Lensfun

Updated with more complete lens correction testing

I wrote the other day about Affinity Photo, a great looking Photoshop replacement for people who just want an alternative or who are tired of the subscription model that Adobe has migrated to with Creative Cloud.1 It’s a great looking program with plenty of power and capability. It does, however, fall short of Adobe products in a few areas.

The most noticeable compromise to me so far in my admittedly early stages of familiarization with the program is that of lens correction. Affinity has lens correction, and it works, but it’s based on the Lensfun open source lens calibration library. Based on their own news feed, Lensfun hasn’t been updated since November of 2015. It’s also not a full calibration for the lenses that are in the database – some have distortion correction, but not vignetting or TCA (transverse chromatic aberration).

I ran a test with one of my lenses and couldn’t tell the difference between the developed RAW with lens correction on and with it off, . According to the Lensfun database of supported lenses, it should correct distortion, TCA, and vignetting for that lens, so I was a little confused. Then my friend Allister Jenks pointed out that the setting probably only takes effect after opening a new RAW file instead of for the currently open file – in other words, it’s probably taking effect when the file opens in Affinity Photo.

Sure enough, that did the trick, and I can see the difference.

Another one of my lenses is only on the list in a very old model and not the newer model with vibration reduction. Whether the glass is the same or not, I don’t know, but since the lens identifies as a different model, it’s probably a moot point anyway. I haven’t tested it to be sure, but I would think the lens identifier has to be an exact match.

To make matters weirder, Serif seemed unaware that staying on top of lens correction was really all that important:

I don’t see how you really become a true Adobe competitor without this feature, and without keeping it useful (a.k.a., updated). Time will tell what Serif does.

By the way, Allister also informed me that Serif is planning a DAM (digital asset manager) along the lines of Lightroom. I can’t wait to see it.

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  1. Although, honestly, the Creative Cloud Photography bundle of Lightroom and Photoshop for $99/yr is not a bad deal. Price isn’t the only consideration, however.