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Skylum Luminar Neo latest: "early" February 2022 is the expected launch date

Skylum Luminar Neo
(Image credit: Skylum)

Back in September 2021 Skylum announced its new Luminar Neo product, saying it would be launched “this winter”, together with early-bird pricing and pre-order offers. "February 2022" is now the official target.

Details were pretty scant when we first reported on Luminar Neo back in September 2021, and while Skylum has firmed up the feature list for Luminar Neo and embarked on a strong 'Preorder and Save' campaign, with feature descriptions and video, all we've seen so far are idealized renders and video, and no actual screenshots. There is no beta version as yet.

Skylum says it is pitching Luminar Neo at more advanced creators: “As the latest member of the Luminar family, we designed Luminar Neo to allow artists to take on more challenging image creation work and achieve results which often seem unattainable.”

Like Luminar AI and Luminar 4 before it, Luminar Neo will leverage Skylum’s ground-breaking AI imaging technology to offer previously unattainable (or difficult) image effects and a much simpler route towards creative images for users who don’t want to get bogged down in sliders and technicalities.

Our understanding is that Luminar Neo will be a more advanced addition to the Luminar family and not a replacement for Luminar AI, though things change pretty fast at Skylum, and until more is known about Neo it's going to be pretty tough for potential buyers to figure out which to go for.

The original plan was for Luminar Neo to be released "this winter", so technically February 2022 still counts as "winter". But a 5-month gestation period between a product announcement and its availability is a long time for photo-editing software.

Luminar Neo is promising automatic dust spot removal. (Image credit: Skylum)

Automatic background replacement for portraits looks pretty clever too. (Image credit: Skylum)

Luminar Neo details

Key features in Luminar Neo will include:

• New relighting options, via depth analysis and subject recognition

• Blemish and object removal, including automatic sensor spot removal 

• Background replacement for portraits – we’ve already seen the Portrait Bokeh feature in Luminar AI

• Round-trip mobile image management – potentially the biggest news of all – via a new companion mobile app. This is one feature sorely missing from the current Luminar line-up and an essential element for the kind of audience Luminar appears to be aimed at.

Luminar Neo will also have ‘AI-driven compositing’, so it will see a return to the image layers dropped from Luminar AI. Skylum says an all-new processing engine will offer much faster performance, which will be welcome because Luminar AI is certainly not the fastest photo editor we’ve used.

So far we have no actual screenshots from Luminar Neo, though the Skylum website has feature descriptions and videos. (Image credit: Skylum)

Skylum Luminar Neo pricing and availability

There’s no definite indication of what the interface might look like or how it will work, so in the words of camera makers, this is probably more of a development announcement than a product launch. If you're convinced already, you can save money by pre-ordering, or get a combo deal on Luminar AI now, and Neo when it arrives.

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Rod is the Group Reviews editor for Digital Camera World and across Future's entire photography portfolio, with decades of experience with cameras of all kinds. Previously he has been technique editor on N-Photo, Head of Testing for the photography division and Camera Channel editor on TechRadar. He has been writing about photography technique, photo editing and digital cameras since they first appeared, and before that began his career writing about film photography. He has used and reviewed practically every interchangeable lens camera launched in the past 20 years, from entry-level DSLRs to medium format cameras, together with lenses, tripods, gimbals, light meters, camera bags and more.