Wednesday, October 18, 2017

New Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic CC

Jeff Carlson (MacRumors):

Adobe is introducing Lightroom CC, a brand new, cloud-centric desktop application for Mac and Windows. At the same time, the application formerly known as “Lightroom CC” has been updated and rebranded as Lightroom Classic CC. The core Lightroom experience is at the heart of both programs, but they have different strengths and limitations, especially at this early stage of Lightroom CC development.

For people who do not yet use Lightroom, or have been told by friends that they should use it but were intimidated by it, Lightroom CC should be a welcome introduction to the Adobe ecosystem. For photographers who have used Lightroom for years… it’s complicated.


Adobe is stressing that both Lightroom desktop applications are in active development. Lightroom CC is the choice for a cloud-centric experience, and Lightroom Classic CC is the choice for customers who have more advanced needs that the desktop-centric version addresses.


All Lightroom products now require a subscription. Lightroom CC 6.x will be the last stand-alone, non-subscription version that Adobe releases; it will be updated for bug fixes and camera compatibility through the end of the year.

It’s also a price increase. I purchased Lightroom 6 for $149 in May 2015, which works out to $4/month over 30 months. To get Lightroom Classic CC 7.x, I’ll have to pay $10/month—and also get Photoshop, Portfolio, and Spark, which I have no use for. Still, I’m eager to try it because it’s supposed to be a lot faster.

Jeff Carlson:

This is a big shift. I’ve been using the new Lightroom CC for over a year as it has progressed from a little technology preview called Nimbus (demo’d in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it slot at last year’s Adobe MAX event) to the polished 1.0 application we see today. It’s great, and the performance is stellar, but it does require that existing Lightroom users put some thought into how they’ll use it.

Go read the article. I suspect this move might confuse a lot of people—no, Lightroom Classic isn’t going away; yes, Lightroom CC is probably going to be the sibling that gets the most attention.

The question is, will Lightroom CC gradually evolve to do everything Classic can do, and then replace it? Or is this going to be like Aperture and Photos where the more featured app stagnates and is eventually killed with nothing to replace it?

Update (2017-10-20): Peter Krogh:

Lightroom was developed in response to this new market reality. Adobe took the Camera Raw engine from Photoshop and grafted it on to a database, creating one of the most successful applications in the company’s history. Lightroom was developed by a small team working inside Adobe, essentially functioning as competition to the flagship product. If Adobe had put all their effort into shoring up Photoshop, they would be in very serious trouble right now as a preferred tool for digital photographers.


But the architecture of Lightroom as a desktop application simply cannot be stretched enough to create a great mobile application. The desktop flexibility that has powers such a wide array of workflows can’t be shoehorned in to full cloud compatibility. The freedom to set up your drives, files and folders as you wish makes a nightmare for seamless access. And the flexibility to create massive keyword and collection taxonomies does not work with small mobile screens. After years of experimentation, the only good answer was the creation of a new cloud native architecture. As with the creation of the original Lightroom, this was done by taking the existing Camera Raw imaging engine and bolting it on to a new chassis – this time a cloud native architecture.


Just as the advent of Lightroom did not kill Photoshop, the introduction of Lightroom CC will not kill Lightroom Classic. It’s a hugely popular program for an important part of their customer base. And creating a cloud-native version of the software, instead of trying to shoehorn the program into a workflow it did not fit, frees up resources to make Lightroom a better desktop application.

Tom Hogarty:

No, we’re not phasing out Lightroom Classic and remain committed to investing in Lightroom Classic in the future. We know that for many of you, Lightroom Classic, is a tool you know and love and so it has an exciting roadmap of improvements well into the future. But please hold us accountable as we make updates in the following months and years to let us know if we’re meeting your expectations.

Paul Parkinson:

I still think the use of “Classic” is unfortunate. Classic denotes something old, venerated but old. To give the Desktop version this name whilst, at the same time introducing a new product with the old product’s name strongly indicates that the new product is a REPLACEMENT and not an ADDITIONAL product.

It would have been cleaner, clearer and altogether more reassuring to have “Classic” called “Lightroom Professional” or “Lightroom Pro” with the new product taking a different Lightroom nomenclature.

Rick LePage:

I understand the anger that some people have about subscription software—I have subscription fatigue myself—but there are clear, good alternatives out there right now if you don’t wish to be part of that world: Phase One, ON1, Alien Skin Software, and Macphun, among others. [Disclaimer: I have worked for ON1.] Do you have to make concessions based on which product you use? Absolutely, but you’ve always had to do that, even if you used Lightroom. There is no ‘perfect’ product.


