The Loupedeck is a recently launched photo editing console designed to speed up your workflow when adjusting images in Adobe Lightroom. Looking something like a DJ’s mixing desk, Loupedeck was developed by a team of ex-Nokia product developers and launched as a crowd-funded project last year.
Loupedeck is built exclusively to control Lightroom. The dials, buttons and wheels found on the Loupedeck are assigned and labelled specific Lightroom controls, while a few of them can be customised. Instead of navigating the screen with a mouse or trackpad to make the edit you want, the Loupedeck uses the specific dial/ button/ wheel on the Loupedeck to edit in Lightroom.
Loupedeck is aimed at both enthusiast photographers, as well as professionals, and offers a mix of dials and wheels and buttons, many of which you can customise to perform specific editing functions.
Loupedeck arrives in a stylish and luxurious black and comes pretty much ready to go. In the box, you’ll find a simple two-step instruction guide.
Weighing approximately 1Kg, it is 40cm x 15.6cm in size Loupedeck is a single, flat console about the size of a keyboard which is wired by a USB 2.0 cable which is a sufficient length. The cable passes through the back. It has a guided groove it should be threaded through and it just doesn’t stay there, requiring frequent re-adjustment.
Loupedeck has 58 separate buttons/knobs/wheels. There are eight wheels, labelled P1 through P8, that you can customise to adjust different Lightroom functions. There is also a C1 knob and C2 and C3 buttons you can also customise. All customisation is done via their own free desktop application.
On the left side of the console, you’ll find buttons to add quick star ratings (1-5; or you can opt to rate them by colours) to your images. Copy, Paste, Pick and Zoom buttons. A large knob to rotate and crop images. Undo and Redo buttons. Brush and Full-Screen buttons, and Hue, Saturation and Luminance buttons which you can press and then use your button controls accordingly.
You’ll also find on the left side of the console a customisable Fn button for use with the C1 knob, C2 and C3 buttons and the roles you have assigned them. In the centre of the Loupedeck and smaller knobs to adjust Contrast, Clarity, Exposure, Blacks, Whites, Shadows and Highlights. On the right is another Zoom button to view your image at 100% and your up – down – left – right arrow keys, knobs for White Balance, Tint, Vibrance and Saturation, as well as an Export button and another button that gives you a Before and After view of the image you’re working on.
It lacks feet at the back which would have been pretty useful to elevate the Loupedeck like a keyboard. Without that, it is more difficult to navigate. It is like typing on a flat surface and it is little angled but not enough.
The installation is super simple. Before you connect your Loupedeck to your computer you must download and install the Loupedeck software. If you’re new to Loupedeck you can also download User Guide. The connection is via a USB 2.0 cable and the software is available for free via the product website – https://loupedeck.com/setup/. I used the latest 1.52 version of the software to test the device.
Once the software is open, Lightroom automatically detects the Loupedeck USB connection and away you go. This review is based on using the latest version of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic CC version 7.2. Any desktop version of Lightroom from version 6.0 onwards is compatible with Loupedeck.
When you click on the Loupedeck app a window appears with a visual representation of your console. From here you can customise your P1 through P8 wheels to activate different Lightroom or custom presets, while your C1 knob and C2 / C3 buttons can be assigned to one of eight functions. You can also set your C1 knob and C2 / C3 buttons to perform secondary functions when used with the Fn button.
The most disappointing aspect of the build must be the buttons. The buttons move around when pressed and if you hit a corner of the button it may seem like you’ve registered the action, but nothing will happen. You need to hit right in the centre to ensure you’ll get the response. It’s poor execution here and doesn’t inspire confidence when the keys if you’re not looking right at them.
The app makes this incredibly easy to set up the console. If you find that all a bit overwhelming, Loupedeck can choose a suggested group of settings for you. Once you’ve customised Loupedeck to your liking, using it is memorising what does what.
Using Loupedeck can you ditch the computer mouse/ trackpad and keyboard entirely? Frankly, the answer is no – there is no cursor control on the Loupedeck. So, although it’s possible to zoom in on an image, you won’t be able to move around the image. Likewise, the adjustment brush can be selected, but not controlled.
You can use Loupedeck setup for serious editing as a control deck for selecting and operating functions and use a separate graphics tablet for controlling the cursor with a precise touch.
Clearly, a Loupedeck cannot provide direct control over every Lightroom function, but, users do not use every Lightroom function. For most of your image editing workflow, the Loupedeck had almost everything covered. There are several small details that Loupedeck does well. For starters, you can adjust simultaneously. You can turn one knob while twisting another and Loupedeck can handle it just fine.
You can also Undo edits and backtrack quite easily. With Loupedeck in Lightroom, I could undo several edits almost instantly by tapping the Undo button several times.
Another way to undo an edit you’re not sure about is to simply press down on Loupedeck’s dials and knobs to reset them to their original value.
Most impressive to me, though, was how fast Loupedeck works. Especially the latest version 7.2 of Lightroom Classic CC with its improved working speed makes the whole act a real breeze.
If I had found any fault with the Loupedeck, it’s probably its price. That too is solved by my dealer recently slashed price. Check his website at Videolinks for discounts on the original price making it cheaper than importing it and making it attractive buy.
I’m just not sure a beginner or even your average enthusiast is going to spend that much money on a console to speed up their editing workflow. If you don’t edit tons of images and are not making money out of them, investing in a device which can help you to speed up may not be worthwhile.
Loupedeck has plenty competition. Midi consoles available in the market for music can be reconfigured using MIDI2LR software. I personally use Contour design’s Shuttle Pro V2 () Which is far more versatile design and can be configured with several other photo editors.
Check the video below showing the same people who made the MIDI to Lightroom unofficially running reconfigured Loupedeck to work with Capture One Pro.
Since Loupedeck supports only Lightroom and nothing else (unless hacked using third party software) it is difficult to recommend to amateurs and enthusiastic Lightroom user. If you’ve been using Lightroom for a while with a mouse and keyboard, you likely have a few hotkeys/shortcut buttons you have memorized and don’t need to look away from the screen much. If you belong to that group I can’t see Loupedeck being useful to you.
I also miss that it is still wired. Having a wireless keyboard and mouse along with a wired console makes no sense in this wireless era. The price also may be a hurdle for many enthusiasts to buy this product. Lastly, Loupedeck is exclusively tied up with Lightroom. This makes no sense especially when you are paying such a high amount and you cannot use it for any other product other than Lightroom is a lame idea. I hope they will come up with a firmware update to help us use it for other apps too.
The purpose of the Loupedeck is to speed up your editing workflow in Lightroom. And on this front, Loupedeck succeeds. If you shot a wedding, you are bound to have a huge number of pictures which needs to be edited in Lightroom – Loupedeck will help you make your adjustments to the same high standard in record time.
I think Loupedeck will particularly appeal photographers who do client work and need to clear jobs quickly. Loupedeck is the perfect tool for their business.
Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this review. I received a sample Loupedeck for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience. I was not required to write a positive review. Some of the photos of the cabinets are used from Loupedeck website.