A photographer’s review
I recently needed another new keyboard as I wear them out very quickly. I’m a full time IT guy and a part time photographer/creative so when I was saw a Facebook advertisement for the Logitech Craft keyboard, I decided to investigate further.
I’ve been a long-time user of Microsoft keyboards, I’ve had the Ergo Pro, the comfort 5000 series and the standard 600 series desktop keyboards. I liked them all, they had a quality feel about them (except the 600 series), the keys felt good and provided good positive feedback.
So Why Did I switch to Logitech?
I’ve owned three of the Microsoft comfort 5000 keyboards and I use them both at home and at work. The issue I have with them is the keys, specifically whatever they use to do the lettering on them. I’m quite a heavy keyboard user at work, and at home since the Covid-19 lockdown and the lettering is almost gone from the most used keys on the keyboard in just over twelve months. Replacing a keyboard every year becomes a costly exercise, so I decided to look at alternatives.
There are a couple of things that attracted me to the Logitech craft keyboard. Firstly, the illuminated keys. I have a Razer laptop that I use when I’m on the move which has illuminated keys that are programmable using their Chroma software. While the Logitech Craft keyboard is illuminated, it’s just a single non changeable colour but I do like the fact they are illuminated.
Secondly, I like the low-profile keys. While the key travel is much reduced, they still give a good positive feel when pressed and you get good feedback from them. I find I make less typing mistakes on the Logitech craft keyboard.
The Creative Input Dial
The thing that intrigued me most about the Logitech craft keyboard was the input dial. Being a creative, I thought this would be really useful in applications such as lightroom and photoshop. I use a pen table for photo editing most of the time and manipulating sliders with it can be frustrating. I thought the input dial would give me a finer control over this and make it easier to manipulate.
To use the dial, you need to install the Logitech Options software which is a 200Mb download from the Logitech website. This allows you to configure the creative input dial for specific applications and customize the functions it performs. The prebuilt profiles are automatically downloaded when you launch the app for the first time after installing the software. I had issues with Lightroom Classic and the options software initially. It would throw an error when trying to delete images from the Lightroom catalogue, this does seem to have been fixed in the latest version.
Using the Creative Input Dial in Lightroom
Using the creative input dial in Lightroom is straightforward enough. It can be used in different modules in separate ways by choosing the contextual option in the options software. It takes some time getting used to there are some limitations with it. I was hoping to be able to set the crown up to scroll through images in the library module and tap to flag images but unfortunately this isn’t an available configuration.
In the develop module, the dial can be configured to switch through the selected sliders in the basic panel. Tapping the dial cycles through the sliders. Turning the dial then adjusts the currently selected slider. You can choose which sliders the dial will cycle through in the options software as seen below.
I have it set to cycle through all the tools except the vibrance and saturation. It’s also interesting to note that the profile doesn’t seem to include an option for texture. I assume this is a feature that was added after the profile was created. It may be updated sometime in the future.
Does it give more creative control?
I thought this feature would be a time saver, the reality is it’s anything but. The major issue for me is that cycling through the tools is a one-way thing. If I edit the exposure slider then tap the dial to move to the contrast and adjust that, if I then want to go back and adjust the exposure again I must cycle through all the tools. There is no way to cycle backwards. After a while, this gets frustrating. It does make adjusting the sliders easier that with a pen tool though.
I haven’t taken any time to setup or use the input dial in many other applications, Lightroom and Photoshop were the main two I purchased the keyboard for. Overall, I’m a little disappointed with the lack of configurability of the crown. Perhaps this is because I’m a little spoiled by the amount of configurability of the Wacom pen tablets. Perhaps if I set aside some time, I might find more uses for the input dial that make it more beneficial for me.
If I were to have the choice again, I’m not sure I would purchase the craft keyboard. I love the keyboard, it’s one of the best I’ve used and believe me, I’ve used a lot. The crown however is a little gimmicky. Logitech do a version of the keyboard call the MX Keys which is effectively the same keyboard minus the crown, and it’s £80 cheaper. This is the option I would go for given the chance to make the decision again. Logitech may well add more customisability in future verson of the options software.
Thanks for stopping by, I hope you found this post useful.
Have a good one.