteration of its photo editing device with the promise of a better build and new features. Just how good is this piece of equipment? Find out below.
I was sent the Loupedeck back in 2017 to review, and my thoughts on it were--meh. I can't say the device fit my style of editing. Although, I was clearly outside the norm as the Loupedeck continues to grow in popularity and as every tweet or DM I've gotten has been along the lines of a customer telling me how awesome the device is.
But now there's the Loupedeck+. The second iteration of this editing console. How does it stack up?
The Loupedeck layout didn't change much, but the keys are definitely more tactile and "clicky." The knobs feel the same on twists and turns, but the click function within the device is much more apparent and intuitive this time around. The feel of the Loupedeck+ still makes me wonder about its durability as it's still a plastic console. The company claims the build is better than its first version, but I can't say I notice much of a difference. The size of the device is still roughly 13-inches in length. Just about the size of a keyboard without a ten-key pad.
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New software updates
Loupedeck aims to make your Lightroom editing workflow faster. That was the first version of its software. With the latest software, Loupedeck is not only integrated with Lightroom to help with your photo editing but also Aurora HDR and Capture One. I think teaming up with Skylum was a big move from the Finnish company as it now allows other photographers to take advantage of the hardware even if they're not Lightroom users. In addition to these photo editing software integrations, there's also integration with Premiere Pro for editing video footage.
Just how good is this piece of equipment? When I discussed the original device, I explained that what Loupedeck offered as a way to speed up photo editing wasn't a great fit for me. I almost always use my mouse or Wacom tablet in my photo editing workflow. The mouse and Wacom stylus allow for much more freedom and ease of use when I activate the brush tool within Lightroom.
I still feel this way today with the newer version of the Loupedeck software. I can see why some enjoy this software, but it's not for me. I spent too much time shifting the Loupedeck+ on my desk to make room for a Wacom tablet. Yes, you can customize buttons for your own use, but there's no button that can recreate the same sensitivity and accuracy of brush the way a stylus can.
I will say that the integration with Premiere Pro makes more sense for my use case. As a matter of fact, it's pretty awesome. I had some trepidation when I first tried the Loupedeck+ because I'm pretty comfortable with using keyboard shortcuts in Premiere Pro to edit video footage. Any computer geek will tell you that keyboard shortcuts are much faster than using a mouse.
Loupedeck clearly took this into consideration and integrated the general keyboard shortcuts into the device. For the most part, the key assignments are pretty intuitive and didn't take much for my brain to get used to the new key locations versus a standard QWERTY keyboard. Shuttling through my footage was quick and easy. Setting in and out points as well as setting cuts was easy. The game changer is the color correcting ability on this device.
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I know I said that the photo editing workflow didn't work for me. Well, the video editing does. The beauty of using the Loupedeck+ to correct color is the fact that you don't have to be within the Lumetri color panel. Just turn the applicable knob for exposure, saturation, contrast and so on and your video will be manipulated. You can tab through your other settings with ease and continue to make fine color adjustments easily. Even better, the idea of turning multiple knobs simultaneously is efficient. When I wasn't clicking around trying to find a specific LUT pack or filter to use on my footage, the Loupedeck+ really made color correcting fast and much easier with its analog input.
I only have two complaints about my Loupedeck+ experience. First, the software. Installing Loupedeck software on Windows 10 wasn't as simple as I assumed it would be. Then again, it may have been a Microsoft problem. After four or five reboots, OS updates, and re-installs, the software worked--to an extent. I noticed the button settings wouldn't work if my VPN was activated--very odd to me. As long as the VPN was off when I fired up Premiere or Lightroom, the Loupedeck button settings worked without a hitch. (Yes, I turned VPN back on after the apps were successfully opened.)
My second complaint is the slight lag when color correcting in Premiere Pro. If you increase the exposure by half a stop, there are a few milliseconds of delay before the slider moves on your computer screen. It wasn't terribly slow, but slow enough for me to notice.
At one time you could get the Loupedeck+ for $249 online or via the Loupedeck site. I think this value is better than the original Loupdedeck as it has software for more than one product. This is by far less expensive than the Palette editing consoles. There's definitely increased time saved in my video editing workflow. Have you grabbed yourself a Loupedeck+? What are your thoughts on this device? Tag me on Twitter or Instagram with your thoughts.
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