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The new Advanced Color Editor can make quite radical changes with minimal effort. In the version at right, I changed the blue car to green, and the Chevy logos from gold to blue within perhaps 15-20 seconds. It’s not perfect — traces of the original colors remain at their edges — but this could likely be fixed with a few minutes more work.

With just a few clicks, you can sample both your source and target hue, saturation and luminance values from the image with eye-droppers or set your chosen values directly. And you can do so multiple times at once for different color ranges, then brush the effect out of specific areas of the image which you don’t want altered.

The ability to completely change the color of a subject with just a few seconds work — turning a blue car into a green one, for example — is pretty cool. But honestly, I think this tool is even more useful for finer, more granular adjustments, making it easy to hone memory colors in your image to match their real-world equivalents.

Plenty of minor tweaks too, including on-import DNG conversion

Exposure Software has also made a few more minor tweaks for version X6. Of these, I think the handiest is the ability to convert your Raw images to DNG without leaving the app.

You’ll still need Adobe’s DNG converter software installed, as Exposure X6 relies on this to do the grunt work on its behalf. But you can now either convert individual images from the right-click menu of their thumbnail, or batch-convert all your images as you’re importing them to Exposure, saving you time and effort. And you can still choose the JPEG preview size, whether or not to embed the original Raw file or fast load data, and whether or not to compress converted DNGs.

An even better Lightroom alternative, and a worthwhile upgrade for existing users

Once again, I find myself impressed by Exposure X6, just as I was by its predecessor. At a relatively low cost and with a perpetual license which frees you from being nickel-and-dimed to death by subscription fees, it offers great image quality and a very generous feature set. And it does so while mostly matching or even exceeding its Adobe rival in terms of performance.

Are there some things I’d still like to see changed? Sure, in particular I’d like to see better preview performance for noise reduction. Plus, Adobe still leads the way in terms of the sheer number of cameras and Raw formats it supports.

I’m really rather impressed by Exposure X6. It comes pretty close to Lightroom’s image quality and performance, yet will start saving you money within a year or so of purchase.

And I still find Exposure’s non-modal interface leaves me doing a lot more scrolling than I’d like. But even as-is, I see this as a very credible rival for Lightroom, especially for the photographer on a budget.

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