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LumaFusion vs DaVinci Resolve: Which iPad video editor should you use?

Looking to upgrade from iMovie, but not sure which video editor to choose for your iPad? Here's how to decide.
LumaFusion (left) vs DaVinci Resolve logos
LumaTouch | Blackmagic Design

You've got an iPad or iPad Pro and you want to use your tablet to edit videos. 

There are plenty of options out there, but you'll find two are considered the cream of the crop – LumaTouch's LumaFusion and Blackmagic Design's new DaVinci Resolve for iPad.

But which should you use? 

Also: The fastest way to access your iPhone camera: Change 1 setting

It depends on your needs. We'll go over the key differences.  

Specifications


LumaFusion

DaVinci Resolve

Hardware compatibility

iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Mac running Apple M1 chip or later

iPad running A12 Bionic chip or later (iPad Pro M1 or later recommended, as earlier iPad models may be restricted)

OS compatibility

iOS/iPadOS 15.4 or later, MacOS 12.3 or later

iPadOS 16.0 or later

Price

$29.99

Free

In-app purchase

Storyblocks - $9.99/mo, 69.99/yr

$94.99 to upgrade to DaVinci Resolve Studio

Size

200MB

2GB


You should use LumaFusion if…

LumaTouch LumaFusion editing screen with video in the upper right, icons in upper left

LumaTouch LumaFusion

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

1. You want to get editing fast

One of the great things about LumaFusion is that it's super easy to use. Designed for the ground up for the iPad and iPhone, it makes high-end video editing accessible to those with little or no prior experience. While my main video editor on the Mac is Adobe Premiere Pro, I do use DaVinci Resolve Studio a lot, but I spend a lot of time researching how to do things in it.  

2. You don't already use DaVinci Resolve

If you're not bringing with you a whole bunch of DaVinci Resolve experience, then LumaFusion is the best choice. 

3. You want a low-cost option

At $29.99, LumaFusion offers lots of features for a price that's hard to beat.

4. You want a solution that will work other devices

LumaFusion will work not only on your iPad, but also on your iPhone and Mac (and you only need to buy one copy as long as the devices all share the same App Store account), whereas DaVinci Resolve will only run on the iPad. (A separate version of DaVinci Resolve is available for Mac and Windows, but if you want the Studio upgrade, you will need a separate license for iPad and Mac or Windows.)

Also: My favorite iPad stylus and keyboard aren't made by Apple

5. Touch is your primary method of interaction

LumaFusion is perfect for those who use their fingers as opposed to the Apple Pencil and a keyboard, and is even easy to use on smaller devices like the iPhone.

You should use DaVinci Resolve if…

DaVinci Resolve showing video at upper left

DaVinci Resolve

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

1. You already use DaVinci Resolve on your desktop or laptop

This is a no-brainer. No point relearning a new application, especially if you plan to make serious use of the app on your iPad.

2. You've got a new M2 iPad Pro

DaVinci Resolve is a total powerhouse on the new M2 iPad Pro. It's just like being in front of DaVinci Resolve on a desktop system. And if you have an Apple Pencil and a keyboard, then you've got everything you need.

3. You don't want to pay

DaVinci Resolve is free. Yes, free. $0. 

Also: The best free video editing software

When I installed this app, I expected to be bombarded with prompts begging me to pay the $95 for the Studio upgrade. That didn't happen -- you only get prompted to upgrade if you try to use a premium feature. All the basic tools you need to edit video are available at no cost.

4. You want to get serious about video editing

DaVinci Resolve is a serious tool, and it gets even more serious if you upgrade to the Studio version. If you want to learn how the pros edit video, then this is the path to take. Just be aware that there's a lot to learn about using the app at that level.

Alternatives to consider

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