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LightZone 3.9 Review

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PROS / Easily edit photos to get the desired look fast, non-destructive editing, the browser is a great way to organize photos.

CONS / May be too simplistic for pro users, the main target; pricey.

 VERDICT / Pro features and tools, but easy-to-use makes this a solid photo editing app.

Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from the comparison since it is no longer readily available for purchase. You can still read our original review below, but TopTenREVIEWS is no longer updating this product’s information.

LightZone 3.9

Light Crafts LightZone is a pro-level photo editor that keeps things simple while still giving users full control over their edits. Like Aurora, its consumer-oriented sibling, LightZone will appeal to those who want to work fast and not have to deal with numerous, confusing controls. Plus, Relight alone is a great tool to get the desired exposure from photos.

It sits at number six on our list; it's a powerful but very easy to use app to get fantastic results. However, some pro and power users may not like the simplistic tools and features, and the price is a bit steep, matching Adobe Photoshop Elements 8. Check out our photo editing software for Mac site for an in-depth look and side-by-side comparisons.

Editing Tools

Though Light Crafts considers LightZone to be a professional photo editing software application, its user interface is clean and easy-to-use. In fact, it's one of the easiest of the apps on our list. Quickly get great results from your photos without the steep learning curve seen in other photo editing apps.


Bringing photos into LightZone is very simple: either through the “Open” dialog box, or through the intuitive photo browser. LightZone also supports all cameras that shoot JPEG, plus those that shoot in RAW. From there, users can rate photos, perform simple edits (rotate), add filters and convert to a different format.

Import & Export Options

The user interface is very simple and provides editors with one of the easiest ways to edit photos, while still giving pro-level results.

One of the primary editing features in LightZone is the Relight tool. This can help bring out details in shadows while keeping highlights (brighter areas in the photo) from blowing out. This feature is also found in Aurora, but it’s a little more powerful here with controls to make custom changes to the image.

Other features include unlimited operational layers (non-destructive), RAW file support, edits can be done in specific regions and more. Another important feature is Styles, which helps to add some creative effects to photos, including High Dynamic Range (HDR), Sepia and others.

Doing these common editing tasks easily is one of the reasons why LightZone lands at number six on our list of Mac Photo Editing Software.

Sharing Capabilities

Unlike its consumer sibling Aurora, LightZone doesn’t have a simple way to share photos online or through email. But that may be all right for pro-level users that are looking to just do edits and keep their photos organized in the Browser. From their Mac, they can send photos out any way they wish.

Help & Support

Unlike other photo editing software, LightZone doesn’t allow users to change the format (i.e., JPEG, TIFF, etc.) when using the “Save As” function. Instead, users will have to use the convert option either in the photo browser mode (under "Browser, Convert Image") or in editing mode (under "File, Convert Image").

Only JPEG and TIFF are supported (but with many different file types, i.e., RGB, Photoshop, etc.), however, once the convert dialog box is open, there are many options to change Color Profile, Rendering Intent, size and more.


Light Crafts LightZone is an easy to use, yet powerful photo editing software app that can organize and edit photos quickly. However, with a lack of formats other than JPEG and TIFF to save to, and a price that matches Photoshop Elements, users may want to consider their options.

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LightZone 3.9