What is a Loupedeck? It’s a keyboard style photo & video editing tool that allows you to adjust physical controls, instead of sliders on a digital screen! It enables quick and efficient editing for your imagery and video in applications like Adobe Lightroom, Capture One, Premiere Pro, and more! Today, we’re going to dive into a Loupedeck CT review; the “CT” (Creative Tool) is  designed to enhance your workflow even further, and honestly, look really good on your desk!

Loupedeck CT | What Is It?

 

As mentioned above, the Loupedeck CT (Creative Tool), is a modernized control panel for content creators that puts all the digital tools for your photo and video editing needs right at your fingertips. Giving you a consolidated, travel friendly, and potentially more efficient tactile tool for your workflow. (The predecessor, the Loupedeck +, was at least twice the size, and very useful in its own right!)

The Loupedeck CT takes advantage of a touch screen digital panel to create an incredibly customizable workspace/interface. In other words, you now have a whole collection of digital buttons that can become whatever tool you need, and they can even become additional tools simply swapping through the programmable buttons!

 

[Related Reading: Loupedeck+ Review: A Big Improvement From The Original]

Loupedeck CT Review | Quality

This small yet mighty tool is designed and manufactured to deliver a premium editing experience in every way. With its high-quality aluminum cover and dials, touchscreens, LED backlighting, and high-quality ball bearings, the Loupedeck CT is a powerful and beautiful addition to your workstation.

The knobs feel fantastic and precise, the button haptic feedback also feels great, and the touchscreens are surprisingly responsive. Details right down to the packaging are fantastic as well, including the durable USB C cable that’s included. (No, seriously, this USB-C cable is still in perfect condition, even after stealing it to charge our phones all the time!)

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The only potential weakness is that, as you might imagine, this tool is still not indestructible, and if you cram it into your camera bag and let it get crushed by the weight of all your other gear, there’s a chance you’ll bend one of the knobs, or pop off one of they keyboard keys. So, it should go without saying, you’ll want to transport the Loupedeck CT with at least some form of protection and padding.

[Related Reading: 5 Tips to Edit Faster in Premiere Pro]

Loupedeck CT Review | Setup & Install

Loupedeck CT is ready to go right out of the box with a familiar and growing set of applications. Move freely between  Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop, Premiere, or even Capture One, Final Cut Pro, After Effects, Audition, Ableton® Live™, and more! …All from one sleek user interface that automatically recognized what application window and panel you’re working with, making transitions a breeze!

Now, here is where things get a little complicated: the learning curve can feel a little steep, at first, when setting up this beast to suit your custom workflow. Again, out of the box, nearly everything you’d “need” is present and ready to go. However, if you have your own way of doing things, you can expect to get quickly sucked into customizing each and every button and knob to do what you want. For some people this might sound exciting, while for others it might be a daunting task.

In the grand scheme of things, it’s not that hard to do, honestly. Both the physical device’s interface and the downloadable software is highly intuitive, and customizations are truly simple. Either way, it can still feel overwhelming at first glance.

Speaking from experience, it took me quite some time to settle on a workflow organization that I liked, through a period of trial and error. Thankfully, you can save multiple workspaces and switch between them easily, so again, it’s very easy to see what you like or don’t like with the Loupedeck CT.  Also, of course I actually messed up a a few settings, and thankfully you can easily reset either one button or the whole device back to a factory default.

So again, out of the box this thing is ready to go, but if you want to customize it, I’d recommend planning to dedicate quite a bit of time to it; read the user guides carefully, and check out the tutorial videos for each application that the Loupedeck team have created on their youtube channel.

Loupedeck CT Review | Workflow Integration

Like most external/physical editing consoles, this may not be for everyone. When I reviewed the first Loupedeck, I honestly didn’t feel like those devices were right for me either, because I came from primarily a photo editing background, and not video/audio.

After spending just a little time with the device and getting over the learning curve, however, I quickly fell in love with this console. I’m still not second-nature with it yet, as I’ve been spending more time customizing the layouts (again and again, it can be addicting!) in my search to find the ultimate workflow system.

