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Is Lightroom Classic end-of-life?

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Lots of people are expressing concerns about Lightroom being "on the way out". I've been mulling it over, and I'd love to get your thoughts on this logic (and to be clear, I don't have inside information in this)

Is Lightroom dying?

Since Wednesday's announcements, one of the main questions on everyone's minds is whether Lightroom (as we know it) is dying.

Adobe says it's not, but they also said they had no plans to remove perpetual licenses too, so can we believe them? I don't know what Adobe is planning, and none of us can foresee the future, but we can consider a little logic...

Firstly, what's causing the concerns?


Adobe released Lightroom CC

Yes, Lightroom now has a little baby brother. But Photoshop's had a baby brother for years without getting killed off, so that doesn't mean much.


They gave away Lightroom's name

That's more telling. They clearly see the new app as the future of Lightroom. But like any newborn baby, its current state gives few clues about how it will turn out when it grows up.


They called 'the old one' Classic

Some say that sounds like it's old and in its way out. Others think it's the dictionary definition of "of recognized and established value" or "traditional". The obvious solution would be to call it Pro, but that would suggest the new baby Lightroom wouldn't be suitable for Pros when it grows up. The fact they avoided that suggests they plan on making the new Lightroom CC suitable for pro workflows in future too. That's reassuring.


Classic didn't get many new features

It's true, it didn't get a long list of features. On the other hand, Lightroom users have been begging for performance improvements and bug fixes for years. They start working on these issues and now we're complaining? And why bother to work on these issues if they're planning to kill it off soon?


Learn from history

I can't foresee the future, although it would be a handy skill. We can, however, learn from what they've done in the past. Let's take Photoshop as an example. They announced that future versions would only be available on subscription, but they kept selling the perpetual license. Once the vast majority of users had moved to subscription, they then killed off perpetual. They've just done the same with Lightroom.


What can we learn from this? Adobe makes some weird decisions at times, but they are good at making money. They don't kill off a profitable part of their business until most customers have moved over to a new offering.


How does that help? Ok, let's assume that they're eventually going to kill off Lightroom Classic. History would suggest they wouldn't do that until they have a viable alternative for the majority of their customers. Not all, but most.


Now let's imagine that alternative-in-waiting is the new baby Lightroom CC app, all grown up. There are currently some major limitations that make it impossible for most users to migrate:

  • It's lacking important features. That'll take time to develop, and they're looking to the community to learn which features are most important.
  • It requires fast internet. Either the majority of the world needs superfast internet, which would take a long time, or they need some kind of selective sync, or local network sync, or...?
  • You don't want some or any of your photos stored in the cloud, either for privacy or space reasons. Ok, selective sync again? Some kind of local storage only switch?

Once they've addressed those issues - and no doubt a few more besides - then potentially Lightroom CC could have tempted most of Lightroom's users, and they could be in a position to kill of Lightroom Classic.


But that couldn't happen overnight, so how long would it take? I don't know, but that same time span also gives other companies time to develop other applications.


My point? Even if we assume that Lightroom is on death row, there's no rush to make a decision about what's next. So many things can change in that time. Lightroom CC may grow up to be even better than Lightroom Classic (they must have learned a few lessons along the way!!) or another company may bring out a new superduper competitor.


I'm not saying that is or isn't going to happen - I don't know the future any more than you do - but even if we look at a worst case scenario of our beloved Lightroom being killed off someday, logically there's no reason to panic anytime soon.
 
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I posted some hard hitting comments on the Lr Journal which, 5 days later, are still awaiting moderation. I do not want to post them here in duplicate, but I will post them here eventually if they are not published on the Lr Journal. I suspect the use of one or two of my phrases may parallel the use of "indefinite" by Tom in regard to perpetual licences.

No, some of mine are still in the mod queue too. Rikk (who I happened to have on Skype as I was reading this) just pinged Jeff to try to get them moving. They're just swamped by feedback right now. In many ways, it's a good thing, because it shows how passionate we all are about Lightroom.
 
