Lightroom CC after a couple of months use

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Andy Hewitt Veteran Member • Posts: 3,673
Lightroom CC after a couple of months use

Not really a review, but just a few observations and comments.

I've been using only Lightroom CC now for about a month, and partially for a month before that (and Lightroom Standalone from v4 before that). Starting out with the 20GB Photography Plan initially, mainly to get a feel for the 'cloud' based storage system, and multi device syncing, as well as try out 'new' Lightroom CC. Then after a few weeks I switched to the 1TB Lightroom CC only plan, migrating my catalogue, and uploading my entire collection to the cloud, and switching over fully to Lightroom CC.

It had occurred to me that there were a lot of missing functions, and maybe a few gremlins with it, but overall I felt the benefits outweighed the deficits.

Now I've had chance to push it a bit harder, doing some more re-organising, and a fair bit of re-editing, as well as adding a few more photos to the library, I have a better idea of how it works, or in some cases, doesn't!

Firstly, am I happy with the choice? Short answer, yes. Overall it performs well enough for basic editing needs, and certainly does enough for most hobbyists. The 1TB storage is ample for me, probably for a number of years. My library is 546GB, and has taken 18 years of digital cameras, 12 years with DSLRs and Raws, and a few generations of film negatives scanned in too. I'm not as heavyweight with the photo shooting these days (although health issues have slowed me down a lot this year), so the remaining storage allocation should be sufficient for a good 10 years.

The good bits:

  • It's fast enough, when it's working well, editing works about the same speed as Classic. Certainly when compared to other similar apps it is anyway.
  • The UI is simple and easier to work with, and feels 'clean'.
  • I don't have to worry about backups as much (although I do use local storage at the moment, and still use my separate archive folder setup). With all originals being stored in the cloud, that does take care of off-site storage. I realise that is only working files, and does not offer incremental backup, but my most important copies are there at least.
  • Raw format compatibility is just the same (as Classic), and so far I haven't come across any other DAM or Raw editor that is as compatible with all the different formats I have used over the years.
  • The Sensei based search is really quite impressive, takes a while to index at first. Not perfect as yet, but works well enough.
  • Sharing across devices is flipping brilliant. I upload Raws from the iMac, and I use the Lightroom app on the iPhone to shoot DNG, which upload seamlessly. The missus can view them all on her laptop in a web browser, and even add her own images if she wants.

The bad bits:

  • It still has a lot of gremlins in the system, such as it can take a long time to settle down after launching, often up to 15 minutes, where it can be like working through treacle. Once settled though, it's quite nippy.
  • Performance can vary a lot. Sometimes the above happens, sometimes it can launch and be nippy straight away. Seems to be a lot of drive activity when it is going slow.
  • It syncs with the cloud immediately anything is changed, might be better if that happened after a delay. Having said that, I have tried pausing it, and that doesn't seem to make any difference to working performance.
  • Lots of missing information, very little showing in badge overlays, and nothing at all in Edit mode. Would be handy to be shown at least file types and some metadata.
  • No colour labels, although I didn't really find these all that useful to me, they are a bit of a big omission still.
  • Many parts of the UI needs improving. Particularly the Preset panel in Edit mode, it needs to be anchored somewhere, rather than disappearing every time you choose a different tool or view. Another is you can use Command-D to unselect all in filmstrip view, but you cannot use Command-A to select all - works OK in Grid view.
  • The Copy/Paste Edits function is a bit buggy, I often find it doesn't paste all settings (particularly Profiles). Trying to use the Auto option in Presets can be a bit hit and miss too, sometimes it works, sometimes not, often I get Preview bugs that show B&W instead of colour.
  • No external editor choices other than Photoshop CC, which you lose as well if you choose the Lightroom CC 1TB plan. Obviously you can still export originals and reimport after editing in other apps.
  • Importing is a bit basic, and all images get uploaded before you have a chance to cull and rate.
  • Keywording is very basic too. There's no easy selection list, you have to type them all in, and there's no saved cache of used keywords for 'suggestions' either.

Conclusion:

The reality of it is, it ends up with the edited images I want, with the organisation I'm happy with. It's full of niggles, but I'm hopeful many will be dealt with as they develop the software.

At the moment, I'm importing my SD cards into a folder first, then culling in there, then importing to the CC. I'm looking at using Bridge to handle that process, but that isn't without its performance issues, and bugs either. I'm thinking about buying FastRawViewer for that process, just need a spare £20 at the moment (other priorities for now, such as looking at upgrading to an SSD in the iMac).

I'm also maintaining my old Lightroom Classic catalogue, it's still intact on my internal partition, and I've found you can export any edited images from Lightroom CC, along with an xml sidecar file, that can be imported into Classic , even without the subscription. My intention there is to keep that updated in case I do find a replacement for the Adobe subscription model. I always had the idea to run with the CC account for the year contract, and see what else has developed by then - Maybe give time for Luminar to get its promised DAM, and for bugs to be sorted out.

However, despite the negatives listed, it is actually very good value for money, and I think it will be hard to beat, especially once they improve the feature set some more.

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Andy Hewitt

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