If you’ve been wishing for a true, device-independent, cloud-based photo workflow, Lightroom CC will be hard to beat: even in its initial implementation, it is a better ecosystem for the photographer than anything Apple or Google has tried to do. In fact, I believe that this is what Google tried—and failed—to do a few years ago with their higher-end Google Photos initiative.

Matt Kloskowski:

Lightroom CC has the same tools that Lightroom (Classic) has. So think of it as a hybrid of sorts… it’s for people who like to take photos but probably aren’t using a DSLR most of the time. And they want some more powerful editing controls, as well as the ability to have those photos on any device (laptop, tablet, phone, desktop).

Matt Kloskowski:

They’ve also added something called Range Masking to the Grad filter, the Radial filter and the Adjustment Brush. It’s a way to help your adjustments blend (with a mask) based on color or luminance. And even though I’m mentioning it last, it’s actually one of my favorite things.

Anyway, I did a quick 10 minute video that shows you the changes below.

Richard Butler:

With the company stressing ease of use of the latest version, they probably don’t see it that way, but it’s clear that the user who upgrades their camera and their software only occasionally has no place in Adobe’s shiny new future in the cloud.

In my look back at my excitement surrounding the development and launch of Lightroom v1.0, I said I felt that the subscription model “runs counter to the longevity benefit of building a database around my images”. I stand by that.

Update (2017-10-23): Chuq Von Rospach:

My take, but I admit to just starting to dig into this as I dig out from the trip I just finished, is that other than the name change, if you’re using an Adobe product, nothing really changes (with one exception). So if you went to bed using Adobe Lightroom CC, you’re now using Adobe Lightroom CC Classic. If you had no real interest or use for the mobile stuff, you still don’t, even though it’s now rebranded to be “the” Lightroom.

But this clearly makes Adobe’s plans obvious, but not really a surprise to anyone who has been paying attention to their Mobile endeavours: the future is cloud. which I fully think is the right strategy in the long run, but in the short run, I just returned home with 1300 RAW images (68GB!) and no, the cloud isn’t my answer any time soon.

Eli Schiff:

Let’s talk Adobe icon updates.

Update (2017-10-26): Mark Fletcher:

We liked the power of Lightroom, but it’s almost impossible to share a catalog between two people. It just wasn’t designed for that.

Update (2017-10-27): Jeff Carlson:

I just received an email saying my copy of Capture One Pro 8, which I got two years ago to review for Macworld, is no longer being supported. (The current version is 10.0). So, someone who bought Capture One Pro for $300 two years ago needs to pay $99 to upgrade to version 10. Two year cost: $400.

Adobe’s Photography Plan subscription is $10 per month, which includes the latest versions of Lightroom and Photoshop (and now also includes the cloud-focused Lightroom CC). Two year cost: $240.

See also: MacInTouch.

Update (2017-10-29): Rick LePage:

Adobe’s $120 per year for Lightroom (both versions) and Photoshop is a good deal. It is made better by the fact that Lightroom really is the best product for most photographers in the market, but if you don’t like Lightroom/Photoshop, or are upset about Adobe’s policies, there are many alternatives in the market for you to use.


One refrain that I am hearing from folks who are intrigued with Adobe’s new stuff is this: if you do wish to move forward with the new plan, it’s going to ultimately cost you twice per month (or more) than you were paying before, and that’s only for 1TB of cloud storage.

Update (2018-03-02): Michael Yacavone:

Adobe would do well to have an “easy on, easy off” policy on subscriptions. $50 cancellation fees and hidden term lengths are customer hostile. (BUT! investor friendly.)

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The other thing to note is that the new version no longer available in a non-cloud version, which is something Adobe promised they would keep around:

Q. Will Lightroom become a subscription only offering after Lightroom 5?

A. Future versions of Lightroom will be made available via traditional perpetual licenses indefinitely.


If you want a standalone, grab it now:

Lightroom 6 is the last standalone version of Lightroom that can be purchased outside of a Creative Cloud membership. There will not be a Lightroom 7 perpetual offering. Lightroom 6 will remain for sale for an undetermined amount of time, but will no longer be updated with camera support or bug fixes after the end of 2017. Lightroom 6.13 with support for the Nikon D850 will be released on October 26, 2017.


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