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Well, it's good to hear that Tom really read this thread and responded. I wouldn't want to be in his shoes right now. And to make one thing clear: personally I do not doubt that Lightroom Classic will be developed further. Not 'indefinitely' :) perhaps, but at least for the next few years.
 
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Adobe hasn't entirely forgotten LR Classic. Here's a screen grab of a portion of an email they sent me:
2017-10-25 10_54_48-Inbox - hal.p.anderson@gmail.com@gmail.com - Mozilla Thunderbird.png

That email didn't mention LRCC at all, although if you followed the link, that page talked about it at the bottom.
 
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Nobody really knows. Stay tuned and Adobe will surely keep us informed.

-louie

In four years, after you spend another $480....

Tim the cynic
 
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Adobe hasn't entirely forgotten LR Classic. Here's a screen grab of a portion of an email they sent me:
View attachment 9994
That email didn't mention LRCC at all, although if you followed the link, that page talked about it at the bottom.

I just got an email that describes two great new photography applications: Lightroom CC and Photoshop CC. Not a word about Lightroom Classic... :(
 
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They must think you're its target market, Johan ;)
 
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They must think you're its target market, Johan ;)
At least we are at the point we can laugh about it (I hope).
What is interesting to me is the number of people I on other forums who are now looking to replace Lr, so far seems like a lot of noise but little concrete action. So maybe Adobe just hopes to weather the storm.

I have been having an offline discussion with one Lr user about protecting the portability of our digital assets; and part of the driver is Adobe's actions. The goal is to minimize vendor lock in, and also make it easier to share and pass on. So I started to focus on that aspect and have run across a tool called iMatch which has been around for almost twenty years which really only focuses on the DAM aspect and following documented standards. I have yet to install and play with it, but when you look closely at the company and the software from a review and forum perspective; it really is kinda interesting how many companies give lip service to standards but do not follow them. You see it with iMatch forums on how they have been adding special processing to handle what other vendors do which is non-standard. Really kinda interesting.

It has also been a mix of depressing from a wasted effort perspective, but also eye opening when you start to break down your requirements into nice to have, wish items, and required all based on the actual outputs you generate. I am totally starting to rethink my approach to the workflow I built based on John's excellent smart workflow. There is a fair amount of time consuming stuff I do in my workflow process, just because. Now I am wondering how much of that is useful.

Tim
 
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So I started to focus on that aspect and have run across a tool called iMatch which has been around for almost twenty years

Oh wow, that's a blast from the past. I remember using that... probably nearly 20 years ago! We were still scanning film in those days!
 
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iMatch, described by a friend as "having a user interface so ugly only its mother could love it". Powerful though.
 
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Anything he says, beyond what he's already said, would no doubt need to go through a million meetings and other red tape,
A simple acknowledgement that the concerns made in this thread are valid and that he would be taking these concerns to “a million Meetings” to get them properly addressed would give customers an indication that Adobe does value customers and wants to deliver products valued by customers.
There are too many start up competitors that do want to deliver what Adobe customers want for Adobe to ignore their large customer base.
 
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To me classic only means that it is a base program, it means trust and continuity. It holds choice. If you prefer a cloud based workflow LRCC might be your choice, if you prefer a desktop workflow, use Classic. I use mobile and desktop versions of adobe products next to each other on all devices and have done so since a very long time, to me it sounds as if LRCC is a nice mobile sibling for desktop, and the perfect addition. I do travel a lot and take thousands of photo's on a trip, so going to LRCC only is not an option. I love the fact that I have LRCC on my mobile devices, and classic at home. It does not have to be or only, there is also both next to each other. So much harping going on right now... A bit dissappointing. I love updates to make applications better. Yes, it is catching up at first, but hey, pretty soon we will be used to it again and all will be well... To me the subscription plan works. Two visits to starbucks skipped for my adobe products is a valid choice for me. And I much prefer 10 dollar a month against a 600-700 dollar every two or 3 years if you want to stay updated with the latest versions.
 