That being said, the majority of the heavy-lifting has already been done for you when you first plug in the Loupedeck CT and install its software. It automatically knows which application you’re actively using, so it loads up the appropriate presets for each app. If you want, you can literally just plug it in, spend just a few minutes getting familiar with the software’s default settings, and get right to work from there!

Then, you can come back later, from time to time, and add minor customizations to various controls, as you get a feel for how you’d like to work.

Also, like the Loupedeck+, the buttons, dials, and touch screens respond and feel absolutely fantastic. They are all incredibly accurate to control, and it just feels like a better editing experience, especially when you have to make micro adjustments to photo editing sliders like your highlights/shadows, or advanced RGB color adjustments, etc.

So, HOW exactly could the Loupedeck CT integrate into your  ENTIRE workflow?  Here’s an example of just how frequently you might use this Loupedeck in a typical day of work at your computer:

  • Open, and switch between, key apps such as Adobe Lightroom/Photoshop/Premiere.
  • Open any routine task related apps, such as Windows Explorer, Apple Finder, etc.
  • Open and switch between entire workspaces, such as Apple Spaces (Mission Control) or Windows Desktops
  • Physically adjust editing sliders (you can customize which edits a physical knob controls!) …such as contrast, highlights, shadows, etc.
  • Physically control video editing functions such as pause, play, etc.
  • Quickly access commonly used tools in Lightroom etc.  such as healing brush, masking brush, etc.
  • Perform routine functions such as copy, paste, duplicate (virtual copy), etc.
  • Perform culling / sorting procedures such as pick/unpick/reject, 1-5 star ratings, color labels, etc.
  • Apply commonly used presets in Lightroom / Capture One etc.
  • Perform select common keyboard key functions such as enter, undo, save, or speaker volume, etc.
  • Display time & date, and/or a timer/stopwatch

…As you can tell, the Loupdeck CT is deeply integrated into your entire workflow, from start to finish. If you wanted, you could customize the CT’s dials and buttons (physical and digital) to control virtually everything, from opening Lightroom and importing photos, culling them, editing them, and even exporting the final results.

Loupedeck CT Review | Price Point / Value

At around twice the price of its predecessor, the Loupedeck CT has a price point of $558.  This can be a hard sale for anyone new to external editing consoles, although not at all for a seasoned pro who knows what tools they need to get the job done.

Either way, when you compare it to other devices out there, especially considering its forward-thinking capabilities such as the highly customizable digital display aspects, it’s an incredibly good value, period.

Lastly, if you are comparing the CT to the full sized Loupedeck +, I definitely prefer the CT. This truly feels like a seamlessly integrated, cutting-edge device that can be used along with your mouse/keyboard, whether you are at a desktop workstation or working with a mobile laptop environment.

Loupedeck CT Review | Who Is It For?

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[Related Reading: How to Edit Faster in Lightroom: 6 RAW Processing Tips]

The Loupedeck CT is aimed at all types of content creators who are looking for a way to make their workflows as precise and efficient as possible. That being said, it’s definitely a tool that mainly becomes worth its price if you are doing a significant volume of work, of course.

Like my previous review of the Loupedeck+, this device is therefore most ideal for working professionals who spend hours every day working on the same type of editing and retouching tasks. That is where saving a few seconds here and there on each image/file can add up to innumerable hours each day or each week, and can save you literally days of work per year!

While the device is loaded up with presets and ready to go in a Plug & Play fashion, I do get the impression that the people who will love the Loupedeck CT the most are the folks who do indeed love diving deep into fully customizing their workflow tools, to make their creative process feel as effortless as possible.

So, if you’re a professional editor who spends a TON of time at an editing workstation, using multiple creative applications, plus maybe some customized hotkeys and shortcuts, or especially if you’ve ever tried and liked anything such as a gaming console or other editing board, …then the Loupedeck CT could be a dream-come-true for you!

