There are many photography accessories out there that could be considered essential to our craft. These might be a tripod, a camera case or pack, filters, remotes…the list could go on forever. However, every now and then an accessory comes along that was not expected. That same accessory might just happen to solve a problem or make a process easier. It is rare when something that fits those two criteria arises, but when it does, it is special. The Loupedeck + might just fit that description. The Loupedeck + is the reiteration of the original Loupedeck, which was released in 2017. The 2017 version had major flaws, but was applauded for its innovative design. Fast forward to 2018, the Loupedeck +, essentially version 2, was released this fall. It has seemed to solve all the problems the original had and this could be one of those accessories that you need to add to your arsenal. Let’s start at the beginning though, what the heck is Loupedeck?!
What Is It?
Loupedeck is a Finnish company that originally got their start on Indiegogo (a site like Kickstarter). Their trademark product, the Loupedeck, received $400,000 in funding and started producing. The idea behind their product is simple, create a console that streamlines post-processing and allow creatives and photographers alike to work faster and more productively, and in turn, increase creativity. Loupedeck brought on several designers and engineers from Nokia to design their console. Like I said earlier, they started with a bang, achieving 488% of their goal on Indiegogo.
What Does it Do?
The original Loupedeck and the relatively new Loupedeck+ are essentially keyboards that are optimized for post-processing software. The Loupedeck+ is compatible with Windows and Mac, and works with Adobe Lightroom CC, Adobe Photoshop CC, Skylum Aurora HDR, and Capture One (beta integration right now). Loupdeck promises that additional processing applications will also gain support in the future. The console is an assortment of keys, sliders, and dials that correspond to common adjustments in post-processing applications. There are controls for selections and ratings, color management, lighting adjustments, and then controls that can take on functions, both set and customizable. It’s a pretty cool device, just think, you can rotate a dial on the console to tune to the exact exposure or saturation setting that you’d like. Now apply that for almost every adjustment you usually make to an image and you’re looking at a console that could be a huge time saver, not to mention, it’s fun to use.
A Closer Look
- Increased output and faster processing. Ease of use for photo processing.
- Intuitive control of Adobe Lightroom Classic and other processing applications.
- Improved workflow and more precise control over adjustments.
- Quick and easy editing, allowing user to possibly explore more creative avenues with their images.
- Seamless and intuitive collaboration between the eyes and hands, allowing users to remain focused on their image and the adjustments they make.
- Hands-on editing accessory that makes post processing fun
The main qualm with the first iteration of the Loupedeck was its poor build quality. It originally retailed for $400, and if priced that high an editing console MUST have a high-quality build. Many first reviewers and initial users noted that the dials and buttons felt cheap, and the user experience was not very good. The Loupedeck+ solves that. The build quality is light years better. Mechanical keys are sturdier, dials are more tactile, and the build quality is now a non-issue. The Loupedeck+ is a high-end editing console in every sense. Check below for an overlay of the various functions that the console allows.
Dials control contrast, clarity, dehaze, exposure, shadows, highlights, blacks, whites, temperature, tint, vibrance and saturation. There are sliders that control every color associated with HSL (hue, saturation, and luminance). Keys are dedicated to basic editing functions, like making selections and assigning ratings. The rest of the console is extremely customizable so you can assign keys and dials to your desired functions.
Personally, I am excited to add a Loupedeck+ to my gear collection. I spend a lot of time processing images in Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop, and I probably waste a lot of time trying to fine tune sensitive dials with my mouse cursor. Even beyond that, the Loupedeck+ looks fun to use. Most photographers live for the special moments they have in the outdoors and the respective images they capture during those moments. Most of those same photographers don’t like having to stare at a screen for a long period of time while they process those images. It’s a necessary evil, but this console honestly looks like it could spice up the editing process a little and make processing workflows more enjoyable. A big plus is the price has dropped way down with the release of the Loupedeck+. Instead of it being a $400 luxury accessory, it is now priced at $249 with free shipping directly from Loupedeck (https://us.shop.loupedeck.com/). Although, if you have some great images from a recent BCJ trip, Outdoor Photographer is holding one of their annual contests currently and a Loupedeck+ is included in the prize pack.
There are not many downsides that come to mind. The price is still fairly expensive, but if you spend a lot of time editing images, which many of us do, $249 is not much for a time saver. The other qualm is its lack of Bluetooth or wireless capability. The console is corded and requires a USB port. Not the end of the world, but something to note.
I’m excited to get my hands on one of these and hopefully showcase it at an upcoming BCJ workshop (maybe Yosemite!). If there’s anyone out there who is using a Loupedeck+, feel free to comment about your experience. It’s nice to see a new, innovative accessory on the market. We see so many new backpacks, tripods, and filters released, but not many cool, unique, and most importantly, useful pieces of gear like this. I can think of a few other new releases that have happened this year that are as innovative and I’m hoping to share those soon on the BCJ blog. In the meantime, check out the Loupedeck+ and let us know what you think.
Matt Meisenheimer is a photographer based in Wisconsin. His artistry revolves around finding unique compositions and exploring locations that few have seen. He strives to capture those brief moments of dramatic light and weather, which make our grand landscapes so special. Matt loves the process of photography – from planning trips and scouting locations, taking the shot in-field, to post-processing the final image.
Matt is an active adventurer and wildlife enthusiast as well. He graduated with a degree in wildlife ecology and worked in Denali National Park and Mount Rainier National Park as a biologist. He also spent 6 months working in the deserts of Namibia before finding his path in photography. Matt’s passion for the wilderness has taken him to many beautiful places around the world.
As a former university teaching assistant, Matt is passionate about instruction. It is his goal to give his students the technical and creative knowledge they need to achieve their own photographic vision. He truly enjoys working with photographers on a personal level and helping them reach their goals.
You can see Matt’s work and portfolio on his webpage at www.meisphotography.com