On October 18th Adobe made it official that there are two different Lightroom tracks. The product that we have known for two years as Lightroom CC is now called Lightroom Classic and a new version became available to subscribers today.
The name Lightroom CC now refers to a different product, basically Lightroom in the Cloud targeted at clients with smaller photo libraries who want everything in the cloud and nothing stored on a local machine.
Are these different users? Probably. But to add to the confusion, your Creative Cloud Photography Plan gets you both, and both have local application installation requirements. Starting drinking now people, it gets muddier.
On a side note, Adobe has confirmed that there will be NO FOLLOW ON to Lightroom 6, the standalone perpetual license product. Adobe will not release a Lightroom 7 and will not sell Lightroom 6 directly. You may be able to purchase Lightroom 6 as a box software product but expect no updates or fixes because there will not be any. Period. Story is over. If you want Lightroom in any form, you buy a subscription.
There's already a lot of noise about folks planning a move to Macphun Luminar or ON1 Photo RAW 2018 because they are one time buys, although really they are good for about a year and then you buy an upgrade to the next version, which unsurprisingly happens annually.
Lightroom CC, or Cloud or Something...
Okay back to Lightroom CC or as I will be calling it for the short term at least, Lightroom Cloud. Why Adobe made the decision to choose these idiotic names is beyond me, but I can say that while this question was asked many times during the closed beta, the answer was consistent, the names are firm, they are excellent, get over it. Ok. Still stupid and confusing to existing customers. Holy confusion Batman!
What Adobe may actually think is that Lightroom Cloud will bring them a stack of new customers who have not been Lightroom users before. For their sake, I sincerely hope that they are right. My reason is simple. I've looked closely at Lightroom CC (cloud) and it does not have feature parity with Lightroom Classic. One could call it dumbed down. I would say stupidified, but that could be confused with stupefied and I would never want to so insult Al Capp's Stupefyin' Jones from the funny pages of yesteryear and as portrayed on Broadway by Julie Newmar (MEOW!) Anyhow...
For those of you who are too young to remember Julie Newmar when she was a big star, I include two images for your remembrance. She was an acclaimed dancer, who appeared on Broadway but is best known for being the first of three actors to portray Catwoman on the Batman TV show in the 60s, and by popular vote, the greatest.
I completely agree that this digression regarding Julie Newmar has absolutely NOTHING to do with Lightroom CC. My mind just went off on a track when I wrote STUPIDIFY and I decided that you, faithful reader, could come along.
Lightroom CC is ok. So long as you don't want the flexibility to do everything that you can do today with Lightroom CC. The software is free and you even get 20GB of Adobe storage for free. Twenty whole gigabytes! Wow! That's, well that's less than one third the capacity of the cards that I use in all my cameras, which are 64GB. You can of course have more cloud storage. It's $10 USD per month per terabyte. If I were to take the months it would take to upload my photo library, I would be paying over $80 USD per month for storage alone. Thanks, I think that I'm going to pass on this amazing opportunity.
Who Is The Target User?
So who is the customer for Lightroom Cloud? A user who wants Lightroom like power, but doesn't want a traditional CC subscription and has no problem paying big bucks for storage, which in fairness includes backup. This is for a casual photographer, who doesn't have or is not likely to build a large photo library. This user probably shoots in JPEG because they don't want or need significant processing capability and are concerned about file size. This user's most likely output will be Instagram or Facebook, not prints or even large on screen images.
This is a real market. The Photographic industry gets it. These are people whose idea of a good picture is one off a smartphone but they want better quality without extra kit and the need for computer skills. Instagram has proven that millions of people will post and edit photos if it is simple and all the editing can be done with a preset or a slider. Mind you, the photographic industry as we know it is bound to one of those rollup pieces of plastic we called sleds when we were kids and is on a steeply pitched icy hill, so it needs to grab money wherever it can get it.
That market is not me. If you are serious about your photography, it's probably not you either. So if photography is a big part of what you do for enjoyment, a job, or your part time gig, you can safely ignore Lightroom CC (cloud) because there really is no value add. If you are one of the folks mentioned in the prior paragraph, it may be worth a look, but you do have to install an app on your PC or Mac, and that may be more than folks who live by presets are willing to do.
BTW, if you read this and get all offended because I said that JPEGs are less useful for editing than RAW, please go calm down and don't bother writing in. I deal in facts and that a JPEG fine has typically 73% of the original data discarded before being created on the card is a fact and that much data loss means that you've lost image quality. Have a different opinion. Awesome, I really don't care.
Now in terms of using both versions of Lightroom. In a stunning continuance of user hostility, all the work that has been done for years in Lightroom Classic to distinguish between folders and collections just got run over by a Shinkansen. That's right, while Lightroom Classic is based on Collections, Lightroom CC is based on Collections. Called Folders. I swear that these people aren't working on the same planet.
Lightroom CC is a new offering, for what I, and many other industry pros, identify as a new customer base. If it's not for you, the real Lightroom still exists, is called Lightroom Classic and there is no plan for it to go away that Adobe has even hinted at. Some of the new features such as Range Masking are pretty darn awesome and there are even select performance improvements.
If you have the CC Photography Plan and use Lightroom Mobile from the old Lightroom CC or Lightroom Classic, Lightroom CC (cloud) uses the same Adobe storage structure as does Lightroom Mobile, so everything that you have in Mobile is already available to CC. The sample below was not loaded to LR CC, it was already in Mobile and you can see by double clicking the editing toolset. Useful certainly but not feature complete like the toolset in Lightroom Classic
Thus, you can play with Lightroom CC easily if you already have the Photographer's Bundle, just be aware of bandwidth and storage requirements when uploading your RAWs from your new massive megapixel camera. It could get really expensive and really slow, really fast.
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I'm Ross Chevalier, thanks for reading, and until next time, peace.