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Out of interest I have just tried On1 Photo RAW 2018. I created a test Adobe PSB file in Adobe Photoshop and surprise, surprise, On1 Photo RAW can see it and catalogue it. We have been waiting seven years for Lightroom to support Adobe's own PSB file format and it is still missing in Lightroom Classic.

I have to use PSB files a lot in Photoshop so I am going to give On1 Photo RAW 2018 a more detailed investigation.
 

PhilBurton

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Out of interest I have just tried On1 Photo RAW 2018. I created a test Adobe PSB file in Adobe Photoshop and surprise, surprise, On1 Photo RAW can see it and catalogue it. We have been waiting seven years for Lightroom to support Adobe's own PSB file format and it is still missing in Lightroom Classic.

I have to use PSB files a lot in Photoshop so I am going to give On1 Photo RAW 2018 a more detailed investigation.
Is that because ON1 can support various Photoshop features like layers and masks, etc?

Phil
 

rob211

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I have been having an offline discussion with one Lr user about protecting the portability of our digital assets; and part of the driver is Adobe's actions. The goal is to minimize vendor lock in, and also make it easier to share and pass on. So I started to focus on that aspect and have run across a tool called iMatch which has been around for almost twenty years which really only focuses on the DAM aspect and following documented standards. I have yet to install and play with it, but when you look closely at the company and the software from a review and forum perspective; it really is kinda interesting how many companies give lip service to standards but do not follow them. You see it with iMatch forums on how they have been adding special processing to handle what other vendors do which is non-standard. Really kinda interesting.

It has also been a mix of depressing from a wasted effort perspective, but also eye opening when you start to break down your requirements into nice to have, wish items, and required all based on the actual outputs you generate. I am totally starting to rethink my approach to the workflow I built based on John's excellent smart workflow. There is a fair amount of time consuming stuff I do in my workflow process, just because. Now I am wondering how much of that is useful.

Tim
In many ways there are a few aspects to the "lock in" problem.

The easiest one to solve IMHO is image metadata, since it's already standardized. That's a main reason behind that.

IMatch seems to be a great way to input metadata, as is Photo Mechanic. But IMatch is much better at the second part of metadata use, which is finding stuff in varied ways. Better than Lr in many ways.

But where it lacks is in stuff like publishing and of course the integration with Ps and adjusting tools. And no macOS version unfortunately.

As to storing the parameters of image adjustment themselves, the problem still lies in the fact most are proprietary. Even if one switches to DxO's PhotoLab or Affinity or whatever you've still got edits sunk into a format where you need the original program to make use of them.
 
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Adobe hasn't entirely forgotten LR Classic. Here's a screen grab of a portion of an email they sent me:
2017-10-25-10_54_48-inbox-hal-p-anderson-gmail-com-gmail-com-mozilla-thunderbird-png.9994

That email didn't mention LRCC at all

I got the email too. It is not about the software, It is flogging a book about the software! I guess there is not yet enough in Lightroom CC to write about...

I’ll wait for Victoria’s book..,
 
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@rob211
I am finding the meta-data issue is the easiest one to solve.
Here is what I have found so far:
1. Workflow, I have built a pretty good workflow using the meta-data. No software I have found yet has an easy way to replicate from a user interface perspective; a few can do so.
2. A solid versioning system seems to be lacking in most solutions. Images really should be an abstract concept that you can attach one or more source files too. And then version the the source files, ideally being able to apply edits to any image set. (Missing from Lr also)
3. From there you can track the image as you move it and all related files around; and round trip to/from Ps or other software.
4. Easy to use editor. Most of the editor's I have played with so far seem to copy Photoshop in terms of layout, which like GIMP was designed by an engineer in the 1980s....
5. Some way to keep files together (see versioning concept in point 2), where I can keep the original and the developed version from Lr together as a matched set. Sort of like the built in RAW+JPEG capability of Lr;

So the question is, will some vendor meet my requirements, or will I be stuck putting a hodgepodge solution together before/if I give up Lr?