Loupedeck CT Review | System Requirements

  • OPERATING SYSTEM:
    • Windows 10
    • MacOS 10.13+
    • USB 2.0 A (USB-C to USB-A cable included in box)
  • SUPPORTED SOFTWARE:
    • Ableton® Live™ (v.10.0)
    • Adobe Lightroom Classic
    • Adobe Illustrator
    • Adobe Photoshop
    • Adobe Photoshop Camera Raw
    • Adobe Premiere Pro
    • Final Cut Pro X (v. 10.0) (MacOS only)
  • Note! Internet connection required to download Loupedeck software.
  • DIMENSIONS:
    • 160mm x 150mm x 30mm; weight: 365g

Loupedeck CT Review | Pros & Cons

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Pros

  • Looks and Feels fantastic
    • If you’ve ever been into a recording studio or a DJ booth, you’ve seen what similar looking devices, and this, really does, make you feel like some sort of superstar when you’re using it!
  • USB Cable is removable (and high quality), making it easier to pack and transport when not in use.
  • Can Speed up your workflow and provides a great tactile feedback device for editing
    • Precise controls allow for better feedback and adjustments
  • Compact and portable
  • Build Quality is SOLID (except for the keyboard buttons. See the cons list)! The device has a hefty feel to it that’s solid and responsive.
  • Fully customizable and programmable interface.
  • A plethora of editing software (and more) already out of the box ready to go!
    • Many default workspaces already preloaded for the supported software
  • Console recognizes each app automatically and swaps interface for you without having to manually reset / change.
  • Forward thinking device for multiple applications.
    • Unlike its predecessors, the CT being a touch screen and full programmable is the first in the lineup of the Loupedecks that be useful for more than just photo/video editing tools. With a simple firmware update and/or some custom tinkering, you can setup the console to work with nearly anything!

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Cons

  • Price point is pretty high at more than 2x the cost of the Loupedeck+
  • Learning/setup curve is a tad higher than the previous consoles.
    • While it has many controls & options ready to use out of the box, the customization can feel a tad overwhelming when you first start out. It’ll probably take you a little longer to get to a “comfort zone” compared to the previous consoles.
  • Wireless/Bluetooth isn’t available “yet”?
  • We recommended a dedicated, protected compartment in your camera / equipment bag

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Loupedeck CT Review | Conclusion

The Loupedeck Creative Tool is a pretty amazing product. It shows just how a company should evolve over the years, to meet the needs of its clients/users. If you’ve used external editing decks like the original Loupedeck, Loupedeck+, or any other other external editing devices, then the Loupedeck CT will feel amazing to use!

That being said, if all you do is edit photos in Lightroom, just a few dozen at a time, then something a little cheaper like the Loupedeck+ may be the better decision and easier purchase. Oppositely, if you edit in multiple applications such as the arsenal in Adobe’s Creative Suite,  or Capture One, or Final Cut, and more, than this CT is an absolute must have! Especially if you’re working on hundreds or thousands of photos at a time, or putting in a similar amount of work on any other type of content.

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If you’ve used any of the Loupedeck or similar products before, or have experience and any tips/tricks for customizing the CT, be sure to let us know in the comments below! All in all, we highly recommend the Loupedeck Creative Tool for all types of content creators, especially those who really appreciate highly customizable workflow systems. The Loupedeck CT is quite simply the ultimate all-around tool for such work!

Check Pricing & Availability:

Adorama | B&H | Amazon

Update – 2023-2024

The Loupedeck CT is now compatible with Capture One! Check out our full article and demonstration video HERE

8.4
Score

Pros

  • Looks & Feels Professional and Fantastic
  • USB Cable is detachable and durable
  • Build Quality is solid
  • Fully Programmable and Customizable
  • Console recognizes apps automatically and switches presets automatically
  • Future Proof by being updatable via a simple firmware update
  • Compact & Portable

Cons

  • Price is significantly higher than other console decks
  • Learning Curve is steep if you want to customize any settings
  • Wireless/Bluetooth options still not available
  • Buttons can be easily broken if not packed/cared for properly
Build Quality
9
Price
5
Design
9.5
Features
10

Final Verdict

While the price is a tad high, if you happen to edit in multiple applications such as Adobe's Creative Suite, Final Cut, Capture One, and more, than this CT is an absolute must have, especially if you're a multi-disciplined working pro on the road!