OK this may turn into a bit of a rant but please bear with me. The titles of this post is "Much Adobe about nothing" which as you can tell is a bit of a spin from the title of the movie "Much Ado about nothing". A couple of weeks ago Adobe announced changes to their popular software Adobe LIghtroom and the Internet was ablaze with the headlines and cries by pundits etc bemoaning the new situation.
Lets take an objective and level headed look at what was actually announced and what it really means for the photographic community.
What was previously Lightroom CC , the application that resides on your Laptop or desktop has been renamed to Lightroom Classic . The "Classic" moniker represents the fact that this version of Lightroom remains dedicated to the traditional or classic model of software residing on the hard drive of a PC or MAC and all functions of the software being run on the device. Adobe could have used the name Lightroom Legacy or Lightroom Traditional or Lightroom Desktop, which all paint the same picture of how this version of Lightroom is to be used.
What was once Lightroom Mobile has now become Lightroom CC , that's right (The best marketing plan was to create confusion among your user community). This version of LIghtroom can only be used in the cloud via the subscription model. Adobe introduced two subscription plans for this version.
The Lightroom CC plan which comes with 1TB of cloud based storage at a price of US $9.99 per month.
The Photography plan , which includes Adobe Photoshop CC, Lightroom Classic and Lightroom CC with 1 TB of cloud storage for US $19.99 per month
In another bit of confusion the old photography plan (US $9.99 per month), which consists of Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom classic is still available and has benefited from the addition of Lightroom CC with 20GB of cloud storage. In my opinion this is the best option , you get access to everything with out a hike in price.
Although there was some confusion around the new naming convention, what really drove the buzz on the internet was the announcement that in Lightroom 6 will be the last version of the software that can be purchased outright via retail. All future versions of the software will be sold via the subscription model under one of the plans outlined in the previous section.
This announcement enraged quite a few persons and led to shouts of defection which seem to be rooted in the absurd notion that paying the retail price meant that you owned the software. Lets be clear on this , you never owned the software. You were truly mistaken if you thought that because you received a nice box , a manual and a couple of CD's you owned the software. You did not, you were provided with a License to use the software and to install it on a given number of PC's or MAC's . You did not own the code, you did not have access to the base code. You were given a license to use the compiled version of the code for the lifetime of that version.
When the next version came out you had to pay an upgrade fee to upgrade your licences to the new version You were provided with new CD's and a new license. So this idea that you owned the software is bull crap. You rented it . Yep you rented it and by the way you paid a higher price for using the software when compared to the subscription . That's right you wasted money.
Retail version of Lightroom 6 sells for US $149.00 on Amazon , which if broken down over a 12 month period would be approx. US $12.42 per month. This gives you access to only Lightroom with your nice CD's and manual and pretty box. At $9.99 per month you could have gotten Lightroom Classic, Lightroom CC and Photoshop CC (sorry no pretty box and manual). Hmm, I am going to stick with the $12.46 because I own the CD and manuals and the box (is that rational thinking).
If you are a photographer who has access to high speed internet, is always on the go and can benefit from having the majority of your library in the cloud , the new Lightroom CC option may make perfect sense for you. The new CC has improved functionality and can sync edits across mobile devices. Which means you can start an edit on your Mac , jump in the car with your I pad and while sitting in the doctors office complete the edit.
If your work flow is more traditional but occasionally you will need to have access to files on the road then the traditional photography plan which now includes 20Gb of cloud storage would be the best fit for you. If none of these options strike your fancy and you are thinking of leaving the Adobe ecosystem then this is a good time to make that move . There are number of very capable and strong editors on the market from vendors such as On1, Topaz, Skylum (Macphun) and Caoture One. In the following series of blog posts i will give my opinion on the options.
Until then happy shooting.