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.
Profoto said it spoke with Godox back at Photokina 2018 and continues to contact Godox in an effort to stop it from marketing its V1 light.
Product renders in Italian publication Notebook Italia show an unusual design that conceals all cameras with the help of a slider mechanism.
Canon says its new EF 400mm F2.8L IS III and EF 600mm F4L IS III lenses can suffer from an intermittent flickering when shooting video in M or Av modes with certain cameras.
Leica recently announced the Q2, a digital rangefinder with a fixed 28mm F1.7 lens. It's a heck of a lot of fun to shoot with, but is it right for you? Based on our time with the camera, and its specifications, we've examined how well-suited it is for common photography use-cases.
Now that our Panasonic Lumix S1R has final firmware, we couldn't wait to get out shooting with it - and we also tried the high-res mode, which combines files to get 187 megapixel images. Because sometimes, 47 megapixels just isn't enough.
DroneShield has announced a partnership with NASCAR to use its trifecta of drone-disabling technology at events held at Texas Motor Speedway.
In this article, travel and landscape photographer Mitch Green encourages us to spend more time in the the field.
the lens lacks any electronics whatsoever and is constructed entirely of glass and metal. Of course, that comes at the expense of weight — this thing weighs in at 1.1kg / 2.43lbs.
Drones can be useful tools in urban areas, where they're utilized for everything from news reporting to building inspections, but flying in these areas requires careful preparation. Here's what you need to know to do so safely.
Hasselblad has released a new cable release and USB double battery charger for its X1D medium format camera .
After a report published by NBC News, Flickr has taken heat for allegedly letting IBM 'scrape' photos for use in its facial recognition datasets. But the problem isn't what it seems on the surface.
Samyang has announced the impending arrival of the AF 85mm F1.4 FE lens for full-frame Sony cameras.
Some Photoshop shortcuts are simple and obvious. Others, not so much. Here are 15 shortcuts that are actually useful.
Twitter has redesigned its in-app camera for easier access from the timeline screen.
Independent cinema lens manufacturer SLR Magic has announced it will offer all of its existing MicroPrime range in the Fujifilm X mount and has even created a Fuji-specific 12mm lens.
We've updated our buying guides with three more cameras: the Canon EOS RP, Nikon Z6 and Olympus E-M1X.
CFexpress 2.0 cards will come in three different form factors, each of which will offer different maximum speeds.
Lensbaby has added a third tilt lens to its Optic Swap system, this time a 35mm lens, adding to the existing 50mm and 80mm options.
Sigma has released firmware updates for a number of its lenses as well as its EF-E adapter to address various errors and features with Canon, Nikon and Sony cameras.
We've added the Fujifilm X-T30 and Sony a6400 to our 'Best Cameras under $1000' buying guide. These two mirrorless models pack in a lot of features for just $900 body only.
Instagram, Facebook and other Facebook-owned services are down for users around the world.
Think Tank Photo has unveiled its new Vision series of shoulder bags, including the Vision 10, Vision 13 and Vision 15.
The OPPO Reno series will be launched on April 10 but some details have already been spotted on the web.
Insta360 has unveiled its latest camera, as well as a new VR headset app and a specialized smartphone cover that makes it possible to view 3D video on standard smartphones.
A fresh crop of ready-for-anything compacts has been added to our buying guide – just in time for Spring Break.
At the Hydrogen One launch RED promised a range of bolt-on modules designed to expand the device's feature set. However, there is now doubt if those modules will ever be released.
Due to growing concerns about drones around regulated airspace, no-fly zones in the United Kingdom will be more than four times larger than before starting March 13.
Huawei clearly hasn't learned its lesson and once again has been busted for trying to pass off DSLR photos as images taken with one of its upcoming smartphones.
A compact camera reached speeds of 264 miles per hour during a test to demonstrate the dangers presented by normal domestic objects flying around during tornado.
The Fujifilm GF 100-200mm F5.6 covers a range equivalent to 79-158mm when mounted on a GFX camera. It's also a medium-format Fujifilm shooter's longest zoom option for the foreseeable future – take a look at some sample shots.