Tim
 
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So the question is, will some vendor meet my requirements, or will I be stuck putting a hodgepodge solution together before/if I give up Lr?

Welcome to the years before Aperture and Lightroom when each of us tried to string together a "workflow" from whatever apps you felt you needed, came across first, or could afford. They rarely looked similar, because back then developers couldn't just make Lightroom lookalikes. One app would usually talk pretty well to the next one, though you'd spend as much time figuring out important bits that didn't come across properly, like colour labels or ratings or accented characters. Your adjustments didn't show up in your cataloguing app - unless you used Nikon Capture or had adopted DNG - and printing or outputting more than one file at a time.... well, some of us managed. And of course, all these apps weren't cheap - this was a world where Photoshop's pricing set the standard. There's a reason why Aperture and Lightroom were so welcome!

John
 
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Welcome to the years before Aperture and Lightroom when each of us tried to string together a "workflow" from whatever apps you felt you needed, came across first, or could afford. They rarely looked similar, because back then developers couldn't just make Lightroom lookalikes. One app would usually talk pretty well to the next one, though you'd spend as much time figuring out important bits that didn't come across properly, like colour labels or ratings or accented characters. Your adjustments didn't show up in your cataloguing app - unless you used Nikon Capture or had adopted DNG - and printing or outputting more than one file at a time.... well, some of us managed. And of course, all these apps weren't cheap - this was a world where Photoshop's pricing set the standard. There's a reason why Aperture and Lightroom were so welcome!

John

Yup. However the world has changed in many ways. More applications are compliant with standards when it comes to meta-data. The real proprietary stuff is the development magic. This is actually where Adobe shines the most. From a usability perspective, the development module of Lr is way ahead of any of the solutions I have played with so far. There are some tools which I think are more powerful, but they come with a complexity and learning curve. For example, I have been playing with DarkTable. wow, is all I got to say. The development tools seem way ahead of Lr in terms of capability, but the complexity!
Anyways, I have broken my requirements down to the following basic areas:
1. asset management, fundamental meta-data management
2. facial recognition (now questioning if instead I just need to tag the people as keywords)
3. basic image development that is within my skill now
4. advanced image development when I have time to learn (think tone curves, color chanels)
5. pano and hdr
6. output/publish

optional items:
1. version images
2. edit in XXX capability integration and tracking
3. direct links to FB, Mixbook, Blurb....

So for now, I am having fun looking around and seeing the current state, and a lot has changed since I did my replacement search for Aperture in 2013. A fair number of solutions pick off some boxes, so far I have not found one that hits them all. But what is most interesting to me, is that the open source Rawtherapee, DigiKam, and Darktable have advanced faster, and have added significantly more than any proprietary solution I have seen in the past few years.

Tim

Tim
 

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I have come away with the opinion that Adobe, and Apple are not interested in having photographers that are not high volume users of their products.
Sincee the early days of Photoshop, then Lightroom, it was obvious that they are going to keep changing the products so as to keep the software engineers
busy, and to be able to raise money by selling the latest iteration.
We have reached a saturation point in digital cameras, where 90 plus percent of the photographers cannot use the full potential of their equipment, and
I suspect the same is true of Lightroom, never mind Photoshop.

These thugs are going to milk as much as they can out of their customers, until a revolt occurs. Good idea to have an alternative processing plan.
 
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iMatch, described by a friend as "having a user interface so ugly only its mother could love it". Powerful though.
That was an understatement. Are we going to consider Digital Light & Color next? All this talk is depressing me and making me just want to sell all of my gear and go back to shooting film. :inpain:

--Ken
 

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All this talk is depressing me and making me just want to sell all of my gear and go back to shooting film
What enlarger you are going to use? And what film/developer combi? and what paper? :)
 
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