Pusher Labs’ physical controllers make it easier than ever to edit in Lightroom

by Gannon Burgett

posted Wednesday, October 21, 2015 at 3:24 PM EDT

Digital photography workflows are wonderful. Not only are they less mess to deal with, but compared to the days of fixer and stop bath, they’re far more time efficient. That doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement though.

Enter PFixer, a new and innovative way to edit photos from Pusher Labs that not only provides a tactile feel to a digital workflow, but can also speed up your editing by bringing Lightroom sliders into the physical world.

The premise is simple: take an MIDI controller, most commonly used in the music world, and customize the buttons, sliders and dials to control certain parameters within Lightroom such as exposure, contrast, straightening and so on.

While the hardware is unarguably the component most used, it’s the software behind the technology that makes Pusher Labs’ concept so powerful.

While you can use the default settings that comes with the PFixer and PFixer Core software, such as layouts used for Motibodo and the now-defunct VSCO Keys, you can also customized the mapping of the supported controllers. This gives you the ability to entirely customize your experience to fit your unique workflow.

PFixer comes in two varieties: PFixer.lr and PFixerCore.lr. The former of the two is the full-blown version that gives you complete access to over 200 Lightroom functions, complete mapping control, trackpad gesture support and the ability to save and share unlimited layouts and mappings with other photographers. The PFIxerCore version is the lighter version of the two, giving you access to 30 key Lightroom functions, the ability to assign MIDI shortcuts and up to 4 Develop Presets.

Both versions work with Adobe Lightroom 4, 5, 6 and CC on OS X. PFixer costs US$99, while PFixerCore will set you back only US$19. In order to play around with PFixer beforehand, you can access a free 15 day trial.

Pusher Labs started off with a very large Behringer BCF–2000, which when paired with its PFixer software, could easily control parameters in Lightroom with the simple slide, turn or tap. The only downfall is that the Behringer carol fader was rather large, making it very much an at-home device only.

Since then, Pusher Labs has released the MiniMal, a much smaller device based on the new Behringer X-Touch Mini. When combined with the full version of PFixer, the MiniMal is capable of giving you real-time access to 76 of Lightrooms functions, presets and brushes.

The video below by YouTuber and photographer David Iliyn shows just how the MiniMal works in his workflow and how much time it’s saved him when editing wedding photos.

You can purchase both the Panel Bundle and MiniMal bundle from Pusher Labs for US$359 and US$179, respectively. Each comes with the respective Behringer board, PFixer and a custom overlay so you can have labels on all of the dials, sliders and buttons.

For more information, head on over to Pusher Labs’ website and check it out. We’re currently working on getting our hands on one for testing, so keep an eye out.