RIP Lightroom 6: Death by subscription model
In all the fanfare of the launch of its more cloud integrated, edit-anywhere Lightroom CC software, Adobe has made a lot of noise about ease-of-use and faster speeds, but it also quietly made reference to the death of the standalone desktop version, Lightroom 6.
With it, it feels like Adobe is turning its back on a certain type of enthusiast photographers: those users who enjoy and care about their photography enough to buy Adobe's products, but don't need to edit 'in the field' or have clients to justify the ongoing cost of subscription software.
|What's that, Granddad, software in a box? How do you get it onto your phone, then?|
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.
The tension at the heart of Lightroom
As I understood it, Lightroom was almost two pieces of software in one. In part it was an attempt to provide all the tools a broad range of photographers needed, without the cost and complexity of buying Photoshop. Photoshop's success and name recognition had meant that lots of users who didn't really need most of its capabilities, felt they had to buy it. Lightroom gave them an affordable alternative, and allowed Adobe to focus on their professional users (in both photo and non-photographic fields), with Photoshop.
But, equally, Lightroom was Adobe's attempt to bring an asset management tool to a wide range of photographers who suddenly found themselves generating and needing to process and store many more images than they had done before. Part of that management is archiving: the creation of a long-term library of work that you might want to refer back to and perhaps update.
The move to subscription only for Lightroom undermines both the idea of an affordable alternative also, significantly, the idea of an usable archive. While it's true that most households readily spend $10 per month for online streaming services, and many times that for mobile phone and data services, there will be a lot of users who object to the idea of having to pay, in perpetuity, for the continued ability to edit their own archives. Especially if their needs haven't necessarily changed and where there isn't necessarily an ongoing cost to the company.
Adobe seemed to recognize this when it chose to continue Lightroom 5 and then 6 as a standalone products alongside its CC software, and said it had no plans to move to subscription only. But it probably should've been obvious that this position had changed as the company buried the link to the standalone version in ever more obscure corners of its website.
Change vs long-term plans
Of course, there'll be plenty of users who are quite happy to pay for online storage and the access-and-edit-anywhere capability of the new system. Given how many attempts Adobe has made at solving this problem (I'm looking at you, Carousel/Revel), it'll probably be pretty good, despite my reservations about the effect on quality/stability that the move to constant updates has had on Photoshop. Overall, it's just unfortunate for people who don't particularly want that product.
At the risk of sounding older and more curmudgeonly than I really am: it's the principle of the thing. I've never had much sympathy for people expecting perpetual upgrades from Adobe, for free: if you spend hundreds of dollars on a new camera, it seems unrealistic to expect a corporation to accommodate that choice, unpaid. After all, you still had exactly what you'd paid for.
With a subscription model, that's no longer true. Instead you end up paying for support for ever more cameras you don't have and features you don't necessarily want, in the knowledge that you'll lose most of the software's capability if, for whatever reason, you don't choose to continue your subscription. The idea that your existing work becomes less controllable, less dynamic, is uncomfortable.
Why I'll be looking for other options
The idea of losing the ability to edit my existing files, even though my needs haven't changed is obnoxious enough that I don't want to further commit myself and my images to a Lightroom database.
That means foregoing the temptation to squeeze the last life out of Lightroom 6 by using the DNG Converter that Adobe, to its credit, updates for free to retain compatibility. Because one day there'll come an operating system that LR 6 won't work with, and my supposedly long-term solution will be reduced in utility.
All purchases are ultimately a balance between what the customer wants and the company is willing to give them, for the money. With this latest move, it feels to me like that balance has been lost: the move favors Adobe much more than it benefits me. The Lightroom I loved is dead, because apparently it's not a product Adobe wants to make anymore.
|times are tough by jp wildlife|
from Your City - Garbage
|After the Storm by Domenick Creaco|
Keith Ladzinski is a wildlife and adventure photographer and filmmaker based in Colorado. In this interview he explains the background to his most recent project, and looks back at what's changed since he bought his first digital camera in 2004.
Depth and focus in iPhone Portrait mode images can now be modified in Google Photos for iOS after capture.
Leica has announced the release of its latest compact camera, the D-Lux 7.
As a D750 owner and someone primarily concerned with still photography, DPR staffer Dan Bracaglia does not see a compelling enough reason to go Nikon mirrorless - yet. But that may not be the case for you.
Instagram has developed machine learning tools to detect the use of third-party apps that violate its terms and conditions.
According to reports the camera on some Google Pixel 3 devices crashes when accessed by a third-party camera app.
A handful of hotspots in Kansas City are banning photographers following a number of incidents from 'a few bad apples.'
New firmware for three Tamron zoom models makes the lenses work with Nikon's new Z mirrorless models and FTZ adapter.
Gentlemen Coders has released an update to RAW Power, its macOS and iOS photo-editing app.
Gimbal manufacturer Zhiyun-Tech has introduced zoom control as well as focus control for its new flagship model, the Crane 3 Lab.
We spoke to wildfire photographer Stuart Palley about his experiences shooting the recent Woolsey fire, why the Nikon Z7 isn't quite ready to take a permanent spot in his gear bag, and 'that' Tweet from Donald Trump.
Cinematographer Martin Lisius has shared the video and detailed the work it took to create his 16K HDR video titled "Prairie Wind."
The Z7 presented Nikon with a stiff challenge: how to build a mirrorless camera that measures up to its own DSLRs and can deliver a familiar experience to Nikon users. Chris and Jordan tell us whether they think Nikon succeeded.
National Geographic has shared a collection of entries hand-selected from editors showing off some of the best entries so far.
Rhino has launched a Kickstarter campaign for its new Arc II 4-axis robotic camera system.
Skylum Software will be supporting 10 artists on the EyeEm platform with $10,000 to help them focus on their photography.
Researchers have been able to exploit an iOS vulnerability in order to access photos stored in the Photo app's Recently Deleted folder.
Nikon's D3500 may be an inexpensive DSLR, but the company didn't cut corners when it comes to image quality. See how it handled fall colors and tropical seas in our sample gallery.
Nikon has released firmware version 1.02 that resolves a flickering issue when scrolling through images, an ISO limitation problem, and an occasional crash that could occur when displaying certain Raw files.
500px has announced an update to its Home Feed that's aimed at getting more photographers more exposure.
DxO announces the latest update to Nik Collection (version 1.1) that brings better compatibility, fewer bugs to the plugin suite it acquired from Google a year ago
The Nikon Z6's oversampled 4K video impresses in both our studio scene and real world shooting. See for yourself.
Bailey Richardson, one of the original 13 employees at Instagram, has deleted the app, saying it's lost its identity.
Fujifilm says firmware updates for its GFX 50S, X-T3, and X-H1 cameras are around the corner, with plenty of new features and functionality to boot.
NASA has shared satellite imagery of the wildfire that's been confirmed as the deadliest in California history.
Google has published a post, explaining the technologies behind its new Night Sight feature in detail, on the company's Research blog.
The new Lume Cube Air is a small, lightweight and affordable portable light source aimed at vloggers, casual photographers and other content creators.
Nikon USA has announced that its Z6 full-frame mirrorless camera will be shipping Friday, November 16th at a price of $1999 body-only and $2599 with the Nikkor Z 24-70 F4 S lens.
The Insta360 One X is the company's latest consumer 360-degree camera, supporting 5.7K video, including excellent image stabilization, as well as 18MP photos. And, in our experience, it's a really fun camera to use.